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Soccer Fixture: Chelsea Versus Arsenal
Chelsea and Arsenal met for the first time in the First Division of the Football League at Stamford Bridge on 9 November 1907 – 30 years after the stadium was first opened by London Athletic Club. Chelsea won 2.1 with both goals coming from George Hilsdon. Arsenal’s response came from Charlie Satterthwaite.
George Hilsdon was the first player to score 100 goals for Chelsea and a weather vane made of him can still be seen at Stamford Bridge. Rumors say that if it is ever removed, Chelsea will face “great misfortune”, as it did during the groundworks in the late 1970s, when Chelsea were in a financial and footballing slump. Hilsdon was gassed on the Western Front in World War I and never played professional football again, dying in 1941. There is no sign of his grave.
This first match was watched by the then record crowd of the English top division: 65,000. Arsenal were still known at the time and were based at Woolwich Arsenal, but they had a huge following for the game as it was also King Edward VII’s 66th birthday. The munitions factory where many of the workers who followed the club was closed for the day, so they were free to travel to West London.
In fact, Arsenal could be Chelsea’s local rivals rather than Tottenham Hotspur. Local businessman Henry Norris played an important role in the development of both clubs. Amassing a fortune from property, Norris became a director and then chairman of Fulham. Another Edwardian businessman named Henry – Henry Augustus Mears – acquired Stamford Bridge to make it one of the best association football venues in the capital, if not the whole country. He offered Norris the opportunity to move Fulham to the ground, but Norris refused to pay the annual rent of around £1,500, so Mears founded his own team – Chelsea FC – in 1905. There was no Chelsea football club at all.
Five years later, Norris, still Chairman of Fulham, became a major shareholder in Woolwich Arsenal, which went into voluntary liquidation. Becoming chairman of the London club, Norris proposed to merge them with Fulham to form a super club. The move was blocked by the Football League and so Chelsea and Fulham remained local rivals, rather than Chelsea and Arsenal.
This match between the two teams in 1907 was the first meeting between two London clubs in the first division and thus the first “London derby”. All subsequent league meetings between the two sides to date have been in the top tier of English football (the old division and now the Premier League).
Woolwich Arsenal got their revenge the following season with a 2.1 win on 28 November 1908 – Chelsea’s goal again coming from George Hilsdon. The Gunners also won at Chelsea the following season, before the first draw – 1.1 – in this league competition on 15 February 1913. This was the last time the two sides met before Highbury moved to Woolwich Arsenal. and changed their name. to Arsenal.
Indeed, after this victory in their first meeting, Chelsea did not win again until 13 December 1919, when they won in front of a huge post-war crowd of 60,000 with goals from Robert McNeill, John Cocke and Henry Ford.
The match was played on 12 October 1935 in front of another huge crowd: 82,905, the second highest attendance for an English league match. It ended with a 1.1 draw. Joseph Bambrick scored for Chelsea and Jack Creston scored for Arsenal.
Arsenal’s record league win at Stamford Bridge in front of 74,667 football fans on 29 November 1930 – a 5.1 win and David Jack scoring a hat-trick as Arsenal cruised to their first League One win and English football dominance of the 1930s came close. . They scored five more on 24 November 1934 – this time in a 5.2 win – with legendary Arsenal striker Ted Drake scoring four of Arsenal’s goals. Drake went on to manage Chelsea in 1952 and was responsible for changing their nickname. Pensioners to Blues.
On October 29, 2011, the Gunners scored 5 goals in a 5.3 win and Robin Van Persie scored a hat-trick for the winners.
Chelsea’s biggest win in the game came with a 6.0 win in the Premier League on 22 March 2014, which was also Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game as manager of Arsenal. It is Chelsea’s highest goal tally against Arsenal in a league game at Stamford Bridge and is also the Blues’ biggest win. Oscar scored two goals that day in front of a crowd of 41,614, along with one each from Samuel Eto’o, Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard and Mohamed Salah.
The sides are neck and neck in terms of wins in this game. In the years that Chelsea have won the League Cup, they have never lost at home to their north London rivals, drawing in 1954/55 and 2004/05 and in each in 2005/06. They won in 2009. /10 and 2014/15.
For Arsenal, in the 13 seasons they have finished in the Champions League, they have only lost twice at Chelsea (Chelsea were in the Second Division in the 1988/89 season, so there was no game) – on August 29, 1970, when Paddy Mulligan and John Hollins scored for Chelsea and Eddie Kelly scored for Arsenal – and on 2 February 1991. Kerry Dixon and Graham Stewart scored for Chelsea that day and Alan Smith replied in front of a crowd of 29,094. It was the only league defeat for George Graham’s Arsenal side and their first defeat in 27 First Division games, dating back to a 2.0 defeat at Luton Town on 21 April 1990.
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