As a Chelsea fan, it can be rather odd not seeing the Blues in European action this season, especially in the modern era. Of course, the last time the club were not in continental competition, the team went on to win the Premier League title in Antonio Conte’s first season at Stamford Bridge.
Now, those that are looking at the latest sport betting odds will know that this is something that is very unlikely to happen under Mauricio Pochettino, but Blues fans can hope, right? The odds have them listed at 33/1, with five other teams in font of them as the most likely to be crowned PL champions.
With Chelsea out of European competition, this year feels like an opportunity to look back at how the club has performed in previous editions of the various tournaments played in their history. There are numerous moments which are etched into the memories of supporters forever. At the same time, though, there are moments that may have been forgotten about, too, such as dramatic meetings.
UEFA Champions League Memorable Moments
Starting with the biggest competition, Chelsea have a ton of memorable and dramatic moments to have happened in the UEFA Champions League.
Everyone connected and associated with the club will remember the successes that were enjoyed in 2012 (Bayern Munich) and 2021 (Manchester City), while others may remember the goal scored by Fernando Torres against Barcelona to get the club to the final against Bayern Munich.
Unfortunately, everyone will also remember the 2008 final in Moscow that ended in heartbreak after the Blues lost in an extremely wet penalty shootout.
However, there may be other moments that can often be forgotten that were incredibly dramatic. Many of these have come against Barcelona, with the two clubs appearing to have formed a hugely competitive rivalry between each other over the years. The game in 2009 was memorable for being “a disgrace” (as Didier Drogba put it), while there were other moments that were incredibly upsetting. Ronaldinho managed to score an incredible goal that ended Chelsea’s hopes of advancing in 2005 at Stamford Bridge.
The route to the final in 2012 was perhaps the most dramatic for the Blues, though. While they coasted largely through the competition in the group stage, they required some inspired performances in the knockout phase. The Round of 16 tie against Napoli required the club to bounce back from a 3-1 deficit from the first leg and managed to record a 4-1 victory after extra time. The semifinal against Barcelona in which Torres was also part of the same competition, thus making it even more dramatic.
UEFA Europa League
The Blues may have had a disastrous record in the UEFA Cup during the 2000s, but they did win UEFA Europa League on the two occasions they have been in it since. They defeated Benfica 2-1 in the 2012/13 final before dispatching Arsenal 4-1 in the 2018/19 final.
Chelsea’s first title came after a disappointing UCL defence of their title, as they finished third in their Group. The 2018/19 tournament was a little more interesting in terms of memorable moments, with the club easing their way to the semifinals before really being tested.
The semifinal, though, also proved to be dramatic as it required the Blues to beat Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties. Kepa Arrizabalaga came up trumps on the night as he managed to save two attempts from the Bundesliga’s players.
More memorable and dramatic European adventures to come?
In recent seasons, it would seem that drama can follow Chelsea around as they look to find their identity again. The biggest question will be regarding how quickly they can return to their place?
The season’s start hasn’t been too good in the Premier League, with only one victory in the first 4 rounds. However, while there might be some concern regarding what the immediate future may look like, it would not be a surprise if there were more European adventures across the UCL and the UEL (and maybe even the UEFA Europa Conference League) in the future.
The Blues have a squad that is far too talented, despite perhaps being inexperienced, and with youth on their side, and a manager of Pochettino’s quality on board, there is no reason to think it could be any longer than a few years before we are jumping on flights and playing across the continent for the biggest honors again.