Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (2-3 on agg) – Our Reign in Spain Destroys the Mainly Vain

A little preamble

Football eh? Bloody hell!

So said Sir Rednose Baconface of Salford Quays once upon a time. A man I hate and admire in almost equal measures based purely on jealousy. I have a theory that no one knows anything about football but maybe, just maybe the crusty old Scottish troll currently guarding the toll gate of Old Trafford might have more of an inkling than most. In reality I suspect that last night, as the cheeks reddened, the claret flowed more freely, even Sir Alex himself was scratching his head and tearing up every theory of football he thought he knew. Of course in reality because the very game itself is such a potpourri of chance, skill and downright anti-logic. Any ‘professor’ of football is a charlatan who bases opinion on statistics and tenuous connections. And that includes every single one of us fans. Every one of us illogical, superstitious fools. You want an oxymoron? How about ‘Logical football fan’.

Other brief observations. Barcelona are our uber-nemesis. They are the footballing equivalent of Samantha Brick… not quite as beautiful as they like to think. They have no plan B. If they can’t walk the ball through you then they enter some kind of football processing loop whereby they end up living the mantra of Einstein that stated ‘the definition of madness is repeating the same thing over and again and expecting different results’.

They are the worst kind of football narcissists ever seen. I have a word for this. It’s Barcissism. They can’t pass a mirror without a sideways glance and an imaginary pass of the ball. I imagine they have the sort of dressing room that might be packed with John Frieda-style crimpers and preeners, air heavy with the aroma of Chanel Pour Monsieur, but specially repackaged as Chanel Por Senor. I have another thought. Perhaps the ball itself has a sadistic streak and is sick of being passed to death. Tickled constantly when what it really wants is a large slap across its imaginary arse.

Some might call us the anti-football, but last week and last night I prefer that Chelsea be thought of as the antidote to the sickly sweet poison of tiki-taka football conveyed through the medium of dance.

The game – first half

As any fule kno I don’t really give a stuff about tactical formations, and even less so to statistics. For me tactics often get slung out of the pram with the toys when the other team does something unexpected. Statistics are the root of all scaremongering or oneupmanship and if anything proved the sheer bollocksness (new word?) of statistics as the sole premise of debate or argument then our recent games versus Benfica and Catalonia FC shows just how rotten and meaningless they can be. Apart from one stat, the one in the goals column, nothing else matters that much.

I was full of nerves and as daft as it sounds it took a real effort to sit down and watch as the tippy-tappy ballet dancing prima-donnas started to waltz through us in their flouncing, prancing, diving manner. Within five minutes, despite a bright start for us, it was obvious we were going to be subject to football’s equivalent of Rorke’s Drift yet again. That or Little Bighorn.

Nine minutes in and Cahill slides awkwardly after being turned by Messi in the box. This was a bad omen as Cahill was so impressive at the Bridge. The obvious move was to bring on Bosingwa at right-back and move Ivan to centre-back. Bosingwa did come on but even now it’s not obvious what took place in defence. In my eyes it looked like we lost a right-back and gained an extra centre-back. When the inevitable Barcelona goal came it was because whoever our right-back was supposed to be had disappeared. I doubt there was a Chelsea fan who was surprised at their overall match-equalizing goal but that wasn’t game over by any means.

No that came shortly after from an act of monumental stupidity from John Terry. That sentence says it all. I’m sure we will cover this in the Podding Shed but those words will ring loud. Monumental stupidity. So, with 10 minutes of the half left we were a goal down, a key defender down through injury and now without our captain and other main centre-back. Inevitably, rattled by this run of events, our heads dropped fractionally and within minutes Barcelona had doubled their on the night lead and taken the aggregate lead in the match. Was I alone in thinking this was the end? I doubt it. I bet even the red nose troll was thinking it was game over with some glee.

Then came the turning point. With one minute of the added time up, we finally got the ball and with a stunning move that the Barcissists themselves would have been proud of Lampard played the perfect ball to the hard working and deeply impressive Ramires to score a goal of pure impudence and skill.

Our lead is restored. Football eh? Bloody hell!

At this point I had unrolled my white flag ready for it to be hoisted atop the pole. When Ramires scored, despite my joy, the overriding thought was ‘Oh no, what have you done?’ Once again the Demon of Hope had reared its head and lifted its skirt showing me the merest glimpse of stocking top to tempt me into believing a result was due.

The game – second half

At this point the checklist was complete. Daughter doing homework upstairs. Check. Laptop off. Check. Defibrillator ready. Check. Mobile phone off. Check.

I had raised the flag of surrender. I had looked the Demon of Hope in the eye. Felt her hot breath on my face, glimpsed the lacy stocking top of temptation and done the right thing. I had walked away. I write this précis of the second half as someone who had the diluted joy and pain of watching after I knew the result. And because of my strength I am alive this morning because I’m damn sure one of my internal fuses would have popped had I watched it all ‘live’.

