In this series of articles, I will be reviewing Chelsea’s forgotten men, the ones that don’t get spoken about on a day to day basis. Some of Chelsea’s forgotten men raise a debate whether they had a significant impact at the club or failed to do so.
In this first article of this series, I will be addressing and analysing a Spanish left back who was at Chelsea during the 2005/06 Premiership winning campaign, have you guessed who it is yet?
That’s right, well, if you guessed correctly, I’m talking about Asier del Horno!
In June 2005, del Horno moved to Chelsea for a fee of just under £8 million. He won the first and only league title of his career with Chelsea, part of the squad that conquered England during that season.
With the signing of Ashley Cole kept as a hush before the announcement in the summer of 2006, where Del Horno departed to Valencia that summer, he certainly made a significant impact during his one off season with the Blues. He played 34 times for Chelsea and began life at Chelsea as a cult hero, or so I remember, scoring a goal against our biggest rivals Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, winning 2-0 on the 27th August 2005 in only his third appearance for the club.
Chelsea that season had some injury troubles at left back, Wayne Bridge was one of them who faced a challenge to get back into the side when he recovered from the injury that kept him out of the team in the latter stages of the 2004–05 campaign, then went on to play for Fulham in the second half of the campaign. William Gallas, who I won’t spend too much time talking about for obvious reasons, occasionally filled in at left back when Del Horno was unavailable.
Del Horno very much made the left back spot his own on occasions, his pace and determination made him one of the favourites under José Mourinho. However, if you flashback to the 22nd February 2006, he was sent off in the Champions League last 16 tie against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge where the blues lost 2-1 and the tie 3-2 on aggregate to the competition winners of that season FC Barcelona.
Apart from Del Horno’s brief blip in that game against Barcelona, he made a few more appearances from February to May where he played his final game for the club in their final game of the season against Blackburn Rovers in a 1-0 defeat at Ewood Park, however, the Blues had already clinched the title against Man United a couple of weeks prior winning 3-0.
Del Horno sadly departed, in my personal opinion had every right to be the back up left back to Ashley Cole following the departure of William Gallas to Arsenal. Chelsea and manager José Mourinho still had faith in Wayne Bridge and being an English player Chelsea were reluctant to let him go. Del Horno left for the same figure that Chelsea purchased him for from Atletico Bilbao, where he left the number 3 shirt behind to Ashley Cole, who unquestionably went on to become a Chelsea legend and one the greatest ever left backs to grace the game.
Written by Callum Cook @callum_wj
Edited by Jai Mcintosh @jjmcintosh5
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