With attention turning to Luton Town’s first Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge, we revisit our previous Friday night fixtures in the competition.
Over the years, European football has often taken centre stage on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, while Monday Night Football has been a staple of Sky Sports’ UK coverage since the Premier League’s inception 21 years ago.
Football on a Friday, however, remains rare. And when we kickstart the weekend action against the newly-promoted Hatters, it will be just the sixth such occasion – excluding the festive period – we have played in the Premier League on the fifth day of the week…
Friday 11 December 1992: Middlesbrough 0 Chelsea 0
This was the first Friday night game in Premier League history, although it wasn’t one likely to live too long in the memory of supporters from either club.
On a freezing night at Ayresome Park, the Blues were indebted to goalkeeper Kevin Hitchcock for a string of superb saves to keep Boro at bay and ensure Ian Porterfield’s side returned south with a point that briefly moved us up to second in the table.
Alas, our form dipped dramatically and we wouldn’t win again until March, ending the inaugural Premier League campaign in 10th place.
Friday 23 August 2002: Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2
Brought forward to Friday because of the Notting Hill Carnival, Chelsea and Manchester United served up a treat on a balmy evening in west London.
The Blues led twice courtesy of first-half goals from William Gallas and Boudewijn Zenden. However, the champions-to-be hit back through David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, so the honours deservedly ended even.
Chelsea’s showing was a sign of things to come as we finished fourth and secured a Champions League spot for 2003/04 in the process…
Friday 16 September 2016: Chelsea 1 Liverpool 2
Chelsea slipped to a first defeat under Antonio Conte with the damage done before the break. Diego Costa reduced the deficit on the hour with his fifth goal in five games, but the striker missed our best chance to make it 2-2 shortly afterwards.
The following week we were soundly beaten 3-0 at the Emirates, during which Conte first experimented with the wing-back system that would eventually propel us to the Premier League title…
Friday 12 May 2017: West Brom 0 Chelsea 1
…which we won after beating the Baggies on a memorable Friday night in the Black Country.
The Blues had to work for it against dogged opposition, but we eventually made the breakthrough with eight minutes remaining. Michy Batshuayi stepped out of the shadows to write his name in Chelsea folklore, sliding in to convert Cesar Azpilicueta’s low cutback.
It sparked pandemonium in the away end and at full-time Conte was hoisted high into the night’s sky, a fantastic season’s work ending in the best fashion possible: a fifth Premier League title.
Friday 3 February 2023: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0
Just like our first Premier League fixture on a Friday night, the west London derby earlier this year will not be remembered as one for the ages.