May 23, 2011

Chelsea's Nightmare comes to an end!

It's over a month I started blogging and considering the eagerness with which I follow Chelsea, it's weird I never came up with a post on Chelsea. Well, I've decided to finally come up with one, it's at a very tough time for the club!

June '09. Many significant things happened among which, the most important one was the appointment of Chelsea's new manager- the experienced Carlo Ancelotti, a.k.a Carletto, with two Champions Leagues to boast in the past decade (with a so-called aging squad at Milan; similar to Chelsea's then)...
Primary objective was, of course, to win the Champions League! This happened among certain circumstances, just a few months back, world cup winning coach Scolari had been sacked, Hiddink being the temporary replacement(He was also the Russian coach then), transforming something out of a squad which had performed so miserably under Scolari, Chelsea returned to third spot in the Premier League by the end of the season and won the FA Cup. Ancelotti started with a bang winning the double for the first time in the history of the club. However, that was followed by a bad, bad season, in fact, the worst in the Abramovich Era!

Well, for starters, Abramovich inherited a squad which was sky-high on confidence, winning almost everything that stood in their way! The partnership of Drogba and Anelka up front was doing good for the team. This, equipped with a very strong reserve lineup made the Chelsea team the most feared then (I remember Kaka saying Chelsea were the last team Real wanted to face). Such was the strength that even with Essien and Bosingwa out for most of the season, and the departure of the Africans for the African Cup of nations, Chelsea were scoring seven goals! Also, the experience of the players like Ballack, Lampard, Drogba, Deco and Belletti came into effect, add to it their versatility! Now, the reason they lost to Inter was the number of injuries- Cech, Hilario, Cole, Zhirkov, Essien, Mikel, Bosingwa, Alex, Ricardo Carvalho! It was such a pathetic situation that Malouda (who's a winger) had to play at left back! I mean, the whole defense line was injured! Just imagine those matches with Chelsea playing with a full squad and Inter playing with a third choice Goalie, no Lucio or Samuel, no Cambiasso! Considering that, I'd say Chelsea did well! Ending the season on with a double was awesome, and the future looked good!

The start of the 2010 season saw some significant changes to the squad! The departure of Ballack, Joe Cole, Deco, Belletti and Carvalho diminished the experience of the squad drastically! With only Ramires as a significant enough signing, Chelsea had, maybe unknowingly killed their chances of doing as good as the last season! They started off well, but stumbled on their way, dropping points, now, even at home soil! There was a chance of a dramatic comeback but Chelsea could get only 1 out of the 9 required points in the last three matches... The winter signings of Torres and Luiz seemed it would change everything but it didn't! Torres failed to shine, or rather, if I rephrase the fact, Ancelotti failed to mix him into the system, which created an imbalance in the whole squad! Luiz did considerably well, except the match at Old Trafford, where he did show signs of crumbling under pressure! The worst part was the last match, against Everton, where the players showed no desire to win, losing against 10-men Trotters...

I am pretty sure Ancelotti knew this would happen to him right from the moment he signed for Chelsea, considering Roman's history of firing managers. So he must have been expecting this for a long time now! Also, I feel that the fact that he did really well in the first season was Hiddink's squad! And it seems very likely Hiddink is the one who's gonna succeed him, sooner or later (the probability that Mourinho's gonna come is very low!).

Apart from all these, I liked Ancelotti for other reasons. He made Chelsea's style of playing football attractive. Mourinho's Chelsea were experts in winning 1-0 but Carletto's Chelsea would never be satisfied with a goal; the players were hungry for more; often going on to score 6,7 or 8 goals! And yeah, have you ever seen a politer manager? For example, let's look at his reactions in the press conferences.
"Why do you still want to keep Terry as captain?"- dull look on his face, no answer
"Why do you think Cole brought that gun into practice?"- same look
"Why did you start Torres (against ManU)?"- same look
Now, you would find manager shouting during the match at referees and linesmen- NOT him! This guy was also good to the press, unlike Mourinho (although I do admit I enjoyed his quotes...).

You can also have a look at 20 Things you never knew about Ancelotti!

Among all this, I'm just happy all this is finally over- this season has ended (Well, technically, the CL final is left, but for Chelsea it's over). It's time to start preparations for the next season...

I decided to write this just after the news of his sacking was announced in Chelsea's site... Although, he's no longer Chelsea's manager, he'll always be remembered as the guy who secured the first double in the history of the club. All the best for the future, beloved Carletto! Hope you fulfill your dream of coaching your national team some day...

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