The 2011-12 season was a strange one for Chelsea. The Blues appointed Andre Villas-Boas as Carlo Ancelotti’s replacement in the summer, but the young Portuguese only went on to oversee 40 games in charge of the club. Due to a disappointing showing in the Premier League, the manager was sacked and replaced by Roberto Di Matteo in March 2012. The Italian managed to turn things around and secured the FA Cup and Champions League double. For people in search of a bit of footballing nostalgia, here are some of the standout heroes from the European competition that year.
A Feat They Have Thus Far Failed to Match
Although Chelsea are regular competitors in the Champions League and viewers can live stream their games by searching football today, the London club have failed to replicate their astonishing win in the years since. Indeed, the 2012 victory was the only time Chelsea have managed to secure the Champions League trophy, despite it being regarded as the Holy Grail by owner Roman Abramovich. For the time being, all Blues fans can do is look back at that year and appreciate some of the stars of the show.
Didier Drogba will long be remembered as one of the great strikers of the Abramovich era, and his contribution to the Champions League campaign in 2012 was a major reason why Chelsea were able to win. The Ivorian was in the final season of his first and longest spell at Stamford Bridge, and he ended it on a high note.
Drogba made eight appearances in the European competition that year and bagged six goals in the process. This made him the fifth-top scorer behind the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. While he didn’t score an abundance of goals, he did stick it in the net when it mattered. He popped up with an 88th-minute goal in the final to level the tie with Bayern Munich and take it to penalties. He also calmly buried his spot-kick to ensure the glory for the Blues.
Juan Mata was one of the key players in Chelsea’s Champions League campaign, with only Petr Cech and Ashley Cole making more appearances in the tournament than the Spaniard. The creative midfielder played twelve games in Europe that year. In the process, he managed to score two goals and assist three. Mata was one of the star players of that Chelsea period, and he racked up 12 goals in the league that season as well.
Other Key Players
While Mata and Drogba may be the standout players from that incredible tournament win, there were others who made vital contributions. Fernando Torres provided three goals and four assists, and Frank Lampard chipped in with three goals and three assists. Cech managed to keep five clean sheets in the competition, which was testament to the strong partnership of David Luiz and John Terry in front of him.
The Champions League win of 2012 is still one of the highest points of Chelsea’s history. The Blues will be desperately hoping the current crop of players can achieve the feat again in the years ahead.