Jump to content

A. Chelsea History (2006-2009)


Recommended Posts

Chelsea History (2006-2009)

Written by Sals in November 2009


2007/08 SEASON

Belletti.gif The best way to sum up this season is a story of what could have been. We ended up for the first time in a long time empty handed but it could have all been so different. The transfer season big story for us was our pursuit of Dani Alves as we attempted to prise him away from Sevilla. This eventually fell through and we instead welcomed Juliano Belletti to the Bridge. Other transfers included the arrival of a young English talent in Steve Sidwell from Reading and highly rated French winger Florent Malouda from Lyon. It was also the first time that Alex was eligible to play for us so we recalled him from his loan spell at PSV. Jose Mourinho was having to bargain hunt at the time as Roman was becoming more prudent with his money and we also bought in Tal Ben Haim and Claudio Pizzaro for free.

Our season got off to a shaky start, we had an average pre season in which we scraped a couple of victories before losing to the Mancs on a penalty shoot out in the Community Shield. Our first Premiership match was against Birmingham. This was supposed to be the start to a victorious season in which Jose led us to glory once more regaining the title that Fergie had managed to take from us the previous year. However a 3-2 victory against a newly promoted team was not the result we were after. It was 3 points but it did nothing to relieve the increasing amount of pressure on the special one. Reports continued to come out about Roman and Jose falling out with each other. Roman craved success and style, Jose could only bring one of those components so when a season without one of the two big trophies came around there was always the chance that Roman would opt for a new manager.

Avram.gif Poor results carried on and after a 2-0 loss to Villa and a goalless draw with Rosenborg it was finally the end on Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea career. It was without a doubt the most successful period in the club's history and to be honest I was devastated to hear the news. I had played the scenario out in my head in the weeks coming up to it as speculation had been increasing in the media and I had hoped, should this situation eventuate, that we would be after one of Europe’s elite managers such as Capello, Ancelotti or Rijkaard. Hearing that our new manager for the season was going to be none other than Avram Grant left me quite distraught.

Poor Avram had been left with a mammoth job, not only were we trailing in the league (granted it was early days and as far as I can recall only about 5 points off the top) his first match in charge was against Man united at Old Trafford, he had a squad full of players dedicated to Jose and he had the media slagging him off every opportunity they got. However after the expected loss to Man U he put his head down and got to work and results soon followed. The most impressive of these early results being an emphatic 6-0 victory over a Man City side who under Sven Goran Erikson’s guidance had turned into a decent side.

When January came around we had to strengthen our side with the African Cup of Nations approaching. We made three transfers in this window and they were all extremely smart purchases. The only one of these to play a part in the season was Nico Anelka, He was seen as the ideal man by Grant to fill Drogba’s rather large boots for this period and he has turned into a player of so much more importance to us since then. Our other two signings were Franco Di Santo a very hot prospect and Branislav Ivanovic a highly rated defender from the Russian league.

DrogbaLampardArsenal.gif As far as the title race was going we were quickly making up ground on the two frontrunners Arsenal and United. Arsenal had set the pace early on in the season and it finally looked like Wenger’s young guns might finally get their hands on the title. This all came crashing down around them though when they drew with Birmingham 2-2 at St Andrews. A match that left a certain William Gallas crying on the field at the end of it. From this point onwards results stopped coming. From a huge deficit of points behind them we finally overtook them after an epic 2-1 victory at the Bridge. Sagna had put them 1-0 up midway through the second half but up stepped Didier Drogba to fire home two goals and give us the victory and second place.

Manchester United were also dropping points and with three games to go they turned up at Stamford Bridge only 3points above us. The unfortunate thing was that they had a huge advantage with their goal differential so if we wanted any chance in winning the league we had to make sure we won this match and then hope that either West Ham or Wigan would do us a huge favour. We did manage to get the victory in this match. A Ballack inspired team won 2-1 and that was without Frank Lampard whose mother Pat Lampard had tragically passed away. We went 1-0 up at the end of the first half before Ricardo Carvahlo made an uncharacteristic mistake and gave Rooney the chance to equalise which he did. With time almost up though we won a penalty and Ballack obligingly dispatched it to put us equal at the top.

