Since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003, Chelsea have made winning trophies a habit. As of July 31, 2020 the Blues have been the most successful club in English football since 2003, having won 11 out of 15 finals.
And a large reason for the Blues’ enviable record in cup finals is their former striker Didier Drogba. The Ivorian was part of ten finals, eight out of which Chelsea went on to win. Incredibly, Drogba was on the scoresheet in each of those eight wins. He was the Blues’ go-to man on the big stage and he almost always delivered.
Drogba's performance in cup finals
|No of goals scored||Opponent||Tournament||Result|
|1||Liverpool||2005 League Cup final||Chelsea win 3-2 AET|
|2||Arsenal||2007 League Cup final||Chelsea win 2-1|
|1||Manchester United||2007 FA Cup final||Chelsea win 1-0|
|1||Tottenham Hotspur||2008 League Cup final||Tottenham win 2-1|
|0||Manchester United||2008 Champions League final||Manchester United win on penalties|
|1||Everton||2009 FA Cup final||Chelsea win 2-1|
|1||Portsmouth||2010 FA Cup final||Chelsea win 1-0|
|1||Liverpool||2012 FA Cup final||Chelsea win 2-1|
|1||Bayern Munich||2012 Champions League final||Chelsea win on penalties|
|0||Tottenham Hotspur||2015 League Cup final||Chelsea win 2-0|
Drogba’s record in cup finals is bettered only by Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski who both have higher goals per game ratio in cup finals than the Ivorian. However, Drogba has a better record in finals than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Record in cup finals of top goalscorers
|Player||Goals per game ratio|
Drogba’s record being almost as good as that of Messi is a fine achievement for a striker who largely played in a defensive / counterattacking set-up. The other three in the list played in more attack-minded teams with a lot of creative players. In the case of Lewandowski, the level of opponents he has faced isn’t the same as that of what Drogba faced.
In England, though, his record in cup finals is almost unmatched. He is the only player to score in three League Cup finals, only player to score in four FA Cup finals and only player to score in both the finals in the same year.
He is only behind Ian Rush in terms of total FA Cup final goals scored.
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The former Chelsea striker was often his team’s one-man attack and carried his team in the biggest of games. Often having to feed on scraps against superior opponents, Drogba produced the goods under extreme pressure while at times feeding on scraps.
His contribution to Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League win was a fine example of what impact the African striker could have on a game.
Drogba scored a brace in Chelsea’s final group game against Valencia where the Blues needed to win to keep their hopes alive of advancing to the knockout stage. In the Round of 16, he netted Chelsea’s first goal that triggered a comeback 4-1 win over Napoli in the second leg.
Then once again in the semi-finals, Drogba scored Chelsea’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over Barcelona in semi-final first leg.
Most importantly though, the Ivorian stepped up in the final against Bayern Munich scoring an 88th-minute equaliser for Chelsea. The Blues went on to win the final on penalties beating Bayern on their own patch, a feat that wouldn’t have been possible without Drogba’s big-game mentality.
King of Wembley
Apart from finals, Drogba had a fine record in semi-finals and other big games against the top sides in England. Arsenal suffered the most at the hands of the Ivorian who scored 13 times in 15 matches against the Gunners.
Wembley was Drogba’s second home and he scored eight times at the home of English football. Only Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son have scored more at the stadium than the Ivorian, but considering the stadium was Tottenham’s home ground for almost two seasons, Drogba’s feat is extraordinary.
“To have him in your team in a final,” Frank Lampard had said, “you felt Didier in the dressing room before a big game that it was a different Didier, he was like an animal.
The winning mentality that he brought to the club is now, arguably, a part of the DNA at Stamford Bridge. Without a doubt, as far as success in English football is concerned, Didier Drogba is the king of the cup finals.