The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall
It is difficult to credit now, but there was a time when Chelsea winning the FA Cup was deemed so unlikely, it provided the comic material for a popular song written circa 1933. “On the Day That Chelsea Went and Won the Cup” (sung by Norman Long) describes ever more unlikely scenarios coming true purely because the world has been stood on its head by Chelsea winning the FA Cup. The fact that Chelsea were a team who’d spent most of their life in the top division and should have been well capable of winning such an important trophy only made the song more pointed.
And indeed it took 65 years from the club’s inception for the trophy to spend a night in the Chelsea silverware cabinet. Then, having whetted their fans’ appetite for the iconic trophy it was another painful 27 year wait before the club had to take the lid off the silver polish tin for any serious purpose in 1997.
In the ensuing 15 seasons, Chelsea Football Club have been down to the tailors for a mass suit fitting and on the phone to the coach firm for a May trip to Wembley on five more occasions. Each time there’s been an extra bit of luggage in the boot on the way back. The only failure was not at Wembley, but in Cardiff in 2002.
As if this wasn’t enough, of those five successes, four have come in the last six years.
When they won the “Cup” in 1970, it was one of a handful of not only major sporting occasions but national events around which the country coalesced. It was a truly significant date in the calendar and there were key items in the buildup to the day and the game, which had grown into a tradition, had become the accepted custom and practice, even if some were more recent than others. So making a “Cup” record, various TV “Cup Specials” on the Saturday morning, the interviews with players’ wives and girlfriends, the team coaches leaving for the stadium being some that I remember. This all culminated with the community singing including Abide With Me. Followed by the teams taking the long walk from the tunnel.
Standing in Wembley at 5.00pm in the afternoon, the Final yet to start, the league season not yet over, a large portion of the crowd seated and unmoved by the singing of the old hymn, it was instructive of how much of a sideshow the FA Cup has now become, simply a vehicle for television and corporate sponsorship. It is not the central, communal experience it once was and the Football Association constantly fail to match intention with practice as they regularly undermine the competition while at the same time trying to find somewhere to anchor it in an ever faster changing sports and entertainment landscape.
If you listened to my destruction of that signature hymn on the recent podcast you may be surprised to know that I do attach a real importance to the singing of Abide With Me. It is of course just a sentimental response on one level but in some ways, while the stadium, the players, how we watch the game all change to some extent, it does provide a link back to all those fans who have stood or sat and watched a Final in the years before. Is it not just one relatively uncontroversial way of recognising a continuity of experience, of acknowledging the unique traditions of the Cup at a time when many of them have disappeared?
(And in case you think these are the bitter ramblings of an old fan exaggerating the past to the detriment of the present, here is a gem from the Sports Illustrated archive about the 1970 Cup Final, written just after the drawn game at Wembley and before the replay, where the US journalist describes it as the equivalent to their “Super Bowl”. You couldn’t in all honesty say that now could you? I urge you to read it anyway as a superb evocation of a particular time in Chelsea’s history.)
But as the hands of the clock crept towards 7.00pm, the importance of holding onto a one goal lead in the face of a Liverpool onslaught proved that for me, my fellow fans, and Chelsea as a football team, the FA Cup still stirs great passions. And in the end, if the fans and the players treat the competition as worthwhile, the essential drama, myth and history will still have some meaning no matter how demeaned the occasion becomes.
What brought thousands of individuals to those tortured moments at close to seven in the evening? Or as David Byrne famously sang, “Well how did I get here?”
A calm, controlled hour of football had seen Chelsea secure a two goal lead, which despite ITV’s best efforts to pretend otherwise by some spectacularly creative editing for their highlights package, was fully deserved. It wasn’t necessarily outstanding, but just as against Spurs, they had started confidently and when after 11 minutes Mata got away from Spearing who had been loose in possession and guided the ball out to Ramires on the right, the Brazilian continued his great form by driving for the box, thus ensuring Enrique was kept off balance and bypassed while he went on to put the ball in off a bemused and wrong-footed Reina inside his near post. The inestimable Sid Celery on Twitter says it was the first goal by a Brazilian in an FA Cup Final.
Liverpool who were lightweight in midfield and seemed overawed by the occasion did create a couple of chances, one of which required a smart block from Ivanovic, but there was no sustained pressure and Chelsea controlled large periods of the game without significantly threatening to extend the lead. So subdued was the game that it seemed like half an hour before Mr Dowd had to blow for a foul. And yet even in these calm and untroubled waters, the singular Mr Dowd managed to book Mikel for his first challenge, having let Gerrard get away with scything down Mata earlier in the game.
The second half yielded another goal seven minutes in, with some smart build up play from Mikel and Lampard, which in truth amounted to no more than a few intelligent well hit passes that proved enough to cut Liverpool apart. The ball was worked to Drogba on the left side of the area. The covering defender and most of the stadium waited for him to work it back onto his right, so he simply hit it early with his left and buried it in the corner. Another record. Four goals in four Finals.
The next five minutes yielded a couple of more chances, one in particular for Kalou and it looked as though Chelsea could turn it into a rout.
It had been and continued to look like a very one-sided affair. If you’ve only seen the ITV highlights you really have to trust me on this. They really did abandon any attempt to treat the footage as reportage and seem to have re-cut the game into a form of “Barcelona-Chelsea”-lite.
The hapless Spearing had been substituted after the goal to be replaced by Andy Carroll. So Liverpool now had two front men, the other being the relatively anonymous Suarez, flanked by Downing and Bellamy, with Gerrard in a more central role. The ensuing 10 minutes had not suggested this was going to change the pattern of the game over much. But then in the 64th minute Bosingwa dented a decent performance by delaying a straightforward clearance which became an unfortunate ricochet into the area, where Carroll was able to make enough room to fire the ball into the roof of the net.
This was the signal for Liverpool to start pressing and for Chelsea to start sitting deep and gradually lose more and more composure. With two Liverpool forwards up on the back four and the wide men pushing on, Chelsea ceded possession too cheaply by resorting to long ball clearances. Thus began an agonising 25 minutes. I kept expecting Chelsea to re-assert some control, but I waited in vain. The next goal was going to decide the game. And it seemed more and more that Liverpool would get it. And if they did, well I for one felt they’d probably get another, or worse win on penalties.
