What an incredible decade it was for Chelsea. From conquering Europe to the return of The Special One, the Blues reached remarkable heights throughout the past ten years and can lay claim to Premier League team of the decade. In those ten years, plenty of moments stand out as crucial, defining moments for the West London side. Some on the pitch, some off it. Some during matches, some after. Here are Chelsea’s top five moments of the decade.
Top Five Moments of the Decade for Chelsea
5 – Fernando Torres Cements His Chelsea Legacy (2012)
In the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals against Barcelona, Chelsea travelled to the Camp Nou with a 1-0 aggregate lead, a club they had lost to in the knockouts twice before. But in the first half, the Spanish side jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Blues pulled one back just before the break.
The second half proceeded scoreless with the game still level on aggregate. With a few minutes remaining, the home side started peppering the Chelsea net with chances, crosses, and corners. Then came the magical moment.
Barcelona blasted a ball into the box and the Chelsea defence desperately cleared it. Out of nowhere, a sprinting Fernando Torres ran on it behind every Barcelona player, gliding into the Barca half all alone.
Victor Valdes, the Barca keeper, charged out. Torres rounded him and tapped it into the net. The travelling Chelsea supporters erupted as the entire team went crazy celebrating the goal that was sending them to the Champions League final.
4 – Terry’s Farewell (2017)
After spending his entire footballing life at Stamford Bridge, after captaining the squad for the better part of a decade, John Terry took to the pitch for the final time for Chelsea on May 21st, 2017 in a 5-1 win over Sunderland. Terry started the match in central defence before being substituted in the 26th minute, symbolically honouring the number he wore during his storied career.
Following the match and celebrations of winning the Premier League, Terry addressed the fans one last time. He teared up as he thanked owner Roman Abramovich, his family, managers, teammates, coaches, and the fans for their love and support throughout his career.
From the highs of winning the Champions League in 2012, although he didn’t feature in that match because of red card suspension, to the lows of missing a penalty in the same competition’s final in 2008 against Manchester United, John Terry went through it all, and he did it while wearing the Chelsea badge.
Terry’s farewell speech after receiving his final Premier League winner’s medal, leaving the only club he ever played for professionally as a winner was the perfect ending for such an incredible, smart, and classy player and his decorated and historic career.
3 – Antonio Conte’s Back Three Revolutionizes Premier League (2016)
Antonio Conte took over as Chelsea manager following the 2015/16 ‘Mourinho season’ in which the Blues slumped to a mid-table finish with The Special One fired halfway through. Just a few short months into his tenure in the fall of 2016, Conte found himself under fire. He took the Blues across London to face Arsenal and got destroyed 3-0, with all three goals scored in the first half. The loss knocked them down to eighth place after earning a solitary point in September.
But during that game, Conte made a change that forever altered the course of the season, Chelsea as a club, and even the Premier League as a competition. He subbed on Marcos Alonso and ushered in the latest craze of using a back three. After that earth-shattering shift, Chelsea went on to win 13 games in a row and lift the Premier League trophy for the second time in three years.
Conte’s formation change swept across the league, with managers like Pep Guardiola and even Arsene Wenger trotting out line-ups later in the season in an attempt to capitalize on the latest fad. Managers with no understanding of its intricacies turned to it as well, hoping for any sort of advantage over an opponent. If it worked for Chelsea, they figured it could work their club as well.
Now, several years after Conte landed in London, teams still utilize the back three. Conte deserves credit for the influence the back three has had on the league, revolutionizing it once again.
2 – Hazard’s Goal Stops Spurs Title Hopes (2016)
By far the worst in the Abramovich era, 2015/16 was a year to forget for Chelsea. Mourinho was fired in December, they were languishing mid-table, and talisman Eden Hazard was having a horrific season, only having scored two goals all year in the league up to this point. Coming into Stamford Bridge was Tottenham Hotspur, sitting second behind Leicester City with three games remaining. If Spurs drew or lost, the title would be the Foxes’. Everything went according to plan at the start as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min put their team ahead 2-0 at the break.
At the beginning of the second half, Hazard entered the match and things changed. Gary Cahill pulled one back for the Blues with a half-hour remaining. Then, with seven minutes left, the Belgian wizard sprinted into the box as Diego Costa laid the ball into his stride. Hazard then majestically curled the ball into the top corner of the net drawing the two rivals level and, more importantly, ripping the title out of Tottenham’s hands and handing it to Leicester.
Considering how atrocious the season had been on and off the pitch, Chelsea ended it on a high note. Hazard, their best player in the decade and possibly club history, scored a beautiful goal preventing arch-rivals Tottenham from winning their first Premier League title. A sweet end to an otherwise bitter season.
1 – Triumph in Munich (2012)
There could only be one candidate for the greatest moment in the past decade for Chelsea; winning the Champions League trophy. The 2011/12 season was a mixed bag as the club fired Andre Villas-Boas in March and put Roberto Di Matteo in charge for the remainder of the year. What a decision it turned out to be, as the Italian led them to Champions League glory, the first and only time in club history.
Chelsea finished sixth in the league and almost flamed out in the last 16 in Europe after a first-leg loss to Napoli. Then in the semi-finals against Barcelona, Fernando Torres’ last-second goal sent Chelsea through in dramatic fashion after not really deserving to progress in the competition.
And in the final, they didn’t deserve it either. The Blues were second best on the day facing a Bayern Munich team in what turned out to be their home, Allianz Arena. Thomas Muller, though, finally broke through for the Germans in the 83rd minute as the stadium entered pandemonium.
But just a few minutes later, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba jumped and met the corner at its highest point and headed the ball into the back of the net to draw his team level.
The final moved to penalties and Bayern missed their last two. Up stepped the Ivorian, Drogba, again. He struck the ball cleanly and scored past Manuel Neuer for the win.
The players, the fans in attendance, and everyone associated with Chelsea in Munich or watching around the world experienced a euphoria never felt before. Bedlam ensued as they had finally reached the promised land.
After failing in penalties a few short years ago in Moscow, after a tumultuous season, Chelsea reached their greatest achievement in club history. They conquered Europe.