Five, Ten, Fifteen
feature Fri 24 Mar 2017
A first Chelsea goal for a current defender and important FA Cup victories feature in our latest reflective look at events from five, 10 and 15 years ago...
This week five years ago began in fine fashion as we thumped Leicester City, who were a Championship side at the time, 5-2 in the FA Cup to set up a semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley. How times change!
Gary Cahill scored his first goal for the club to give us the lead and celebrated by lifting his shirt to reveal a vest showing support for his former Bolton team-mate Fabrice Muamba, who had been taken very seriously ill in a game against Tottenham.
Fernando Torres, meanwhile, ended a lengthy period without a goal by scoring twice on an entertaining afternoon at Stamford Bridge.
Attention quickly turned to the Premier League where we faced two tough matches in the space of four days and in the first of those, away at Manchester City, we were beaten late on having led through another Cahill strike. Samir Nasri sealed a 2-1 win for the hosts with four minutes remaining.
On the Saturday, it was a warm-up for the FA Cup semi-final as we welcomed Tottenham to the Bridge for the early kick-off.
A game of few clear-cut opportunities ended goalless, with Cahill producing a brilliant tackle to deny Emmanuel Adebayor as the striker looked set to win it for the visitors.
Thankfully, our unbeaten home record against the north Londoners continued, and we would thoroughly enjoy our next meeting a few weeks later.
In terms of the Premier League table we had started the week, and ended it, in fifth position. There was still plenty of work to do if we were to put pressure on those teams occupying the Champions League positions.
Tottenham feature once again as we look back on events from this week 10 years ago, with the FA Cup sixth-round replay between the sides taking place at White Hart Lane on the Monday night.
After a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Bridge, the Blues progressed to the last four courtesy of a 2-1 win in N17, and the game will always be remembered – especially by those travelling Chelsea supporters in attendance – for Andriy Shevchenko’s stunning strike which gave us the lead.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, playing in a new role in central midfield, added a brilliant second before the break and despite Robbie Keane’s late penalty we held on for a memorable victory.
The only sour note of the evening was a Tottenham supporter racing onto the pitch to confront Frank Lampard as the Chelsea players celebrated wildly. Thankfully, he was quickly apprehended and we were able to look forward to a semi-final date with Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.
A delighted Jose Mourinho reserved special praise for two members of his side, saying: ‘The best team won. We were very solid defensively and had good control of the ball possession, with John Mikel Obi the key.
‘In the last two games Shaun Wright-Phillips, in a new role, has also been possibly man-of-the match.’
It was an eventful period on and off the pitch 15 years ago, with two pieces of good news in the week leading up to our Premier League game at Anfield.
On the Tuesday, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink attended a disciplinary hearing and was found not guilty of elbowing Southampton’s Claus Lundekvam on New Year’s Day, and two days later Emmanuel Petit’s wife gave birth to a little girl.
The weekend’s action began with our youth team drawing 3-3 against Arsenal at the training ground, with Carlton Cole scoring a hat-trick past Matthew Niedzwiecki, son of our former goalkeeper Eddie.
A day later, however, we were cruelly beaten at Liverpool having more than matched the home side for long spells. Vladimir Smicer volleyed home a 90th-minute winner, meaning it was a long journey home for the travelling Blues.