Then with eight minutes to go I experienced that well known sensation wherein your internal organs spread out while your muscular-skeletal arrangement remains much the same. So my heart was in my mouth, my bowels in my boots, my stomach half way out my rectum and a popped kidney bounced down Wembley Way.
Suarez had put a diagonal chip right to left across the area and Carroll rose on the six yard box to head it into the net… except it didn’t quite get there. Petr Cech in one of the greatest goalkeeping saves of this or just about any era had got across to claw the ball onto the bar from where it bounced away. The linesman kept his flag down. Dowd, shorn of penalty opportunities to award to the Reds, must have twitched involuntarily but had to wave play on.
Cue mental impersonations of shouty late period Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday, “You find out life’s a game of inches and so’s football.”
I collected my lights, my thoughts, my shredded composure, took a deep breath and returned to the mental foetal position in which I had been for 15 minutes.
Oh my, time seemed to stretch away. They kept coming and Chelsea kept resisting. Carroll and his goal had really given Liverpool belief and purpose.
Meireles came on for Ramires after 77 minutes but nothing really changed. Somewhere in there Kalou had a breakout run that promised something but he was surrounded and lost possession. Then the board went up with five minutes of added time.
Malouda replaced Mata and gradually the heat went out of it all. It might have been a cameo but Malouda seemed to help bring a little composure to the desperation. They strung a few passes together and then it was over.
Deep, deep joy. John Terry became the first captain to lift the trophy four times for the same club. Ashley Cole has won the cup seven times. That’s more than nearly every other club in the league.
Why did the game change so radically? I couldn’t tell you. I do know that it would have been condemned as a dull and desperate affair had it not lit up just after the hour. And looking back I suppose that will make it all the more memorable. The goal that never was, only adds to the myth. But I can’t say I enjoyed that last half an hour. It was only later that I realised just how disciplined Chelsea had been in not giving Mr Dowd the sniff of a chance at signalling one of his trade mark “penalties”.
Seven FA Cups. I treasure every one. Every one has its own special story, a particular circumstance. This vintage, like the win against Everton under Hiddink has been born out of a season that seemed doomed by early strife and disappointment. The difference, though, is that while Hiddink comfortably secured Champion’s League participation via the league, but failed to better Barcelona (and a referee) in a semi-final, Roberto Di Matteo’s team is doing it the other way around.
Here they are the heroes. Seven Cups means ratings have to be based on the Seven Wonders of the World be they Ancient, Modern, Medieval, Natural, Industrial or whatever.
- Petr Cech – The Great Wall of China. Keeps everything out.
- Ashley Cole – The First Transcontinental Railroad. Another great end to end display.
- Branislav Ivanovic – Hoover Dam. Unbreakable. (Also keeps back the waters when attacked by Geoff Shreeves.)
- Jose Bosingwa – Leaning Tower of Pisa. Always looks on the point of collapse, but I love him.
- John Terry – The Great Pyramid (he’s a such a Giza).
- Frank Lampard – The Statue of Zeus at Olympia. May not be a god, but looks like one these days.
- Ramires – Harbor of Rio De Janeiro. Well he’s our Brazilian wonder.
- John Obi Mikel – The Colossus of Rhodes. Enough said.
- Juan Mata – The Lighthouse of Alexandria. A shining light.
- Salomon Kalou – The Panama Canal. He divides continents.
- Didier Drogba – Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. He knows a thing or two about how to bury ’em.
- Raul Meireles – Mount Everest. It’s all about the mystery of that summit.
- Florent Malouda – Aurora. We’ve seen the sparkling lights just not so much these days.
- Roberto Di Matteo – The Grand Canyon. We can only wonder about the depth.
Like ITV I have had to leave much on the cutting room floor. Here are a few out-takes:
– In the pre-match refreshment period, all the chatter was about Munich and not the upcoming game. A subconscious wish to avoid all the visceral nastiness that we felt was coming our way perhaps?
– The booing of the national anthem. A strange one this. Growing republicanism? The singularity of the Liverpool fan? Is it about Liverpool the place or the club. Do Everton fans feel the same? Is it a demonstration of how fractured the country is becoming? After all it’s a pledging of allegiance to the House of Windsor and so may ignite the debate about an anthem more suitable for a citizen and their love for a place, an ideal, than a mere subject.
– Talking of citizenship, I always thought one had the right to proceed unmolested unless there was reasonable suspicion you were about to be or were engaged in, nefarious doings. It’s difficult to see how you are now anything more than the means by which the concept of public safety is now monetised for the benefit of the security industry.
– On reaching the inner sanctum of the stadium, I watched as an old man was body searched and a couple of dads with their young children were forced to empty soft drinks bottles into plastic beakers. Then later I heard from friends how some opposition “fans” were able to spend the best part of 20 minutes spitting on Chelsea fans below before they were ejected.
It’s difficult not to feel that all the efforts are directed at making fans feel that they are the potential and unwelcome problem. Any amount of unlikely scenarios are dreamed up to allow us all to be subject to rigorous surveillance and interference with the person. Yet when a few thugs start spitting on people the whole shebang is helpless for 20 minutes.
At Spurs earlier this year nothing was done about the flare that went off amongst us or the plain and obvious fact that there were more fans than seats. But at the end when people started climbing over a low barrier to get to an alternative exit, the full force of the security apparatus got fully exercised at a few harmless individuals trying to leave the ground that bit quicker.
– On a positive note I was impressed with how quickly (relatively) we were able to leave the stadium and get a tube train after the post-match celebrations getting down to Fulham Broadway by 9pm for further refreshment.
So the ink dries on another finely written page in the club annals. There is now no other team in the modern era with who the FA Cup can be identified more strongly. That is some change since the pre-war days of Norman Long.
We pack up our tent, leave Wembley behind for another season. The caravan is on its way to Munich via short stop-overs at Anfield and Stamford Bridge. Spirits are high. Chelsea have secured their place in football history yet again. That, as they say in the modern transatlantic argot of the day, is how we roll.
The press reports
The Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “Liverpool, officially the away team here yesterday, produced their wretched Anfield home form for too long before rallying to make a real contest of the FA Cup final. Chelsea, looking worthy winners for an hour or so, ended up hanging on and hugely relieved that Andy Carroll’s late header was ruled not to have crossed the line. Two teams who had scored 35 goals between them in reaching Wembley managed only one in a dull first half, from Ramires, before the encounter came to life. Didier Drogba became the first player to score in four finals but Carroll, sent on as a substitute, brought Liverpool into contention by halving the lead and almost equalising.”
