Posts Tagged ‘Dixon’

Arsenal v Chelsea
Latest Odds PLUS Fantastic Four: Classic Past encounters

Selected Match Odds

ARSENAL   29/20   DRAW   9/4   CHELSEA  19/10

First Goalscorer: Sanchez 5/1, Welbeck 11/2, Hazard 6/1, Drogba 7/1, Fabregas 11/1

Correct Score: Ars 1-0 Che: 7/1, Ars 1-1 Che: 6/1, Ars 1-2 Che: 10/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY: Anytime Drawcast – Alexis Sanchez to score anytime & match ends in a draw at 10/1

odds courtesy of William Hill.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR – CLASSIC ARSENAL v CHELSEA PAST ENCOUNTERS

Arsenal 2-4 Chelsea – March 1964

There was turmoil at The Bridge when Tommy Docherty took charge of Chelsea after Ted Drake was dismissed following a series of mid-table finishes and a woeful start to the 61-62 campaign, but he was unable to turn things around and at the end of the season Chelsea were relegated. But they bounced straight back with a side built around Peter Bonetti, Ron Harris, Terry Venables, and their young captain Bobby Tambling.

Their first season back with the big guns was magnificent for such a young team – the standout result being a 4-2 win at Highbury.

The Arsenal team was built around the attacking talents of George Eastham, Joe Baker and George Armstrong, and they still held faint hopes of maintaining a title challenge. But they were found wanting as Bobby Tambling scored all four Chelsea goals on a mudbath, capitalising on three mistakes by Ian Ure, the other a delightful lob.

Chelsea finished in fifth, three places ahead of Arsenal. Docherty’s side were anointed as one of the teams of the decade and went on to capture the League Cup a year later. Arsenal on the other hand descended into a dark period under Billy Wright, not only losing their way but also their white sleeves in the process.

Highbury1964

Bobby Tambling scored all four Chelsea goals in the mud of Highbury

 

Arsenal 5-2 Chelsea – April 1979

Stapleton netted a brace to help relegate the Blues

Stapleton netted a brace to help relegate the Blues

Both teams began the 70’s in fine style; Arsenal won the league and Cup Double in 1971, only to drift. Chelsea followed up their 1970 FA Cup win with the Cup Winners’ Cup a year later – and then decided to expand Stamford Bridge with a massive East Stand. Up went the stand, and down went Chelsea.

One of their stars of the 1960s Eddie McCreadie led Chelsea back up with a team built around Ray Wilkins. Boardroom unrest meant McCreadie was replaced by another star of the previous decade, Ken Shellito, before Danny Blanchflower was tasked with keeping the Blues in the top flight.

But in 1978-79, Chelsea won only five league games all season, the knockout blow being landed with a spectacular flourish by Arsenal. David O’Leary, Frank Stapleton (2), Alan Sunderland and David Price sent Chelsea down – with the west Londoners’ only relief coming from terrace favourites Clive Walker and Tommy Langley.

 

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal – February 1991

Dixon scored the winner

Dixon scored the winner

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal went unbeaten in their title triumph of 2003/04 of course. But that achievement could have been old news had Chelsea not beaten George Graham’s Gunners in February of 1991, 23 years earlier, which proved to be their only league defeat of the season as they clinched the title by seven points.

In a tight match, Chelsea seized control in the second half thanks to Graham Stuart’s header into an almost unguarded net after Winterburn’s mistake, and late on the Arsenal defence was in tatters as Kerry Dixon tapped in after being set up by Damien Matthew to send The Shed into raptures.

Alan Smith’s smart finish pulled one back, but it came so late the away fans could barely muster a cheer. Invincibility would have to wait…

 

Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal – October 1999

Nwankwo Kanu is a curious character, the embodiment of unfulfilled possibilities some would say. Despite his frustrating, languid style and unspectacular goal scoring record he is a cult figure to Arsenal fans everywhere – thanks largely to this game.

