Chelsea F.C.: 5 Games That Cost Chelsea the Title
There's no doubt that Chelsea's season has been well below expectations.
After what was an amazing beginning to the 2010/2011 campaign, in which the Blues scored 21 goals in their first five EPL games, Chelsea plummeted dramatically from November to March.
While Chelsea were rampant in some games, they played unbelievably bad in others. And it was those games that left the team trophy-less at the end of the season. Here's a list of five games that cost Chelsea the title:
Liverpool vs. Chelsea: 2-0
Date: November 7, 2010
Scorers: Torres (X2)
This was Chelsea's second loss of the campaign.
They were coming off a big 4-1 Champions League win against Spartak Moskva and the result of this game may have came as a shock to some, as Liverpool weren't doing too well in the league at that time. And It may have been this game that led to Roman Abramovich's purchase of Fernando Torres.
But as we know, Torres' performance in this match has not yet been reciprocated with the Blues since his winter transfer.
The effect of this game was disastrous on the Blues. This was the spark to Chelsea's winter blues. In their next seven matches (EPL), they picked up six points.
Chelsea vs. Sunderland: 0-3
Date: November 14, 2010
Scorers: Onuoha, Gyan, Welbeck
This was the most surprising game of Chelsea's season. Just seven days after the defeat to Liverpool, Chelsea were completely run over by Sunderland.
Before this game, I remember the commentator stating that the Black Cats must be very afraid of the Blues because Chelsea had scored 18 goals in the last four encounters between the two teams.
After a great beginning to the game by the home team, Sunderland started pressing more and were the better team for most of the first half. But it was only until first half stoppage time that they found a goal. As Chelsea started attacking more, Sunderland used their chances wisely and Gyan scored.
But the third goal really showed that Chelsea were rapidly losing their early season confidence and momentum. Ashley Cole's wayward pass went straight to Welbeck who couldn't believe his luck.
Two big defeats in seven days, combined with a poor mid-week display against Fulham (in which the Blues won 1-0), left the Chelsea players with no confidence or hope. It took them until the New Year to win back to back games.
(The uploaded video only contains second half highlights. Here is the link to the first half goal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNLOgj1jhUs&feature=related)
Olympique Marseille vs. Chelsea: 1-0
Date: December 8, 2010
Here's another match that took place during Chelsea's barren run of form during the winter. Chelsea had registered five wins and had already qualified for the knockout round of the Champions League.
Even with this, manager Carlo Ancelotti chose to include a very strong side for the trip to Marseille. His idea was Chelsea would win in considerable fashion to bring the team back to form.
The result didn't go Carlo's way, but the Blues certainly had no luck on their side. Two penalties could and should have been awarded to Chelsea.
Even though Chelsea won their Champions League group comfortably, a win in Southern France may have jump-started a revival in form. The loss just plunged the Blues even further down the hole.
(Sorry about the quality of the video).
Chelsea vs. Everton: 1-1 (Everton Wins 4-3 on Penalties)
Date: February 19, 2011
Scorers: Lampard, Baines
This was a FA Cup replay after the two teams tied the first leg at Goodison Park. Chelsea were fortunate to still be in the competition after a lackluster display in the first leg. During this match, Chelsea were certainly the better team on the whole.
After 90 minutes, the game was still goalless. Lampard's goal in the 103rd minute was hugely appreciated by the fans and the coach in the stadium.
It looked like Chelsea's hope of silverware were still intact until Baines' 119th minute freekick was scored. It was just too much for the Blues to handle and they lost on penalties.
To Chelsea fans, the EPL looked out of reach and the Champions League looked like a challenge that the players wouldn't be able to handle. The FA Cup was the only possibility for a trophy. Chelsea were the better team this game but their winter misfortune was seen again this game.
(It took me a while to choose between this match and the 1-0 Liverpool game two weeks earlier. I selected the Chelsea/Everton one for two reasons: Everton scored in the last minute and it was an FA Cup tie).
Manchester United vs. Chelsea: 2-1
Date: May 8, 2011
Scorers: Hernandez, Vidic, Lampard
This is an obvious selection. At one point in the season, Chelsea were an immense 12 points away from Manchester United. From March until May, the Blues began to crawl back up the Premier League table and came into this match only three points behind the Reds.
Winning this match at Old Trafford would bring Chelsea to the summit of the EPL for the first time in over six months. Unfortunately for them, a poor first half left the Blues down 2-0 at the break.
Lampard's 69th minute goal gave them hope for a comeback, but the Red Devils did enough to ensure that the English Premier League title would be returning to Manchester.
Before this game, Chelsea had taken 25 points in their last nine Premier League games. Carlo Ancelotti brought his team out of a horrible winter and back into the Championship battle. But the comeback wasn't thoroughly completed.
The disappointing end to the season was concluded with Carlo Ancelotti's sacking. One can only imagine what would have happened if these five mentioned games never took place.
The results of these matches were poor but the psychological result was much worse. Chelsea fans will wait and see what Roman Abramovich plans to do this summer.