Tag Archives: Chelsea

Shock Results: Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea (October 2017)

Goalscorers: Cesar Azpilicueta 11 OG, Tiemoue Bakayoko 18, Wilfried Zaha 45

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Patrick van Aanholt, Joel Ward, Yohan Cabaye (Jairo Riedwald 86), Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur (Timothy Fosu-Mensah 85), Jeff Schlupp (Jason Puncheon 75), Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha

Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Victor Moses (Davide Zappacosta 39), Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Willian (Charly Musonda 65), Michy Batshuayi (Pedro 57)

Referee: Andre Marriner, Attendance: 25,480

Crystal Palace looked in dire straits at the start of October 2017. Seven games into their campaign and the Eagles had made the worst start ever in Premier League history. Seven defeats, no points earned and not even a goal scored. Their situation seemed hopeless already. Frank de Boer had been sacked just four games into his reign, replaced by Roy Hodgson. Hodgson had a reputation to repair himself. He had been out of work since England’s humiliating exit in the 2016 European Championships at the hands of Iceland. The chance to revive Palace’s fortunes and put himself back on the managerial map was too good to turn down.

After the October international break, Selhurst Park was packed to welcome the visit of league champions Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side had recovered well from a shock opening day loss at home to Burnley and were boasting a 100% away record following fine victories away at Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Stoke City. The Blues were widely anticipated to keep that record going.

After 641 goalless minutes at the start of the season, Crystal Palace finally registered a goal to take a surprising early lead. Andros Townsend picked out Yohan Cabaye who showed great persistence in the penalty area, causing havoc which Chelsea’s defenders couldn’t deal with. David Luiz panicked and the ball eventually came off his teammate Cesar Azpilicueta and rebounded into the back of the net. It set the tone for an uncomfortable afternoon for the reigning champions.

Conte’s side were missing the energy of N’Golo Kante, who had been injured playing for France during the international break and it showed. However, his replacement did provide the equaliser. Tiemoue Bakayoko escaped his markers to guide home a corner from his central midfield partner, Cesc Fabregas. However, Chelsea’s front three of Michy Batshuayi, Willian and Eden Hazard failed to seriously test Julian Speroni on a regular basis.

It was another Palace returnee who would ultimately score the winner. Wilfried Zaha had been out of action since the opening day of the season but he returned with perfect timing. On the stroke of half-time, he escaped Azpilicueta’s challenge and slotted the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Despite enjoying 60% of possession and piling the pressure on in the second half, Conte’s side couldn’t find a way through. He experienced back-to-back defeats for only the second time as a Premier League manager. Palace were finally off the mark for both goals and points. Their season finally had lift-off, thanks to the management guile of Hodgson and the skill of Zaha, who proved to be their integral matchwinner throughout the 2017-2018 season.

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Iconic Moments: Zola arrives in England (November 1996)

In the summer of 1996, the foreign revolution was starting to arrive in English football. This was none more apparent than at Chelsea where new manager Ruud Gullit was beginning to make his mark by signing players from the continent.

Italians Roberto Di Matteo and Gianluca Vialli had already arrived and a third Italian player would join the Londoners before 1996 was over. £4.5 million was paid to Parma for the small, but technically gifted Gianfranco Zola to arrive at Stamford Bridge.

Zola was a lynchpin of the Italian national side but had become frustrated at being forced to play in a deep-lying role for Parma in Serie A. Wanting to access a new challenge; there was just as much attention from the Italian press than from the English media when he was introduced as a Chelsea player.

He made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park with Blackburn Rovers days later and made an incredible impact. Having been in the country for only seven months, he had won over the supporters, the neutrals and the football journalists, who crowned him the Football Writers’ Player of the Year for the season.

 

 

Zola left Chelsea in the summer of 2003, just a week before Roman Abramovich’s takeover of the club. He left after seven seasons of enthralling skills, exceptional goals and a set-piece expertise that was among the best in world football. His final gift was to help the Blues into the Champions League that helped Abramovich towards his takeover that turned the club into one of Europe’s real superpowers.

 

 

Great Goals: Gianfranco Zola – CHELSEA vs. Manchester United (February 1997)

When Gianfranco Zola joined Chelsea from Parma in November 1996, there was as much attention on the transfer from the Italian media as there was from the English press. By the time he left Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2003, he had become one of the club’s greatest-ever players. This was an early sign of his dazzling brilliance against reigning champions Manchester United.

Played in by Dan Petrescu, it looked like Zola was going up a corridor with little options. He had other ideas. He took advantage of Denis Irwin committing himself by cutting inside his tackle. Gary Pallister was beaten by his skill and Peter Schmeichel was beaten at his near post by this tricky, majestic Italian.

