Gustavo Poyet, one of the best midfielder goalscorers in Chelsea history, returns to Stamford Bridge tomorrow as a special guest on the Matchday Live show, which can be viewed on The 5th Stand app and chelseafc.com.
Poyet is also one of the best talkers on the game to have graced the Blues dressing room, so it promises to be an enthralling show hearing from him, especially as he played for both clubs contesting Sunday afternoon’s London derby.To warm up for his appearance, during which he will be reviewing his top Chelsea moments and the players he played with, plus discussing the current team and our north London rivals, we have a collection here of some other words from the Uruguayan as well as his Play Predictor entries ahead of the big game…
Poyet on the 1997 FA Cup final, which took place after he had agreed to sign for Chelsea but while he was still a Real Zaragoza player in Spain…‘On that day, I was travelling from Zaragoza to Santander to play a game, so I couldn’t watch the final. But I was in contact with my wife, because I wanted to know the result, because if Chelsea won I would be able to play in the Cup Winners’ Cup again. Just before we left, I talked to my wife and she said, “Ah, Chelsea have scored.” That’s not possible! The game didn’t start, or it’s only 30 seconds in. What? Already! I didn’t know the result until I got to Santander and then I heard Eddie Newton had scored a second and Chelsea had won. I was already imagining myself playing the Cup Winners’ Cup the following year, so it was a good moment.’
Poyet on whether Chelsea would have won the league in 1998/99 had he not suffered an injury midway through when the team was flying high…‘Having that first difficult season with the cruciate ligament, my first big injury, was a shock for me and then in my second season I was just completely adapted and ready to go. “Now I’m going to show you. I’ve been in England, I won a trophy, I’m going to make a big step forward.” Everything was going exceptionally for me. A midfielder to have 11 goals in all competition by Boxing Day – you’re going to score 20 this year, it’ll be unbelievable.
‘Getting the injury then was tough for me. You keep watching the team and you want to be helping them and scoring goals, but you cannot do it for three months. Wisey was getting suspended every week. We were in the position where we needed to have the last push, just to see if this is our year, and we have the game against Leicester. That is the story of the season. Steve Guppy, right-footed – I don’t think he scored that many with his right, with all respect to him, so the idea was to let him come inside. Was that right or wrong? A player who is 99 per cent left-footed, so you force him onto his right. He scored an incredible goal. We had that feeling that there was very little missing. So little missing. Maybe Wisey not missing so many games, or me scoring goals in January through March. Who knows?’
Poyet on his famous goal against Sunderland on the opening day of the following season…‘For me the most important goal against Sunderland was my first one. It’s the first day of the season at Stamford Bridge, a beautiful day when it’s sunny and hot, and we had to make sure we started winning quick. When I scored the first from a corner and we go 1-0 up, it was like, “Okay, here we are, we’ve started.”
‘The fourth was… like the strawberry that goes on the icing on the cake. Why did I do it? I don’t know. Is it something I practised in training? No. The connection with Gianfranco… He had the chance to pass to me earlier, but he looked at me like, “Come on. Don’t worry. The ball will drop in front of you and then it’s up to you.” I kept running and the ball dropped perfectly. Maybe it was too early in the season to be one of the contenders for Goal of the Season, but it was special, without a doubt.‘I never tried it before on a football pitch and I never tried it again after. I tried many overhead kicks for example and I didn’t score many in my career, maybe one or two and not spectacular, and I tried maybe 20 times. But this technique I never tried before or after that day.’
Poyet on beating the Manchester United side that the previous season had won the treble by a 5-0 scoreline…‘That day is special for me not only because I scored two goals and we won 5-0, but I’ve got an image of that day. To leave Stamford Bridge after a game was always difficult, and the Man United game was even more. You had to leave maybe an hour or more after. I came out of the car park and to go to my house in the west, normally I would go left out of Stamford Bridge, then left onto the A4. This time, for whatever reason, I went to the right, to go through Fulham.
‘There was traffic everywhere, as you can imagine, and we’re driving two miles an hour. I’ve got my kids with me. I was driving so slowly and there was this supporter who has a beer and he’s walking at exactly the same pace as we’re driving. He didn’t see me – luckily for me [laughs] – and he was on his own, singing, “5-0! We only won 5-0!” And he kept singing and singing. At this moment, you realise how happy football can make the fans. That guy had probably the best time of his life. He was enjoying the moment, maybe thinking, “How many times am I going to see us beat Man United 5-0? I’m going to enjoy this moment!” It was so special for me to see.’Poyet makes his predictions for Sunday’s crunch match against Spurs…Ahead of our match against Tottenham on Sunday, Poyet has had his say and entered his Play Predictor predictions to compete against fellow fans, anticipating a big derby day for the Blues and an early goal from Romelu Lukaku.‘My score prediction will be Chelsea winning 2-0, they showed in the cup they are a little bit superior against Spurs’He’s backed up that claim by predicting the first goal will come from Romelu Lukaku as early as the 22nd minute, just four minutes later than Toni Rudiger found the net in the second leg of our recent Carabao Cup semi-final win. You can see the rest of his predictions below:
Final score: 2-0 to ChelseaFirst goalscorer: LukakuTime of first goal: 22 minutesNumber of Chelsea shots: 15Number of Chelsea shots on target: EightChelsea possession: 61 per centNumber of Chelsea corners: Seven
Take on Gustavo Poyet at Play Predictor only on the 5th Stand. Enter now - entries close five minutes before kick-off.
Matchday Live with Joe Flemons, Gustavo Poyet, Pat Nevin, Dan Stewart, Matt Davies-Adams and Jason Cundy kicks off at 3.25pm on Sunday and will have team news, tactical analysis and lots of chat.