The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “This draw raised as many doubts about Chelsea as a defeat would have generated. Frank Lampard scored a penalty and Didier Drogba aided his side’s comeback from 2-1 down with a goal in the 84th minute. Chelsea then took the lead in the 89th minute as another effort from the Ivorian broke to John Terry. But Chelsea failed to protect the lead and Villa showed pride. In stoppage time, Ciaran Clark was free to head in a cross from Marc Albrighton.”
Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “When Carlo Ancelotti had finished revelling in John Terry’s 89th-minute goal, cavorting on the pitch like a better dressed David Pleat, Villa simply stormed back. Chelsea’s defence had dozed off, seemingly still basking in the glow of Terry’s goal, allowing Ciaran Clark to steal in and prise a deserved point. Chelsea’s stop-start season was held up again in stoppage time.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea began 2011 with more disappoinment after an injury-time equaliser from Aston Villa denied us all three points at Stamford Bridge. In a game that went this way and that, both sides could lay claim to deserving all three points, and at different times both looked like they had it sewn up.”
Well well well. What can I say about today? This morning I woke up feeling pretty good about the world. My heart was still beating despite a fair old booze hammering on New Year’s Eve, mixed with an unfortunate choice of nibbles. It’ll only be a couple more days of grazing and food abuse and then back to the cycle of cycling and daily rabbit food in order to reduce myself to a trimmer, healthier and consequently happier person.
A decent theory.
However, body weight or shape is not a true measurement of happiness, neither is health, nor is money, nor a nice house and car. They all help, of course they do. I’m not saying they’re not key factors. Of course they are. No, happiness is other choices for me. It would be meeting up for drinks with Jennifer Aniston, a young Agnetha Faltskog (anywhere between her 1970-88 stage is fine) and Susanna Reid, before going back to my riverside suite by the Thames with a doner kebab, some Rioja, some background Diana & Marvin before a night of unrequited group sex involving me, those three and no-one else (unless Konnie Huq decided to turn up). Yep, that would do.
Alternatively, a decent win for Chelsea against a struggling, out of form, confidence shot team would do it. Now, as luck would have it, guess who came to town today… Aston Villa, ticking all the right boxes and being a viable alternative to my other version of what could bring me happiness – it might need a few repeat sessions before I’m absolutely sure.
I have to say this now though, the first scenario looks the more likely to be happening in the near future. Hey ho, it’ll be a tough job, but I’ll try my best to do it without grumbling. Life’s too short to wait for the thumping win to tell us that the ‘blip’ (by which I mean crisis… by which I mean catastrophic run of form… by which I mean coach threatening owner trigger-happy desperation form) is finally over.
No real surprises in either team announcements – we all knew Bruma was in and I suspected Paulo Ferreira would get the right-back nod after Bosingwa’s dismal Bolton showing. I am wondering if Bosingwa is the biggest waste of money since Roman bought his pet Shevchenkodoodle mongrel to the club. He seems a pretty shit defender, and he doesn’t appear to like tackling, he has an aversion to crossing and generally seems more Reading than Chelsea (offence to Reading FC fully intended). So we had the usual suspects on show today with The Scarecrow (Kalou) on the bench where he belongs. Villa had Ashley Young back and that clunking great donkey who couldn’t score in a brothel unless the ‘workers’ were deaf, blind and stupid, Emile Heskey, back as well.
Welcome to the Stamford Bridge Whorehouse, Emile, I think you’ll find our ‘workers’ are more than willing…
The first half was more of the same dull fayre dished up against Bolton, Villa filled the parts of pantomime villains with some tough uncompromising tackling and we were second into every tackle and loose ball. We seem to have developed some sort of creeping malaise which means we just can’t start games at any pace. Throughout the half we lacked any movement, players seemed intent on passing sideways or lumping a long ball down to an utterly misfiring and flouncing/mincing Drogba. It was pretty poor all round and any half chances were coming, as with Bolton, from the opposition team. We’ve gone a bit soft. On 22 minutes we put something in the box for Malouda to aim at and well… was he pulled?… did he fall?… did he slip over?… was he shot by a sniper?… whatever… he used his experience… *cough*… to get the penalty. Up stepped Frank Lampard, I turned to face the crowd (can’t watch penalties and not allowed to in my normal seat) and hey presto we were an undeserved goal up. Well done Frank, good to see you back. Surely now the confidence would return and we’d go on to crush Villa like the footballing ants they are (offence to Villa fans fully intended).
