Premier League champions Chelsea's month-by-month season review
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 18/05/15 10:52am
As Chelsea are crowned Premier League winners, we look back at their title winning season…
Pre-season title favourites Chelsea had to wait until the Monday night of the opening weekend to kick-off their 2014/15 campaign but sent out a statement to their Premier League rivals with a 3-1 win at Burnley. Scott Arfield scored a shock opener for the newly-promoted hosts, but a combination of clinical finishing from Diego Costa and creative flair from Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea’s £59m new signings – ensured a winning start.
The victory sent Chelsea joint-top of the table – a position they’d maintain for the rest of the season – and the Blues continued their strong start with second-half goals from Costa and Eden Hazard at home to Leicester before a remarkable 6-3 win at Everton, in which Costa scored in the first and last minute.
Another high-scoring game followed, with a 4-2 success over Swansea, which saw Diego Costa maintain his stunning start to life in the Premier League with a hat-trick – making it seven in four for the former Atletico Madrid man.
After a draw with Schalke at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, Chelsea faced their first major test of the season – a trip to champions Manchester City. With Pablo Zabaleta sent off, Andre Schurrle looked to have hit the winner with 19 minutes to play but Chelsea legend Frank Lampard slotted in five minutes from time to deny his former club.
The point kept Chelsea top of the table – and five points clear of the champions. And they sustained that advantage through the rest of the month with a 3-0 win at home to Aston Villa, between Capital One Cup and Champions League wins over Bolton and Sporting Lisbon.
Hazard and Costa provided the goals in a 2-0 win over Arsenal, before the Blues beat Crystal Palace in a fiercely contested clash, which saw Damien Delaney and Cesar Azpilicueta sent off in the first-half at Selhurst Park.
Robin van Persie’s last-gasp equaliser after Branislav Ivanovic’s red card denied Chelsea – and goalscorer Didier Drogba – victory at Old Trafford but a 6-0 thrashing of Maribor and a nervy win over Shrewsbury kept Chelsea in contention in the cups.
Costa and Gary Cahill were on target at Anfield after a disappointing draw at Maribor, as Chelsea took more points off their rivals at the top and moved four ahead of high-flying second-placed Southampton and eight clear of City. Costa was back on the scoresheet the following weekend as the Blues cruised past West Brom but missed out on the goal-fest at Schalke as Chelsea stuck five past the Germans.
The Blues were blunted by Sunderland at the end of the month though, as Lee Cattermole, John O’Shea and Wes Brown stood firm to earn a goalless draw, which allowed City, who had moved up to second, the chance to close the gap to six.
A 3-0 win over Tottenham got Chelsea back to winning ways but a double from Papiss Cisse delivered Jose Mourinho’s side their first defeat of the season, as City moved to within three of the top.
However, Chelsea bounced back by beating Sporting Lisbon, Hull, Derby, Stoke and West Ham in an impressive run to Boxing Day, before being held to a goalless draw at Southampton.
The New Year began with Chelsea’s second defeat of the season – a 5-3 thriller at Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham – which saw City draw level at the top of the Premier League, with, remarkably, an identical record of points, games played, goals scored and goals conceded.
An FA Cup win over Watford was followed by victory at home to Newcastle and a 5-0 win at Swansea as Chelsea seemed to be back on track. However, they failed to win any of their next four – their worst run of the season. A draw at Liverpool in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg was followed by a shock FA Cup defeat to Bradford City at Stamford Bridge. The Blues then needed extra-time to see off Liverpool in the second leg of their semi-final before another 1-1 with City, who had slipped five behind after a draw at Everton and defeat at home to Arsenal.
Victory at Aston Villa was followed by an 89th-minute Willian winner against Everton, after Gareth Barry’s sending off, at the start of February. However, after a backs-to-the-wall draw at PSG in the Champions League – which owed plenty to fine goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois - there was a controversial draw with Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were pegged back by a late Ben Mee equaliser, but all the talk after the game was about Ashley Barnes’ reckless tackle on Nemanja Matic, which led to the Serbian being sent off for his reaction and the Burnley man going unpunished.
Jose Mourinho described the challenge as ‘criminal’ and Chelsea managed to get Matic’s ban reduced from three games to two on appeal.
Chelsea lifted their first piece of silverware of the season on March 1, with a 2-0 Capital One Cup final victory over Tottenham but were quickly back to business in the league, winning at West Ham three days later.
A disappointing exit to PSG on away goals in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie was followed by their second 1-1 with Southampton of the season. The Blues then saw off a spirited Hull fightback to win 3-2 to end the month six clear with a game in hand on second-placed City.
A penalty from Hazard plus a Loic Remy winner either side of Charlie Adam’s remarkable long-range strike earned three points at home to Stoke, before Cesc Fabregas slotted home a last-gasp winner at QPR.
Chelsea then defeated Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, despite giving up 70 per cent of possession. Hazard scored the only goal of the game and the following week picked up the PFA Player of the Year award.
Despite being labelled as ‘boring’ by Arsenal’s supporters at the Emirates, the Blues edged closer to their first Premier League title in five years with a hard-fought 0-0, before goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires secured a comeback win at Leicester which meant victory against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge the following Saturday would secure the title, with three games to spare.
In a tight game against the Eagles, it was apt that Hazard was the player to make the difference. The Belgian missed his spot kick just before the break but headed the rebound beyond Julian Speroni for the winning goal - and his 14th of the Premier League season so far.
Palace kept up the pressure in a nervy second half, but Mourinho brought on John Obi Mikel and Kurt Zouma to help the Blues hold on to their slender lead, and they celebrated wildly at the final whistle.