Southampton's Graziano Pelle celebrates scoring his sides third goal..Barclays Premier League - Chelsea vs Southampton

Remembering when Graziano Pelle put on the ultimate striker’s clinic at Stamford Bridge

2015 was a brilliant year. The FIFA game series was alive and well, Soccer AM was still bearable and – crucially – Graziano Pelle was gracing the Premier League with his presence.

There are few things more modern-day Barclays than the big handsome bastard that sort of shared the same name as the greatest player of all time, strolling into England looking all majestic and earmarking himself as one of the league’s great cult heroes.

Pelle ticked every single one of those boxes, and did so while making every man across the country incredibly envious of his devilish looks and lovely facial hair genetics. Still hurts to look at, if you can’t tell.

Nostalgia is a powerful drug, and very easily makes us lose our footballing inhibition. Revisionism runs wild as a result of it. But there’s no revisionism around Pelle. Just pure facts.

The numbers don’t lie. 80 games for Southampton, 30 goals, 10 assists. That’s a goal contribution every other game. Ruud van Nistelrooy levels of good.

In and amongst those 40 goal contributions is a brilliant catalogue of goals and assists, which very clearly display his rather outrageous ability which we were unfortunately robbed of seeing for a longer period of time.

And while a certain touch and overhead kick is often the goal that the streets won’t forget Pelle by, there’s an alternative piece of media that better showcases his rather freakishly complete skillset.

That media comes in the form of two assists and a goal away to Chelsea in 2015. Impressive enough on its own.

But when you sit back and watch it, you’ll be filled with envy, awe and shock in equal measures. It’s a showcase of everything a striker should have in their locker.

A showcase of everything we all wanted to be good at as kids, and what we all still think we’re good at – but very clearly aren’t – when it comes to weekly five-a-side.

Let’s take a brief second to appreciate that Southampton side. Ronald Koeman’s tricky Saints running wild like it’s prime Hulkamania. Good times.

Back to the big handsome Italian. That first assist is a joke. Pure arrogance. Try that on a Sunday morning and you’re getting hooked a half-time, clattered, or quite possibly both.

Not Graziano, though. No chance. Makes it look easy. Pulls Southampton back to level terms. And that’s only the warm-up to assist number two – perfect chaos.

Drops in, chests it down, causes some confusion, picks up the ball and fires a pass which a blossoming Sadio Mane seamlessly rolls onto, before slotting beyond Asmir Begovic. Liquid. Chelsea were bamboozled. Helpless.

Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park, by the way. Being made to look like a water carrier. Have a bit of that for technique, Cesc. World Cup winner my arse, he says. In Italian. Probably.

Job done, Graziano. Who said strikers need to score goals? He probably did. Because the icing wasn’t on the cake until he’d sealed the deal and given Stamford Bridge the kiss of death.

72 minutes on the clock, the score hanging in the balance at 2-1. Mane wins back a loose ball in the Southampton half and drives forward. Dusan Tadic bursts away like a man possessed on his left, while Pelle flanks his right graciously, striding seemingly without any effort.

And it’s the Italian who receives the pass on the edge of the box, from a tight angle, still with plenty to do. But one touch was all it needed. Out the feet and bang. Training ground stuff. Low and hard. Far corner. Cooler than the seeds in a cucumber.

Comeback signed, sealed and delivered.

A mega offer from China would whisk away the striking Italian at the end of the season, forever etching him into the history books as streets won’t forget folklore.

But that was enough. Two seasons of brilliance. Pelle was like no other at the time, and bloody brilliant on his day.

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