On Saturday, Chelsea look to cap off an impressive domestic first season under the stewardship of Frank Lampard, as they take on London rivals Arsenal in the FA Cup final. With the recent transfer news floating around Stamford Bridge, the future of the club is looking bright, but this article will look back at the past of the blues and how they have fared in their 13 previous FA Cup finals.
1914-1915: Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea
The first taste of FA Cup final action for Chelsea was in the 1915 final against Sheffield United at Old Trafford. Only ten years after the clubs formation they were competing in the cup final and were the underdogs against the blades. Chelsea had finished 19th that season, out of 20 teams, whereas Sheffield United had finished sixth. The match followed the pre-match predictions as Chelsea were beaten, but the match was only 1-0 until the 84th minute where the blues were hit with a quick-fire double at the end.
1966-1967: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Chelsea
A result and match that would cause nightmares if it happened in the present day as the blues lost out to arch nemesis Tottenham Hotspur in the 1967 final. After a 51-year gap between their first and second cup final appearances, it ended in defeat again. Tottenham won their third FA cup of the decade, as it signalled the end for league cup winning Chelsea manager Tommy Docherty. Chelsea’s second top scorer ever, Bobby Tambling scored a consolation in the match, in a disappointing result.
1969-1970: Chelsea 2-2 Leeds United, Chelsea 2-1 Leeds United (replay)
The only cup final involving Chelsea that went to a replay was the 1970 FA cup final against fierce rivals Leeds United. Both matches went to extra time, as there were no penalty shootouts, with the teams only being separated by a David Webb goal in the 104th minute of the replay. Dave Sexton, Chelsea’s manager, won his first honour as a manager in this final, before going on to lift the European cup winners’ cup with the club the following season. This match was the first time the club had won the famous trophy.
1993-1994: Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea
Chelsea’s biggest FA cup final defeat came at the hands of Manchester United in 1994. After a 24-year absence from the final of the famous competition, Glenn Hoddle, who was player manager for the final, saw his side convincingly beaten by Sir Alex Ferguson’s title winners. All of the goals, scored by Eric Cantona(x2), Mark Hughes and Brian McClair, were all in the final 30 minutes of match, including two penalties, which were both dispatched by Eric Cantona.
1996-1997: Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbrough
In May 1997, Ruud Gullit’s side were victorious with huge thanks to a 42 second strike by Roberto Di Matteo. Chelsea deployed a 3-5-2 system, the system that Chelsea would deploy in their most recent FA cup triumph against Manchester United. Eddie Newton added a second late on to confirm the victory in a glorious afternoon at the old Wembley.
1999-2000: Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa
The final FA cup match played at the old Wembley saw another Roberto Di Matteo winner as Gianluca Vialli’s side beat Aston Villa 1-0. A man of the match display from blues skipper Dennis Wise helped push Chelsea over the line in an otherwise forgettable match. Current England boss Gareth Southgate came closest for the midlands side, but it wasn’t enough and Chelsea claimed their third FA cup triumph.
2001-2002: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea
The 2002 final in Cardiff saw Premier league champions Arsenal take on Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea, who had finished 6th that season. Goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljunberg compounded the blues to their third FA cup final defeat. This was another tough final defeat to take for the west London club, who once again succumbed to a late defeat in a FA cup final, like they did in 1994.
2006-2007: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (AET)
In the first FA cup final in the new Wembley stadium, Chelsea and Manchester United treated us to one of the most boring cup finals in recent memory. It took until the 116th minute for Frank Lampard’s chipped through ball to be slotted home by Didier Drogba to give Jose Mourinho his only FA cup victory to date. Thus, stopping Manchester United’s double as well as earning Chelsea’s FA and league cup double, which was started by beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling cup final back in February.
2008-2009: Chelsea 2-1 Everton
After conceding the FA cup finals fastest ever goal from Louis Saha, a record he took away from Roberto Di Matteo’s strike in 1997, Chelsea managed to turn the game around and beat Everton 2-1 in May 2009. After the major disappointment and robbery against Barcelona weeks previous, goals from Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard gave Guus Hiddink a perfect send off as he returned to manage the Russian national team after a successful ending to the season.
2009-2010: Chelsea 1-0 Portsmouth
Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea side were able to clinch the club’s first ever league and cup double with a 1-0 victory over relegated Portsmouth, coached by former blue Avram Grant. In a game which Chelsea dominated, two penalties were missed in the match, Kevin- Prince Boateng of Portsmouth and Frank Lampard of Chelsea. Didier Drogba was the difference, like he always was at Wembley, as his free-kick beat David James just before the hour mark. A fitting ending, to an unforgettable season for Chelsea, who broke league scoring records along the way.
2011-2012: Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool
The most memorable end to a season for many Chelsea fans was kick started with a 2-1 victory over league cup winners Liverpool. Goals from Ramires and Drogba and a vintage Petr Cech performance saw Roberto Di Matteo’s side cling on after some late pressure from the reds. This victory ensured the west London side had won three FA cups in four seasons, a feat that has since been matched by Saturday’s opponents Arsenal, who won three cups in 13/14, 14/15, and 16/17. It was also followed by that night in Munich, which doesn’t need much touching on.
2016-2017: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
The second time Chelsea and Arsenal had faced each other in the cup final and the second defeat for the blues as goals from Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey denied Antonio Conte’s side a league and cup double in his first season. Victor Moses was sent off after attaining a second yellow for diving, which compounded a poor Chelsea performance in what was the last game for key players such as Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic.
2017-2018: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
The most recent FA cup final Chelsea appeared in was the 1-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. In what was Antonio Conte’s final game in charge of the club, an Eden Hazard penalty was all that separated the sides in a drab affair. Chelsea sat back and soaked up the red devils pressure once they went a goal up, which worked to perfection as they lifted the eighth FA cup in the club’s history. Olivier Giroud won his fourth FA cup in this final; will the Frenchmen be able to guide Chelsea to their ninth and his fifth on Saturday?
What the history shows?
Chelsea have won eight and lost five of their 13 FA cup final appearances, giving them a win percentage of 61.5%. A win in their 14th appearance will have them clearly third in the all-time winners list, as they will move one clear of Tottenham Hotspur who also sits on eighth wins, not too bad for a club that apparently has no history. A worrying conclusion from looking at the past is that Chelsea have lost all three FA cup finals that also included London rivals, once to Tottenham and twice to Arsenal. However, having won five out of six finals in the Abramovich era, a fitting end to the domestic season could be just around the corner.