Recently Chelsea F.C are nothing but a recurring cast member in Europe having made one Champions league Semi final since winning it in 2012. Chelsea have also won 2 Europa Leagues in the meantime but who genuinely cares about Thursday nights except the bum clubs in North London. From 2003 to 2012 was the time Chelsea F.C were a part of the main cast and what an era that was.
What an Era: The King, The Knight and The Shield
The 2000s are definitely Chelsea’s golden years there’s no denying that, we were competitive all round. During this time Chelsea played 4 semi-finals and 1 final to no avail but what a ride that was. In 2003/04 Chelsea were dispatched by Monaco an unlikely finalist but still a very strong side, losing 5-3 in agg.
Enter Jose “the special one” Mourinho. Just coming off the back of a CL with Porto of all teams. Jose would try to repeat this feat with Chelsea topping the group that included reigning champions Porto. Jose’s Chelsea went on to dispatch European giants Barcelona and Bayern respectively only to lose narrowly 1-0 in agg to liverpool who would go on to win the entire tournament with their iconic comeback in Turkey against AC Milan. Close but no cigar again.
The following season Chelsea don’t even come close as Ronaldinho and Co make light work of us in the round of 16. 2007 it was Liverpool again. Chelsea absolutely choke in this semi-final scoring 1 of their 3 penalties, absolutely pathetic.
Road to The 08 Final: Lampard’s nerves of steel, Drogba the African dad and John Terry’s Ice Skates.
Jose sacked and Avram Grant was brought in. One of the oddest appointments in Chelsea history but he took us all the way to the final with one of our best CL runs ever. Topping the group unbeaten and losing just once on the way to the final, which came against Fenerbahçe in the first leg of the QT finals but went on to win the tie 3-2 on agg.
Liverpool AGAIN!! This time Chelsea the victor of the Semi-Final tie, 4-3 on agg, it was about damn time. Our greatest ever player Lampard dispatched an emotional penalty after the passing of his mother. Nerves of steel. Chelsea had made the Champions League Final for the first time ever. Eliminating Liverpool felt as if this was Chelsea’s CL for the taking.
One more English rival to play, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. They had just beat us to the league title and had one of the greatest assembled teams in the world with Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s best player at the time and the second greatest player to ever kick a football leading their charge.
The match felt like a boxing match with both teams fully going for it in Moscow. Ronaldo breaks the deadlock early with a header in the 26th minute. Chelsea refuse to roll over, the ball drops at the about the peno spot, nonother than Lampard is there to put it into the back of the net. Trademark goal. 1-1.
Game goes into E.T with both teams refusing to falter. 117th minute, Drogba happened. Didier Drogba channelled his inner African dad and slapped Vidic. Red Card, our king was going to miss the shoot out. It’s 2-2 in the shoot out, Ballack, Belletti, Tevez and Michael Carrick all scoring their penalties. Step up Cristiano Ronaldo, the promised one. Sets it up, stutters in his run up, Cech refuses to move, he panics and barely hits it to the right of Cech. SAVED. The best player in the world has just choked on the biggest stage.
Surely this is Chelsea’s for the taking. 4-4 one more penalty. Captain, Leader, Legend, (Racist) John Terry a true blue born and raised at the club steps up to secure it all for Chelsea. Destiny right ? No! He slips, hits the post and tears. Sudden Death Van Der Sar saves Anelka’s peno winning the double for Manchester United. Chelsea fell short again.
Road to Munich: Redemption
In the words of our king Drogba 2009 was a “F*ucking disgrace”. Semifinal again!! This time against Lionel Messi and Pep. OMG give us a break. Chelsea drew blood first with an Essien screamer in the 9th minute. Chelsea continue to batter Barcelona to no avail. Next to no decisions went our way, Uefalona were blessed that day. 4 Penalty claims with none given. Then 93th minute. Iniesta!!!! I can still hear it in the commentator voice. 1-1 Barcelona had the away goal, it was their first and only shot on target that day. Spain, but the ‘s’ is silent.
