May 5, 2015

It’s official: Chelsea are champions

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

We’ve been saying it for months and knew that it was coming, but it’s finally official: Chelsea have won the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho is on top of the EPL again after guiding his Blues to a 1-0 victory over London rivals Crystal Palace.

All the champs needed was their trademark stout defence and a fortuitous strike from Eden Hazard – which seems to be how their matches have gone recently.

Hazard’s goal came off a rightly deserved penalty call, but not how you would expect it. After seeing his penalty attempt saved by Julian Speroni, the ball came right back to Hazard who easily headed it in.

It was a fitting title-clincher, as Chelsea has come up fortunate most of the season.

This is a team that didn’t suffer through any poor runs of form and was built for the rigors of the strenuous Premier League season. Even when dealing with injuries, this was a side that had depth players step up when needed. After all, the team’s leading scorer Diego Costa missed 11 games through injury and suspension this season.

With this team only poised to get stronger this summer, you have to wonder what other contenders will have to do to catch up.

Of course, the real prize in Roman Abramovich’s eyes is the Champions League, which could be the only thing that causes another rift between the owner and Mourinho.

But for now, all’s well at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea is the prettiest girl at the ball.


It was quite the week for discipline in the Premier League, with xx red cards shown on Saturday alone.

There was QPR’s Nedum Onuoha, Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, Stoke’s Marc Wilson and Burnley’s Mike Duff.

And then there was Newcastle’s Daryl Janmaat and Mike Williamson. Yes, the Magpies were down to nine men at the end of the match against Leicester City.

Predictably, their manager wasn’t too happy. In fact, John Carver went as far as suggesting that Williamson had himself sent off on purpose. I’m sure that will go over well in the locker room.

This creates a huge selection problem for Carver this week, as he has just one defender to choose – Fabricio Coloccini.

And in case you were wondering, Carver isn’t in danger of getting fired before the season ends. The Newcastle board has already stated he won’t be fired with just three games remaining.

After that though, I wouldn’t bet on him sticking around.


Sergio Aguero and Joe Hart powered Man City to a big win over Tottenham. The Argentine striker increased his league lead to 22 while opponent Harry Kane was stalled at 20 by Hart, who made some nice saves to keep the clean sheet … Manchester United was at it again. For the third game in a row, the Red Devils dominated possession, but couldn’t score and lost. It’s pretty rare that you see a team lose with 80% possession, but anything seems possible with United these days. It was the first time since 2007 they haven’t scored in three straight and the first three-game losing streak since 2001. If Liverpool didn’t hit that rut of form over the past few weeks, they’d be in a much better spot to capitalize in the race for fourth place … Speaking of Liverpool, their four strikers have less goals (8) than Everton’s back four (9). That pretty much sums up Daniel Sturridge’s health this season and how much of a bust Mario Balotelli has been … Is there some Europa League tanking going on? Both Southampton and Tottenham lost, though only the Saints seems suspicious as they were facing Sunderland while Spurs had City.


Congratulations to Hazard for winning the FA player of the year award.

He was the best and most consistent player on the best team in the league. It would be incredibly hard to make a case against him and he should be a superstar in the Premier League for years to come.

Spurs’ Kane took home the FA’s young player of the year, an honour for the outstanding young Brit.

But did Kane really deserve it? From the outside, the answer is yes – until you look at the rules of the award.

The young player award is “an annual award given to the player aged 23 or under at the start of the season.”

And therein lies the problem: Hazard was 23-years-old when the season started.

I get that you want to reward an up-and-comer, but why not follow the rules?

Hazard actually won the award last year and was a nominee again this year, which makes the choice all the more puzzling. I’m really not sure how you can be the overall player of the year, but not the best under 23. Of course, it was likely the English voters giving it up for their lad, but it really doesn’t make sense.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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