It has been a long, long season for Chelsea Football Club and things seemed much different for them two months ago, when they lacked that cutting edge.
Now, in April, they are flying high, having gone through to the final of the FA Cup and semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. Here I look back at some of the factors and events that, in my opinion, have helped revive the Blues.
The first factor, and perhaps most important one, was that of the sacking of Phil Scolari. Though I feel he was unlucky as the Chelsea board lost patience with him too quickly, he wasn't the right man for us as he had no experience as a club manager in Europe.
This led to arrival of Guus Hiddink, who immediately produced results, leading the Blues to an eight match unbeaten run of which seven were wins. His only loss as Chelsea manager is the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Not only in cup competitions, but also in the Premiership, the Blues have put up some fine performances which means their quest for silverware remains intact.
The second factor is Didier Drogba's return to form under Hiddink. Drogba has now come out all guns blazing.
He has scored some crucial goals in the past two months, most recently in the FA Cup semifinal against Arsenal, his goal steering us to the final. He scored twice over the two legs against Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinals. His form is crucial as the season reaches its climax.
The third factor is the clicking of the midfield. Lampard, Ballack, and Essien are proving to be a dangerous trio. Lampard has been outstanding all season long and it is a shame that he hasn't been nominated for the PFA player of the year award.
Essien's return from injury proved to be a blessing for Chelsea as he has been in fine form. Ballack is also improving his form towards the end and linking up well with Drogba lately.
Yet another important factor is John Terry, who has been solid in defense and has been an inspirational skipper too. In the 4-4 draw against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, Terry was suspended and the back four looked shaky. He, thus, has an essential role in Blues' defense, which has been weak recently.
The last factor is one that hasn't played a role yet but eventually will, in my opinion. Both Rafa Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson are getting under each other’s skin and I can’t believe it’s doing either of them any good. If their war-of-words continues, then Chelsea can capitalise.
So, even the Premier League title race can go down to the wire. If this factor does play a role in the league, then it could be the most important factor in making this a season to remember for Chelsea fans.
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