TEAM HISTORY - 2010s
Chelsea began the new decade by winning the league and FA Cup Double for the first time, however the season that followed, 2010/11, was to prove to be the first without silverware or major final appearances since 2003/04 and was statistically the worst set of results since the pre-Abramovich era. Carlo Ancelotti still managed to steer his squad to a second-place league finish - for only the fourth time in our club's top-flight history - and our goals-for tally was bettered only three times in the previous 12 seasons - but there was a weak showing against Manchester United in the quarter-final of the Champions League and with the overall outcome falling below expectation, the Italian was dismissed after the final game of the campaign.
Andre Villas-Boas was the man chosen to take over following an extremely successful year at Porto in his native Portugal. At 33 years of age when appointed, he was a rising star of football management and returned to Stamford Bridge where he worked as opposition scout under Jose Mourinho.
However his attempts to remodel the team's playing style came at the expense of results and with just a 48 per cent win record by the first week of March 2012, plus a three-point gap to fourth place in the Premier League and a big first-leg deficit against Napoli in the Champions League, it was decided results and performances of the team had not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season.
Roberto Di Matteo, assistant to Villas-Boas having returned to club where he had been so successful as a player in the late 1990s, was appointed first team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season and won his first game in charge, an FA Cup replay at Birmingham.
Soon after came one of the great European nights at Stamford Bridge as the 3-1 defeat in Naples was overturned. Champions League success continued with wins over Benfica and then European champions Barcelona with a backs-to-the-wall display of incredible fortitude and defensive quality in Spain when reduced to 10 men in the first half.
The FA Cup was duly won against Liverpool at Wembley (how Di Matteo loves that competition!) and although the eventual league finish of sixth left the club facing no Champions League football for the first time in the Abramovich era, all was well that ended well when the final game of the season finished with the lifting of the European Cup for the first time in our history, ensuring Champions League participation again.
Didier Drogba headed a late equaliser from a Juan Mata corner against Bayern Munich and then scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out - the perfect ending to his glorious Chelsea career. In his eight seasons he became the club's fourth highest scorer with 157 goals, nine of them in nine cup finals - truly the man for the big occasion.
Having enjoyed a unique month of achievement for Chelsea, Di Matteo was appointed manager on a permanent basis.
The 2012/13 season was one of two managers with Rafael Benitez replacing Di Matteo on an interim basis in November, and it was one with a record number of matches played (69 games, in eight competitions - another club record). It was ultimately crowned by one trophy success and qualification for the Champions League through a third-place Premier League finish.
The Blues beat both Arsenal and Spurs on their own soil for the first time since 2005/06 in the early months and topped the table, but a decline in results, especially in the Champions League group stage, led to Di Matteo's dismissal.
The FIFA Club World Cup was contested for a first time, Japan the December venue, but although we beat Mexican opposition to make the final, Brazilian's Corinthians won that 1-0.
Frustration continued with semi-final defeats in the League Cup and FA Cup to two Citys - Swansea and Manchester - but having exited the Champions League at the group stage for the first time, the side selected by the experienced Benitez steadily reached the Europa League final in Amsterdam. Benfica, perennial bridesmaids on such occasions, equalised Fernando Torres's counter-attack opener when they scored from the penalty spot, but a fine header from another Mata corner by Branislav Ivanovic won the game in stoppage time, going some way to making up for the Serbian's suspension from the game in Munich 12 months earlier.
For 10 days Chelsea were the first club to hold both European trophies simultaneously, and the first English club, and fourth overall, to win all three major UEFA competitions.
The weekend before that Wednesday match, the team had effectively assured a place back in the Champions League competition by beating Aston Villa 2-1 away, but there is far more to the story than that. Typically, such crucial goals had come from the boot of Frank Lampard, the 202 and 203 strikes of his Chelsea career, first equalling and then beating Bobby Tambling's all-time club goalscoring record.
Another important goal had come in early May at Old Trafford, Mata ensuring Chelsea became the last to beat a Manchester United side managed by the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson. Mata won the Chelsea Player of the Year for a second successive season, contributing 20 goals to the all-time Chelsea highest total for a season - 147. Torres was top scorer with two more than Mata and in their first seasons in London, the young and exciting Oscar and Eden Hazard played 64 of the 69 games.
At the end of the season Benitez moved onto Napoli and in June 2013 the familiar figure of Jose Mourinho returned to helm after his own spell in Italy and in Spain.