Chelsea stormed their way to the title last season, eventually finishing a mammoth eight points clear of second placed Manchester City.
The Blues were often accused of approaching games in dull fashion but that method allowed Jose Mourinho’s men to wrap up the title with three games to spare.
Whether that changes next season remains to be seen as the West Londoners aim for multiple honours domestically and in Europe. Here are three reasons why the other title challengers will be singing the blues come May 2016.
Second season for Costa, Courtois and Cuadrado
Each of these players experienced their first Premier League seasons in 2014/15 and will have adapted differently to the challenges they faced. Diego Costa settled straight in, though a series of injuries plagued the end of his season meaning he’ll be raring to go for the next one. Thibaut Courtois was also impressive and has learnt plenty about his new defence having been at Atletico Madrid for so long, whilst Juan Cuadrado had a troublesome time following his January move. He put in a good showing for Colombia at the Copa America last night however and should hopefully begin to show why Chelsea paid so much for him.
Youth will push first team for places
For the first time in ages Chelsea have some youngsters that have the capability to get a run in the first team. Dominic Solanke, Patrick Bamford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Lewis Baker, Isaiah Brown, Andreas Christiensen and Tammy Abraham may not displace anyone in the squad but can provide decent depth and freshen up a squad that has lacked in young character for too long. Off the pitch, providing the club doesn’t loan them out all season, these guys can provide competition and lay the platform for years to come. That will silence the critics!
Unlimited budget in August or January
This is an obvious one but a clear advantage that no one other than the two Manchester clubs can match. Despite having just won the league, there is no stopping Chelsea from spending upwards of £200m on new players to make their squad even stronger. On the other hand, should they be struggling in January Mourinho can get his hands on a major player to transform the club’s season and potentially give them the boost they need to go further in the Champions League. We know everyone is aware of Abramovic’s backing but there are only 4 or 5 clubs in the world with this sort of financial muscle.
Eden Hazard can become the best winger in Europe
Chelsea’s mercurial Belgian lit up the Premier League last season and, at just 24 years old, is set to continue improving in the next 12 months. Although you sense his main motivation will be on the Champions League and Euro 2016, there is no doubting Hazard’s class and ability. He’s Chelsea’s match-winner and main creative force down the wing, clearly on a mission to become one of the world’s greatest. Whether he’s pining for a move to La Liga or not, you get the sense that something huge will happen for Hazard during the next 18 months.
Jose Mourinho’s tactics
There’s no one better at manipulating an opposing team than The Special One. His outstanding tactical nous combined with an ability to manoeuvre both the media and fellow managers is second to none. Titles can be won and lost in the face-offs between the challengers, and Mourinho went out of his way to prevent any rivals from gaining on them with prudent defensive displays. It was labelled boring but it worked to perfection and we expect the same sort of performances next year too. He’s in a class of his own and arguably as devastating as Terry, Costa and Hazard can be on the pitch.