It gave Chelsea the lead and although Manchester United did leave the capital with a point by the end of the afternoon, they certainly now knew who Gianfranco Zola really was. He also scored a winner in February 1997 for his country at Wembley Stadium against England and despite arriving four months into the campaign, was voted the Player of the Year by the Football Writers.

 

Seasonal Records: 2010-2011

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2010-2011 Premier League campaign. Manchester United made history by becoming the most successful club in English top-flight history, achieving their 19th championship.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 23 11 4 78 37 +41 80
2 Chelsea 38 21 8 9 69 33 +36 71
3 Manchester City 38 21 8 9 60 33 +27 71
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 72 43 +29 68
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 16 14 8 55 46 +9 62
6 Liverpool FC 38 17 7 14 59 44 +15 58
7 Everton 38 13 15 10 51 45 +6 54
8 Fulham 38 11 16 11 49 43 +6 49
9 Aston Villa 38 12 12 14 48 59 -11 48
10 Sunderland 38 12 11 15 45 56 -11 47
11 West Bromwich Albion 38 12 11 15 56 71 -15 47
12 Newcastle United 38 11 13 14 56 57 -1 46
13 Stoke City 38 13 7 18 46 48 -2 46
14 Bolton Wanderers 38 12 10 16 52 56 -4 46
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 11 10 17 46 59 -13 43
16 Wigan Athletic 38 9 15 14 40 61 -21 42
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 11 7 20 46 66 -20 40
18 Birmingham City 38 8 15 15 37 58 -21 39
19 Blackpool 38 10 9 19 55 78 -23 39
20 West Ham United 38 7 12 19 43 70 -27 33

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1063
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League)

Fulham (UEFA Europa League)

Stoke City (UEFA Europa League)

Birmingham City (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 5 games (Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 24 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 10 games (Blackburn Rovers)
Longest losing run 5 games (West Bromwich Albion, Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool & West Ham United)
Highest attendance 75,486 (Manchester United vs. Bolton Wanderers)
Lowest attendance 14,042 (Wigan Athletic vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
PFA Young Player of the Year Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Football Writers’ Award Scott Parker (West Ham United)
PFA Team of the Year Edwin van der Sar, Ashley Cole, Bacary Sagna, Vincent Kompany, Nemanja Vidic, Jack Wilshere, Nani, Samir Nasri, Gareth Bale, Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Premier League Goal of the Season Wayne Rooney (MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Manchester City)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion 6-0 14th August 2010
Theo Walcott Arsenal vs. Blackpool 6-0 21st August 2010
Andy Carroll Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa 6-0 22nd August 2010
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United vs. Liverpool FC 3-2 19th September 2010
Kevin Nolan Newcastle United vs. Sunderland 5-1 31st October 2010
Dimitar Berbatov (5) Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers 7-1 27th November 2010
Mario Balotelli Manchester City vs. Aston Villa 4-0 28th December 2010
Leon Best Newcastle United vs. West Ham United 5-0 5th January 2011
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United vs. Birmingham City 5-0 22nd January 2011
Robin van Persie Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic 3-0 22nd January 2011
Carlos Tevez Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion 3-0 5th February 2011
Louis Saha (4) Everton vs. Blackpool 5-3 5th February 2011
Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC vs. Manchester United 3-1 6th March 2011
Wayne Rooney West Ham United vs. Manchester United 4-2 2nd April 2011
Maxi Rodriguez Liverpool FC vs. Birmingham City 5-0 23rd April 2011
Maxi Rodriguez Fulham vs. Liverpool FC 5-2 9th May 2011
Somen Tchoyi Newcastle United vs. West Bromwich Albion 3-3 22nd May 2011

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1= Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 20
1= Carlos Tevez Manchester City 20
3 Robin van Persie Arsenal 18
4 Darren Bent Sunderland & Aston Villa 17
5 Peter Odemwingie West Bromwich Albion 15
6= Javier Hernandez Manchester United 13
6= Florent Malouda Chelsea 13
6= Rafael van der Vaart Tottenham Hotspur 13
6= Dirk Kuyt Liverpool FC 13
6= Andy Carroll Newcastle United & Liverpool FC 13
6= DJ Campbell Blackpool 13
12= Clint Dempsey Fulham 12
12= Kevin Nolan Newcastle United 12
12= Charlie Adam Blackpool 12
15= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 11
15= Didier Drogba Chelsea 11
17= Frank Lampard Chelsea 10
17= Samir Nasri Arsenal 10
17= Roman Pavlyuchenko Tottenham Hotspur 10
17= Salomon Kalou Chelsea 10
17= Fernando Torres Liverpool FC & Chelsea 10
17= Asamoah Gyan Sunderland 10
17= Johan Elmander Bolton Wanderers 10
17= Maxi Rodriguez Liverpool FC 10
17= Steven Fletcher Wolverhampton Wanderers 10

