Free-wheeling stalemates – Chelsea’s 4-4 draws

While 4-4 draws don’t happen too often in football, Chelsea’s eight-goal Champions League thriller against Ajax this week is just the latest high-scoring stalemate involving the Blues.

Our first-ever competitive home match against the Dutch champions is certain to live long in the memory after Frank Lampard’s side battled back from 4-1 down to earn a point from a pulsating clash which featured two own goals, two disallowed goals and two red cards.

It was only the fourth time such a scoreline had been recorded in a Champions League game but Chelsea were involved in one such game a decade ago when we met Liverpool in the 2008/09 quarter-finals.

The Blues had won 3-1 at Anfield in the first leg but the Reds managed to level the aggregate score at Stamford Bridge through a Fabio Aurelio free-kick and Xabi Alonso penalty in the first half.

Chelsea stormed back after the interval with Didier Drogba pulling one back and Alex levelling the score with a thunderous free-kick before Lampard made it 3-2 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate with 14 minutes left.

Liverpool would not throw in the towel though and goals by Lucas Leiva and Dirk Kuyt gave them hope of turning thing around before Lampard fired home his second in the final minute to send us through to a semi-final meeting with Barcelona.

Amazingly, two of our Premier League matches the previous season had ended in similar fashion.

On Boxing Day 2007, the Blues came from 2-0 down against Aston Villa at the Bridge with a brace by Andriy Shevchenko and a fine finish by Alex giving us a 3-2 lead before Martin Laursen levelled things up again for Villa.

Michael Ballack’s late free-kick appeared to have won the game but a stoppage-time penalty by Gareth Barry gave the visitors a share of the spoils.

The following March, we travelled to White Hart Lane and took a 3-1 lead against Tottenham Hotspur after 55 minutes through Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Joe Cole only for Spurs to hit back with goals by Dimitar Berbatov and Tom Huddlestone making it 3-3.

Cole put us back in front with his second of the game on 79 minutes but Robbie Keane’s late equaliser saw us leaving the Lane with only a single point.

Prior to that, you have to go back two decades to find the previous instance of a 4-4 draw during our ill-starred 1987/88 campaign.

Chelsea were winless in 17 league games when we travelled to bottom side Oxford in March 1988 and took a 3-0 half-time lead through Pat Nevin, John Bumstead and Kerry Dixon, only for the home side hit back with three in 18 minutes after the interval.

Dixon restored our lead after 86 minutes but Dean Saunders equalised soon afterwards to extend our barren run in a season which saw us relegated via the play-offs.

There was a more fondly remembered draw in a League Cup quarter-final against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in January 1985 when the Blues came 3-0 down at half-time with substitute Paul Canoville scoring twice and Dixon and Mickey Thomas netting one each to put us 4-3 up with five minutes to play.

A Doug Rougvie foul allowed the Owls to equalise from the penalty spot in stoppage time but the Blues eventually progressed after a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge in the second replay.