Monday, October 8, 2012

Chelsea reached the Cup Winners' Cup

Chelsea reached the Cup Winners' Cup final following a dramatic semi-final win against Vicenza. Having lost the away leg 1–0 and then conceded an away goal, Chelsea bounced back to win 3–1 on the night and go through, with Hughes again the catalyst. Sony VAIO VGN-FW290JTW Battery

They won their second Cup Winners' Cup title with a 1–0 victory against VfB Stuttgart at the Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm, with Zola scoring with his first touch having been on the pitch for just 17 seconds. Following that, Vialli led the club to a 1–0 win over European champions Real Madrid in the Super Cup at the Stade Louis II inMonaco. Sony VAIO VGN-FW355J/H Battery

During the 1998–99 Premiership campaign, Chelsea made their first sustained challenge for the title for years. Despite an opening day loss against Coventry City, the side were not beaten in the League again until January and topped the table at Christmas. Their title chances eventually disappeared after a home loss to West Ham United and consecutive draws against Middlesbrough, Sony VAIO VGN-FW373J/B Battery

Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday in April, which saw the Blues finish 3rd, four points behind winners Manchester United. A season which promised much ultimately ended trophyless, with Chelsea's defence of their Cup Winners' Cup title ending in a semi-final loss against RCD Mallorca while they were knocked out of both the other cups in the quarter-finals. Sony VAIO VGN-FW30B Battery

Third place in the league was nevertheless high enough for a first-ever appearance in the Champions League.44 years after being denied entry to the inaugural championship, Chelsea made their debut in Europe's premier competition in August 1999 and they put in a series of impressive performances en route to a quarter-final tie against FC Barcelona. Sony VAIO VGN-FW50B Battery

It included memorable draws at the San Siro and the Stadio Olimpico against AC Milan and SS Lazio respectively, as well as a thumping 5–0 win against Turkish side Galatasaray at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium. During the first leg of the quarter-final against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea took a 3–0 lead, Sony VAIO VGN-FW51B/W Battery

only to concede a late Luís Figo away goal. Trailing 2–1 during the second leg at theCamp Nou, the team were just seven minutes away from the semi-finals, but conceded a third and were eventually beaten 5–1 afterextra time, losing 6–4 on aggregate.

By now, Chelsea had a top-notch multi-national squad which included Zola, Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF Battery

Di Matteo, Poyet, Dutch goalkeeper Ed de Goey, and FrenchWorld Cup-winning trio Frank Leboeuf, Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps. Under Vialli, Chelsea would become the first side in English football to field a starting 11 composed entirely of foreign players, highlighting the increasing internationalization of the game. Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF/H Battery

The 1999–2000 season saw inconsistency return to Chelsea's league form as the side struggled to juggle Premier League and Champions League commitments, ultimately finishing a disappointing 5th. Vialli did lead the team to a second FA Cup win in four years that season – this time against Aston Villa, Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF Battery

with Di Matteo again scoring the winner – in the last final to be played at Wembley before its redevelopment. The Charity Shield was added in August with a 2–0 win against Manchester United, to make Vialli Chelsea's then most successful manager.

Vialli spent almost £26m on new players during the summer, Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF/H Battery

including high-scoring Dutchman Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and talented Icelandic striker Eiður Guðjohnsen, but was dismissed in September 2000 after winning just one of the opening five matches and, once again, with rumours circulating that the manager had fallen out with important players.[55] Sony VAIO VGN-FW52JB Battery

He was replaced by another Italian, Claudio Ranieri, who, in spite of his initial problems with the English language, guided them to another top six finish in his first season. Ranieri gradually re-built the side, reducing the average age of the squad by selling some older players, including Wise and Poyet, and replacing them with John Terry, William Gallas, Sony VAIO VGN-FW54FB Battery

Frank Lampard and Jesper Grønkjær.

