Great Chelsea Goals from the 1990s

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

Great Chelsea Goals from the 1990s

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    Selecting a list of the greatest goals in a club's history or even a specific era always fills one with a sense of responsibility. The weight of expectation sits heavily as you debate with your inner demons as to what makes a great goal.

    Is it a pile-driver, a team move, solo effort or one that holds special significance even? In truth, it's all these things and more.

    The 1990s was a period of great change for Chelsea. As the Premier League brought with it new riches for the English game, the arrival of Glenn Hoddle as Chelsea manager in 1993 had a similar impact at Stamford Bridge. His appointment brought with it a turning point in the club's modern history as fans saw the likes of Ruud Gullit step out before them in the Chelsea colours.

    It was a time when they dared to dream of the glory days returning to the King's Road after being absent for 20 years, and in time, they would.

    These 10 goals—listed in chronological order rather than rank—may irk some diehard Blues, but for personal reasons or whatever, they rank among Chelsea's best from a fine decade.

Kevin Wilson vs. Tottenham Hotspur (1991)

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    The video quality from this YouTube clip may not be up to scratch, but there is no doubting the quality of Kevin Wilson's strike against Tottenham Hotspur in the opening weeks of the 1991/92 season.

    Put clean through by a fine pass from a young Graeme Le Saux, the Chelsea striker demonstrates his fine ability in front of goal, expertly lobbing the advancing Erik Thorstvedt to cap off a fine Blues move. The Blues would go on to win this encounter at White Hart Lane 3-1.

    Chelsea fans may now be worshipping some of the finest global talent at Stamford Bridge these days, but while he may not have won international acclaim, Wilson was certainly adored during his time at the club. With moments like this, it's no wonder.

Vinnie Jones vs. Liverpool (1992)

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    Known more today for appearing in Hollywood movies, just over 20 years ago Vinnie Jones was starring in the Chelsea midfield.

    The Blues hadn't won at Anfield since a 1966 FA Cup encounter when they made the trip to Liverpool in February 1992. But as they say, records are there to be broken, and with Jones' sublime strike, they did it in excellent fashion.

    The game would finish 2-1, incidentally the same scoreline as the Blues' previous victory in 1966.

    As for Jones, despite sealing the club's first win at Anfield in over 25 years, he was sold soon after to Wimbledon with whom he had won the FA Cup in 1988 with a surprise 1-0 victory over—you've guessed it—Liverpool.

Gavin Peacock vs. Luton Town (1994)

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    Chelsea fans are somewhat spoilt in the modern era, with cup finals and Wembley appearances part of the club's modern-day fabric. But those growing up in the late 1970s through to Glenn Hoddle's arrival as manager were forced to listen to stories from yesteryear when Peter Osgood and co. had lit up the King's Road with victories in the FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup.

    Well, in 1994, that all changed and the man they had to thank for it was Gavin Peacock.

    The diminutive midfielder enjoyed a fine season in 1993/94 when he scored the only goals in Chelsea's two 1-0 victories over Manchester United in the league. And it soon got better as he helped book a meeting with the Red Devils in the FA Cup final, scoring both goals as the Blues crushed Luton Town's dreams with a 2-0 victory in the semifinal at Wembley.

    Call it sentiment, but the beauty in Peacock's second just by simply making sure of Chelsea's return to Wembley for the final was unrivalled at the time. For that, he deserves a place in any top-10 list of the 1990s.

John Spencer vs. Austria Vienna (1994)

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    Reaching the FA Cup final in 1994, Chelsea qualified for the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup in 1994/95 despite their 4-0 defeat on account of Manchester United already reaching the Champions League that year.

    They were heady days indeed for a club that hadn't experienced continental football since 1973 when they last featured in the same competition.

    Under Glenn Hoddle, they embraced it too and would reach the semifinal, eventually losing out to Real Zaragoza. But that disappointment aside, it was moments such as this John Spencer strike against Austria Vienna that would define the season.

    The Blues had drawn 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg and with the difficult trip to Austria to contend with, many sceptics had written off their chances of advancing. But Spencer had other ideas and his solo effort sealed a 1-1 draw to put Chelsea through on the away goals rule and, with it, also etch his name into history with a sublime effort.

Gianluca Vialli vs. Coventry City (1996)

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    Gianluca Vialli arrived at Chelsea in 1996 an instant hero. He had just bid farewell to Juventus by lifting the Champions League and his arrival in England would be the final chapter of his glorious playing career.