Chelsea seemed to have the game all sewn up shortly after half time when Dan Petrescu added to Tore Andre Flo’s 39th minute strike. But Arsenal’s lanky Nigerian striker had other ideas, scoring an exquisite 15 minute hat-trick. His first two goals were all about his control and delicate touch, but it’s his 90th-minute winner that will really live long in the memory.

It looked like the chance had gone after he’d chased down Albert Ferrer’s stray clearance, but dribbling past a stranded Ed de Goey, Kanu whipped the ball over an array of Chelsea defenders into the far top corner from an impossible angle, sending Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler into a fits, screeching the famous line: “Can you believe it?!”

KanuHT

Kanu believe it?!? Chelsea couldn’t…

@KGHof

Chelsea v United Preview
PLUS 2 CLASSIC GAMES: Dixon ends title hopes & Violett the hat-trick hero

by Karl Hofer.

CHELSEA v UNITED: TWO CLASSICS

80’s Away Day

Kerry-Dixon-1

Dixon netted a brace to end United’s title hopes

Perhaps one of the most painful defeats for United at the hands of Chelsea was The Blues 2-1 win at Old Trafford in April of 1986. Despite Everton and Liverpool breaking away from the chasing pack, both clubs were still grimly hanging on in the title race but neither side were in any kind of form going into this meeting. Chelsea were squandering away the games they had in hand on the leaders, having just been slapped 4-0 at home by fellow contenders West Ham and (even more disastrously) 6-0 away to neighbours QPR.

United meanwhile were starting to resemble that depressed drunk guy at the end of a night out, now rambling to themselves in the corner with bottle in hand having initially arrived as the life and soul of the party. They had seen a 10 point lead at Christmas dissolve into nothing and now Ron Atkinson’s side knew their long wait for the title would continue for sure unless they won this one. This was make-or-break for both clubs.

After a goalless first half, Kerry Dixon beat the offside trap to score his first goal for four months. United then equalised through a Jesper Olsen penalty, big Doug Rougvie doing what he did best; this time sending Hughes crashing to the floor in the area. But Dixon had the final say in the dying moments to knock United out of the title race and send the many thousands of travelling fans into delirium and the home fans into despair. The future looked bright momentarily for John Neal’s team but Chelsea would subsequently win only one of their last seven games to finish in sixth spot.

United’s poor form continued through the beginning of the following season, and with the club languishing at the foot of the table in November manager Ron Atkinson was dismissed – with Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox taking over that same day.

One to Eleven!

Without question the greatest match between the sides was an 11 goal thriller at Stamford Bridge back in October 1954. Ted Drake had taken over Chelsea in 1952 and had been busy trying to rid them of their image, one that saw them as the butt of many a comedian’s jokes in the music-halls up and down the land. Out went the nickname ‘The Pensioners’, replaced with the more respectable ‘Blues’. Also dispatched was the affable septuagenarian on the clubs crest. This was a new Chelsea, one that Drake was instilling with a winning mentality.

To that end Drake drafted in solid defenders Peter Sillett and future England boss Ron Greenwood, plus striker Roy Bentley. As a consequence the team established itself in the top flight and were no longer involved in relegation battles, but nobody expected more than a safe mid-table position when the 1954-55 season came round.

The favourites for the title were reigning champions Wolverhampton Wanderers and Matt Busby’s upcoming Manchester United side.

DennisViolett

Dennis Violett was a hat-trick hero

The game on October 16th was a glowing confirmation of the emergence of the attacking prowess of the ‘Busby’s Babes’. The visitors went 1-0 up with Dennis Viollet opening the scoring but a pair of unknown amateurs making their debuts returned fire as Seamus O’Connell equalized before the Thermos-flask seller Jim Lewis put the home side 2-1 up. Tommy Taylor and then Viollet put United back in front 2-3, a lead they held at half-time.