In summary, Barcelona laid siege on us. Fabregas showed he has learnt new skills with a dive to get a penalty and give Messi the chance to finally score against us. But the Demon of Hope could not cast a greater spell than the God of Sweet Revenge. Messi hit the bar and if there was a second turning point then this was it. It was as if the bubble of Barcissism had been finally pricked. After this they went into an endless processing loop of pass and move. Time and again they tried to weave through a defensive wall that stood solid. It was like pounding the granite walls of a castle with snowballs. The more the half went on, the more the frustration crept into the Barca game and the more their game went awry. Passes failed to reach targets. Moves broke down. Messi began to think he was alone. And Chelsea showed just how a band of brothers can beat the odds. Yes, we’d lost a man due to his own stupidity, but we’d gained spirit and belief. No Chelsea player was being carried. Kalou had one chance but froze in the headlights. He’s a goner for sure, but we’ll need him to do the right thing for the remainder of the season. Bosingwa cleared the ball like a pub player for the most part but that’s what we needed. Vanilla clearance, not precision clearance.

Drogba was replaced by Torres which seemed odd as Didier was revelling in being the ultimate utility player, defending, marauding, left-back, centre-back, right-back, midfield general and striker. But Torres is a Madrid boy and has a good record of goals versus Barca. Like Meireles’ joy in putting one over on Benfica, Torres now had the chance to do similar to Barcelona. And boy was that about to come to fruition. In the last 10 minutes of the game, as the Demon of Hope battled the God of Sweet Revenge one felt that a moment of magic from Iniesta or any of their players might destroy us as it did at the Bridge on that infamous Ovrebo night. But as the Demon of Hope was being weakened she finally succumbed and stood side by side with the God of Sweet Revenge to let our brave knights slay the Dragon of Barcissism.

If you haven’t listened to the Sky commentary then I urge you to find it and listen because as Torres ran up the field and rounded Valdes, the noise from Gary Neville showed you that despite being a committed Manc, the man has football in his veins. I can only describe the noise as orgasmic as Torres coolly ran the sword through their heart. A moment of joy for us and an iconic moment for Sky who will no doubt get full mileage from this extraordinary piece of commentary.

The epilogue

Player ratings on such a night would be churlish because they all deserve a 9/10 bar John Terry. The good speaks for itself but honourable mentions for Ramires, Lampard, Drogba, Torres, Ivan, Cole and Mikel Obi should be made. The bad would have to be the fact that we lose four top players for the final due to bookings, which may have been inevitable and a red, which was unarguable but completely avoidable. I wonder if we can ask for an amnesty on the yellow cards bearing in mind we’re sweating on Cahill and Luiz being fit.

The ugly would be that stupid act from JT. His punishment is to miss what in all likelihood will be his last final in this competition. This is a very heavy personal price for him, which makes the act even more mystifying. His defence that ‘he is not that sort of player’ rings rather hollow to me. It just begs so many questions, the key one being ‘if that’s the case, John, then why… just why?’

But as stated, we will no doubt cover that in the Podding Shed. Let’s not allow it to detract from the fact that last night we made the seemingly impossible become possible. The reason I started supporting Chelsea was because of our underdog status and in general I will always favour the underdog. If ever there was David and Goliath analogy then last night was it.

We haven’t won anything of course so let’s not break out the cigars and bubbly just yet. However, in terms of great performances, great comebacks and sheer terror and joy then last night is amongst the greatest ever Champions League nights. Hell, even some of my Manchester Untied and Arsenal supporting friends have doffed their caps in our direction.

And now we sit back, in two finals and just waiting to see who we’ll meet. As much as I love Jose I don’t want to face Real Madrid because if any team knows how to dig in like us it will be them. I’ll take Bayern then please.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

The press reports

The Guardian, Daniel Taylor: “There are many emotions inspired by Chelsea’s arrival in the final but, more than anything, it is sheer wonder. They refused to be cowed after John Terry’s red card and deserve their place in Munich on 19 May because of the heroism that went into a night of rare achievement and glory. As triumphs in adversity go, the night they went down to 10 men and knocked out Barcelona on their own ground will take some beating.”

The Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “Let’s kill the anti-football jibes. Faced with technically superior opponents, Chelsea had to defend deep, particularly after Terry’s red, often leaving Drogba a distant figure, almost in Andorra. Let’s celebrate a triumph of willpower, of a sheer gutsy determination to resist the Catalan waves that flowed towards them.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “On the occasion of the great Nou Camp siege of 24 April, 2012, the ten men of Chelsea held the fort and through the drama, the desperation and their sheer bloody determination they saved the best moment until last.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “There cannot have been many nights more dramatic nor heroic in the history of Chelsea Football Club. Having gone 2-0 behind on the night and one man down in the first half, we scored in stoppage time at the end of each half to book a date in Munich for our second Champions League Final.”

The goals

35′ Busquets 1-0
43′ Iniesta 2-0
45+1′ Ramires 2-1
90+1′ Torres 2-2

There are 129 comments

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  1. Ave11

    Sweet sweet revenge, did you see the look on Frank’s face after Torres scored? Still walking on air this morning. Its great to be Chelsea.

  2. Blueboydave

    A splendid effort, TG.

    Due to a longstanding commitment I was out till late yesterday evening, but managed to get back home without hearing any clues about the score or what had happened during the game.

    So I watched my recording of Sky’s coverage as if live.

    Like you, when our defence finally started to offer up huge gaps as Barca went 2-0 up my heart sank.

    I was still debating whether to make judicious use of the x6 and x12 buttons to spare myself the full horror of the inevitable slaughter to come when Lamps and Ramires repeated their first half stoppage time trick of last week and that pesky hope was alive again.

