The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “Chelsea reclaimed the title after a four-year wait and the 8-0 rout flaunted the goal-scoring verve that has distinguished them. Didier Drogba’s hat-trick made him the Premier League’s top scorer and this was the club’s record margin of victory in the top flight. With 103 goals they have outdone the tally of 97 notched by Manchester United when taking the title 10 years ago.”
Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “As Terry hoisted the Premier League trophy aloft, the traditional coronation sound of Queen was heard down the King’s Road, everyone joining in with We Are The Champions. And now Chelsea can reflect on the special Jose Mourinho era and smile rather than sigh. A ghost has been banished and a toast has been raised — to Carlo Ancelotti, the manager who has not only made Chelsea winners again, but has made them popular, too.”
The Independent, Sam Wallace: “When they had cleared away all the streamers and the tickertape at Stamford Bridge yesterday, when they had scraped what was left of Wigan Athletic off the turf, and finally closed the gates, no one could be in any doubt that this was the team of the year.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea read the script, learnt it and performed it perfectly. There simply cannot be any better way to seal a league title than with a club’s record top-flight win and in doing so, Carlo Ancelotti’s magnificent side not only secured the club’s fourth championship but did so with a Premier League record number of goals scored – smashing the century to move onto 103 league goals for the season – a new club record in any division.”
This preamble was written about an hour before today’s match started.
It’s lucky nappy time (the phrase ‘squeaky-bum’ has been outlawed on this blog). I am nervous, and have been so all week. We should win today (and I have an edgy 2-0 win in my head) but years of disappointment have taught me pessimism. And it doesn’t help that the anti-Chelsea press have been on and on all week about us slipping up while the (rightful) champions win it at home against Stoke.
Yet my brother is with me today. We usually watch climactic games together and, with two exceptions (the ’94 FA Cup Final and the Moscow Final) we usually win. He is much more optimistic, too. ‘We’ll win at least 4-0,’ he says, with a mockery of fate that makes a superstitious soul like me wince.
I go through the last game of the 2008 season, when we were level on points with Man Utd going into the last game. They beat Wigan 2-0 away, leaving us to draw a flat match at home to Bolton. Will the same thing happen again?
I switch on and there, on Sky TV, are the crapulous faces of Jamie Redknapp, Glen Hoddle and the arch-idiot, Andy Gray, all singing the same song: Tough match today… Chelsea could well slip up… Sir Alex waiting in the wings… (I have the sick-bucket ready while bruv spits bile).
Cech; Ivan, Terry, Alex, Ashley; der Kaiser, Lamps, Malouda, Kalou, Anelka, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Paulo, Zhirkov, Belletti, Matic, Joe Cole, Sturridge.
In short: the same team that beat Liverpool. Not much to argue with in that selection then.
Humble pie time: I never thought Carlo would ever take us this far and to be fair there have been some terrible moments this season when most of us thought it was all over, along with some weird lapses in performance (most of those – including the Citeh, Everton and Blackburn debacles – with Drogs and Anelka playing in the same team, while Lamps is held back). But he has got the pair of them working well together again, as well as getting Lamps, Malouda and Kalou upfield and firing, so credit to him. He has proved far more able than I imagined. Well done that man!
The game – first half
And we only have to wait 5 minutes and Nic puts us 1-0 up! Drogs lines up the free kick, it goes into the wall, and while Wigan stare at him appealing for a handball, Ballack heads it forward to Flo, who chests it down for Nic to volley in from close range. Cue an anguished ‘analysis’ from the Sky team, who award Wigan an offside ‘decision’ and Man Utd a reprieve. Fortunately, the referee’s never heard of any of them.
A great switch-shot to the Theatre of Dreams of the Mancs fans listening to Stoke supporters singing ‘Chelsea, Chelsea!’ Luvverly!
But, now Chelsea go back to playing like… er… the team that lost 1-3 to Wigan last autumn for 25 minutes. Wigan dominate possession, we keep giving the ball away, and get stuck in our own half. Man Utd go 2-0 up and I don’t think I can stand it if the match goes on like this. It’s sooooo frustrating.
Then, on 30 minutes, Lamps (who has been stifled and wayward up until now) is brought down in the box after Drogs puts him through. As soon as I see it, I know it is a penalty and the replays prove me right. What is a shock is that Caldwell is sent off too. Credit to Martin Atkinson; not many refs would have been brave enough to give that one with Sir Purple Nose waiting for them on the telephone.
Drogs then goes on to show us exactly why we love him and why he also drives us barmy. He’s actually arguing with Lamps, saying that it is his penalty to take! And then he goes into a sulk when Lamps slams it in! And he carries on sulking all the way up to half time! You crazy, beautiful, gifted, African nutter you!
