Chelsea supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side make it five wins out of five in the Premier League at the weekend.
Maurizio Sarri’s men went into their clash with newly-promoted Cardiff City on Saturday as one of just three teams still with a 100% record in the league after four games, joining Liverpool and Watford at the summit of the division. And the Blues made it five straight victories at Stamford Bridge at the weekend as an Eden Hazard hat-trick alongside a Willian strike saw Sarri’s side come from behind to beat Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds 4-1 in West London.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Chelsea fans up and down the country in recent times, although it’s arguable that much of the success the club are currently having, and have had in the 15 years or so, can be pinned down to one vital moment in time, namely Jesper Gronkjaer’s goal against Liverpool back in May 2003.
Chelsea, under the stewardship of Claudio Ranieri and ownership of Ken Bates, sat fourth in the Premier League table heading into their final match of the season against the Merseyside giants, who were level on points and just a place behind the Blues in the table.
Thus, it was a ‘winner-takes-all’ match in terms of qualifying for the Champions League, but it proved even more significant to Chelsea given that Roman Abramovich sought to take over the club the following summer, which may not have happened had they failed to reach Europe’s elite competition.
And that is why they have former Denmark international Gronkjaer to thank as his goal after just 26 minutes, a fine strike from the edge of the box, sealed a 2-1 success for the Blues, thus securing them fourth place in the table, and a spot in the Champions League for the 2003/04 campaign.
At the time, the match between the two clubs was labelled the ‘£20 million match’, such were the rewards for earning a spot in the Champions League as opposed to the UEFA Cup, but for Chelsea it has proven to be worth infinitely more than that given Abramovich took over the club just a few weeks later. And the rest, they say, is history.
Under the Russian billionaire, the West London outfit have become one of the biggest and most successful clubs in English football in winning five Premier League titles, the Champions League in 2012, the Europa League in 2013, five FA Cups, and three League Cups – thus, Gronkjaer’s goal was a crucial moment in their history.
Failure to qualify for the Champions League that season may have prompted Abramovich to explore other options to invest his money, and who knows exactly where Chelsea would have ended up, and where they would be now, were that to have happened 15 years ago.
Thus, it’s clear that Chelsea fans owe a lot to Danish star Gronkjaer, whose goal appears to have paved the way for the success the Blues have had in recent times.
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