Chelsea have undoubtedly had plenty of success in recent times, but has the West London club ever won the treble? We’ll get to that shortly, but first we should explain what is generally meant when people talk about winning “the treble”.
What Is the Treble?
The idea of “winning a treble” literally means winning three different trophies in the same season, just as Manchester United fans claimed their victories in the Europa League, the League Cup and the Community Shield under Jose Mourinho constituted a treble. But really it is generally refined to those trophies seen as the most prestigious and important for it be called “the treble” (by anyone other than fans of the club in questions, at least).
Continental, Domestic & Cup Trebles
Across European football, winning the treble, also known as the continental treble, is typically achieved by winning a country’s top division, their primary cup competition and the Champions League, all in the same season. In English football, the treble is therefore comprised of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League. However, there is also the lesser-mentioned “domestic treble”, which is achieved if a team manages to win both domestic cup competitions and the top league, hence a team that wins the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup.
Other might also consider a “cup treble” to be valid, whereby a team might miss out on their domestic league, but win two domestic trophies and one in Europe. For example, an English team might win the FA Cup, the League Cup and then either the Champions League or the Europa League.
Have Chelsea Ever Won the Treble?
As of 2022, the Blues have never managed to win a domestic treble, a continental treble or a cup treble. In fact, only a singular English team has ever completed the continental treble, that being Manchester United. The Red Devils managed to achieve this rare feat in the 1998/99 season under Alex Ferguson, and this achievement remains unequalled in English football.
Only seven teams in Europe have ever won the continental treble, with the list of elite clubs made up of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Celtic, Inter, Man United and PSV. Barcelona and Bayern remain the only two clubs to have ever achieved the treble twice. In terms of the domestic treble, this was completed for the first time in 2018/19 by Manchester City; it was the ultimate representation of Guardiola’s side’s domestic dominance yet in some ways it also highlighted their inability to be successful in Europe. Indeed, Celtic actually won the quadruple that season (1966/67) as they added the Scottish League Cup to the league, Scottish Cup and European Cup.
In the 2000/01 season, Liverpool won a cup treble (of the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup) despite finishing only third in the Premier League. But many people – especially Everton fans – don’t consider this to be a real treble. Towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign, Liverpool were eyeing up the quadruple. But despite landing the FA Cup and the League Cup (beating Chelsea on penalties in each!), they finished as runners-up in the Premier League (to Manchester City) and the Champions League (to Real Madrid). But enough about Liverpool, let’s get back to Chelsea!
What Is the Closest Chelsea Have Come to Winning the Continental Treble?
The closest that the Pensioners have come to completing the continental treble has to be the 2011/12 season, in which they managed to win both the Champions League and the FA Cup. Just two weeks before their infamous Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich, the Blues had managed to defeat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final. Goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba secured the world’s oldest football trophy for the Blues, with the Reds only managing one in reply, through Andy Carroll.
Chelsea were then able to carry on this winning form in the Champions League final, which saw the Blues defeating Bayern on penalties, claiming their first ever UCL trophy and their second trophy of the season, leaving them just a Premier League shy of a continental treble.
However, despite their fantastic form in other competitions, Chelsea had struggled in the league, finishing in a disappointing sixth, with a tally of only 64 points that included 10 losses and 10 draws. Under Andre Villas-Boas, who began the season as Blue’s boss, Chelsea struggled with poor form, including a spell in which they only managed to win three out of 12 league games between December and March, which is definitely not treble form!
By the time the Portuguese manager was sacked in March, Chelsea were already way out of the title race, meaning that Roberto Di Matteo, who was able to win both the FA Cup and Champions League as caretaker, was never in with a chance of completing a first treble for the Blues.
What Is the Closest Chelsea Have Come to Winning the Domestic Treble?
The closest Chelsea have come to winning the domestic treble has to be their double-winning season, the 2009/10 campaign. After storming to a third Premier League title, under Carlo Ancelloti, they then were able to continue their domestic hot streak by beating Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup final, securing their sixth trophy in the competition, and their second of the season.
However, in order to win the domestic treble, there is also the small matter of winning the League Cup, and this is where Chelsea faltered. As a Premier League team, the Blues joined the cup competition in the third round, where they were able to defeat Queens Park Rangers 1-0. Chelsea then went on to brush aside Bolton Wanderers 4-0 in the fourth round, before going on to face Blackburn Rovers in the fifth.
This is where Ancelloti’s side came unstuck, as the game finished 3-3 in normal time, with neither side then able to find the net in extra time. Penalties were therefore required, and the Lancashire side were victorious, meaning that Chelsea’s hopes of winning a first-ever domestic treble were ended by December. This season also presented a chance for Chelsea to win the continental treble, but they were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Inter Milan. By most people’s reckoning, this remains Chelsea’s most successful season ever.
Have Chelsea Ever Won a Treble of Trophies?
Although they have never managed to win either of the domestic or continental trebles, the Blues have managed to win three trophies in the same season on one occasion. This feat was achieved during the double-winning 2009/10 campaign, in which they also managed to win the Community Shield early in the season.
In front of a packed-out Wembley crowd, Chelsea defeated reigning Premier League champions, Manchester United, 4-1 on penalties, after the game had finished 2-2 after 120 minutes. In reality though, few people (other than perhaps some hopeful Chelsea fans) would ever consider that to have been a real treble.