The same pair in the same order, Taylor and then Viollet (completing his hat-trick) seemed to have put Matt Busby’s side out of sight at 2-5 but then Ken Armstrong pulled one back for Chelsea. Jackie Blanchflower looked to have sealed the points when he made it 3-6, but cattle-farmer O’Connell then scored twice to record a famous debut hat-trick and set up a grandstand finish, but United’s shaky defence clung on for an extraordinary 5-6 triumph.

Chelsea lost their next two games – completing a run of six games without a win – to end October in 12th place, Wolves having taken over from United at the top. But then Drake’s Ducklings got their act together losing only four more games all season as they stormed up the table and, beating Wolves home and away, shocked the nation to win the title. Their last defeat of the season was at Old Trafford – but by then the title, Chelsea’s first trophy in their 50 year history, had been won.

The Busby Babes would have to wait to make their mark on English football’s roll of honour.

The Odds

CHELSEA  v  MANCHESTER UNITED, Saturday April 18th, 5.30pm

If you fancy a repeat of that 5-6 scoreline then you’ll no doubt be delighted to hear that William Hill are offering a handsome 500-1 on it. Realistically the game is set to be a much tighter affair. A confident United (3/1) will be keen to unnerve Chelsea (10/11) early on, imposing their own game on the blues. The first goal of the game could prove critical.

EdenHazard

Hazard: Game changer

There will be a lot of mutual respect, both managers know each other extremely well having worked together previously at Barcelona and Mourinho will be keen not to concede an inch to LVG – So Bobby’s Bets recommends a draw at 5/2, with a 1-1 final scoreline at 6/1.

Diego Costa is missing from Chelsea’s starting line-up and Loic Remy is fighting to be fit – he’s 4/1 to open the scoring if he makes it. You could opt for Oscar (13/2) or Fabregas (9/1)  but the 9/2 on offer for the penalty-taking and in-form Eden Hazard looks the better value.

If you think one of the visiting team will strike first than Wayne Rooney is the favourite at  13/2 with van Persie at 15/2 and Radamel Falcao at 9/1. But the man in form is the big Belgian Marouane Fellaini who is 9/1 to be the first scorer. If you fancy Juan Mata to do a ‘Frank Lampard’ then you can get 10/3 for the Spaniard as ‘anytime goalscorer’ against his old club.

Bobby’s Bet of the Day: 11/1 for Eden Hazard to score at anytime and the game to end a draw (Anytime Drawcast).

Odds courtesy of William Hill.

@KGHof

Jose Mourinho Glory Years Wouldn’t Have Happened Without John Neal

by David Chidgey.

Whilst pondering what to write about Chelsea’s dismissive 2-0 win against West Brom at the weekend, extending their unbeaten run to a club-record 12 games in the process, I heard some very sad news which took me back to a very different time in the club’s topsy-turvy history.

The news that John Neal, Chelsea Manager from 1981-1985, had died put a dampener on an otherwise fun-packed and celebratory weekend. The subsequent outpouring of grief on social media from Chelsea supporters of a certain age appropriately summed up the feelings we had for a Chelsea of our youth, and it can be argued that without John Neal as manager at that time we simply would not have the Chelsea (or the support) that we have today.

John Neal, a warm-hearted but tough character from the North East, arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 1981. Chelsea were in meltdown both on and off the pitch thanks to a period of laughable financial mismanagement following their early ’70’s glory years, and the even more comical management on the pitch by Danny Blanchflower and Geoff Hurst. Neal took over a side with little appetite for the fight, one which had finished 12th in Division Two and had failed to find the net in 19 of its last 22 league games.

Things would get far far worse before they got better. Neal’s first year in charge saw some of the most infamous defeats in Chelsea’s history – the 6-0 league defeat at Rotherham; the 4-2 defeat to Wigan in the League cup and the 3-0 defeat to Burnley which put Chelsea in the relegation zone of Division 2 for the first (and only) time in their history.

