Did he mean that?
Inside Blue Wed 29 Nov 2017
Willian was forced to insist he was going for goal when equalising against Liverpool, but it isn't the first outrageous strike by a Chelsea player that left some questioning the scorer's intentions.
The Brazilian earned us a point at Anfield when he chipped the ball over Simon Mignolet and inside the far post from a tight angle, with just five minutes remaining, but with some asking whether he meant such an audacious chip or if he was attempting to set up a team-mate, our number 22 was left to explain his intentions.
However, it's not the first time a Blues player's goal has been so audacious that it has divided opinion on whether he meant it, and here are a few other memorable strikes, some which were intentional, some not, and some where only one person will ever truly know...
The Brazilian has previous on this front, with his free-kicks designed to cause chaos for opposition defences and goalkeepers. On several occasions we have seen his deliveries from a wide position, cleverly kept on target, leaving a goalkeeper clueless whether to come off his line to claim a cross or stay put anticipating a touch from an attacker in the box, before being left stranded as the ball evades everyone to curl in at the back post. One of his best opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge against Southampton in October 2015. From a classic Willian free-kick position near the corner of the penalty area, he once again kept the keeper guessing and got his accuracy absolutely spot on to drop the ball just under the bar and in off the post.
Carlo Ancelotti's first Premier League game as Chelsea manager saw him get off to a winning start, en route to claiming the club's first domestic Double in 2009/10, but it took some late determination and a slice of luck from Drogba to earn three points as Hull visited Stamford Bridge on the first day of the season. A Drogba free-kick had already levelled the scores in the first half, after conceding a shock opener from Stephen Hunt, but entering injury time it looked like we would have to settle for a draw. However, right at the death, Drogba arrived on the corner of the six-yard box to lift the ball over Boaz Myhill, who had made a string of saves throughout the second half, and claim the win. On this occasion, though, the Ivorian had to admit to a slice of fortune in his favour, even if he felt plenty had gone against us during the rest of the match. 'It was a cross but the intention was always good,' said Drogba. 'We had a difficult second half, we could have scored a lot of goals today but we were unlucky.'
Was it a shot or a cross? Who knows, and Gronkjaer certainly didn't seem to care as he set off on his wild celebration after opening the scoring in the second leg of our 2003/04 Champions League semi-final against Monaco. The Blues went into the game at Stamford Bridge looking for goals after suffering defeat in the French principality, and our Danish winger supplied the first of them. The situation didn't look too threatening when Mario Melchiot passed the ball on to Gronkjaer on the right touchline, but he cut inside away from his man and curled the ball into the far post left footed. It was either a brilliant strike or a perfect fluke, let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
Champions League clashes between Chelsea and Barcelona have provided their fair share of drama over the years and our group-stage fixture at the Nou Camp in 2006/07 was no exception. Goals from future and former Blues Deco and Eidur Gudjohnsen were cancelled out as Drogba got an injury-time equaliser, but it was our first equaliser from Lampard which still divides opinion on whether it was genius or luck. The man himself was adamant he knew exactly what he was doing, as just when it looked like his touch had let him down and the chance to score from Michael Essien's cross had gone, he swivelled right on the touch line and chipped the ball perfectly over Victor Valdes, with just enough spin for it to drift under the bar and help us to prime position in the group. Given how many times our legendary number eight provided the telling touch on the big occasion during his long Chelsea career, who are we to doubt him?
The Italian's first start for Chelsea after signing from Torino in August also brought his first goal for the Blues. What's more, he found the net in spectacular style from way out to contribute to an emphatic 6-0 thrashing of Qarabag at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League. Not a bad introduction to the fans at the Bridge on his home debut but, being the modest type, Zappacosta admitted after the match that rather than an ambitious opportunistic strike surprising the goalkeeper as it flew in at the near, the wing-back had been looking to cross for a team-mate. However, Zappacosta still deserves plenty of credit for the goal, even if the finish owed more to luck than judgement, having picked up a roll-out from Thibaut Courtois on the edge of the Chelsea box before showing tremendous pace and tenacity to tear up the right wing, skipping past the challenge of two opponents, covering fully two thirds of the pitch on his own before finding the net.