Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Chelsea – Nothing to Declare

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Do you ever have that feeling of guilt even though you know you’ve done nothing wrong?

You know the sort of thing. You’re walking through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ channel at the airport and, even though you’ve got nothing incriminating in your suitcase aside from dirty underwear, a Sooty hand puppet and a copy of Jimmy, the autobiography of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, you can’t help looking furtive and making yourself a prime candidate for ‘Step this way, sir’. A guilty conscience is ingrained in our psyche I guess.

So even though I lay claim to not having a racist bone in my body and have for years lived and worked in harmony with a variety of creeds and cultures, I couldn’t help but feel on edge that today, of all days, I would suffer some mental aberration or seizure that would make me involuntarily utter some hideous racist outburst in the presence of police head-cams, TV cameras and thousands of fans who have been encouraged to spill the beans on their fellow man. Fortunately the day passed without incident and I remain a free man and in possession of my season ticket.

My last visit to Loftus Road was in 1970 when we won 4-2 on the route to Wembley. I was fortunate enough to go to every tie of that success, excluding the replays. Extrapolating forward my next visit to QPR is scheduled for 2054 and I’m hoping by then that a) the ground has been demolished because it was a dump 42 years ago and it’s got worse since and b) I’ve received a long service medal.

The first half

The pre kick-off handshake was abandoned under instructions from the FA. How pathetically lily-livered and feeble is that? Tell the players to grow up and act like men and get on with it.

On Chelsea TV they reported that during the Majorca trip the players and management discussed the strengths and weaknesses of our recent attacking play and on the following night our defensive play, with a view to doing more of the good bits and ironing out the bad bits. Based on the first half it’s hard to fathom what could have been discussed. Our tempo was pathetically slow. We must hold the record for the maximum number of passes to get to the half way line. I’m guessing that in Majorca the players practised walking from the pool to the bar to fetch another sangria and decided that this should set the template for the pace of the game. Our creativity was zero and following on from Norwich we never looked likely to shoot, let alone score.

The second half

We upped the tempo to play at the speed the players walked from the pool to the restaurant when feeling hungry. Hopefully on the next jolly in the sun we’ll be able to shift the tempo up a gear to the speed of the Germans getting to the pool to lay out their towels.

Unlike the meeting in the league earlier in the season QPR were surprisingly subdued. In the league game QPR started quick and were in our faces. This time around they sat back and seemed to be determined for a replay, highlighted by their keeper Kenny scolding one of the ball boys for getting the ball back into play too quickly.

But exactly like the league meeting we had to play this game with nine men. That’s because Sturridge and Malouda were pathetic passengers.

Last season and the beginning of this season I’d concluded Sturridge was useless and never going to make the top grade. A couple of performances, including Newcastle away, made me start to doubt my opinion but today, and Norwich last week, have made my mind up. He’s disinterested, showboats, doesn’t put in the effort and always looks at the defender rather than the ball when it’s coming towards him. This is presumably to either avoid injury or know when to fall over when in the vicinity of a defender and earn a dubious penalty. To cap it all he then tried to take the ball off Mata to take the spot kick, presumably arguing that since he’d fallen over that “earned” him the right to take the spot kick. Sturridge needs to either grow up or get out. He should be more embarrassed than Sir Philip Hampton to take his wages this week.

Mata tucked the penalty away very nicely to make it 1-0.

As for Malouda has there ever been a winger that moves so slowly, can’t beat a man and wants to pass back instead of forward. The sooner he gets moved out the better but he’s more likely to join Bosingwa and get his contract extended.

After 70 minutes Ramires got injured and created seven minutes of injury time. I hope he’s OK because he’s the only one with speed, energy and enthusiasm (JT only has the last two attributes).

The summary

This was a shocking performance. Thankfully it could never be the most shocking performance of the day because the England cricket 11 had earned that crown just a few minutes into the first half. However paradoxically we always looked comfortable and in control, which is testament to how poor QPR were, and their hooped shirts and baggy shorts only enhanced the effect of them looking like a Sunday pub team.

We were dire but still managed to win 1-0 with a penalty that wasn’t. Our fans started the usual chant of “Que sera, sera whatever will be, will be, we’re going to Wembley, que sera, sera”. Based on this performance it looks unlikely, although the other remaining teams look distinctly average.

The press reports

The Sunday Telegraph, Jason Burt: “The Football Association cancelled the pre-match handshakes because of the maelstrom surrounding Anton Ferdinand and John Terry and, unfortunately, somewhere along the way the football appeared to have been cancelled also.”

