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Five on it

After the 5-5 thriller between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest in midweek, we’ve delved into the archives to find out the last time Chelsea were involved in a drawn game featuring 10 goals.

Of course, the scoreline isn’t the only link to the wonderful match at Villa Park on Wednesday night – the Villans were indebted to a four-goal burst from on-loan Blues striker Tammy Abraham, who took his tally in this season’s Championship into double figures with the most prolific night of his nascent senior football career. Although we imagine new Villa assistant boss John Terry was watching through his fingers at some of the defending on display by both sides!

A few years back there was a famous 5-5 draw between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game as a manager, with Blues legend Steve Clarke in the opposite dugout and, once again, an on-loan Chelsea striker, Romelu Lukaku, hitting a hat-trick to salvage an unlikely point for the Throstles.

The incredible result in the Midlands on Wednesday got us looking back through the history books to find out when Chelsea were last involved in a scoreline like that, and we have to go back to another World Cup year – only this time the Three Lions went further than the semi-finals, going all the way to the final and lifting the trophy at Wembley Stadium.

Of course, that was in 1966. West Ham United were our opponents at Stamford Bridge in December of that year.

Hammers players went into the 1966/67 campaign riding the crest of a wave after playing their part in England’s famous triumph, with hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst, captain Bobby Moore and the other, oft-forgotten goalscorer from the 4-2 win over West Germany, Martin Peters all plying their trade at the Boleyn Ground.

Those who know their Chelsea history will be aware we brought them down to earth with a bang on the opening day of the season, recording a 2-1 win in which Charlie Cooke, making his league debut for the Blues, had left Moore on his backside before scoring a wonderful goal.

‘If I remember rightly, someone came back to the dressing room before the game and said Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters had just walked around the field with the World Cup,’ recalls Cooke. ‘That was even more incentive – particularly for a Scotsman!’

That result, in turn, gave added incentive to the Hammers ahead of the reverse fixture, which took place the week before Christmas. What followed was a game the fans could scarcely believe, full of twists and turns, ups and downs and, it must be said, some dreadful defending.

West Ham, managed by former Chelsea defender Ron Greenwood, and they took the lead through Peter Brabrook, another ex-Blue who picked up a league winners’ medal at the club alongside the man now managing him.

That lead was doubled by Peters, before Tommy Baldwin reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time. Incredibly, within 10 minutes of the break we were in front, courtesy of goals from Tony Hateley, our then record signing who was still finding his feet as a replacement for long-term injury absentee Peter Osgood, and Cooke.

The latter must clearly have enjoyed playing against West Ham; he didn’t score many in his time – certainly too few for a player of his ability – and this was his second of the season versus the Hammers.

‘That was the biggest weakness of my game as far as I’m concerned,’ he said. ‘I had two good feet and I didn’t score nearly enough. To me, scoring goals was unimportant – it was nothing. If you could make goals, that was what was important. It’s the biggest regret of my career. Huge! I think it was so stupid, so short-sighted.’

There was another big twist to come, as John Sissons netted twice in succession to put the Hammers ahead, and then they had a two-goal advantage once again as John Byrne converted the rebound of his own penalty.

Revenge looked to be theirs, but then Bobby Tambling, on his way to becoming Chelsea’s record scorer, netted twice in the final 10 minutes to ensure it was honours even at the end of an incredible afternoon at Stamford Bridge.

‘Some matches are memorable for quality, others for courage,’ wrote Ken Jones in his match report for the Daily Mirror. ‘But it was mistakes that brought a breath of fantasy to a goal-starved Stamford Bridge.

‘This week there will be inquests and recriminations. Talk of what might have been and shouldn’t have happened. But there was something for football to reflect on in this crazy pantomime of errors... the crowd loved it.’

As Maurizio Sarri often says, football should be fun – and you’d be hard-pressed to squeeze this much entertainment into a game.

In fact, there has been only one other 5-5 draw in our history, which came way back in 1937 when we drew against Bolton Wanderers.

With around 30 years separating the two matches, and with half a century passing since our most recent 5-5 draw, we’d say we’re long overdue one at the Bridge...

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