Bridge Banter: Chelsea legend Charlie Cooke backs Blues to win the Premier League

Wandsworth Guardian: Eden Hazard, obscured, is mobbed by team-mates after scoring Chelsea's second in the 4-3 win at Sunderland. Picture: Press Association Eden Hazard, obscured, is mobbed by team-mates after scoring Chelsea's second in the 4-3 win at Sunderland. Picture: Press Association

One of Chelsea’s all-time greats, Charlie Cooke, cast his eye over the Blues last weekend, and declared that his old team have what it takes to win the Premier League title.

The 71-year-old, now based in Cincinnati, was on a flying visit to London.

As usual, he timed his trip to coincide with a Blues home game and joined 41,567 others in a collective jaw drop as Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring for Southampton after 14 seconds.

Chelsea edged their way back into the match, finishing 3-1 winners.

It was much the same in midweek as the Blues fell behind at Sunderland – this time to a Jozy Altidore opener after 14 minutes – before carving out a 3-4 victory, thanks in large part to the superb footwork of the man with magnets in his toecaps, Eden Hazard.

Hazard was one of the players that caught the eye of Bonnie Prince Charlie on Sunday. In a way, Eden and Charlie played a similar game; mesmerising opponents with shoulder-dropping and devilishly elusive sprints. Both took the art of skilled dribbling to a new level.

“Southampton were definitely best in the first half, but Chelsea looked very good there in the second, and began to grind it out,” said Charlie over a post-match cuppa.

“It’s what they’ve got to do. I think Chelsea can [win the title], but they need to keep playing like they did in the second half. At halftime you wouldn’t have given tuppence for their chances!”

Jose Mourinho described the league’s current fluctuations as “crazy”, but he will be delighted with the wins, and keen to make it a hat-trick of victories in a week at Stoke on Saturday.

The Blues often find the Potters a tough proposition, but Mark Hughes’ men are hovering above the drop zone, and if Chelsea can keep this gritty run alive, Jose’s incredible record of never losing in the league in December could continue.

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