Team name: Chelsea Football Club
Nicknames: The Blues, Chels, Chelski, Chel$ki
Location: London. In the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham-not, oddly enough, the borough of Chelsea.
Ground: Stamford Bridge (capacity: 41,841).
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti, who is pretty clearly a teddy bear in human form. Look for him with his evil sidekick, Ray Wilkins, always whispering in his ear. At least, for now. Despite Ancelotti's success, he's no guarantee to remain in charge of the Stamford Bridge outfit, who are famous for cycling through managers faster than City go through midfielders. Ancelotti was brought on to win the Champion's League, and settled for kicking Chelsea into high attacking gear in the league instead after being knocked out by Jose ‘the Special One' Mourinho's Inter Milan.
Last year's record:
Premier League: 1st...almost bringing this preview thing to an end.
League Cup: Quarter-finals, lost to Blackburn on penalties.
FA Cup: Current holders, defeating Portsmouth to do the Double.
Champions League: Second round, fell to former manager Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.
Brief History: None. See We Ain't Got No History for more details.
Rivalries: Although Fulham are local, they're not so much as rival as a slightly dull witted younger brother who keeps walking into lampposts. Chelsea have been extremely successful against Manchester United over the years, which has lead to significant sniping over the years. The team is also probably sick of playing against Liverpool in the Champions League, as it seems barely a year can go by without a meetup between the Blues and the boys from Anfield.
Players to Watch: All of them. No, seriously, they're all fantastic (written by Graham). Picking out a few in particular...
Ashley Cole: The England left-back quite probably the finest wide defender in the world as well as being a class-A human being*. Able to defend one-on-one against wingers with ease, he has a habit of showing them up from the attacking end as well. Cole is a two-way player who enables Chelsea to operate with a playmaker in the left midfielder rather than a true wide man.
Michael Essien: Ghana's Michael Essien is the engine of the team, sorely missed when absent due to injury, as he was for most of last season. Capable of running straight through anyone who dares step into his path, ‘the Buffalo' also possesses a deft touch and a vicious shot, authoring some of Chelsea's most spectacular goals. Essien is probably the most important player on the team in his holding/playmaking role in front of the defense.
Didier Drogba: Not much more needs be said about the menacing Ivorian on the field, where he's known for his diving, whining, and potent threat in front of goal. What he loses in likability for his legendary sulks, he makes back in the fact that he once singlehandedly stopped a civil war. Huh.
Frank Lampard: Chiseled abs, a classic English visage framing those sparkling eyes... Lampard's glorious grin will leave women and more than a few men with their hearts beating just a little faster - stuttering is also a known side effect of over-exposure to Mr. Lampard. He's also pretty good on the pitch, scoring bundles of goals every season and finding himself in the top five on the Premiership goal leaderboards last year, despite being a midfielder. Frank ‘Tiny Nipples' Lampard has a knack for being just where opposing defenses don't want him. (Ed. We also lick our lips)
A Villa Fan Says... "Don't look so smug, you're ten years removed from being Citeh."
*One of those statements is a bald-faced lie.