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester United 7-1 Blackburn Rovers 27th November 2010
Chelsea 6-0 West Bromwich Albion 14th August 2010
Wigan Athletic 0-6 Chelsea 21st August 2010
Arsenal 6-0 Blackpool 21st August 2010
Newcastle United 6-0 Aston Villa 22nd August 2010
Manchester United 5-0 Birmingham City 22nd January 2011
Manchester City 5-0 Sunderland 3rd April 2011
Liverpool FC 5-0 Birmingham City 23rd April 2011
Newcastle United 5-0 West Ham United 5th January 2011
Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland 31st October 2010

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Manchester United 7-1 Blackburn Rovers 27th November 2010
8 Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal 5th February 2011
8 Everton 5-3 Blackpool 5th February 2011
7 Fulham 2-5 Liverpool FC 9th May 2011
7 Manchester City 4-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15th January 2011
7 Wigan Athletic 4-3 Blackburn Rovers 5th February 2011
7 Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers 14th May 2011
6 Chelsea 6-0 West Bromwich Albion 14th August 2010
6 Wigan Athletic 0-6 Chelsea 21st August 2010
6 Arsenal 6-0 Blackpool 21st August 2010
6 Newcastle United 6-0 Aston Villa 22nd August 2010
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland 31st October 2010
6 Bolton Wanderers 5-1 Newcastle United 20th November 2010
6 West Ham United 2-4 Manchester United 2nd April 2011
6 Sunderland 2-4 Chelsea 1st February 2011
6 Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal 27th November 2010
6 Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 Blackburn Rovers 13th November 2010
6 Sunderland 4-2 Wigan Athletic 23rd April 2011
6 Bolton Wanderers 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 6th November 2010
6 Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool 22nd May 2011

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Josh McEachran Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea 17 years, 6 months, 27 days 25th September 2010
Jack Robinson Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool FC 17 years, 7 months, 16 days 17th April 2011
Louis Laing Sunderland 1-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 years, 2 months, 8 days 14th May 2011
Abdul Razak Manchester City 3-0 West Bromwich Albion 18 years, 2 months, 25 days 5th February 2011
Jon Flanagan Liverpool FC 3-0 Manchester City 18 years, 3 months, 10 days 11th April 2011
George Thorne Newcastle United 3-3 West Bromwich Albion 18 years, 4 months, 18 days 22nd May 2011
Phil Jones Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Everton 18 years, 5 months, 24 days 14th August 2010
Jack Wilshere Liverpool FC 1-1 Arsenal 18 years, 7 months, 14 days 15th August 2010
Jonjo Shelvey Liverpool FC 2-1 Blackburn Rovers 18 years, 7 months, 27 days 24th October 2010
Chris Wood Liverpool FC 1-0 West Bromwich Albion 18 years, 8 months, 22 days 29th August 2010

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Jens Lehmann Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal 41 years, 5 months 10th April 2011
Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool 40 years, 6 months, 23 days 22nd May 2011
Brad Friedel Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool FC 40 years, 4 days 22nd May 2011
Mike Pollitt Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Wigan Athletic 38 years, 10 months, 7 days 5th January 2011
Mark Schwarzer Fulham 2-2 Arsenal 38 years, 7 months, 16 days 22nd May 2011
Marcus Hahnemann Blackpool 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 years, 5 months, 5 days 20th November 2010
Kevin Phillips Birmingham City 0-2 Fulham 37 years, 9 months, 20 days 15th May 2011
Carlo Cudicini Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Birmingham City 37 years, 8 months, 16 days 22nd May 2011
Robert Pires West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Aston Villa 37 years, 6 months, 1 day 30th April 2011
Ryan Giggs Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Manchester United 37 years, 5 months, 15 days 14th May 2011

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Joe Hart Manchester City 18
2 Petr Cech Chelsea 15
3= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 14
3= Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 14
5 Mark Schwarzer Fulham 11
6= Tim Howard Everton 9
6= Ben Foster Birmingham City 9
8= Simon Mignolet Sunderland 8
8= Asmir Begovic Stoke City 8
8= Paul Robinson Blackburn Rovers 8

Iconic Moments: Fernando’s horrendous miss (September 2011)

Fernando Torres cost Chelsea £50 million on transfer deadline day in January 2011 when he elected to join the Blues from Premier League rivals Liverpool FC. It is fair to say that Chelsea supporters rarely saw the best of the Torres that haunted defenders throughout the world from his Liverpool days.

The lowest point of his Chelsea career came in September 2011 at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Having scored his first goal of the season early in the second half, the Spaniard got the perfect opportunity to double his tally with seven minutes left to play.

