The magic number
Inside Blue Mon 25 Sep 2017
Alvaro Morata is the latest in a long line of Chelsea strikers to have hit three or more goals in a game, but how did his predecessors open their hat-trick accounts?
No player has hit three or more goals in a game as many time as Greaves, who did so on no less than 13 occasions, including three separate matches where he scored five. It was fitting that such a prolific striker kept going after scoring his first hat trick, to get four in a Division One match against Portsmouth, contributing to his 22 league goals in the 1957/58 season. It might be hard to believe now, but the game was actually played on Christmas Day, with the Blues making it a very merry one in west London by romping to a 7-4 victory. Greaves opened the scoring after 15 minutes of a crazy game which saw both sides score own goals, and hit the net again to make it 4-0 10 minutes later. He completed his treble before half-time, before adding another late on. Unfortunately he couldn't find the net as we travelled away to face the same opponents 24 hours later on Boxing Day, as a reversal of fortunes saw us suffer a 3-0 defeat.
By the time the 1961/62 season began, a young Tambling had already proven himself to be a prolific goal scorer and he kept up that reputation by hitting the back of the net five times in our first six fixtures. There was no let up in his form in our next game, when we hosted Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge. He opened the scoring and then, after the visitors had equalised on the brink of half-time, scored again to retake the lead two minutes into the second period. Peter Brabrook and Barry Bridges added their own goals, the latter getting two, before Tambling completed his hat trick and the scoring in a 6-1 victory.
The 1969/70 season remains one of Chelsea's most iconic campaigns, as a glamorous Blues side finished third in the top flight and went all the way to glory in the FA Cup for the first time in our history. A large part of that success came from the performances of talismanic striker Osgood, who really began to come into his own and live up to his potential. As his form continued to go from strength to strength, our No9 got his first hat trick just after Christmas when we travelled to Selhurst Park for a London derby. Things didn't go to plan initially, as Palace took the lead, but then Ossie stamped his mark on the game. After equalising in the first half, he moved on to another level after the break, scoring a further three times in the space of 15 minutes to take the fight out of the Eagles, with Peter Houseman making it 5-1 late on.
Chelsea signed Dixon from Reading in 1983 to spearhead our promotion campaign in Division Two, and the centre-forward didn't disappoint, scoring a brace in each of his first two appearances. He found the net 28 times in the league alone that season as we finished in first place, on goal difference, and returned to the top flight, but it was in the League Cup that he got his first hat-trick. Dixon had already scored once, along with Clive Walker, in a 2-1 win over Gillingham in the opening match of our Milk Cup first-round tie, but he made sure we would progress by getting all the goals in a 4-0 victory in the second leg at the Bridge. Two quick goals just before the break put us ahead before he completed his hat trick early in the second half. The icing on the cake came as he got a fourth goal six minutes from the end.
Somewhat surprisingly, given that his first two seasons saw him leading the line in successive title triumphs, it wasn't until his third campaign with the Blues that Drogba got his first Chelsea hat-trick. It came in the group stage of the 2006/07 Champions League, en route to reaching the semi-finals, as we travelled to Bulgaria to face Levski Sofia. He had already come close once by hitting the crossbar when he opened the scoring from close range in the first half, turning in when John Mikel Obi, making his first start for the club, saw his shot saved. He struck again seven minutes into the second period, brilliantly controlling Wayne Bridge's long pass on his chest before slotting home to give us a comfortable lead. He claimed the match ball in the 67th minute to put us three goals ahead by diverting Frank Lampard's effort past the goalkeeper, meaning the Bulgarians' goal in the dying minutes was nothing more than a consolation.