New signings for Chelsea in the summer of 1983: Rear: Eddie Niedzwiecki, Joe McLaughlin, Nigel Spackman, Kerry Dixon. Front:: Pat Nevin, John Hollins.  (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

New signings for Chelsea in the summer of 1983: Rear: Eddie Niedzwiecki, Joe McLaughlin, Nigel Spackman, Kerry Dixon. Front: Pat Nevin, John Hollins. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

But John Neal was a fighter and he slowly began to instil these qualities in the Chelsea side he was shaping. The turning point came on 7th May 1983. Winless in nine matches, Chelsea were plummeting towards relegation to the Third Division and with it probable extinction. They faced fellow strugglers Bolton needing a win to stay up.

The game was petering out to a 0-0 draw, and relegation for Chelsea, when Clive Walker received the ball just outside the penalty area and lashed a shot into the top corner to secure what was arguably the most important win in Chelsea’s history.

Having avoided relegation to Division 3, Neal got rid of the deadwood at the club and, with the help of new chairman Ken Bates, built a team that could take Chelsea back to where they belonged – or as the terrace chant at the time aptly put: “Come along, come along, come along and sing this song, we’re the boys in blue in Division 2 but we won’t be here for long!”

And this is really where the respect and love that Chelsea supporters of my vintage have for John Neal and his mid-’80’s team began. His shrewd dealings in the transfer market brought players such as Joey Jones, Mickey Thomas, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Nigel Spackman, David Speedie, Pat Nevin and Kerry Dixon to the club, players who are still loved and revered to this day.

The team had a great balance of hunger, desire, aggression and a fierce will to win. Added to this was the flair of Nevin and the devastating strike partnership of Dixon and Speedie. They played some great football but most of all they played like a team that gave everything on the pitch, and as supporters that’s all you really want – 100% commitment.

Neal’s Chelsea romped to the Division 2 title in 1984, with Dixon scoring 34 goals, and were followed by a huge travelling Chelsea support – packing out most of opposition grounds in their desire to catch a glimpse of their new heroes.

Arguably the most memorable match in the Neal era was the first match in Chelsea’s return to the top flight after an absence of five years. The match took place on 25 August 25 1984, against Arsenal at Highbury. Twenty thousands Chelsea supporters were in the ground that day, and Kerry Dixon scored what he claims was his favourite Chelsea goal in a creditable 1-1 draw.

Chelsea were back, and that really was John Neal’s great legacy. He rescued us from the depths of possible extinction; put us back together and put us in a position to challenge with the elite once again. Anyone who supported the club before Neal’s arrival and during that time had their passion for Chelsea signed, sealed and delivered.

Neal achieved 6th place in Chelsea’s first two seasons back in Division One, and Chelsea would have been competing in Europe had it not been for the ban on English clubs at that time.

The bedrock of Chelsea’s hard-core support still come from that era – just look at how many season ticket holders at Stamford Bridge are in their late 40’s and early 50’s – and there is no doubt that an unbreakable bond was forged at that time between the team and the supporters. But the gratitude we have for John Neal should not be underestimated.

In fact, you could argue that without John Neal we would not have had the Hoddle, Gullit and Vialli years; and without them there would be no Abramovich or Mourinho.

Those of us who enjoyed the sumptuous football on offer, particularly during the first half at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, would do well to remember that. They would also do well to remember that Chelsea playing attractive, winning football was not invented this season. There have been other seasons where we have had a wizard of a winger and a monster of a striker banging the goals in for fun, long before the Abramovich era – and for a lot less money.

Good times: Neal with John Hollins and Chairman Ken Bates.

Good times: Neal with John Hollins and Chairman Ken Bates.

John Neal’s legacy at Chelsea was undoubtedly helping to forge the strong bond between the supporters and the Club – one that exists to this day – but, more importantly, he made us believe again. He made us believe that we belonged with the elite and could challenge at the top once again. He also serves as a great reminder that beating all and sundry with alacrity is not a given. You have to work hard, give 100% commitment and treat all opposition and competitions with respect.

