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Chelsea: Champions Of Europe To Laughing Stock Of The World In 7 Months

by Adi-Oula Sebastian
17 December 2012 20 Comments

7 months after being on top of the world, Chelsea are already hurtling towards rock bottom. For anyone who's not a blue, it's hilarious...

Within 7 months Chelsea have gone from being crowned Champions of Europe to one of the most ridiculed sides in recent memory. The last two months in particular has seen the Blues forfeit the summit of the Premier League table, become the first title-holder to crash out at the group stages of the Champions League and axe yet another manager. Winning Chelsea’s inaugural Champions League trophy was thought to signal the Blues’ definitive arrival as one of Europe’s genuine heavyweights. However while the Champions League success has prompted Roman Abramovich to rejuvenate the squad with fresh and expensive new signings, the Blues’ subsequent fortunes have been rather mixed.

The Community Shield was lost to Manchester City and a solid start into the ongoing 2012/13 Premier League season was met with a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid at the European Super Cup. Though expecting the new look Chelsea to fire on all cylinders right away was unrealistic, no one expected the Blues to be so poor. After all, a Champions League winning side is held to a higher standard. For one reason or another, the European Super Cup served as an eye opener of sorts.

Atletico Madrid proved that La Liga isn’t an inferior league to the Premier League, Fernando Torres is not Didier Drogba, and his opposite number Radamel Falcao is with absolute certainty the superior striker.

Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking can be largely attributed to the Italians inability to get the very best out of El Niño. Though the exact reasons behind the appointment of Rafa Benitez remain a mystery, it’s a safe bet that his previous experience with Fernando Torres definitely factored into the decision. Chelsea’s number 9 even responded, in his last two games before the FIFA Club World Cup Torres scored 4 goals – prompting fans and pundits alike to once more declare the return of El Niño.

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Nevertheless, a closer look at his recent proficiency and one is inclined to label Fernando Torres a flat-track bully. Though a Champions League team, FC Nordsjaelland were hardly a quality side whereas Sunderland under Martin O’Neil currently hover just above the relegation zone.

Against Brazilian side Corinthians at the FIFA Club World Cup Final Fernando Torres, the Chelsea FC version, has once again resurfaced.

Unfortunately, it’s just one of the many failures of his Chelsea career thus far, and one could be excused for believing it won’t be the last.

Nonetheless, Chelsea is not a one-man team and the Blues lost the FIFA Club World Cup final against the Brazilians. The 1-0 defeat to Corinthians is an appropriate end to the Blues quest for global dominance. In the past Chelsea were known for grinding out 1-0 results, a negative approach as far as international football was concerned, and got away with it. Hence it’s quite fitting that the Blues lost the FIFA Club World Cup Final in similar fashion.

Eden Hazard’s tweet “I’m signing for the Champions League winners” has now become a running gag on Twitter. One can only assume he at least expected to qualify for the group stages of the competition this time around. A more appropriate tweet would be “I have signed for the worst title-holder in Champions League history”.

If Chelsea’s unexpected Champions League glory has motivated the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar to sign with the Blues, how must they feel now that they are part of a side that has gained infamy in said competition? After all, it’s an unprecedented feat in the history of the Champions League.

Though there’s plenty of football to be played in the ongoing 2012/13 season, it is already shaping up to be one of the worst campaigns of the Abramovich era – and it’s only December. It took Chelsea almost a decade and hundreds of millions to reach the peak of European football, but less than 7 months to become the laughing stock of the continent. What’s worse, Roman Abramovich’s penchant for sacking managers has made the Chelsea job somewhat undesirable to prospective candidates. Abramovich’s no. 1 target, and football’s most sought after manager, Pep Guardiola, is now said to prefer Chelsea’s rivals Arsenal, due to the more stable work environment.

The new shortlist for the Chelsea hot seat reportedly includes Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone as well as Borussia Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp. Both would be good appointments but they’re both settled, and more importantly, valued at their current clubs.

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Chelsea’s Champions League triumph didn’t mark the beginning of a new era but signaled the definitive end of a cycle. Whether one likes to admit it or not, the Blues are a team in transition. Not to engage in hyperbole but who’s to say that Chelsea have already hit rock bottom? With Roman Abramovich as demanding and trigger happy as ever it’s unlikely the club will find any form of stability.

In a not too distant future Roman Abramovich will have hired and fired all of Europe’s managerial elite. Who in their right mind would ever return to a working environment as hostile as Chelsea’s?

To further complicate things, Manchester City Sheik Mansour is not only wealthier than Roman Abramovich, he has even displayed the one character trait that the Russian billionaire lacks, one that could land him Pep Guardiola (and possibly any other manager for that matter) – patience.

Even Silvio Berlusconi, one of football’s more erratic personalities, has given his AC Milan side three years to become a great team again. While Berlusconi’s AC Milan have achieved multiple Champions League triumphs, Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea will forever hold the distinction of being the first (and probably) only Champions League winners to crash at the group stages in the subsequent season.

