After the rain, the sunshine. As the media rolled into Chelsea’s training center Tuesday, an unseasonal, wet and cold day in London and its surrounds gave way to a tentative glimpse of summer. It was the perfect meteorological metaphor for the club’s upturn under the guidance of interim coach Roberto Di Matteo.
It’s also been a campaign of contrasts, something worth contemplating as we watched Chelsea’s first team put through its paces in teeming rain from under a marquee. When the Barclays Premier League concluded on Sunday, it left the Blues in sixth, their lowest league position in a decade. Comfortably the worst league finish of the Roman Abramovich era, the unpredictability of nine months of soaring highs and perplexing lows offers hope of a happy ending — which will require snatching London’s first European champion title from four-time winner Bayern Munich in its own lair.
“This season just proved that in football, everything’s possible,” goalkeeper Petr Cech said while nodding after the workout. “After the Napoli away game (in the Champions League round of 16), everybody had written us off, and here we are in the final. Sometimes one unlucky game can change your season. Hopefully that unlucky game already happened a few times in the league, and it’ll be a different story.”