Played through by Ramires, Torres beat the offside trap and rounded goalkeeper David de Gea. The goal was gaping infront of him. Somehow, he managed to slice his shot wide into a delighted Stretford End. Cue a serious amount of laughter from United supporters and Liverpool fans who had never quite forgiven Torres for his transfer.

Sky Sports analyst Jamie Redknapp said: “To use a golfing term, it was almost like a yip.”

It remains one of the worst misses we’ve ever seen in the first 25 years of Premier League football.

Premier League Files: Juan Sebastian Veron

Premier League Career: Manchester United (2001-2003), Chelsea (2003-2004)

The British transfer record was broken in the summer of 2001 on two separate occasions by Manchester United. First, they completed the protracted signing of Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV Eindhoven and then they swooped to sign Juan Sebastian Veron from Serie A giants Lazio. Although he won a Premier League title in 2003, Veron largely disappointed in United colours and endured another wretched season in the top-flight at Chelsea before heading back to Italy.

Veron made his professional debut in Argentine football in 1993 and even had a spell playing alongside the country’s national hero, Diego Maradona at Boca Juniors. He made the move into European football in 1996, when future England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson took him to Italian football with Sampdoria.

After making over 60 league appearances for Sampdoria, Parma paid £15 million for him after he sparkled in Argentina’s run to the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals. Parma were a decent team who always gave the leading Italian sides a run for their money but specialised primarily in cup competitions. Veron experienced this in 1998-1999, as Parma won both the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia.

His stay at Parma lasted just a solitary season. Eriksson was now manager of Lazio and took him to Rome for the 1999-2000 campaign in an £18.1 million deal. He scored eight goals as Lazio achieved the treble of UEFA Super Cup, Coppa Italia and the Serie A title.

Sir Alex Ferguson was impressed and in July 2001, signed Veron for £24.3 million. He scored three early season goals, including the fourth goal at White Hart Lane as Manchester United completed a sensational turnaround from 3-0 down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-3. However, he really struggled to adapt to the Premier League as players didn’t allow him the time to dictate proceedings as he could in Italian football.

He saved his best performances at Old Trafford for the UEFA Champions League and scored four goals in the 2002-2003 group stages but league form remained erratic. The highlight of his two seasons in the Premier League was scoring the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over chief rivals Arsenal in December 2002. Ferguson tried to defend him in the media and even used expletives at times against journalists who picked on his inconsistent performances. Most United fans agreed with the general media consensus though that he was nothing short of an expensive flop.

In 2016, Veron admitted: “Games were intense for 90 minutes. In Italy, it was more tactical and about closing down the games. In England, the games were more open, the ball came back and forward. It was more physical too.”

In the summer of 2003, Chelsea had money to spend following Roman Abramovich’s takeover and Veron was one of the new arrivals, despite having a determination to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford. He made a brilliant start with the west Londoners and scored the first Premier League goal of the Abramovich era at Anfield in August 2003. Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Liverpool FC set them up for an excellent campaign under Claudio Ranieri which saw them finish runners-up in the Premier League and reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Veron struggled with injuries though and even when fit, couldn’t break into the team on a regular basis. When Jose Mourinho replaced Ranieri as manager in the summer of 2004, Veron was sent packing on-loan back to Italy, joining Inter Milan. He returned to his homeland in 2007, winding down his career in 2014 with Estudiantes where he is now chairman of the club.

Technically gifted and talented, Juan Sebastian Veron won a clutch of honours in his career but his best moments were few and far between in the Premier League.

Premier League Files: Jesper Gronkjaer

Premier League Career: Chelsea (2001-2004), Birmingham City (2004)

A tricky winger who was once the most expensive Danish player in history, Jesper Gronkjaer might have had his detractors during his time with Chelsea but he will go down as having scored one of the most important goals in the club’s proud and distinguished history.

Pace was one of the main characteristics of Gronkjaer’s game and early on in his career; he was told by youth coaches that he could become a sprinter. He stuck with football though and sparkled with his first club, AaB. He scored 10 times in 86 matches for the club and played in the UEFA Champions League before moving to Dutch powerhouses Ajax in July 1998. Coached by Morten Olsen, Jesper won the Dutch Cup in his first full season in Amsterdam and a year later, the fans voted him as the Ajax Player of the Year.

His next calling was English football as Chelsea snapped him up for £7.8 million in October 2000. He arrived in west London with an injury, so didn’t make his first start for the Blues until January 2001, scoring twice in his first full appearance for the club in an FA Cup tie away to Gillingham. It was the first of just 11 goals he’d score in Chelsea colours and at times, some of his form was heavily inconsistent. However, he did have a knack of scoring crucial goals when the Londoners needed them most.

