Birmingham City 0-2 Chelsea – Tweets Why They Call Us The Blues

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The buildup

chelseaoffside: Chelsea XI v. Birmingham: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Mikel, Ramires, Meireles, Kalou, Torres, Mata.

chelseaoffside: Chelsea bench v. Birmingham: Hilario, Terry, Essien, Lampard, Drogba, Lukaku, Sturridge.

ChelseaChadder: Surprised to see John Terry on the bench for today’s game. I thought he was out for a month.

chelseaoffside: Birmingham City XI v. Chelsea: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Andrews, Mulumbu, Morrison, Odemwingie, Fortune, Thomas.

ChelseaChadder: Roberto Di Matteo becomes the 12th person to both play for and manage Chelsea.

CFC_Clive: Torres and Kalou arrive together in a miniature clown car; Torres with a bucket attached to his foot.

ChelseaChadder: Fernando Torres is playing his 50th game for Chelsea.

CFC_Clive: Hopefully Mata at top of a diamond. Meireles and Ramires wider. Meireles’ best position. Kalou up front.

chelseayouth: Based off absolutely nothing and probably best left unsaid, but I reckon we’ll win quite comfortably tonight.

EastUpper3: Banner in the away end held up as players went off after warming up “play for your shirt not your ego’s [sic]”.

BluesChronicle: Birmingham’s team selection suggests they’re keen to go out of the FAC. Though the same was true of their team at SB & we foiled that plan.

Millhaven_Curse: Fucking bad apostrophe in the banner you dickheads! Fuck sake.

The first half

BluesChronicle: Roberto Di Matteo poses on the edge of his technical area for the flashbulbs, doing his best catalogue man stare. Good luck fella.

BluesChronicle: Underway at St Andrews: Birmingham 0-0 Chelsea. And the visiting fans already singing ‘Jose Mourinho’.

ChelseaKelv: Something satisfying about seeing RDM and Eddie on the bench. Reminder of a fantastic period in our history.

BluesChronicle: Torres puts in Mata for a run on goal, but he shoots at the keeper’s outstretched hand.

BluesChronicle: Though I’ve not seen it, I’m told some visiting fans had a banner displayed pre-match: ‘Rafa not wanted, Special One needed’.

BluesChronicle: Now a chant of ‘only one Di Matteo’ from the Chelsea end. In good voice tonight.

chelseafc: Birmingham just pegging Chelsea back in our own half for the time being. Needs a period of possession.

ChelseaRumours: We’ll win tonight.

ChelseaAnalysis: AVB’s ghost is still there, crouching on the toucline. You just don’t see it.

chelseaoffside: Kalou looks bright even if he is running into trouble.

BluesChronicle: “You’re not wanted here, you’re not wanted here, f*** off Benitez, you’re not wanted here.” Listening Roman?

chelseaoffside: Yow. Boot to the grill for Zigic from Luiz.

ChelseaRumours: Torres is being marked by 3 defenders tonight. Will he score?

chelseafc: Jinking run from Kalou produces a half-chance for Ramires, but he cannot hit the target.

chelseayouth: If you make a late tackle after a pass, it’s usually a free kick. So why nothing for a late contact on a shot? Ramires was fouled there.

BluesChronicle: Ramires weaves through the box and takes a shot, which is pushed wide by a defender’s deflection – which the ref fails to see.

BluesChronicle: Lazy chipped ball almost catches Cech out, but he back-peddles to save it on the line, arms aloft.

peter_watts: Current Radio 5 Live commentary team: Alan Green and Craig Burley. Does it get worse than this?

ChelseaRumours: Clever turn and shot by Eliott. Good save by Cech. Comfortable really.

ChelseaRumours: Oooh Zigic that was dangerous. Might as well have been red.

ChelseaRumours: I love Di Matteo. I really do. If he gets us a top 4 placement this year, I say raise a statue of him outside the Bridge.

BluesChronicle: Mata corner in to Cahill – which he fluffs and puts wide. Chelsea creating very little so far.

gate17marco: Chelsea look compact and comfortable on the ball…. we will win this game and it doesn’t matter if it’s extra time and penalties.

ChelseaRumours: Imagine how happy and proud Di Matteo would feel if Torres scored tonight…

TheChelseaBlog: Did Birmingham dig the pitch especially for us?

BluesChronicle: Chelsea fans: “Roman Abramovich – he sacks who he wants.” LOL! Seems to be official policy now.

bridgeviews: If Arsenal somehow do this, it’s going to be one of the most depressing things I’ll have ever experienced. Someone tell me it won’t happen.

BluesChronicle: For 40mins Roberto Di Matteo has stood, arms folded on the edge of the technical area. It’s almost as if he is making the point: ‘I’m here.’

BluesChronicle: Zigic header in the box produces a great leaping Cech fingertips save.

ChelseaAnalysis: Chelsea quick on the counter-attack, but it’s wasted as there was no one ahead.

ChelseaRumours: Just before that, Torres had given away possession – twice.

ChelseaRumours: Ramires almost finds Torres’ head, but last gasp defending saves the day for Birmingham & the press etc.

BluesChronicle: Attendance just announced: 21,822. Of which an incredible 3,220 are Chelsea fans in the away end. Superb effort on a Tuesday night guys.

chelseafc: Chelsea keep possession after a corner, and Mata fires a low shot which deflects up into Doyle’s arms.

bridgeviews: Arsenal bloody are going to do it. Against the backdrop of our season, this won’t be pretty.

BluesChronicle: 2mins added time. Fernando just missed another sitter.

Half time

BluesChronicle: HT: B’ham 0-0 Chelsea. Sad to say, much the same uncreative fayre of recent months. Maybe a touch more passion on-pitch. But only a touch.

gate17marco: The only thing that matters tonight is the result … And the result will come … Be patient …

ChelseaAnalysis: Pretty ironic that nothing’s look changed for us while Arsenal are having one epic comeback. Take note, Roman.

The second half

chelseafc: Sloppy start to the second half from Chelsea. Need to retain and work the ball better.

TheChelseaBlog: Dunno what everyone’s whingeing about, we got past HT and still have a manager – that’s a result!

ChelseaAnalysis: Kalou creating all sorts of trouble for Birmingham in the box with the smart dribbling we’ve missed from him.

BluesChronicle: GOOOOAAAALLLL! BIRMINGHAM 0-1 CHELSEA. MATAAAAAAA!

chelseayouth: Kalou did his best to tackle Mata there. Well in though.

ChelseaChadder: Juan Mata scores! He has now scored in all three rounds of the FA Cup.

BluesChronicle: Birmingham 0-1 Chelsea: Ramires cross from the right to Kalou, who kicks against a defender. Mata picks up the loose ball and fires home.

chelseafc: Great early cross from Ivanovic eludes Brum defenders but Mata’s snap header goes past the post.

chelseafc: Sturridge replaces Kalou for Chelsea.

BluesChronicle: GOOOAAALLL: BIRMINGHAM 0-2 CHELSEA. MEIRELES!

bridgeviews: What a strike that is. Meireles has been awful recently but that’s outstanding.

BluesChronicle: Birmingham 0-2 Chelsea: Meireles with a stunning rocket of a goal from 25 yards.

chelseafc: Meireles whacks Ramires’s lay-off into the top right corner. Fine strike. Birmingham 0 Chelsea 2. We have lift-off.

chelseafc: Torres is cautioned for a tackle from behind.

ChelseaChadder: The last player to score in the first three rounds of the FA cup for Chelsea was Daniel Sturridge in 2009/10 season.

ChelseaActivity: Passionate and amazing celebrations on the bench. Di Matteo like one of the players, celebrating with staff and players! Amazing scene.

chelseafc: Chelsea fans resurrecting chants from the 90s: ‘One Di Matteo’ and ‘Ed-die’, in praise of the new coaching team.

chelseafc: Penalty to Chelsea!