    I managed to watch the entire 2nd half at normal speed even though it was now approaching 1 a.m. and I’d got past my fingernails and was gnawing close to the knuckles by then.

    Until Nando gave us the equivalent of the Wayne Bridge goal when we broke the hex that the Gooners had held over us for years and joy became unbounded.

    I was thinking that even the Alan Hansen Bumper Book of Football Pundit Cliches couldn’t begin to find the words to describe last night but I just love :

    “the bubble of Barcissism had been finally pricked”!

  3. Cunningplan

    Superb report Tony, you’ve perfectly summed up the essence of the whole soap opera which is us and Barca in the CL.
    Your point on Gary Neville and his orgasmic groaning when Torres rounded Valdes, will have me chuckling for years. It was sound effects, and TV drama of the highest order, I laughed out loud when I watched and heard it last night. Hell I reckon  the judges on the voice would have all turned around in their chairs and declared him the winner.

    A few other observations on the game and subsequent reporting. There was hardly any emphasis on that cheating ex Arsenal twat who dived for the penalty, we all know what the reaction would have been if it was Drogs. Also the reporting that Messi also hit the post, omitting the fact it was a tremendous save from Cech, which deserved praise.
    But lets not forget that goal from our Brazilian, who looks more like, and runs like an Ethiopian, if it was Messi with the pass from Xavi we all know what the headlines would have been.

    All the players left on the pitch last night were heroes (in footballing terms) but one special mention to Frank.
    Always regarded by most as a good but not a great midfielder, always the bridesmaid when mentioned alongside Stevie Me. But here is a guy who has scored more goals from midfield than any other premiership footballer including Gerrard, has been a consummate pro for us and always give his best. He deserves more respect and praise than he normally gets, and I wouldn’t swap him for Gerrard any day of the week.

    • man city fan

      congrats chelsea from a man city fan, fantastic performance againest all the odds. great to see torres get that goal been painful watching him struggle

  4. limetreebower

    So, I’m switching over my internet provider, and yesterday was the day the BT engineer was scheduled to show up and switch the broadband line at Chez Limetreebower to some snazzy new ultra-fast thingy.

    What they didn’t tell me was that even with the new ultra-fast thingy hooked up and tested and flashing reassuring green lights, they weren’t actually going to turn on my new internet service for another couple of days.

    Ergo, all yesterday evening I had no internet. I can only get Sky via a wireless subscription on an iPod: no internet, no wireless, no Sky, no watching the game.

    Also, no internet, no minute-by-minute reports. Remember what it was like before the mid-90s, when being at home was actually like being isolated from everything outside your four walls? A peculiarly retro sensation.

    I suppose I could have turned on the radio but to be honest I was slightly glad of the excuse not to have to sit through the inevitable torment.

    So tonight I’ll watch ITV highlights safe in the knowledge that it’s all going to end happily.

    There’s no possible way we won’t get stuffed in the final, of course. But then there was absolutely no possible way at all we could have beaten the Barcissists (kudos, Tony) over two legs either.

    Unbelievable stuff.

  5. Gene

    Fantastic report ol’ bean. Barca/Chelsea fixtures have become the equivalent of Nadal/Federer, Sampras/Agassi, Connors/McEnroe.

    Last night’s match at Nou Camp was one for the ages, one that will be talked about for a while I imagine. Yes, I thought it was over after the JT send-off, but I also thought if we could just get to halftime to regroup then maybe, just maybe.. Lo and behold — Ramires.

    Champions whatever happens May 19. Up the Blues.

  6. mark_25

    Great stuff Tony.

    It’s now 12:28 and I’ve spent over 5 hours sorting my flights and rooms for Munich.  Should really get on with some work now but might spend the afternoon reading all available match reports.

  7. Blue_MikeL

    Great review Tony, thanks! I have watched the game yesterday twice. Today I have watched zillion of times all highlights on all existing languages on this planet. Commentators are going crazy, when Torres scores and this craziness is just music to my ears!!!!
    Come on Chelsea! 

  8. Paulbl52

    Bring on Real Madrid. It was a great and heroic night! But after tomorrow the talk will turn to Real or Bayern. Let me say now, I hope its is RM and Jose. I think this is finally the moment when Chelsea can move on, by staring down Jose and finally beating him and consigning his era to history. It appears that RDM is the man for this. In fact he’s probably looking forward to it. This manager must have a giant pair. If Chelsea downs Jose’s RM in Germany, we will have turned the corner and really be in “the transformation” that is talked about so much. Also, RDM will have earnt the right to shape the new Chelsea by seeing off the old era. In this process we will discover/consolidate our own brand of football, not try to adopt one modeled on Barcelona or the other “beautiful game” purveyors. 

  9. Cunningplan

    As Tony has decided to invent new words, then it’s only fitting that Gary Neville in his excitement last night gets one, how about a Nevillegasm?