On the final day of the 2002-2003 season, Chelsea played host to Liverpool FC in what was a straight shootout for the final Champions League qualification place. Liverpool had to win to snatch fourth spot and took the lead early on, only for Chelsea to equalise virtually straightaway through their skipper, Marcel Desailly.

Just before the half hour mark, Gronkjaer escaped the attentions of John Arne Riise and bent a curling shot past Jerzy Dudek which sank Liverpool. Chelsea qualified for the Champions League for the first time in four years and it was such an important moment. On the brink of financial meltdown, this made Chelsea attractive to foreign investors. Less than two months later, Roman Abramovich bought the club and life at Stamford Bridge wouldn’t be the same again. Had it not been for Gronkjaer’s goal, the chances are Abramovich would have come into the English game but invested elsewhere.

It was nearly a full year before the flying Dane scored again as he opened the scoring in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg against AS Monaco. It was all in vain though, as the French side prevailed over two legs. Gronkjaer, who had looked short of confidence throughout the 2003-2004 campaign, finished his season in style. He crashed home an effort at Old Trafford in the draw with Manchester United which secured Chelsea’s best finish in the league since 1955. A week later, his diving header beat Leeds United in Claudio Ranieri’s final match in-charge. This also turned out to be Gronkjaer’s final game for Chelsea.

He joined Birmingham City for £2.2 million in July 2004 but never settled and lasted just six months in the Midlands. He transferred to Atletico Madrid before the year was out and after one season in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart, returned to his homeland in 2006. He retired professionally in 2011 with FC Copenhagen, winning four Danish league titles.

Great Goals: Jordan Henderson – Chelsea vs. LIVERPOOL FC (September 2016)

Midfielder Jordan Henderson was always going to find it tough replacing the inspirational Steven Gerrard as captain of Liverpool Football Club. However, he has done it his own way and whilst he might not produce the fireworks Gerrard used to serve time and time again, Henderson is a solid and strong presence in the Reds midfield line.

The skipper produced this brilliant goal in September 2016 against Chelsea. From an attacking throw-in, Gary Cahill’s clearance fell straight into Henderson’s path. He took a touch to get the ball out of his feet and had a quick look at his target. He then bent a beautiful curling shot into the top corner of Thibaut Courtois’ goal. It was a marvellous goal and it won Goal of the Month honours for September 2016.

Liverpool FC won 2-1 and were one of only two sides to beat Antonio Conte’s champions-elect at Stamford Bridge during the 2016-2017 season.

Premier League Rewind: 26th December 2004

Results: Arsenal 2-0 Fulham, Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa, Crystal Palace 0-1 Portsmouth, Southampton 0-0 Charlton Athletic, Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Newcastle United, Everton 2-1 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers, Norwich City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham City 2-0 Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Liverpool FC

The festive period in the Premier League has always been a joyous period for fans and on Boxing Day 2004, the action was as intense as ever.

Chelsea were the league leaders and were looking to protect or even increase their five-point advantage over the defending champions Arsenal. The Blues beat Aston Villa 1-0 on a cold lunchtime afternoon at Stamford Bridge. Damien Duff’s strike after 30 minutes was enough to keep Jose Mourinho’s team clear at the top of the table. Villa had now lost four of their last five outings and slipped into the realms of mid-table after a promising start to the campaign.

Arsenal kept the pressure on, digging in after a tricky November which had seen them drop points against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion and lose at Anfield to Liverpool FC. Thierry Henry opened the scoring in the 12th minute of their 2-0 victory over Fulham and Robert Pires added a second with both goals being set-up by Freddie Ljungberg. Fulham had lost 11 of their 18 league matches and were just four points clear of the relegation zone.

Considered as one of the relegation favourites at the start of the season, Everton had already reached the usual magical safety mark of 40 points when they defeated Manchester City 2-1. Tim Cahill scored for the second time in the season against the Citizens and although Robbie Fowler equalised on his return to Merseyside, Marcus Bent’s 63rd minute strike settled the contest. City’s defeat was confirmed by Christian Negouai’s late red card.

The team with no form whatsoever at this stage in the season were Bolton Wanderers. Since drawing at Stamford Bridge, Bolton went on a six-game losing streak. The fifth of these came at Old Trafford where Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both scored in a 2-0 victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. The only negative on the afternoon for United was Wayne Rooney being caught on-camera striking out at Bolton defender Tal Ben-Haim. Whilst there was a clear overreaction to the contact from the Israeli defender, Rooney was charged with violent conduct and eventually banned for three matches. Ferguson was livid with the charge, even though the club accepted his fate. He said the FA’s disciplinary system was “completely flawed” and “immoral.”

