Stamford Chidge & Jonathan Kydd are joined by Chelsea author Mark Meehan to look back at Chelsea’s 2004-05 season.
On the 2nd June 2004, something very special happened at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho arrived proclaiming himself the ‘Special One’ and things at Chelsea would arguably never quite be the same again. Bolstered by the transfers of Petr Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho hopes were high that Chelsea might go one better than the 2nd place in the league from the previous season and win their first Premier League title; their first league title for 50 years and in what would be their centenary year.
The bouyant mood of the summer seemed justified as Chelsea remained unbeaten in all competitions until October 16th. But after the 1-0 away defeat to Man City, they picked up the pace again, knocking Arsenal off top spot on November 6th after a 1-0 win at home to Everton.
Critics and naysayers accused Chelsea of being boring and functional as they ground out a lot of 1-0 wins, but once the flying wingers of Damien Duff and Arjen Robben returned from injury, Chelsea went up through the gears putting four past opponents regularly and playing scintillating football in the process. Equally important, they had not been beaten by title rivals such as Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool and had dismissed bottom half teams with relative ease, banana skins and glorious unpredictability seemingly banished by our ‘special’ manager.
By the end of the year Chelsea were top of the league, 7 points clear with 55 points, the largest points tally at this stage in the PL ever, and were fighting for trophies on all fronts with qualification for the Champions’ League round of 16 achieved with 13 points and a Carling Cup semi-final against Man Utd to look forward to in the New Year as well as the FA Cup.
Historically, Chelsea supporters would be asking the question “what could possibly go wrong” with knowing cynicism but at the turn of the year many genuinely felt, absolutely nothing.