    • Blue_MikeL

      some people suggested ‘goalgasm’. As mathematician I would have generalized on both and have something like ‘nevigoalgasm’   

  10. WorkingClassPost

    #toc, .toc, .mw-warning { border: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170); background-color: rgb(249, 249, 249); padding: 5px; font-size: 95%; }#toc h2, .toc h2 { display: inline; border: medium none; padding: 0pt; font-size: 100%; font-weight: bold; }#toc #toctitle, .toc #toctitle, #toc .toctitle, .toc .toctitle { text-align: center; }#toc ul, .toc ul { list-style-type: none; list-style-image: none; margin-left: 0pt; padding-left: 0pt; text-align: left; }#toc ul ul, .toc ul ul { margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 2em; }#toc .toctoggle, .toc .toctoggle { font-size: 94%; }body { font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); widows: 2; font-style: normal; text-indent: 0in; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt; text-decoration: none; text-align: left; }table { }td { border-collapse: collapse; text-align: left; vertical-align: top; }p, h1, h2, h3, li { color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: ‘Times New Roman’; font-size: 12pt; text-align: left; }

    Well done Tony (I’m still a bit speechless), and when suggesting that you would need to ‘find your own words’ for the report, little did I know that you would take it so literally – could JT have done the same when told that Barca needed a ‘kick up the arse’?

    Although bolloksness may not find it’s way into the OED, I feel certain that Barcissism will be in every training manual that discusses how not to play football.

  11. bluebayou

    Marvellous Tony.

    I’m short of time today so can’t leave a long and involved comment.

    But I’m sure we’ll have a chat tomorrow night.

    Fabulous fabulous night.

  12. WorkingClassPost

    Gonna use the new words topic as a tenuous link to last night.

    Watched on Italian Sky, which sometimes has English commentary, and sometimes Italian. There’s usually the option to turn the words off and just have the crowd noise, which is best and that’s how it was last night.

    Anyway, after the game I had intended moseying up the road for the English Sky to listen to the post-match, but the Italian studio had Zola and Vialli doing the honours, and although I could barely understand a word, just watching those two guys grinning from ear to ear, kept me firmly in place.

    Superb night.

  13. eismcsquare

    Great post, Tony, and loved the picture!

    Today is better than any other day. Everything is right in their place
    (including Barca, Messi, the disappointed media), bright, sun shining
    and all. 

  14. Murdoch MacDonald

    Has anyone calculated whether or not from our decimated Champions League squad it will be mathematically possible fo field a full team for the CL Final, let alone a full bench? And if so, what the team selection options will be?

    • GrocerJack

      I think we have an issue if Cahill and Luiz are unfit. No recognised defenders might be a cue to beg UEFA for repeal of Ivans yellow at the least. Sam hutchinson is in the squad but whether he’s register for the CL isn’t stated. My guess would be if Luiz and Cahill stay fit then we’re ok, albeit with the risky Bos at right back, although Paolo Ferreira might be OK and he’s rarely let us down. 

      For me the biggest miss is Ramires who really has returned to his early season form in style. The boy will be a huge star for us. Having said that we have options with Malouda who may fancy going out in glory, or playing Essien in Ramires place, after all Essien made his name as a marauding forward playing midfielder. Perhaps RDM might return Romeu to the side for QPR as well to get his match fitness ready. 

      I don’t think it’s as bad as is being painted UNLESS Luiz and Cahill are out. 

      • bluebayou

        Bosingwa has played center back against two of Europe’s powerhouses, Barcelona and Spurs and we haven’t lost, Essien has also filled in there as has Paulo, but with less success… Paulo RB, Bos CB, Essien CB and Cole LB looks like as good a defensive quartet as you’ll get on any given day anywhere on planet football.

        Next problem? Midfield. Malouda, Lamps, Mikel and Mata or maybe Kalou instead of Malouda. Top. Sorted.

        I can see now how RDM has done so well. This coaching craic is quite simple once you set down with a fresh piece of paper, a sharp pencil and an insightful understanding of the modern game.

        I feel I tick all the boxes, or would have if me pencil hadn’t broken.

        I believe I forgot the pencil sharpener.

        Detailed planning has perhaps let me down and left the field open for RDM to take the full time post. But I take comfort from it being a close run thing.

  15. Harry

    to Chelsea team, and a big thank to RDM and EN. I take my hat off to Pepe Guardiola
    for his impeccable manners. His post match interview was brutally honest. Guardiola
    is a class act.

  16. Oladiran Abimbola

    Bosingwa Luiz Cahill Cole
       Essien Mikel Lampard
    Mata                     Kalou

    Hilario, Ferreira, Betrand, Romeu, Malouda, Sturridge, Torres

    Problem solved ( Luiz and Cahill make it that is)

  17. Blueinmyveins

    What a game! The sheer relief when Torres scored, after 90 minutes of agony and suspense, reminded me just why I love football quite so much.

    Tony, superb piece all round. However I’ve got to pick out these couple of paragraphs as some of the best football journalism I’ve read:

    “Other brief observations. Barcelona are our uber-nemesis. They are
    the footballing equivalent of Samantha Brick… not quite as beautiful as
    they like to think. They have no plan B. If they can’t walk the ball
    through you then they enter some kind of football processing loop
    whereby they end up living the mantra of Einstein that stated ‘the
    definition of madness is repeating the same thing over and again and
    expecting different results’.

    They are the worst kind of football
    narcissists ever seen. I have a word for this. It’s Barcissism. They
    can’t pass a mirror without a sideways glance and an imaginary pass of
    the ball. I imagine they have the sort of dressing room that might be
    packed with John Frieda-style crimpers and preeners, air heavy with the
    aroma of Chanel Pour Monsieur, but specially repackaged as Chanel Por
    Senor. I have another thought. Perhaps the ball itself has a sadistic
    streak and is sick of being passed to death. Tickled constantly when
    what it really wants is a large slap across its imaginary arse.”

