When Napoleon said he’d prefer a lucky general than a good one, he might well have been talking about Carlo Ancelotti. Whether he’s a genius or just plain fortunate, no one at CFCnet knows, but by winning the FA Cup at Wembley he did something no other Chelsea manager has ever won: the Double.
For those of us long enough in the tooth to have stood on the Shed terrace and watch Chelsea being relegated, or stood and watch United thrash us 4-0 at Wembley to pick up their own Double, the thought of us achieving such hallowed status was laughable. The Double? Who us? If you’d mentioned such a prospect at the King’s Arms in the 80’s or 90’s you’d have been laughed out of sight.
The CFCnet crew has therefore viewed events of the past seven days with a mixture of incredulity and amazement, yet you couldn’t wipe the grin from our faces with a cheese grater. The Double? Who us? Oh yes indeed.
What’s made the achievement even more surreal is that for much of this season we’ve been unconvinced by many of the team’s displays.We can pick out at least a dozen games where we slated Ancelotti and the performance of his charges. Reviewing the CFCnet Forums we can tell you that doubts about the manager lasted nearly all season and extended right up to Spurs away a few weeks ago.
The bottom line, however, is that Carlo pulled it off.Yesterday’s game at Wembley may not have been vintage Chelsea but, like much of the season, we watched an exciting game and yet another important victory. For this reason, the chants of ‘Carlo, Carlo, Carlo’ raining down from the massed tiers of Chelsea fans have been richly deserved and the Italian joins the ranks of true Chelsea legends.
For CFCnet, blessed as we’ve been by the great Mourinho years, the last nine months have taught us one thing: football under Ancelotti is far more unpredictable, more dangerous yet crucially, more exciting. As if to underline this, Mourinho won the Italian league with a 1-0 victory over Siena.Carlo won the league with an 8-0 drubbing of Wigan.
Going back to Saturday, the game was ruined by the state of the pitch, which John Terry said was the worst he’d played on all year. Given these circumstances, our first half display was imperious with the slick interchanging of play – under CFCnet’s beloved 4-3-3 system – creating havoc in the Pompey half.
Despite the woodwork being struck 5 times, the first half was marked by Kalou hitting the bar from two yards.Regular readers of this blog will know we have our reservations about Salomon and if anything summed up his football prowess, that moment did so in spades. Ashley Cole was left tearing his hair out and the Wembley Upper Tier stood aghast at what could have been a signature miss that cost us the Double.As one wag shouted out in front of us, ‘that was the last chance Kaloun, and Salomon’s just ordered a drink’.
Still, this isn’t the time to single out any one particular player because the current Chelsea squad has just entered the history books as our best of all time. For that reason we have to applaud each and every one of them, especially the squad players who’ve been instrumental in our success – step forward players such as Daniel Sturridge, Yury Zhirkov, Juliano Belletti to name but three.
The first few minutes into the second half encapsulated our season.When Belletti brought down Dindane we thought our dreams of the Double were going to be dashed.We felt sick to our stomachs, no doubt helped by Salomon’s drink in the last chance Kaloun. Two minutes later we were 1-0 up with the Double less than a half an hour away.Such are the vagaries of football and the unpredictability of Chelsea circa 2010.
Drogba’s goal, when it came, lifted the roof off Wembley. What a sensational goal from the Chelsea fans’ player of the year.
All told, Saturday saw the culmination of an incredible season – Chelsea’s best ever.For that reason, CFCnet must extend its thanks to all the staff, management and players of Chelsea FC.To win the Double is something any Chelsea fan only ever dreamt of – to see it realised is special.Very, very special.