As is customary, finalists usually produce gear to mark the occasion of a triumph. Chelsea definitely produced FIFA Club World Cup Winners T-Shirts and Caps amongst other things. Chances are these items will be dumped in some remote part of the world where they will not be subject to photographs, or worse, videos. In a way Chelsea did contribute of improving some people’s lives. The kids at the sweatshops in a third world country earned a living producing those items, whilst some others received free clothing because of Chelsea’s failure.

Indeed, there are positives to take from defeat.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High?

Somewhere in the world someone is keeping a flag that reads “Chelsea FC FIFA Club World Cup Winner 2012”.

Ah, wishful thinking. It just wasn’t meant to be.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

kev 1:15 pm, 17-Dec-2012

3rd in the premier league is hardly rock bottom ....is it? there's a bucket load below us.... we'll be back v soon. the community sheild and the Club world cup are two bob trophies, we still have two cups and the top four to gain this year. so not so bad really, unless you are a fan of the teams below us, especially wengers mob of losers ha ha ha

Adi-Oula Sebastian 1:48 pm, 17-Dec-2012

Of course third place in the league isn't too bad but the FIFA Club World Cup is the most exclusive club competiton there is. Still, Chelsea have been hideous in the Champions League. The Blues are the worst title-holders in history. It still makes me chuckle. At present I can't see them winning any silverware this season, not with Torres leading the line. There's no depth in attack. Who knows, maybe Chelsea become the new Arsenal and fall behind ManU and City. It looks likely.

kev 5:01 pm, 17-Dec-2012

I agree, we probably wont win anything this year unless Torres is given the push. However, if RA spends properly this time instead of buying every good player on the market, we may just end up with a reasonable defence, and a couple of decent strikers. Not sure we need to cough up millions for Falcao, several others would be suitable. Totally disagree with the club world cup being exclusiveunless you're latin american. Nobody in europe really gives it a thought. Any way i'm reasonably optimistic while there are several clubs below us.

jim 8:19 pm, 17-Dec-2012

the world club thing is meaningless, no european club gives a toss about it. when will people outside europe realise this??? im a spurs fan, so i am enjoying clelskis poor patch but what shocks me is rafa benitez getting a job again. the guy nearly ran littlepool into administration, his signings and brand of football was crap, when pool were inches from administration rafa the rat hung out for his payoff, no dignity, then he took another team whod won the CL and destroyed them - Inter. How this clown has mugged another club owner is beyond me. Well done Chelski fans for booing this rat of a human. good news is chelski wont get 3rd with the rat running the club, Tottenham will

Adi-Oula Sebastian 11:33 pm, 17-Dec-2012

@Jim actually a lot of people do. Perhaps English people care less about it since the only EPL sides that won the CL in its current format were ManU, Liverpool and Chelsea. It's the hardest title to win because only the winner of the respective Champions League can enter the tournament. When you think about you'll realize it's the most exclusive tournament in club football. I'm from Germany, continental Europe, so I should know. It means a big deal.

yogavo 11:50 pm, 17-Dec-2012

the world club cup isn't a big.

john smith 12:56 pm, 18-Dec-2012

So, let me get this straight, we're a laughing stock because we're third in the table with a game in hand, are out of the Champions League at the group stage (the only time we've ever failed to reach the knockout stages) and we lost 1-0 to a Brazilian side in the final of a competition which most supporters will never have a chance of seeing their side play in. Yes, of course we have a few problems at present, but we're a young team lacking in leadership at present, and we could still win four trophies. This is a lazy article which offers no insight into anything other than the writer's obvious dislike of the club. Try again when you've got something interesting to say mate.

Adi-Oula Sebastian 5:18 pm, 18-Dec-2012

@john Chelsea FC are the first title-holders to crash out of the Champions League at the group stage. That's equally historic and hysterical. Besides, I used to be a card carrying member for the past few seasons (you can check my Twitter accout for verification). Don't get so defensive. In the History of the CL Chelsea have been the worst Champions EVER. It's hilarious. Best side in Europe...until mid November. Indeed a very convincing reign, mate.

thetruth 8:13 pm, 18-Dec-2012

@sebastian i loathe chelsea and love seeing them fall apart. fact of the matter is that it is a 2 bob cup that no one really cares about, ive worked with many south americans who loved it however in europe people couldnt give a monkeys about it. i also lived in germany for 16 years and was there when both bvb and bayern won the CL and people in germany cared about it as much as they do the eurovision song contest, not much

Adi-Oula Sebastian 10:37 pm, 18-Dec-2012

@thetruth now the Eurovision contest is really redundant. At any rate, Chelsea have not been officially crowned the best club in the world. That's what really matters here. Crashing out at the group stages of the Champions League as the reigning title-holders is probably enough to dub Chelsea "embarrassing". Relatively speaking, this could become the worst campaign of Chelsea ever since Roman bought the club. That would be, again, a relative steep fall, considering the Blues just won the Champions League in the previous season. It's ironic isn't it? Now that Chelsea are trying to play 'proper' free-flowing football they start to fail. Poetic Justice.