ChelseaAnalysis: Torres goes down! Penalty! Smart movement from him and Mata down on the right.

ChelseaAnalysis: Mata to take it, as much as I would’ve liked Torres I don’t think I could’ve put up with the embarrassment had he missed.

BluesChronicle: MATA PENALTY SAVED.

bridgeviews: How many penalties are we planning on missing this season?

chelseafc: Saved! Relatively easy save for Doyle, who guessed right. The score remains 0-2.

chelseayouth: Luiz hasn’t been messing about tonight. Just getting rid of it. Wise approach on this pitch.

chelseafc: Great sliding tackle from Cahill denies the lively King.

ChelseaRumours: Torres that was beautiful. As for Sturridge – that was horrible. Open goal and it gets caught under his boot.

ChelseaChadder: Oh dear, Daniel. That’s three sitters you’ve missed in the last two games.

BluesChronicle: Nooooo! Sturridge horror miss. Not unlike for England, he receives a great ball (here from Torres) only to kick it against his own heels.

philmcnulty: Whatever verdict anyone may wish to pass on Fernando Torres, there is no question the Chelsea fans are still right behind him.

ChelseaRumours: Birmingham should’ve scored there. Blasted over instead.

chelseafc: Birmingham piling on the pressure and forcing corners. Chelsea holding out well.

ChelseaRumours: Bit nervous here, Birmingham are causing us some problems.

BluesChronicle: Some knowledge tonight that we’ve been missing in recent weeks: 1. score first; 2. score again; 3. don’t concede. Football is simple really.

chelseafc: Mata receives a big ovation as he makes way for Essien. Last change. Still 2-0 Chelsea.

BluesChronicle: 3mins added time.

ChelseaAnalysis: Arsenal are out. They sure do like to tease and damage their fans emotionally.

ChelseaRumours: Torres has had a good second half, but I’m getting worried he may never score again.

Full time

BluesChronicle: FT: Birmingham 0-2 Chelsea. Caretaker boss Di Matteo leads Chelsea to the quarter finals of the FAC with goals from Mata & Meireles.

BluesChronicle: Hugs all round on the final whistle for Roberto Di Matteo – JT first on the scene, and Drogba not far after.

chelseafc: Birmingham 0 Chelsea 2. Not extravagant, but solid and more efficient. Through to face Leicester in the quarter-finals.

The press reports

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “Chelsea had all the finesse required to win. Birmingham, sixth in the Championship, are trying to muster the momentum that could take them back to the top flight but their main feat here, with a greatly weakened line-up, was to match Chelsea before the interval. Even then they were tame. Despite the mundane quality of the win, this was still quite a night for Di Matteo.”

The Independent, Ian Herbert: “It was significant that Raul Meireles and Juan Mata, the outgoing manager’s two major signings, should have scored the goals which eased the turbulence of this week, but even more so that Meireles chose not to celebrate his own.”

The Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “The 3,000 visiting Chelsea supporters had their say also. They chanted the name of the caretaker manager, Roberto Di Matteo, having failed to acknowledge Villas-Boas throughout his months in charge, but then the Italian has the instant respect of being a former player whose exploits in this competition are writ large. They were not the only chants. Rafael Benítez was told, in no uncertain terms, he was not wanted as the next manager. Jose Mourinho, inevitably, was told he most definitely was while Roman Abramovich had a jovial endorsement in what should be a time of embarrassment for Chelsea.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A new era at Chelsea begins with safe passage through to meet Leicester in the quarter-finals, Juan Mata and Raul Meireles the scorers at St Andrew’s.”

The goals

54′ Mata 0-1
60′ Meireles 0-2




There are 105 comments

Add yours
  1. limetreebower

    Some of those comments are almost enough to convert me to Twitter. [applauds Chelsea fans]

  2. Austin Solari

    Meireles had a strange reaction when he scored??  He just turned and didn’t seem inclined to celebrate the goal?  After scoring a corker like that, I would have still been running around celebrating.

  3. Simon

    We don’t need that bloody AVB’s project; just the good old Chelsea winning mentality. 

    Come on Chelsea!

  4. NorthernVA

    I found this gem on Gabriele Marcotti’s twitter feed: Sky Italia pitchside reporter says ref ran down the tunnel shouting, “Don’t touch me, Don’t touch me!” at Wenger.

    I wonder if anyone will be able to locate Richard Bevan’s high horse tomorrow. 

  5. Cunningplan

    A good evening all round, I will admit I was channel hopping between the two games, and happened to catch all the goals as they went in, it must be my sixth sense. Anyway I was starting to wonder, had Milan been got at by some betting syndicate with the half-time scoreline? Then it dawned on me, it was a cruel practical joke on their part in making Arsenal believe they could do the impossible, classic!

    We certainly had a bit more enthusiasm about us last night, and seemed to move the ball around with a bit more purpose. Brum were certainly resolute, and very organised, I think Chris Hughton is doing a sterling job there and deserves the plaudits.

  6. PeteW

    I was really hoping Arsenal would win 5-1.

    Good stuff last night, nothing fancy but solid performance with weakish team. Worrying that we missed so many decent chances – we really need a new penalty taker – but at least we created some.

  7. Cunningplan

    ” I was really hoping Arsenal would win 5-1.”

    Now that would have been taking the practical joke a bit too far.

  8. WorkingClassPost

    Another good display from Birmingham, particularly in the first half.

    We may be seeing them more regularly next season if they can keep up those performances – and I do mean in the PL.

  9. Blueboydave

    A good win, looked fairly comfortable in the end.

    You could say we’ve turned a corner, except as the Bolton win was supposed to do that we’d then be heading backwards again, I suppose?

      • Blueboydave

         No, just your run-of-the-mill Chelsea fan indulging in an attempt at gallows humour.

        I’ll probably be trying out some “dead cat bounce” stuff if/when Stoke expose our frailties at the weekend.

        I’ve now coughed up £31.50 for my seat for the 6th round game, so not broken the habit entirely, just yet.

    • WorkingClassPost

      And genuine feeling for the guy he’s just replaced.

      Obviously there’s some empathy there, but I do hope that Roberto doesn’t let the paparazzi [which is what the press are where Chelsea are concerned], get to him too.

      They’ve already started asking the Chelsea Caretaker Questions from their ‘How to undermine a Manager and de-stabilise a Football Club’ handbook. 

      Will you be offered the job? Will you take the job? 

      It’s like asking a guy on his first day at work if he thinks he’ll get promoted.

      • Blue_MikeL

        Hopefully he will be able to stay against it!  
        One more interesting stats line. AVB lost 10 while being a Chelsea manager in every one of those Frank Lampard has played.

        Did they sack the right guy????

  10. Der_Kaiser

    A win is a win, to state the bleedin’ obvious.  Thought we looked a bit more lively, pressed reasonably well against a fairly organised side – it was pretty much Birmingham ‘B’, so it has to be taken in context.  Hope Robbie takes the opportunity; if we get past Leicester, he finds himself at Wembley and 2 games from a pot – good managers take chances when they get them.

    We really need someone who can stick a bloody goal or two away, though.  Sturridge is missing the kind of chances that would see Kalou hunted down by the pitchfork wielding mob; shocking finishing and surely it puts paid to his wish to be played in the middle, at least for the time being?

    On the same subject; Torres.  Please can we just stop playing him and let him slip quietly back to Spain in the summer?  It’s just plain cruelty now, albeit with good intentions.  His refusal to take the penalty was humiliating for the guy.

  11. bluebayou

    Poor ol’ Radio 5.
     
