Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Amazing Blue Revival: A Season to Remember

Even as John Terry and his men go through the motions prior to their biggest match in 3 years, the very fact that they are contesting this tie must be scarcely believable to those who have followed the exploits of The Blues this season.
Chelsea's season appeared finished after defeats at Napoli and West Brom

The run of 15 games in 7 weeks following the 1-0 defeat at West Brom and Andre Villas-Boas' sacking was supposed to have sapped an already low-on-morale Chelsea side of fuel and fight. Indeed, it would’ve been little surprise had Chelsea made early exits from the FA Cup and Champions League, and finished a good distance from a Champions League qualification place. Instead, they are in the FA Cup Final at the back of a 5-1 semifinal win, and take a 1-0 lead to the Nou Camp. They are not far off 4th place in the league either.

The humble Italian has been key to Chelsea doing a Lazarus

Much of this would not have been possible without the work of Roberto di Matteo. Brought in to steady the ship, the Chelsea legend has gone on to do far more than that. His squad rotation policy and tactics have been spot on, and he has got Chelsea winning. Much as Andre Villas-Boas tried to change the system to make Chelsea aesthetically pleasing, his attempts to ape Barcelona with endless passing and the high back line went horribly wrong at both ends of the pitch, and nearly ended Chelsea’s season by February. di Matteo recognised that physical, efficient play is what makes Chelsea click and suits the squad's strengths, and re-introducing that philosophy has rekindled Chelsea’s season beyond all expectations. Surely he has made a good case for taking the job on a permanent basis.

Players like Meireles came to fore following the Napoli debacle

Players like Kalou and Lampard who were sidelined in the earlier regime have come to the fore and performed under the Italian. Underwhelming performers like Meireles and Torres picked up. The performances from the seniors have been particularly noteworthy and crucial to this revival. After a largely forgettable first half of the season, Cech has racked up the clean sheets, defenders have fallen in Drogba’s wake, strikers have fallen in Terry’s wake and records have continued to crash at Lampard’s feet.

Chelsea's old guard can never be written off

It culminated in a sensational April for Chelsea, where a run of fixtures that had consecutive matches against Spurs, Barcelona and Arsenal saw Chelsea score 6 and concede 1, and also saw them make up ground on 4th place in the league. Chelsea are unbeaten for over a month, and have lost just once under Chelsea's Italian legend. They head into a Champions League tie with a desperate Barcelona who have suffered back to back defeats, and an FA Cup Final with Liverpool who can't buy a point in the league.

Now I'm not saying that Chelsea will win a double. There are no guarantees about fourth place, or the results of the matches against Liverpool and Barcelona (and if they’re beaten, the Champions League finalists). Chelsea may yet end the season empty-handed and out of the top four. But the Blue Phoenix have risen from their ashes and given themselves a fighting chance of making this a season to remember, if it isn’t already so.

1 comment:

  1. this is a good article...keep up the good work :)


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