Chelsea FC

7 of Chelsea's biggest defeats of all-time - ranked

Krishan Davis
Robbie Copeland
Apr 3, 2021, 5:45 PM GMT+1
Chelsea have had some horrendous results dotted throughout their history
Chelsea have had some horrendous results dotted throughout their history | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

You rarely expect to see a football club the size of Chelsea on the wrong end of a real drubbing, but these things do happen.

The Blues' history is punctuated by sporadic thumpings, although those have of course become less commonplace since the arrival of Roman Abramovich and his billions in 2003.

However, even in the modern era, Chelsea are still susceptible to an unmitigated disaster scoreline (see: 5-2 home defeat to an awful West Brom side in 2020/21).

But which have been some of the west Londoners' worst defeats of all-time? Let's have a look...

7. Chelsea 2-6 Nottingham Forest (September 1986)

Neil Webb
Neil Webb celebrates one of his side's six goals | Getty Images/Getty Images

Back in the mid 1980s, when Chelsea were in the embryonic stages of becoming a half-decent side and Nottingham Forest were quite good, the Blues took a pretty historic hammering in the early days of the 1986/87 season. 

There's precious little information available on this one, just that Pat Nevin and the fantastically named John Bumstead were on the scoresheet for John Hollins' side, and they would go on to finish 14th in Division One - 13 points behind their assailants.

6. Stoke City 6-2 Chelsea (October 1974)

George Eastham, Peter Bonetti
Stoke City and Chelsea facing off back in the 70s | Evening Standard/Getty Images

The 70s were a strange time. Imagine the carnage nowadays if, in addition to a packed domestic and European schedule, League Cup ties went to as many as three replays before a winner was decided?

That was the state of play in the 1974/75 Football League Cup tournament anyway, and at the third time of asking, Stoke City annihilated Chelsea by six goals to two to advance to the last 16. 

They would go out to Ipswich in the next round.

5. Barcelona 5-0 Chelsea (May 1966)

Football used to be different in the 60s. England would win trophies, and aggregate draws over two-legs in European competitions were settled with a third, final replay between the two. 

After drawing 2-2 over both legs of the 1966 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semi-final, however, Barcelona were in no mood for another tight encounter. They smashed Chelsea by five goals to nil, with doubles from Joaquim Rife and Josep Maria Fuste, and went on to win the thing outright.

4. Manchester United 6-0 Chelsea (December 1960)

Peter Bonetti
Peter Bonetti flies through the air during the defeat | Keystone/Getty Images

Another delve back into the 60s takes us as far back as the 1960/61 season, where a Bobby Charlton-led Manchester United ran riot at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. 

It wasn't a particularly memorable season for either side - in fact it was Spurs who would run away with the top division crown that year, as the Alex Ferguson glory days were still a blip on the horizon for United - but a goal from Charlton opened the floodgates for Alex Dawson and Jimmy Nicholson to net a further five between them.

It wouldn't be long before Chelsea replaced their manager either, as Tommy Docherty was appointed in 1961.

3. Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (February 2019)

Cesar Azpilicueta apologises to the travelling faithful | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Chelsea's most recent absolute thumping - at the time of writing - came at the hands of Man City during Maurizio Sarri's season in charge.

A catalogue of errors from the Blues gave City the advantage, and the result sent the hosts top on their way to winning the title. Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling ran riot, bagging a hat-trick and a brace respectively.

2. Nottingham Forest 7-0 Chelsea (April 1991)

Roy Keane
A young Roy Keane featured for Forest | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The defeat to City was Chelsea's biggest in any competitive match since this fateful afternoon towards the end of the 1990/91 season, in which the famous/infamous Roy Keane opened and closed the scoring.

There would only be eight points between the two sides by the end of the season, but the result would mark the beginning of the end for manager Bobby Campbell, who was replaced the following month.

1. Wolves 8-1 Chelsea (September 1953)

Sam Bartram, Derek Ufton, Swinbourne
Wolves were a formidable opponent | Ron Case/Getty Images

Chelsea's record heaviest defeat came at the hands of Wolves, at the beginning of a season which saw them crowned 1953/54 Football League First Division Champions  - the first of three top division trophies they would win throughout the 1950s. 

It might come as a surprise to some to find out Chelsea even existed in the 50s - given that they have no history and all that - but they would finish eighth in the top flight that year.