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And the Oscar for best goal goes to...
Esteemed journalist Paddy Barclay caused a certain amount of consternation on Thursday morning, after he suggested that young Brazilian Oscar's sublime second strike against Juventus on Wednesday was "absolute genius, and I would say it is possibly the best goal ever scored at Stamford Bridge."
Eager to pick a bone with Barclay's assessment, we select ten goals at Stamford Bridge that rival Oscar's (admittedly) really rather brilliant effort:
Papiss Cisse's speculative approach, 2012
The Senegalese forward had already marked himself out as a prolific Premier League hitman before this point, but it was this goal that arguably escalated his reputation most as English fans grew to respect his talent.
Having already scored once to give Newcastle the lead - a fine strike in its own right - Cisse clinched all three points as he volleyed over Petr Cech's head into the far corner from what felt like virtually the left sideline. It was an instinctive, first-time effort of the highest possible quality.
Gus Poyet's scissor kick, 1999
Perhaps the enduring goal from a period in Chelsea's history where they were far from the best team in the league, but boy were they entertaining to watch. The finish from Poyet - gaining lift-off by swinging his left leg but hitting the ball with his right, giving it the look of a 'scissor kick' - was glorious in its own right, but arguably it is the assist that elevates the strike.
Having received a sumptuous long ball from defence, Gianfranco Zola took the ball on and then scooped a pinpoint ball into the box, giving it the perfect amount of hang-time for Poyet to get on the end and smash it home. Poetry in motion.
Ronaldinho's mesmerising improvisation, 2005
Three Chelsea defenders and the goalkeeper blocked Ronaldinho's route to goal, as the Barcelona forward found the ball stuck under his feet on the edge of the box. But this was around the time the Brazilian was at the peak of the powers; when no challenge proved too difficult to overcome. Waving his foot over the ball as if attempting some sort of sorcerer's trick, in a flash - there was hardly a backlift to be seen - Ronaldinho prodded the ball with the outside of his foot into the far corner. Everyone who saw it seemed to be shocked - until replays were seen explaining how the trick had worked, sorcery seemed to be the only possible answer.
Mario Stanic's juggling effort, 2000
If forced to describe this strike, we'd say something like: "Stanic receives ball. Tap, tap. BOSH."
On second thoughts, probably best just to watch it:
Sylvinho's unstoppable blow, 2000
The Brazilian never really hit the heights during his time at Arsenal, and for a long time this goal would come to define him. But what a goal to be known for. After the breakdown in an Arsenal attack, the ball dribbled out to towards the Brazilian left-back around 30 yards from goal.
With ball and player meeting each other at force, the result was astounding - Sylvinho's scything strike ripping through the air, picking up a bit (okay, a lot) of reverse swing to brush past Ed De Goey's despairing dive and right into the top corner. All that, while travelling almost at the speed of light (or, at least, so it seemed).
Gianfranco Zola's arrogant intervention, 2002
The diminutive Italian was something special, and this was a special goal. While this list is dominated by blistering strikes from long range, this was a victory for guile and exuberance. Norwich City were already well on the way to a beating in this FA Cup tie before Zola's cracking goal, but it would come to make the tie memorable where otherwise it would soon be forgotten.
Best supporting Oscars
- In fairness to Barclay, he later clarified on Twitter (and in a newspaper column) that he had meant to call it the best goal scored at Stamford Bridge by a Chelsea player, therefore ruling out the likes of Papiss Cisse and Nwankwo Kanu from consideration.
- If that is the case, consider these other goals from Chelsea players that we loved, but did not have space to include in the list:
- John Obi Mikel v Macclesfield
- William Gallas v Tottenham
- Eidur Gudjohnsen v Leeds
- Frank Lampard v AC Milan
With a low corner whipped in by Graeme Le Saux, Zola slipped in ahead of his marker and then appeared to jump over the ball, before guiding it towards goal with the instep of his right foot, so the ball passed just behind his redundant left leg. It was a sweet touch and a sweet result, the ball flying in just inside the near post as just about everyone was caught by surprise. Wonderful.
Peter Osgood's uncompromising volley, 1973
From an era where the balls were heavy and hardly swerved, so it was all about sweet technique and even sweeter contact. Osgood fulfilled both of those requirements with this goal of the season winner, blasting home against Arsenal with a first-time volley from the edge of the box after the ball fell perfectly to him.
Joe Cole seals the title, 2006
In the most basic terms, this was a route one goal - goalkeeper delivers ball to striker, striker nods it on, supporting runner fires home. But that doesn't remotely do justice to Joe Cole's contribution. The Englishman may never have quite turned into the consistently game-changing midfielder he looked like being as a youngster at West Ham, but he had his moments - and this was one of them.
After Didier Drogba knocked on a deep free-kick to Cole, he looked to be going nowhere as Rio Ferdinand quickly closed him down. A smart touch bought him a fraction of space, but by then two further defenders had come to help Ferdinand's cause. Somehow, however, Cole took a further two touches, spun ... and found himself completely free - bearing down on goal and blasting home to all-but ensure Chelsea would win the title. Solo brilliance.
Nwankwo Kanu goes home with the match ball, 1999
Truly unforgettable for all who saw it, Kanu completed a rare away hat-trick at Stamford Bridge in remarkable fashion. When the ball went out towards the Nigerian near the left byline, there looked to be little danger. Even when he beat Ed De Goey (who, foolishly perhaps, had attempted to close him down), the angle appeared too acute for anything but a cross into the box. That was to underestimate Kanu, however - where no-one else saw the opportunity, he simply curled a right-footed effort from practically the byline into the far corner. Bandy-legged brilliance.
Michael Essien's missile, 2007
To put this goal in simple terms: Lampard rolls it back to Essien, Essien smashes it with the outside of his foot from 30-yards, the ball evades everyone (including Jens Lehmann) as it brushes the inside of the post on the way into the goal. Yes, that about covers it.
The Ghanaian later scored a similarly brilliant strike against Barcelona - which certainly (probably) also deserves a place on this list.