Chelsea FC Season Review 2008-09: Entertainment, Frustration, Heartbreak, and Pride
Chelsea's rather disappointing season ended on a good note with a win in the FA Cup final.
Beating Everton provided interim manager Guus Hiddink with the perfect send off.
It all started with the arrival of Big Phil Scolari and with that followed a roller-coaster season filled with emotion, pain, entertainment, frustration, heartbreak, and pride.
The arrival of Hiddink saw a special relationship between manager, players and fans blossom. He was truly the man Chelsea fans had been waiting for. Only it's a shame, he arrived as a "temporary coach" and would soon leave again.
Here's Chelsea's season captured in motion..
Big Phil arrives with a bang!
Big Phil enjoyed the perfect start to his Stamford Bridge adventure as Chelsea swept to an impressive 4-0 victory over Portsmouth.
An impressive demolition of the FA Cup holders proved this team were up for the challenge. Or so it would seem!
Deco marked his debut with a well taken goal and Chelsea fans hoped it was the start of something beautiful. It's funny how wrong people can be, isn't it?
Chelsea show Robinho he made the wrong choice!
Robinho's debut goal proved in vain, as Ricardo Carvalho, Frank Lampard, and Nicolas Anelka struck to earn Chelsea a 3-1 win at Manchester City.
A vibrant debut from Robinho and he stunned Chelsea, with a 13th minute opener. He celebrated with kissing his badge...
Three well-worked goals, especially from Lampard, killed off City's pretty football and Robinho ultimately walked down the tunnel at the final whistle with a depressed look on his face.
The win took Chelsea back to the top of the league.
Middlesbrough 0-5 Chelsea: Was this our season?
Chelsea made their intentions pretty clear with a 5-0 hammering at the Riverside.
Kalou (2), Lampard, and Malouda all got on the scoresheet but the match will surely be remembered for Belletti scorcher.
It was a scintillating burtst of attacking play, that brought our biggest ever win at the Riverside.
Chelsea had made a sensational start to the season and life under Big Phil was sweet!
Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: The end of a long road...
Chelsea's 86 match unbeaten run ended by a effective Liverpool side.
Xabi Alsono's deflected shot, off Jose Bosingwa, was enough to the Merseysiders the 1-0 victory and send Rafa's men top of the league.
Big Phil's first defeat as the manager of Chelsea. It had come at home and it took Big Phil just 10 games to manage something that was expertly avoided by the previous two managers over a period of four seasons.
This defeat spelled the beginning of a disastrous couple of months and one that would ultimately result in drastic changes.
For now though, things weren't so bad. Second in the league, vastly superiour goal difference to everybody else and maximum points in the Champions League.
Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal: So much for the fortress eh?
Van Persie struck twice in three minutes to condemn Chelsea to their second home defeat of the season.
The debate about Van Persie's first goal is still raving on. He looked to have been offside but play was allowed to go on and he equalised in emphatic fashion.
Untill then, the majority of the chances were falling Chelsea's way and another dominant performance went unrewarded as Arsenal stole the points.
Surely people must have thought the wheels were coming off at this point.
Chelsea looked wobbly at home, couldn't keep a clean sheet and Big Phil's flaws were starting to appear on a regular basis.
Still though, our almost perfect away record was still something to shout about and Chelsea players and fans soldiered on. despite problems at the hierarchy.
Manchester United 3-0 Chelsea: The dark days of the winter.
Eight days after Chelsea's embarrasing 1-1 draw at home to Sothend, United totally took Chelsea apart.
Chelsea were chewed up, spit out and stepped on by a vibrant United side.
Despite the fact that Chelsea's line-up included Lampard, Terry, Ballack, Drogba, Cech, and A.Cole, United simply toyed with Chelsed and scored the goals at will.
It was all doom and gloom for the crisis-club and something had to be done quickly before things get out of control—not that things were under control anyway!
Opposition fans were now singing "sacked in the morning" chants at Big Phil while Chelsea fans were screaming the usual "you dont know what your doing" chants.
Big Phil had problems and big problems...
Chelsea 2-1 Stoke City: Lampard's last gasp winner and Big Phil lives to breathe another day..
This match ran the supporters through every emotion possible.
