No matter how good a team looks on paper, its success will only be defined in terms of tangibles. Just take the Dutch national team, for example. Despite having produced some of the world’s greatest ever players like Johan Cryuff, Marco Van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp and Edgar Davids, the Netherlands’ failure to win a single World Cup is what defines them.
This season, Chelsea have been awesome. They have looked a level above every other team in the league, and deservedly sit pretty at the top of the table. They are expected to be at the summit in May as well.
This is a side built by Jose Mourinho almost from scratch. Right from Thibaut Courtois in goal to Diego Costa up front, the Portuguese has not been shy of wielding the axe on some senior players in the side. His signings have all been well-thought out, and he has got exactly what he has wanted.
But the fact remains that despite looking like one of the best sides to have ever played in the Premier League, this group of players is yet to win silverware. Like I said earlier, every one of them will be judged by the world on the basis of the number of trophies they lifted during their time at Stamford Bridge.
The first trophy up for grabs this season is the Capital One Cup, whose final takes place this Sunday. Chelsea take to the field at Wembley against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, in a game that is nowhere near a foregone conclusion.
With Nemanja Matic out due to suspension, and Spurs being in inspired form of late, Mourinho knows that his side has their task cut out to bring the cup home. But, he also knows that it is something they absolutely must do.
Inspiration from the past:
In the 2004/05 season, Chelsea were at a similar juncture at the end of February. Leading the way in the Premier League and looking strong in Europe, they faced Liverpool in the League Cup final. The competition, then known as the Carling Cup, may not be considered the most prestigious, but it is a piece of silverware nevertheless.
In a frantic final which went the distance, the Blues prevailed 3-2. More than anything else, this convinced the players at the club that they can actually go the distance and win things. The likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech had been superstars that season, but had yet to taste any sort of success with Chelsea. After that, of course, Chelsea went on to win the Premier League by 12 points.
Man City are the closest challengers for the title this time around, and even though they are 5 points behind, they are by no means out of it. In the last 3 seasons, they have won 2 titles and both of them have come after they overturned a big deficit.
Chelsea, therefore, need to make sure that they win on Sunday and gain the confidence to tighten their hold on the Premier League and make sure that there are no slip-ups that City can take advantage of.