Errr… no. What we did do was carry on being static and slow and allowing Villa to rattle our cage. At around 40 minutes of huffing and puffing from both sides, the ball was by the corner flag towards the Matthew Harding and West Stands and after some pinging around fell to Ferreira, who despite two very good early tackles had lost his way completely and was looking Championship standard (offence to Championship team fans fully intended). Now, everyone in the vicinity knew the thing to do was hoof the ball to Row Z, even if it meant giving up possession. What we didn’t want was someone faffing about being indecisive and then deciding to clear when a Villa player was homing in on him. Yep, not hard to guess which outcome we got. The ball dropped into the area and The Bison decided to do a passable impression of himself in a PCP rage running through a China shop, fouling Reo-Coker and giving away a penalty. Essien is part of the problem at the moment. Anyway, Ashley Young stood up and lashed the ball past Cech. Chelsea had pissed away yet another lead.
Half time 1-1.
I wanted to go home. I’ve had enough of this suffering. I give up my time to be tortured and punished like this? Shouldn’t we all be on some sort of medication for this mass hysteria based illness?
Out for the second half then and yes, within minutes of the restart it was a case of…
“Why hello there Mr Heskey… the usual huh… you’d like our defence to lie down, open its legs and let you force your way in… ooohhh you want to rough our new girl up do you… well we don’t encourage that Mr Heskey, but as it’s you… well go on then.”
And he duly did, he climbed all over a very decent performance by Bruma to nod into the goal and give this piss poor team the lead. My day was falling apart. This is what we’ve come to. Unable to beat a team humiliated by Manchester City, a team even lower on confidence than us, a team allegedly torn by dressing room strife and player issues with the boss. What the hell, does that make us then?
The answer is a team that like the sleeping lion suddenly opens a sleepy eyelid after the mosquito has stung him and then in a fit of rage decides to go after his tormentor. First of all the rage is pretty random but then gradually it becomes more controlled. Then at last we started to put some pressure on and have a go, Brad Friedel was, of course, on top bloody form, saving superbly from Malouda and Frank, but we looked far more positive. After a punishing 20 minutes or so, we finally breached Villa through Drogba. This was about the only decent thing he did all day and even then it needed some help being rolled over the line. Whatever is bugging the big Ivorian he needs to get it sorted. I’m getting sick of his between match bollocks platitudes, along with the other players spouting their patronising bullshit about how they’re working so hard to put things right. Or stating the obvious. I’ll say it again, something is wrong in Chelsea Football Club. Anyway, before I divert away with yet another petulant rant, we were now back in the game and refreshingly looked like coming for more. Ramires was subbed for Kalou, an odd move because for me again Ramires was playing well, and doing the sorts of things I expect from Essien (Michael, not the fucking impostor body double we’ve got right now). I welcomed Kalou the Scarecrow on, but would rather he was replacing the mannequin that purported to be Malouda turning in yet another underwhelming smelly turd of a performance. Or for the way off beam Nicolas Anelka, who seems to have developed some sort of football desire wasting disease of late. Bosingwa replaced Ferreira, which for me was like replacing Audley Harrison with Louis Spence. Late on, Nico went off and on came Studge but he didn’t have time to make any real impact.
As the game entered the dying minutes were were still very much in the ascendency and Drogba managed a second decent contribution with a header to test Friedel again and the rebound fell to John Terry who finished fantastically to send us all into a state of delirium not far off the one when we beat Stoke a couple of years ago when all the players ran over to Scolari in a show of solidarity. Again the players charged to Carlo (signs anyone?) in a show of solidarity and pseudo male bonding. Game over surely?
Well… no… because unlike the Stoke game which happened literally in the dying seconds we all knew there’d be about five minutes of added time to go. That’s ‘we’ as in the crowd. You know, the ones who’ve paid to watch this. The players it seems forgot all about that and presumably were all mentally getting ready for nice warm houses, nice warm wives, girlfriends and kids and vintage wine. Two minutes after that and having failed to get the ball off of Villa we gave away a silly free kick, got an apparent offside trap all wrong, stood around like Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ statues and Ciaran Clark nodded home for 3-3.
And that my friends was that. Two points dropped. Out of the top four (5th) place. Out of form. Out of ideas. Out of luck. Out of hope.
- Ramires was good again today.
