Boxing clever

Chelsea welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to Stamford Bridge today and we've picked out a few of our favourite Boxing Day wins for the Blues in the Premier League.

The day after Christmas hasn't always been the happiest for Chelsea since the English top flight was rebranded in 1992, as we struggled for the first few years and only registered our first Boxing Day win in 1996/97, a game you can read about below.

However, we haven't lost since a 4-2 reverse to Charlton Athletic in 2003/04, although there have been plenty of draws over the years – nine Premier League stalemates, to be precise, to go along with four defeats.

Our 10 wins, though, makes for a positive Boxing Day record and here are a few of those triumphs for you to digest ahead of what is hopefully victory number 11...

Aston Villa 0 Chelsea 2 (1996/97)

Blues fans were given a break from the usual Christmas films and treated to a showing of the Italian Job, courtesy of a Gianfranco Zola masterclass. The Villans had gone seven hours without conceding a goal, but then the little magician conjured up two in the space of five minutes. His first owed much to fortune, as his shot was deflected past future team-mate Mark Bosnich, but the second was down to Zola's ability to sniff out an opening, as he took advantage of a mistake to beat the Australian again.

 

Southampton 0 Chelsea 2 (1998/99)

Chelsea's first significant run at the title in over a decade was beginning to take shape, and a long unbeaten run had taken us top of the table at Christmas. It was two clinical finishes at the Dell which secured this victory, one in each half by Tore Andre Flo and Gustavo Poyet, but it was a bittersweet afternoon for the Blues. An injury to the Uruguayan, who had been our go-to-guy in the early part of the season, would keep him out of action until April, and our title bid eventually stalled.

 

Southampton 1 Chelsea 2 (1999/00)

The result of this match was almost an afterthought, particularly as far as the press were concerned, as all questions after another Blues win at the Dell centred on Gianluca Vialli's team selection. Not one English player made it into the starting XI as for the first time a team from these shores lined up with an all-foreign line-up. The nationality of the players mattered not a jot, of course, as a brace from Flo helped us to a 2-1 win which was far more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.

'I never thought about it,' said Vialli of his selection. 'It makes no difference as long as we talk the same language on the pitch.'

 

Chelsea 3 Fulham 2 (2005/06)

Local bragging rights clearly meant a lot to both sides in this five-goal thriller with our west-London neighbours at the Bridge. Early goals from William Gallas and Frank Lampard gave us a dream start, but Fulham pegged us back to 2-2 early in the second half. However, Hernan Crespo was on hand to steer home a left-foot volley at the back post to give us another crucial three points on our way to retaining the Premier League title.

 

Chelsea 2 West Ham United 0 (2014/15)

Another Boxing Day derby win for the Blues was secured in altogether more comfortable fashion – and the margin of victory could have been massive had it not been for the brilliance of Adrian between the sticks for the Hammers. However, the Spanish keeper could do little to keep out a tap-in from John Terry, who took his Chelsea tally to an incredible 61, and Eden Hazard teed up Diego Costa for a fine left-footed finish which put the game out of the reach of our visitors from east London.

 

Chelsea 3 Bournemouth 0 (2016/17)

The 12th consecutive win of a then-Premier League record-equalling run of 13, this was as straightforward as they come thanks to another virtuoso attacking display matched by a solid rearguard. The attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro were simply too hot for the Cherries to handle. The latter netted twice, either side of a penalty by Hazard, and the victory rarely looked in doubt.