The Observer, Paul Wilson: “Chelsea survived a Liverpool fightback to lift the FA Cup for the third time in four years, Andy Carroll’s excellent second-half goal setting up a close finish but not quite saving the game. The Liverpool centre-forward thought he had done exactly that with a powerful header from Luis Suárez’s cross eight minutes from time that Petr Cech appeared to claw back from across the line, but though the Liverpool bench celebrated prematurely in the manner of Fabio Capello in Bloemfontein, referee Phil Dowd let play continue, correctly as it turned out, since the immediately available replays did not establish that the ball had gone in.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Duncan White: “In the semi-finals Chelsea had been credited with a goal that did not cross the line, in the final it looked like they had been spared one that had. Chelsea were relieved. They had dominated this game for over an hour and then nearly thrown it away as Liverpool belatedly awakened. Ramires had punished Liverpool’s early mistakes and then Didier Drogba had scored his eighth Wembley goal, becoming the first player to score in four different FA Cup finals. Roberto di Matteo made history in becoming the last player to score in the FA Cup at the old Wembley; Drogba tightened his grip on the new.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “The Blues secured our third FA Cup in the space of four years with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Wembley in a game which we dominated for large spells, only to find ourselves hanging on at the death.”
11′ Ramires 1-0
52′ Drogba 2-0
64′ Carroll 2-1
Good stuff Dr Bayou. A strange match which we could easily have won 4-0 and it was frustrating that we let them back in the game. You don’t mention Bosingwa’s cock up, which let in Downing to cross for Carroll’s goal. From then on it was backs to the wall stuff and we looked like we were going to throw it away.
ITV’s coverage and ‘highlights’ were a joke. Endlessly dragging up old clips from their glory days in the 70s and 80s intercut with wide angle scans of Scouse supporters. The sub-text couldn’t have been more obvious if it had been tattooed on Adrian Chiles’ forehead. A theme that continued on for the rest of the evening in repeated analysis of the ‘goal that never was’. Never mind that it wasn’t completely over the line and that Cech pulled off the greatest save since Banks from Pele in 1970.
Excellent review BB as you said it was worth waiting for…. like a fine red wine.
With regard the ITV coverage, it was no worse than the ESPN coverage, both channels had an unashamed souse love in.
@Marco If you read the report again, BB did make the observation with regard Boswinga and the goal.
I disagree, I actually thought ESPN were very good, very even handed in general. The last 20 minutes were very Liverpool orientated but they were very much in the ascendancy for that part of the game. ESPN also stopped all the ads from 4:30 onwards unlike ShiteTV.
Maybe later on some comments about Liverpool and their fans. But for now I’m just happy to say we won, and that we will have at least one more trophy than Arsenal, Spurs or one of the Manchester clubs, and all being well we could have 2 more than them.
And I did have the mother of all hangovers. It seems my joint theory along with the middle of the Glover brothers that sticking rigidly to a drink diet of cask conditioned ale in bottles in the hope that this would mean a cleaner, more organic hangover has to be consigned to the bin marked ‘theories which seemed sensible but turned to be utter cobblers’ . I suspect the sheer volume we consumed before, during and most definitely after may have had a bearing on the results.
Lastly for now – the Glover household is no place for losers, and my Liverpool supporting brother in law survived for an hour or so afterwards before deciding to retreat gracefully. He did better than I would have done in the face of relentless barracking and piss taking.
With regard ESPN Tony I was alluding to their build up, they appeared to have more Liverpool player interviews and clips. Even the pitch side build up and pundits were down in the Liverpool section of the ground. Glad you’ve recovered from your hangover, you’re brother in law was a brave man to stick it out as long as he did.
And is there a pattern emerging with regard the winners of the major trophies and the team colours this season?
Apologies Dr Bayou. Must stop speed reading…..
On another note, thought Kenny Dalglish gave a very dignified and realistic assessment in his post-match interview which ought to have put a check to the ITV line that we were ‘lucky’ to have won. As the rest of us saw, Chelsea were by far the better team for the first hour and Liverpool were chasing the game from then on, right down to Carroll’s hysterical celebrations after Cech’s save.
A note for the fine Doctor Blue Bayou (@Dr_BlueBayou for you tweeters) I salute you for a stunning piece of work. Well worth waiting for.
And no sign of JD and Mark on the blog since our win, are they still in some back street around Wembley, in a drunken vomit stained heap?
I love these Arab commentaries in the highlights, it is definitely better than ESPN or ITV. The guy is so excited it is simply great. I have watched Torres’s goal against Barca with Arab commentaries and it is simply great. It creates the right mood 🙂 and I just love it.
I’m so ecstatic my blood’s turned blue. Bring on the Bayern batty boys!!
And a slightly less cultured piece of faux-ska to put an alternative slant on our Big Seven.
I had this single on 45. I was the envy of my mates because it was banned by the BBC. Sadly because of the Double Entendre’s and not the fact it’s rather crap……but hey I was just 11 years old and this was daring stuff back then….
After finally watching their showing, I take it back about ESPN: although Chris Waddle started in the pro-poo camp, once things got going, he seemed to forget all that, and just got on with the commentary. He was also quick to identify how we were letting the initiative slip, more through fatigue than anything else.
How much emotion can change perception though.
At the time we seemed to struggle for the last half hour, but watching again a couple of days later, we were only really backs-to-the-wall for about the last 10 minutes or so. Prior to that, the pressure we came under was mostly of our own doing, with humped clearances to nobody and needless whacks into touch, we conceded possession and gave them hope.
The several chances we had to put them down with a third goal never materialized, and it highlights something that we’ve talked about before. How do we, as a team that dominates most of our matches, get to practise and perfect our counter attacking play?
It’s fine when we’re fresh and full of running, but as games progress, and players tire, we really don’t capitalize on our chances to break quickly and score.
We did counter well against Barca, but we were set up to do just that, and even then, it was only the fresh legs of Torres that scored the last goal to finish them off. In games like this, we don’t seem able to find the right pass to punish teams that attack in numbers.
Guess that discussion is for another day though. For now, it’s back to work, then a rest from all things footie.
What’s that you say? Another game tonight!
Great stuff Blue Bayou, particularly your seven wonders.