First expectation with a first half that Chelsea dominated with Stoke not in the game, then frustration set in, will that damn ball ever go in? Just a matter of time!
Then on 60 mins absolute shock horror as Stoke go 1-0 up. Then panic sets in with "yet another game totally dominated only to drop points".
Ten minutes to go and so called fans start leaving in there droves and as they walk to Fulham Broadway Station are muttering 'Big Phil must go" 'to themselves.
The excitement gets higher in the games last few minutes and the ball continues to bounce around the Stoke penalty area but the bloody thing still refuses to go in.
Your now on the edge of your seats screaming, looking at your watch and then GOAL!! Chelsea have leveled and those people who left know they've just missed the equalizer.
The game continues with Chelsea continuing to pound the Stoke defence and then it fell to the one person who you would want it to fall to on the edge of the area.
Sir Lampard! He hammers the ball and its in!! 2-1 Chelsea!!
Now the experience is relief, an outpouring of emotion and excitement. The players mob Scolari
Big Phil Scolari sacked..!!
Chelsea sacked manager Big Phil Scolari after just seven months in the job.
After a sizzling start to his rein at Chelsea, where the team were banging in goals for fun and 4-0 scorelines became a weekly event, things just sizzled out and everything began working against Big Phil.
Big Phil's departure facilitated the arrival of Guus Hiddink on a temporary basis. Abramovic used his Russian connections to great effect as he conviced Hiddink - Coach of Russian national team - to manage Chelsea till the end of the season.
Could Hiddink rescue a sinking boat - that is Chelsea?
The crisis-club was in need of a saviour.. Was Hiddink the man?
Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea: Anelka gives Hiddink a perfect start.
Guus Hiddink, just as Big Phil, got off to a flying start to his Chelsea rein.
The side Hiddink had selected for the first time showed no radical changes but it did include Drogba and Anelka, plus Kalou. They lined up in a three-man attack, Anelka on the left, Kalou the right-sider.
It was a less-than-spectacular performance and Anelka gave Chelsea a hard-fought 1-0.
Chelsea 1-0 Juventus: Drogba is Back!!
Hiddink's next challenge was Italian giants Juventus in Chelsea's ever-fading Champions League hopes.
Drogba's first half strike was enough to take a 1-0 win over to Turino.
Hiddink had successfully seen off the first two matches with 1-0 wins.
Chelsea saw off Portsmouth in an away league match and Coventry in an away FA Cup quarterfinal tie before disposing of Juventus in the return leg by getting an impressive 2-2 draw in Turino.
Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea: Title hopes evaporate...
Luka Modric and Tottenham brought high flying Chelsea back down to earth with a 1-0 defeat.
Hiddink had enjoyed a fine start to his rein at Chelsea with 5 wins and a draw up until this day. An impressively organised Tottenham side ran out deserved winners. Chelsea's big names just failed to get going...
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea: Stunning Chelsea silence Anfield...
What a way to end a seven-game run without an away win in Europe!
Ivanovic's first two goals for Chelsea and yet another Drogba strike against put Chelsea firmly in the driving seat.
Torres gave Liverpool a deserved 1-0 lead early in the game and after that, Chelsea took over. While Gerrard was being kept quiet by Essien, Lampard & Drogba ran totally riot.
Chelsea had one foot in the semi final...
Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool: A semi final date with Barcelona is confirmed...
An outstanding night of football. Chelsea were on the verge of suffering the biggest embarrassment a club could face.
Liverpool needed to score 3 goals to cancel out the 3 goals Chelsea scored at Anfield. At half time, the scoreboard read Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool..
Hiddink must have given his side a kick up the backside because they came out a totally different side and turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead in no time.
Liverpool though, continued to defy the odds as they scored 2 more goals to put them 4-3 ahead and only needing 1 more goal to advance to the semi finals.
With their backs against the wall, Chelsea needed someone to step up and be counted...
Stand up Sir Frank Lampard...
He scored his second of the night to finally kill off Liverpool's incredible resistance.
Liverpool went home with their heads held up high, while Chelsea fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Barcelona were up next..!!
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea: Drogba punishes Arsenal yet again!
Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup final after coming from behind to dispose of Arsenal.
Goals from Malouda and Drogba, who took his personal tally against the Gunners to 8, cancelled out Walcott's early opener.
