Chelsea were always ready to compete for the Premier League title. To be honest, not for once did I buy the ‘crisis’ talk peddled against us, although it’s noteworthy to point out that we were a loss or two away from one if we hadn’t smartly navigated those turbulent times.
That said, I maintain that Chelsea have been ready from the start of the season. We might have lost the opening game, but it is mostly down to losing Gary Cahill through a red card than not being prepared. He’s the captain of the team; losing someone that important was always going to leave a big vacuum, but of course, our character and ability to react to difficulties was also highlighted in that fixture – we ended up scoring 2 goals with 9 men against Burnley’s 11.
Tottenham posed an even bigger threat, but we won them too – without our best players. And perhaps, that triumph ended the ‘crisis’ talk. Once again, pundits see Chelsea as a team to fear, and even the opposition fear us again.
With the sort of vacuum created by the absence of some of our players’ absence, it is amazing that we have been able to come this far. That is why I couldn’t be more grateful for the international break. It not only gave us a breather, it also allowed us time to get some of our unavailable players back in the fold. Eden Hazard is fit again, as is Tiemoue Bakayoko – two players that are very important to our season. We were also able to acquire two more players before the close of August 31 – Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater.
With our involvement in the Champions League along with other competitions this season, adequate manpower was always the big question. Drinkwater and Zappacosta with the other new signings should answer that question. We have the right manpower now, we have the numbers to rotate, we have our most important players back, but most importantly, we have our grit, determination, and resolve – which are the most essential ingredients for a champion team.
Now it’s only a matter of what games and when they’re coming. We’re complete again, and we’re hungry as ever. While pundits may be tipping Manchester United or their noisy neighbours to win the league, the Champions indeed are the team to beat.