After their exit from the Champions League in mid March at the hands of their former manager, Jose Mourhino, things could not have been going worse for Chelsea. In addition to losing their Champions League dream for the year, Chelsea suddenly found themselves behind Manchester United in the Premier League standings after having led most of the year.
For the first time since taking over the Blues, Carlo Ancelotti was beginning to hear some rumblings from within the London press, who had pretty much left him unscathed since taking over the club.
But suddenly, a few weeks later, things have begun to look up for Ancelotti and the Blues. Walking away from Old Trafford last weekend with 3 points and regaining the league lead was the start of a renewed sense of purpose for Chelsea.
In the FA Cup semi final match against Aston Villa at Wembley on Saturday, Didier Drogba netted the game’s first goal in the 67th minute, and then late goals, one from Florent Malouda and one from Frank Lampard, saw the Blues through to the FA Cup Final. Chelsea had beaten Aston Villa 7-1 in league play a couple of weeks ago. In the two games the Blues outscored Villa 10-1.
Chelsea is the defending FA Cup Champs and have won the cup two of the last three years, and five in their history. Villa has won the cup seven times, but hasn’t held the trophy since 1957. They won their first cup back in 1887.
Tottenham and Portsmouth meet in the other semi final game on Sunday. Portsmouth is having a miserable year in the Premier League and on their way to relegation, so a final appearance for them would be extra sweet. Tottenham is having a good year and still has hopes of catching Manchester City for the coveted 4th spot in the league, which would get them a Champion’s League spot next season.
Tottenham is a ten time winner of the FA Cup, but hasn’t won since 1991. Portsmouth has two titles, but one of them came just two years ago in 2008.
The last time Chelsea played at Wembley they beat Manchester United in the Community Shield game back in August to kick off the season of competitions. Ancelotti is developing a fondness for the massive stadium.
“There is a lot of passion from the fans here,” he said afterward. “A fantastic atmosphere. I’m very happy for this.” He couldn't restrain a bit of a smile.
There’s seems to be a lot more smiles going around for all the Blues compared to a few weeks ago. They will try and keep the smiles on their faces after Tuesday’s important league game against Bolton at Stamford Bridge. If Chelsea keeps winning in the Premier League that title will be theirs as well.
The other trophy, the FA Cup, could be in their hands on May 15th. The 129th Cup Final will be again played at Wembley.