Chelsea have won the 2009-10 Premier League in some style following a thumping 8-0 home win over Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season.

Thus Carlo Ancelotti’s men lift their first league title since Jose Mourinho’s second and last Premier League conquest in 2006, while the Italian boss himself becomes one of the very few managers to have won the Premier League at the first time of asking.

For all but eight rounds Chelsea have led the English standings, last regaining it from Manchester United in week 33.

Despite nervy moments off the top spot, though, the early season favourites were always able to steer themselves back to the summit, largely thanks to a superb attacking record that saw the Blues finish the 38-game campaign with an amazing 103 goals – a new Premier League record.

Both Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard had banner seasons in this regard, with a supporting cast including Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka also chipping in.

This was especially true on the final day: Anelka gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead over Wigan just six minutes in and the Blues did not look back from there, eventually running out eight-nil victors over their 10-man visitors.

But for all their goalscoring flair, Chelsea’s two biggest wins of the campaign were also among the narrowest.

In early November, with the Blues newly re-topping the table, Manchester United came to Stamford Bridge aiming for at least a draw. However, John Terry – a figure for whom off-pitch problems would soon loom large – netted a late goal to give Chelsea an all-important psychological advantage.

The return match at Old Trafford was Sir Alex Ferguson’s chance to put Chelsea to the sword, but again the Blues came up trumps.

It was a less-than-convincing performance from the visitors, but despite some weak links Joe Cole and (controversially) Didier Drogba produced the goods. Florent Malouda, for so long a figure of derision in London, also came of age with a splendid individual showing.

With wins like this Chelsea atoned for avoidable defeats at the hands of lesser teams. Giving away soft goals and cheap points has not been a Chelsea hallmark in past years – certainly not in the days of Mourinho – but winning vital domestic games generally has. This did not change despite the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, nor the ever-present spectre of off-field scandal. Indeed, Didier Drogba noted this week that “Terrygate”, perversely, was a source of inspiration for the Blues squad – a clear throwback to the bunker mentality of Mourinho’s squad that seldom fails to produce team spirit.

But how stressful those preventable point losses were at the time. Everton proved to be formidable opponents, coming from behind at the Bridge to grab a draw before once again fighting back at home, this time for the win.

Card-happy Chelsea also had problems with discipline, best shown by the 4-2 home loss to Manchester City back in February – a result that threatened to end their season as Craig Bellamy ran rampant against his nine-man hosts.

But recovery followed with 5-0 and 7-1 wins before that trip to Old Trafford. Indeed, it was this kind of goalscoring form that ultimately saw Chelsea safe – a habit of netting early on is vital for preserving nerves late in the season.

Sadly for Chelsea the same could not take place in Europe. Former coach Jose Mourinho bested his old side both at the San Siro and Stamford Bridge as Inter progressed through the first knockout stage at the Blues’ expense – not a massive surprise, but disappointing for the Blues faithful nonetheless.

Other cup competitions may bring more succour. The FA Cup final is fast approaching, and in it Chelsea need to defeat financially-stricken Portsmouth at Wembley. This is surely not too tall an order given an aggregate scoreline of 7-1 against the Fratton Park men so far this season.

But such a competition lacks prestige these days: it is the league, and then the Champions League, that captures the imagination. Chelsea have well and truly succeeded on one of these fronts this season, but what about next time? The current squad is aging, with the key players generally on the wrong side of thirty. How long they can continue to challenge at a top level is open to debate.

For now, though, Carlo Ancelotti can celebrate mission accomplished in his first season in London, adding his name to the Chelsea history books as a result. Didier Drogba, too, has ensured beyond doubt that he will be forever mentioned as one of the top Premier League strikers. Frank Lampard, ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals, has had perhaps his best campaign to date. As for the fans, they will demand more of the same next time.

Picture Credit : Google 

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