United made no mistakes in their final two games and went on to lift the trophy. In our final game of the season Bolton managed a last minute equaliser which meant that we finished two points below the Mancs and in all honesty that really flattered them, we had a superb end to the season and there are so many ‘what ifs’ such as Heskeys late minute equaliser against Wigan and Tevez’s late minute equaliser when the Mancs were trailing late on to Blackburn. There was no doubting that the lads had done themselves very proud and it was the 5th consecutive season we had finished in the top 2.

Onto the Champions League, we managed to qualify from our group in first place ahead of Schalke04, Rosenborg and lastly Valencia. We got a very good draw against Olympiakos, our first leg was at their home ground where we made it out with a goalless draw before we dismantled them 3-0 at the Bridge. In the next stage we were drawn against Fenerbahce, another favourable match for us. Once more we were playing away first and things were looking good for us when we went up 1-0 early on through an own goal. However we did not play well and ended up losing the match 2-1 with their winner by Deivid (also the player who scored the own goal) an absolute corker. In the home leg Michael Ballack was kind enough to score early on to take some of the pressure away from us and Lamps finished things off late on.

Risse.gif Our draw for the semi final was going to be an all British affair against either Liverpool or Arsenal and in a very exciting finish to their quarter we were going to be once more facing Liverpool in the semi finals. After the devastation of a penalty shoot out loss the previous year against them and the injustice of the phantom goal back in the 04/05 season we were more than ready to get revenge. They had been very lucky to beat Arsenal and had perhaps gotten through undeservedly. For the first leg we went to Anfield and much to my amazement (and embarrassment) somehow Dirk Kuyt managed to score against us. It looked like that was going to give them a slender advantage heading into the leg at the Bridge until deep into injury time John Arne-Riise decided to do us a huge favour. He met Kalou’s cross beautifully and clinically dispatched his header into his own net past Reina. So we left Merseyside with a 1-1 draw and that ever so important away goal.

The match at the Bridge is my fondest memory of the season. Drogba fired us into the lead before Torres managed to equalise midway through the second half. This meant that once more we would be heading into extra time with the dippers. We had a goal ruled out (which was far more legitimate than Luis Garcia’s one) but we did not let our heads drop and almost immediately we got a penalty. Lampard who had been excellent throughout the match, which was very impressive considering this was only a couple of days since the death of his mother, stood up to take the penalty and as always he scored it. Anelka then set up Drogba for a 3-1 lead. Ryan Babel gave the match an exciting finish with a lucky long range strike but it wasn’t enough to stop Chelsea progressing to our first Champions League Final.

Essien-1.gif Our first Champions Final was against none other than Manchester United. Just days earlier they had pipped us to the Premier League so this was the time to get our revenge. The final was in Moscow and was the perfect place to win it for our owner Roman Abramovich who has done so much for our club. They took the advantage early on when Ronaldo got his greasy head on the end of a Wes Brown cross. Lamps then capitalised on a mix up in the United defence to tie things up on the stroke of half time. In the second half we were by far the better team as we dominated them but just could not find the net which meant that it moved on to extra time. This was an incredibly tense 30 minutes in which we hit the woodwork on two occasions and Ryan Giggs had forced John Terry into a superb goal line clearance. In the tension of the occasion an argument broke out between some of the players and Drogba lost his cool and slapped Vidic resulting in a red card, it was of little influence to the remaining four minutes of the match but meant we lost one of our key penalty takers.

Ballack, Belletti, Lamps and Ashley Cole all scored their penalties and Ronaldo had missed his which meant that when JT was walking to the spot it was to win the trophy we so desperately wanted. I could have thought of no one more fitting to have had the honour as he was the rock in our defence and the heart of our club in all its successes. He had played an outstanding game all day and it is a moment that hurts just to recall it. Initially when I saw Van Der Sar had gone the wrong way I thought we had finally done it, I was on my feet in ecstasy before I realised what had just happened. JT had slipped on the awful Moscow pitch and hit the woodwork. Literally centimetres from the glory that he had worked tirelessly for. His tears in that moment show his passion for the club and I truly felt his pain. The match was not yet over though, both Anderson, Kalou and Giggs scored their spot kicks meaning that it was on Anelka to keep the shoot out going. He had been truly thrown into the deep end. On as a substitute in the 99th minute at a club he was still new at, poor Nico had his penalty saved and once more we lost out on Europe’s top prize.