I too was body searched after passing the turnstile. Arms up by my side this burly bloke proceeded to feel me up and down culminating in a slap on my left buttock as he wished me an enjoyable game. The tickets are expensive but considering they include a bit of tickle and slap they seem quite reasonable.
The first 60 minutes were like a dream. It was so easy. I put it down to the fact Liverpool lack big match experience and a penalties win in the Carling Cup over a team West Ham could beat 5-0 on aggregate isn’t sufficient warm up to play a team with our finals pedigree.
Of course it wouldn’t be Chelsea to make it easy for us fans to enjoy a relaxing final half hour so we had to endure being terrorised by that lump Carroll. However we’re likely to have to endure 120 minutes of excruciating anguish against the Germans so it’s good to practise.
A good slant on the day, BB.
On pre-match stuff: I don’t especially share the affection for Abide With Me of some other bloggers but try to take a tolerant approach akin to letting Godbotherer players do their crossing themselves and praising their God when they see fit.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be at all our Wembley FA Cup finals since 1994 and have never seen its singing so almost universally ignored without even a kind of embarrassed standing around while it wends its way through that usually happens.
I think several things contributed:
1) the perfunctory way it was introduced by the blaring PA announcer may have led to it simply being “tuned out” by those happy to ignore the prancing dancers in tinfoil and other pre-match joys presented to us.
2) the, ahem, individualistic interpretation of the yowling singer supposedly leading the crowd rendered the tune largely almost unrecognisable to my ears – where were you when we needed you, BB!
3) the helpful lyrics on the big screens were almost invisible, lost amongst all the Budweiser logos.
Equally, I don’t recall Everton, or any of our other opponents booing the National Anthem either. I don’t condone that, though I’m not too happy about that bit about “crushing rebellious Scots” that doesn’t get sung anymore in the last verse.
As for the game – I’m with Pat Nevin in his column on the official website today that it would be nice if pundits gave us a bit more credit for inducing Liverpool’s abject lack of performance in the first hour.
Mystery of the Day: given that the ‘Pool end emptied rapidly at the final whistle and I didn’t leave till One Step Beyond was in flow during the celebrations, why were there still so many of them on Wembley Way heading for the tube when I got there?
Final unlikely moment of pithy insight from the otherwise still history-obsessed Scousers on the Tube back to Baker Street after the game on JT: ” Crap human being, but great footballer”.
Fine stuff BB.
Like yourself, I despair at the treatment of the FA Cup, as the FA lie down before the all-conquering myth that is the Champions League, a tournament that has destroyed more great and historic competitions than UEFA will ever admit to. I despise the CL for this and many other reasons, and despair at the ridiculous self-importance attached to it. It’s the Liverpool of tournaments.
The FA Cup has more integrity any day of the week, or at least it would if the FA had any confidence about their ‘product’ and didn’t cheapen it so despicably. The kick off time didn’t bother me as much as the fact it didn’t take place on the final, day, but the litany of sins against tradition.
Regarding the National Anthem, I asked some Everton fans this question – they said they understood the idea that Liverpool is more Irish than English but wouldn’t boo the anthem (and they didn’t in 2007). I personally see this as further evidence of the absolutely bizarre self-mythologising psychosis of Liverpool – this desperate belief that they are better and different is really all they have going for them these days and leads to some hilarious twisted logic (eg, only kids and oaps were waving their plastic fans; all the real fans immediately snapped them in two, despite considerable photographic evidence to the contrary). The likes of Carragher and Dalglish encourage them in this belief (‘amazing fans’, even though we’ve all heard the stories of how they were behaving at Wembley and their vocal contribution in the ground was limited as usual). It’s quite pathetic really. They are just another club, from just another northern city, with some amazing stories from the past and not a great deal to look forward to in the future. Join the club.
And for an hour they were the worst team I have ever seen us play in a Cup final – worse even that Middlesbrough and Portsmouth, who had both been relegated – and the for half-an-hour up there with the best. I have no idea what this means for their future, but don’t think they have much of one as long as Dalglish is in charge. Good.
As for us, we were so comfortable for an hour it was worrying me, as it’s hard to slip out of third gear when teams are in that sort of mood, and so it proved when Carroll came on and scored a fine goal. We will obviously have to play much much better in Munich, and I am seriously concerned as to what Ribery and Lahm will do to Bosingwa without Ramires there to protect him. That could be what destroys us.
otherwsie, Lampard was amazing – and his move and pass for the second goal was absolutely brilliant, one of the many things the ITV highlights managed to pretty much ignore in favour of banging on about the non-goal at the other end. Kalou and Ramires were also excellent, as was Mata and I love DD’s new lion of Chelsea approach, doing very little for 89 minutes than springing into action and swatting anything foolish enough to come close to his claws.
Two weeks off for Lampard, DD, Cole and Mikel now please! Let’s make sure we are fit to compete in Munich and bugger the demeaning, distracting chase for fourth.
I’ve always maintained that Liverpool fans have delusions of grandeur, that cut and paste I posted about good v evil just confirmed it to me. The narrative from the media doesn’t help either, even I bought into the myth that Liverpool supporters where the most knowledgable when I was growing up.
It’s easy to be magnanimous in the odd defeat when you dominated like them, but I see it now for what it was, just condescending bullshit. They call Everton fans the “bitters” ……it appears to apply to them just as equally these days.
Whatever team we put out tonight (and I think it could be a strong one after the weekends results) I just hope we win again, you can never get enough of beating those loveable rogues
I never thought them more knowledgeable to be honest, they were just another bunch of glory hunters, plastic scousers who sang one song after 89 minutes and went home with three points.
The cheapening of the FA Cup has been a long process.
I remember the 1998 League Cup final as being dominated by oppressive sponsor’s logos everywhere in contrast to the 1997 FA Cup final.
But I’m just looking at the post-match on the pitch squad photo from 1997 and see that already we had one of those sponsor’s boards that Wise, Zola and RDM are doing a good job of obscuring much of by sprawling in front of it, but you can still see the “FA Cup – Littlewoods” logos at either end of the board.
And the big screen in the background is displaying “Congratulations Chelsea from Littlewoods, Sponsors of the FA Cup” with huge Coca Cola logos at either end of the screen.
Saturday was the first time I’ve felt on FA Cup final day that the Stadium and Wembley Way had been reduced to that 1998 level. I suspect even the Goodyear blimp will be required to trail a huge Budweiser banner next year as that seemed the only opportunity not yet taken up.
How long before replays in early rounds are abolished and rounds are scheduled in midweek [not CL weeks obviously] to avoid disrupting EPL?
This is a perfect example of the Scouse psychosis, exemplified by the last line – nobody outside Liverpool understands us. They probably think this desperate need to be different is evidence of their strong independent spirit, but it seems more like a reflection of a chronic lack of self confidence, an ego so fragile it cannot dare to accept is isn’t special.
Another splendid report. I agree with the sentiments. I had to wait 25 years until 1997 to see us win something (promotion from the old second dvision, Full Members Cup, Zenith Data Systems Trophy and Cross Channel Trophy apart). For all of those intervening years we didn’t look like getting remotely close to resembling a major trophy and that memory lingers long. On that basis I’m more than happy to keep winning the thing and I feel sorry for the other clubs that have decided it is beneath them.
I don’t mind the kick off time, but am sad to see it is no longer the last game of the season. I guess with the Champions League scheduled for Saturdays from now on I assume it will always be this way in future.
I think the lack of communal singing started when they decided to introduce singers. I don’t know if people are subconscious about their own racket in comparison or feel they should be listening, but to me this is where it all started.
The “security” checks mentioned are nothing but a ruse to get you to buy inflated food and drink once you get inside. Unless you are set in the first 3 rows no one (and unless you happen to be Steve Backley) nobody is going to be able to throw a 75cl bottle of Evian onto the playing surface. A small tip is to carry a spare lid in your pocket. They never find it and at least you can get your drink to your seat mostly intact (a major consideration when entrusting a 7 year old to carry a full opened drink to his seat in my experience).
Anyway on to tonight. Should I still believe we can get 4th??
Thanks for the comments all. The taking part may be everything, but you really can’t beat winning.
And blimey in the blink of an eye we’re up to Stanley Park for Round 2. Be great to win but there’s the luxury of not having to deeply care.
Be interesting to see who turns out for a run around.
And what would the Lord Fredirick Stanley, Earl of Derby and 6th Governer General of Canada have made of Saturday’s antics by the sometime denizens of his park?
Must be thankful he’s got others in Blackpool and Vancover I suppose. Bet he’s glad he gave a cup to hockey (icy version) rather than footy.
Great report sir. You were able to inform me while at the same time make me feel like an moron in the same report. I am referring to the seven wonders of world which correspond with the player ratings.
It’s not because of anything you wrote but rather my failure in only being able to recall only 9 of 14 world wonders. Shameful.
Confirms my belief that all the standardized testing in our public schools has spawned a generation of numbers crunchers. I can recall taking an English Literature course my sophomore year of college. That course is where my career in finance was born. Attempting to decipher Beowulf in Ole English made Calculus read like a Sunday comic.
By the way thanks for the tune!
You crafty sod (but an eminently sensible one).
Looks like we drunk a bit too much champagne this weekend.
Glad Liverpool are getting so much pleasure out of a meaningless game.
Hopefully this result tonight has earned Kenny another 12 months at the helm.
Not sure we’ve learnt a great deal tonight.
Beyond the first choice 11/14, we are lacking real quality (but then, who isn’t?). Lukaku is just too young and raw – needs a season on loan somewhere. And not a McEachran loan. One where he actually plays.
As for stand-in keeper, Turnbull is patently not good enough. I moan about Hilarious but he seems much better. Are many teams truly spoilt with keepers? Briefly chatted with the good Dr Bayou on Twitter about Courtois. After a full season at Atletico Madrid where’s he’s been their number 1, he won’t fancy bench-warming as Cechs understudy.
Lastly, in about his forth consecutive game (possible selective memory) Essien could and should have been sent off for an awful challenge. Why can’t he tackle? He’s about the only starter tonight I’d have penned in against Bayern and we can’t afford any more disciplinary issues.
Oh, and Malouda was pretty shit. Bye bye. But he wasn’t as bad as JT. WTF was that car-crash all about?
Malouda, meireles and sturridge had bad performance against N castle yet you replaced sturridge with Mikel in your contribution. Now you mention Essien and Malouda forgetting Sturridge, the worst player of the match. Anyway, if it is pampering that will make him better let us continue.
Thought a wander down the pub for a few beers and a bit of footie would be a pleasant start to this shortened week, but to be honest, I got tired just watching tonight.
I know about the old mantra that footballers are atheletes and they earn £xxx,xxx,etc, but that really was one match too many, and for a game that meant so little to us, and so much to them (revenge, self respect, Kenny’s Kingship, history, delusion, other stuff) we did rather well.
We gave them an own goal, a sloppy slip-up, a keeper’s assist, two whacks on the woodwork, a penalty and more miss-placed passes than I could count, yet we were still playing and threatening to score another consolation goal, or possibly even more, right to the end.
And one more mystery solved.
We now know why Carrol wasn’t picked to start on Saturday.
I knew something was going on with Terry tonight. Does this not qualify at contempt of court.
Have a look at this video. Who looks the more dignified captain between Gerrard and Terry? Who sings with pride and who can’t be bothered. Also have a look at Boswinga’s reaction to the Liverpool supporters. Combination of shock and revulsion.
Some of those buffons burned an American flag in protest of their last owners. Normally when folks burn our flag overseas they claim resentment of how our foreign policy may have adversely impact their lives. How did our foreign policy effect the day to day life in Liverpool. Talk about self-aggrandizement. Pissed off because two pricks didn’t finance their football club to their standard so let’s go protest by desecrating the flag of a country of over $300 million.
It appeared to me last night that our lads looked as if they didn’t want to be there, and the final two league games are a bit of an inconvenience proir to the Munich game. Even Essiens wry smile at his own goal spoke volumes, considering that’s the 37th time we’ve played them in eight seasons they must all be sick of the site of each other.
An observation on Liverpool, it appears they seem to be a better team when Stevie Me isn’t playing, they seemed more relaxed and confident.
How can you say such a thing about young Stevie, isn’t it enough that BB forgot to mention him and Poo as wonders of the world?
And talking about relaxed and confident…That would definitely describe how the guys who didn’t have to play in this midweek on Merseyside, looked.
Pity we couldn’t get a dispensation to put the FA Yoof team out instead – they would probably have done better and enjoyed it more.
Belated arrival at the thread – a fine article, Dr. B.
Very enjoyable day on Saturday – my favourite cup final, I think. Enough has been said about the game and the cult of Liverpool; delusional doesn’t begin to cover it. Apparently last night showed that they will challenge for the title next season.
All about Munich now – can see why Robbie is protecting the key players; the squad is just too thin to be risking the likes of Mikel, Frank and Ashley in games that really don’t matter. Suspect more of the kids would have been involved had they not been playing tonight. Blackburn are already down so no issue with Sunday either – the most pointless top flight game ever?
Yes I’m starting to wonder for Sunday will we see twenty two deckchairs erected all over the pitch, and perhaps a card game breaking out should the natives get restless.
PS Looks like Ray celebrated a bit too much on Saturday as well…. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16986376
You say the Blackburn game is a waste of time but I’m really looking forward to it because Blackburn are now my second favourite team. The sight of their chicken strutting around the penalty box bedecked in Blackburn’s colours has to rank as one of the top clips in Premiership history. I’m hoping he is allowed to travel to away games and he’s not already been turned into nuggets.
I appeal to all Chelsea fans with farming experience to propose a live Chelsea mascot. Clearly it’s got to fit certain criteria such as how we get it through security and in to the stadium. Obviously I could stick a python down my trousers and pass unnoticed but think of the practicalities when let loose on the pitch.
Any serious suggestions may be considered in the next podcast.
I saw a 1 foot worm in my back passage this morning. From the upstairs window I thought it may be a small snake and was a little dissapointed when I got down there to find it was just a very big worm. Had I read this before hand I could have caught it and lent it to you.
If you’ve got a one foot worm in your back passage you need to get to A&E pronto!
If I did that the cat would have nothing to stare at.
No your friendly GP can deal with that, with a packet of Bob Martins.
The cat has never been bothered about boots with a unique air cushioned sole or any other type of footwear come to think it at.
No place for it in this year’s panto, then.
Oh yes there is!
(this is the last post in respect of the worm/cat)
Some wag noted on Twitter that it was fortunate Venkys weren’t in the business of tiger breeding. Liking the idea though – we’ve let AVB loose at Stamford Bridge, after all…
I was hoping Blackburn might play the chicken as a wide man – I thought he showed a confident turn of pace from a standing start and had a nice body swerve that could give Paulo or Bertrand a decent work out.
There’s not much else to encourage turning up at The Bridge on Sunday.
What price Newcastle to nick the 3rd spot and the North London twosome left to fight it out for the right to sweat for a week at the possibility of having their CL spot whipped away by us?
I’m still trying to find my way out of deepest Cornwall. Last night hasn’t happened down here yet so there won’t be a match review post. Reread BB’s masterly effort above instead.
” What price Newcastle to nick the 3rd spot and the North London twosome
left to fight it out for the right to sweat for a week at the
possibility of having their CL spot whipped away by us?”
That would make it (nearly) the perfect season should we lift old big ears, and dump out Arse/Spuds delete as appropriate.
Although we still have to put up with the mutterings of oppo fans and media, that we really shouldn’t be in the final due to the fact we’re only the 6th best team in England this season.
Quite frankly I don’t give a toss, I look at it as being a just reward for the consistency we’ve shown in this competition over the past eight years. If we couldn’t win it when were the best team in Europe, then winning it when we’re not remotely near being in the top ten best, will have me laughing my bollocks off.
The proper objection would be that we are only in the CL by finishing 2nd last year, whereas in the old days you had to “winnit to be innit”.
However once you had won the league and entered the old European Cup you could be relegated the following year for all that it mattered, since it was a competition based on the previous year’s result.
Surely, now that the CL has passed the group stage and become a knock-out cup competition, we only need to be the best cup team in Europe, and we must be in the frame for that honour, having just won ‘The Greatest Club Cup Competition’.
Sorry, I almost forgot. Only red-shirted teams are entitled to that distinction
Disappointing as last night’s result was in some ways, a win would have left us heading into Sunday with the slimmest chance of a 3rd or 4th place finish.
The onus would have been on RDM to ensure we did not slip up against Blackburn, and lets face it teams often play better with the pressure off. So while he could play Ramires, Terry, Ivanovic and Merieles (if fit) he would have been left having to risk other players to ensure a win, which might then still have been in vain. The loss of 3 or 4 key players for the final has meant that he has to shepherd his resources carefully.
So while we are left with the ignominy of 6th and the press trying to pretend that last night was a crunch match in which Liverpool had the satisfaction of ensuring we finished out of the top four, it suits very well in terms of the CL Final.
I know that RDM’s record in the league is now starting to look a little shabby taken in isolation, but context is everything.
So a draw would probably have been the satisfactory result but I can live with it.
Congrats to the Youth Team. Lost 1-0 tonight (though lost players early to injury) but win the FA Youth Cup 4-1 on aggregate.
Let’s hope a few of them aren’t too far away from the first team next season, or benefit from decent loan spells.
Looks like Thibaut Courtois going to win Euroleague while on loan 🙂
Yes, I’ve been watching that game too.
Partly in the hope of seeing at least one of our players become a European Champion (congratulations Courtois — looks like a good keeper too; well, actually, he looks like a dork with a bizarre Teddy Boy quiff, but keeper-wise he seems to know what he’s doing) … and partly to check out channel 5, in case, um, things don’t go to plan.
I have to say, Channel 5 has a lot going for it. Wee Pat … no Tyldesley … Collymore surprisingly interesting as co-commentator … what’s not to like?
But then, I’m sure that’s what everyone in Manchester* was saying back in December.
[* And, of course, Guildford and Epsom, where the United fans are.]
The one thing is for sure the working rate of both teams in the final was crazy! Our pensioners would have been dead by half time.
And congratulations to our yoof too, Yoof Cup champions.
Mark Lawrenson’s predictions and comments from the up coming final day fixtures. This little snippet caught my eye….. “Chelsea simply have nothing to play for because they
cannot finish in the top four after Tuesday’s defeat by Liverpool. Their only route back into the Champions League is as a by-product of winning
it this year”
Is that by-product remark a snide dig at us, basically saying that whoever finishes fourth deserves it more?
Perhaps the nerves of next weeks final is even getting to me, as much as Barca’s defeat was fanatastic it would be a shame if we didn’t go onto win it now!
Not nerves, more like paranoia.
But that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t out to get us.
It has been noted elsewhere, but the number of pundits referring to the final as simply a chance of making it back into the competition (like the ‘holy grail’ of 4th place), rather than, you know, WINNING A BASTARD GREAT TROPHY against one of the giants of European football is quite staggering.
Talking ’bout the final day of EPL.
Without 4th spot to concern us, and Blackburn already relegated, it should be a great opportunity to give those short of match-fitness some game time, and hopefully that includes Cahill and Luiz, although that seems unlikely, given the doubts whether they’ll even make the final.
If they’re not available, should Robbie risk playing the probable defence that will start in Munich, and risk further injuries?
My guess is that he should, given that BB will be playing for pride, and should therefore give us a good test, without going crazy and crocking anyone, of course accidents do happen. If it’s a completely untried defence, then it must be better to give them the opportunity to line up together, at least once, before such a big test.
With the ‘Hopes of the Nation’ resting upon us (isn’t that how the meeja’s supposed to write it up), is there any chance of the two manager’s coming to some sort of Gentlemen’s Agreement?
Totally unofficial (and with plausible deniability) of course.
I share your concern about the central defenders and which team we should play Sunday. I think we should try Drogba at centre half.
Knowing your sense of humour, I’m not sure how serious that suggestion is, but it’s definitely something worth trying.
We know how well he plays in defence, and we do have more options up front. He can still go forward for set-plays, and if the game goes into ET (talking CL), he could probably manage that better as a defender.
It’s a serious suggestion. If Cahill and Luiz aren’t fit (I’m sure/hoping at least one will make it) who is going to play centre half, Boswinga and …. ?
I too would prefer DD
Talk about out of order!
Some twit just texted and I’ve gotta to go back to do some work…
Aye, Drogs at centre half…. he can’t tackle to save his life, so be prepared for a record amount of free kicks and penalties
Luiz set for Rovers return
Does he just go in for a beer and a chat or is he actually working behind the bar?
He’s taken over from Betty in the kitchen.
Worryingly neither will be ready for Sunday. If we start them in Munich what happens if they breakdown after 5 minutes.
Should we call Micky Droy?
Sadly the return of Luiz on Sunday story appears to be about as accurate as many stories in the Currant Bun [and others’] Sports pages:
though RDM is still hopeful 1 or both central defenders may make it for Munich – given the options just discussed I guess we can all see why he’d consider risking them despite not having played a competitive moment for weeks.
Hey Blue Bayou
Is this anything to do with you?
‘Sonic weapon’ deployed in London during Olympics
Are you suggesting that our very own Doctor has been using the Podcast to test his secret Sonic Device for MI6?
Still searching for options.
The club website describes Romeu as “Primarily a deep-lying midfielder, the 6ft Catalan can also play in central defence”
Still on the club site.
Who wrote this crap? – “Despite the revival under Di Matteo’s stewardship, Chelsea’s league
form has been disappointing: four wins and three defeats in our last 10
Barclays Premier League games, or 15 points from a possible 30.
The sixth place finish is the worst since 2001/02 when Claudio Ranieri was manager and Roman Abramovich unheard of. ”
What a negative take on events! Have they already forgotten the state we were in when Robbie took over, and would they really be happier with a fourth place and no FA Cup win or CL final?
This is for a the Club Accountants, from UEFA.com :
taking part in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage can
expect to receive a minimum €7.2m – and the team that goes on to win the
trophy could collect €31.5m, not counting the market pool share. This
is according to the UEFA Champions League revenue distribution system
for the forthcoming 2011/12 campaign.
Each of the 32 clubs
involved in the group stage will receive a participation bonus of €3.9m.
In addition, they will be entitled to a match bonus of €550,000 per
match played in the group stage. Performance bonuses will also see
€800,000 paid for every win and €400,000 for every draw in the group
The sides competing in the round of 16 can also expect to
pick up €3m each, the quarter-finalists €3.3m and the semi-finalists
€4.2m. The UEFA Champions League winners will receive €9m and the
Mark will make more sense of these figures, but (without the PL/Europa League revenue adjustment, and whatever sponsorship deals are in place) it looks as though it’s more profitable to get to the final and not qualify the next year, than it is to scrape into the Group Stages for two years running.
This article might interest you if you want to know about Champions League revenues:
Thanks for that.
The TV pot seems to be a big factor, and there isn’t so much difference between winning and just making even the last 32 after all..
Better make sure we win next week, then.
Frank Lebauf on Soccernet Press Pass discussing Steve Bould’s appointment as
Arsenal assistant manager, said & I quote ” I remember the coach
Giancarlo Viali, it was very hard to understand for him what we had to do as defense”
unquote. Lebauf went on to say that a coach and his assistant should have
specific knowledge about defense and offence to make a system work. Though RDM
is one of my favorite all time players who wore Chelsea FC jersey, nonetheless he
has a long way to go to become a team manager and a first class coach.
Di Matteo – The Grand Canyon. We can only wonder about the depth” – indeed,
Chelsea board has to take a big risk if they appoint RDM as the next Chelsea team
The risk is not in giving him the job, bearing in mind that the contract does not need to be for 6 years at £30million, and we already know that he can make it work.
The real risk is in letting him go.
What does that say to the players?
What does that say to the next manager?
What does that say to JT or whoever else wants to stay on and hopes to manage us in the the future?
When it gets closer to the time, we can talk about this again.
I’m not sure that it’s “Lebauf” who got Gianluca’s name wrong. Just a typo I’m guessing. On that note I don’t think one can compare Vialli to RDM. Vialli never had a serious interest in becoming a manager he just had a very dominant personality (remember the way he and Mancini reportedly ran the team at Sampodoria?).
I’d kinda come to the same conclusion, and was just trying to finish on a lighter note, because I might be a bit too opinionated on this subject.
Of course there’s a risk, but that’s always the case, and there’s nothing to stop us offering a short, 12 or 24 month contract, well below what a ‘big name’ would expect. If things don’t work out, it’s easy (and cheap) to re-appoint, and if Robbie does really well and we want him to extend his contract, that is the time to pay him more, and be glad to do it.
What CFC management has lacked over recent years, for me anyhow, has been continuity.
When Jose left, it wasn’t terminal, despite Avram’s best efforts, but when Steve Clarke went, so too did that era. Same thing with Ray W. He’s Chelsea old school, and whatever he did, it combined with Carlo to produce a splendid team who broke all those records, and when he left…
Complaining about the last few month’s PL form is nonsense when we were already struggling and had so many players looking at a possible last chance to achieve their CL ambitions. There’s also no reason to suppose that starting a new season, we couldn’t replicate our cup form in the league.
