Stamford Chidge & Jonathan Kydd are joined by Mark Meehan to look back at Chelsea’s 2000-2001 season.
After another FA Cup winning season and an encouraging debut in the Champions’ League, Chelsea supporters expectations were set high for the 2000-2001 season. Could we finally have a crack at the Premiership?
Signing strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen and Croation midfielder Mario Stanic and victory over Man Utd in the Charity Shield and beating West Ham 4:2 in the first Premiership match with Stanic scoring a goal of the season contender, augered well. But five matches later, popular (with the fans anyway) manager Gianluca Vialli was sacked and replaced by Claudio Ranieri, with rumours of players plotting behind the scenes to get Vialli out.
Ranieri’s reign started with the brilliant 3:3 draw against Man Utd at Old Trafford with Hasselbaink’s exocet strike the stand out, but Di Matteo breaking his leg in the 1st round UEFA Cup defeat to St Gallen and the Worthington Cup defeat to Liverpool meant that by November Chelsea were out of two cup competitions and had only recovered from 16th position in the league to 10th.
November was a horrendous month with the team struggling with adapting to Ranieri’s tactics and rotation, as well as injuries to key midfield players. Of the 5 matches played Chelsea lost 4 and drew 1. For all intent and purpose, the league campaign was over before it began, but could Chelsea still challenge for the european places?
The only bright spots in the season so far had been the superb goal scoring form of Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen and the emergence of midfielder Sam Dalla Bonna and a certain young John Terry.