Joe Beaver 10:57 pm, 18-Dec-2012

I keep hearing people comment about Chelsea not progressing to the knock out stage of the CL. This is the Chelsea who won the CL in name only - even the uniforms have changed. If you look at all of the players missing from the Chelsea that competed in and won the '12 CL, to the Chelsea that lost to Juventus 3-0, you would have to say it is a completely different team. Six players (Drogba, Terry, Lampard, Essien, Morales, and Malouda) were either gone, or injured. The real shame is that we lost RDM as a result of the loss to Juve. If you want to bash Chelsea because we have an owner who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder - be my guest, but to say that this is the same team that competed in the Spring is just a completely ridiculous statement.

Joe Beaver 11:02 pm, 18-Dec-2012

One more comment for @Sebastian, you can't claim to have once been a "card carrying member" and then be bashing Chelsea now. You can change your religion, you can change your wife, you can even change your beer, but you can't change your club loyalty and retain any integrity.

Adi-Oula Sebastian 12:53 am, 19-Dec-2012

@Joe I never said I was a fan of the Blues, merely a card carrying member. It came in handy whenever I was in town. I'm a Barcelona fan and I DO bash my team. I don't buy into the notion that genuine fans do not criticize their club. Anyhow, a team of supposed Champions pedigree should at least manage to qualify for the k.o. stages? You mean to tell me that Chelsea are the only team in CL history that has lost key players after winning the title? If that's your excuse...well, I'd say that's pretty ridiculous. Never shy for an excuse, are we?

Joe Beaver 1:49 am, 19-Dec-2012

@Sebastian - Of course you are a Barcelona fan - that's a shocker (Let's see who is a top team that I can say I support so I somehow come off as having some special footballing knowledge, allowing me to hide the fact that I'm really just a sycophantic suckup?!?) Taking a look at your 'beloved' Barcelona; last years team to this years team. Barca lost Abidal, Cuenca, Keita, and Fontas - and I'll give you Guardiola as well. Hardly a fair comparison. Not looking for excuses, simply because I don't care what you or others think, but any coach / team that has that many first team players that are unavailable is going to go through a time of adjustment.

Adi-Oula Sebastian 3:28 am, 19-Dec-2012

@Joe for someone that doesn't care what I or anyone else is thinking - you do take an awful lot of time and energy to post your comments. Your actions don't support your claim. I may have hit a rather sensitive spot. Calling me a suckup is a testimony to that. Don't get so emotional and defensive.

Adi-Oula Sebastian 3:44 am, 19-Dec-2012

@Joe I'm truly lost for words. The very least one can expect from a reigning CL winner is to qualify for the k.o. rounds. Are you seriously trying to tell me that Chelsea's squad wasn't good enough? I don't think Shaktar' is even remotely comparable to Chelsea (with or w/o Drogba, Terry etc.) In the history of the Champions League this is unprecedented. Borussia Dortmund don't have the depth of either Madrid and City, yet topped their group. They paid for it in the Bundesliga but that's understanablel. Chelsea on the other hand spent big and no one can tell me Hazard or Oscar aren't upgrades on Anelka, Malouda or Mereiless). I'm sorry but your argument holds no weight. The only player who hasn't been adequately replaced is Didier Drogba. That's it. No more excuses, please. I'm pleading with you.

Mark 11:02 am, 19-Dec-2012

I lived in Berlin for 8 years and no football fan that I have met (and there have been many) be they German, French, Belgian or English values the World Club Cup above the Champions League. As for being knocked out in the group stage, it was down to a manager being shown up to be tactically inept against superior men, it was an error to appoint him in the emotional aftermath of winning the CL but Chelsea WILL be there next year. And a team in the top 3 of the Premier League with players like Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Lampard, Oscar, Mata, Terry, Cahill and Hazard will never be a laughing stock, no matter how many badly written articles by Barca Fan boys there are. From a Leicester fan x

Adi-Oula Sebastian 1:08 pm, 19-Dec-2012

@Mark this team already is. That's the point. They're the first title-holders to ever crash out at the group stages. The damage has already been done. The first in the history of the Champions League. That 'achievement' will forever be written into the history books.

Adi-Oula Sebastian 1:25 pm, 19-Dec-2012

Apparently I've underestimated the national pride of some Englishmen. I am convinced that if Barcelona had crashed out the Champions League as title-holders these "supposed" neutral observers couldn't wait to label Barca an embarrassment. Guess what, no winner has ever crashed out at the group stages in the subsequent season. NEVER. Perhaps the parameters change once it hits too close to home. Double standards anyone? I'm a Barcelona fan so? Does that change anything? I've highlighted undeniable facts. Chelsea are the worst CL-winner in history. That's a fact. Barcelona fan or not, that right there is an undeniable fact.

Oli 2:00 pm, 8-Jan-2013

Damn someone's jealous of chelsea. shown by the joy you take in chelsea's difficult few months! the only time i take joy for teams losing are those that i envy in one way or another! (local rivals aside)

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