There has been no shortage of great goals scored by Chelsea in Premier League opening matches over the past 20 years.
The Blues have enjoyed an excellent record in our first league game of the season since 1999 (16 wins, 3 draws, 1 defeat) and it has been due in no small part to our prolific form which has seen us find no fewer than 50 times in those matches.
With Frank Lampard’s side looking to continue that excellent run when we visit Manchester United this weekend, here is a look at six of our best opening-day strikes over the past two decades.
Gustavo Poyet - 1999
Newly promoted Sunderland hardly knew what hit them on the opening day of the 1999-2000 season as they were hammered 4-0 at Stamford Bridge with Gus Poyet netting two of Chelsea’s goals. Having headed in our first goal after 20 minutes, the future Black Cats manager rounded things off in style 12 minutes from time when he ran into the box to meet Zola’s exquisite chipped pass with a flying volley which nearly tore the net off its moorings.
Mario Stanic - 2000
Mario Stanic scored only 10 goals during his injury-blighted spell at Stamford Bridge but the Croatian left a lasting impression with a wonder-strike on his Chelsea debut against West Ham. Receiving the ball on the right flank, he flicked it up on the turn with his first touch and kept it in the air with two more touches before crashing a 30-metre volley past Shaka Hislop into the top right corner to give us a 3-1 lead.
Hernan Crespo - 2005
In their first ever Premier League match, newly promoted Wigan Athletic looked set to pick up an unlikely point against defending champions Chelsea until a bolt from the blue by Hernan Crespo deep into stoppage time. The Argentinian received Didier Drogba’s flick-on on the right edge of the Wigan box and took a couple of touches before unleashing a left-footed thunderbolt which flew past goalkeeper Mike Pollit into the top corner of the net for a stunning late winner.
Didier Drogba - 2009
Our home opener against Hull City in 2009/10 looked set to end in frustration until Didier Drogba exchanged passes with Deco and drove toward the left byline before chipping the ball from a near impossible angle over the head of goalkeeper Boaz Myhill and into the far corner of the net. Whether the Ivoirian meant to score or find a team-mate with his chip was a moot point as the Blues won 2-1 en route to claiming the Premier League title by a single point.
Andre Schurrle - 2014
Chelsea sent a statement of intent in our opening match of the 2014/15 campaign as we came from behind to win 3-1 at newly promoted Burnley. The match was highlighted by a brilliant team goal midway through the first half as a 25-pass move stretched the Burnley defence and culminated in Cesc Fabregas playing an instinctive through ball into the path of an onrushing Andre Schurrle to slot home our second goal.
Diego Costa - 2016
Chelsea’s opening match against West Ham in 2016/17 appeard to be petering out to a 1-1 draw when Diego Costa received the ball with his back to goal 25 metres from goal. There didn’t seem to be too much danger for their visitors but they failed to close down the big striker, which allowed him to turn and drill a low right-footed drive across Adrian and into the bottom corner for the winning goal.