CHELSEA F.C – Their manager was sacked in the middle of last season following a disappointing run of results. The squad was described as being too old to last the distance. Their 50-million pound star striker never really got going. They faced the ignominy of missing out on a Champions league berth. Yet, they managed to defy all odds and scripted a sensational Champions league victory- the only trophy missing in their cabinet since Abramovich’s takeover. Though Lady Luck played a part in their achievement, the Blues did defeat the mighty Barcelona in the semis and Bayern Munich on home turf in the final. Can we expect a similar story this season? Or was last season victory a fluke?
The Champions League victory not only brought the club millions of dollars in prize money but also secured automatic European qualification for the next season. After finishing sixth in the league, the only way for playing in Europe this season was an outright victory against Bayern in the UEFA final. And that is what the team exactly did in a game that went to extra-time and penalties. However, in football, life goes on and one cannot rest on past glories. A squad revamp is absolutely necessary to improve on their pathetic league performance last season. Roberto di Matteo, who has realised the importance of bringing in young and talented players, has had a busy time in the transfer window.
On the transfer front, Chelsea are perhaps the most active premier league club this time around. A host of players have departed the club and expensive replacements have arrived at London. Old warhorse Didier Drogba has left for China on a free transfer while Salomon Kalou joined French club Lille. Jose Bosingwa, Marko Mitrovic and Rhys Taylor are among other players who were released during the transfer window. Surely, “The highest EPL spenders of 2012-13″ award would go to Roman Abramovich’s team as he has already signed cheques worth 60 million pounds for buying players. German forward Marko Marin arrived from Werder Bremen for a reported fee of 6.5 million pounds while Eden Hazard cost the club a whopping 32 million pounds. Oscar, a 25 million pound signing from Internacional, would be expected to rejuvenate the ageing mid-field.
Chelsea’s form in the pre-season was erratic as they won only one of their five friendlies and salvaged a draw against Paris St. Germain but lost to MLS All Stars, AC Milan and Brighton and Hove Albion. However, their pre-season form is no indicator for what they have in store as teams are known to take their friendlies lightly. The Londoners play fellow title-contenders Manchester City in the F.A Community shield on August 12 before kick-starting their Premier league campaign. They are also involved in a UEFA Super Cup face-off with Europa League winners Atletico Madrid on August 31.
This season is going to be a tough ride not just for the Blues but for all the other top clubs. While the Manchester City squad finally looks settled, Manchester United have brought in reinforcements to their team. Arsenal have made some shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market and Tottenham Hotspurs, under their new boss Andre Villas-Boas, would be hoping for an improved run this year. And throw Chelsea into the pot, you have an exciting season to look forward to.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.