Stamford Chidge, Jonathan Kydd and Mark Meehan take a look back at the 2005-06 Chelsea season.
In part two the boys pick up the season in January with Chelsea top of the league and 11 points clear of Man Utd. Confidence for a back-to-back Premier League title was understandably high together with the chance of a first ‘double’ for the club, adding an FA Cup and another tilt on the Champions’ League having made the semi-finals in the previous two seasons.
Chelsea made hard work of dispatching Huddersfield in the FA Cup round 3 before dropping their first points in the league at home to Charlton. A 1-1 draw in the FA Cup fourth round at Everton was followed by a 1-1 draw away to Villa. Three matches without a win having broken the club record of 10 consecutive wins beforehand? Was this a wobble?
A comprehensive 2-0 defeat of Liverpool at home with Crespo outstanding, proved otherwise, and everything seemed back on track with a 4-1 thumping of Everton in the FA Cup replay. But a 3-0 defeat away to Middlesbrough was one of the shocks of the season and came out of nowhere and not the ideal preparation for the Champions League round of 16 tie against Barcelona,
In the first leg, Chelsea were robbed by a terrible refereeing decision when Del Horno was sent off for ‘being in Messi’s way’ and although Chelsea put in a brilliant performance when down to 10 men, Barcelona won 2-1. 58 home games and a first defeat in 90 minutes for Jose and only our 3rd home defeat in Europe. Of course this proved a mountain to climb in the second leg and Chelsea were duly knocked out by the eventual winners of the trophy.
Before that Chelsea was rocked by the untimely death of club legend and ‘King of Stamford Bridge’ Peter Osgood. An emotionally charged match against Spurs gave everyone a chance to say farewell to Ossie and William Gallas’ last minute winner rounded the day off perfectly.
Chelsea entered April 14 points ahead of Liverpool and 15 ahead of Man Utd. Supporters were confidently weighing up when the title would be won. A superb performance beating West Ham having gone a goal down and reduced to 10 men all but confirmed matters and beating Man Utd, by then our nearest rivals with 3 matches to go would seal the title.
Before that the matter of an FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool needed to be won. Thanks to a limp performance and some poor finishing, Liverpool knocked Chelsea out of another cup competition but a week later, Chelsea made amends with a Joe Cole inspired demolition of Man Utd to be crowned back-to-back Champions.