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Barclays Asia Trophy victory bodes well for title hopefuls Chelsea

| 31.07.2011

Andre Villas-Boas’ win-heavy first few weeks as Chelsea manager continued on Saturday as his side triumphed 2-0 over Aston Villa in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong.

Josh McEachran and substitute Fernando Torres got the goals as the Portuguese tactician improved his already impressive pre-season record with a sixth successive victory without conceding, against their most illustrious opponents yet.

History shows that the tournament champions tend to enjoy a great campaign, with Tottenham using it as a springboard to the Champions League in 2009 and Portsmouth delivering in 2007 prior to their best ever Premier League season.

Chelsea themselves won the inaugural edition back in 2003 before going on to achieve their first ever top-two finish of the Premier League era and 2005 winners Bolton built on their success in Bangkok by making the top eight.

The Blues are 5/2 to regain the title in 2011-12, trailing holders and 13/8 favourites Manchester United primarily due to a lack of transfer activity, though Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti both topped the table at the first attempt.

Last year’s winners acted quickly to sign David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young and could yet bring in another player, whereas Chelsea have so far only captured goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and loaned him out to Atletico Madrid.

More established stars like Luka Modric and Javier Pastore have both been linked with moves to Stamford Bridge however and it appears likely that at least one relatively big name will arrive this summer.

Villas Boas has stated his intention to help the west Londoners challenge in all competitions, and they are 7/1 to land the elusive Champions League trophy, 11/2 to win back the FA Cup and 5/1 to claim the Carling Cup.



John Klee