Ranieri's second season saw some more progress, mainly in the cups, with Chelsea reaching the League Cup semi-finals and another FA Cup final, but was unable to prevent them from losing to double winners Arsenal in the latter. Sony VAIO VGN-FW70DB Battery

League form saw little improvement, though, and Chelsea again finished 6th. With rumours of the club's perilous financial state circulating, Ranieri was unable to sign any more players. As a result, expectations of Chelsea in the 2002–03 season were more limited. Chelsea nevertheless made an unexpected title challenge and, Sony VAIO VGN-FW71DB/W Battery

in perhaps one of the most significant matches in the club's history, defeated Liverpool 2–1 in the final game of the season to finish 4th and secure the final Champions League berth ahead of the Merseysiders.

With the club facing an apparent financial crisis,[56] Bates unexpectedly sold Chelsea F.C. in June 2003 for £60 million.[57] Sony VAIO VGN-FW72JGB Battery

In so doing, he reportedly recognised a personal profit of £17 million on the club he had bought for £1 in 1982 (his stake had been diluted to just below 30% over the years). The club's new owner was Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who also took on responsibility for the club's £80 million of debt, quickly paying most of it. Sony VAIO VGN-FW73JGB Battery

He then went on a £100 million spending spree before the start of the season and landed players like Claude Makélélé, Geremi, Hernan Crespo, Glen Johnson, Joe Coleand Damien Duff.

The spending saw a good return, with Chelsea finishing as Premiership runners-up (their best league finish for 49 years) Sony VAIO VGN-FW74FB Battery

and reaching the Champions League semi-finals after dramatically beating Arsenal in the quarter-finals. But Ranieri may have been sacked because of some bizarre tactical decisions in the semi-final loss against AS Monaco (for example, switching central midfielder Scott Parker to right-back and right-back Sony VAIO VGN-FW81HS Battery

Glen Johnson to centre-back to accommodate more attackers in the team) and for ending the season trophyless. Nevertheless, Ranieri was given a hero's send-off in his final match in charge. That match also gave Chelsea fans a glimpse of what could easily have been if not for Abramovich's takeover, as Chelsea handily beat Leeds United, Sony VAIO VGN-FW81NS Battery

who were relegated, managerless, virtually bankrupt and seemingly destined for oblivion. In Ranieri's place, Abramovich recruited José Mourinho (who had lifted two Portuguese league titles, a Portuguese Cup, a European Cup and a UEFA Cup with FC Porto) as the club's new manager. Sony VAIO VGN-FW81S Battery

Abramovich also brought legendary Dutch scout Piet de Visser, who scouted Ronaldo and Romario for PSV Eindhoven, and is considered one of the greatest scouts in history.

2004–05 was the most successful season in the history of Chelsea Football Club. Sony VAIO VGN-FW82DS Battery

After a slow start to the league season, scoring eight goals in their first nine games and trailing leaders Arsenal by five points, Chelsea's title campaign gradually picked up momentum, driven by the high-scoring Frank Lampard and the return from injury of talented young Dutch winger Arjen Robben. Sony VAIO VGN-FW82JS Battery

They topped the table after a win against Everton in November 2004 and never relinquished their lead, losing only one league game all season and winning a record 29, gaining a record 95 points in the process. A record-breaking defence, led by captain John Terry and his new partnership with Ricardo Carvalho, the versatile William Gallas, Sony VAIO VGN-FW82XS Battery

fullback Paulo Ferreira, midfield linchpin Claude Makéléléand goalkeeper Petr Čech, provided the backbone of the side, conceding just 15 goals all season and keeping 25 clean sheets while Čech went a Premier League-record 1025 minutes without conceding a goal. Sony VAIO VGN-FW83DS Battery

Chelsea eventually secured the title with a 2–0 away win atBolton Wanderers thanks to two goals from Lampard, almost fifty years to the day since they had won their last league title. Winning the league completed a domestic double for the club, since Chelsea had already won the League Cup in February after a thrilling 3–2 win over Liverpool in the final at the Millennium Stadium. Sony VAIO VGN-FW83JS Battery