If Ferguson was annoyed, his former skipper, Bryan Robson was having a very tough Christmas. West Bromwich Albion were bottom of the table and had lost their last four games. With just one win all season, Baggies supporters were getting the sense of déjà vu. Relegation was looking likely if you went with history and a 5-0 home battering from Liverpool FC on Boxing Day made the situation even worse. Liverpool had only won once all season away from Anfield but took full advantage of the situation to record their biggest victory since Rafa Benitez became manager. John Arne Riise was the star with two goals and Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored his first Premier League goal in a full calendar year.

What else happened in December 2004?

  • The world is left stunned by the devastating Asian tsunami that strikes coastal areas of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and the Maldives. This was triggered by an earthquake within the Indian Ocean. Over 200,000 people are killed.
  • After nearly four years in the role, David Blunkett resigns as Home Secretary.
  • £26.5 million is stolen from a Northern Bank in Belfast after one of the biggest robberies in modern day Britain.
  • Double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes is named as the 2004 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • The first series of ‘The X-Factor’ concludes with victory for Steve Brookstein.
  • 194 people are killed after a fire in a nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • France shows off the world’s tallest bridge. The Millau Viaduct is officially opened.

Iconic Moments: Lampard becomes Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer (May 2013)

When Chelsea signed Frank Lampard from London rivals West Ham United in the summer of 2001, they knew they were getting a midfielder who was capable of scoring goals. However, no-one at the time could have imagined the achievements Lampard would go on to make in west London.

He would win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. One of the Premier League’s greatest ambassadors, Lampard always had a knack of scoring goals from making runs into the penalty area and also trying his luck from distance and often finding the target.

In May 2013, Lampard was approaching the end of his current contract and also closing in on becoming Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer. Against Aston Villa at Villa Park, Lampard equalled the record held by Bobby Tambling with his 202nd goal for the club. Close to full-time, he made another burst into the box and guided in Eden Hazard’s cross to achieve history. He now had 203 goals for Chelsea, becoming their highest goalscorer in the club’s proud and distinguished history.

It won Chelsea the points that afternoon and he signed a new one-year contract a few days later. He left in the summer of 2014, finishing with 211 goals and his name etched firmly in Chelsea’s history.

Seasonal Records: 2009-2010

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2009-2010 Premier League campaign. After three years of Manchester United dominance, Chelsea managed to wrestle the title back to the capital as Carlo Ancelotti achieved the league and FA Cup double in his first season as manager. Chelsea also became the first team to score 100 goals in a PL season.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 38 27 5 6 103 32 +71 86
2 Manchester United 38 27 4 7 86 28 +58 85
3 Arsenal 38 23 6 9 83 41 +42 75
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 21 7 10 67 41 +26 70
5 Manchester City 38 18 13 7 73 45 +28 67
6 Aston Villa 38 17 13 8 52 39 +13 64
7 Liverpool FC 38 18 9 11 61 35 +26 63
8 Everton 38 16 13 9 60 49 +11 61
9 Birmingham City 38 13 11 14 38 47 -9 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 13 11 14 41 55 -14 50
11 Stoke City 38 11 14 13 34 48 -14 47
12 Fulham 38 12 10 16 39 46 -7 46
13 Sunderland 38 11 11 16 48 56 -8 44
14 Bolton Wanderers 38 10 9 19 42 67 -25 39
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 9 11 18 32 56 -24 38
16 Wigan Athletic 38 9 9 20 37 79 -42 36
17 West Ham United 38 8 11 19 47 66 -19 35
18 Burnley 38 8 6 24 42 82 -40 30
19 Hull City 38 6 12 20 34 75 -41 30
20 Portsmouth* 38 7 7 24 34 66 -32 19

*Portsmouth were docked 10 points for entering administration in February 2010

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1053
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester City (UEFA Europa League)

Aston Villa (UEFA Europa League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 6 games (Arsenal & Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 12 games (Birmingham City)
Longest winless run 14 games (Sunderland)
Longest losing run 7 games (Portsmouth)
Highest attendance 75,316 (Manchester United vs. Stoke City)
Lowest attendance 14,323 (Wigan Athletic vs. Portsmouth)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year James Milner (Aston Villa)
Football Writers’ Award Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Joe Hart, Richard Dunne, Patrice Evra, Branislav Ivanovic, Thomas Vermaelen, Darren Fletcher, Cesc Fabregas, James Milner, Antonio Valencia, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney
Manager of the Year Harry Redknapp (Tottenham Hotspur)
Premier League Goal of the Season Maynor Figueroa (Stoke City vs. WIGAN ATHLETIC)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Jermain Defoe Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 19th August 2009
Yossi Benayoun Liverpool FC vs. Burnley 4-0 12th September 2009
Robbie Keane (4) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley 5-0 26th September 2009
Fernando Torres Liverpool FC vs. Hull City 6-1 26th September 2009
Aruna Dindane Portsmouth vs. Wigan Athletic 4-0 31st October 2009
Jermain Defoe (5) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wigan Athletic 9-1 22nd November 2009
Wayne Rooney Portsmouth vs. Manchester United 1-4 28th November 2009
Carlos Tevez Manchester City vs. Blackburn Rovers 4-1 11th January 2010
Wayne Rooney (4) Manchester United vs. Hull City 4-0 23rd January 2010
Darren Bent Sunderland vs. Bolton Wanderers 4-0 9th March 2010
Frank Lampard (4) Chelsea vs. Aston Villa 7-1 27th March 2010
Carlos Tevez Manchester City vs. Wigan Athletic 3-0 29th March 2010
Salomon Kalou Chelsea vs. Stoke City 7-0 25th April 2010
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. Wigan Athletic 8-0 9th May 2010

