Today should have been FA Cup final day. 23rd May 2020. The most highly anticipated day of the year. A day out for many. A trip to Wembley. A trip that became all too familiar for Chelsea fans…
19thMay 2007. The pressure was mounting and a fearsome Manchester United stood in their way. The Red Devils arrived to steal the Wembley arch.
Chelsea were without a FA Cup for seven years. Fans arrived down the walkway still licking their wounds from heartbreak just five years prior. A blanket of apprehension was thrown over Wembley.
However, a monumental and courageous performance proved to be the birth of snowballing greatness. Chelsea went on to lift the illustrious trophy four times in six years…
Birth of a new King
19th May 2007
The day that opened the flood gates. Arguably the most significant FA Cup title over the six-year dominance.
United had moved Chelsea aside in spectacular fashion to win the Premier League by six points. Either side fought toe-to-toe. The Blues were left exhausted and deflated but had one more chance at redemption. Wembley.
An iconic Blues side was led out by the infamous Jose Mourinho. A Portuguese tactician that struck fear even into the greatest of managers. Petr Cech with a wall of Wayne Bridge, John Terry, Michael Essien and Paulo Ferriera. The Ghanaian slotted alongside Terry; an unfamiliar role for the defensive midfielder.
Mourinho’s defence was sheltered by a steely partnership of Claude Makelélé and John Obi-Mikel. This gave free reign of sovereignty to the likes of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Didier Drogba.
The stage was set, and a certain Ivorian hitman was soon to be crowned King of Wembley. Drogba and Lampard exchanged a lavish one-two before the number eleven stabbed the ball past Edwin Van der Sar to win the game. A Wembley dynasty had begun.
Back in Business
30th May 2009
Having fallen to the hands of Barnsley in the 2008 FA Cup sixth round, the year of the giant killings, the Blues were back in business a year later.
Seven of the featured 2007 FA Cup winners started for the Blues, albeit in yellow, under Guus Hiddink against Everton for the clubs second FA Cup final in three years.
The Toffees took an early lead, with the quickest goal FA Cup final history, striking trepidation into Chelsea fans across the world.
Chelsea desperately looked for a way back into the game. Arise the Ivorian King of Wembley. Drogba gave the Blues a lifeline with a thunderous header past Tim Howard. With less than just 20 minutes to go, Lampard stepped up to the plate with an extraordinary strike from 25 yards out cementing a second FA Cup in three years.
Two in two. Three in Four.
15th May 2010
New season, new manager. An Italian serial winner going by the name of Carlo Ancelotti took South West London by storm and made history. The club’s first Premier League and FA Cup double.
Five of the starting eleven started in the club’s FA Cup triumph in 2007. Comradery and brotherhood pumped through the veins. The Blues lined up against an already relegated, and weakened, Portsmouth. Ancelotti smelt blood.
The game had its highlights and moments but neither side could make the difference. Once again, Chelsea looked to their Ivorian hitman up leading the line.
It was the 59thminute. The clock was ticking, and Chelsea won a free-kick from range. Drogba teed up the ball, placing it on the right patch of grass, before calculating his next move.
David James was left helpless. Chelsea’s number eleven guided the ball up, over and around the wall with a breath-taking effort. The royal blue ribbons of the FA Cup remained in South West London for another year.
End of a six-year reign
5th May 2012
The following year, Manchester City had entered the footballing scene when they defeated Stoke City in the 2011 FA Cup final. Chelsea had enjoyed such a successful period in the competition and were not going give up without a fight.
The Blues landed the first punch in the opening minutes of the main event. Ramires put Chelsea ahead inside ten minutes. Drogba, once again made his mark at Wembley, doubling Chelsea’s lead with a knockout blow.
Moments later, Andy Carroll pulled one back but his strike having come off the bench was not enough.
Cech showcased his excellence and great reflexes on the biggest stage with numerous saves keeping the Blues in the game.
However, the FA Cup final man of the match was handed to Juan Mata to top off his marvellous season in England and in Blue.