Club Focus – Chelsea – 2010: Hot and cold for Carlo’s Blues

As we approach the end of 2010, Chelsea Football Club can reflect back on what has been the most successful calendar year in their 105-year history.

Despite struggling over the last six weeks, ending the year 4th in the Premier League after a ten-year worst run of just three points from a six game winless streak, the Blues can look back on the first ten months of the year with great fondness. New manager Carlo Ancelotti ended his first season at Stamford Bridge as the only manager since the clubs’ 1905 inception to win the English League and Cup double – a feat that saw some impressive records fall along the way. His side lifted the title at Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season in May, thrashing Wigan Athletic 8-0 in Chelsea’s highest ever League win. The Blues also set a new standard for the most goals scored in a season by any team in the top flight – 103. A week after taking the Premier League trophy, the Blues beat Portsmouth 1-0 at Wembley Stadium to lift the FA Cup for the third time in four years as they sealed their historic domestic double.

The summer break arrived as most Blues players departed to South Africa to play for their nations’ at the World Cup, though none returned with a winners medal as Spain took glory on the global stage. Many changes in personnel occurred over the summer as youth replaced experience for the new season; the likes of Joshua McEachran, Jeffrey Bruma and Patrick van Aanholt promoted from the 2010 FA Cup Youth side to the first team to replace established departees Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho and Deco amongst others. As August arrived, the procession continued from the previous season as the Blues stormed to an early advantage over their Premier League rivals, scoring 21 goals in their victorious opening five games before ending October five points clear.

Strange then that the last two months have seen serious questions asked over the future of manager Ancelotti as injuries to key players, the much maligned sacking of assistant coach Ray Wilkins and a loss of player confidence and form have conspired to see the Blues boss under increasing pressure in recent weeks. The patchy League form was not matched by the Londoners results in the Champions League, as after last seasons’ second round exit to eventual winners Inter Milan, Chelsea started this seasons’ competition promisingly, topping their group with five wins in six games.

So who knows what 2011 will bring? On current form, Ancelotti’s men face an uphill task to hold onto their crown as Premier League champions, though despite the difficult recent run, Chelsea are just four points off the pace with 19 games remaining. But with the Champions League trophy to be fought for in the capital as Wembley Stadium hosts the final, Blues fans will crave the biggest missing piece of silverware from their trophy cabinet this year more than any. After years of near misses in Europe’s premier competition, could the dream scenario become reality for Chelsea next May? Only time will tell.

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