I think Jose Mourinho would have liked John Neal. Although their backgrounds are very different, there is a strange similarity in their approach – mixing flair with aggression and an uncompromising will to win. On Saturday, Jose made two statements of great import. He pointed out that for all of the beautiful football and domination Chelsea have had so far this season, they have won nothing yet, and that it will count for nothing until they have the trophies to vindicate it. He also apologised to the supporters for criticising their lack of effort recently.

John Neal, a real gentleman and manager who never once criticised the Chelsea supporters (even though they called for his head early in his tenure), would no doubt have approved of that.

At the end of the season, if we win the Premier League, I hope John Neal looks down on us with a smile – after all he played a significant part in our history, and perhaps, just perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are now without what he did 30 years ago.

David ‘Stamford Chidge’ Chidgey presents the award winning Chelsea FanCast TV show and podcast which can be seen every Monday at 19.00 on chelseafancast.com or You Tube or heard at mixlr.com/chelsea-fancast/ or downloaded from ITunes. Follow on twitter @StamfordChidge and @ChelseaFanCast

( This piece originally appeared on the International Business Times website – www.ibtimes.co.uk )

 

United v Chelsea Preview
PLUS: When Dixon ended Big Ron’s title hopes & Violett the hat-trick hero

by Karl Hofer.

For a club that has utterly dominated the domestic game in recent times, United’s home league record against Chelsea is not particularly impressive. In the modern Premier League era United have won eight, drawn eight and lost six against the Blues.

It’s fairly common knowledge that Chelsea have the best record of any other team in the Premier League against United, but this is seen as something of a modern phenomenon. It is not.

If you look at the results between the two clubs at Old Trafford, stretching back to the 1966-67 season, a quarter of a century before the Premier League era began, you’ll see something quite extraordinary;

United wins: one. Draws: eight. Chelsea wins: eight.

Kerry-Dixon-1

Dixon netted a brace to end United’s title hopes

Perhaps the most painful of those eight defeats for United – and bear in mind one of those was a 4-0 humping as the newly crowned European Champions in 1968 – was Chelsea’s 2-1 win in April of 1986. Despite Everton and Liverpool breaking away from the chasing pack, both clubs were still grimly hanging on in the title race but neither side were in any kind of form going into this meeting. Chelsea were squandering away the games they had in hand on the leaders, having just been slapped 4-0 at home by fellow contenders West Ham and (even more disastrously) 6-0 away to neighbours QPR.

United meanwhile were starting to resemble that depressed drunk guy at the end of a night out, now rambling to themselves in the corner with bottle in hand having initially arrived as the life and soul of the party. Having seen a 10 point lead at Christmas dissolve into nothing, Ron Atkinson’s side knew their long wait for the title would continue for sure unless they won this one. This was make or break for both clubs.

After a goalless first half, Kerry Dixon beat the offside trap to score his first goal for four months. United then equalised through a Jesper Olsen penalty, big Doug Rougvie doing what he did best; this time sending Hughes crashing to the floor in the area. But Dixon had the final say in the dying moments to knock United out of the title race and send the many thousands of travelling fans into delirium and the home fans into despair. The future looked bright momentarily for John Neal’s team but Chelsea would subsequently win only one of their last seven games to finish in sixth spot.

United’s poor form continued through the beginning of the following season, and with the club languishing at the foot of the table in November manager Ron Atkinson was dismissed – with Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox taking over that same day.

Without question the greatest match between the sides was an 11 goal thriller at Stamford Bridge back in October 1954. Ted Drake had taken over Chelsea in 1952 and had been busy trying to rid them of their image, one that saw them as the butt of many a comedian’s jokes in the music-halls up and down the land. Out went the nickname ‘The Pensioners’, replaced with the more respectable ‘Blues’. Also dispatched was the affable septuagenarian on the clubs crest. This was a new Chelsea, one that Drake was instilling with a winning mentality.

To that end Drake drafted in solid defenders Peter Sillett and future England boss Ron Greenwood, plus striker Roy Bentley. As a consequence the team established itself in the top flight and were no longer involved in relegation battles, but nobody expected more than a safe mid-table position when the 1954-55 season came round.

The favourites for the title were reigning champions Wolverhampton Wanderers and Matt Busby’s upcoming Manchester United side.

DennisViolett

Dennis Violett was a hat-trick hero

The game on October 16th was a glowing confirmation of the emergence of the attacking prowess of the ‘Busby’s Babes’. The visitors went 1-0 up with Dennis Viollet opening the scoring but a pair of unknown amateurs making their debuts returned fire as Seamus O’Connell equalized before the Thermos-flask seller Jim Lewis put the home side 2-1 up. Tommy Taylor and then Viollet put United back in front 2-3, a lead they held at half-time.

The same pair in the same order, Taylor and then Viollet (completing his hat-trick) seemed to have put Matt Busby’s side out of sight at 2-5 but then Ken Armstrong pulled one back for Chelsea. Jackie Blanchflower looked to have sealed the points when he made it 3-6, but cattle-farmer O’Connell then scored twice to record a famous debut hat-trick and set up a grandstand finish, but United’s shaky defence clung on for an extraordinary 5-6 triumph.

Chelsea lost their next two games – completing a run of six games without a win – to end October in 12th place, Wolves having taken over from United at the top. But then Drake’s Ducklings got their act together losing only four more games all season as they stormed up the table and, beating Wolves home and away, shocked the nation to win the title. Their last defeat of the season was at Old Trafford – but by then, the title, Chelsea’s first trophy in their 50 year history, had been won.

The Busby Babes would have to wait to make their mark on English football’s roll of honour.

The Odds

If you fancy a repeat of that scoreline then you’ll no doubt be delighted to hear that William Hill are offering a handsome 500-1 on it. Realistically the game is set to be a much tighter affair, United (15/8) will be keen to stifle Chelsea (7/5) early on, wary of the attacking threat they pose, before imposing their own game on the blues.

There will be a lot of mutual respect, both managers know each other extremely well having worked together previously at Barcelona and neither will want to concede an inch to the other – So Bobby’s Bets recommends a draw at 23/10. A 2-2 final scoreline is 14/1.

Diego Costa is sure to return to Chelsea’s starting line-up and is 7/2 to open the scoring. You can also get 7/1 on the in-form Eden Hazard to score first whilst Oscar and Fabregas are both 9/1.

If you think one of the home team will strike first then Robin van Persie is the favourite at  5/1 with Radamel Falcao. But we feel the best value in the goalscorer markets is with Angel Di Maria who is 9/1 to be the first scorer. If you fancy Juan Mata to do a ‘Frank Lampard’ then you can get 13/5 for the Spaniard as anytime goalscorer against his old club.

Bobby’s Bet of the Day: 8/1 for Chelsea to come from behind and win.

Odds courtesy of William Hill.

@KGHof

Dec 1990: Derby 4-6 Chelsea
BOBBY Recalls Ten Goal Thriller at the Baseball Ground

by Karl Hofer.

Chelsea overcame a resilient Derby side at the weekend in what could have been a tricky encounter in the FA Cup.

Goals from Oscar and a collectors item from John Obi Mikel were enough to see the blues through to the next round.

Whilst it was an absorbing match it did lack the spark of a game played between the two teams back in 1990, one in which an astonishing ten goals were scored as Chelsea won a see-saw game 4-6.

It’s a game I remember with great fondness, because I was there.

In those days I traveled the country watching Chelsea continually flatter to deceive at a variety of grounds, most of which no longer exist.

The Baseball ground was one such stadium. The home of The Rams was a weary place but cloaked in the kind of history none of these modern bowl-type stadia could ever capture. And also unlike many modern grounds it was conducive to a great atmosphere.

G Durie

Durie ran Derby ragged

In what was a lively affair Chelsea started brightly and went ahead after Kerry Dixon converted a cross from Gordon Durie, but within a few minutes Derby had pulled level through Dean Saunders.

