The Times, Matt Dickinson: “If talent prevails ”” and the gods of football are feeling truly mischievous ”” these teams will meet in Athens in May for a Champions League final of such explosive possibility that it might shake the ancient columns of the Parthenon. Uefa would not know whether to fear the mayhem or to welcome the drama.”
Tuesday. It must Barcelona then. Some eight hundred miles and several stratospheres in football terms separate the cities of Sheffield and tonight’s destination: while the gung-ho graft of Jagielka and Montgomery presented one kind of test, the guile of Deco and Messi will pose another entirely. Hilario may have made light work of Danny Webber’s tepid spot kick, but his record is far more likely to be tarnished when – sorry, if – he faces Ronaldinho from twelve yards. And if we’re being brutally honest, Frank Rijkaard is certainly no Neil Warnock.
The Guardian, Jon Brodkin: “Again this was not a spectacular Chelsea performance but Jose Mourinho has made it clear he cares little about that. A first Champions League away victory since November 2005 leaves his squad set fair in Group A with Barcelona next at Stamford Bridge, and they have now won six consecutive matches.”
The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “The result has the authentic Chelsea ring to it but there were still false notes. It took the penalty that Michael Ballack converted after 66 minutes for his first goal at the club to dim the brightness of Werder Bremen’s spirit. Only the post prevented Frank Lampard from raising the margin to 3-0, but even Jose Mourinho agreed that would have been unjust.”
In a little over twenty-four hours, fans of all things Blue will turn their attention to the pitch at Stamford Bridge. After a week of international football and the never-ending Gallasgate soap opera, the sight of eleven men in Chelsea shirts on the glorious green turf (Charlton fans, take note) will come as a truly welcome relief. Football, rather than statements and slanging matches, is the primary business of the club lest we forget.
Given the drama and speculation flying around Chelsea last week, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Oliver Stone was orchestrating events rather than Peter Kenyon. Football’s armchair pundits, well known to be fond of a conspiracy theory went from Parker Knoll to grassy knoll quicker than you could say ‘Abramovich’.
The 24 year-old Dutch international tied up his move to SW6 over the weekend and watched his new side beat Manchester City 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in their first game of the Premiership season on Sunday afternoon.
In the main square of Setúbal stands a statue of Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage, an 18th century Portuguese poet. Bocage is described as being a prodigiously talented but occasionally unstable individual who lived a turbulent life in which he gathered numerous enemies and regularly upset those in authority.
Chelsea have issued a statement following recent comments made by Ken Bates in relation to the ongoing dispute over former Leeds academy players Michael Woods, Tom Taiwo and Danny Rose.
The full statement, which can be seen here suggests that Bates has breached FA rules E3 and E4 which prohibit “rude, insulting and inappropriate comments being made about other club owners, chairmen and personnel.”
Chelsea have taken highly-rated teenage central defender Maximiliano Oliva on trial from Argentine club River Plate. The 16 year-old would cost the Blues around £1 million should they decide to make the move permanent.
John Terry has been named England captain by Steve McClaren. The Chelsea skipper replaces David Beckham who stepped down from the role after this summer’s World Cup. His first game as captain will be the friendly against Euro 2004 winners Greece on August 16.
Jose Mourinho declared himself a happy man yesterday evening after watching a much-improved Chelsea performance in a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
Frank Lampard scored the only goal of the game early in the second half, latching on to a pass from Andriy Shevchenko after good combination play between the Ukranian and Didier Drogba. Feyenoord almost levelled in the last minute of the game, with only the woodwork denying former Celtic and Nottingham Forest striker Pierre van Hooijdonk from a free kick.
Chelsea are due to make a statement later today (Tuesday) following reports that William Gallas has failed to report for the club’s pre-season training camp in Los Angeles.
The French international has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge after suggesting that he wanted to leave in May. He has one year left on his current deal and would be free to talk to other clubs in January 2007. Chelsea have offered Gallas a new four-year contract and have stated that they are not willing to sell the versatile defender, who has made over 200 appearances for the club since his arrival from Marseilles in 2001.
Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been charged by the FA with improper conduct / bringing the game into disrepute following claims in his autobiography that Chelsea made illegal bonus payments to players after the 2004 Champions League win over Arsenal.