On Friday last week, Chelsea beat West Brom at the Hawthorns to become champions of the Premier League for the second time in the past three seasons, and in Antonio Conte’s debut season in the Premier League.
Chelsea didn’t start the season in spectacular fashion and losses to Liverpool and Arsenal made a mockery of Chelsea’s ambitions, with many tipping Manchester United and Manchester City to win the league.
A lot of pundits and ex footballers didn’t tip Chelsea for the title and many categorically said Chelsea wouldn’t win the league.
See some of the popular people who said Chelsea wouldn’t win the league:
1. SIR ALEX FERGUSON
The former Manchester United boss is the most successful manager in the Premier League, and the 13 Premier League titles won by Manchester United were under Ferguson.
After Chelsea defeated Manchester United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in October, Ferguson made a controversial claim when he suggested Chelsea wouldn’t win the league; Chelsea didn’t even make his top five teams at the time.
“It’s harder to predict than it was for many years,” Ferguson said.
“I think there are five potential candidates: Manchester City as favourites, Tottenham and Liverpool, but also Man United are still there if we get some consistency soon.
“Even when you are trailing by six, eight points, it’s still possible to catch one or two teams.
“The rivalry and the experience of [Pep] Guardiola and [Jose] Mourinho makes for an exciting competition, and you shouldn’t forget Arsenal.”
2. HARRY REDKNAPP
The former Tottenham manager is another one who didn’t tip Chelsea to win the league despite Chelsea’s great run that started in October. In the month of November, after Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, Harry Redknapp revealed that he wasn’t sure of Conte’s tactics and said Chelsea wouldn’t win the league.
Redknapp said: “I still think there are three or four players in that Chelsea team, I wouldn’t see them playing in a team that’s good enough to win the Premier League.
“I still think they’re short, at left back, I’m still not convinced about the three at the back whether they can play enough.
“I still don’t know if they have enough flair in midfield,” adding: “I’m still not sure all-round that that is a team that will win the league.”
3. GARY NEVILLE
In the beginning of the season, Gary Neville didn’t tip Chelsea to be champions, and despite Chelsea’s good run from October to December, the United legend still didn’t believe Chelsea will be champions.
The Sky Sports analyst said: “I didn’t think they would be champions at the start of the season. I’m still not sure, I wouldn’t fully trust any of them yet, but they do like they are producing the type (champions) performances.
“The Southampton away one, that’s the one where I thought, that’s a championship winning performance. But it is too early in the season to hand them the title.
“You still have to have doubts over them through the fact, for instance, if you got an injury to Eden Hazard, an injury to Diego Costa.
“You have to throw in the doubts that exist. They are such important players.”
3. PAUL SCHOLES, RIO FERDINAND AND OWEN HARGREAVES
Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves are the third, fourth and fifth people on our list. The United legends at the start of the season blatantly said “no” when asked if Chelsea will win the league.
BT Sport‘s Jake Humphrey asked them: “Can Chelsea win the league?”
The three ex United players said “no” with so much confidence.
6. ALAN SHEARER
At the start of the season, Alan Shearer didn’t tip Chelsea to win the league, and the Newcastle legend was also adamant when given another chance back in December. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were his favourites for the league.
The Newcastle legend told Coral: “I’ve been asked if I am going to change my prediction on who is going to win the title.
“The answer is no. I am sticking with Man City despite the big test they face next month without their star man Aguero and of course Fernandinho.
“The reason for their success is that they now look a settled side who are full of confidence.”
“It really is my pet hate when people change their mind every single week on who will win the title. When I make a prediction at the start of the season, I stick to my guns.”
Shearer chose to stick with the hype surrounding Guardiola and not the football and spirit surrounding Chelsea. At the end of the day, spirit always wins.
7. PAUL MERSON
Arsenal legend and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson was unsure of Chelsea’s championship spirit back in November, and could only guarantee the Blues a top four spot despite our fantastic run that was on from October even till November when he made this statement.
“They might just be a bit light to win the title, if Eden Hazard or Diego Costa got injured and were out for a while they’d struggle, but they look like top-four material now,” Merson told Sky Sports.
8. MICHAEL OWEN
Former Liverpool player turned pundit Michael Owen also claimed that Chelsea will not win the Premier League.
Back in December, he said: “I think a North West team will win the Premier League this season so that’s Manchester United, Liverpool or Manchester City.
“I’m going to go for Liverpool to win the league.
“They are playing really well and have no European football.
“Second, I’m going to go for Chelsea, third Man City and fourth Arsenal.”