    Hilarious and brilliantly accurate.

  18. NorthernVA

    Great report Tony. Looks like Bayern lost three players for the final. I like the potential match up of Drogba vs Jerome Boateng. Could be some good huntin’ over there in Bavaria.

  19. GrocerJack

    A shameless plug because a re-edited version of this piece is only official web site (with a plug for us as well).

    The Podding Shed sessions re-start tonight. The Good Lord Kaiser has suggested an hour of insane cackling laughter and ripping the piss from statisticians. I’m thinking of inviting Mario Gomez into the cupboard for some tutoring from Crouchy on how to finish.

    And from now on , surely as good CF fans we now have to refer to our opponents as Brian Munich?

    • Cunningplan

      I would just like to draw everyone’s attention to a fine piece written by our esteemed Mr Glover on the official site…

      I will add once again Tony your shameless plagiarism of my posts with the Ali rope a dope analogy.
      decided that the legal approach is futile, so expect a visit from two
      ex SAS heavies once I’ve saved up some money to pay for them. 😉

      I think you can see Mr G, I made the plug for you on a previous blog, please keep up 😉

  20. WorkingClassPost

    There’s just no let up with these fixtures.

    Would’ve liked to enjoy Tuesday for a little longer, but the future beckons.

    So Bayern are without three to our four and in the interests of spectacle at these showpiece events, there must surely be scope for some sort of yellow card swap, where both teams can agree to allow players to roll their cards over to next season in a reciprocal, one for one, deal.

    That said, our squad may be stronger than theirs and go some way to offset their home advantage, if we resolve the injury problems.

    In a strange way, though, the bans could be beneficial.

    We now know who can play in which tournament, so selection and protection decisions are already partly made and the key players restricted to domestic competitions can now give them 100% (mind you, that’s at least 10% less than they’ve been giving of late, but you know what I mean).

    • Der_Kaiser

      Think straight reds should stand for the final, but to rob any player of the chance to play in the biggest match of his career based on cumulative yellows is ridiculously harsh for both sides.

      Does sometimes make the decisions easier for the manager, though – remember when Grant lost various players for the African Nations Cup and ended up playing SWP out of position.  We fared very well and went on a decent run from there – sure it just made things easier for him (and that’s not a dig at the guy either).

      • WorkingClassPost

        From that article:-

        Simon Barker a spokesman for FIFPro, said: “Anybody committing a
        serious offence in the semi-final should be awarded a red card and miss
        the final, but the offences that result in a yellow card do not justify
        the serious punishment of missing the match of your life.”

        Good to note that others read what our own Kaiser has to say:-

        Think straight reds should stand for the final, but to rob any player of the chance to play in the biggest match of his career based on cumulative yellows is ridiculously harsh for both sides.

  21. Fiftee

    Excellent stuff. Really encapsulates the moment. Props.

    Am wondering if we’ll see the lesser-spotted Romeu a bit now? An outsider for the final I hope.

    Glad Bayern are missing a few as well (a shame Lahm didn’t get booked to miss out though). Pity one of their swaps will be Thomas Muller – how does he not start? It’ll be hugely tough, but a firing Drog (please go out on a bang) could terrorise their back 4.

    Also, can we just give RDM the job please. Have got a horrible feeling that despite whatever he does, the suits at the club will still want to plump for a ‘name’ and he’ll be gone. He thoroughly deserves a chance next season, even if he does go all AVB and balls it right up.

    • mark_25

      Although when Mourinho ended with “… they know nothing” it did conjure up an image of Manuel speaking to Basil in Fawlty Towers denying all knowledge of placing a bet.

  22. Cunningplan

    Could someone please read this article, and tell me that Richard Williams is actually being complimentary about us?

    • WorkingClassPost

      More a case of being lightly less uncomplimentary than usual.

      Seems he struggled to get over his prejudices, and had to as far away as Italy and France to see what truly impartial (and knowledgeable?) reporters were saying.

    • Blueboydave

      He comes really close, but can’t quite bring himself to say he agrees with those who have been complimenting us.

      Intrigued by his little snippet saying Roman wasn’t at the Nou Camp on Tuesday. 

      I’m sure I read an article somewhere at the weekend saying that his was one of the massive super yachts dominating and cluttering up the seaport that some of the locals were getting sniffy about?

  23. Blue_MikeL

    Formally Di Mateo has achieved, so far a bit less than uncle Avraam did. The same as Grant he has guided us to FA Cup final and to CL final, we are lower in the league than we were with Grant, but formally it is more or less the same achievement, so far. 
    Grant has lost both finals and if RDM can make a difference there it would be great, really great and yes, if he makes it he deserves the job!

    • WorkingClassPost

      Grant inherited the best team in UK and just let them get on with it.

      About the cards: Doubt if there is a precedent or even if that is the solution and it’s too late for this final, but it was a thought for what might be sensible in big cup competitions.

      Does it make sense that a player who gets more yellows (or even reds) earlier in the competition can serve the ban and then play in the final?

      • Blue_MikeL

        This is why I said ‘formally’, when I compared Grant and RDM, but of course the circumstances are completely different.
        I really want RDM to conjure a magic with this team, save the season and win both Cups!!!!     

