In football, the saying 'form team' is branded about a hell of a lot. However, Chelsea may actually be the only true 'form team' in world football.
Form usually goes out the window when fixture congestion, to the extent of what Chelsea have faced in the last 10 days happens. How many Chelsea fans truly believed we would get through the last 10 days unbeaten? Take Arsenal for example they had a similar - however much less daunting - 10 days last year in March. They had Birmingham in the league cup final, a premiership match and two legs against Barcelona. They showed fight in the first leg at the Emirates taking a 2-1 lead to the Nou Camp. They were in fantastic 'form' too, having one the three league games prior to this. However, as we all know between Laurent Koscielny's shocker at Wembley and Samir Nasri's failure to track any of Dani Alves' runs, their season was effectively over. Form went out the window.
One can also look to Chelsea's other North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who, until recent weeks were enjoying their greatest premiership season with, some, labelling them as title contenders. They had just beaten Newcastle 5-0 in arguably the greatest team performance of their recent history. They were on a great run in all competitions before this. This result was AFTER Capello had been sacked and the Redknapp media frenzy had begun. Then it happened. They were leading Arsenal 2-0 and everything was sailing on. The 'form team' was prevailing. Cut to Redknapp making two highly questionable substitutions at half time and they concede 5. Since that horrific defeat, their season has resembled Ledley King's knee - once their rock and epitome of everything stable at the club to being made to look like a pensioner by Grant Holt.
Barcelona are without doubt the greatest club side in the last decade and there are some who say that they are the greatest ever, Graham Souness included. They had won 15 consecutive games until the first leg at Stamford Bridge. They had Chelsea twice and Real Madrid once in 6 days. I'm afraid fixture congestion got the best of even them, as they played parallel pass after parallel pass with no sense of a plan B in the second half at the Nou Camp.
The term 'Form Team' has always been true when talking about Chelsea, just ask AVB. The likes of Terry, Cole, Lampard and Drogba seem to look entirely lost if they haven't won for a while, with fickle fans calling for their heads. However, suddenly like the effects of an acid trip from a bygone time, a couple of victories seems to incur flashbacks of monumental proportions. Last night being the greatest example of this. The 'Old Guard' as the media have branded them, defended like they did with Mourinho at the peak of their careers. Over six years, eight managers have tried and, on the most part, failed to rekindle consistently our defensive excellence between 2004 and 2006. However, rather more occasionally then we have liked it all seems to come back to us once we've picked up a bit of form. This happened under Hiddink and actually again in the climax of last season, where we were two points of staging the greatest premier league title comeback in its history.
In the build up to both Wembley and Munich, you will hear many pundit and journalist alike utter the words 'Well, you can throw the form book out the window.' I urge you just to smile and to think to yourself 'Not with us you can't.'