Chelsea have had an interesting campaign this year. Qualifying for the Champions League by finishing 3rd in the Premier League and having a European final to look forward to seems like a successful season in the neutral’s eyes.
Yet the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge feels anything but a success. On the contrary, the Chelsea supporters wouldn’t mind seeing the back of Maurizio Sarri, barely after a season at the Bridge. But that’s a topic of discussion for another day.
For the moment, the Chelsea faithful are looking forward to the upcoming Europa League final against fellow London rivals Arsenal. The Blues have in fact won the competition once, having done so by defeating Benfica in 2013.
That victory in Amsterdam meant Chelsea became the first and the only team (thus far) to win the Champions League and the Europa League in successive seasons. Looking back at the triumph, the Europa League success six years ago was Eden Hazard’s first trophy with the Blues and if rumors are to be believed then the same trophy could be the parting gift from the Belgian superstar to the Chelsea fans.
On that day, however, Hazard missed the final showdown due to a hamstring injury but this time around the Chelsea man is fit and raring to go.
Therefore, on the eve of the final we take a look at what has become of that team as the current generation get ready to take on Arsenal in Baku:
Manager: Rafael Benitez
The 2013 European victory was masterminded by none other than the current Newcastle United Boss Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard had been appointed as the interim manager after Roberto De Matteo was sacked mid-season due to poor league form and an early Champions League exit.
Due to his history with Liverpool and past feuds with Jose Mourinho, the appointment of Benitez wasn’t a popular one. In spite of the fan protests, Benitez secured a third-place finish alongside that victory in Amsterdam.
The Spaniard left Stamford Bridge after the Europa League triumph and after a successful spell in Naples and a not so successful one with Real Madrid, Benitez found himself in the Championship.
Although, after three wonderful seasons at Tyneside, Benitez is a firm fan favorite but with transfer funds in short supply, it remains to be seen how long he sticks around in Newcastle.