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.
Damien Duff vs. Barcelona, 2005
When it comes to Chelsea goals against Barcelona, there are certainly quite a few that immediately pop into mind. Chances are, a couple of them will be in our Top 10, even.
But just outside the top 10 sits one that’s just as memorable for me as some of the more recent ones.
It was early March 2005, and José Mourinho’s Chelsea were dominating the Premier League. The first trophy of the New Roman Empire, the League Cup, had just been secured. That victory came just four days after the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, against José’s “favorite” opposition, Barcelona. That (controversial, of course) 2-1 loss at the Nou Camp was only Chelsea’s fourth loss all season, and the first since October that we actually cared about or finished with more than 8 players.
This match-up was thus seen as the true test of Mourinho’s Chelsea. Could The Special One, the defending Champions League-winning manager, turn Roman’s rubles into a continental powerhouse?
In just 20 minutes that answer was a resounding YES.
Eidur Gudjohnsen, scorer of the first ever goal of the Mourinho Mk.I Era, opened the scoring inside of 10 minutes (Mateja Kezman, starting in place of a suspended Didier Drogba, provided the assist!). Not long after, Frank Lampard scored (water is wet, etc), pouncing on a rebound on 17 minutes.
Just two minutes later, Chelsea executed one of those classic, perfect Mourinho counters, the ones you have to track in tenths of seconds because you can miss them in the blink of an eye.
Barcelona had the ball and made a safe-enough pass in midfield. But John Terry and Lampard closed down well from either side, forcing a loose ball from Samuel Eto’o, which rolled to Ricardo Carvalho. And he didn’t play it safe at all, hitting a ridiculous one-time line-breaking pass all the way up to Kezman. He laid it off to Joe Cole, who first-time half-volleyed a perfect ball into Damien Duff’s path. Duffer was quick on a normal day, and he was lightning on this one.
A devastatingly non-chalant finish later, it was 3-0 Chelsea. The clock still read in the teens.
Five years earlier, Chelsea famously scored three times in nine minutes against Barcelona at the first ever meeting between the teams at Stamford Bridge. Now, the Blues had done so again!
In 2000, Barcelona would come back and sweep Chelsea aside in the second leg. In 2005, they also tried to mount a comeback (including one of the most ridiculous goals ever scored, Ronaldinho magicking a shot into the back of net out of nothing). This time, Chelsea would answer, with John Terry rising highest on a Duff corner to set the final score, 4-2 on the night, 5-4 on aggregate.
Despite such heroics, the Champions League would elude Chelsea for another seven years. Only Lampard, Terry, and Čech would survive from this game. (And Drogba of course.)
Duff’s own Chelsea career would last barely a year longer, much to my chagrin (and Duffer’s own regret). He was the fourth ever signing of the Abramovich Era, and the first truly world class arrival after Glen Johnson, Geremi, and Wayne Bridge. For a brief while, he was even the club-record signing at a now-hilarious £17m. That was a few pennies more than Hernán Crespo at the time, but isn’t even good enough for the top 25 now.
But unlike many club-record signings who followed, he immediately lived up to his billing and then some. Many had doubted his ability to carve out a spot in a team full of ever greater numbers of continental superstars, but the man from Dublin hardly put a foot wrong (or a step slow) in the Blue shirt while competing with the likes of Joe Cole and Arjen Robben — the Robben/Duff duo were truly a devastating combination in their all-too-brief peak.
Duff would only score three more times for the club, and finish his Chelsea career with three trophies. And this one spectacular moment at Stamford Bridge, when it felt like we were already on top of the world.
(He’s recently been appointed as assistant coach for Republic of Ireland national team. Door’s always open, Duffer!)
WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020:
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