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Carlo Ancelotti oversaw the return to Stamford Bridge of the Premier League title during 2009/10 which also ended as a double-winning season, the FA Cup being captured thanks to Didier Drogba’s strike against Portsmouth. However, a disappointing Champions League campaign which saw former boss Jose Mourinho guide his Inter charges past the Blues on their way to the European crown, will be the main focus this year.
With several players having departed through the summer including Michael Ballack, whose last game in a Chelsea shirt was the FA Cup final during which he sustained the injury that ruled him out Germany’s World Cup campaign, and Joe Cole who was not offered a new deal and subsequently left for Anfield.
Yossi Benayoun is the only major new face at time of writing, The Israeli international captain signed from Livepool for £5.5M and his goal-scoring wing play will be a useful addition to the Blues line up.
The core of the title-winning squad remains. Petr Cech remains first choice between the posts for Chelsea and he continues to prove himself as one of the best in Europe. The penalty-save in the FA Cup Final followed on from a massive contribution to their Premier League campaign. Despite a calf muscle tear ruling him out for a month in July, he will expect to return to first-team action before the season really kicks in.
John Terry has put the off-the-field controversies behind him and will also look to forget the disappointment of England’s poor showing in South Africa by leading Chelsea on both the domestic and European fronts.
Nicolas Anelka is another whose World Cup ended early but his form last season alongside Didier Drogba was one or the major factor that ultimately pulled them clear of the rest.
A Brief History
Chelsea F.C. was established on March 14th, 1905 in The Rising Sun pub (now more commonly known as The Butcher’s Hook), just across the entrance to Fulham Road. They reached the FA Cup final ten years later but lost to Sheffield United. It wasn’t until the 1954/55 season that they claimed their first major honour - the League Championship.
They went on to win the League Cup for the first time in 1965 and the FA Cup in 1970. They went on to beat Real Madrid to claim their first European trophy, the UEFA Winners’ Cup, a year later.
During the 1970’s and 80’s Chelsea saw both success and failure with trophies won but relegation suffered also. They almost lost Stamford Bridge to property developers and it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s when Dutch legend Ruud Gullit joined the club as player-manager that Chelsea’s emergence as a force in English football really took off. Gullit signed world class players, including the likes of Gianfranco Zola, and trophies started to fill the Stamford Bridge board room. Gullit also headed a list of high-profile managers over the coming decade and a half. Gianluca Vialli replaced Gullit and also saw success in domestic and European cup competitions. When Vialli was dismissed, another Italian Claudio Ranieri took over but his arrival did not have the same impact as the arrival of new owner, Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich in 2003.
Abramovich ploughed millions into the club but ‘the Tinkerman’ as Ranieri became known was unable to deliver either the Premier League title or Champions League success and despite his popularity with the fans he was sacked. In came on of the most charismatic individuals in the world game, Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, who had just led FC Porto to a UEFA Champions League victory.
Spectacular success followed this appointment and Chelsea secured back-to-back Premiership titles in 2004-5 and 2005-6. He also delivered the FA Cup in 2007 at the first game played at the new Wembley Stadium, beating arch rivals Manchester United. After the success came controversy and Mourinho resigned after a rumoured bust up with Abramovich. Former Israeli national coach and personal friend of Abramovich, Avram Grant, was the surprise choice to replace him. Grant faired better than any of his predecessors in the Champions League and led them to the 2008 final only to lose out to Manchester United. It was Grants last match and he was replaced by former Brazil and Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Scolari only lasted half a season and his dismissal brought the current Russian coach Guus Hiddink to Stamford Bridge until the end of the season. He guided Chelsea to the Champions league semi-final and Champions League qualification in the Premier League before signing off with an FA Cup victory. Following his departure, Carlo Ancelotti took over in the hot seat and a double-winning season followed although European success still remains elusive.
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Tags: Chelsea, Chelsea live, Premier League, Carlo Ancelotti, Petr Cech, John Terry, Premiership, Yuri Zhirkov, Didier Drogba, FA Cup, League Cup, Stamford Bridge, Gianfranco Zola, Roman Abramovich, Jose Mourinho, Wembley Stadium, Champions league, live Chelsea