A total of 69 games were played by Chelsea in a season where they were thrashed 4-1, knocked out of the Club World Cup and became the 4th and only British club to win all major European competitions. Let’s have a look at the Blues’ top 5 games this seasons which were not only pivotal in their success but will also go down into the history books as memorable matches:
5. Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa [December 23, 2012] [Home]
Chelsea equaled their previous high-scoring Premier League record
It was undoubtedly one of the most memorable games under Rafael Benitez. Every game was crucial for Chelsea, as they looked to cement a top 4 position and there was no better way to do it than an emphatic 8-nil scoreline. Torres opened the scoreline with a magnificent header in the 3rd minute, while a Luiz free-kick and Ivanovic header saw Chelsea being solid as the first half came to a close. Lampard then scored from 30 yards out in the 59th minute, and Piazon found Ramires with a beautiful through ball that had Brazilian genes etched all over it to make it 5 for the night. Oscar then scored from the spot after being brought down, and Hazard scored the best goal of the night with a fiery shot past Brad Guzan. Piazon missed from the penalty spot but Ramires made up for it after scoring the 8th goal of the day.
Contrary to proper belief, Brad Guzan had a very good game. It was the young and inexperienced defence that leaked all the 8 goals. They couldn’t handle the movement of Chelsea’s midfield, and were punished heavily.
4. Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal [January 20, 2013] [Home]
Chelsea had done the double against Arsenal
What makes this game so significant is that Chelsea had finally done the double against their London rivals, by winning both the derbies in the English league. Mata scored in the 6th minute as Chelsea’s midfield looked a class above their opponents. An absolute rampant first half for Chelsea saw them dominate all areas of the game.
Lampard doubled their lead in the 16th minute via a penalty after Ramires was brought down by the Arsenal goalkeeper. Arsenal could not keep possession for more than 5 minutes as the referee brought the first half to an end. The side that came out after 45 minutes was however much better. Chelsea were put under heavy pressure and they finally cracked when Walcott made it 2-1.
However, they couldn’t get past the resilient Chelsea defence, which put bodies in the way and made sure they picked up all 3 points and the bragging rights for this year. Jack Wilshere played with a lot of passion in that game, as he looked frustrated every time Arsenal lost the ball and was first to react when they got it back.
3. Chelsea 5-4 Manchester United (AET) [October 31, 2012] [Home]
Chelsea had got their revenge in the Capital One Cup
It was a game of comebacks for Chelsea, after avenging their controversial loss which they suffered against the same opponents a weekend before. The scoring was opened by veteran Ryan Giggs after a naive mistake by Chelsea’s young Oriol Romeu. This just gave Chelsea added incentive to bring it back on level terms. Moses was brought down in the box by Buttner, and Luiz calmly put it past Anders Lindegaard.
Chicharito scored against Chelsea, which he was now used to after scoring against the Blues a few days back from an offside position, which was unfortunately not spotted by the linesman. Gary Cahill then headed in from a Mata corner in the second half to bring Chelsea back once again but Nani exchanged passes with Anderson and waltzed through Chelsea’s stuttering defence to make it 3-2.
Things became tense as the 90 minutes neared an end. Chelsea threw everyone at the young defensive partnership of United and they finally gave in. Ramires was brought down in the box in the 94th minute and Hazard put the ball into the back of the net in dramatic fashion.
Into extra-time they went and another mistake by the United defenders allowed Sturridge to give Chelsea the lead for the first time. Hazard then weaved his magic to play Ramires in, who twisted and turned away from the goalkeeper to slot the ball home. A late consolation was awarded for United, after Giggs scored from the penalty spot.
2. Manchester United 2-2 Chelsea [March 10, 2013] [Away]
Hazard scored from a beautiful right foot curler
Chelsea were completely outclassed for the first 45 minutes. It had become a habit for Chicharito to score against Chelsea, and he did in the 5th minute. Rooney scored from a free-kick in the 11th minute which looked more like a cross. Chelsea failed to keep hold of the ball with too many misplaced passes that could be read by the United players.
Moreover, the absence of John Terry made it worse for Chelsea, as the captain disappointedly looked on from the sidelines. Eden Hazard came on in the 52nd minute for Frank Lampard and scored from a wonderful curler in the 59th minute. The game was now swinging towards Chelsea as the Blues were rampant every time they attacked.
The ball then eventually landed in front of Ramires in the 68th minute, who calmly placed the ball through De Gea’s hands and into the back of the net. Chelsea had another chance with Mata’s shot, however United’s Spanish goalkeeper got a splendid touch with his right leg in time to parry it away. Chelsea had rescued their FA Cup hopes and went on for a replay at Stamford Bridge which they won.
1. Benfica 1-2 Chelsea [May 15, 2013] [Neutral]
The defining moment that rescued Chelsea’s season
Chelsea’s defence was tested again and again as Benfica controlled majority of the game. However, all their weak attempts could never find their way past Petr Cech. The first solid chance of the night came to Frank Lampard, whose powerful weaving shot was saved by the goalkeeper who could not believe his luck after moving towards the wrong direction.
In the second half, Benfica finally found the net, thanks to Oscar Cardozo, but he was rightly deemed offside by the officials. Torres, who had been working hard all night, was finally rewarded with a spectacular solo goal that resembled a lot like the one against Barcelona. Azpilicueta then committed the grave mistake of handling inside the penalty box, after his waving hand was caught by a wandering shot. Cardozo put away an inch perfect penalty as Cech went the wrong way.
Though Lampard hit the cross bar again, Branislav Ivanovic headed in from a corner in the 93rd minute, and it was all but decided that Chelsea were to be the first team that held both the major European trophies at the same time.