        • WorkingClassPost


          What I was getting at was that Avram didn’t actually do very much, regardless of what we nearly won, whereas this season’s turnaround has been the result of real effort by all concerned.

          hi to Australia, too.

          • Blue_MikeL

            No doubt two managers had completely different tasks; Grant had a task of not breaking, RDM had a task of fixing. However, when it comes to the dotted line the formal approach will be used, unfortunately, and I wish to RDM to cross this line and win both finals!!!!!!    

  24. WorkingClassPost

    Question for the experts here:

    Does it still count as a one-two if the middle guy takes a second touch?

    If so, then the Ramires goal must be one of the longest ever. He passed the ball to Frank from inside our half and picked up the return in their penalty area for the chip.

  25. Petercfcstagg

    Great blog guys, have been reading for a while now and after the amazing inspiring events of Tuesday night I am inspired to add my take on proceedings…

    I had a premonition before the game I would wake up here in Australia having missed the match only to read “Chelsea stun Barcelona”. Well BBC website said just that but in reality I did wake up in time only to wish I hadn’t bothered once the second goal went in. I very nearly turned off the TV and went back to bed for some cuddles with better half, but I stuck with it and boy am I glad I did.

    Ramires chip was sublime, Messi’s penalty was amazing but what was inspiring was the way every Chelsea player left on the pitch defended like I have never seen before. There was no rash tackles, no bullying tactics just good old fashioned English grit and backs to the wall fighting to win.

    Is our name finally etched on the CL jug ?? Bayern will be a completely different proposition and can no way be underestimated and we are probably starting as the underdog, but for same strange reason I have this calmness over the prospect of playing the final, the like of which I have never had before watching Chelsea play for the last 40 years or so.

    It really does seem that after the dissappointment of AVBs reign, we are about to rescue a season that 8 weeks ago looked dead and buried. RDM certainly has allowed the players to rediscover their belief they can win any game.

    After all the disappointments in previous years in the CL it just might be destiny that finally for RA his wet dream will come true…

  26. GrocerJack

    Welcome to the site. You may be the most geographically distant reader we have yet encountered!

    • Radicalevan

      No need for the vitriolic words, me thinks. I strongly doubt he’d come to  Chelsea, it just wouldn’t match.

      And I would generally caution against too much “fuck ’em all!” comments. We are starting to sound a bit like Liverpool fans of the 2004 vintage.

      • Radicalevan

        Also, Courtois will be in the Europa Cup final.

        Nice to know we have two European final calibre goalkeepers on our team.

      • NorthernVA

        So he called Pep a twat and that somehow places him in the deluded,  self-entitled, condescending, completely tone deaf realm that LFC supporters occupy. I don’t agree with everything Blue_MikeL post however I will defend is right to call Pep a twat without being slapped with that label. Interesting that Pep is above reproach however, I believe it was you, a Chelsea supporter can equate the overall football abilities of Drogba with that of Kenwyne Jones. Even the most narrow-minded LFC supporter wouldn’t be that derisive. I doubt the Valencia defenders of whom they both faced in Europe would hold your same opinion.

        Valedictions for Pep are being done en masse over on the comment section for the most recent Sid Lowe piece on the Guardian. That comes with the disclaimer “if you have a weak stomach stay away.” You will find much more correlation with the Barca supporters and LFC in that comment section over there than you will here. 

        The Pep reign began in earnest with the blood toil, tears, and sweat of 12 men at Stamford Bridge. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride that three years on it took only ten Chelsea men to end it. Kudos to Pep and his Barca error team as they have beaten every time they have faced in that period except for CFC. In the words of Jake LaMotta, “Ah, Ray you never got me down, you never got me down Ray.”

        PS- I am going to buy a Sevilla jersey. I’m glad to see a club in La Liga as disgusted with the Madrid Barcelona hegemony. These supporters are truly worthy of everyone’s admiration. 

        • Blue_MikeL

          Thanks for speaking in my defense. May be it is a strong word, but I will never forget SB, when we were outdone by inept referee and the whole world was talking about ‘genius’ coach and ‘genius’ players. This time we had almost unbiased referee and it took only 10 Chelsea players to burst the bubble.  And at that very moment, when Pep had to support his team and stay behind them, allow me please, this twat went and announced that he is leaving. There is still Copa del Ray final to play, there is still slim, but chance in La Liga, but instead of fighting he started to cry. Ohhh dear what a twat!

          • NorthernVA

            No problem mate. This week should be declared VAF week otherwise known as “Victory for the Anti-Football Week.” Any shots below the belt towards The Greatest Tippy Tap Team in the World Inc.., shall be encouraged. Everyone check your humility at the door 🙂 

    • WorkingClassPost

       Terrific article, but while he’s got the politics right, he still misses the point, that we went out to play and score goals.

      We all know what happens when CFC try to just hang on…we end up losing, and against Barca, that would’ve been an absolute certainty.

      Most times we got the ball we tried to attack, and most of their best possession and chances, came after they had stopped some of our moves upfield.

      It’s just different styles of play. When we got the ball forward within the first few seconds at their place, we didn’t try to keep it and deny them possession, we moved it into their box and were reasonably close to getting a shooting opportunity. We didn’t, and they took possession of the ball for another few minutes of inconsequential kickabout.

      Which style is better? Who can say.

      Which style was more effective? Over two games, we scored most, and are in the final.

      One-sided possession may look good to some, but it’s very negative and
      can be extremely boring, with no ebb and flow, and no thrust and parry.

      Like a boxer who deliberately drops his guard to draw an opponent out, sometimes you must let them have the ball, or you end up with tedious stalemate.

      On a purely football note, I hope that Pep stays there and tries to improve them. If he believes the publicity that they couldn’t get any better, and quits, then that would be really sad, he’s a young manager and they might yet become what people think they are already.

      And I really hope he doesn’t come to SB, because if that’s the best he can do with them, then we’ve already beaten his best, so why on earth would even our board want him?

      • mark_25

        I agree.  I think it would be better for JT and Chelsea if JT keeps a low profile during the final.  Join the boys in the dressing room after.

        • WorkingClassPost

          Yes, hopefully he’ll already have lifted the FA Cup by then, so it won’t be such an issue.

          Whatever gets planned, though, if we do pick up old Big Ears, protocol and everything else will probably go out the window.

          • mark_25

            Alternatively maybe UEFA could take a lead from the Premier League and scrap the presentation ceremony to avoid any embarrassment of legal conflicts.

          • WorkingClassPost

             Alternatively maybe UEFA could take a lead from the Premier League and
            scrap the presentation ceremony to avoid any embarrassment of legal

            If we win CL, Plattini will probably demand a minute’s silence.

          • Cunningplan

            I should imagine there is a referee in a holdall in Pimlico who has been warned that next time if he fails to follow Uefa instructions, that the bath will be filled with water this time just to make sure.

            Is that bad taste and should I remove the post?

          • Ryan

            No, absolutely not.

            I was shocked to see on the news (this isn’t Chelsea related btw, sorry) that expert witnesses were actually seeing if it is possible to padlock oneself into a holdall (it isn’t). Actually trying it out. Padlock yourself into a holdall. Why would anyone think that is possible? How the fuck can you zip yourself into a holdall and then padlock the (outside) zips together? It defies logic. It’d be like screwing the lid down on your own coffin, surely? Who are these expert witnesses? Am I missing something?

  27. Dylbo Baggins

    sniff,sniff… I hear Dylbo Baggins has been commenting every now and then from Australia for some time.. 

    • Machchan

      My sympathy, nay, empathy Dylbo Baggins…  and touche your sniff, sniff… I have been posting occasionally from HK too but no special welcome for me either …and yes I did let slip where I was from in one of my early posts 🙁   A fickle lot our bruvs!

      Onto more serious matters: stayed up all night to watch the match… the best feeling after a Chelsea match ever and I’ve been a supporter since the early 70’s.  I can even sort of understand how Gary Neville felt!  After this showing, beating the Germans in their own den is surely within our capability.  
      Come on Chelsea!

  28. Harry

    while every one is rejoyicing Chelsea success and looking forward to CL final at Munich, Chelsea hierarchy has a bigger fish to fry, so to speak. Why is CL final to be played at Allianz stadium” the home of Bayer Munich”? UEFA, as usual, makes rules and decisions that let Fans and football pundits down. UEFA has surely enough time on its hand to nominate a neutral ground for CL final. Bayer Munich has now an unfair advantage which is biased and detrimental to a fair outcome..

  29. Petercfcstagg

    Agree great article from Martin samuel as it sums up nicely what I have always felt… There is no such thing as luck in a game of football or any athletic pursuit. Chelsea defended like their lives depended on it and the Barca players didn’t have the skill on the night to get the ball in the net enogh times from the many chances they created.

    The only stat that really matters in a game of football is the conversion rate of goals scored from attempts on target. Chelsea were close to 100% I believe which is an amazing achievement no matter who you play.

    I also believe as does most managers that games can be won with great defense and similarly games can be lost from poor defense no matter how good your attack is. The next Barca manager will have to bear that in mind as all teams in the future will look at the Chelsea played them and will be looking to exploit this weakness in their current game plan.

  30. GrocerJack

    Not only do I not do tactics and stats (much) but neither do i do geography either. My apologies to Dylbo Baggins and Machchan, welcome to you both as well (belatedly) 

    • Cunningplan

      Hey don’t forget I live in the dark recesses of Somerset, when poor souls cross the county border line you have set your clock back 15 years.
      And a quick note on another fantastic podding shed, even though you went slightly over into Fergie time territory, it was very enjoyable.

    • Machchan

      Thanks GrocerJack!  But on reading CP’s post directly below, I have to wonder with deep humility what is but a few thousand miles compared to time travel into the dark recesses of Somerset…  so the heartiest greetings should go to our time-travelling CP!

    • Peter

       Grocer Jack, you might be surprised how many appreciative overseas readers there are of your blog. There are plenty like me – a Chelsea fan since 1964, ex-Shed boy now living in Sydney who have kept the faith.Your blog is great and is, for the most part collaborative, as you claim.

      We are well served in Australia by Sky Sports, Setanta and SBS which means we can see all Chelsea’s games live. We turn to your blog though for the local colour, nuances and insights we cannot get in the medja.

      Of course, ultimately that is never enough and I start to get itchy – particularly when it was all going wrong under AVB and we were slow to accept and act on this fact – and have to jump on  plane to see for myself first-hand. This happened last month for me and I was lucky enough to witness AVB’s departure, the Stoke game (grest gesture bringing Bobby Tambling, my first Chelsea hero, on at half-time) and arguably the best home European night in Chelsea’s history v Napoli since I saw Osgood v Bruges in 1971.

