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Didier Drogba and Wembley: A Winning Combination


Didier Drogba is a player who certainly needs no introduction. In fact, let's just skip past all that prosaic nonsense and get straight to the facts. But let's just say that I sure hope he's in the starting lineup tonight!

Didier Drogba has played 9 matches in Chelsea colors at Wembley, 7 of which actually mattered as they were not glorified friendlies. In those 7 matches, he has 7 goals - one in each of them. In those 7 matches, Chelsea have 6 wins.

Join me on a quick stroll down memory lane as we take a look at each of these 7 goals. If you have a subscription to Chelsea TV, they have a nice video of all of them, although I will include a YouTube clip or three below as well for the ones that I like best.

2007.V.19. - FA Cup Final

Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0 - The one that started it all and still my favorite. A match pitting the two great powers had been stuck at a stalemate for 115 minutes. The New Wembley stadium was still looking for its first FA Cup goal. Then something very special happened:

Five years on from this goal, we may just end up relying on the same four players to unlock our path to victory this time as well. Salomon Kalou controls a long ball forward and lays it back to John Obi Mikel. Mikel dinks a simple ball in to Drogba, who flicks it to his left. Frank Lampard's there to volley it back into the path of Drogba, who had turned the other way in the meantime to leave Rio Ferdinand grasping at air. Didier gets a toe to it just before the sprawling van der Sar to give Chelsea the FA Cup.

2008.II.28. - Carling Cup Final

Chelsea 1 Tottenham 2 - Not nearly as happy an occasion as the first one, as Spurs come back to win this one in extra time on a header from Jonathan Woodgate. Drogba opens the scoring in the first half with a free kick special, curling it around the wall into the bottom corner. This was the first of just four matches that Chelsea would lose under Avram Grant in the second half of the 2007-08 season - all but one of which eliminated Chelsea from a trophy (Carling Cup final, FA Cup quarterfinals, Champions League final). Let's hope Roberto Di Matteo continues his run as the anti-Grant!

2009.IV.18. - FA Cup Semifinal

Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1 - If there's one way to increase Drogba's chances of scoring, it's to pit him against Arsenal. With just 6 minutes to go in a finely balanced 1-1 match, Arsenal put on their clownshoes and get beaten by a simple long ball over the top.

Positively Barcelona-esque from the Gunners as Lampard hoofs one upfield. With Drogba outpacing the hapless Silvestre, Lukasz Fabianski makes the decision to come for the ball. But it's a terrible choice as Didier gets there well before, rounds the keeper, and taps it home. Off comes the shirt and off go Chelsea into the Final.

2009.V.30. - FA Cup Final

Chelsea 2 Everton 1 - After Chelsea scourge Louis Saha gives Everton the lead inside the first minute, Drogba equalizes in open play with a well-placed header. Nicolas Anelka dribbles around, Florent Malouda bangs a cross into the middle, and Didier arrives like a freight train to head home in-between five (5!) Everton defenders. Frank Lampard's second half stunner (pick THAT out!) wins it for Chelsea.

2010.IV.10. - FA Cup Semifinal

Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 0 - Drogba opens the scoring in the second half by diverting home John Terry's shot after Villa fail to properly clear a corner. This one was pretty easy.

2010.V.15. - FA Cup Final

Chelsea 1 Portsmouth 0 - A surreal matchup if there ever was one with all the drama around Pompey, not to mention that side incident where Kevin Prince Boateng ends Michael Ballack's World Cup hopes. And amongst all that, Didier scores the only goal of the match to secure Chelsea's historic Double. It was another free kick, this one more his "special" knuckle-ball variety. It's worth watching the full highlights on this one as Chelsea hit the woodwork 54 times in the first half, including Kalou from about 2 yards out, while Petr Cech saves a penalty and Frank Lampard shanks one wide:

2012.IV.15 - FA Cup Semifinal

Chelsea 5 Tottenham 1 - Last, but certainly not least, we have the one that's freshest in our minds. Yet another "I am Didier Drogba and you are not" moment as he dominates William Gallas completely out of the SB Nation player database with strength, a brilliant first touch, and turn, before firing an unstoppable shot past Brad Friedel Carlo Cudicini with his weaker foot. Chelsea, previously listless and uninspiring, go on to rout Spurs and book their 3rd FA Cup final in 4 years and 4th in 6.

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