    Featured Chelsea in an FA Cup Replay against a Championship side rather than Arsenal against European royalty. Why? Ignoring Europe, nay the world’s, premier club competition. The one that’s always so important when Chelsea win the league but not in Europe?

    Let me see says producer “laughable club in crisis, nation hopes for humiliation in secondary competition, versus popular club featuring in Europe’s greatest competition but battling further humiliation and embarrassment”

    Half time 0-0 in Birmingham 3-0 at Arsenal

    “Better stick with Chelsea humiliation, it’s still a possibility. But the greatest comeback since….?”

    “No I’d rather stick with Chelsea humiliation”

    “Oh crap Chelsea 2 up and cruising Arsenal 3-0 up still on the comeback trail”

    “Better move over to the Emirates”

    Don’t laugh.

    And are ITV not allowed to mention CL games other than on the night they are covering? They kept trumpeting tonights CL at regular intervals during the commentary but made no mention of the unfolding drama at Arsenal. Then again those who tuned in to laugh at Chelsea thinking Arsenal were dead in the water would all have switched over wouldn’t they? (Unless like me they only have PPT – poor people’s TV)

  12. Cunningplan

    I had a sneaking suspicion that ITV only decided to show the replay because they wanted to stick in their two penneth worth of “AVB in crisis” during the coverage, as they seemed to be missing out because other channels had more than their fair share of Chelsea bashing.

    Did anyone else hear Roy Keanes disgust at some of our players mucking around in the warm up, with some ear flicking of Lukaku. Even Adrian Childs and Gareth Southgate looked somewhat surprised and embarrased at his reaction.

    • PeteW

      Er, quite the opposite in fact: Alex merely confirms what many of us have been saying all along, that it’s fine for Lampard to get dropped but AVB didn’t treat him with the respect he deserved. Not particularly controversial and judging by what happened to Villa-Boas, advise he should have heeded. 

      • Blue_MikeL

        I believe we are reading things differently Pete. Lampard shouldn’t have been such a primadona which requires separate treatment and respect. However, Frank is a big star so he needs manager to come to him for a talk and, if not Frank takes it all to newspapers. AVB got fired but managed to keep his integrity and face, no one blames him everybody blames Roman and …. our primadonas.     
        As I said above AVB has lost 10 games and in each one Lampard has played.   

        • PeteW

          Dude, your precious AVB is the worst manager Chelsea have had for a decade.He treated people like crap and got sacked deservedly; as Alex says, players like to be treated like adults, not bit parts in some half-arsed ‘project’. Whether you like or not, this is the way of life, suck it up or face the consequences – most other managers can do it quite easily.

          It’s a bit like Torres, people need to start looking at the person themselves rather than blaming everybody around them. 

          • PeteW

            I mean it’s not even difficult. If Lampard feels he needs direct conversations/explanations of his role, then give it to him – if that gets the best out of him and helps the squad as a whole, then just fucking do it! Then flog him in the summer when you’ve lined up a proper replacement.

            That’s man management, it’s what we paid £18m for him to get right and he flunked it so bad he’s possibly destroyed the morale in the squad for good. Way to go AVB! How is this even an issue for fuck’s sake! 

          • Day Tripper

            I agree with you on this. Lampard is a highly paid professional who earns £7.8m a year (on the basis of £150,000 per week) and is a grown adult and therefore supposedly a seasoned professional. Why should he need mollycoddling? He has a fantastic record with us but that is what he was paid for and he is certainly not performing like an £8m a year professional now. That was the folly of giving him such a long contract back in 2008, which he used supposed overtures from Inter Milan to obtain. This is an issue because this – and bloated contracts generally – has an impact on the prices we pay to go and watch the club

          • Der_Kaiser

            I actually think that Frank didn’t handle some aspects of this whole sorry saga that well at all, but his salary has little to do with it – it doesn’t matter how much you earn and it isn’t about mollycoddling anyone, just showing basic professional courtesy to another human being.  It costs nothing, but means everything.

  13. Mark Jerzak

    Torres and Kalou arrive together in a miniature clown car; Torres with a bucket attached to his foot.Made me laugh. They were completely useless.

  14. Ryan

    If you thought that AVB had bad man management skills check out Roy Keane’s attitude! Imagine being managed by that horrible bastard. You’d think with all his money and the success he’s had (as a player obviously) he would’ve mellowed a bit.

    Thought Mikel had a good game. Never thought I’d say that we’ve missed him but I think we have. Kalou was no worse than Sturridge and Torres didn’t perform any worse than plenty of other strikers do week in week out. He won a penalty. He provided a great ball for Studge to scuff (again). He was surrounded by 2-3 defenders most times he got the ball. He didn’t want to take the penalty but I’ve never seen him take one so I wasn’t surprised. Didier would’ve probably taken Mata’s hand off if he’d offered it to him but that’s Didier. Also scoring a penalty doesn’t exactly prove anything.

    I was as happy as you can be when you beat a Championship side that have a lot of first-teamers out. We’ll see on Saturday what the rest of the season might hold.

    Another excellent edition of the Podding Shed fellas. Wonder what you all think of the idea that managerial stability is overrated by British fans/media. A lack of managerial stability has never held back any of the huge continental sides, some of whom have had equal or greater success than United/Arsenal who always seem to be held up as the ideal. Real Madrid for example go through managers in a similar way to us but they’re historically more successful than United. Frankly I’d take our instability and success over Arsenal’s brand of stability.

    • mark_25

       managerial stability is overrated by British fans/media

      Yes!

      Arsenal – 7 years – one manager – no trophies
      Us – 7 years – 8 managers – EIGHT trophies

      Who’s the laughing stock?

      • Ryan

        I know it seems a bit silly but it does feel like where the press are concerned CFC is a special case. We have had the most successful period in our history and had more success than any other PL club except United in recent years but we are a joke because we’ve sacked a few managers? Are RM’s 9 or 10 European Cups a joke because they’ve had more managers than Alan Hansen (or whoever) thinks ideal? Well it never seems to get mentioned does it?

        If Jose comes back and brings a couple of world-class players things could look very different, very quickly. And he wouldn’t count as a new manager would he? So we’d have still only have had 8 managers!

        • PeteW

          Managerial stability is venerated in this country because of one man, who is in a completely unique situation. And even at United, no manager following Ferguson would be allowed to preside over a decline as sharp as that AVB was conducting. 

          I maintain that Roman has only got one sacking wrong: Ancelotti. His problem is with appointments, not redundancies. Even JM had to go, sadly.

          European clubs may change managers frequently but they do at least have more consistency behind the scenes. We only have Roman and a bunch of clowns, none of whom ever seem to take personal responsibility for anything – classic dysfunctional company directors in other words. 

          I would argue that the best thing we could do is appoint a proper DoF, with real power and clear responsibility, and then rotate the coach as much as we like. Perhaps Roman thinks he has done than Emanalo, whose transfer policy so far does have a certain long-term sense – I have no idea of the quality of some of his signings but the likes of Courtois, Bamford and De Bruyne certainly seem decent.

          But the DoF needs to be seen as the voice of the club. and Emanalo does not do that. He needs to put himself about, spread the word, explain the plan – unfortunately because of Roman’s paranoid sensibility regarding the press and the understandable fear anybody has post-Kenyon of speaking out, we have nobody doing that.

  15. Fiftee

    I have completely given up on Torres now, but this made me chuckle tonight :

    Lionel Messi has equalled Fernando Torres’ record of 5 goals in 49 games for Chelsea in just 85 minutes tonight for Barcelona.

    • Dylbo Baggins

      I’ve not given up on him as such but i jut can’t get my head around why he is still being played. 

      It seems so simple in my head- Send him back to Spain on loan for a year and hope he finds form. While he is gone promote Lukaku. He actually can’t do any worse and may actually do better.

      re: his refusal to take the penalty. That was only ever going to be a lose-lose situation. the poor lad would have had a trickle of sh!t running down his leg whilst waiting to take it.

      • WorkingClassPost

        Like Ryan, I don’t know if he was ever a penalty taker, and he looked absolutely positive about not wanting a charity goal, which must be a good sign that he believes he can still perform.

        I know we bought him to score goals, but the purpose of scoring is to win matches, and he does still have the ability to lay on some superb assists (so too, DD, when he has a mind to).

        Problem for me is when he feels that he has to score, and tries too hard to find a shot, instead of playing someone else in. Of course, that relies on another to convert the chance.

        I remember people complaining that Nico didn’t score enough goals, but as he re-invented himself to become a pivotal part of the double squad, that became irrelevant. 

        When FT finds himself surrounded by defenders, if he can find a good pass to an unmarked colleague, then that should be enough, certainly for the time being. 

        It sounds a bit cheesy, but it really doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we’re winning.

        • PeteW

          I had assumed Torres would become an Anelka Mk II when we signed him, but he isn’t that good. I still cannot believe he hasn’t been seeing a shrink as that is so painfully obviously what he needs. 

          • WorkingClassPost

            I’d be surprised if he hasn’t spoken to a sports psychologist at the very least.

            But it’s as much an issue of perception as anything real.

            When Mata lays on a goal he’s brilliant, when Torres does, it’s seen as some kind of cop-out, that he should be the one scoring, not making goals for others.

            Do we want to lose with Torres (or whoever) scoring the only goal, or win with him making 2 or 3 for others?

          • mark_25

            Torres’s assists are most welcome but it’s not unreasonable to expect him to score once in the last 24 hours of playing time.

            My car’s heated seats are a most welcome extra for my ample buttocks on a cold winter morning but, if the car misfires and doesn’t fulfil its primary function of getting me to Waitrose, I’m unlikely to use it to simply park on my drive warming my arse.

          • PeteW

            I want to see Torres playing well. Against Birmingham in the first half he was hopeless, at times looking like he deliberately was getting caught in possession, his passing was awful and he missed the easiest chance imaginable. He was better second half, but as Mark says, saying he could have had a couple of assists against Birmingham is hardly what you pay £5m for, let alone £50m.

            According to the big recent Financial Times Magazine piece on Torres, he hasn’t seen a psychologist, which I find bewildering.

          • GrocerJack

            What bewilders me about this is that amongst all of the backroom staff there isn’t an occupational shrink employed by the club?

            Have they missed a trick or have I spotted a gap in the market?

  16. limetreebower

    Ah, I must say, it’s nice to have everything clarified for us, especially in these superficially confusing times.

    I didn’t see the Brum game so am even less qualified than usual to comment. At a guess, I’d say that the articles I read about how Robbie did a good job at West Brom and finds it easier to manage the players because he has medals to show them will be replaced — as soon as Chelsea lose a game — by articles about how he got sacked from West Brom and is tainted by his association with the previous regime.

    Between games it’s more like Schrödinger’s Manager. Between games Robbie exists in some kind of quantum wave-space thingy where he’s simultaneously promising/brilliant and underqualified/crap.

    I imagine his conversations with Frank are the same, oscillating (in a mysterious way understood only by Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking, and perhaps our own Pete) between the state where he’s saying the right things and showing the proper deference and getting Frank to accept being dropped occasionally, and the alternative state where Frank is furious with him and the players are in revolt and he’s done everything as badly as you can possibly do it. And none of us will know which of these wave-states corresponds to reality until the result of the next game, after which, of course, everyone will know.

    • GrocerJack

      Yes agreed. My theory that the minute I observe the activities of a player, coach or team the probability wave collapses into a pre-determined state of doom is undermined by the fact obviously I am not the only observer. Unless of course I’m the sole person who really exists in this universe and everyone else exists in a separate or personal universe and what I’m observing as I discuss the world with the Good Lord kaiser is an overlap of the universes, which would mean that each game conains around 42,000 universes each with an infinite possible number of outcomes and that further  combination of infinite outcomes converges to one pre-determined outcome state surrounding Chelsea. 

      That would be either doom or chaos then. 

  17. Blueboydave

    Conspiracy Theory Alert!

    I’m not one to join in with the tin-foil hat-wearing brigade but I’m more than a touch suspicious of the cock-and-bull story on the official website today that Giles Smith’s regular Thursday column can’t appear because he’s “away meeting  an international pop star in USA” and fobbing us off with Omid Djalili instead.

    I thought this interweb thingy was quite good at sending messages across the Atlantic and believe some of our ex-colonial cousins do it regularly on here. To me this smacks of censorship of Giles’s acerbic views by some of our grey men in suits.

    Have any of our twitter-verse users heard such rumours, or would they like to start some anyway 😉

    • Der_Kaiser

      I believe that our intrepid Podding Shed correspondent Mark spied Bruce Buck out on the town the other week at… an Omid Djalili gig no less.

      Dum dum DAAAAAAAAH!

      The plot, contrived as it may be, thickens…

  18. mark_25

    Ok everyone stop moaning.

    TICKET PRICES FROZEN

    http://www.chelseafc.com/page/LatestNews/0,,10268~2640974,00.html

    Unbelievable value.  How do they do it for this price?

    Plus the hidden bonus of Champions League prices have been REDUCED!!.  Presumably the squad is now under strict instructions from Eugene (Chartered Accountant) to make sure we don’t qualify so that particular loss leader isn’t invoked.

  19. WorkingClassPost

    My insider tells me that there’s no conspiracy here, Omid got the job by accident. 

    Apparently, he was crossing Putney Bridge on the way to a gig, and asked for directions to the local ‘Comedy Store’.

  20. Cunningplan

    I see we’re going scientific then….
    The Many Worlds Theory of Infinite Parallel Universes is the most satisfying scientific theory
    to explain the paradoxes inherent in Quantum Reality. Quantum Reality is the most successful
    scientific theory to ever explain the experimental data gathered by over a century
    of physics research. However, the conclusions are mind boggling to scientists
    because they want a nice logical explanation for the universe and quantum
    reality gives them a world of impreciseness and probability with data
    pointing to a single non-local field of energy composed of waveforms.
    This includes making the assumption that objects and observers are not independent but somehow
    linked. It is the act of observing that causes all the paradoxes. To solve all of the
    paradoxes of observers and object being linked somehow, the theory expresses that for every
    quantum event observed, the universe splits into each and every possible observable outcome
    and each universe continues separate, and in parallel, unaware of the other universes. In effect,
    a universe without observers would exist as a superimposed set of possible outcomes, with each outcome
    in a suspended state of unmanifested existence. It is the act of observation that makes possibilities transend
    from probability to reality.

    PS I hope that’s made things clearer to everyone

  21. Ryan

    If I were advising Fernando Torres I would suggest that he stops being so nice. Be selfish. Be a cunt. Take every free-kick and penalty you can get your hands on. Let everyone know how fed up you are when you don’t get the pass you want. Stop trying so hard. Basically do what most strikers spend their whole career doing.

    I’d also advise him that he isn’t as quick over the first few yards as he used to be and needs to adapt accordingly and playing with his back to goal doesn’t suit him. Finally I’d give him a compilation DVD of Javier Hernandez.

    That said I think I would’ve tried to loan him to Barcelona when David Villa got injured. He’d have definitely scored a few goals for them. He’d have had a nice break in Spain. His confidence would’ve been boosted and he’d have been taken out of the glare of the nutty English media. I don’t think that there is the same stigma attatched to being a loanee if you’re going to Barca to fill in for Villa. From our point of view if he had been totally useless there too then we’d at least know that we are wasting our time persevering with him.

  22. imeandmyself07

    I find it bloody irritating when people keep talking about player wages I don’t give 2 s**ts how much you’re paid, if you’re paid to do a job then that is what you must do. Everything else is irrelevant.
    I’m paid £7m a yr
    I must be a Demigod role model
    I must not have female friends
    I must not speak my mind
    I must not swear
    I must always lie to media to save my backside
    I must be a wimp and lick media’s backside
    I must pretend to be happy in the media to save my backside
    You might as well shoot me in the bloody backside!

  23. NorthernVA

    The thing that pisses me off is how people are blaming the much maligned “Old Guard” for the downfall of AVB.  I expect that kind of sniping from the rival supporters, so-called “neutrals,” and the media but I am frustrated when I see that same thinking from our own support. Some of our fellow supporters have accused these players of behavior that if they were in other occupations would be tantamount to treason or mutiny. Completely rubbishing the fact that these players have served as the backbone of the most successful team in our history.

    Let’s accept the ludicrous claim that they were willing to sacrifice the season in order to rid off AVB. How do you explain Ashley Cole’s goal line clearance in Naples which would have put the tie completely out of reach. Surely if he wanted AVB out a 4-1 scoreline is much more likely to see him off than a surmountable 3-1….right? How do you explain the shift he put in last weekend at WBA. Intervening to stop a sure goal by Brunt, nearly setting up an equalizer in the dying minutes and being the best all around performer in the a Chelsea shirt. He may not be having his best season defensively (may have something to do with the system and certain other players not pulling their weight with their own defensive duties) but he still as 7 assists which is third on the team.

    Lampard did so much to undermine AVB that you can actually locate in on top of the goal scoring charts for Chelsea season to date. Strikes me as on odd place to be for someone undermining the manager. Twelve goals and six assists. A real Judas that Lampard has been this year. That is four more goals and two more assist in five less starts mind you than the man who many had slotted as player of the season Ramires. Essien was by far our best midfield player last weekend against WBA. AVB definitely made a tactical mistake in subbing him for Torres. I think JT’s importance can be stated without going into much detail. If you need a reference point go see the game in Naples.

    Also for the French Conspiracy Theorist out there Drogba in16 starts has 7 goals. In six more starts Fernando has 3 less. Also the completely disrespected Malouda has 6 assist in the same number of games started (16) as DD. DD set up two gilded chances last weekend for Danny and Mata in the first half. Who if we are being honest were extremely poor over the weekend. For Danny’s chances he completely overpowered Ridgewell which is no small task and then hits an unbelievable cross field ball to Studge who completely made a mess of it. Let’s not even discuss Studge’s ridiculous attempt to dummy Foster a la Pele and making a complete fool of himself while wasting another opportunity to take the lead. Out of the forwards how Drogba could be given a 1/10 in the match report on this blog is beyond me. Even that prick Tony Gale agreed DD offered more than anyone of our forwards on the day. How vital was his presence on set pieces against a team with the size of WBA? Answer is in my opinion… massive. It’s amazing that two people watching the same game can draw such massively different conclusions. The beauty of football I guess however I simply can’t agree with the claim he was not committed to the cause. Not to mention that he is a striker who still sees the value of getting in the box for the bare minimum effect of creating space for his teammates by pulling defenders. It would be interesting to see strike rate of our forwards corresponding to which CF leads the line.

    AVB failed because of many factors but yes the players are apart of the reason. After all no manager can go out and convert the teams chances for them, make the extra pass in the final third, or clear the lines for defenders. However it has been as much the failings of the newer purchases as it has been the “Old Guard.” In fact the reason that he was forced to turn to these players is really the most damning indictment upon the plan that Roman hatched and he was tasked to execute. Sure you can get rid or marginalize players but you better make sure that the replacements are up to the duty of equaling or bettering those who have proceeded them. Can anyone state that the purchases in the transfer market and promotions from the youth team have set these parameters? A more sensible transfer strategy coupled with a gradual phaseout by a manager who is respected throughout the game of football for his achievements as a player and manager and most importantly respected by the players would have been ideal but where would Roman have found someone who could have managed such an undertaking. Oh…..

    I do love how the media refer to them as the “Old Guard” which has  almost masonic under tone. It really feeds into their narrative of this manichean struggle between the forces of all which is noble played by AVB,  the puritanical, young, well spoken knight in shining armor versus the arrogant, aloof, and power hungry “Old Guard” seeking to defend their eternal flame and continue repress the land with more seasons of their tyrannical rule and boring style of football. Fucking bullshit. As Chuck D said, “Don’t believe the hype.”

    • GrocerJack

      Ah I see. So Tony Gale, a man more anti-Chelsea than Craig Burley says Drogba had a good game so therefore it’s true. Not sure one entails the other. I’ve been to every home game this season and Drogba has had 2 good ones. 

      If you consider the inability to get past even the most journeyman of defenders without giving the ball away, or the inability to pass to a fellow blue, or the constant attempts at trick turns which fail and give up posession, or the free kicks into row Z or the wall (more variety than Frank’s efforts into every wall this season), the ability to flounce and moan when things don’t go right then yes, Drogba has been a sensation this year.

      He’s a busted flush with the odd good game left at this level of club football. I have loved the guy, but come season end, shake his hand, say thanks and move on. 

      Torres is hardly pulling trees up, but he does a lot more work than people credit him for and if he was re-inenting himself like Anelka did then doesn’t that mean we get a replacement Anelka. Is that a bad thing?

      I use the term ‘old guard’ because that’s what they are. I’m not saying get shot of all of them, Ash, terry and Lamps have stuff to offer if less frequently. Drogba is in my eyes, shot. I’ve said it before, just like Terry Henry he’ gone a season too long. As for your defence of the lazy, slow Malouda. Defies belief. I’d rather keep Kalou than Malouda. There I said it.

      • PeteW

        I think Drogba is spent,. but he has been better than Torres.

        If Torres is the new Anelka (which he isn’t), that means we need another new Drogba (which Torres was meant to be).

        What positions do we need in the summer then?

        I think right back, creative midfielder, left wing, forward – that’s quite a big ask given we need players as good if not better than Drogba and Lampard in two of those positions.

        • GrocerJack

          Right back – not convinced we need one if we keep Ivan there, but rather Paolo than Bos as backup. Left AND right wingers required, stop this wing back bullshit, go back to Duff/Robben style, and yes a creative midfielder to compliment/augment  Mata. Striker is always the hardest to fill and no doubt names will be generated, but Llorento (?) last night looked handy. Not up to speed on Striker World sadly.

          On the creative midfielder, I’d wonder about Modric again. I think Spurs may be about to blow up. A combination of injuries, tough games and the Harry for ingerlund momentum that’s building. His head might definitely turn in the summer, depending on who we appoint.

          Interesting to see the hackery on twitter from Martin Lipton who seems to be convinced the players like RDM less than AVB! Not entirely convinced myself, but also wonder whether RA has read the riot act to the squad anyway. 

          As Spock would say with raised eyebrow ‘Fascinating’ 

      • NorthernVA

        “I’d rather keep Kalou than Malouda.”
        Wow!! That is some statement from you sir. I presume you have spent the time since this proclamation washing your mouth out with soap. 😉  On the whole Malouda has been a bit poor but  in fairness he hasn’t the lone resident in Shitsville. He also has had his moments such as the Liverpool game where he beat Glen Johnson at will.  Also I actually thought he was decent in the first leg against Napoli and probably should have stayed on the pitch on the basis of his performance in the second half at least.

        In regards to Drogba I respectfully disagree with your evaluation of what he has left in the tank. However, I do agree that this will be his last season at the Bridge. I still think he is our best option upfront and the stats do bear that out.  However, I would actually like to see Fernando and Didier played up front together. Call me a fool or a glutton for punishment but I think it could work. They at times seem to be the only two with any idea of how to deliver a decent ball in the final third. But more than that I think it just highlights my growing frustration with Studge. That bullshit he tried on Foster last weekend set me off especially with everyone knowing the margin for error is so small these days. At least with those two you would have two forwards working for the team which I can’t say about Studge at the moment. 

        Agreed that Tony Gale is a miserable bastard. I only brought that up because he rarely hands out any plaudits to Chelsea players if possible.  It  was in typical Tony Gale fashion a compliment followed  up with a quickly with a backhand.

        • GrocerJack

          I agree, Kalou isn’t good enough for us in my view, but in terms of attitude and work rate he leaves Malouda in the dust, and perhaps my mate is right when he says Kalou, under the right coach, would be brilliant. it would be intersting to see himj playing under Wenger’s tutelage. Malouda did play OK against Napoli but respectfully that is the only decent shift in my view since Carlo’s double year.

          As for the Drogba/Torres thing. Well I call this Ancelotti’s First law. hew tried it once, it didn’t work and therefore must never be tried again. I disagree with Pete that Torres isn’t the new Anelka because lets face it none of us really spotted the Anelka transformation from striker to holding winger/striker hybrid. I loved Anelka and think he was jettisoned way too quickly, but also rather admired the professional way he acted rather than the somewhat more petulant behaviour of Alex (who i still like). I think it’s to Carlo’s credit that he actually found that Drogba and Anelka could play together but it needed Anelka’s altruism to work, whereby Anelka would frequently feed Drogba and others with great service to the detriment of his own scoring record. I can’t see why this wouldn’t work with DD and Torres. Torres has been one of the best at finding others and although we may not have bought him for that, maybe he’d rather transform into an Anelka type player than end up like so many other strikers who suddenly lose their touch in the knackers yard. See Michael Owen as a test case. 

          So, yes, I’d like RDM to be brave and try them both together because like you I do think it might work a bit better and give Studge the kick up the arse he needs. 

    • PeteW

      The really annoying thing is the way the myth becomes self-perpetuating so somebody like that loudmouth Arsenal goalkeeper reads in the press that it’s all the fault of the Chelsea ‘old guard’, tells the press it is all the fault of the Chelsea ‘old guard’, who then report that the Arsenal goalkeeper thinks it’s all the fault of the Chelsea ‘old guard’…. and on and on. Hivemind in excelsis.

      • NorthernVA

        The funniest thing about the whole ordeal is that Avram was really one of the few sane voices in the media. Avram pointed out to whoever would listen that the results under AVB were simply not good enough. Also, I am paraphrasing here, the quality of football being served up was a bit rubbish.

        Avram also took on the notion that this job was somehow a poisoned chalice. He made note of the first class facilities constructed under Roman as well as the fact that in Roman you have an owner who is willing to back the manager in the transfer market. I would say Avram is more qualified than any to comment on this topic. Here is a man who in a span of two years experienced the highest of the high for a European manager advancing to a CL final to the lowest of the low relegation (in successive seasons!). 

        The way some tell it you would assume that AVB was operating on a Bill Kenwright budget. Don’t you think Steve Keane would have jumped at the offer of switching jobs with AVB and have a few swigs of the poisoned chalice. The fact that we are 3 points behind Arsenal at the moment is shocking. They sold their top two midfielders over the summer. They at times have started a player we sent on loan who the club deemed surplus to requirements. That ought to tell everyone where the club had set the expectations for the season. I highly doubt they signed up for a battle for the 4th and final CL spot alongside Arsenal.

    • Blueboydave

       ” ..the media refer to them as the “Old Guard” which has an almost masonic undertone”

      Tinfoil hat-wearing time again!

      Even as I was reading that comment James O’Brien, the arsehole radio presenter who Lamps wiped the floor with a couple of years ago, was urging listeners to call in with their conspiracy theories about freemasons.

      Clearly, I am in a multiverse where Lamps & Co. are Freemasons dedicated to destroying AVB.

      The rest of you may be somewhere else entirely of course 😉

      What do you think, Cunningplan?

      • NorthernVA

        Were the really talking about freemasons on the radio as you were reading the post? That’s pretty trippy….

  24. Johann Lo

    Good article here, makes sense.

    Credentials/rep to keep players in line: check. Working with mercurial megabucks owner: check. Managerial ability: sort of proven (out thinking poor claudio in a champs league semi? ROFL). Chelsea old boy: bonus. http://blogs.thescore.com/footyblog/2012/03/08/lyttleton-why-didier-deschamps-would-make-a-marvelous-chelsea-manager/ 

  25. Agh57

    Admittedly picking our best striker at the moment is something akin to choosing your favourite Nazi, but I’m with Tony on this. Drogba has been pretty dreadful (the odd game apart) and if anything has looked more ineffectual than Torres since his return from the African Nations. At least Torres makes the odd thing happen and sets up a few others.

    Drogba has never made the most of his time at Chelsa. The whole system since Jose’s time has been set up to get the most out of him. That in turn depends on whether he’s having one of those games whether he’s up for it or not.  If he’s not then the system has suffered, especially since Jose departed.

    Yes, he’s been imperious on occasions, but not as often as he should have been in my book.

  26. Cunningplan

    I like to think I live in a Dyson’s Sphere ( hypothetical structure built around a star) could that star be Frank? 😉

  27. SweetDairyAir

    I don’t get people constantly defending the ‘old guard’. Statistically Drogba and Lampard may look ok, but statistically we’re also fifth. Instead of using pure numbers, you can see with your own eyes that Drogba hardly ever performs anymore, as others have mentioned. Lampard is so slow, both in terms of pace and with his feet, he can hardly ever get past a player anymore. If you watch him, he loses the ball at his feet an awful lot when under the slightest bit of pressure. And due to his position arriving late in the box, it pushes more effective players like Mata out wide. Malouda just doesn’t appear to try anymore, and even if he is, it’s not working. Ashley Cole, be it through age or just having played too much over the years, isn’t anywhere near his best. Bilbao showed us last night how to play football. The old guard don’t have enough pace, technique or the will apparently to do that anymore.

    AVB himself said that after the QPR loss players’ heads dropped and we reverted back to our old style of dropping deep, playing 433, and doing what was safe. That wasn’t due to bad man management from the manager. Things had been going pretty well up till then. He said it was due to our experienced players losing their confidence. If they’re so fragile after one loss, why are we defending them after an extended period of bad form?! If AVB explaining to Lampard et al why they’ve sometimes been dropped instead of acting the way he did (which Anelka seemingly didn’t have a problem with), would have led to the end of the slump, then fine, but whoever seriously thinks that a little conversation with some of these players would have turned them into the players of 3-4 years ago is deluding themselves.

    Nobody is saying that Ashley Cole, Lampard, Drogba, Malouda and the rest of them are being bad on purpose. They just appear to be so touchy that if they aren’t treated like they want to be, or things aren’t all rosy, that after some bad results they lose all confidence and motivation to play well. Of course Ashley Cole is going to clear the ball off the line. He’s not going to pull a Bruce Grobbelaar is he?! What a stupid argument. They’ll try their hardest, but their hardest isn’t as good as it could be. Be it through bad man management from AVB (which I think is a petty argument to make, but if that’s the case then fine), or what I believe is more likely, which is that in times of difficulty the players went back to the style and system under Jose when they were last truly world beaters (which is essentially the system Carlo played most of the time, except tweaked and expanded upon), the team aren’t performing to the level people expect.

    However people need to remember that even with Ancelotti we were schooled in Europe. We may have won the double, but I think deep down these players knew that they weren’t going to reach the levels from Mourinho’s era ever again, where reaching at least the semis of the Champions’ League was a reasonable expectation. There were signs last year that things were falling apart, but all it needed was a clear sign that things were going properly tits up and the players’ confidence would disappear. I’m just surprised that the push they needed was one result away to QPR. Sure AVB’s attitude to some players may not have helped, but as I said earlier who seriously thinks that they would have become great players again if treated differently?!

    Whether people think it is AVB’s fault for their decline, or a combination of old age, and losing motivation and confidence when the players themselves can see that they probably won’t win the massive prizes anymore, the ‘old guard’ are either losing it or have lost it entirely. It’s not coming back. Call it a perfect storm of them not getting on with AVB, not buying enough replacements in time, losing their legs (and thus their confidence in their own ability) and other teams getting better, but defending the ‘old guard’ is pointless, and this team is in trouble. The older players need to either play less, and if they don’t like that, need to be moved on. If they kick up a fuss at the smallest of slights, then why even keep them as a Giggs figure? These players aren’t our route out of this mess. Their personalities don’t appear to be as strong as they should be. They may help us scrape 4th place, but that’s as far as I’d take it. If we want to become one of the big teams in Europe again, they aren’t our saviours.

    These players, whether it’s their fault or not, got us into this mess, and they’re not the ones to make us great again.

    • GrocerJack

      Hooray, someone else gets it! Well said sir. I concur with every word. I also find it a bit hard that people think because they’ve been great in the past that they can somehow be the players they were 2 years ago, let alone 5 years ago. And that isn’t disrespect, or being a ‘plastic’ – it’s about recognising what we see with our own eyes. Drogba scored against Bolton and had a shot skim mthe bar, but outside of that he did very little and his ability to keep possession was abysmal. Unlike versus Citeh where he was imperious. 

      I think we have to accept that some have a contribution to make on a declining appearance basis. There’s no shame in that for them. And I’ll say it again, we’ll get more from Frank and JT if they fuck England off right now. But even Frank can’t complain much. played versus Bolton, had a blinder. Played versus WBA and had a stinker. He’s back to full match fitness so what’s the reason. Simple, he’s been sussed by other teams and the injuries have put chinks in the armour. So….we should use him less. I think we’ll see exactly that. I think we’ll see a Frank and JT more willing to do bench time and play when required for the good of the club, again like Scholes and Giggs.

      What would make my heart sink more than anything is a new ‘experienced’ coach coming in and publicly stating that we don’t need any change, and that the current squad are more than good enough. because that would tell me he’s been blinded by fame, or is another Sven/Fabio who picks on reputation rather than form. And we know that what we have is not good enough.

    • NorthernVA


      Nobody is saying that Ashley Cole, Lampard, Drogba, Malouda and the rest of them are being bad on purpose. ”  

      You would be surprised. There are many out their making that precise argument.”Of course Ashley Cole is going to clear the ball off the line. He’s not going to pull a Bruce Grobbelaar is he?! What a stupid argument.” Well that is obvious to any rational supporter. However that was not meant for the rational supporters. It was for those who believe that the likes of Lampard and Cole are capable of intentionally putting in sub-par performances in order to get AVB the sack. Believe me they are out there,”AVB himself said that after the QPR loss players’ heads dropped and we reverted back to our old style of dropping deep, playing 433, and doing what was safe.”I think AVB was probably engaged in a case selective memory. The QPR game wasn’t the turning point. The turning point was the game six days afterwards at Stamford Bridge against the worst Arsenal side in recent memory.  We came prepared with AVB’s high line and split CBs. Wenger and his lot absolutely dismantled us. I’m sure the players lost confidence that day unfortunately for AVB they lost confidence in his tactics. More importantly it seemed AVB had some doubts about his approach.PS- I really enjoyed the last statement on your post. You hit a homerun with that line. Very profound.

      • SweetDairyAir

         In that lengthy Portuguese interview he gave that was the game he said was pivotal. Maybe he meant that was the clear start of the decline, and Arsenal really finished them off, but I think his point still stands.

        The high line didn’t work so he reverted back to the ways we used to play, whether it was to accommodate the players or he just thought it was safer himself I don’t know, but that didn’t really lead to us picking up our form either. They may have lost their faith in his tactics, but even when he went back to a very similar style to Carlo and Jose, things still didn’t work out. In a roundabout way I’m just saying I don’t think they can cope with the high pressure anymore.

        Moreover as our defence seemed to leak fewer goals, we suddenly decided we couldn’t finish any chances anymore. We created quite a few chances per game (most of the time at least), yet still they couldn’t just stick the ball in the net.

        People say the experienced players will be a good guiding influence for the younger ones, but when even the experienced professionals bottle it under pressure, we might as well buy younger players and stick them in. Who needs Drogba’s years of experience in the game when he can hardly even dribble a ball or score himself anymore?! Why should Josh McEachran look at Lampard for guidance when he can’t even keep the ball under pressure anymore?! Do you think an up-and-comer in the youth team should look to Malouda when in times of difficulty he and others totally hid and didn’t perform to their usual standards?!

        I’m just tired of it now basically. For years fans (and probably managers) have been essentially wanting to either get rid of the old guard, or at least rely on them less. However the higher-ups at the club never seem to pull through. The experienced players put together a few good performances, win the double for example (although at one point we had a massive lead and somehow managed to throw it away, only just about stumbling over the line as champions), and get offered juicy new contract extensions. It’s tiring. Do what Jose did as his first act at Real Madrid. He got rid of Guti and Raul. THAT Raul! He is more of a legend at Madrid than Lampard and Drogba at Chelsea combined. And look where they are now. Their squad is incredibly youthful, full of pace and technique, and they’re ahead of Barcelona. Why can’t we pick up players like Ozil for peanuts?!

        I watched Revista de la Liga this week and we were unsurprisingly one of the big talking points. On a brighter note, they talked about how our youth system is one of the best in Europe apparently. We aren’t necessarily copying Barcelona, but we have absorbed some of their ideas by playing a consistent style of football all the way through the youth levels, with the same tactics, and concentrating on technique, pace and decision-making all the way up as opposed to just sheer strength (*cough Andy Carroll *cough*). Of course we are a few years behind Barcelona but the system is in place and doing well. We courted the Barcelona man who headed up their setup, and he was close to signing on with us. We are apparently going back again to try and get him to be our director of football. Essentially things are going well at the youth level. Why isn’t the same foresight being used for the first team? One of the big reasons Guardiola is wary of coming to us is that the connection between the youth system and first team isn’t there yet, and our first team isn’t good enough to tide us over until it is.

        If Abramovich really wants a coach like Guardiola, or at least a team to beat the likes of Barcelona, he and the board should invest heavily in the first team. Coaches who they are after have said the same things. AVB said the same thing. Yet in Carlo’s second season, and AVB’s first, they didn’t take advantage of those two summer transfer windows effectively enough, only tinkering at the edges of the problem. The first team needs real rejuvenation, and if our youth setup keeps improving at the same rate, in a few years they’ll be able to fix similar problems in the first team without us having to go through what we’re going through now. But to fix today’s problems requires real investment. Let’s just hope that he and the board pull through for us.

        • WorkingClassPost

           “If Abramovich really wants a coach like Guardiola, or at least a team to beat the likes of Barcelona”

          This is probably the most important distinction that people need to make, because they are not necessarily one and the same thing.

          A coach like Guardiola, i.e., one playing like Barca, is unlikely to beat them, because the original is almost always best and will usually have first pick of the ‘right’ sort of players for that style.

          Plus, there is already a team of Barcawannabes in North London, do we really need another in SW?

          • SweetDairyAir

             I’m just guessing really, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Roman wanted Guardiola, thinking that he’d implement their style on us. And I agree with you that even if we did get him (which I don’t think we will) it would be an inferior version. Nobody else has Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas…… and the list goes on.