The Observer, Jamie Jackson: “After the phantom handshake, this FA Cup tie barely lit up and had only one potential powder-keg moment, which was happily a good old-fashioned football incident: the disputed Juan Mata penalty that won the game.”

The Independent on Sunday, Glenn Moore: “There was no handshake, and precious little football either, at Loftus Road yesterday as a promising FA Cup tie was suffocated by the controversy surrounding it. So determined were both teams to avoid further inflaming the tension provoked by John Terry’s alleged use of racist language towards Anton Ferdinand in their last meeting that QPR even accepted with only moderate anger the highly dubious penalty award which settled the match in Chelsea’s favour.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A Juan Mata penalty an hour into the game settled Saturday lunchtime’s fourth round FA Cup tie. It was an unremarkable derby but unlike the league defeat here in October, the Chelsea team maintained our discipline in defence and in the tackle to limit the home side’s threat.”

The goal

61′ Mata (pen) 0-1




There are 70 comments

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  1. Superhoop

    Our ground a dump and QPR look like a pub team??? Not very complimentary Mr Chelsea !!!
      Dont forget Stamford Bridge was not so long ago a DUMP to until ur dodgy Russian bloke came along!!

    • Anonymous

      Stamford Bridge facilities were constructed prior to the arrival of Roman.

      Loftus Road is a eump and I’m surprised it has a Safety Certificate.

      • Superhoop

        Yes i know that, just a minor little detail but you needed Roman to finish it off, nothing wrong with Loftus anyway, a proper footy ground, trouble is half of Chelsea fans are prawn sandwich brigade, you never got anywhere near 40,000 in the Kerry Dixon/ Speedy/Spackman days, bet you cant even remember the old Bridge !!!

        • Expat N. London Blue

          As a lifelong CFC fan I never really had anything against QPR and in fact was pleased when you were promoted to the EPL (another derby n’ all that). However your vile behavior this season now has me firmly rooting for your relegation (which with Blackburn’s recent revival is looking nailed on). Back to the Championship (or whatever they are calling it these days) for QPR, your little 15,000 seat “stadium”, and your (not so dodgy?) foreign owner. That frees up an EPL for the 30 or so other clubs with better PL credentials. QP Ha HA…..

          • Superhoop

            18,072 seat stadium to be precise !! Anyway i myself have nothing against Chelsea to this day, my bro is a Chelsea fan and have had great times goin to the games, banter and rivalry is ok as long as the line isnt crossed, most fans of both clubs are ok.

          • The Long Ranger

            Qpha! You do know that any qpr fan under 40 years old has no idea where that comes from. A bit like the prawn sandwich eating brigade that refer to qpr’s antics as “vile behavior” as they don’t remember anything pre-russian and don’t recall our previous games! Whilst on the subject of vile behavior, you should look towards your captain. Bless him, not the sharpest tool either is he? Hope his defence of “Ferdinand asked me if i called him it” has evolved by Feb 1st or he’s going to put you in a bit of a dilemma! A bit like walking through customs knowing your mates got more fans in his case than he should have. Guilt by association!

            As for the game, a similar affair to October. Two distinctly average teams cancelling out every weak attacking move without any bother for the opposing keeper. Again decided by an equally shocking dive in the penalty area.

            As for the article. A good balanced read and i look forward to welcoming you back to the loft in 2054!

          • Expat N. London Blue

            Actually “lone ranger” More a Blues fan who goes back to John Neal’s Div 2 side of 1983 than any praen sandwiches. Enough credentials for you?

            Ps. Do you call yourself the “lone ranger” because no-one has actually ever met a QP ha fan under the age of 40.

  2. Fat Nakago

    I can’t disagree with anything you said. This was a horrible performance by our lads. They should have won 7-0 at least. And if they continue on this path, the path will not continue on for long.

    They have until Tuesday to put the donkeys to pasture and bring in fresh thoroughbreds.

    Until then all the old questions remain the same….Why? When? If? and WTF?

    The same song plays on the little transistor radio: “Torres and Mata can’t do it alone….”

    Luiz and Ivan looked pretty spiffy, (except for a few of those throw-ins) but the buck stopped there, I’m afraid.

