Where do Jose Mourinho's team sit in the list of all-time great league winners?
Chelsea captain John Terry has called for more respect to be given to his side after they ran away with this season's Premier League title, but history will be the only judge of where the kings of 2015 will be ranked among the all-time great champions.
The fantasy football Chelsea produced in the first few months of this season has been replaced by a more clinical approach, as their inspirational manager Jose Mourinho has shown, yet again, that he has a variety of battle plans to call upon.
A rising tide of criticism has swelled around champions-elect Chelsea in recent weeks, as their efforts to force their way over the finishing line in a one-sided title race have spawned a series of less than inspiring performances.
A Chelsea team inspired by the brilliance of Cesc Fabregas and the scoring power of Diego Costa helped to rebrand Mourinho as a manager with fantasy football tendencies early on, but the ‘boring, boring Chelsea’ tag is not an image they will feel the need to shed when they defend their title next season.
Mourinho and his team probably don’t care that they are being branded as one of the most unpopular champions in recent Premier League history, as they are set to join this list of legendary champions in English football’s Hall of Fame.
TOTTENHAM (1960-61) - 'Push and Run'
Bill Nicholson’s magnificent Tottenham team became the first side to win a League and FA Cup Double in 1961, with Northern Ireland’s Danny Blanchflower leading as they produced a fastmoving football the game had never seen before.
Tottenham’s ‘push and run’ style was a forerunner for the kind of game Barcelona perfected in the modern era. Nicholson was ahead of his time as his team passed their way to glory in an era when the tackles flew in on muddy pitches.
LIVERPOOL (1983/84) - First Treble winners
Manchester United were the first team to win a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup Treble in 1999, but a brilliant Liverpool side achieved a similarly magnificent trophy haul 15 years earlier.
Joe Fagan inherited a wonderful Liverpool side from Bob Paisley and inspired by a 32-goal haul from Ian Rush and led from midfield for a final season by Graeme Souness, they won the old First Division, the League Cup and the European Cup, beating Roma on penalties in the final.
LIVERPOOL (1988/89) - Anfield's finest?
Sunday World columnist John Aldridge was the leading scorer with 26 goals for a Liverpool side that were denied the chance to confirm they were the best of their time due to a ban on English clubs competing in the European Cup.
With John Barnes in his pomp and the Irish duo of Ray Houghton and Aldridge forming a deadly double act, Liverpool’s 5-0 win against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest was hailed at the time as one of the best displays ever produced by an English team. What a shame they were denied the chance to show Europe what they could do.
MANCHESTER UNITED (1993/94) - Fergie shifts the balance
Having ended Manchester United’s long wait for a title win, manager Alex Ferguson set about establishing an era of dominance for his club with a team loaded with powerful players who led the club to their first Premier League and FA Cup double.
A young Roy Keane formed a dynamic midfield partnership with Paul Ince, while Eric Cantona was their leading scorer with 25 goals. They won the title by a vast eight-point margin and thumped Glenn Hoddle’s Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
MANCHESTER UNITED (1998/99) - The ultimate champions
Alex Ferguson’s heroes of the 1998/99 season will forever hold a unique place in the pantheon of English football history, with their Treble triumph putting them on a platform that seemed impossible to stand upon until they achieved the feat in dramatic fashion.
They are far from being the most dominant champions of the Premier League era as they only won the title on the last day of the season by a solitary point from Arsenal, relied on Ryan Giggs’s wonder goal to win the FA Cup semi-final against the Gunners and scored two late goals to win the Champions League. Fortune favoured them, but this was a legendary team.
ARSENAL (2003/04) - The Invincibles
Going through an entire Premier League season unbeaten seemed to be an impossible dream until Arsene Wenger’s fabled Arsenal side made it happen in an extraordinary campaign.
Led by captain Patrick Vieira, Arsenal won the league by 11 points that season and were champions long before their glory was given a crowning moment. As they completed their final game against Leicester with a 2-1 win at Highbury, history was made.
CHELSEA (2004/05) - Mourinho's first dream team
It didn’t take Jose Mourinho long to start breaking records following his arrival at Chelsea, as he led the Stamford Bridge club to their first title in half a century.
Chelsea set a host of Premier League records that season that still stand a decade later. They won more games (29), collected more points (95), recorded the most away wins (15), had most clean sheets (25) and won the league by 12 points. It was complete domination for a rampant side that featured Ireland’s Damien Duff.
MANCHESTER UNITED (2007/08) - Ronaldo comes of age
Cristiano Ronaldo was viewed as something of a show pony when he first arrived in English football, but United boss Alex Ferguson turned him into a thoroughbred matchwinner and he was at his brilliant best in this memorable season.
Scoring 42 goals in all competitions, Ronaldo established himself as one of the world’s greatest players. His contribution guided United to the Premier League title and helped them to win the Champions League final, on a night when John Terry missed a penalty and Chelsea were left heartbroken in the Moscow rain.
CHELSEA (2014/15) - Mourinho's second coming
Mourinho’s team were being tipped to go through the Premier League season unbeaten as they looked to be a class apart from their rivals in the opening few months, with passing football combined with defensive solidity and a winning mentality.
That aura of invincibility has been chipped away in recent weeks, but this is still one of the more comfortable title triumphs in recent memory. For that reason alone, Chelsea’s class of 2015 deserve plenty of respect for their achievements.