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Top 5 matches of the year for Chelsea Football Club

Top 5 / Top 10 20 Dec 2012, 10:05 IST

From left to right – Gary Cahill, Florent Malouda, Jose Bosingwa and Fernando Torres , react as Drogba scores Chelsea’s decisive penalty, as they win the Champions League

As the year comes to an end, Chelsea faithful around the world will have mixed feelings. 2012 will go down as one of the most important years in Chelsea’s history. Another FA Cup and the first Champions League definitely showed the good side whereas defeats in the Super Cup and failure at the Club World Cup highlighted the disappointments. So here are my Top 5 matches of the year for Chelsea Football Club.

5. Chelsea 2 – 1 Liverpool [Wembley]

Ramires (pictured) wheels away after scoring Chelsea’s first goal in their 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Wembley to grab their 7th FA Cup

Chelsea had to be at their best to see off a brave Liverpool side. A goal from Samba blooded Ramires in the 11th minute ensured that Chelsea were out to give their best, but the first half soon died out, as both the teams failed to entertain and create decent chances. Drogba then scored a record-breaking 4th FA Cup final goal in the 52nd minute, as Chelsea began to shift gears.

Andy Carroll then came on as a substitute for the Merseysiders in the 55th minute and introduced himself with a bang, as he forced his shot through the hands of Petr Cech. Controversies are ever-present, whenever these two teams meet, and though half the crowd in red at Wembley believed that the former Newcastle talisman had completed an astonishing come-back, the 82nd minute header was deemed to have not crossed the line and replays confirmed that a few inches had saved Chelsea some embarrassment. Cech was pivotal as he was the one who pushed Carroll’s header onto the bar.

The game ended with Chelsea’s John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba lifting the club’s 7th FA.

4. Chelsea 1 – 0 Barcelona [Home]

Revenge was knocking on the door. After re-watching the horrific 2009 match again and again, Chelsea fans like me were all pumped to see how Chelsea would fare against the best team in the world.

Didier Drogba’s theatrics from the start showed the negative side of Chelsea’s brilliant defensive performance against the Catalonians. Chelsea had one, and just one, shot at goal and they made it count. Frank Lampard dispossessed Lionel Messi at the center of the park and lofted the ball upfield as Ramires revved up his engines to charge at it. He then cut the ball across at such a tight angle that he lost his balance. The ball then fizzed across to Didier Drogba, who despite not getting the ball properly, found it gliding past Valdes’s gloves. He then wheeled across to the Chelsea faithful who sang his name.

Lionel Messi, on the other hand, had 7 shots at goal. One off target, one on target and 5 blocked. A mere 130 passes to Barcelona‘s 402, showed that passing never wins you a game. Gary Cahill had an immense game, as he was applauded for stopping Messi and Sanchez from spoiling Roberto Di Matteo’s party.

What mattered most to the fans though, was that Chelsea had taken their revenge for 2009 by frustrating Barcelona to such an extent that they even forgot about Real Madrid and the La Liga table.

3. Chelsea 4 – 1 Napoli  [Home]

Ivanovic (R) celebrates with David Luiz after scoring against Napoli to send Chelsea through to the semifinal with an aggregate score of 5-4

After a 3-1 defeat at Naples, and former coach Andre Villas Boas having a first hand experience at the revolving doors in Cobham, Chelsea looked down and out in the Champions League despite grabbing a 1-0 win against Stoke City under Roberto Di Matteo.

Ramires swung the ball into the middle at the 28th minute and met Drogba’s diving head gracefully. With Chelsea leading, the faith in the hearts of fans everywhere grew. The captain’s call came when John Terry himself headed the ball in from a Frank Lampard corner in the 47th minute. With Chelsea looking more and more threatening, Napoli came up with a shock goal as Gokhan Inler’s shot found the back of the net. Chelsea were searching for a goal that would send this game to extra-time and they won a penalty after Ivanovic’s header from a corner hit the arm of Andrea Dossena. Frank Lampard stepped up like he always did and smashed the penalty home. Every member of the old guard had scored.

Deep into extra-time and Chelsea look menacing as they try to grab the goal that could send them through to the semi-finals.

Then, in the 105th minute, Drogba received the ball from Ramires at the right-flank. He then proceeded to the edge of the box with his back turned, rotated 360 degree and crosses the ball in. The ball flashed across the surface of the pitch, kissed Ivanovic’s boot and slammed into the top corner. They had done it; created a historical and magical night. 5-4 was the aggregate score and Chelsea had once again done the impossible.