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 29
2 Wayne Rooney Manchester United 26
3 Darren Bent Sunderland 24
4= Carlos Tevez Manchester City 23
4= Frank Lampard Chelsea 22
6= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 18
6= Fernando Torres Liverpool FC 18
6= Cesc Fabregas Arsenal 15
6= Emmanuel Adebayor Manchester City 14
10= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 13
10= Louis Saha Everton 13
10= Florent Malouda Chelsea 12
10= Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 12
10= Nicolas Anelka Chelsea 11
10= Andrey Arshavin Arsenal 10
16= Craig Bellamy Manchester City 10
16= John Carew Aston Villa 10
16= Cameron Jerome Birmingham City 10
16= Hugo Rodallega Wigan Athletic 10
16= Carlton Cole West Ham United 10
16= Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 9
16= Robin van Persie Arsenal 9
16= David Dunn Blackburn Rovers 9
16= Kenwyne Jones Sunderland 9
25 Kevin Doyle Wolverhampton Wanderers 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic 22nd November 2009
Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic 9th May 2010
Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City 25th April 2010
Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa 27th March 2010
Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland 16th January 2010
Everton 1-6 Arsenal 15th August 2009
Burnley 1-6 Manchester City 3rd April 2010
Liverpool FC 6-1 Hull City 26th September 2009
Chelsea 5-0 Blackburn Rovers 24th October 2009
Wigan Athletic 0-5 Manchester United 22nd August 2009

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
10 Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic 22nd November 2009
9 Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland 16th January 2010
8 Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic 9th May 2010
8 Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa 27th March 2010
8 Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 4th October 2009
8 West Ham United 5-3 Burnley 28th November 2009
7 Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City 25th April 2010
7 Everton 1-6 Arsenal 15th August 2009
7 Burnley 1-6 Manchester City 3rd April 2010
7 Liverpool FC 6-1 Hull City 26th September 2009
7 Aston Villa 5-2 Burnley 21st February 2010
7 Sunderland 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27th September 2009
7 Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City 20th September 2009
7 Manchester City 4-3 Sunderland 19th December 2009
6 Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham City 11th April 2010
6 Aston Villa 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 7th November 2009
6 Everton 5-1 Hull City 7th March 2010
6 Arsenal 4-2 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2010
6 Manchester City 4-2 Arsenal 12th September 2009
6 Burnley 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 9th May 2010

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Jack Robinson Hull City 0-0 Liverpool FC 16 years, 8 months, 7 days 9th May 2010
Lennard Sowah Portsmouth 0-0 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 7 months, 11 days 3rd April 2010
Jack Wilshere Arsenal 3-1 Birmingham City 17 years, 9 months, 15 days 17th October 2009
Louis Moult Burnley 1-1 Stoke City 17 years, 9 months, 24 days 10th March 2010
Frank Nouble Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 West Ham United 17 years, 10 months, 22 days 15th August 2009
Jose Baxter Everton 2-0 Manchester City 17 years, 11 months, 9 days 16th January 2010
Jeffrey Bruma Chelsea 5-0 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 11 months, 11 days 24th October 2009
Mark Cullen Hull City 0-1 Sunderland 18 years, 3 days 24th April 2010
Phil Jones Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month 21st March 2010
Liam Cooper Liverpool FC 6-1 Hull City 18 years, 1 month, 23 days 26th September 2009

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David James Portsmouth 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 years, 8 months, 30 days 1st May 2010
Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 4-0 Stoke City 39 years, 6 months, 10 days 9th May 2010
Brad Friedel Aston Villa 0-1 Blackburn Rovers 38 years, 11 months, 21 days 9th May 2010
Maik Taylor Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham City 38 years, 7 months, 7 days 11th April 2010
Graham Alexander Burnley 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 years, 6 months, 29 days 9th May 2010
Mike Pollitt Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic 38 years, 2 months, 10 days 9th May 2010
Marcus Hahnemann Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Sunderland 37 years, 10 months, 24 days 9th May 2010
Mark Schwarzer Arsenal 4-0 Fulham 37 years, 7 months, 3 days 9th May 2010
Kevin Phillips Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham City 36 years, 9 months 25th April 2010
Ryan Giggs Manchester United 4-0 Stoke City 36 years, 5 months, 10 days 9th May 2010