- Bruma did a very good job so he can play next time and Ivan back at right-back… please.
- JT was bloody immense at times.
- Albrighton looks useful and will be wasted at Villa.
- The comeback – at least we tried.
- Ashley Cole – really deserves to be in a better team than this.
- Drogba – flouncing around, wandering to the wings, taking the ball off players, shy in the tackle, wayward with the passing. Should be dropped, and should have been subbed, but we all know what happened to the last man to have the balls to do that.
- Malouda – a mannequin for large parts of the game.
- Anelka – what has happened here? Way too selfless and seems to think he’s a holding midfielder at times.
- Inability to cross – anyone else sick of seeing our players overhit crosses or fail to beat the first man. Wouldn’t matter anyway as we’ve forgotten how to put anyone in the box to meet any fluked decent cross.
- What about the way we always want to take a quick free kick and yet with throw-ins we stand around, no-one moves to help or runs into space. Awful, just awful, and when was the last time we EVER got anything good from a quick free kick? Henry’s goal against all those years back seems to have spooked us forever.
- Paulo Ferreira – at the Carvalho stage of his career with only one good game in every two. (Copyright, PeteW.)
- Michael Essien – this can’t be the real one surely, this has to be a bodysnatcher doppelganger.
- Emile Heskey – dirtier than Tevez, more of a moaner than Blanche in Coronation Street.
The Luke Chadwick extra ugly section
- Ashley Young – chippy, cheating, diving, moaning, provocative little shit. Buy him Carlo.
- Lee Mason – the ref – I find it hard to believe that another team can kick lumps from us and not see a red. And then he books Ramires for a nothing challenge. UC (copyright Kaiser Jonny).
- The result – just what we didn’t need when everyone else won yesterday. The decline is now getting very scary.
- We’re below Spurs… yes Spurs… fucking Spurs the horrible bastards (offence to Spurs FC and fans fully 100% intended).
- Allegedly Carlo has ‘blamed’ Bruma for the second goal despite him being fouled by Heskey. If so that’s a bloody disgrace and will shatter that lad after a very good and very confident debut.
- Carlo, grow some balls and sub Drogba if he’s playing rubbish. Really a lot of people will respect that.
The much loved player ratings
Cech, Cole, JT, Frank, Ramires, Bruma – all did decent jobs today with Cole being superb, JT being his usual self, Ramires showing us what we used to have with Essien and young Bruma doing a sterling job on his full debut. He deserves another chance, with the caveat of whether or not Ancelotti really did say that about him being at fault. Hot showers, foot massages, body lotion, a few beers for you lot.
Malouda, Anelka, Drogba, Ferreira, Essien – all were very poor today, with Essien just about being the best of the bunch. No showers, some wooden clogs to walk home in, some cold flannels to clean yourselves down and some used tea bags for you to make a drink with.
Kalou, blind alley syndrome again but at least he took his opponents on. Hardly his fault he’s the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz reincarnated. How long before we have a song for him… “If Only I Had a Brain“.
Studge and Bosingwa… Bosingwa still looks scared in defence and Studge had little or no time to make any impact.
Not much else to say here really other than we were mugged today. Not taken from behind in a dark alley by surprise, but mugged as if we were walking through a Rio suburb dripping in Rolex bling and Gucci clothes. We knew what to expect but didn’t have the wit or wherewithal to stop it happening.
Don’t give me any more crap about bad luck, we are making sloppy mistakes and maybe for one game you could say bad luck, but for… how many? Five… six games now we’ve dropped bollocks bigger than Jupiter’s moons to gift goals to others and that isn’t bad luck. It’s a mixture of fuckwit incompetence and utter cuntery arrogance and sloppiness. And the players are to blame. And so is Carlo. And to a lesser degree Abramovich… who after all has pumped about £500 million in, and is probably entitled to have expected some decent talent to have come through the academy instead of relentlessly opening his wallet to fund greatness. I like his proposed model, it’s down to Carlo to trust and make that transition happen. We are rapidly approaching a point where Carlo needs to show some balls and drop some big names. Would the new kids in the squad really be worse than Malouda, Anelka, Drogba or Essien at the moment?
So, we have a down and out and fighting for their lives Wolves on Wednesday. The best I can see is a draw. And far off into the distance… Europa League football.
Please, feel free to have nightmares of nights in Besiktas, Lech Posnan and Salonika.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!