2010, Knocked out by that tyrant Jose and Inter Milan. 2011 Chelsea fell short to Manchester United again. The Team was aging and it looked like the main cast of Cech Terry Lampard Cole and Drogba had one more chance together. The Last Dance. 2012.
Chelsea were having a poor league campaign and looked unlikely to amount to anything in europe. Sacked AVB and Roberto Di Matteo was brought in to see out the rest of what was thought to be a nothing season. Di Matteo turned it around winning an FA cup and finally the Champions league. Yes this time we won! It was a miracle. Topped the group with ease.
Round of 16 we were put up against a strong Napoli side consisting of Cavani, Lavezzi, Inler, Hamsik. The Streets will never forget. 3-1 Chelsea lost the away Leg. A strong Napoli side vs an aging Chelsea, surely the tie is over? No, we won it that year. At Stamford Bridge the backbone of Chelsea really stepped up Drogba, Lampard and Terry all netting with the winner coming from an unlikely source. Ivanovic, an unsung hero at Chelsea. The QF, Benfica were easily beaten. I don’t even really remember it, Chelsea won 3-1 on agg apparently.
Now, the miracle begins. Barcelona AGAIN!!! Messi at the peak of his powers. First leg Drogba gives us the lead just before half time, game ends 1-0, the start of his redemption arc. Second leg Sergio Busquests gives Barcelona the lead in the 35th minute then our captain John Terry is sent off in the 37th. 10 men vs that Barcelona Team?
Surely it’s over! Nope. WE. WIN. THIS. TIME. Iniesta gives Barcelona the lead, 2-0. Then something magical happens Lampard dispossesses Lionel Messi, plays a through ball to Ramires and he chips Victor Valdes. Chelsea are going to the final on away goals. Barcelona Battered Chelsea, probably one of the greatest defensive performances in the champions league to date.
But it’s not over, there’s more magic. Bosingwa blocks, Cole clears, for some reason Fernando Torres is alone up top (why he wasn’t defending I don’t know but I’m grateful) through on goal. I don’t think a single Chelsea fan thought he’d score with the season he was having. Rounds Valdes and shoots home. Redemption for the 50M pounds wasted.
On to Munich to play Bayern in their home stadium. The Chelsea squad was depleted, Bertrand Starting LW in his first ever CL game and Bosingwa in RB and an injured Cahill playing as Terry would miss this final after being sent off in the semis. Chelsea’s tactic was to defend and Inshallah. Boy did it work! Mikel and Cole were unbelievable that day. Munich scored first 83rd minute. 1-0 up at home against that Chelsea team. It’s over right? Nah, I’m telling you we won this time!! The magic continues, Torres wins a Corner, Mata delivers beautifully, DROGBA!!!
Thundering header past Neuer into the Bayern goal 1-1. Who else would come up clutch in such a moment. E.T again, every Chelsea fan with Moscow in their mind, “We’re gonna fall short again aren’t we?”. Drogba gives away a penalty against Robben, Cech saves! There’s still hope.
Penalties, Mata misses the first one (How did we win this?), 3-2 to Bayern and Olic misses, Cole scores. Schweinsteiger steps up, misses. Drogba left to take one. The King. Missed the shoot out in 08 because of a stupid moment. The World holds its breath. One step back, slots it into the bottom left. Written in the stars. Chelsea had reached the promised land. Redemption arc complete. 2008 was forgotten . At the time that was meant to be Drogba’s last kick for Chelsea. What a way to go. I told you we won this one.
Post ecstasy: The Come Down
Since 2012 Chelsea haven’t really amount to much in the Champions league, one semifinal with Jose when he played that awful XI against Simeone, Jose will pay for his crimes. The rest is not really worth talking about; we’re just here to make up the numbers. It’s sad really because what an era 2003-2012 was.
- Top Scorer: Drogba 36 Goals
- Most Apps: Terry 111 apps
- 5 Semi final
- 2 Finals
- 1 Title
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