Opening Cup salvos

It has been 20 years since Chelsea were last beaten in the third round of the FA Cup, a remarkable run which we will look to continue when we travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City this weekend.

Since the 5-3 loss to Manchester United in January 1998, we have taken on and beaten opponents from all of the top four divisions of English football, beginning with a 2-0 away success against third-tier Oldham in 1999 and extending all the way to last year’s 4-1 win over League One side Peterborough United at Stamford Bridge.

Those 22 matches (including three replays) have seen us concede only 10 goals while scoring 73, including the following gems which have helped to spark some long cup runs for the Blues.

Gustavo Poyet

Hull City, 1999

Chelsea were in the Champions League and Hull City were in the fourth tier when we visited Boothferry Park in December 1999 and any hopes of a shock result were put to rest by Gustavo Poyet after only eight minutes. A Hull defender cut off his attempted pass to Chris Sutton but the ball came back to the Uruguayan midfielder who launched a magnificent curler from outside the box into the top corner of the net. Poyet would net a hat-trick as we won 6-1 to begin a run which culminated in the Blues lifting the Cup in the last final to be played at the old Wembley Stadium in May 2000.

Gianfranco Zola

Norwich City, 2002

In our last third round meeting with Norwich City, the Canaries held us 0-0 at Carrow Road but were beaten 4-0 in a replay at the Bridge which featured a golden strike by Gianfranco Zola which has become a part of Chelsea folklore. With the Blues two up just after the hour, the Italian made a diagonal run to meet a low corner by Graeme Le Saux, allowing the ball to pass between his legs before flicking it with his right heel past goalkeeper Robert Green at his near post. The astonishment of the fans at the Bridge was clearly audible as they watched the video replays of the goal which took us on a run to the 2002 final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

John Mikel Obi

Macclesfield Town, 2007

While he was a mainstay at Stamford Bridge for over a decade, playing 372 games for Chelsea and winning just about every trophy available, John Mikel Obi was far from prolific at finding the net, scoring only six goals for us. The first came in our FA Cup clash against Macclesfield during his debut season in England in 2006/07 when a weak clearing header found its way to the Nigerian, who let the ball bounce once before meeting it with a venomous half-volley which arrowed into the top corner of the net. The Blues won 6-1 and went on to lift the Cup after a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the first final at the new Wembley.

Michael Ballack

Southend United, 2009

Having conceded a last-minute equaliser in the initial game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea looked to be in real trouble when we trailed 1-0 to Southend as half-time approached in the replay at Roots Hall. However, confidence was restored in the final minute of the half when Jose Bosingwa’s hopeful long ball was punched out by the Southend goalkeeper but fell invitingly for Michael Ballack, to send an accurate half-volley past a leaping defender into the roof of the net to level the score. The Blues came back to win the match 4-1 and went on beat Everton in the final later that year.


Peterborough United, 2017

Pedro was in fine form for Chelsea last year as he scored 13 goals to help us regain the Premier League title and reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 2012. The scoring instincts of the Spaniard was apparent in our third round clash against Peterborough when he broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. Gathering the ball on the left of the Peterborough box after their goalkeeper had kept out a Nathaniel Chalobah effort, he calmly sidestepped a sliding challenge before drilling a shot between two defenders into the far corner of the net.

FA Cup third round matches since 1999

Season Opponent Result


Oldham (a)



Hull City (a)



Peterborough (h)



Norwich (a)

0-0 (replay 4-0)


Middlesbrough (h)



Watford (a)

2-2 (replay 4-0)


Scunthorpe (h)



Huddersfield (h)



Macclesfield (h) 



QPR (h)



Southend (h) 

1-1 (replay 4-1)


Watford (h)



Ipswich (h) 



Portsmouth (h) 



Southampton (a)



Derby (a) 



Watford (h)



Scunthorpe (h)



Peterborough (h)