    ***insert dismay over Malouda starting in place of Essien here***  

    I do, however have a picture, a vivid mental image image if you will, of what the lads were doing in Mallorca as they tried to integrate Gary Cahill into the team: http://www.themagicworld.org/bloog/?p=3726

    From the evidence of today, they could just as well stayed home and gone bowling. Or if they HAD to get of town for a bit, they could have just as easily flown over to MY hometown, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. We’ve got a nice enough bowling alley here too. The lads could have gone skiing, snowmobiling, and after a trip the The Grumpy Troll brewpub, they could have tromped over to Grundahl Park, flopped in the snow and made snow-angels together. Male-Bonding at it’s finest!

    I suppose we shouldn’t be too distraught about a 0-1 win, but this is Chelsea, dammit. Not some tedious lower mid-table squad. We’ve gotta do better this.

  3. Anonymous

    I’ve actually seen the Loftus Road Safety Certificate, funnily enough.

    It says, in full:

    “Looks pukka to me.

    Signed,

    H. Redknapp

    ‘Ealth ‘n Safety Officer”

  4. Anonymous

    Cahill certainly must be happy he signed. That’s 180 minutes of playing football he’s missed so far. He’s now getting paid copious amounts more to NOT get on the pitch than before.

    Was hugely dismal from the various sources I paid varying degrees of attention to. We seem to be getting less creative with every match. Which is pretty impressive. Strangely, it’s get to be the weakest FA Cup line up for a while. If Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool can all get knocked out in the next round and we scrape a one-nil with a 90th minute shimmer from Lukaku against Crawley, we might have a chance.

    But, fuck me, are we ordinary or what?

    AVB is very clearly not bothered about De Bruyne but someone at Chelsea is, hence the noise about recognising him as part of future projects. But why even consider loaning him back to Genk this month? Kepp him and play him. His pacy, possibly tricky wing play is exactly what we need. Sadly, it’s far from the only thing we need…

  5. Expat N. London Blue

    Second occasion in a week I had to get up @ 6am to catch the kick-off (currently living in CST). And like Norwich wished I hadn’t. Enthusiasm for this season has been completely drained and with this transfer window seemingly written off by AVB comments, I can only hope that the dead wood and dross is FINALLY cleared out in the Summer. Also now hoping AVB isn’t still @ SB to do it because his evolution is looking more like regression with every  passing game.

  6. Marco

    Not quite as pessimistic as you, Mark, about the performance because it seemed to me that we have played with a lot more cohesion recently rather than like 11 players who have just been introduced to each other. 

    Watching the match with ever growing tedium I developed the suspicion that I might have watched for another 6 hours and we were never going to score from open play. It didn’t help that the pub team from Shepherd’s Bush parked the bus – at home – in the FA Cup!! in front of their 11,000 fans that bothered to turn up – but we really should really have created more chances than we did. And Villas-Boas claims to have an attacking philosophy!

    We urgently need two more wide-players of the Arjen Robben stamp, with Mata playing behind Torres (or his replacement) to create some goals. I am rapidly going right off Sturridge and his Row Z shooting. The only thing he achieved yesterday was his dive for the penalty.

    • Superhoop

      12,780 QPR fans there my friend which isnt bad considering the silly KO time of midday which incidently accounted for my absence due to work, the rip-off £40 for a ticket and the bad feeling going on between the clubs. Wait until we get our new ground and for Hughes to bring in quality signings then we,ll be a force at PL level, as for Loftus Rd Stadium itself, enjoy it while its still here, a fantastic little ground of the past which only prawn sandwich glory hunting fans would dislike !!!!

      • Marco

        Don’t mind Loftus Road – and I have eaten quite a few prawn sandwichs at plenty of other League One grounds of that type in my time.

        It’s just some of the deluded oiks who go there that I have a problem with – I mean the ones carrying a plank of wood on their shoulders. 

        Good luck with the plan about attracting a few more glory-hunters to your new stadium.

      • Mike171

        12pm KO and 40 quid is your best excuse for less than 13,000 fans turning up for a London derby in the FA Cup. Pathetic. Really. Hope your new stadium includes “supporters”.

  7. Richard McGibbons

    Now now, let’s not be so hasty to write off Sturridge. He has good and bad games, like everyone, and really, is he any less infuriating than the Drog can be sometimes? He’s a wee lad, so we should cut him some slack. He’s been one of our better performers this year, and to say his recent under performances are indicative of his own worthlessness is a little bit hasty.

    I’m more concerned about Villas Boas’ recent dropping of Romeu to the bench. He’s a peach of a player, and surely worlds ahead of Malouda in terms of his performances so far this season.

