Robbie's biggest achievement so far in his short tenure, and a result that is now written into Chelsea history, was the unbelievable 4-1 extra victory over Napoli. My post before the game called for a return for a night of 'Fortress Stamford Bridge' in hope that we may see a game that echoed the brilliance of the victory over Barcelona in 2005, and we certainly saw it. After a poor first twenty minutes, there did not seem much hope that we would overhaul the first leg deficit, but then up stepped Didi Drogba, who cut across his marker to get on the end of Ramires’s cross to power home Chelsea's first goal. A goal before half time was exactly what was needed and we put ourselves in the best possible position. It seemed like the old guard had something left in them yet.
Just after half time, hope and belief became reality, in 2005 Barcelona-esque style, Lampard swung a corner in for JT at the near post, whose glancing header nestled itself in the net at the far post... 2-0! Were we about to do what only a handful of teams had done in around 50 attempts, and overhaul a two goal first leg deficit, could we hold on?Unfortunately at the time it felt like reality came crashing down, after a decent clearance, there was no one to sweep up on the edge of the box for Chelsea and Inhler was there to chest the ball down and drill a shot past Cech. The mountain was there to climb again, and the honest feeling was that it seemed unlikely we could do it again, there was still time though, and the volume at the Bridge began to ramp up once more.The prayers were answered about 15 minutes later when Ivanovic’s header was handled in the box, it allowed the third of our old guard to put his name on the team sheet, Lampard cooly stepped up and drilled the penalty left just over the goalie. Stamford Bridge believed once more, and as the game stepped into extra time, the nerves began to overwhelm. Just before the half way mark in extra time , the unbelievable happened, Ramires passed to Drogba who then turned and crossed in one fluid motion , right into the path of a wide open 'Two-goal' Ivanovic who like a star centre forward drilled the ball into the roof of the net, to lift the roof of the Bridge. As the final whistle blew, and Di Matteo ran onto the pitch, ecstasy took hold.
In regards to the rest of the Champions League, where we will face Benfica, any other results are a bonus, and Lampard said it best when he said we are just happy to be in the hat. That night at the Bridge signified hopefully the start of a strong finish to the season.
Another great outcome of Di Matteo's tenure has been the exploits of Nando. He has been playing well recently, tracking back excellently, and providing some fantastic assits, he just hasn't scored goals. But he finally ended his goal drought against Leicester City in the FA Cup, and just like a London bus, after all that wait a second goal turned up shortly afterwards. Torres is beginning to play with a smile on his face again, and he credits Di Matteo's belief in him as part of why his goal drought has finally ended. Torres finally scoring also coincides with the Chelsea's vast improvement in matchday performances under Robbie. Personally, I think it has something to do with one of my previous post's... Superstitions! Torres changed his haircut back to what it was like before his woes at Chelsea began, and clearly, it has worked. For all those superstitious people out there, although the reality and evidence would prove that having a manager believe in you and a team doing well, will most likely be why Torres finally ended his drought, really it's difficult not to believe that the superstitious haircut worked. Whatever the reason behind his goals, let’s just hope there are plenty more to come in Chelsea blue.