The next half hour didn’t provide too much by way of entertainment, and it was at this point my mate Vince who I had traveled with went to queue for halftime refreshments. No sooner had he disappeared under the stand Chelsea were ahead again, Dixon once  more in the right place to tap in after good work from Rodney Trotter (or David Lee as he was also known).

Two-one quickly became three-one after some poor attempts at clearing the ball from Derby resulted in Durie slotting home. Halftime followed and I tucked into my pie trying not to laugh too much at Vince who was fuming that he’d missed the last two goals.

Chelsea’s grip on the game was always a brittle one (as was the way in those days) but the Blues defence completely fell apart after the restart as Ken Monkou had to go off injured. On came Peter Nicholas to replace the big Dutch man but he was unable to offer much by way of resistance.

derby_county_kits_gallery_89_90_home_saunders_470x300

Saunders netted 17 goals for Derby that season

Within minutes Trevor Hebberd fired home after Mick Harford had caused disarray in the box to bring the Rams within a goal. Derby were  then level after the unmarked Saunders rose to head in Callaghan’s excellent cross for his second and fans spilled unto the pitch in celebration.

Celebration turned to jubilation when Gary Micklewhite made it 4-3 and the Derby faithful could not contain themselves, dancing on the pitch in front of the away end.

In a little over 13 minutes Chelsea had turned a winning margin of 3-1 into a 4-3 deficit, and sadly it was Nicholas, in what turned out to be his last appearance for Chelsea, who was getting the blame.

It was pretty grim in the away end at that point, with Chelsea having offered nothing by way of attack since the second half began it was feeling like one of those best forgotten games. Vince was particularly unimpressed having missed Chelsea’s second and third goals but with a splendid view of Derby’s comeback strikes. All was not lost however…

As Derby continued to try and exploit Chelsea’s utter inability to defend in any way, Graham Stuart broke from the back and fed Durie who delivered an inch perfect cross onto the head of the smallest man on the pitch. Suddenly parity had been restored thanks to the head of Dennis Wise. Yes, that’s how bad the defending was in this game.

Back came Derby again, but a long throw from Dave Beasant set Durie loose once more from the halfway line, and this time he advanced on the Derby goal himself to fire Chelsea 4-5 in front. We were delirious!

The icing on the cake came in added time from the young Graeme Le Saux who converted Stuart’s cross to make it six past England’s Peter Shilton (highlights are below).

At the final whistle Vince was smiling – not many away days ended like that I can tell you!

It was a game you could probably label under ‘How Not to Defend’ – which was surprising as Derby’s lineup included two of England’s stars from the World Cup that Summer, Peter Shilton and Mark Wright.

But Derby would win only 5 games all season and finish bottom, relegated along with Sunderland with Luton Town just surviving (only two went down). Top scorer Dean Saunders joined Liverpool for a record fee of £2.9m.

Chelsea would finish 11th that season, level on points with Spurs.

Teamsheet

 

 

Monday Night Football: United v Chelsea Preview

by Karl Hofer

For a club that has dominated the domestic game in modern times, United’s home league record against Chelsea is far from impressive. In the modern Premier League era, United have won eight, drawn seven and lost six against the Blues.

It’s fairly common knowledge that Chelsea have the best record of any other team in the Premier League against United, but this is seen as something of a modern phenomenon. It is not.

If you look at what happened between the two clubs at Old Trafford before the Premier League, all the way back a quarter of a century to the 1966-67 season, you’ll see something quite extraordinary;

United wins: one. Draws: eight. Chelsea wins: eight.

Kerry-Dixon-1

Dixon ended an eleven game goal drought with a brace

Perhaps the most painful for United of those eight defeats – and bear in mind one of those was a 4-0 as the newly crowned European Champions in 1968 – was Chelsea’s 2-1 win in April 1986. Despite Everton and Liverpool breaking away from the chasing pack, both clubs were still grimly hanging on in the title race. Neither side were in any kind of form going into this meeting. Chelsea were squandering away the games they had in hand on the leaders, having just been slapped 4-0 at home by fellow contenders West Ham and (even more disastrously) 6-0 away to neighbours QPR.

