Chelsea’s calendar club: Ending the year on a high

From the official Chelsea FC website:

Following the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup and with the return of the Premier League looming, we reflect on our impressive record in final games of the year over the past two decades.

Bournemouth are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday 27 November, kick-off 5.30pm UK time, and the Cherries have the tough task of breaking our dominant run of ending the year on a high.

Over the past 20 years, the Blues have been beaten only once in our final league game of a calendar year, with 12 victories and six draws also registered in that time. It means we have an uncanny habit of sending supporters into the New Year festivities with a spring in their step!

Here, we take a closer look at those results ahead of our final game of 2022 next week…

A dozen year-ending wins

Chelsea have a habit of bookending the year with three points, having done so on a dozen occasions since 2002. Our biggest of those victories was against Stoke City in 2017 when Toni Rudiger and Willian were among the goals as Antonio Conte and his players rounded off a brilliant year in style.

One of our most significant results in that run was at the Emirates three years ago as Frank Lampard guided us to a memorable win over Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, now on the blue side of the capital rivalry, opened the scoring before a late salvo from Jorginho and Tammy Abraham sent the visitors into raptures.

Looking further back, this impressive run started with back-to-back wins over Portsmouth in the early Noughties featuring a Wayne Bridge goal that clearly delighted the former Southampton full-back, as well as a sumptuous volley for Geremi.

A decade or so later, as reigning European champions, we again recovered from a goal down to win 2-1, this time at Goodison Park against Everton with a brace from Frank Lampard, and it was the same story 12 months on when Liverpool visited the Bridge and Eden Hazard starred in another victory.

Six stalemates

Six of our past 19 year-enders have resulted in a stalemate, including the past two at home to Brighton last term and Aston Villa the year before that, both 1-1.

Both were deflating draws as Danny Welbeck struck late on to snatch two points away from us in 2021, while Anwar El Ghazi did the same for Villa a year earlier, albeit much earlier in the second period.

A pair of 2-2 draws against Fulham also stand out from 2006 and 2008, the former played out in torrential rain at the Bridge. On both occasions, the Cottagers struck late goals to deprive us of maximum points.


The solitary defeat

Our only loss in the final game of a calendar year in the past two decades came against Aston Villa on New Year’s Eve in 2011. Didier Drogba fired us in front from the penalty spot with his 150th goal for the Blues before a spirited fightback from the Villans saw them triumph 3-1.

Stephen Ireland inspired the visitors to a late win with a goal and an assist as Andre Villa Boas’s side slipped out of the top four.

The results

29 Dec 2021 – D 1-1 vs Brighton
28 Dec 2020 – D 1-1 vs Aston Villa
29 Dec 2019 – W 2-1 vs Arsenal
30 Dec 2018 – W 1-0 vs Crystal Palace
30 Dec 2017 – W 5-0 vs Stoke
31 Dec 2016 – W 4-2 vs Stoke
28 Dec 2015 – D 0-0 vs Man United
28 Dec 2014 – D 1-1 vs Southampton
29 Dec 2013 – W 2-1 vs Liverpool
30 Dec 2012 – W 2-1 vs Everton
31 Dec 2011 – L 1-3 vs Aston Villa
29 Dec 2010 – W 1-0 vs Bolton
28 Dec 2009 – W 2-1 vs Fulham
28 Dec 2008 – D 2-2 vs Fulham
29 Dec 2007 – W 2-1 vs Newcastle
30 Dec 2006 – D 2-2 vs Fulham
31 Dec 2005 – W 2-0 vs Birmingham
28 Dec 2004 – W 2-0 vs Portsmouth
28 Dec 2003 – W 3-0 vs Portsmouth





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