2. Barcelona 2 – 2 Chelsea [Away]

50 million repaid? – Fernando Torres (pictured) celebrates scoring the second goal against Barcelona as Chelsea win 3-2 on aggregate

Everything you can imagine that can go wrong in one game went wrong is what all the Chelsea faithful had in their mind throughout the first half. A Gary Cahill injury in the 12th minute made sure that Chelsea had to play a right-back as the center-back against the best team in the world. Busquets then tied the game on aggregate in the 35th minute after scoring into an empty net, Cuenca being pivotal as he drew Cech away from his line and crossed in.

John Terry was then sent off in the 37th minute and each and every Chelsea fan have their arms on their heads. Captain, Leader, Legend who was expected to inspire brought them down again. The Chelsea faithful at Nou Camp chanted “Only One England Captain” as the man went down the tunnel.

44 minutes in and Messi found Iniesta with a gorgeous through-ball. The European player of the year calmly put the ball away past Petr Cech. All hope was lost as the fans begin to fear the worst. A 5-0 thumping on its way?

Then came a moment when we all realise why we actually love football. Frank Lampard put in a through ball right in between the defenders and Ramires got his running boots on. The Brazilian in him produced a deft touch and caught the under-side of the ball beautifully, as the ball found itself flying over Valdes’s hands and into the net, as the top-right corner of Camp Nou, erupted in joy. The faith was back.

48th minute and Fabregas went down after a challenge from Drogba. Despite being suspicious, the referee gave it. Lionel Messi stepped up and despite never having scored against Chelsea, was calm and collected as ever. With Cech trying his best to distract him, Messi hit the ball towards the right and Cech jumped to the left. Chelsea fans around the world got up and screamed ” GET IN THERE” as the ball hit the bar and bounced back.

Chelsea fans had an anxious look at their watches every 30 seconds as the clock slowly ticked away. Time slowly began slipping away and then it happened. IT happened.

Ashley Cole cleared the ball after another vain Barcelona attack, and found Fernando Torres, who had acres of space. The Spaniard just ran and ran. He approximately ran for about 6-8 seconds. Sit down and imagine what Chelsea fans around the world did in those seconds. What did I do? Close my eyes and waited for Gary Neville to begin.

I cried as the man ran towards the Chelsea faithful with his arms aloft in prayer. 10 men down and we had beaten the best team in the world at their own backyard. “I said it at the Bridge, I say it right now. Their name is written on the cup!” was how Gary Neville ended that night. One of the most memorable games I have experienced as a Chelsea fan.

1. Bayern Munich 1 – 1 Chelsea aet (4-3)  [Away]

Didier Drogba (pictured) gestures towards the fans while celebrating Chelsea’s European triumph

The greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club. The night when Didier Drogba was knighted. Chelsea were under heavy criticism for the way they “parked the bus” against Barcelona, but Di Matteo was having none of it. He started Ryan Bertrand on the left and gave the young man a Champions League debut in the final.

Chelsea barely looked in the mood to attack as Bayern had loads of chances and ended up missing them all. Then, in the 83rd minute, the face of the game changed. Thomas Mueller leapt to meet a cross sent in by German team-mate Toni Kroos, to ensure that the Bavarians were bound to have a happy German night.

This time though, I didn’t stop believing at all. I knew something would happen. I just had a gut feeling. Fernando Torres went on to win a corner in the 88th minute. Juan Mata stepped up and curled it in as Chelsea hurry. Drogba jumped up and connected with the header. Pure poetry in motion as the ball found itself in the back of the net. Chelsea fans around the world jumped out of their seats in joy and screamed till they couldn’t breathe.

Into extra-time the teams went and Bayern had a penalty as Drogba fouled Ribery at the edge of the box turning from hero to zero. Former Chelsea player Arjen Robben stepped up and shot the ball low and hard into the right corner. Petr Cech had saved us again as the Czech captain flew to the right and found the ball squirming at his feet.

Onto penalties the teams went and Chelsea fans had nightmares of Moscow 2008. Juan Mata gave Chelsea the worst possible start with a penalty miss, after German captain Lahm had scored. Gomez went on to score as Luiz slammed the ball past Neuer. The Bavarian goalkeeper stepped up, showed his confidence and scored. Chelsea’s captain for the night, Frank Lampard, then put the ball into the net as Olic missed for Bayern. Schweinsteiger then hit the pole after Cech pushes it away as Ashley Cole coolly put the ball past Neuer.

Didier Drogba then stepped up and the rest is history. With one kick of the boot, Chelsea were Champions of Europe. What did the fans do? “ ARE YOU WATCHING WHITE HART LANE”, as the Chelsea fans mocked their city rivals on how they had taken their Champions League spot.

Truly a memorable year for Chelsea Football Club.

What are your top 5 matches of the season?

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