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.
Bethany England vs. Birmingham City, 2019
I will admit that I put myself through an intense round of questioning over whether I was suffering from recency bias. But I kept watching and re-watching it alongside other goals on my list and available for selection, and it kept edging them out.
The primary reason is the absurdity in two players in opposite halves and sides of the pitch deciding to beat the ten opposing players between them with just three precise touches — the first one yards into their own half.
Its main challenger, Gianfranco Zola’s sublime goal from a similar center-back to striker connection, loses out due to the intention in Millie Bright’s delivery. It wasn’t a punt into space, it was a question posed to Bethany England: ‘Can we craft a goal across over half the pitch and over all players in between?’; England answered, ‘And with a foot to spare.’
The margins are fine, this intent matters.
Bright had to drop the ball into the space of an office trash can from over fifty yards away. She didn’t merely boot the ball forward (as so many center backs do), she downloaded a flight plan into it. I also love the hop Millie Bright does before running up to the ball to make the pass, her eagerness nearly gives it away.
Except Bethany England still had a lot to do. Not Bright’s fault mind you, but since England was receiving a ball booted into the sky from the other end of the pitch, turning it into a goal worthy of the service was going to require identical precision and efficiency. Some strikers might’ve rushed and attempted a volley — a boom or bust swing of the leg with a high probability of failure — but England made a much more refined decision.
Taking into consideration that the ball was dropped into space behind the back line and too far to summon the keeper from her line, England did some quick math and concluded that two perfect touches would maximize the chance. She assigns each foot very different tasks. In the span of one second (I timed it) one foot would become a pillow, the other a hammer.
The math seems simple — two tasks, two feet — but any slight mis-touch ruins the chance.
The best strikers craft goals before defenders can work out how they might even do it. Didier Drogba was great at it, Zola was too, and England possesses the same quality.
In a situation like this, everyone expects a shot, but the bang-BANG orchestration of the strike defanged all potential defensive intervention. By the time the defense realized what she’d done, they’d already been made spectators, and there was nothing left for them to do except begin the process of trying to forget.
And just to make sure, here it is again.
WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020: