The newspaper reports
The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “The theory that Chelsea did not sign a regular goalscorer in January continues to be exposed as a myth. Andre Villas-Boas’s first brush with the Champions League ended victorious here on Tuesday night, courtesy of a goal by an elegant, eye-catching and big-money signing. The only anomaly is that the player in question was still not Fernando Torres, but David Luiz.”
The Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “Beyond a Premier League and FA Cup double one of Carlo Ancelotti’s most important legacies at Chelsea was pushing for the £25m signing of David Luiz. He believed the Brazilian could become the best central defender in the world but last night, on his return to the team, Luiz again showed that he perhaps has ambitions to be the best striker, scoring a stunning, precious goal to gain Chelsea the victory they craved in their opening Group E Champions League match.”
The Independent, Sam Wallace: “Deep in injury-time last night with the opposition’s goal in his sight and only the goalkeeper to beat, Fernando Torres had a decision to make. He could pull the trigger himself and try to end a run of games without a goal that goes back to April or he could square it to Juan Mata, who needed this goal much less than him. That Torres opted to tee up Mata for Chelsea’s second goal told us a little more about the mindset of the £50m striker who has just one goal in 23 games for his the club he joined in January. It suggested that Torres is coping with the burden of being the highest-profile non-goalscoring goalscorer in English football.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “David Luiz, with a fine strike midway through the second half, and Juan Mata in stoppage time gave Chelsea a firm foundation to begin the Champions League campaign. This always looked a tough opening game against the side that finished second in Germany last season and so it proved.”
Some of our players will be feeling aches and pains tonight after an at times bruising encounter with a physical Bayer Leverkusen side. But their hearts won’t be depressed.
Andre dropped Frank to the bench and rested Terry for Sunday’s Super Sunday Showdown at Old Trafford. Formations and stuff are beyond my ken. No matter.
Petr, David Luiz (Alex, 76), Ashley, Branislav, Jose, Florent, Jon, Raul (Frank, 65), Juan, Fernando, Daniel (Nicolas, 64).
- Mata. After scoring on his Premier League debut he repeated the feat and scored on his Champions League debut too. What a player. It doesn’t matter which of the two sides you were supporting tonight, it was clear that Mata was by far the best player on the pitch. My new favourite player. His goal came after some great work and a lovely lay off from Torres.
- Torres. Sure to be the subject matter of many column inches in tomorrow’s papers. Most will highlight the fact that he failed to score again. No matter. His commitment and attitude were first class and he could have scored a hat-trick in the first 10 minutes. He set up both goals and played really well for 90 minutes. What more can you ask? OK. A goal would have been nice. But I don’t think it’s a matter of great concern that he’s not scoring. Not on tonight’s performance, anyway. It’s just a matter of time. Surely.
- David Luiz. Scored the all important first goal, though he was fortunate to still be on the pitch at the time. Ran the length of the pitch with the ball at his feet before laying it off and receiving it again from Torres and slotting home. It was a brilliant finish to a brilliant move. I love Luiz. And what hair! No? It’s a matter of taste. Anyway, he’s now scored three times as many goals as Torres in a little over half the appearances. But no matter. We’ll gloss over that fact. For now.
- Sturridge. Splendid performance. Pace, trickery, vision and a bullet of a left foot. Brilliant. As a matter of fact, he was in with a shout for Man of the Match until Mata slotted home the second.
- UEFA’s six-man squad of officials. Soon there’ll be as many officials as players and still they won’t get the important decisions right. Baffling. It’s a matter of concern that UEFA won’t sanction the use of technology.
The player ratings (by Blue Bayou)
The player ratings by Bayer Brands and Trademarks.
- Cech – Levitra (can be relied on to keep his end up)
- Bosingwa – Canestan (his odd lapse can still bring you out in a rash)
- Ivanovic – Polyurethane (durable and flexible)
- Luiz – Heroin (it’s all about the highs and lows)
- Cole – Aleve (“All Day Strong All Day Long”)
- Meireles – Alka-Seltzer (adds a touch of plink plink fizz)
- Mikel – Polycarbonate (some say bullet proof, some say lightweight)
- Malouda – Supradyn (to “release his natural inner energy” and look alive rather than just awake)
- Sturridge – Redoxon (effervescent and quite tasty)
- Torres – Aspirin (a massive headache all round)
- Mata – Rennie (seems to help with that midfield indigestion)
- Anelka and Lampard (subs) – Nazol (shortly after they came on we were all breathing more easily)
- Alex (sub) – Actron (pain free)
The Man of the Match
No matter what you think Mata was Man of the Match.
Nothing matters very much. And very few things matter at all. Especially the Champions League. But the Champions League is a serious matter for Chelsea managers. It’s a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of some urgency to Roman that we win it soon. We will win it. One day. It’s just a matter of time. And luck. Lots of luck. And Mata.
And so much for all that. A couple of aspirins and bed for me. Goodnight.
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