London — Chelsea regained the Premier League trophy with
such ease that Jose Mourinho felt his team's achievement did not get the
recognition it deserved.
But as rival fans directed "boring" chants at
Chelsea last season, their own teams were doing little to inject excitement in
the pursuit of the title. From the first weekend of the season Chelsea was on
top and stayed there until collecting the trophy for the first time in five
Surely it cannot be as straightforward for Chelsea again?
That is likely to depend on how long striker Diego Costa stays injury-free and whether
newcomer Radamel Falcao is more prolific in front of goal than during his
insipid season at Manchester United.
The Colombia forward is getting a second shot at proving
himself in the Premier League on loan from Monaco as he fills the void left by Didier
Also read: Falcao gets fresh start at Chelsea
"Very good player," is captain John Terry's
assessment of Falcao. "Playing against him last season was excellent. His
movement, his strength, his finishing's been different class.
"Because he came a little bit late maybe the fitness
may take a little bit longer, but he's looking sharp already and it's great to
have him here."
Falcao should be getting a chance to reprise his strike
partnership with Costa from their Atletico Madrid days, if the Spain
international's hamstrings are more durable in 2015-16.
"Last season I had to live and contend with
injuries," said Costa, who managed to score 20 goals in the 24 Premier
League games he played in his first season at Chelsea. "But I've worked to
prevent it occurring. I have to be careful this season so I can do the best
As Chelsea kicks off its title defense on Saturday against
Swansea, here are some things of things to know:
Captain John Terry played all 3,420 minutes of the league
campaign last season. Not bad for a 34-year-old center back who lost his
guaranteed starting place before Mourinho returned to take charge in 2013.
There is a reliance on Terry, though, with Branislav
Ivanovic, Kurt Zouma, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta the only other first-team
defenders in the squad. Chelsea is still pursuing John Stones but Everton is
unwilling to part with the 21-year-old Englishman in the final month of the
"Five is not enough. That's obvious," Mourinho
said. "We cannot go to the Premier League with five defenders. That's our
If Arsenal provides a greater threat this season to Chelsea,
Mourinho could soon regret allowing long-standing goalkeeper Petr Cech to move
across London after 11 years at Stamford Bridge.
The first sign of the 33-year-old Cech's value to the FA Cup
winners came on Sunday with a symbolic victory over Chelsea in the Community
Asmir Begovic joined from Stoke to deputize for first-choice
goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Eden Hazard was Chelsea's star last season and topped the
player of the year voting by his fellow professionals and journalists.
The winger, though, pays the price for his trickery on the
pitch — being the most fouled player in the league. And the Belgian no longer
wants to be the target of such physicality.
"If the referees can protect me, it would be good for
me because they know now that I get a lot of kicks," Hazard said. "I
just want to play, to dribble, to do some skills."For
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