Five, Ten, Fifteen
feature Thu 16 Mar 2017
In our latest look at events from five, 10 and 15 years ago, dramatic fightbacks and a perfect hat-trick were the stories of the time...
When it comes to selecting the all-time great Chelsea fightbacks, the one from this week in 2012 is right up there. Although optimistic noises were made after a 3-1 defeat away to Napoli in a Champions League first leg, with hope that a special atmosphere at the Bridge might help to pull us through, chances back then felt pretty slim given no wins in the previous four matches before we went to Italy.
But a change in manager since had brought new impetus – with victory recorded in both games under Roberto Di Matteo prior to the Napoli second leg. And when it came to delivering big noise in London SW6 that night, the crowd delivered too.
That is was the triumvirate of Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard who scored our first three goals is not surprising. After Napoli had started strongly, Drogba and JT both buried headers, the second giving the Blues the lead on away goals moments into the second half. Napoli had been hampered by the first-half loss of influential wing-back Christian Maggio but went back in front on aggregate before Frank Lampard made the tie absolutely level from the penalty spot.
The identity of Chelsea’s fourth scorer on the night was another with a big reputation for delivering on big European nights – Branislav Ivanovic. The Blues had caused the Neapolitans problems throughout the game but midway through extra-time it was the boot of the Serbian that converted Drogba’s cross and we were on our way to the quarter-finals with ‘One Step Beyond’ ringing in our ears.
'It was difficult after we conceded the goal but we got another and played like a team and showed character,’ said Ivanovic. ‘This kind of game can change our season.’
'The atmosphere in the stadium was amazing,’ added Drogba, ‘it made a big difference. We've had some great nights here, but this was one of the best.’
In the Champions League it would be Benfica next for the Blues.
Another momentous recovery in a cup-tie took place this week in 2007, although unlike the Napoli game, we would still need a further 90 minutes to make it through to the next round. Tottenham had been drawn at home in the FA Cup and Chelsea were well into our pattern of not losing against the north Londoners when they came to Stamford Bridge. Did we run it close on this occasion however!
Spurs’ in-form centre-forward Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring after just four minutes of the quarter-final against a Chelsea side just back from an away European game, and although Lampard reacted quickest to a Michael Ballack cross to level it up, Petr Cech and Michael Essien then misread each other’s intention for an agonising own-goal. Jose Mourinho made a substitution and changed to three at the back before half-time but within a minute we were 3-1 down.
It could have got worse after half-time but the brilliance of Cech. Salomon Kalou as introduced as a sub with the game into its final half-hour and a first home defeat to Spurs for 17 years, and a first at the Bridge in any domestic match for three years, looming over the horizon.
Lampard scored from a scrambled corner – it was 2-3. Cech was called upon again, Essien went close and then five minutes from time, super sub Kalou volleyed in from Drogba’s knock down and we were thankfully off to White Hart Lane for a replay.
Before then, our campaign, which had already captured the League Cup, continued on another of the remaining three fronts with a 1-0 league win away at Man City - Lampard firing in a penalty for a personal tally of 20 goals for the second season running.
It was also Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in this week in 2002 and the home crowd were licking their lips with this midweek league game coming just three days after we had won 4-0 in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane. More of the same please!
There have been other ‘perfect hat-tricks’ of left-foot, right-foot, headed goals scored in Chelsea history but what followed is surely the best.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s first – the right-foot one – was scored midway through the first half. He cut inside and found the net with a powerful yet curving shot from long range. An hour in, Spurs’ Mauricio Taricco, involved in a red card for Graeme Le Saux the previous game, turned the tables and was dismissed. Hasselbaink then made it 2-0 with a flying header from a Jesper Gronkjaer cross and then from wide on the right having chased a ‘lost cause’, he whipped another curling shot from outside the area with his left-foot that gave Neil Sullivan no chance. It was JFH at his absolute finest.
Lampard just about got in on the act to make it 4-0 at the death, a scoreline that was remarkably repeated when Sunderland came visiting to give Claudio Ranieri’s Blues three 4-0s in a week. Willian Gallas with typical set-piece poaching, Eidur Gudjohnsen and the young pair of Mikael Forssell and Sam Dalla Bona were the scorers to take the team close to the Premier League top four.