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WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020: Number 18

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Reminiscing about our most favorite and Chelsea’s greatest goals from the past ~20 years

The rules were simple: 5 bloggers, 4 rounds, snake draft. David picked first, then Yatco, Graham, André, and Rohaan. 20 goals in total.

All goals eligible except Didier Drogba’s equalizer in the 2012 Champions League final. Too obvious.

In reverse order, these are our favorite, greatest, bestest (however each of us interpreted the rules) Chelsea goals. You will probably disagree, but you’re probably wrong.


No. 18

Demba Ba vs. Manchester United, 2013

In a more poetically-inclined universe, Demba Ba might never have landed.

He’d have hung above the Stamford Bridge turf, bathing in the April sunlight, as the Powers considered a fitting tribute to his audacity. The decision, I think, would have been both quick and unanimous.

Ba would have been transmuted, asterised, placed in the heavens. The Powers might adapt Hercules for the purpose, leaving a new constellation acrobatically guiding the golden ball of M13 off somewhere into deep time.

In our more prosaic reality, YouTube will do.

Volleys are meant to be short and sharp. The definition is buried in the name, as any etymologically-inclined fool would be able to tell you. A crack, a burst, an expression of force and, hopefully, a goal. This volley was not like that. You’d be hard pressed to find anything of its type in the archives. Volleys aren’t meant to be delicate and they aren’t meant to be lobs.

Yet here is Demba Ba at full stretch, tenderly flipping the ball over an astonished and admiring David de Gea to win Chelsea an FA Cup match. This was more or less his only option — the combination of run and pass and position meant that any attempt at power was doomed to embarrassing failure — but that doesn’t make the result any less stunning.

It was a decent pass from Juan Mata, who drifted deep and waited for Ba to make a move past Rio Ferdinand, but no more than that. This moment is all about Ba, who only made 50 appearances for the club but scored some memorable goals, pulling off the wildly implausible.

We’re going to see a lot of great goals in here over the upcoming weeks, but I think this one is special in the fact that it does not exist on any sort of difficulty spectrum. You can’t score a merely good version of Ba’s goal, like one might score a pretty good free kick or a pretty well-worked team goal or chip or solo dribble or whatever. For Ba, it was immortality or nothing.

Look, I could try to hamfistedly write about what he actually did some more. I could talk about the contortion he undertakes to get his shot on target, the utter shock on Rio Ferdinand’s face, the aesthetic value of the tiny sliver of green between his bottom foot and the ground, the context of the game — from 2-0 down at Old Trafford to winning an FA Cup quarterfinal replay through that goal — but I’m not up to the task. Sorry. The only person who can do Demba Ba justice here is himself.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-CHELSEA-MAN UTD Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images

WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020:

No.18: Demba Ba vs. Manchester United, 2013
No.19: André Schürrle vs. Burnley, 2014
No.20: Alex vs. Liverpool, 2009