    • Marco

      Think the consensus has always been that his final touch/decision in the box was poor but we forgave that while he was scoring goals (even though he generally needed seven chances to get one). Now that he is neither scoring nor creating chances for anyone else his place looks up for grabs to me.

  8. Richard McGibbons

    Actually, until that Newcastle game, he was very economical, regarding shots-to-goals. But that’s somewhat irrelevant. I reckon that his place may be up for grabs, but the only ones waiting in the wings to do said grabbing are Malouda and Kalou, for the time being. Oh, Joy.

  9. Ryan

    Ok there isn’t much to say about the tedium that was yesterday’s cup tie. We were even robbed of the opportunity for drama that a non-handshake might have brought. On that subject I would like to say that if I had been in the Chelsea side and the whole of the QPR team had refused to shake JTs hand I would have simply turned away from them and gone to take up my position without bothering with the usual bollocks.

    Anyway leaving all that behind. Does anyone think that we will fill the squad place vacated by Anelka in the next 48 hours? It seems a little odd not to. Could somebody please explain two things to me and apologies if I m being dense here.

    Firstly. Why is AVB constantly going on about not signing players that aren’t eligible for the CL? I thought this was just a bargaining tool but the closer we get to Tuesday the more convinced I am that he means what he says. Does it make any sense though? Even if we reach the final of the CL (yeah, yeah I know but stay with me) that’s only eight matches that any new arrival would miss. We still have 15 league games to play and at least one more FA cup tie. So why the big fuss about CL. We’re more likely to get knocked out by Napoli than win the bugger anyway. I can’t see Willian or Hazard or anyone (unless they’re contract is practically up) being any cheaper in the summer anyway. What would be the advantage of waiting? AVB seemed to be suggesting we would benefit in some way by taking a chance and holding out until June. I’m just not sure how. Would be glad if someone could enlighten me.

    Secondly. Why exactly is it made so difficult for a footballer to get a work permit? Let’s take Willian as an example. Because he is Brazilian he has had a limited number of International caps. For some reason this arbitrary measure is used to assess suitability for a work permit. If the lad happened to be from Ecuador, for example, he would’ve been capped in every international they’ve played since he was eighteen and he wouldn’t have a problem. Ridiculous. He is punished for being from an international footballing powerhouse that has a huge talent base. Don’t get me wrong I understand that to be eligible for a work permit one must prove that you’re fulfilling a role that couldn’t be taken by a native but if England was overcrowded with players that were good enough to win even one Brazilian cap I think the clubs in Britain would’ve noticed. If a business is willing to pay £20+million for your services one can logically assume that you’re highly skilled in your profession. Lastly a footballer is hardly a candidate for a “keep em out” mentality. A player like Willian could pay (guestimate) £1million a year in tax. There just doesn’t seem to be any part of the regulation that makes sense. Again feel free to enlighten me if you have a better understanding and there are some decent reasons why these issues are so difficult to overcome.

    Hope reading that wasn’t as dull as yesterday’s game. If it was then I m sorry. You’ll either have to sell me in the next couple of days or suffer until June then shift me to some other unfortunate blog. Just consider yourselves lucky you aren’t paying me £90,000 a week to bore you to tears.

  10. WorkingClassPost

    Can’t remember when last I couldn’t be bothered to watch a game, not even the ‘highlights’, and judging by Mark’s report, that was a more credible decision than our penalty – which I did get a glimpse of Mata converting on some news channel or other.

    Still, I’m not panicking at our direness, can’t be bothered with that either.

    That said, if we stay top four without Ramires, and progress past Napoli, then the season’s still on, so guess it’s wait and see time.

    Ryan, the rules about bringing foreigners into EPL are mainly to protect home-grown players, most of whom would struggle to get a job on the turnstiles if we didn’t impose such restrictions. 

    For example (not sure of the exact numbers but someone will probably be able to find it) I believe that there are currently more than 4000 Brazilians playing abroad. Not hard to imagine the effect on our league if work permits were handed out too easily.

    • Ryan

      Thanks. Put that way it does make some sense but I would still question how many of those 4000 would command a fee of over £20million and how many had gained a full international cap. Interesting that U21 caps have no bearing even though we’re talking about a player who has only just turned 23. I can understand the rule to prevent every club in the football league signing an entire squad of Brazilian/Argentinian mediocrity on the cheap but in some cases it all seems a little ridiculous. Also these players who can’t get work-permits here seem to have no problem going to play in Holland (for example). Are the rules so different there? How do they make it work for them? It certainly doesn’t seem to affect their homegrown players. I seem to remember them reaching the World Cup Final a couple of years ago.