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1= Petr Cech Chelsea 17
1= Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 17
3 Brad Friedel Aston Villa 15
4= Heurelho Gomes Tottenham Hotspur 13
4= Paul Robinson Blackburn Rovers 13
6= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 12
6= Thomas Sorensen Stoke City 12
6= Mark Schwarzer Fulham 12
9= Shay Given Manchester City 11
9= Tim Howard Everton 11

Premier League Rewind: 8th-10th April 2017

Results: Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Watford, Manchester City 3-1 Hull City, Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley, Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool FC, West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Southampton, West Ham United 1-0 Swansea City, AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea, Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United, Everton 4-2 Leicester City, Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal

The 2016-2017 Premier League season had been dominated by Chelsea for the majority of the campaign. Antonio Conte’s side came into this round of games still seven points clear of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, despite a recent slip-up at home to Crystal Palace.

The Blues knew that Tottenham would continue to crank up the pressure and for a while, Mauricio Pochettino’s side could close to within four points of the table-toppers as they kicked-off on 8th April earlier than Chelsea. They comfortably dismissed Watford 4-0 at White Hart Lane, despite missing the injured Harry Kane. Dele Alli scored the pick of the goals and Heung-Min Son continued to show his growing importance with two goals.

That was Spurs’ sixth successive victory but once again, Chelsea found a response. They dispatched AFC Bournemouth 3-1 at The Vitality Stadium in the teatime kick-off to go seven points clear again with just seven games left to play. Marcos Alonso’s sublime free-kick put the game beyond the home side.

Despite having played more games than both Manchester clubs, Liverpool FC had the points on the board and consolidated third spot with a hard-fought 2-1 success away at Stoke City. Jon Walters had put the home side into the lead with his customary goal against Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp needed two superb saves from Simon Mignolet to keep his side in the contest. Then, quick-fire strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino turned the game completely around. Since losing to Leicester in late February, Liverpool were now unbeaten in six games, winning four of these matches.

Both Manchester clubs recorded expected victories. Manchester City beat Hull City 3-1, who were relying solely on their home form to try and keep them in the Premier League. A day later, Manchester United cruised past a sorry Sunderland side 3-0 at The Stadium of Light. We didn’t know it at the time but this would turn out to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s final-ever Premier League goal. The Swede picked up a serious knee injury in a UEFA Europa tie against Anderlecht less than two weeks later and wouldn’t score again at this level before moving to the LA Galaxy in April 2018.

Sunderland were looking doomed but Crystal Palace were going in the right direction. Sam Allardyce’s side had now won four of their last five games and were six points clear of the bottom three after a fabulous and well-deserved 3-0 victory over a lifeless Arsenal. The Gunners put in one of their most insipid displays of recent times, leading to Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher calling them “cowards.” Their top-four chances were hanging by a thread.

Elsewhere, Craig Shakespeare tasted defeat for the first time as Leicester City interim boss. The reigning champions lost 4-2 in an exciting clash at Everton, who had drawn level on points with Arsenal, despite having played two games more.

Swansea’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham United at The London Stadium saw them remain in the bottom three and without a win in five matches. That win ended a four-game losing run that the Hammers had endured and effectively guaranteed Premier League football in their new home for another season. It was also looking bleak for Middlesbrough who drew 0-0 with Burnley and were still without a win for caretaker boss Steve Agnew, who had succeeded Aitor Karanka a month earlier. Boro were now six points adrift of safety and had scored just 22 goals in 31 matches.

What else happened in April 2017?

  • Prime Minister Theresa May catches everyone by surprise and calls a snap general election for Thursday 8th June.
  • A hijacked lorry is deliberately driven into crowds in Stockholm. Five people are killed, including one British national.
  • In boxing, Anthony Joshua beats Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium to become WBA World Heavyweight Champion.
  • Former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough centre-back Ugo Ehiogu suffers a cardiac arrest at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground. He dies a day later, aged just 44.
  • According to the National Grid, Britain goes a full day without using coal power (21st April) to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.
  • TV actor and author Tim Piggott-Smith, who won a BAFTA for Best Actor in 1985, dies aged 70 in Northamptonshire from natural causes.
  • John Middleton makes his final appearance on the ITV soap opera Emmerdale after 21 years. His character Ashley Thomas dies after being diagnosed with incurable pneumonia.