2014 Year In Review Part 1 – The Highs
2014 has been a roller coaster ride for Chelsea Football Club. There have been some memorable moments and a few forgettable ones as well.
All in all, 2014 definitely cannot be called as one of the more successful years for Chelsea, considering the fact that the already replete trophy cabinet did not swell even further. However, there have been more than a few positives for this eminent club, which even the most stringent of critics cannot challenge. In part one of this article, we would like to present you with some of the prominent highs of 2014.
Immense success in the transfer market
Good managers know how to manage players, but the best ones know how to buy as well. An example of the former would be Brendan Rodgers, and the latter would be (you guessed it correctly) Jose Mourinho. With buys such as Matic in the winter window, and Fabregas, Costa, Luis and Remy in the summer, Jose Mourinho showed us again why he is regarded as the best manager in the world. A blend and more importantly, balance of talent, youth, flair, grit and experience, this crop of players will certainly take the club to unprecedented heights. Furthermore, high transfer fees obtained from the sales David Luiz, Juan Mata, Lukaku enabled Chelsea to record a rare profit. The moderate success of many other big clubs (despite having spent more than Chelsea) in their transfer business, reiterates the fact of how remarkable this success was.
Return of the legend
“He has done it, the greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club, European Champions, they have beaten Bayern in their own backyard, they have found the Holy Grail, after an adventure fraught with danger and Drogba may never play for Chelsea again, he will never be forgotten, he’s immortal at this football club.” Well how we dread that last line. I really doubt there must ever have been a player whose last kick for his club was a Champions League-winning penalty. And so it wasn’t with Drogba. He is back with us and back with a bang. The ovation he got on his first appearance was just surreal. Even more so when he scored his first goal on his second stint. Was it just an emotional return and not a pragmatic one? Well six goals, some of them big ones (like the one at Old Trafford) just shows that this was a decision-based not just on reputation.
The exhilarating start to the 2014-2015 season
The very fact that even pundits were talking about invincibility after just a few games, showcased Chelsea’s imperious start to the campaign. Wins in all matches except the ones against both Manchester clubs (courtesy of two late equalizers in both of them) in the first 11 games and a club record equaling start, the Chelsea juggernaut was simply unstoppable. Further topping the Champions League group, reaching the League Cup quarters, and almost looking uncatchable in the league further exalts the fine start. So authoritarian was this start that bookies were already paying out bets placed on Chelsea.
The rise of Eden Hazard
“I would take him to Real Madrid with my eyes closed”, when the great Zinedine Zidane puts forward such an exalting statement about a player you have recently signed, you know there is something special in store. And Eden Hazard certainly did not disappoint. Those mesmerizing runs, the enthralling one-twos, the audacious Rabona, and a plethora of tricks are summed up very well by a leading newspaper quote- “He’s a player who gets fan on the edge of their seats, every time he receives the ball.” There would not be many betting against him winning the Ballon d’Or in the next few years.
Some impeccable away performances
Here was a manager always accused of being defensive in tough away matches. What many people fail to understand is that his pragmatic approach (something that a manager like an Arsene Wenger never learnt) actually helped Chelsea come away with some of their best performances of the year. Who can forget that performance at the Etihad on a cold winter night. One could argue that City were lucky to lose by just one. Or the one of a second string team at Anfield, where Gerrard’s infamous slip gifted City the title. More recent ones which pop into the mind are the 6-3 win at Everton and the 5-0 win against Schalke.
All in all, with its ups and downs, rights and not so rights, it has been a memorable year for Chelsea and it could be the beginning of something special. Come next year, this time and probably one article wouldn’t be enough to note all highs. Such is the potential of the Chelsea Football Club!
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni