LiveScore's Gavin Glicksman, a lifelong Chelsea fan, looks back at 2020-21 and ponders whether Thomas Tuchel can deliver more success this term.
Last season was one Chelsea fans will never forget.
For the second time in the club’s history, the Champions League trophy ended up at Stamford Bridge — arguably against the odds.
Back in 2012, Roberto Di Matteo led the Blues to European success when it appeared Didier Drogba and Co were destined to never lift the cup with the big ears.
Having knocked out old foes Barcelona along the way, taking on Bayern Munich in their own backyard without the suspended John Terry and a host of other injured and banned stars was never going to be easy.
Thanks to Drogba’s stunning headed equaliser two minutes from time, we found ourselves one spot-kick away from glory in the decisive penalty shootout.
And the man from the Ivory Coast did what he did best throughout his career in a blue shirt by stepping up to the win the match. On this occasion, it just so happened to be the biggest game in the club's history.
That was, of course, until Tuchel’s troops found themselves in the final last term.
It had been a strange campaign, highlighted by the disappointing axing of club legend Frank Lampard.
The man we all loved — Chelsea's top scorer and winner of multiple trophies as a player — was sacked without being given the chance to complete a second season in charge.
That is the way at Chelsea, we all know that, but Lamps deserved better having guided the team to fourth in the Premier League and the FA Cup final in 2019-20.
Add in the fact he had achieved that against the backdrop of a transfer ban, while also bringing through the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, just added to the sadness.
Whether he meant to or not, Tuchel immediately endeared himself to the Chelsea faithful by thanking his predecessor for everything he had done.
The German was respectful and seemed genuinely delighted to have been handed the reins at one of the most trigger-happy clubs around.
There was cause for optimism and yet we faced an uphill battle to even qualify for the Champions League again, let alone win it.
Tuchel discarded Abraham, left Olivier Giroud warming the bench more often than not and brought Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso in from the cold.
He switched to a back three, kept faith with the misfiring Timo Werner and managed to get the best out of Kai Havertz.
Most importantly, he stuck with Mount, who has firmly established himself as one of the first picks for both club and country.
To put it simply, the England man has all the attributes to go down in history as Chelsea's biggest success story from the academy since Terry. In fact, he could even end up surpassing him.
The football was not always pretty but Tuchel’s team got the results needed to secure a top-four finish while also reaching the FA Cup final.
That trip to Wembley is something I would rather not talk about. The disappointing 1-0 defeat to Leicester aside, it was far from a normal Cup final.
I was lucky enough to be one of 20,000 fans at the national stadium but it was an unsettling affair, thanks in no small part to coronavirus restrictions forcing even supporters from the same households to leave a seat spare between them.
Thankfully, better was to come.
And it was even sweeter that the last game of the season, with the biggest prize in European football up for grabs, was against Premier League champions Manchester City.
Havertz, 22, was the coolest man in the Estadio do Dragao in Porto when he latched on to Mount’s brilliant pass, skipped around Ederson and rolled the ball into the back of the net.
It was enough to sink City, secure Champions League glory and ensure Tuchel will always be remembered at the Bridge.
As for how long he lasts is anyone’s guess. Knowing Chelsea, the axe will drop quickly if performances and results do not continue to meet the club’s incredibly high standards.
Personally, I’ll just be glad to be back in my regular seat, the one I’ve occupied for more than two decades, next to my dad and surrounded by familiar faces as full crowds return to grounds across the country.
Watching every game on TV during the pandemic was fantastic but there is no escaping the fact that football is not the same without packed stadiums.
As pre-season preparations continue against Bournemouth tonight, the top four is a minimum requirement for Chelsea this term — just as it is every season.
Alongside that, I will always happily take FA Cup success. Having lost back-to-back finals, I truly hope it can be third time lucky this time around.