In the Champions League, Chelsea coasted through the group stages, qualifying for the knockout phase with two games to spare, and were drawn against FC Barcelona, one of the strongest sides in Europe. In the first leg at the Nou Camp, Chelsea took a 1–0 lead but had Didier Drogba controversially sent-off in the second half with Chelsea still ahead, Sony VAIO VGN-FW83XS Battery

and the Catalans eventually won 2–1. Mourinho claimed that Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard had spoken to referee Anders Frisk at half-time – a claim later proved correct – and that the result had been "adulterated".[58] After receiving death threats from Chelsea fans, Frisk retired and Mourinho received a two-match touchline ban for bringing the game into disrepute. Sony VAIO VGN-FW90HS Battery

Chelsea won a pulsating return leg 4–2 at Stamford Bridge, with John Terry heading in a controversial winner to send them through. In the quarter-finals, a 4–2 home win over German champions Bayern Munich and a 3–2 loss in Germany were enough to ensure passage through to the semi-finals, where they faced Liverpool. Sony VAIO VGN-FW90NS Battery

Following a 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool went 1–0 up at Anfield thanks to Luis García and Chelsea were unable to break down a resilient defence, thus missing out on the chance of a treble.

A year later Chelsea retained their league title, setting more records in the process. Sony VAIO VGN-FW90S Battery

Winning their first nine games, the side emphatically set the pace in the Premier League – including a 4–1 win over Liverpool at Anfield – and at one stage were 18 points ahead of nearest rivals Manchester United. Following a late-season blip, and with United on a run of nine consecutive wins, Sony VAIO VGN-FW91NS Battery

the points gap was closed to seven points as Chelsea went into a key match with West Ham United. A goal down after ten minutes and a man down after 17 following Maniche's sending off, the side bounced back to win 4–1 and maintain the gap. The title was eventually secured with a 3–0 win over United at Stamford Bridge. Sony VAIO VGN-FW91S Battery

They became the first London club to win back-to-back league titles since the 1930s, and only the fifth side to do so since the Second World War. They also set the record for the most clean sheets (six) from the start of the season and equalled the best home record for a top division team since Newcastle United in1906–07 (18 wins and 1 draw from 19 games). Sony VAIO VGN-FW92DS Battery

In the cups, however, there was less success as they were knocked out of the Champions League by FC Barcelona and the FA Cup semi-final by Liverpool.

The 2006–07 season saw Chelsea relinquish the Premier League trophy to Manchester United after remaining second in the league for the majority of the season. Sony VAIO VGN-FW92JS Battery

The club were still in the running to achieve an unprecedented quadruple at the end of April, and played all but one of the maximum 63 possible games at the start of the season. They won the League Cup by beating Arsenal 2–1 in the last ever English cup final at the Millennium Stadium, and beat United 1–0 in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley Stadium; Sony VAIO VGN-FW93DS Battery

Chelsea were also the last team to win it at the old Wembley. They reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, only to be knocked out again by Liverpool, this time in a penalty shoot-out.

On 20 September 2007, Mourinho left Chelsea by "mutual consent"[60] Sony VAIO VGN-FW93JS Battery

following an indifferent start to the season and after several months of well-documented friction between Mourinho and Abramovich.[61] Shortly afterwards Israeli Avram Grant, who had been appointed Chelsea's director of football on 8 July 2007,[62]was announced as Mourinho's successor.[63] Sony VAIO VGN-FW93XS Battery

Despite the managerial upheaval and a high level of player absence (in all, members of the team were unavailable for selection 286 times in the 62 fixtures),[64]Chelsea were on course to win three different competitions, a feat previously achieved by only two other English clubs, Liverpool in 1983–84 and Manchester United in 1998–99, Sony VAIO VGN-FW94FS Battery

but ultimately finished as runners-up in all three. Chelsea reached their third League Cup final in four years, but suffered a surprise 2–1 defeat to mid-table Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Chelsea emerged as United's closest rivals in the title race; a 2–1 victory over United at Stamford Bridge in April left the teams level on points with four games remaining.[65] Sony VAIO VGN-FW94GS Battery

The teams were still level on points going into the final game of the season, although United's superior goal difference meant Chelsea had to better their result; in the event, Chelsea drew 1–1 with Bolton Wanderers and United beat Wigan Athleticto take the title. Sony VAIO VGN-FW94HS Battery

