Chelsea are on the verge of a fourth Premier League title, but a lack of squad rotation as shown at times this season. Jamie McDonald / Getty
Chelsea are on the verge of a fourth Premier League title, but a lack of squad rotation as shown at times this season. Jamie McDonald / Getty

Title success should usher in new era for Chelsea but Jose Mourinho must address squad issues



Trophies can mark the end of eras, or they can mark the beginning of eras.

Often, as Manchester City keep proving, teams lose hunger after a title. As Alex Ferguson always said, the real test of a side is whether they can retain their title.

Chelsea, who would seal the Premier League with a win against Crystal Palace on Sunday, will surely face sterner opposition next season. Not all their rivals can remain in transition, but this feels like a side still on the upswing of the cycle.

Last season, Chelsea struggled to break down sides who sat deep against them and packed the defence, so they bought a creator in Cesc Fabregas and a muscular poacher in Diego Costa, effectively dealing with the deficiency.

Only Sunderland and Arsenal have stopped Chelsea from scoring in the league this season, and at the Emirates Stadium last weekend Chelsea were quite happy with a goalless draw.

This season, the problems are less obvious. The biggest issue is probably the size of the squad; or rather, the size of the squad that manager Jose Mourinho trusts.

Only 12 players in the Chelsea squad have started more than 10 matches this season. Of those, 10 have started 25 matches or more.

Predictions: Chelsea win the league, honours even between Tottenham and Manchester City

Comment: Misfortune and misjudgement: Liverpool's striker crisis self-imposed by transfer market failings

Mourinho has stuck to a tight core, eschewing the usual wisdom about rotation and, while that may have had benefits in terms of team spirit and tactical cohesion, it has also led to fatigue.

By Mourinho’s own admission, Chelsea have had to adopt a more “strategic” approach since the turn of the year as they have had to cope with weariness and a loss of form.

Given how well Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah have done at Wolfsburg and Fiorentina, respectively, it is hard not to wonder whether one or both of them might have been retained. Equally, one wonders whether any of the players who have helped Chelsea to successive FA Youth Cups will ever make it into the first team.

This, perhaps, is part of the effect of Financial Fair Play. There is a perceived need from clubs to sell fringe players while they still command a profit, while the academy becomes less about producing players for the first team than to be sold to raise money for the purchase of established stars.

Whatever the reason, the point remains that Chelsea would surely benefit from a slightly larger core.

Petr Cech, it seems likely, will leave. A goalkeeper of his quality is unlikely to be happy with a place on the bench, and so there likely to be need of a new reserve keeper.

Didier Drogba, 37, has looked his age at times and it seems probable he will move into more of a coaching role, so there is space for a third striker to challenge Loic Remy as back-up for Costa.

The churn of Kevin De Bruyne, Salah and Schurrle suggests Mourinho still is not entirely happy with his attacking midfield options, and Juan Cuadrado has not made much of an impression since arriving in January.

Looking to the longer term, John Terry has had an excellent season, but he is 34 and it may be time to start thinking about a replacement.

It may be Kurt Zouma, who has done well both at centre-back and in central midfield this season, but it would be no great surprise were Chelsea to bring in a more experienced stopgap to help manage that transition.

The only real disappointment this season has been in European competition. While Chelsea would expect better than an exit in the last 16, it was only on away goals, and a season that has brought a league title and the League Cup cannot be thought of as anything but a success.

Mourinho always wins the title in his second season at a club, and soon he will have done so again.

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KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Tips for newlyweds to better manage finances

All couples are unique and have to create a financial blueprint that is most suitable for their relationship, says Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial. He offers his top five tips for couples to better manage their finances.

Discuss your assets and debts: When married, it’s important to understand each other’s personal financial situation. It’s necessary to know upfront what each party brings to the table, as debts and assets affect spending habits and joint loan qualifications. Discussing all aspects of their finances as a couple prevents anyone from being blindsided later.

Decide on the financial/saving goals: Spouses should independently list their top goals and share their lists with one another to shape a joint plan. Writing down clear goals will help them determine how much to save each month, how much to put aside for short-term goals, and how they will reach their long-term financial goals.

Set a budget: A budget can keep the couple be mindful of their income and expenses. With a monthly budget, couples will know exactly how much they can spend in a category each month, how much they have to work with and what spending areas need to be evaluated.

Decide who manages what: When it comes to handling finances, it’s a good idea to decide who manages what. For example, one person might take on the day-to-day bills, while the other tackles long-term investments and retirement plans.

Money date nights: Talking about money should be a healthy, ongoing conversation and couples should not wait for something to go wrong. They should set time aside every month to talk about future financial decisions and see the progress they’ve made together towards accomplishing their goals.

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