Having lifted the FA Cup last May, Chelsea will look to become the third team to win it nine times when we begin our defence of the world’s oldest national football competition against Nottingham Forest this weekend.
Our 1-0 win over Manchester United in last year’s final put us level with Tottenham Hotspur on eight victories, with only Arsenal (14) and United (13) ahead of us in terms of FA Cup wins.
As the Blues attempt to get past Forest and reach the fourth round of the competition for the 21st consecutive season, we look back at how we started on the road to success on our previous eight successful campaigns.
Birmingham City – 1969/70
Birmingham City had beaten Chelsea in the 1968 quarter-finals but we got our revenge at Stamford Bridge in January 1970. Peter Osgood headed us into a half-time lead before turning provider for Ian Hutchinson to score from close range after the interval. Hutchinson added his second late on to complete a 3-0 win while Osgood went on to become the last player to score in every round of the competition as we hoisted the Cup for the first time.
West Bromwich Albion – 1996/97
We opened our successful campaign in January 1997 against second-tier West Bromwich Albion, taking the lead after 39 minutes with a fine finish from skipper Dennis Wise. Craig Burley then steered home after a delightful through-ball by Roberto Di Matteo in the 74th minute before Gianfranco Zola made it 3-0 with a tap-in after Gianluca Vialli’s effort had come back off the post.
Hull City – 1999/2000
Chelsea were in the Champions League and Hull City were in the fourth tier when we played at Boothferry Park in December 1999. The Tigers gave their fans some cause for cheer when David Brown narrowed the deficit to 2-1 late in the first half, after Gustavo Poyet and Chris Sutton had put us two goals up. However, Poyet scored two more after the interval to complete his hat-trick and Di Matteo and Wise got a goal each to round off a 6-1 rout.
Macclesfield Town – 2006/07
Macclesfield Town fans were in dreamland when John Murphy put the League Two side back on level terms against the reigning Premier League champions at the Bridge in January 2007. However, they got a rude awakening as Frank Lampard scored his second of the game 90 seconds later before converting a penalty early in the second half to complete his first Chelsea hat-trick. Shaun Wright-Phillips, John Mikel Obi and Ricardo Carvalho also found the net as the Blues romped to another 6-1 win
Southend – 2008/09
A late equaliser at the Bridge earned Southend a replay against Chelsea and a shock looked on the cards when Adam Barrett gave them an early lead at Roots Hall. However, confidence in the Blues ranks was restored when Michael Ballack equalised with an accurate half-volley into the roof of the net in the final minute of the half. We pulled away after the interval with goals by Salomon Kalou, Nicolas Anelka and Lampard sealing a 4-1 win.
Watford – 2009/10
After lifting the FA Cup in 2009, we made a successful defence of the trophy the following season, beginning with a third-round rout of Championship side Watford. The game was over as a contest midway through the first half as a Daniel Sturridge strike, an own goal by John Eustace and Florent Malouda’s deflection of a Yuri Zhirkov shot put us three goals up after 22 minutes. Lampard fired home a screamer in the second half before Sturridge tapped in his second in our 5-0 win.
Portsmouth – 2011/12
In a rematch of the 2010 final, Championship side Portsmouth frustrated the Blues for much of the contest at the Bridge before a late blitz sealed our passage to the fourth round. Juan Mata turned in Florent Malouda’s low cross to give us the lead after 48 minutes but John Terry had to head off his line before the result was made safe in the dying minutes, as Ramires scored twice before Lampard made it 4-0 in stoppage time.
Norwich – 2017/18
Championship side Norwich took us all the way to a replay and penalties in last season’s third round. After a goalless draw at Carrow Road, the Canaries denied us victory in the replay as Jamal Lewis scored deep into stoppage time at the Bridge to cancel out Michy Batshuayi’s opener for the Blues. Chelsea finished with nine men after Pedro and Alvaro Morata were sent off in extra-time but we prevailed 5-3 in the shootout to reach the fourth round for the 20th year in a row.