Apart from the bollocks of having to hear and read it, how many points has all the negative media cost us? That spate of sendings off at the start of AVB’s tenure: was it conspiracy, or refs just thinking ‘It’s only Chelsea’ when called upon to make a decision?
Robbie pre-dates Roman’s roubles, yet he is still a part of the modern Chelsea and, to me, we just feel more like a proper club again.
Stayed up a bit late to watch the German Cup Final, btw.
Borusia 5 , Bayern 2.
Not sure what that tells us about next week, except that we’re probably better off playing against Munich than Dortmund.
Big congrats to Citeh, you just couldn’t write stuff like that.
Lets make it a third blue team win for the major trophies this season.
Come on Chelsea!
Glad for City, but think that wearing flag of your country while winning club competition is tad pathetic. It is not international competition and it looked pathetic.
Torres and Mata did it at the cup final, don’t see a problem with it personally.
I know how the Citeh fans are feeling tonight after their 44 year wait, brought back memories from 04/05
I totally understand what their fans feel and I wish them all the best! It was dramatic game and great win! As long as Man USA scum lost I am happy. However, it is not that it is problem it is just strange, in my opinion, and when our guys did it I found it strange as well. They play for their club and the only flag is appropriate is flag of their club, I believe.
I agree. Wasn’t happy with Torres and Mata either. Wear the Chelsea flag.
Exactly it is not Olympics, not World or Europe Championship, hence praise your club first and your country second. Clive and LTB it is not the question of accepting nationalities and countries they are all welcome. I just think that is inappropriate for occasion that is all.
I remember Drogs and Duffer fooling around with a flag in May 05 — turning it upside down so it alternated between Ivorian and Irish.
Branners had the Serbian one two seasons ago as well. I quite like seeing all the national flags come out. I think it actually strengthens the idea of the club as the thing that gives all these people common cause. If they were all parading club stuff it would look like a branding exercise.
I’d much rather have players (and fans) being proud of their (different) countries than, say, booing their own national anthem, or taking pride in the fact that they don’t care about their national teams. (Like the Manc fans cheerily singing “There goes your World Cup” when Rooney was injured dahn the Bridge in the early summer of 2006.)
Totally agree LTB, more than happy to embrace all nationalities and their flags.
And speaking of Manc fans, may I add my congratulations to the Citeh lot, and be the first to offer the others a childish, spiteful and yet happily irresistible HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Have to say I couldn’t really give a fig on the whole flag thing – whether they wave their own national flags or a Jolly Roger is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme. Stems from my general dislike of the vocal minority bellowing at folk that they have to sing X or do Y when supporting the club – it’s a very personal thing and not for anyone else to dictate how your express your support or emotions.
Congratulations to City; best of a pretty average bunch this season, but what a way to win it. The looks on the faces of Rio and Fergie were priceless and probably a beautiful sight if you were a City fan and have spent decades watching them celebrate. Good luck to ’em.
And it was a nice little warm-up act for the main event in Munich on Saturday…
It is rather strange ability to label your opponent with such words as “dictate”, “not accepting nationalities” and so on, very strange. I feel that by the end of the day I might be proclaimed nationalist and banned for life from this blog 🙂 I am not telling and certainly not dictating to anyone how to express emotions. However, there are different ways to express your emotions and some of them might be inappropriate for occasion. Some of the ways might be even illegal, some might look ugly and some might be simply inappropriate like for instance inappropriate dress code and this is what I am trying to say. In my case wearing your own flag on clubs competition is probably like mixing up dress code.
Not labelling anyone – just stating an opinion. And whether this whole flag lark is inappropriate or not is purely subjective. And like I said, I really couldn’t give a fig.
Great that we all have different opinions, otherwise life would have been boring.
I wholeheartedly encourage the waving of the Jolly Roger, would be perfect for Branners.
Alex McLeish poised to leave Aston Villa
Perfect, he’ll be available by the time we return from Munich.
highlights Chelsea vs Blackburn
Extracted from the club website:
“Chelsea Football Club would like to make local residents and supporters
aware that if the club wins the Champions League Final we will hold a
parade in the Fulham area on Sunday.
It is anticipated that many thousands of people may want to view the
parade and for public safety reasons, the roads listed will be
restricted and some totally closed to through-vehicle traffic from early
Sunday morning until the crowds disperse. Detailed information
including a map of the diversion route is available via links below.
The three councils involved are writing to all residents and
businesses about the areas that could be affected by the parade to alert
people to the arrangements on the day, including the road closures that
will be needed.
No parade will take place if we lose the Champions League Final.”
Whoever’s responsible for that final sentence: I salute you, madam or sir.
I just want to give a massive thank you to Didier and Paulo if that was in fact their last game at the Bridge. I’d write more but I have been chopping onions and don’t want to do any potential damage my keyboard. So to you Paulo, “Obrigado,” and to you Didier, “Merci Beaucoup.” Lastly to The Shed, I just offer my applause.
That was a long maintenance period Nick, did you break something while meddling? 😉
Why I Hate The Champions League – a must read, this guy is good.
Splendid. It will be a point of discussion in the Podding Shed Champions League special – recording on Thursday (hey, if we’re plugging…)
On behalf of the more superstitious members of the Blog (and past research has revealed one or two) can I ask that no one in the Podding Shed is asked to make a prediction about the upcoming fixture?
It’ll probably just come down to ‘We’re doooooomed’ by the time we’re finished…
…which seemed to be your collective view on RDM’s chances of getting the job permanently on the latest Podding Shed too – and rightly so, I’d say from the recent Kremlinological utterings of Gourlay, Buck and the official website about their wretched insistence on finishing in the CL qualifying positions.
Meanwhile in another part of the madhouse, I read somewhere that QPR’s owners are claiming their survival in EPL by the skin of their teeth thanks to still more abysmal refereeing decisions against Bolton justifies their decision to sack Warnock half way through the season.
Managers really are the cannon fodder of football now, though even Scottish solidarity wouldn’t get me to defend Alex McLeish who has produced some of the dullest football in EPL at both Birmingham and Villa now.
Chelsea FC put a photo on Facebook showing both Cahil and Luiz training. Hopefully they both will recover.
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