Forgotten Chelsea matches from the Abramovich Era

Willian celebrates giving Chelsea the lead away at Hull in 2016 (Picture: Shaun Botterill/ Getty Images Sport)

Over the course of the Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea have endured multiple counts of success since the Russian took over the club in 2003. During that time, the Blues have won a total of 20 trophies including five league titles and two Champions League crown’s.

However, aside from the success, there have been many matches over the years that seem to be forgotten about. I take a look at five forgotten Chelsea matches which proved to have rather huge significance for one reason or another.

Hull City 0-2 Chelsea, 1st October 2016

The first match we start with is one that proved to have huge implications on Chelsea’s title ambitions in the 2016/17 season. Throwback to the summer of 2016. The Blues had appointed charismatic Italian Antonio Conte as the club’s new manager in the summer and had begun an new era under the former Italy manager.

Having finished 10th the previous season, the main aim for Conte was help get the Blues competing again for Champions League football. However, despite a promising start in August with three wins from three, things soon went downhill in September. A 2-2 draw away at Swansea was followed up by back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, leaving the club 8th heading into October.

Antonio Conte won Chelsea the Premier League in just his first season in charge (Picture: Getty Images)

At half-time in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal, Antonio Conte made a decision to move to a back three, a decision that proved vital come the end of May. In the Blues’ next match against newly promoted Hull City, Conte stuck with the 3-4-3 system. It soon paid off as second half goals from Willian and Diego Costa ensured Chelsea would return to winning ways.

But what was so special about the result? The win away at Hull started a run of 13 straight league victories as Conte and Chelsea stormed towards the Premier League title.

Wigan 0-2 Chelsea, 19th August 2012

Next up is a match that proved to be the start of something special for a certain Belgian superstar. The summer of 2012 was very much a memorable one if you were a Chelsea fan. The club were off the back of winning the Champions League and FA Cup under former player Roberto Di Matteo.

The club had been busy in the transfer market ahead of the 12/13 season, bringing in players such as Oscar, Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses. However, one signing that caught the eye of many was 21-year-old Belgian winger Eden Hazard. Hazard joined the club from French side Lille for £32 million and fans expected big things from the youngster.

Roberto Di Matteo and Chelsea headed to the DW Stadium to face Wigan on the opening day of the season and in that game, Hazard was handed his Premier League debut. The Belgian made what could only be described as a perfect start providing two assists.

The first came as he made a wonderful turn before playing an excellent ball through to Branislav Ivanovic, who slotted home. Meanwhile, a few minutes later, he won the Blues a penalty which Frank Lampard converted. It was a masterclass of a performance from Hazard, which kicked off what was to be a magnificent seven years at Stamford Bridge.

Norwich 2-3 Chelsea, 24th August 2019

Another match which tends to be forgotten about is the Blues’ 3-2 win over Norwich in August of 2019. But why would beating a newly promoted side at the start of the season be so iconic? Well, this win ended up being Frank Lampard’s first ever win as Chelsea manager.

At the end of the 2018/19 season, Maurizio Sarri departed the club after just one season in charge. Replacing the Italian was club legend Frank Lampard. Lampard has only been in management for one season where he guided Derby County to the Championship Play-Off Final before losing out to Aston Villa. However, he was given the opportunity to manage a club whom he became an icon for.

In Lampard’s opening two league games as manager, the Blues lost 4-0 to Manchester United before drawing 1-1 at home to Leicester as well as losing on penalties to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup. However, Chelsea’s match against Norwich presented Lampard with the perfect opportunity to pick up his first win in charge.

He did exactly that as Chelsea edged Norwich 3-2 in a five goal thriller at Carrow Road. The Blues had been pegged back twice by the Canaries but a brace from Tammy Abraham and a goal from Mason Mount proved to be enough for the three points. An iconic day for the Chelsea faithful.

Everton 3-6 Chelsea, 30th August 2014

The penultimate game on this list is one that wasn’t necessarily of huge importance but one that is forgotten about often. The 2014/15 season under Jose Mourinho saw Chelsea win their fourth Premier League title as well as a League Cup triumph. However, winning the Premier League was very much the highlight of the season as the Blues led right from the very start.

In what was his second season in his second spell of charge of the club, Mourinho and Chelsea started the campaign in fine fashion. Having come just five points shy of winning the title the season before, Mourinho was determined not to let another league title slip away. The Blues won their opening two matches, both coming against newly-promoted opposition.

The next game for Chelsea was a trip to Goodison Park to face an Everton side that finished 5th the season before. What was to follow was a nine-goal thriller as the West Londoners made it three wins from three at the start of the season. Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic both scored in the opening three minutes before Kevin Mirallas scored for the hosts to make it 2-1 at the break. Chelsea were very much on the front foot but the second half ended up seeing six goals in the final 23 minutes.

A Seamus Coleman own goal made it 3-1 before Steven Naismith reduced the away side’s deficit once again. However, midfielder Nemanja Matic scored swiftly after but Everton yet again pulled a goal back this time through former Chelsea man Samuel Eto’o. Despite the Toffees fightback, goals from Ramires and Costa ensured the points were heading back to West London. A pulsating affair to say the least.

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli, 14th March 2012

Finally, we end the list with a match that significantly impacted Chelsea’s run towards winning their first ever Champions League crown. Having seen Andre Villas-Boas sacked just ten days ago, the Blues headed into the last-16 second leg match against Napoli needing to turn around a 3-1 first leg deficit.

With Di Matteo in caretaker charge, the Blues’ chances of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals were slim but achievable. The inevitable Didier Drogba gave Chelsea the lead in the first half before a John Terry header after the restart levelled the tie at 3-3. However, with the away goals rule, Di Matteo’s would be heading through if the score remained the same.

However, when it comes to Chelsea, things are never done the easy way and this was exactly the case on this occasion. A goal from Gokhan Inler put Napoli ahead on aggregate meaning the Blues required two goals to progress. With 15 minutes to go, a penalty from Frank Lampard made it 3-1 on the night. With Napoli having won 3-1 in the first leg, the tie was all square meaning the match would be going to extra-time.

Deep into extra time, a 105th minute goal from Branislav Ivanovic proved to be the winner as Chelsea defeated Napoli to reach the quarter-finals. A memorable night at Stamford Bridge and just two months later, the Blues were lifting the Champions League trophy in Munich.

Written and Edited by Matt North (@MattNorth_)

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