      • WorkingClassPost

        Yes indeed. Didn’t Alex need to play a few seasons in Holland before he became eligible to play here? Don’t forget also that the top Dutch players often themselves go abroad. 
        Problem is that EPL with it’s finances and profile, is a more attractive option for overseas players, who would probably swamp our domestic league. 

        The irony with Brazil in particular, is that the players most suited to PL football, don’t usually get picked for the national side where a certain type of footballer is preferred, and Ramires is a great example of the exception that proves the rule.

  11. Der_Kaiser

    All a bit of an anti-climax, really; fairly dull game, no real controversy other than a bit of manufactured outrage at Studge’s dive for the penalty and no arrests.  Sounds like our fans conducted themselves pretty well, which is good to hear.  Fair few of the QPR lot less so, by all accounts, which is no real surprise.

    Not good to lose Ramires for (up to) a month, but might give Essien a bit of a run which is no bad thing.  Tricky run of games coming up now – United, Everton, Napoli; be interesting to see where we stand at the end of February.

    Do we think Studge is sulking because he feels he deserves a run through the middle? Well, I do…  The ‘Torres is working really hard blah de blah’ mantra is wearing very thin for me now; we need goals from the bloke and sharpish.  He’s playing fairly well but mentally he looks like a man who, when he gets half an opportunity, thinks of his grandmother naked and reacts accordingly.

    Really is looking like the biggest and most costly mistake in the club’s history, I’m afraid.

  12. Ryan

    KdB is in London having his medical as of an hour ago. £9million (eventually including all add-ons), 5 and half year contract. Back to Genk on loan until the end of the season. Then probably out on loan somewhere else next year. So nothing to get excited about in the near future. We’ll have to wait and see if anything else is going to happen.

  13. bluebayou

    Thanks for the report Mark. If there was a game to miss it was that one. Kudos to those like yourself who endured because someone had to endure it.

    Ramires will be a big loss but I’m glad there’s no panic reaction in trying to grab someone from the January sales. If Lampard is back soon they should have enough bodies but unfortunately not the sort of goal contribution.

    I think Sturridge will be getting used to the ups and downs of professional footballing life. It’s his first real season under scrutiny and a dip from the early season form is perhaps to be expected, particulalry when the team as a whole is struggling. It’s how he copes that will determine whether he’s the real deal.

    The 3 nano seconds of highlights predictably omitted the penalty shout that came before the rather fortunate award from Mr Dean. I would like to have seen it becuase coming so soon before the one they were given, it may have been on the refs mind to some extent.

    On to Swansea.

  14. bluebayou

    I thought the stats used by media outlets were all from the same official source. Obviously not.

    The BBC awards us 57% possession and 5 chances on target, the Guardian 66% and 3 on target.

    There are lies, damned lies and then statistics….

    • Anonymous

      I’ve noticed before that the Beeb’s match stats never agree with those on Sky’s coverage of games.

      The Beeb website claims the data is from the Press Association, who knows who makes up the Dirty Digger’s ones or on the rest of the Street of Shame?

      Am I the only one confused by AVB’s management-speak bollocks about the de Bruyne purchase. I remember being given the impression when AVB arrived that his job title was different from Carlo’s because he was being given a more active controlling role on player transfers.

      Not quite what the “nothing to do with me, squire” quotes suggest.

      Another youngster doomed to years of floating around Europe and/or the lower reaches of the EPL/Championship before giving up on us?

      • bluebayou

        Reading the piece referenced in the linked list above, while I think the theory that the transfer market is now a sentient entity is perhaps one that requires the wearing of a tinfoil hat, the mystery surrounding how some deals get done rings true. And if AVB’s comments are to be believed the KDB situation is another example a coach/manager getting a player he didn’t ask for.

        I agree with your understanding that AVB was supposed to have some level of control in player purchases.

        You do wonder what web of reciprocating favours, picking up prospects to sweeten other deals  etc. might be going on behind the scenes, with the clubs themselves being only minor participants at times.

  15. Anonymous

    Afternoon all. Studge seems to be taking a lot of unnecessary stick in my eyes. OK, so he’s off the boil a little but it’s not like he’s had that many games recently. And did he dive for the pen? If he didn’t then there’s no argument, but if he did then good for him. We’ve been stitched up on pens against us, not least of all when QPR beat us earlier this season when Helguson went down as if the Jackal had finally got his man. Swings and roundabouts etc…..BUT the fact that QPR are outraged, their fans disgusted and Sparky apoplectic over the decision makes that win even sweeter in my eyes.

    A taste of their own hooped vile medicine.

    On the AVB front, I seem to recall several players bought under Claudio who weren’t his choice. Peter Cech, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben all spring to mind. They didn’t turn out bad either did they? In my view we’ve run this ‘continental’ system for some time whereby the coach does his job, i.e coaching the first team and supplying wishlists to the management who either comply or ignore. I see them as a Tesco delivery service really. The coach selects his groceries, in this case players and back room staff, and then the tesco picker either gets the exact thing but you find it’s dearer than you saw on the site, or you get a suitable replacement which can either delightfully surprise or completely let you down. The coaches role starts when the good are delivered. De Bruyne looks a decent prospect but like others, Eden Hazard or maybe Willian would light us up a bit more.

    I still think that AVB will start the real rebuild in the summer and that’s when some of ‘untouchables’ may find themselves urgently looking through the summer Luis Vuitton luggage sales . Of course the other option is they let AVB and get TSO back on the heavily rumoured basis that RA is not prepared to let Mourinho go anywhere else in England. 

    • bluebayou

      “I see them as a Tesco delivery service really. The coach selects his groceries, in this case players and back room staff, and then the tesco picker either gets the exact thing but you find it’s dearer than you saw on the site, or you get a suitable replacement which can either delightfully surprise or completely let you down.”

      Now being a grocer you obviously know your onions, but in the interests of balance I feel I should point out that Ocado, Waitrose and probably other suppliers offer a similar service. With varying degrees of success, it should be said.

      It’s not the system that BBD and myself were querying, since you rightly point out that the club has operated in this mode for a while. But is it just a false impression that we extrapolated from various statements or was it clearly said at some point that AVB would have a greater input into transfers?

      Do you have any recall on this?

      • Anonymous

        To be honest Dr BB I don’t recall hearing that. I suspect AVB is falling into management gobbledygook bollocks talk and that he has had input to this. He seems to enjoy throwing the press the odd red herring.

        *Apologies for previous comment, other supermarkets are available, but as yet my favourite Morrison’s don’t deliver.  

    • Cunningplan

      That last paragraph is an interesting scenario with regard JM. Having seen how miserable he now looks at games, and the supposed spat with senior players at Madrid, it seems the rumours of his return to the PL might be true.

      But I would guestimate, that it could well be one of the Machester clubs that will get him, and probably City. If that does happen, we will see a huge power shift in that neck of the woods, and probably the rest of the PL.

  16. Ryan

    Agreed on Studge. I assume the reason for AVB’s candidness regarding transfers was to highlight the difference between players that HE wants for the first team now and players identified for the future by Emanelo and the club. I don’t think he was being negative about KdB, just trying to make the point that he probably won’t come into the first team until at least this time next year. I’m sure that if he raised some genuine objections the club would listen. It just happens to be the case that KdB was identified before AVB was appointed. I don’t know quite why he says everything in such a strange way though.

  17. Anonymous

    Saga continues… what a rubbish!
     
    John Terry faces a second successive pre-match snub, with England colleague Rio Ferdinand, brother of QPR’s Anton, still deciding whether to shake his hand before Sunday’s Manchester United-Chelsea Premier League clash.

    • Anonymous

      Perhaps we could just take it as read that on any weekend one or more footballers are likely to be handshaking refuseniks with one or more of their opponents who’ve upset them or one of their friends at some point in the past.

      Alternatively, perhaps Sparky had the right idea when calling for the complete abandonment of this pointless, perfunctory exercise on a permanent basis.

      Mrs Cunningplan has medical training, I believe and could no doubt provide a shocking estimate of the level of germs that the process must pass around the players anyway 😉

      • Anonymous

        I agree, as someone on twitter said to me the whole pore-match handshake is a ludicrous Premiership construct which has now been crowbarred  onto the FA Cup. it should be dropped and then the players can shake hands after the game with who they like. 

      • Anonymous

        Refuseniks 🙂 I haven’t heard this word for long time. It comes from the Russian “otkaznik” which means the one who been refused permission to leave the Soviet Union. 
        Good use of this world in this context though!!!   

  18. Anonymous

    According to the man himself, Piazon’s had to pack an overnight bag as he’s with the first team (this from Twitter, as well as a photo of the bus courtesy of the Official CFC twitter account. Not sure why anyone gives a shit what the bus that’s driving the team to Wales looks like…)

    Seems like the Brazilian youngster is progressing well. Signed a new contact last week. Clearly he won’t even make the squad tomorrow, but good experience nonetheless.

    Josh is unavailable for the Swans. Not because it’s forbidden that he faces the club he’s on loan from, but because he’s not allowed to cause embarrassment to that club but out shining the other midfielders. Maybe…

  19. Anonymous

    (2054 – 2012) + (2012 – 1970) + (1970 – 19_ _) = ? Mark  please help?

    I added Meireles to the pathetic passengers. If I were the AVB I would tell him not to take a shot in his next three features. The discussion has been concluded on Malouda. No need again. But for Sturidge I’ve said it once that he is not going to be the one unless he steps up his game. The most anoying is that he cannot even mark as young as he is. To me he ‘short one’ when he is on the pitch.

  20. Anonymous

    Don’t know if I really understand the Tesco online shopping analogy.  We ordered a rib eye steak and instead we’ve got a fruit cake.

  21. Ryan

    JT has been ruled out of tomorrow night’s game at Swansea. He didn’t travel with the squad. Ongoing knee issues apparently. Looks like GC will get a start.

    • Anonymous

      Or more likely he’s got a meeting with Harry’s barrister to work through his defence, which is primarily to claim that he can’t event spell ctnu.

      • Ryan

        Yeah the timing looks a bit iffy but I don’t think JT is actually required to attend Wednesday. His representation will simply confirm that he wishes to plead “not guilty” and they’ll set a date for the hearing then adjourn.

        I’ll be interested to see how Cahill fares bearing in mind the potential ban that JT faces if found guilty,

  22. Anonymous

    Evening all. Haven’t been posting much recently because (no, this is true) my kids gave me Football Manager 2012 for the Mac for Xmas and it turns out to be both brilliant and alarmingly addictive — I’ve got to the stage where I’m hoping the initial addiction hit will wear off soonish, or I’m going to have to exert some self-discipline. Ick.

    One of the odd effects is that it’s become hard to distinguish between reality and the game events. Signing brilliantly promising youngsters appears to be one of the keys to success in the game, so as soon as I saw that we were in for Kevin de Teenager I thought to myself, Aha yes that’s exactly the sort of transfer we should be making …

    Anyway, see you all once I get Brentford promoted to the Premiership. Now, if I can just find a really promising English right-back available on a free transfer …

    • Anonymous

      LTB – I bought this game 2 weeks ago. I’m managing 2 teams Chelsea of course, currently top after 6 games but with an early defeat to Stoke staining my reputation, and a very sulky Meireles to cope with. The other team is lowly Plymouth  and whichever one I’m playing I’m still walking around the house giving fake interviews. 

      As you say, alarmingly addictive 

  23. bluebayou

    Deadline Day Update:

    So far I’ve bought a coffee, a raisin danish, and a weekly oyster pass

    Apart from a few minor lunch items that’s probably it for today………

     @  GrocerJack and LTB

    Some years back I had a similar addiction to a version of Football Manager. I too chose Plymouth. I wonder is this a common trait throughout the country. Or is it regional?

  24. Cunningplan

    I used to play Football Manager a few years back, but found it very unrealistic by current standards.
    I mean, no transfer window deadline day that whips up into a frenzy, and of course the lack of any ability in game, to open up bank accounts in Monaco, or the Caymen Islands.

    • Ryan

      We are also far too easy to defend against. I’m just not satisfied with AVBs usual “they defended very well” reasoning. Wonder if it has occurred to him that it might just be that we’re a bit a shit. As I write this Ashley Cole is being sent off. Out for Utd on Sunday. Very good Ash. By rights he should’ve been dropped for tonights performance anyway.

      Do something drastic Chelsea. Go and buy Carlos Tevez for £23million. Anything. We’ve been quite poor for a while now and it doesn’t seem like AVB is in a hurry to change anything. I m bored of seeing Malouda and Bosingwa on the team sheet. Is RA still serious about winning the CL? They aren’t players that will win you anything. And there are plenty more like them in the squad.

      • SweetDairyAir

        Bosingwa’s attempt at a clearing header for the goal was a disgrace. With our only hope at a new, exciting signing to mix things up a bit being loaned back to Belgium, our football is going to be this bad for the next few months. We were dire. Ashley Cole couldn’t pass the ball and just looked generally awful.

        I understand that AVB has to try and keep the players on side because they’re all he has, but can’t the board see that we need drastic changes?! Buy someone. Anyone! Just to mix things up a bit. If we have to persevere with Malouda for the rest of the season, then kill me now.

          • SweetDairyAir

            Oh I know. I was just expressing my frustration with the fact that we have to keep all those players for the next few months, which means AVB will have to keep playing them up, even though we all know they’re not long for this club.

  25. Ryan

    He sort of made a prick of me while I was slagging him off there but we were arsehole lucky to get a point. So I wouldn’t be inclined to change my opinion.

  26. Anonymous

    So we’ve not scored at any of the 3 teams that got promoted last season. That’s not a problem, obviously.

    I mean, if your ageing, creaking first choice striker is away on international duty, and your £50m rated albatross still can’t buy a goal, you’d chuck on a hungry youngster (Lukaku) ASAP, right? WWWRRROOONNNGGGG.

    Our hands were probably tied with regards to Genk only agreeing to the De Bruyne deal now if he went back in loan, but there’s too much complacency with passengers like Malouda. He knows he’ll play at the moment – why put any effort in?

    If there really is no-one in the reserves that is close to challenging our wide men, then the future really does not bode well.

    We are going to take an absolute hammering on Sunday. I’ll leave it there.

    • Ryan

      Agreed. I’d be interested to know the real reasons why we haven’t strengthened in this window. It concerns me that maybe AVB hasn’t been trusted to spend. If he really believes this squad doesn’t have a problem then perhaps he isn’t the manager we thought.

      • Anonymous

        We haven’t strengthened because the players just aren’t there. No point in buying duffers in my view just for the sake of it. every game that Malouda and Bosingwa can’t be arsed in just adds weight to the manager’s possible case that they must go in the summer. 

        However, saying the unsayable, I think we might need to look beyond Ashley Cole who is simply a shadow of the player from our Double season. I know he has this alleged ankle issue, but tonight he was just downright awful and I’m surprised he didn’t get his 2 yellows earlier. It’s a shame PVA is away on loan because he had pace, and before anyone gives me shit about players not being successful on loan….is that the fucking criteria now for success at Chelsea? It’s arse-gravy argument. Play them in our team and give them regular football with players they already know. Loaning proves nothing 90% of the time except the adage out of sight , out of mind. 

        I’d give Bertrand a go Sunday, and get Kakuta back in the summer. And yes, if AVB is picking these players because he thinks they’re the best then he isn’t the man I thought (and hoped) he was. 

        I think the odds on a Jose return may be shortening each day.

        • SweetDairyAir

          I don’t think that’s as unsayable as it used to be. He wasn’t up to par last year, and so far this year he has been very poor.

          Our medical department certainly isn’t the MilanLab because it seems that nearly all of our players’ performances drop off a cliff after the age of 30.

  27. Anonymous

    This is odd to say aloud, but I’m increasingly wondering whether a season out of the CL wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

    The club needs to press the reset button. In fact there are signs this is already happening. We haven’t spent stupid money on an ageing megastar this January; we seem to be buying up decent-looking young players and sending our most promising prospects out on sensible loans.

    A year, or maybe even two, of being out of the top four might give us a chance to reset expectations properly and have some patience forced on us. Provided of course that we don’t can the manager. If we sack AVB, we’re saying that there’s a minimal level of success that is absolutely required immediately — with the result that we’ll never have a chance to see if the next generation can develop into a good side. There’ll be more panic purchases and the whole thing will go up in smoke again.

    Much as I love José, if he gets hired again (he won’t, of course) he’d be expected to win everything straight away. He wouldn’t. He’d be fired. Etcetera.

    I still think we’ll scrape into fourth, but I’m oddly sanguine about the whole thing this year. Strange feeling.

  28. Anonymous

    The clamour for a Jose return is guaranteed to increase in light of his current predicament at Real and AVB seemingly underwhelming some fans ( I have no idea what to think of us now)

    At least we signed an international striker today. Well, an England U19 one. All this is certainly building for the future. I say throw the fucking towel in now and give some of our other youngsters a go.

    I’d rather lose to Swansea and others while Piazon, Lukaku, Josh, Nat Chalobah etc. get first team experience than seeing a load of plodding passengers who seemingly couldn’t care less do fuck all for multiple servings of 90 minutes.

    AVB’s statement about not wanting to disrupt a ‘better performing’ defence by picking Cahill today is just bollocks. Bosingwa hasn’t played recently and we’ve kept clean sheets, so a fraught swap for the injured JT made more sense to me.


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