Ancelotti making all the difference to Chelsea

Published Oct. 5, 2009 9:04 p.m. ET

There are 'must win' matches and there are 'can't lose' matches. There are 'massive' matches and then there are 'statement' matches.

At Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Chelsea made a statement that the will ring long and loud around the English Premier League.

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Do you remember this time last season when the Blues were riding the crest of the wave? The football was glowing, the goals were flowing and they seemed unbeatable. Then they hit a speed bump in the form of Liverpool.

The Reds waltzed into the Bridge and ended the Londoners' magnificent unbeaten home run. Revenge was sweet as that Merseyside speed bump was not just driven over, it was completely flattened with a display of power, hunger and swagger that I've not seen from a Chelsea team since the Jose Mourinho era.

What a difference a year makes. And that difference is Carlo Ancelotti.

To manage a club like Chelsea you need to be a big manager. A manager that inspires, one that knows how to win, a manager who you can look his players in the eye and say: 'I've been there and I've got the medals to prove it.'

Ancelotti is all that and more.

If you examine what the Italian has achieved in his four months at the club since taking over from Guus Hiddink, you'd be tempted to say 'he's changed nothing' — and that, my friends, is the genius at the heart of this story.

How many times have you seen new coaches move to a stable club and change everything to satisfy their own egos? Ancelotti correctly realized that this was a squad that had rediscovered its passion for football towards the end of last season. What he needed to do was to keep this fire stoked.