How to conclude a season in which we got so close to so much glory but ended up with nothing? It was not enough for poor Avram Grant to keep his job. I have nothing but gratitude for him and his time at the club. Everything was against him when he took over but he managed some fantastic results and was only a couple of centimetres from delivering the Champions League first time of asking. From the point in which he took over in the title race he also won more points than any other team in the league. Joe Cole won player of the year after an exceptional season and Ricardo Carvahlo won fan's player of the season. Belletti won goal of the season for his great strike against Spurs and he could have easily won it for another cracker he scored against Wigan. Lamps also got his 100th goal for the club and long may his goals keep coming.

It truly was a heartbreaking end to the season but the team have every right to be proud of what they accomplished, taking the title race down to the wire against all the odds and the heroics they so nearly performed in Moscow.

We also got to the final of the League Cup. We lost. To Tottenham. Let us never speak of this again.

2008/09 SEASON

Bosingwa1.gif After a hectic summer, in which we were linked with just about every player under the sun our 2008/09 campaign was ready to go. The summer had seen the arrival of Luis Felipe Scolari and the former world cup winning manager looked like he was going to bring the style that Lord Roman so badly craves along with silverware. Things were looking good and pre-season did nothing to stop our optimism as we had fantastic results such as a 5-0 thumping of Milan. On the transfer front we missed out on our ‘marquee’ signing of Robinho who on the final day of the window went to Man City but we did bring in Deco, Jose Bosingwa and the even more exciting signing of Miniero (who?).

The season was really a story of two managers and two strikers. Anelka being in superb form for the first half of the season that resulted in him winning the golden boot for the first time in his career and Drogba being in scintillating form at the end of the season.

The Premier League kicked off in emphatic fashion as we put the FA cup holders Pompey to the sword 4-0. It was exciting stuff with our overlapping fullbacks and our slick passing it looked like goals were going to come at any moment. Deco was looking like he was going to be that spark of creativity in the midfield that would complete our formidable squad. At this stage of the season with the exception of a few blips (drawing with spuds at the bridge, man u etc) the results were coming quick and fast.

HiddinkandDrogba.gif It was us and Liverpool at the top of the table with eventual champions Manchester United off to a very slow start.

The turning point at the start of the season was our loss to Liverpool, it ended our record breaking undefeated streak at Fortress Stamford. A lucky Alonso shot deflected off Bosingwa leaving Petr stranded. However we were unable to launch attacks during the match and it was quite clear that once our plan A was nullified Scolari had no Plan B. Other teams started to realise this and we started to drop points on a regular basis. This included in the Champions League where we only just managed to get out of the group in 2nd place on the final day.

Results carried on averagely as we continued to fall off the pace of the leaders, this came to a horrifying climax on January 11th as we crashed 3-0 to Manchester United in one of the worse displays I have seen by a Chelsea team. The final straw for Scolari’s ill-fated reign at the helm of the Blues was a weak 0-0 draw against Hull City. Scolari was sacked and in came the saviour of our season. Roman used his connections with the Russian FA to get Guus Hiddink to take on the post of interim manager.

From this point we were a totally different team. We only dropped points twice more in the league and that was an away draw to Everton and an unfortunate 1-0 loss to spuds. Some of the more notable victories in that period was an away win at Villa, and a very impressive 4-1 win at the Emirates.

AlexLiverpool.gif However, as impressive as our Premiership run in was, it was our cup fixtures that defined Hiddink’s reign in charge.

Our Champions League knockout adventure begun against Juventus at the Bridge. The return of Michael Essien proved the difference as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory and in a frantic finish we drew 2-2 away to secure passage through to the quarter final and a date with Liverpool.

Liverpool were on a very impressive run of their own, they had dispatched Real Madrid 5-0 in their first knockout round and were getting good results in the premiership. That didn’t phase the lads though and we went to Anfield in the first leg and beat them 3-1. Guus completely outclassed Benitez tactically and we put ourselves in pole position for the home leg.