Grant also led Chelsea to their fourth Champions League semi-final in five years, and they were again drawn to face Liverpool, although this time it was Chelsea who prevailed, winning 4–3 on aggregate to reach the final for the first time in their history. Their opponents in the final were Manchester United, making it the first all-English final in the competition's history.[66] Sony VAIO VGN-NS10E/S Battery

In an even game, Lampard's first-half strike cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo's opener, and the teams remained at 1–1 for the rest of the match, taking the final to a penalty shootout, where John Terry and Nicolas Anelka's misses from the spot gave United victory. Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery

After the conclusion of the 2007–08 season, Chelsea became the highest ranked club under UEFA's five-year coefficientsystem used in the seeding of European club competitions in the following season, a sign of the consistency of the club's performance over the first five years of Roman Abramovich's ownership.[67] Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery

Grant was sacked as Chelsea manager three days later.[68] Grant's replacement was Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had guided Brazil to victory at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and Portugal to runners-up at Euro 2004.[69] However, despite a bright start which saw Chelsea top the league table early in the season, Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery

Scolari was sacked on 9 February 2009 due to "results and performances of the team... deteriorating at a key time in the season", and with the club lying 4th in the Premier League.[70] Russia coach Guus Hiddink was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season. Under Hiddink, performances and results improved; Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery

Chelsea lost just one more game all season, eventually finishing 3rd in the league and reaching the FA Cup final.

In the Champions League, a 7–5 aggregate win over Liverpool in the quarter-finals, including an epic 4–4 draw at Stamford Bridge, took Chelsea to another semi-final, against FC Barcelona. Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/W Battery

After drawing 0–0 in the first leg at the Nou Camp, Chelsea took an early lead in the second through Essien, but in a controversial game, in which Chelsea squandered numerous chances and had several penalty appeals turned down, a stoppage time equaliser from Andrés Iniesta sent Barcelona through on away goals. Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery

In the immediate aftermath, Drogba caused more controversy after swearing at referee Tom Henning Øvrebø.[71] In consolation, goals from Drogba and Lampard gave Chelsea a 2–1 victory over Everton in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on 30 May, the club's second FA Cup triumph in three years.[72] Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

Former A.C. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was confirmed as Hiddink's successor on 1 June 2009.[73] He started his career by winning the World Football Challenge in the USA. In Ancelotti's first competitive match Chelsea met Manchester United in the Community Shield. Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/L Battery

The game ended in a 2–2 draw, with Chelsea winning 4–1 on penalties to take the trophy, the club's first victory in a shoot-out since beating Ipswich Town in the League Cup in January 1998.[74]

On 3 September 2009, in a rare but not unprecedented punishment, Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/S Battery

Chelsea were banned from registering any new players for the next two transfer windows, in January and Summer 2010, after FIFA's dispute resolution chamber (DRC) ruled that French winger Gaël Kakuta had breached his contract with French club RC Lens when he joined Chelsea in 2007, and that Chelsea had induced him to do so.[75] Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/W Battery

The club were subsequently cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the transfer ban was lifted.[76]

At the end of a season where Chelsea exchanged places at the top of the table with Manchester United several times, and were briefly leapfrogged by Arsenal, Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/L Battery

they sealed their third Premier League title in six seasons with an emphatic 8–0 home win over Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season. The win also took Chelsea's league goal tally for the season to 103, the highest since Tottenham Hotspur scored 111 in the 1962–63 season, Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/S Battery

and the first time in Premier League history that a club had scored 100 or more goals in a season.[77] A week later, Chelsea completed the first "league title and FA Cup double" in their history by beating Portsmouth 1–0 in the FA Cup final, thanks to a Didier Drogba free kick, his seventh goal in six cup finals for Chelsea.[78] Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/W Battery

Chelsea began the 2010–11 season with a loss to Manchester United in the Community Shield. Chelsea's Premier League season started well with wins in their opening 6 league games, two by a 6–0 scoreline, although a dip in form saw them fighting to stay in the top 4. On 31 January, Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/L Battery

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