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After a dream run last season ended with Chelsea being crowned Champions of Europe after a thrilling finale in Munich, the Blues will now divert their attention to the more pressing issue of returning to prominence in the Premier League, where they finished in a dismal 6th position last season. With the Italian Roberto Di Matteo being promoted from his interim status with a two-year deal from Russian owner Roman Abramovich, fans will be eager to see how much success the former player is able to achieve at Stamford Bridge.
The club began the previous summer with similar optimism after the owner bankrolled the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas. But the young Portuguese manager struggled against the might of the Chelsea dressing room and was eventually booted out in March. Di Matteo was promoted to the helm and he responded brilliantly by capturing the FA Cup and the clubâ€™s maiden Champions League crown in sensational style.The rebuilding process has begun in earnest as the club have already captured Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, with many more big names expected to arrive between now and the start of the season. With Chelseaâ€™s fixtures for next season being revealed, the 42 year-old will soon set about making plans to live up to the heavy expectations of the owner and the fans.
Chelsea kick start their domestic campaign by visiting relegation dodgers Wigan Athletic. Their first big test will come against last seasonâ€™s most acclaimed club Newcastle, whom they play the following weekend. This is followed by a period of several high profile games till the end of November. It begins with visits to North London sides Arsenal in September and Tottenham in October. These will be followed by home matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City, with away games at Swansea and West Brom also on the horizon/
The Blues enjoy a relatively easy run through the holiday period, with their next pivotal game coming against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in January. February sees Di Matteoâ€™s men visit Newcastle United and Manchester City and the Blues will be keen on grabbing most points from these crucial encounters.
After a relatively low key March, the Blues will host Spurs in the second week of April before making a trip to Merseyside to face Liverpool the following week. After dealing with Manchester United in the first week of May, the club will wrap up its season with games against Aston Villa and Everton.
Although there may be several rearrangements in the time-table due to the clubâ€™s involvement in the Club World Cup, Di Matteo will hope that the club makes enough big name signings this summer to account for the departures of Didier Drogba, Jose Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou, who left the club after their contracts expired at the end of last term. With a lot of football on their plate, the Italian boss will be on a trophy hunt as he ushers in a new era of success at Stamford Bridge.
Opening Day: Wigan Athletic (A) 18-08-2012
Important Matches: Newcastle United (H) 25-08-2012, Arsenal (A) 29-09-2012, Tottenham Hotspur (A) 20-10-2012, Manchester United (H) 27-10-2012, Liverpool (H) 10-11-2012, Manchester City (H) 24-11-2012, Arsenal (H) 19-01-2013, Newcastle United (A) 02-02-2013, Manchester City (A) 23-02-2013, Tottenham Hotspur (H) 13-04-2013, Liverpool (A) 20-04-2013, Manchester United (A) 04-05-2013
Boxing Day: Norwich City (A)
New Yearâ€™s Day: Queens Park Rangers (H)
Closing Day: Everton (H) 19-05-2013
- 03/07/2012 18:28 - Andre Villas-Boas unveiled as Tottenham manager
- 01/07/2012 16:48 - Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere to miss the start of the season
- 26/06/2012 18:38 - Arsenal complete Olivier Giroud signing