19 Jun 08/09 Season Review
The Chelsea Season That Was
So, ladies and gentlemen, there we have it. The 08/09 season has come to an end—and oh what a season it was. There’s another Cup in the trophy case. Anelka netted 25 goals and took home the illustrious gilded footwear. And we’ve bid a fond, fond farewell to Guus Hiddink, a man who’ll go down in the annals of Chelsea history as the savior of a season all but destined for post-December disaster. (He came, he saw, he kicked our arses into shape.)
All in all, the lads did us proud. They came out guns a’blazing in August and ended the season with a run of only one loss in 23 matches that garnered us some silverware and an automatic qualification into next year’s Champion’s League. If only we hadn’t had that nasty little spell in between. But so goes the beautiful game.
It was the good, the bad, and the ugly, minus Eli Wallach and the whistling. There was the loss of Essien early on, and then Joe Cole at midseason. Drogba’s months-long recovery from knee surgery. Carvalho’s and Deco’s struggles with fitness. And those are just the long-term injuries. At one point, I seem to remember having more of our starting eleven in the physio room than on the pitch. But even with all the adversity, we were a force to be reckoned with, racking up an impressive goal tally and the best defensive record in the league.
We mourned the end of our record-shattering 86 game home winning streak. Then we redeemed our early losses with late season wins against Liverpool (need I even mention the 7-5 Champ’s League win?) and against Arsenal—twice if you count the FA Cup semi-final. We said goodbye to Big Phil and saw Ray Wilkins end his interim managerial run with a 100% win record (even if it was only one game!). We shouted at the TV as Ovrebo robbed us of penalty after penalty. And we jumped around the room when the final whistle of the final game sounded and we hoisted the FA Cup high in the air.
And let’s not forget the goals—oh, the goals! There was Lampard’s last second rocket against Stoke and his game winner at Wembley. Terry’s Daniel-san crane kick versus Wigan. Essien’s “Goal of the Season” bullet at home to Barca. Alex, Belletti, and Deco (you know the ones), and a boatload more, everyone of which had us on our feet, screaming “Go you, Blues!”
It was a year of plenty of ups, tempered unfortunately by a generous helping of downs. But still, it was a season that has left me with an overwhelming sense of True Blue pride, not to mention hope for next season. With just a few tweaks we should be the ones racking up the triple (or more) come next May—and we won’t need that stupid World Club Cup to do it.