After a slow start to the game, Chelsea stamped their authority on the match and, albeit defensive errors, put Arsenal to the sword.
Our opponents in the final was confirmed to be Everton, who needed penalty shoot-outs to dispose of Manchester United the following day.
God Bless Guus Hiddink....
Since Hiddink took charge, he had lost 1 match in 13 games up until the FA Cup semi final, including winning his first 5 matches in charge.
The sole defeat came in a surprisingly poor performance against Tottenham.
In the 13 matches, Chelsea lost once, drawn twice and won 10.
That's incredible when you look at the shambles Big Phil left us in. A side that were fading and were headed for a likely 5th placed finish, with Aston Villa going so strong at the time and Arsenal coming into some form of their own.
A complete turn around and Chelsea found themselves in Champions League semi final and the FA Cup final.
All that has to be credited to Hiddink. Regardless of the outcome in those upcoming crunch matches, Hiddink had done a mighty fine job as a temporary coach...
Take a bow sir....
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: Iniesta leaves Chelsea broken hearted...
An away goal two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game knocked Chelsea off the road to Rome on a night of many regrets.
After a 0-0 draw in Barcelona, Chelsea knew a Barcelona goal would all but end their hopes of reaching a second successive European final.
The night started out brilliantly when Essien smashed in the Chelsea goal of the season after just 9 minutes.
Barcelona did not seem shaken and they simply continued to play their famed one-two's and had Chelsea chasing shadows.
Iniesta & Xavi were at the heart of everything and Barcelona had the majority of the possession.
The majority of the chances, however, were falling to Chelsea and in particular Drogba but, as he did in Barcelona, he kept missing them.
Chelsea's failure to take their chances, surely meant they were setting themselves up for heartbreak.
So it came as no surprise, when Andres Iniesta put a dagger through the Chelsea hearts with a 94th minute equalizer and with that went Chelsea's hopes of reaching the final.
Sunderland 2-3 Chelsea: Anelka snatches the Golden Boot in sensational fashion..
Nicolas Anelka was looking for a goal that would seal the Golden Boot, and would do so from the right flank, possibly buoyed by the knowledge that Cristiano Ronaldo would not be featuring for Manchester United at Hull, Sunderland's relegation rivals.
Sunderland provided a stern battle as they themselves were fighting for survival.
After a forgettable first half, Anelka took it upon himself to force the issue and with just 2 minutes played in the second half, he scored the goal that sealed the Golden Boot...
He picked up the ball in his own half with his back to the goal. He smartly turned his marker and ran purposely into the opposition half with only one thing in mind.
Mind you, he still had a lot to with 50 odd yards and a dozen players in between him and the goal. He, with a slick drop of the shoulder, slipped past another Sunderland player before unleashing an unstoppable screamer into the far top corner.
While Anelka had accomplished his mission, there were still a match to be won and Sunderland were never going to make it easy for Chelsea.
Richardson quickly leveled matters, from a Cech error before Kalou & Ashley Cole gave Chelsea a 3-1 lead.
Kenwyne Jones added a consolation goal deep into stoppage time but it didn't matter. The teams below them had lost their respective matches, which meant Sunderland were safe.
Never had I heard such loud cheers after a defeat...
Chelsea 2-1 Everton: Guus Hiddink gets the perfect send off...
Chelsea won the FA Cup for a fifth time after a pulsating win at Wembley, coming back from a goal down to beat Everton.
Luis Safa had stunned the Chelsea faithful and indeed the whole country with a goal after just 25 seconds.
It was the fastest ever goal scored in a cup final...
Chelsea though, showed immense character to come back from a goal down once again to win the final..
Drogba equalized, in what is becoming a tradition for him to score in cup finals, in the 21st minute with a towering header before Sir Lampard produced the winner in emphatic fashion.
Everton failed to mount a serious challenge after Chelsea second goal and Chelsea ran out deserved winners.
Ashley Cole received the man of the match award and deservedly so...
End Of The Season Honours....
Fans player of the of the season: Frank Lampard..
Player's player of the season: Ashley Cole..
Chelsea's goal of the season: Essien v Barcelona
Chelsea's young player of the season: Michael Mancienne
A Special Commitment award went to John Terry for his 10 years of first team service.