United meanwhile were starting to resemble that depressed drunk guy at a party, rambling to themselves in the corner with bottle in hand. Having seen a 10 point lead at Christmas dissolve into nothing, Ron Atkinson’s side knew their long wait for the title would continue for sure unless they won this one. This was make or break for both clubs.

After a goalless first half, Kerry Dixon beat the offside trap to score his first goal for four months. United then equalised through a Jesper Olsen penalty, big Doug Rougvie doing what he did best; this time sending Hughes crashing to the floor in the area. But Dixon had the final say in the dying moments to knock United out of the title race and send the many thousands of travelling fans into delirium and the home fans into despair. The future looked bright momentarily for John Neal’s team but Chelsea would subsequently win only one of their last seven games to finish in sixth spot.

United’s poor form continued through the beginning of the following season, and with the club languishing at the foot of the table in November manager Ron Atkinson was dismissed – with Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox taking over that same day.

Without question the greatest match between the sides was an 11 goal thriller at Stamford Bridge back in October 1954. Ted Drake had taken over Chelsea in 1952 and had been busy trying to rid them of their image, one that saw them as the butt of many a comedian’s jokes in the music-halls up and down the land. Out went the nickname ‘The Pensioners’, replaced with the more respectable ‘Blues’. Also dispatched was the affable septuagenarian on the clubs crest. This was a new Chelsea, one that Drake was instilling with a winning mentality.

To that end Drake drafted in solid defenders Peter Sillett and future England boss Ron Greenwood, plus striker Roy Bentley. As a consequence the team established itself in the top flight and were no longer involved in relegation battles, but nobody expected more than a safe mid-table position when the 1954-55 season came round.

The favourites for the title were reigning champions Wolverhampton Wanderers and Matt Busby’s upcoming Manchester United side.

DennisViolett

Dennis Viollet was a hat-trick hero

The game on October 16th was a glowing confirmation of the emergence of the attacking prowess of the ‘Busby’s Babes’. The visitors went 1-0 up with Dennis Viollet opening the scoring but a pair of unknown amateurs making their debuts returned fire as Seamus O’Connell equalized before the Thermos-flask seller Jim Lewis put the home side 2-1 up. Tommy Taylor and then Viollet put United back in front 2-3, a lead they held at half-time.

The same pair in the same order, Taylor and then Viollet (completing his hat-trick) seemed to have put Matt Busby’s side out of sight at 2-5 but then Ken Armstrong pulled one back for Chelsea. Jackie Blanchflower looked to have sealed the points when he made it 3-6, but cattle-farmer O’Connell then scored twice to record a famous debut hat-trick and set up a grandstand finish, but United’s shaky defence clung on for an extraordinary 5-6 triumph.

Chelsea lost their next two games – completing a run of six games without a win – to end October in 12th place, Wolves having taken over from United at the top. But then Drake’s Ducklings got their act together losing only four more games all season as they stormed up the table and, beating Wolves home and away, shocked the nation to win the title. Their last defeat of the season was at Old Trafford – but by then, the title, Chelsea’s first trophy in their 50 year history, had been won.

The Busby Babes would have to wait to make their mark on English football’s roll of honour.

The Odds

Odds

If you fancy a repeat of that scoreline then you’ll no doubt be delighted to hear that William Hill are offering a handsome 500-1 on it. Realistically the game is set to be a much tighter affair, there’s a lot at stake and it’s very early in the season. Both teams have new managers and neither will want to concede any ground so early on in the race for the title. So Bobby’s Bets recommends a draw at 11/5.

You can also get 8/1 on Wayne Rooney to open the scoring, although with Mourinho rumoured to be lining up a third bid for the unsettled striker we can’t be 100% sure if he’ll be in red or blue on the day.

Bobby’s Bet of the Day: 10/1 for Frank Lampard to continue his good start to the season by scoring the opening goal.