Antonio Rudiger bagged a brace on Saturday to earn us a draw at high-flying Leicester City, but he is not the first defender to show he is handy at both ends of the pitch by scoring twice in the same match and, judging by his predecessors, you should not be surprised if he repeats the trick.
The German started and finished the scoring on our visit to the King Power Stadium with a pair of headers, both from Mason Mount deliveries, to first give us the lead over the Foxes shortly after half-time and then equalise later in the second half.
While it is not every day a defender finds the net twice in a game, there have been some memorable examples of it in the past involving the Blues during the Premier League era. Of course, where else can you begin than with the man whose exploits led him to be introduced to the Stamford Bridge crowd as ‘Two-Goal Branislav Ivanovic’ at every home game for the rest of his long Chelsea career.
What made his feat even more impressive is that the versatile Serbian defender had never scored once for us before that famous European night in early April 2009, and it is fair to say anyone getting two goals against Liverpool in a Champions League quarter-final was going to prove popular with the fans, let alone someone more accustomed to preventing goals than scoring them.
We had gone behind early on to a Fernando Torres goal, but Ivanovic exposed the flaws in Liverpool’s defending at set-pieces by twice getting on the end of corners, once in each half, to beat Pepe Reina with his head and turn the tie around. Didier Drogba added another to give us an advantage the Reds could not overcome in the second leg at Anfield, but there was no questioning the fact that it was Ivanovic who was the hero.
While they may have been the first, he showed the goalscoring touch was not a fluke by popping up with a number of big goals for the Blues and even managed a brace on two further occasions, in a 4-1 Champions League group-stage win over Spartak Moscow – his old rivals from his time in the same city with Lokomotiv – in 2011/12 and again the next season as we beat Aston Villa 4-2 in the Premier League.
They made Ivanovic the first defender to score a brace for Chelsea in each of those competitions, and still the only one in the Champions League, but there have been two more to do it in the Premier League between him and Rudiger. Perhaps promisingly for the German’s chances in the future, they have both achieved it more than once, too.
The most recent is one of Rudiger’s current Blues team-mates, Marcos Alonso, and both of his braces came five months apart in 2017/18. His first is unquestionably the most famous of the two, as it gave us victory over London rivals Tottenham in the first ‘home’ game of their spell playing at Wembley Stadium.
The first of those goals against Spurs was what has become one of the Spaniard’s trademark free-kicks, finding the top corner with power and curl to give us the lead at the national stadium, and he beat Hugo Lloris at the near post from close range after latching on to Pedro’s drive to grab our late winner in the 88th minute.
Alonso was at it once more, coincidentally on an away trip to the King Power Stadium, but on this occasion our defender’s brace helped us on our way to a 3-0 victory over Leicester. In a further coincidence, the left-back’s goals came in the sixth minute of each half, sweeping Eden Hazard’s lay-off into the far corner before driving past Kasper Schmeichel, via a deflection off Wes Morgan, when Willian’s free-kick was only partly cleared by the Foxes.
The identity of the other man to make this elite group should not come as a surprise, given that he is the Premier League’s all-time highest-scoring defender. He is, of course, Chelsea’s most successful captain, and scorer of 67 goals for the club in total - John Terry.
The first of his braces came en route to lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time in 2004/05 and against Charlton Athletic, who had also been the opponents when he skippered Chelsea for the first time three years earlier.
The Addicks may have spoiled his previous big day with a 1-0 defeat, but there would be no stopping him and Chelsea this time at The Valley, as he met Damien Duff’s corner with a thumping header and then scrambled home another of the Irish winger’s set-pieces from close range in a 4-0 victory, which sent us five points clear at the top of the table.
Terry’s next was in a similarly emphatic win away in a London derby, this time even closer to home at Craven Cottage, in April 2013.
The goals themselves were pretty familiar too, both coming from left-footed corners, albeit Juan Mata’s on this occasion, again heading the first past future Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and converting the second from close range by turning in Fernando Torres’ headed effort.
We’re sure Rudiger won’t mind if his goalscoring becomes just as repetitive, in every sense of the word.