2-0 up now against 10 men and still the pessimist is squawking in my ear: ‘let’s hope we don’t blow it now…’ Jeez – what it is to be a Chelsea supporter. But I could be alone with that thought. All around Stamford Bridge the supporters are bouncing up and down while my brother, over on the sofa, looks like the guy in the black Fred Perry at Liverpool last week.
Half-time Chelsea 2 Wigan 0.
Half-time entertainment lies in watching the Sky team trying to get over their utter failure to predict the course of the game so far, and their bitter disappointment over the fact we are 2-0 up. Cue more replays over the ’offside’ first goal which show Malouda level with the defender as the ball is played, and the ‘controversial’ penalty and, then they have a go at Drogba’s ‘unprofessional’ behaviour. Twunts.
The game – second half
Looks like Carlo’s had a few words. First we get into a team huddle before the kick-off, then we start playing like a mean-machine: brisk, muscular, passing and moving forward with pace and guile. Once again, Kalou looks dangerous…
And he scores! It’s 53 minutes gone and that’s it and we are the fucking champions and my brother and I are jumping up and down and then I start crying.
Lamps plays a one-two with him then Sal picks it up around the penalty spot. One touch, two and then it’s in. The Title’s coming home!
Cue more camera shots of doleful faces at Old Trafford. It’s just like having an ecstasy rush moments after you’ve ejaculated. It just can’t get any better… can it? Yes it can. 2 minutes later, Ivan plays a sweeping pass to the other side of the penalty area to Nic, who is way out left. But, just as if he were doing a training session, he nonchalantly volleys it in. The goal of the match? 4-0.
After that the goals go in so quick and fast that I don’t have time to keep a proper record and I go into shock. But I do notice that Frank is at the hub of almost every move forward. The record shows that we only have 10 shots on target but eight go in and we just can’t stop scoring.
On 62 Drogs moves up to 27 goals and takes the Golden Boot as Rooney is taken off. What a pity his brilliant overhead shot is saved by Porritt. But Lamps fetches the rebound and lifts it for Drogs to power in the header. Cue shots of Roman up on his seat trying to head an invisible ball in the net!
Just four minutes later we get another penalty although this one looks dodgy to me as it is difficult to see where Melchiot trips Ashley. But it’s nice to see the sulks end when Lamps hands it to Drogs. I am sure he will miss it but it goes in off the post. Premiership goal No. 28. The cuddle he gives Lamps afterwards is nice too!
On 70 minutes there are three substitutions. Matic for Ballack (who gets a warm, well-deserved ovation – he has been a real fighter today, expecially in that poor first half); Belletti for Ivan (possibly our Player of the Season – an absolute monster who can play a bit, too); and Joe Cole for Kalou. I feel sorry for Joe. He plays well today yet he doesn’t get that involved with the goal celebrations and I sense he will leave us in the close season. Forget about him going to Spurts though – they can’t afford him.
And with 10 minutes left the Drogs Bollocks gets the hat-trick and Lamps is the provider for him yet again as he slides it over for a simple slot-in. By now Stamford Bridge is absolutely heaving and the texts are pouring in on the mobile. But still the lads keep steam-rollering in on goal – utterly magnificent.
Joe Cole plays with real determination to win the ball back, twice, before lashing it across to Ashley to score on 89 from the volley.
Eight-nil. Fuck me! I feel almost sick but unbelievably high on endorphins. My brother wants to go to the pub straight away, but – no – I want to take in every moment of the post-match celebrations. Right down to the moment when that fat bloke in the suit who always stands by our tunnel behind Carlo walks off (who is he, by the way?).
I really am tempted to do a Tony and give them all 10/10. Even Cech pulled off two blinding saves from point-blank range. But I will just content myself with the observation that every one of our players was magnificent and we played like true Champions. There really wasn’t a dud performance out there. Nice, too, to see Nemanja Matic slot in for der Kaiser with an assured performance.
Man of the Match
Could go to Lamps or Drogs, with Kalou and Nic also in the running. Think I will give it to Super Frank though as Drogs has got his boot after all.
- We are the Champions! We are the Champions! And for the fourth time too!
- We now hold the Charity Shield, FA Youth Cup and the Premiership.
- We are still on course for the Double. Only six teams have ever achieved it: Preston, Villa, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and United. No team has won it this century.
- We have broken the Premier League record for number of goals scored in one season previously held by United with 103.
- We have broken our previous League record score (9-2 against Glossop in 1906) with the 8-0 today.
- This season we have won 7-2, 7-0, 7-0 and 8-0 in four matches at home. Another Premier League record.
- We have completed the double grand-slam against Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal. The only team ever to do so.
- We have humiliated the smug, biased, overpaid idiots who work for Sky TV.
- Drogs has won the Golden Boot – the second Chelsea player to win it in succession after Nic won it last year.
- We can spend the rest of the year being proud to be Chelsea fans!
- There is none. Rejoice!
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!
- Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti are worthy winners of Premier League title
- Reaction: Thanks to everyone!