We continue our build-up to Saturday’s FA Cup Final by taking a look at another FA Cup Blue Day. James recalls our FA Cup Campaign in 2009, which provided a special afternoon of glory after domestic and European heartache earlier on.
“Guus Hiddink: We want you to stay!”
As I look back and reminisce on my first trip to Wembley for the 2009 FA Cup final, those are the words that echo in my mind. As Hiddink led the Blues to their fifth FA Cup trophy, that was the message reverberating around the stadium from the Chelsea end. Of course, the popular Dutchman didn’t stay. He walked off into the sunset, medal in hand – job done, and returned to his day job as manager of the Russian national team.
Road to the Final
Third Round: Chelsea 1-1 Southend, Southend 1-4 Chelsea (Replay)
League One Southend United were dispatched of in the Third Round after a 4-1 victory at Roots Hall in a replay, following a surprising 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. It wasn’t the ideal start at home, which represented one of the lowest moments under Louis Felipe Scolari.
Fourth Round: Chelsea 3-1 Ipswich
Ipswich Town were comfortably beaten at Stamford Bridge, with a goals from Frank Lampard and a brace from Michael Ballack eased Chelsea into the Fifth Round.
Fifth Round: Watford 1-3 Chelsea
Ray Wilkins was in caretaker charge of the Blues at Vicarage Road after the sacking of Luis Felipe Scolari the previous week. Tamas Priskin put the Hornets ahead, but a hat-trick from Nicolas Anelka in the last fifteen minutes secured safe passage into the Quarter-Final.
Quarter Final: Coventry City 0-2 Chelsea
Guus Hiddink’s first game in the FA Cup was marked by goals from Didier Drogba and Alex in a routine victory at the Ricoh Arena.
Semi Final: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
Wembley Stadium? Enter Didier Drogba. The Semi Final against Arsenal marked yet another victory over the Gunners, a team against whom we had a fantastic record in these times. Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead, but a first-half equaliser from Florent Malouda was followed by a winner from Didier Drogba five minutes from time to ensure a return to Wembley in the Final.
Everton 1-2 Chelsea
Goalscorers: Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Referee: Howard Webb
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Essien (Ballack 61), Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Ivanovic, Di Santo, Kalou, Belletti, Mancienne.
Goals: Drogba 21, Lampard 72.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert (Jacobsen 46), Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Osman (Gosling 82), Neville, Pienaar, Cahill, Fellaini, Saha (Vaughan 77).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Castillo, Rodwell, Baxter.
Goal: Saha 1
To the day of the final, and what an event it was. My brother and I had travelled down to London in the morning, dressed for the occasion in our bright yellow Chelsea shirts – the same one the team would be wearing for the game. Having arrived at Wembley a few hours before kick-off, we were shocked to see that Wembley Way was brimming with Evertonians, with barely a Chelsea fan in sight. It’s fair to say we stuck out like a sore thumb in our yellow shirts, but luckily it wasn’t long before the Chelsea supporters began to arrive. After soaking up the atmosphere around the ground, we found our seats in time for kick-off. Little did we know what was coming…
Just 25 seconds after Howard Webb had blown his whistle to start the game, Louis Saha lashed the ball past Petr Cech to give Everton a 1-0 lead. The Toffees half of the stadium erupted, while the Chelsea end was stunned to silence. It was – and remains to this day – the fastest FA Cup final goal in history. Incidentally, the previous fastest was Roberto Di Matteo’s opener after 42 seconds against Middlesbrough back in 1997. Admittedly, looking back it now feels an honour to have witnessed such an historic moment. And yet, it was a piece of history that would mean very little to me – or any Chelsea fan there that day – unless Hiddink’s men could turn the game around. Thankfully, that’s exactly what they did.
In the 21st minute, Didier Drogba – Mr. Wembley – levelled the game. The ball had been worked out wide to Malouda on the left, who played an inch-perfect cross into the box. From there, Drogba simply outmuscled Joleon Lescott before powering a header past Tim Howard and into the net. The defining moment of the match then came in the 72nd minute, as Nicolas Anelka played the ball to Frank Lampard, 25 yards out from goal. As Phil Neville sensed the danger, he tried to clip the ball away but Lampard managed to shake off the challenge before unleashing a stunning effort with his left foot. Howard got fingertips to it, but it wasn’t enough. The ball rippled into the net, and Chelsea were in front. 2-1.
As the game drew to a close, the Chelsea faithful began to serenade the Interim manager Guus Hiddink, pleading with him to stay. Sadly, Chelsea fans didn’t get their wish. But that would take nothing away from a great final, and the pure joy of watching John Terry and the rest of the squad getting their hands on the FA Cup trophy. And while the fans were disappointed to see Hiddink leave, the next man through the managerial door was Carlo Ancelotti, and that didn’t go too badly now, did it?
Total Shots: Chelsea 12, Everton 6
Shots on Target: Chelsea 4, Everton 2
Ball Possession: Chelsea 58%, Everton 42%
Corners: Chelsea 5, Everton 1
Fouls: Chelsea 12, Everton 15
Offsides: Chelsea 2, Everton 3
Yellow Cards: Chelsea 2, Everton 3
Red Cards: Chelsea 0, Everton 0
Edited by: @tovers98
Read Part Three of Blue Days here
What do you think will happen in Saturday’s Final? Can we emulate our 2009 success? Let us know in the comments below!