Men on the spot
Inside Blue Tue 22 May 2018
Eden Hazard proved he was the man for the big occasion when he converted the penalty which secured Chelsea’s eighth FA Cup triumph at Wembley last weekend.
The Belgian has a good record of success for the Blues from the penalty spot, converting 20 of his 25 attempts for the club before our showdown against Manchester United at Wembley.
And after being brought down by Phil Jones for the crucial spot kick midway through the first half, he duly stepped up and sent David De Gea the wrong way as we beat the Red Devils 1-0 to bring the famous trophy back to Stamford Bridge.
It may have been the first time that a penalty had secured FA Cup glory for the Blues but there have been a few other occasions when spot kicks have been pivotal to our success.
Peter Sillett 1955
In eight seasons with Chelsea from 1953 to 1961, full-back Peter Sillett netted 19 of his 29 goals for the Blues from the penalty spot with the most important coming against Wolverhampton Wanderers in April 1955. The clubs were battling for the league title when we met in front of a crowd of 75,000 at the Bridge in a tight game, which was scoreless in the 75th minute when we were awarded a penalty after Wolves defender, Billy Wright, had punched the ball clear. Goalkeeper Bert Williams had made a number of fine saves but he couldn’t stop Sillett, who smashed home the only goal of the game as the Blues won 1-0 and went on to clinch our first-ever championship two weeks later.
Frank Leboeuf 1997
In his time with the Blues, French defender Frank Leboeuf had an exceptional record as a penalty-taker, converting on 15 of his 17 opportunities. The most crucial came in our FA Cup fifth-round replay against Leicester City in February 1997 when the referee pointed to the spot deep into extra-time after Erland Johnsen had tumbled in the Foxes’ box. Leicester goalkeeper Kasey Keller had stopped everything thrown at him by the Blues for nearly two hours but he was sent the wrong way by Leboeuf, as Chelsea won 1-0 en route to lifting the FA Cup for the first time in 27 years.
Frank Lampard 2008
No player has taken or converted as many penalties for Chelsea than Frank Lampard, who fired home 49 of the 58 which he took for us. While the list includes a famous thrice-taken effort against West Ham in 2010 and the late equaliser against Napoli in 2012, none carried the emotional weight of the one he took against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals in 2008. Playing his first game after the death of his mother a week earlier, Super Frank stepped up in extra-time after Michael Ballack had been felled by Sami Hyypia and sent the ball past Pepe Reina to give us the lead, as we marched on to our first-ever appearance in the Champions League final.
Didier Drogba 2012
Having scored the late equaliser against Bayern Munich to send the 2012 Champions League final to extra-time, it seemed fitting that Didier Drogba would be the man given the opportunity to win it for the Blues with the final attempt in the penalty shootout. The Ivorian had not had the opportunity four years earlier in Moscow after he had been sent off in extra-time against Manchester United, but he made up for that by taking a short run-up and tucking the ball past Manuel Neuer into the bottom corner of the net to secure our – and London’s - first-ever Champions League triumph.
Eden Hazard 2015
Eden Hazard’s effort against Manchester United at Wembley marked the second time that he had been given the opportunity to win a trophy for Chelsea with a penalty kick. He actually fluffed his earlier opportunity against Crystal Palace in the Premier League in May 2015 when his penalty late in the first half was saved by goalkeeper Julian Speroni. However, the Belgian literally kept his head and when the ball looped up after striking Speroni, he got to it first and nodded into the opposite corner of the net to give us a 1-0 win which sealed our 2014/15 Premier League triumph.