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.
Ramires vs. Barcelona, 2012
Stories of triumph against the odds always carry with them an aura of destiny. Of course Chelsea were going to win this tie. Of course we were going to win the Champions League. An hour after I sent this tweet, noted astronomy enthusiast Gary Neville ejaculated “written in the stars!” Chelsea Football Club marched on to Munich, where — well, you know. You can’t not know.
Iniesta scores. 2-0. So long, Champions League— WAGNH (@WAGNH_CFC) April 24, 2012
But any underdog knows that aura of destiny is constantly under threat. For most of the 2012 knockout rounds, Chelsea were living in a magical, charmed reality, one which the rest of football was determined to pop. Andrés Iniesta had already contrived to betray our hearts and hopes in 2009; the blow he delivered in 2012 felt similarly fatal. This Blues team were reliant on fate and fortune, but the second member of that alliterative duo is notoriously fickle.
And boy had we been fickled over good. Down to ten men thanks to whatever the hell John Terry thought he was doing, down our other centre half thanks to a Gary Cahill hamstring tear, down by two, at the Camp Nou, against this Barcelona side? We were doomed. Destiny has become tragedy.
But the thing about tragedy is that sometimes it happens to other people. Traveling in convoy with our story of triumph against the odds is Barcelona’s of pride and punishment, for which we were the happy instrument. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘Ramires’:
This Ramires chip against Barcelona is iconic pic.twitter.com/szuqlDdfbP— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 17, 2019
Frank Lampard is the unsung hero here. At Stamford Bridge, he’d produced the pass of the match to set Ramires free for Didier Drogba’s goal, here he produced probably the pass of the whole tournament, drawing Javier Mascherano out of position (his charge out from the back was pure hubris) and then playing an inch-perfect pass through the resulting gap while facing the wrong way.
Sure, Ramires then had to race onto that pass, finishing his run from right back, and, while at full pelt, produce a lob of aesthetic and downright spiritual genius. But this miracle is a two parter: The Pass and The Lob, each complementing the other yet whole in and of themselves.
What was Mascherano doing? What was Victor Valdes doing? Who cares. This is a story of Chelsea glory and Barcelona tragedy, and destiny therefore reduced them to mere bystanders, bouncing hopelessly off midfielders or leaping in desperation for a ball inches out of reach.
Barcelona had been the overbearing villains of the football world for years. Admittedly, this was almost entirely envy, but, again, who cares? They played beautiful football and had brilliant players, but if you do that for long enough while asserting yourselves as The Football Protagonists, you’re going to get your comeuppance.
That comeuppance came through Chelsea and it came through Ramires, racing through the line. producing the most exquisite chip I’ve ever seen. Barcelona fans might call it tragedy. I call it my favourite goal ever scored.*
*My initial interpretation of the rules of this draft was that we should be ranking goals purely by their aesthetic value, which led to some confusion and also me ending up taking my favourite goal in the second round. Sorry for the mess. Blame André.
WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020:
No.8: Ramires vs. Barcelona, 2012
No.9: Fernando Torres vs. Barcelona, 2012
No.10: Damien Duff vs. Barcelona, 2005
No.11: Wayne Bridge vs. Arsenal, 2004
No.12: Raul Meireles vs. Benfica, 2012
No.13: Gianfranco Zola vs. Wimbledon, 1997
No.14: Arjen Robben vs. Norwich City, 2004
No.15: Claude Makélélé vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 2006
No.16: Oscar vs. Juventus, 2012
No.17: Bethany England vs. Birmingham City, 2019
No.18: Demba Ba vs. Manchester United, 2013
No.19: André Schürrle vs. Burnley, 2014
No.20: Alex vs. Liverpool, 2009