In Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in charge of Chelsea, he managed to create history, as the Blues became only the 7th English club to complete an historic double, of both league – their first title in four years and the retention of the FA Cup. Both of these triumphs made it the most successful season that the club has enjoyed in its 105 years of history. This season Ancelotti will be expecting more of the same from his players while also aiming to go further in Europe.
Since Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003 the club won no less than eight major trophies – the Premier League three times, the FA Cup three times and finally the league cup twice – thus making Chelsea the most successful English team in the last seven years. His main aim would have been to win the Champions League – in that time Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, and Guus Hiddink have all tried and failed. Bringing in Ancelotti and his wealth of experience, which he showed last season means that European success could well, be ahead.
As well as last season being the most successful in the clubs history, they also managed to become the first English top-flight side to score over 100 goals in a season since 1963 – 29 of them coming from their Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner Didier Drogba, who showed his true class last season, if not some selfishness in the clubs last game of the season when he knew he still had a very big chance of winning the Golden Boot.
In preparation for the new season ahead, Carlo Ancelotti has already been very busy on the transfer front. Juliano Belletti, Deco, Michael Ballack, Miroslav Stoch and Joe Cole have all since departed the club. The only name that will be joining up with the Chelsea first-team will be Yossi Benayoun who has come from Liverpool at a cost of £6million. The Blues have also signed 17 year old Tomas Kalas from Sigma Olomouc – who has been loaned straight back to his former club to gain more experience. Chelsea are also said to be linked with Fernando Torres, but at this time it is just pure speculation, as always.
Due to the new home-grown players’ rule, which limits the squad to 25 – Chelsea will likely only to be able to name a senior squad of 22 senior players because they only possess five home-grown players in John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Ross Turnbull and Michael Mancienne. Meaning that Carlo Ancelotti will be able to include promising youth who he has been bringing through and playing last season in Gaël Kakuta, Fabio Borini, Jeffrey Bruma and Patrick van Aanholt.
At stages last season Chelsea were empathic in victory, recording wins such as 7-1 against Aston Villa, 7-2 versus Sunderland and on the final day of the season an 8-1 thumping of Wigan all on home soil, but there was also a couple of occasions the Blues turned out to be ordinary and were duly beat, generally on the road and not at the fortress of Stamford Bridge. A 3-1 defeat to Wigan being a particular example of this, along with 2-1 defeats to Aston Villa and Tottenham respectively, however, that didn’t stop them finishing just one point ahead of Manchester United to win the league with 86 points.
In terms of prospect for the season ahead, the Blues once again look to be one of the strongest squads with little changing apart from the obvious departures, which they probably won’t miss – could well be another title to Stamford Bridge, but much like last season, they will be run right to the wire.