Chelsea Football Club has seen a dramatic upturn in fortunes since the late nineties. The takeover of the club by Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich served to only push the club higher as it rose from Zola inspired FA Cup wins to Premier League winners and eventually, Champions of Europe.
Along the way, they have had a series of inspiring managers. Joining this list now is Maurizio Sarri. The talent has been world class from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard to Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and now, joining them is Jorginho.
In this slideshow, we will take a look at Chelsea’s most iconic and milestone victories of the modern era.
#4 Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic (2010)
The Chelsea entertainers under Carlo Ancelotti needed a win on the last day to keep Manchester United at bay and end the Mancunian hegemony on the league title. Most teams might have been unnerved considering United had clinched three titles in a row, the first time that had happened in the Premier League.
But in the face of uncertainty, Chelsea displayed nerves of steel and proceeded to smash 8 past a hapless Wigan side. If there were any doubts pertaining to nerves, they were laid to rest as Frenchman Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea the lead after just six minutes. Another Frank Lampard penalty followed before halftime, following which the floodgates opened.
Six goals in the second half including a second for Anelka, a hat-trick for Drogba and a rare Ashley Cole goal guaranteed that Chelsea romped to the title, their first without Mourinho at the helm, in outstanding fashion.
The season also involved an FA Cup title win, securing Chelsea’s first ever league and cup double. Along the way, Chelsea scored 103 goals, a record that stood till Manchester City broke it this season.
The match is an important milestone since it banished the ghost of Jose Mourinho to the past and allowed Chelsea to move forward, until they re-appointed him half a decade later.
#3 Chelsea 1-0 Stuttgart (1998)
The final of the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1998 allowed a pre-Abramovich Chelsea to announce its arrival at the European table. The competition, restricted to those who had won national cup competitions was at the time, the second largest European competition.
It saw participation from nearly 50 clubs from as many countries and was an intriguing tournament. Chelsea’s journey to the finals saw them face off against Slovakian and Norwegian opponents in the first two rounds before clashing with the Copa Del Rey holders, Real Betis.
After comprehensively beating the Spaniards, Chelsea set up a clash with the Coppa Italia winners – Vicenza and overcame them after some resistance.
In the Stockholm final, Chelsea took on Stuttgart. The first half was an intensely dogged one, well contested by both teams. The game was locked in stalemate and in an effort to bring about a change, assistant manager Graham Rix threw on Gianfranco Zola for Tore Andre Flo in the 71st minute.
The diminutive Italian had an immediate impact on the game. He picked up an accurate and well-played pass from captain Dennis Wise and half-volleyed the ball into the top right corner. Despite an undisciplined end to the match, the Blues held on for a famous win, one that helped established the club on the European stage.
#2 Chelsea 5-0 Manchester United (1999)
The Premier League clash between the two teams wasn’t quite the titanic clash it is today. Chelsea, under the stewardship of Gianluca Vialli, looked like a dangerous team but a fairly inconsistent one.
Over the past few years, the West London Club had established itself as a regular challenger for cup competitions.
Despite their inconsistencies, they definitely turned up on October 3rd of 1999 as they thoroughly outclassed a star-studded and treble holder Manchester United team, managed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.
In a blistering start, Gus Poyet, who later managed Sunderland, gave Chelsea the lead in the first of two goals he would score that night, after only 28 seconds as United custodian Massimo Taibi missed his punch. The goal is followed by a first for the expensive flop, Chris Sutton before Nicky Butt is sent of for United.
After Poyet finishes a rebound that Taibi could only parry to his feet, Hennig Berg inadvertently turned the ball into his own net before the rout was completed after a superbly well worked move, finished by Jody Morris.
#1 Bayern Munich 3-4 (pk) Chelsea (2012)
What else could it be? The crowning moment for Roman’s Chelsea army, achieved in a season that at the halfway point promised nothing but more turmoil. The manager, Andreas Villas Boas like many before him had arrived to great fanfare but failed to live up to expectations.
Mid-way through the season, Villas Boas was sacked and Chelsea were on the brink of elimination against Napoli.
The appointment of Roberto Di Matteo saw an upswing in fortune through a combination of the restoration of the old guard and spine (i.e Drogba, Lampard, Terry etc.) and the abandonment of a suicidal high line.
The semi-finals, which saw Chelsea overcome Barcelona in a tenacious display and an outrageous comeback against Napoli, both of which could have their own entries in all honesty set up the title clash at Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich. What followed was the greatest night in Chelsea’s 113 year history.
With talismanic captain John Terry suspended, Chelsea spent most of the match on the back foot, playing a patient game and hoping to hit Bayern on the counter. Inevitably, Bayern took the lead in the 83rd minute and it looked like Chelsea hearts would be shattered once more. And then Didier Drogba popped up with a wondrous header from a Juan Mata corner to equalise.
In a poetic turn of events, the man to bring home Old Big Ears to the Bridge, to fulfill Roman’s dream and to catapult the West London Club to the pinnacle of the game was none other than Didier Drogba.