It’s the favourite working day of the week for most people, but the Blues haven’t faced too many Friday fixtures over the years. That’s not to say there haven’t been some memorable ones along the way…
Saturday at 3pm has always been the traditional kick-off time in English football, but as anyone who has followed it will tell you, those days are long gone.
Any day of the week is fair game nowadays – a fact often bemoaned by the traditionalists but, in the current Covid-19 enforced suspension of football, an irrelevance as most of us would accept watching any live footy regardless.
Now, back to the topic at hand. With the Easter weekend beginning today with Good Friday, we look back at some Chelsea classics played on the last day before the weekend, including a couple of trophies picked up along the way.
Chelsea v Real Madrid1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup final replay
Back in the days before penalty shoot-outs were widely introduced, you could have the crazy scenario of a European final being replayed only 48 hours after the initial match finished all-square. Still, we only had ourselves to blame as we should have held on for a 1-0 win, with only a last-gasp goal earning Real another shot.
What followed in the replay was the goal of a lifetime from centre-back John Dempsey, who thundered the sweetest of volleys into the back of the net to set Dave Sexton’s boys on their way.
The Blues quickly extended our lead through the King of Stamford Bridge, Peter Osgood – and while it wasn’t up there with Dempsey’s effort, it was still a goal worthy of winning any cup final, despite Real pulling one back late on.
Manchester City 0 Chelsea 21983/84 Division Two
In stark contrast to the modern era, when the top teams seem to be on telly every other week, Chelsea fans had to wait until May 1984 to see the club play in a live televised league game. It was certainly worth holding out for as the Blues netted a couple of stunning goals at City's old Maine Road ground.
The first, scored by Pat Nevin, was a sublime finish from a tight angle, while Kerry Dixon doubled the lead after Paul Canoville's trickery teed up David Speedie to cross for his strike partner.
At the time of the game, Chelsea seemingly had little chance of overhauling Second Division leaders Sheffield Wednesday, but a remarkable turnaround saw John Neal's side crowned champions.
Chelsea 4 West Ham 31989/90 ZDS Cup third round
Only hardened Blues will look at the competition this was played in without a shrug of the shoulders. Better known as the Full Members’ Cup, it was the short-lived third domestic cup up for grabs for top-flight teams, among others.
The near 8,500 supporters who bothered to turn out for this London derby three days before Christmas were treated to an all-time classic. The Blues were cruising at 2-0 up shortly after the break when Graham Roberts’ penalty doubled the advantage given to us by Kerry Dixon before half-time, but then West Ham struck back with three in the space of 20 minutes.
However, Colin Lee and Kevin Wilson – owner of one of the finest moustaches in Chelsea history – struck in the closing stages to send us through. We went on to lift the trophy at Wembley in March, as Tony Dorigo’s free-kick saw off Middlesbrough in the final.
Chelsea 1 Real Madrid 01998 European Super Cup
Our first appearance in the Super Cup came in the maiden-edition of Europe’s equivalent of the Community Shield to be held as a one-off game at Monaco's Stade Louis II.
Just as in that previous Friday night Euro classic, we were pitted against Real Madrid, the newly crowned seven-time European Cup winners who would face Gianluca Vialli's Cup Winners' Cup-winning Blues.
Chelsea overcame the Spanish side thanks to a low drive from Gustavo Poyet with less than 10 minutes remaining to spark jubilant scenes of celebration. It was a third trophy in the space of a little over six months since Vialli had taken the managerial reins from Ruud Gullit.
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 22002/03 Premier League
This was a rare Friday night Premier League game for the club, with another 13 years passing before the next.
Unlike the others on our list, this may not have ended in victory for Chelsea but it was a fantastic match when we pushed the Red Devils all the way.
After William Gallas’ early goal got us off to the perfect start, United drew level through a deflected effort by David Beckham. However, there was little doubt about the goal of the game, which came on the stroke of half-time from the boot of Bolo Zenden. The Dutch winger didn’t enjoy the best of luck during his time with the Blues, but this thunderbolt was certainly his finest moment.
Had it not been for Ryan Giggs scoring the 100th goal of his United career in the second half, Claudio Ranieri’s men would have claimed victory from a barnstorming encounter.
West Brom 0 Chelsea 12016/17 Premier League
The Blues travelled to the Hawthorns for this Friday night fixture knowing we could clinch the Premier League title with two games to spare, having stormed to the top of the league in the winter with a club-record winning run.
It was a scrappy game throughout – as you might expect against a side managed by Tony Pulis – but with seven minutes to go, substitute Michy Batshuayi’s turned the ball home from close range to edge us a step closer to glory.
We held on for a 1-0 victory which sparked scenes of jubilation among the travelling supporters and Chelsea players and staff which went on long after the final whistle. And the party went on for over a week, as we won our next two games at the Bridge before finally getting our hands on the trophy.