CARLO ANCELOTTI

Carlo Ancelotti began his role as Chelsea manager on 1 July 2009, arriving in London from Italy with an impressive CV and replacing the outgoing Guus Hiddink, who had been in temporary charge the previous season.

During his eight years in charge at AC Milan, Ancelotti became a popular figure among both players and supporters, leading the club to Champions League success on two occasions and securing the Italian title in 2004.

His first game in charge for the Blues was a 2-1 win against Hull City on the opening day of the 2009/10 season, but while we started the campaign reasonably well, results began to take a turn for the worse in the New Year.

Ancelotti responded with formation changes and having played at the beginning with a 'Christmas tree' shape, once opponents worked out ways to counter that he used two strikers and one attacking midfielder. Then after a first half against Fulham at Christmas when Chelsea were losing, he changed to use two wingers to open space for attack.

Having already been knocked out of the Carling Cup, losing to Blackburn on penalties, we were then eliminated from the Champions League in the second round, losing home and away to Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.

A resurgence in league form, however, enabled us to close the gap on leaders Manchester United, and having beaten Aston Villa 7-1 the previous week, we went to Old Trafford in April in good spirits.

Goals from Joe Cole and Didier Drogba helped us on our way to a 2-1 win, sending us top of the table in the process.

A defeat at Tottenham two weeks later appeared to have handed United the initiative once more, but when they were held to a draw against Blackburn, the title became ours to lose.

Stoke were beaten 7-0 at Stamford Bridge, before goals from Drogba and Frank Lampard ensured a 2-0 win away at Liverpool.

With Wigan the visitors to west London on the final day of the campaign, Ancelotti's side simply needed a win to be crowned champions, and we duly obliged, clinching the title with an emphatic 8-0 victory.

Better was to follow a week later, when a solitary Drogba strike secured a 1-0 victory against Portsmouth in the FA Cup final at Wembley, ensuring Ancelotti had won the Double in his first season in England.

Not for many years had a Chelsea team attacked so freely and found goals so easy to come by. Drogba had thrived, recording the second-best season goal totals in the club's history.

Optimism was high ahead of the following season, but with experienced players such as Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Deco and Juliano Belletti leaving the club, the depth of the squad was a worry as young players were asked to bolster numbers.

Yossi Benayoun and Ramires were brought in, followed by the arrivals of Fernando Torres and David Luiz in January 2011, but following a rampant start to the campaign our form took a dramatic turn for the worse, resulting in a three-month spell in which we lost to Liverpool, Sunderland, Birmingham, Arsenal and Wolves, while only drawing with Everton, Newcastle and Aston Villa.

It was famously referred to as a 'bad moment' by the manager, although the word moment seemed less appropriate the longer it went on.

There had been coaching changes too. Ancelotti had mostly taken on the existing staff when he arrived from Italy, including assistant Ray Wilkins, who was dismissed in November 2011.

We were knocked out of the FA Cup at home to Everton in the fourth round, while in the Champions League Manchester United beat us home and away in the quarter-finals to progress 3-1 on aggregate and end our European dream for another year.

A fantastic run of form in the league, however, enabled us to make up ground on leaders Manchester United, setting up a virtual title decider at Old Trafford in May.

Sadly, we were unable to reproduce the type of form we had shown in the preceding matches and after going behind inside the first minute, we failed to turn it around and eventually lost 2-1.

Finishing second was a commendable achievement, but it was the inability to progress to the later stages of the Champions League which proved Ancelotti's downfall, and he was dismissed soon after the final game of the season up at Everton.