CNN Sport's correspondent Christina Macfarlane
remembers Chelsea fans' quiet satisfaction when the team's impressive performance secured their English Premier League title success last season.
But as Chelsea, who play Liverpool at Stamford Bridge Saturday, struggle to reverse their dismal decline this time around, it couldn't be more apparent that football can be full of surprises.
We were live on CNN Sport that day from the rooftop of the pub opposite and I snapped this picture right after the game. Chelsea had just beaten Crystal Palace 1-0
with a header by star player Eden Hazard. That goal capped a season of outright dominance from Chelsea.
Like an unstoppable train, Chelsea managed to get their noses out in front early in the season, then battened down their defenses, losing just three times. It's a tactic that earned them equal amounts of praise and censure for "parking the bus" as a means of getting the job done.
How? I remember turning and thinking "wow" as a sea of blue flooded out from the Shed End. What struck me most was not something you can see -- there was an almost intangible wave of emotion from the subdued crowd.
None of the boisterous, boastful and joyful cheering that usually accompanies a home win at Stamford Bridge, let alone a title win. Just the quiet contentment of knowing they were back on top, in the biggest football league in the world.
Why? This photo speaks to me about how much football gives but also how dramatically it can take away.
After a terrible start to this season -- Chelsea have already lost five league matches -- last season's champions are languishing at 15th in the Premier League table. And last year's star manager is fighting to keep his team from unraveling at the seams -- and arguably keep his job.
Without wanting to upset too many Chelsea supporters, this does of course make for a far superior season for fans of the game! What will happen next given how far the mighty have fallen.
: In some ways I feel inextricably linked to Chelsea. After living just a stone's throw from the stadium for five years, my first ever live report for CNN was in a Fulham pub on the night of the 2012 Champions League final where Chelsea stunned Bayern Munich in a dramatic penalty shootout to win their first ever European Cup.
We were standing wall-to-wall amongst delirious crowds of thronging Chelsea fans, soaked in beer, watching it all unfold. To date, it is one of the most vivid, intoxicating days of football drama that I can remember.
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