    He was one of the first signings by Ruud Gullit, the newly appointed Blues manager after Glenn Hoddle left to become England manager that summer, and it didn't take long before he was among the goals.

    Although another 39 would follow for the Italian during his time at the club, few topped his first as he smashed home beyond Coventry goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic to get his account up and running and ensure chants of "Vialli! Vialli!" would echo around Stamford Bridge for years to come.

    Note the celebration that was first seen after Chelsea had beaten Middlesbrough 1-0 just three days earlier when Roberto Di Matteo marked his arrival at Stamford Bridge with a long-range effort.

Gianfranco Zola vs. West Ham United (1996)

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    West Ham's Julian Dicks is probably still having nightmares about his Stamford Bridge encounter with Gianfranco Zola in December 1996.

    The former Hammer can take solace in that he wasn't the first or last defender to be led on a merry dance by Chelsea's diminutive Italian, though.

    The 1996/97 season saw Zola take home the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year Award in his debut Premier League campaign and it was moments like this that show just why.

    Not content with beating Dicks just the once, Zola turned the left-back inside-out before smashing home to put Chelsea 2-0 up after just 10 minutes. The Blues went on to win the game 3-1.

Roberto Di Matteo vs. Middlesbrough (1997)

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    As the world's oldest cup competition, there is a certain romance associated with the FA Cup, but for Roberto Di Matteo that perhaps runs a little deeper than for most.

    He won the competition twice as a player with Chelsea, scoring the winning goal in the 2000 FA Cup final against Aston Villa, while he also sealed victory as Blues manager against Liverpool in 2012.

    But it all started in 1997 when—within 42 glorious seconds—he wrote his name into the record books by scoring the fastest-ever goal in an FA Cup final. That it was a 30-yard pile-driver just added to the occasion and a shell-shocked Middlesbrough never recovered. Eddie Newton later added a second to seal Chelsea's 2-0 win.

    Di Matteo's shot stayed hit that day, but his record would later be broken by Louis Saha of Everton in 2009, who scored against Chelsea within 25 seconds. Unlike Boro 12 years earlier, the Blues recovered to defeat the Toffees 2-1 and lift the cup for a fifth time.

Roberto Di Matteo vs. Arsenal (1998)

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    It's testament to Roberto Di Matteo's achievements as a player at Chelsea that he makes this list of great goals from the 1990s twice.

    But not only that, the importance of his strikes against Middlesbrough (previous slide) and, in this case Arsenal in the 1998 League Cup semifinal, inevitably led the Blues to lifting silverware.

    In Gianluca Vialli's first match as manager he had shared a champagne toast with the players in the dressing room ahead of kick-off. Come full-time, they were toasting once more as they overturned a 2-1 first-leg defeat against the Gunners to win 3-1 on the night (4-3 on aggregate).

    They met Middlesbrough in another Wembley final a few weeks later, but the result remained the same as 1997 with the Blues winning 2-0 and Di Matteo haunting Boro once more with Chelsea's second.

Gustavo Poyet vs. Sunderland (1999)

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    As far as opening-day performances go, they don't come much better than Chelsea's 4-0 thrashing of Sunderland in 1999/00. In terms of opening-day strikes though, well, there isn't a superlative to describe Gustavo Poyet's.

    The Blues were cruising at 3-0 after Tore Andre Flo's 77th-minute strike had put the result beyond doubt, but seemingly still punch drunk from conceding a third, Sunderland's defence was caught napping again within 60 seconds.

    Poyet had ghosted between two defenders to latch onto Gianfranco Zola's looping pass, but with the 35,000 or so fans inside Stamford Bridge expecting the Uruguayan to attempt a headed effort at goal, he unleashed a moment of exquisite skill that compounded Sunderland's misery all the more.

Dennis Wise vs. AC Milan (1999)

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    Over a decade on and Chelsea fans still sing about this Dennis Wise goal. For reasons of decency, we can't quote the lyrics, but simply watching this clip explains why Blues fans find it hard to forget such a great moment.

    Facing the mighty AC Milan in the San Siro, Chelsea had been trailing 1-0 heading into the final stages of the game, but cometh the hour, cometh the man and Blues captain Wise was on hand to expertly slot home and secure a memorable draw that helped them top their group.

    It was Chelsea's first appearance in the competition and they certainly made their presence known by reaching the quarterfinal. They came up against a strong Barcelona outfit and while a 3-1 first-leg victory at Stamford Bridge is still fondly remembered, Barca proved too strong at the Nou Camp, winning 5-1 (6-4 on aggregate) to end their Champions League dream.