The second leg has to go down as our game of the season. A 4-4 draw in which the momentum swung back and forth throughout. We came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with Alex’s thunderbolt the pick of the bunch. We then had a lapse in concentration in which we conceded two quick goals and were only one goal away from getting knocked out. Liverpool were putting a lot of pressure on our goal but we caught them on the counter and the fantastic Frank Lampard got his second of the match to settle it. We had now earned a semi final clash against Barcelona. For the first leg we headed to the Camp Nou and put on a defensive master class to take away a 0-0 draw

Essien1.gif This leads onto the moment of the season that has been ingrained into my memory like no other. For the second year in a row we got knocked out of the Champions League in heartbreak fashion. This however was one of the most unjust moments in European football history. We took an early 1-0 lead through Michael Essien, this fantastic strike earning him another Chelsea goal of the season as he charged in with his weaker left foot from outside the box and scored an absolutely stunning volley past Victor Valdes. The controversy started after this, first Malouda was taken down inside the box only for the ‘referee’ to award a free kick just outside the box.

Other similar incidents involved Drogba getting dragged down in the box not once but twice and Gerard Pique handballing in the box. These were in plain sight of the ref who was not punished for his awful performance. All of this was made so much worse by the fact that deep into injury time Iniesta was laid the ball on the edge of the box and finally broke through the brick wall that had been our defence in their first shot on target in the match. The man’s name who was responsible for this was Tom Henning Ovrebo and he was an absolute disgrace during that match. In the aftermath Drogba said to the world what we were all thinking and whilst I don’t condone his actions there he should not have been punished when Ovrebo was not.

That left the FA Cup as our last chance to give Guus Hiddink the farewell that he so badly deserved. In the semi against Arsenal we came back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1 with Malouda and Drogba on the scoresheet. The final, much to our surprise was against Everton who had defeated Man United on penalties in their tie. Everton had been a tricky fixture for us this season with two scoreless draws in the league and David Moyes has done very well to get such a talented squad on such a small budget.

FACup2009.gif The match did not start well when Louis Saha got the quickest FA cup final goal in the history of the tournament. After this we began to dominate and our efforts were rewarded with a Didier Drogba header. He was in exceptional form through the second half of the season and showed once more what a big game player he is with yet another goal in a cup final.

The victory was sealed by a rocket from super super Frank Lampard from well outside the box on his weaker left foot. This was his 20th goal of the season - the fourth consecutive season that he had managed that feat. Truly one of the world’s greatest midfielders. Flourent Malouda did his best to make the game safe before the end with what would have been one of the greatest FA Cup Final goals of all time however it was not given as the officials judged it not to have crossed the line, although replays showed that it had.

The match and the trophy was ours once more nonetheless and whilst it was not the trophy we deserved it was a fitting end to the season and a fitting end to Guus’s short and impeccable reign in charge.

Frank Lampard was named Chelsea player of the season once more after a fantastic year. Like a fine wine he continues to get better with age and deserved more personal accolades for his stunning season. Nico Anelka top scored hitting 19 goals in the league and earning the Golden Boot and 25 goals in all competitions. He has turned once more into the world class player he used to be in his youth.

Ashley Cole won fan's player of the season after a great campaign where he really stood up. Other notable performers included Didier Drogba in the second half of the season, John Terry who was our inspiration as always and Alex who became an integral member of our team. Other positives was the signing of Jose Bosingwa and the emergence of Branislav Ivanovic. It truly was a season of two tales and in the second half of the season our squad showed what we truly are capable of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...
Please Sign In or Sign Up

Well, this is awkward!

Happy Sunny Days GIF by Atlassian

The Shed End Forum relies on revenue to pay for hosting and upgrades. While we try to keep adverts as unobtrusive as possible, we need to show these to make sure we can stay online and continue to keep the forum running. Over the years costs have become very high.

Could you please allow adverts on this domain by switching it off and whitelisting the website? Some of the advert banners can actually be closed to avoid interference with your experience on The Shed End.

If you don't want to view any adverts while logged in and using your account, consider using the Ad-Free Subscription which is renewable every year. To buy a subscription, log in to your account and click the link under the Newbies forum on the home page.

Cheers now!

Sure, let me in!