Chelsea’s 4-0 demolition of Portsmouth on the opening weekend of the Premier League season ensured an impressive start to Phil Scolari’s reign at Stamford Bridge. However, as comprehensive a victory as it was, it doesn’t match up in terms of sheer excitement to Claudio Ranieri’s first game at the helm…
Manchester United 3-3 Chelsea (2000/2001)
Back in 2000, when Ken Bates ruled with an iron fist, the Kings Road was often the setting for many a weird and wonderful decision. Going into one of our biggest games of the season we found ourselves being led by the largely unknown and completely inaudible Claudio Ranieri. His appointment would prove to be a popular one, unlike that of the bumbling translator accompanying Claudio while he familiarised himself with the English language.
The exhilarating 3-3 draw that marked the start of the tinkerman’s time in charge would typify the style of football to be played by the blues under his leadership. Not even a blood-strewn, all action David Beckham performance could produce a winner as we showed why many had tipped us for success that season.
Taking the lead through a venomous Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink shot, only to allow Scholes, Sheringham and Beckham to put Man U in the driving seat would have spelt the end for many visiting sides at Old Trafford.
Ranieri’s spirited and wonderfully unpredictable side produced an impressive comeback, with the likes of Le Saux and Di Matteo shining as two Tore Andre Flo goals salvaged a point on a memorable day for the tinkerman.