            Therefore he’ll get someone else and their job will be to win, get rid of the old players, and play attractive football. And that’s where I think our route to success is. Instead of copying Barcelona, you should learn things from them (like Real Madrid did, playing with more 1-touch football, more intricate play), and mix it with more pace and Premiership style football (again like Madrid, with Ronaldo running directly at opponents, and playing with more power generally than Barcelona).

            Our youth setup seems to have learnt from this, playing a more ‘European’ style. Let’s just hope it translates to the first team quite quickly.

  28. Blueboydave

    Meanwhile, many thanks to Dannybrod for recommending seeking out the documentary, “QPR: The Four Year Plan”, while it’s still available on the BBC i-player [until early Monday morning GMT].

    I watched and laughed till I wept last night.

    I’d forgotten just how far they outstripped us in the managerial merry-go-round when the Formula 1 nutters took over the asylum – 5 in the first 2 and a half years till Warnock came in.

    Not sure what stunned me most.

    Possibly, the rampant egomania of Flavio Briatore, clearly convinced he knew more about football than the string of “idiots” they kept appointing as managers and entitled to send messages down to the dugout during games ordering the current manager to make the substitutions he wanted.

    Or perhaps the entire bunch’s delusion that it was a good idea to finance a film crew recording the whole debacle for posterity and giving them editorial control of the final documentary, presumably thinking they were bound to emerge looking good somehow.

    My sympathies for all our managers has leapt considerably if they’ve had to put up with a fraction of the kind of stuff shown here from Roman’s suits – though I’ll still exclude Uncle Avram, who remains a conniving bullshitter who deserves every bit of ignominy heaped on him as far as I’m concerned 😉

    • Der_Kaiser

      Did catch a little of the QPR thing – if Briatore wasn’t richer than Croesus, he’d surely have been sectioned by now.  24 carat batshit howl-at-the-moon insane.

    • Cunningplan

      Lets not forget his F1 ban for race fixing, when he got one of his drivers Nelson Piquet Jnr. to deliberately crash in a race in Singapore 2008, thus triggering the safety car release and allowing Fernando Alonso a win.
      Yes the man is a total idiot, and he shouldn’t be allowed near any sport.

  29. Cunningplan

    I will add a small caveat to my last comment, I certainly don’t think it would do any harm if Flavio owned Liverpool FC. 😉

  30. limetreebower

    For what it’s worth (and you’ll need to get out the electron microscopes to discern a quantity that small), I find myself nodding in broad agreement with SDA and Tony regarding The Old Guard question.

    One of the statistics particularly irritates me: this thing about how many goals/game-winning goals Frank has scored.

    Frank’s an astonishing player, probably in the top three in my time watching Chelsea (Franco and Maka being the other two), and has indeed turned some games around single-footedly — I’m thinking of when he scored two goals in the last five minutes to turn a home defeat to Stoke into a win; I’m sure there are lots of others — but *please* don’t quote the numbers.

    Because he takes the penalties. It does make a difference. To say he “scored the game-winning goal” in our home win against Citeh (really our only outstanding result this season) is, frankly (see what I did there), sophistry.

    Anyway, however you read what “actually happened,” I can’t see that there’s any doubt that AVB’s failure or defeat (depending on your perspective) has delayed the rejuvenation of Chelsea by at least another six months, and probably twelve or eighteen, given that the new manager will come in and have to have go through the same business with replacing Frank/JT/Cashley, and will lose a few games because we’re just not as good as we were when those players (and others) were at their best, and will get fired.

    I still maintain our best bet is to have a really crap two months from here on in, crap enough that the nuclear option becomes the only viable one.

  31. Fiftee

    Brave and bold selection by RDM today. No Essien, Mata or Sturridge.

    Mikel AND Mereiles in midfield. You blog regulars packed a quilt and slippers? Sounds snooze-inducing to me…

    • SweetDairyAir

       I saw the team and was slightly confused at first. Maybe RDM is trying to nullify the height and strength of their players by resting Mata, Sturridge (who doesn’t track back often enough) and Luiz, and playing Mikel and the harder working Kalou instead. That’s all I can think of anyway.

      • Fiftee

        Agreed about resting Mata. As is my wont, I completely overlooked the fact we play Napoli this week so that makes more sense. Though Mata appeared pretty early. Was that injury related or tactical?

        Two games, two wins, two clean sheets.

        RDM the next Special One? (yes, I’m joking). Oh, and cheers Sunderland. 4 points to Spurs. Maybe a top 4 finish isn’t THAT unrealistic….

          • Fiftee

            I whole-heartedly apologise for my unacceptable behaviour.

            We’re shit, Kalou should be sold, RDM is clueless, JT and Lamps are broken, Torres is a waste of time. I’m giving up on Chelsea now. What a load of rubbish.

            That better?

        • SweetDairyAir

           I didn’t want to say this, but I’ve secretly thought this for a while. I don’t think Tottenham will make the top 4. We and Arsenal have the experience of consistently making the Champions’ League places. This is hopefully where the older players will carry us through. This is the least we can expect from them to be honest. And also we play Tottenham at home soon so we can close the gap even further. I think the rumours about Harry for England aren’t helping their cause, and also I’d just laugh if they didn’t make it because I hate Harry and Tottenham quite a lot.

          Come on Everton. Do us a favour today.

          P.S. Wow we struggled against a 10-man Stoke today didn’t we. Stoke offered hardly anything and we still found it hard going there.

  32. limetreebower

    Morale looks fine. Organisation looks fine. Players seem to know what they’re doing. Selection worked.

    We’re just not very good.

    Manager out!

  33. GrocerJack

    Just waiting to hear if Nick needs a report or whether he’ll use the tweets method again. Good to meet Blue Bayou and Mark25 today although the packed pub made it hard to have a lengthy chat. Now we all know what each other looks like! 

    Faces for radio springs to mind 🙂

    Anyway, good result, slightly journeyman performance today. Disgraceful stamp by Fuller, suspect he may find the automatic 3 game ban extended for that. Cahill was brilliant today and boy can he shoot, but then JT put an effort in that almost matched Cahill. Ivan hit the bar, Begovic made a great save from Drogba.and Mata’s free kick at the end was Zola-esque. I think it hit the post but not sure if Begovic pushed it there. After the goal, which I’ve yet to see again (ESPN Goals here I come) we then sat back and made 10 men look like 12. Upside, Stoke still didn’t create any real chances despite us almost sitting back on the touchline at times, but downside was our alarming inability to push on against 10 men.

    I doubt Napoli will be overly worried. 

    And FFS, why don’t we keep a player or 2 in the centre circle when the opposition have a corner or free kick? We pack the defence with every player leaving us no out ball, and allowing everyone to get in each others way. It’s not like Stoke had a spare man either. Anyway, I’ll save it for the report if required. 

    • GrocerJack

      Seems the fine Doctor Blue Bayou is on point for this weeks report. 

      So that’s helping reduce my typing RSI injuries before I aggravate my golfing RSI problems tomorrow. 

    • NorthernVA

      Agreed on Cahill. Bailed the skipper out twice. Also Mikel was solid today. Good to see him take the initiative with some driving runs. It was nice to see him get in tune with his God given attacking instincts  which the club have criminally attempted to beat out of him. I think we have missed his presence in the holding role this season.

      I am currently watching the Roma game. Former Chelsea youth Fabio Borini has once again found the back of the net. That will be two more pins in the Buck/Gourlay voo doo doll this evening!

  34. Austin Solari

    Results going our way this evening make the next fortnight our ‘defining moment in the season’ time.
    Napoli, followed by Leicester, Citeh and Spuds will be the make or break of our season. Four wins with no goals against will do nicely


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