Chelsea chances under the special one

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Some bookmakers have gone a bit overboard installing Chelsea as the English Premier League title favourites but the return to Stamford Bridge of Jose Mourinho does mean that there are excellent Blues-related betting opportunities available.

Chelsea has been handed a demanding early English Premier League draw so, even if one fancies the Blues to emerge triumphant at the end of the season, it makes sense to refrain from backing Mourinho’s men at the start of the campaign since they are likely to drift.

Before Christmas, Chelsea will travel to Arsenal, Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham, with its only home match versus a genuine championship contender being against Manchester City.

So forget about backing Chelsea to win the English Premier League title at pre-season odds and zero in on some of the more exotic offers pertaining to the Blues, particularly those for which there are strong historical arguments.

Mourinho has a flamboyant image – after all, he coined his own Special One nickname during his first media conference as Chelsea manager in 2004 – but most of his teams have been successful because they concede very few goals. Delve into the statistical records of English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish football and one will find that the defensive numbers of Mourinho-coached sides are exceptional.

The widely travelled Mourinho has spent 10 full seasons in charge of top level teams – Porto for two terms, Chelsea for three terms, Internazionale for two terms and Real Madrid for three terms – and, with the exception of his three seasons managing the Meringues, who have to play attacking football and find themselves in the same competition as Barcelona, the Special One has been associated with the domestic league’s top defence in terms of goals conceded.

One would reasonably expect Chelsea to improve on all fronts under Mourinho and it will not take much for the Blues to regain the mantle of the English Premier League’s stingiest defence. Last term Chelsea gave away only five more goals than Manchester City, finishing the campaign with only 39 goals conceded.

During the Special One’s first Stamford Bridge spell the Blues conceded 15 goals in the 2004-2005 English Premier League tournament, 22 goals in the 2005-2006 edition and 24 goals in the 2006-2007 renewal.

Do not fall into the trap of backing Petr Cech to win the competition’s Golden Glove, either. Mourinho has promised Mark Schwarzer that he will receive sufficient game time to keep Australian coach Holger Osieck happy in the lead up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Cech will sit out matches – quite probably ones that the Blues are expected to win easily – if the Special One stays true to his word and rotates his star goalkeepers.

Mourinho has a habit of leading sides that are almost impossible to beat in front of their own fans. Have a look at these statistics: Porto, Chelsea and Internazionale did not lose a single home league game during the Special One’s seven full terms with them.

It is hard to get away from Mourinho’s numbers, with the Blues having 44, drawn 13 and lost none of their English Premier League home matches during his three full seasons in charge from 2004 to 2007.

Finally, it is worth acknowledging that Mourinho has won at least one trophy in each of his 10 full terms as a manager, including two in each of his three full Chelsea campaigns.

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