Cup ties against Nottingham Forest are a recent Chelsea trend but we played the East Midlanders 12 years ago as well, in a season that ended on a good note, as club historian Rick Glanvill recall here…
Chelsea also faced Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup en-route to winning the trophy for the fourth time in 2007. Successive festive season draws in the league with Reading, Fulham and Aston Villa had served to skewer the back-to-back champions’ defence of the title.
January’s progress at home to Macclesfield in round three of the FA Cup and in the League Cup semi-final against Wycombe signposted alternatives paths to glory, however.
A banner brought to the Bridge on 28 January by travelling Forest fans depicted their famous manager Brian Clough along with the words ‘Ssh, José – the legend is here.’ Yet on the pitch Colin Calderhead’s League One visitors looked overawed as well as outgunned. ‘I think the history of the game was the history of the first half,’ Mourinho said afterwards. He was right.
Early goals from Andriy Shevchenko and Didier Drogba (a direct free-kick) took full advantage of Forest’s chariness, and when John Mikel Obi reacted quickest to an in-swinging Frank Lampard corner the game was sealed before the half-time whistle. (This was Lampard’s only game against Forest as a player.)
The match statistics recorded before the break were damning: the Blues had enjoyed 81 per cent possession, and managed 18 shots on goal. Little wonder, then, that when Calderwood was asked if he could take any positives from the encounter he replied ‘None’ and let the word hang silently in the conference air.
Chelsea went on to scoop the League Cup and FA Cup ‘double’ that season for the first time in the club’s history.
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