      Two observations for you to consider: those that start their comments with “I missed the game but……” or similar should’nt bother – just listen and learn from those who were there or saw it on TV; more controversially perhaps, cherish Harry. I love it when he contributes – he has such a different, some would say curmudgeonyl, perspective to the rest of you. If he’s saying it others will be thinking it too.

      Anyway, thanks for the contributions – it is always the best read of the week.

      See you in Munich.

  31. Musumba

    Ten man Chelsea  make Guardiola quit,its inevitable ,he has failed this time round just as his previous drugs tests,the post traumatic stress disorder is too much for him,I want to see myself celebrating 50 yrs from now that we won the champions league having eliminated the Superfavourites , for Barcelona i think its the end of an era, for the second goal  i thought Torres had neglected his defensive duties but it worked for him, I recall cursing at the top of my voice of how ineffectual  he was after Didier left.  

  32. Musumba

    I seriously think John Terry should not be allowed to lift that cup in the likely event of us winning, it just sounds extremely unclean based on his previous conducts,sooner or later the natural law of justice will catch up with us should the club settle for him ,Terry bizarrely got himself sent off and being a believer of divine intervention the guys delivered more than expected with Terry being out,the unseen law of hidden consequences might just stop us from winning should we settle on him ,the club is greater than this individual, let him learn the hard way, perhaps he should join in the celebrations only.The captain  chosen that day will have the birth rite to lead us to victory and he should not relinquish it to anyone,He is the special chosen one. 

  33. Cunningplan

    I thought it was a very good and balanced article from Martin Samuel.
    I also read all 65 comments as well, and the vast majority of them were sensible, with the usual sprinkling of self righteous crap about the best team etc etc…
    But I would defy any fan or supporter of any club in the world, who would not have been proud, and full of admiration for their team in similar circumstances.

    And the reaction to JT and his sending off from the masses, you would have thought he actually stuck a knife into Sanchez. Yes he was fucking stupid, he’s not the first or won’t be the last footballer to be sent off for a rush of blood. But it was dealt with by the sending off and he misses the final, sufficient punishment in my book.

  34. Musumba

    Don`t want Pep to come here, He simply cant handle big player egos, Barcelona may suffer the same crisis Liverpool and us have suffered under AVB and  Roy Hogson if they appoint Bielsa,i propose AVB he knows how to fail and i don’t see him repeating the same mistake in catalunya.AVB is not  a bad appointment for them, he likes free flowing attacking football with high-line defending which goes well with their football philosophy, he is intelligent,very positive and  still young.
       Lampard should forget about Terry and be Man enough to lead the team, Lampard is a true respected professional  and everyone will be happy to see him lift the CL cup, at this point in time he is more worthy than Terry who has racism accusations,yanked someones girl,got axed from the England captaincy, the list is endless,for a sporting gesture it looks bad to all those who have advocated for kicking racism out of football and those who have had bananas being thrown at them .Mr Terry i respect you just relax and watch the match at don’t have a nationalistic or global appeal.

  35. Gleb

    I just love Chelsea! Fuck them haters! That’s all I got to say. Sick of hearing about us getting “lucky” and shit. Fucking ignorant plankton. Jose was right. They know nothing.

    P.S. We fired Pep… Just the for the laugh, hehe.

    • Blue_MikeL

      Yes… we fired Pep 🙂 he will go into oblivion straight after another ‘great coach’ Frank Rijkard.   

  36. Austin Solari

    I really fancy our chances in the Final ………… as i did on Tuesday night.
    Hence I have a dream. There is no chance of me getting a ticket BUT surely, it would be great to be in Munich this particular weekend so am thinking of advertising for three blokes (or women) to share the costs and drive to Munich to watch the game in a bar. I have a Range Rover diesel that will eat the miles up and as a Euopean truckie, Munich is no distance to me. Drive down Friday and return Sunday.

    • GrocerJack

      About 2 days too late for me. Arranged my brither to come down and some friends for the game ……

  37. Chris

    This line in the Samuel piece has had me in stitches: “As for hitting a post, or the bar, must we really go through this once more? There is wood, there is space, then there is wood again. The aim is to get the ball in the large area between the two lengths of wood. Failing to achieve this is not about luck either. It is the reason footballers practise.”

  38. Day Tripper

    Psychology being a funny thing, I’m beginning to wonder if we have more chance of beating Bayern if we don’t achieve fourth place than if we do. Does anyone else have an opinion on that?

  39. NorthernVA

    Just had a listen to the Podding Shed. I must say JD, Tony, Mark, and Donal that was the best one yet. I never thought there was a link between VHS, Betamax, and technical ability. Brilliant! Please do keep it up.

  40. limetreebower

    I’m as glad as the next Chelsea fan that we managed to erase the self-satisfied grins from the faces of Barcelona-worshippers everywhere … but perhaps that team has earned a smidge more respect than it’s getting here?

    I thought the players struck exactly the right note after the game. They weren’t banging on about how it was all about passion and commitment and desire and We bloody well showed them didn’t we? They seemed as gobsmacked as everyone else, especially Nando with his rather sweetly humble “Sometimes the best team doesn’t win” line.

    Maybe I’m just getting depressed in advance about the behaviour of the home crowd this afternoon; no doubt me and one of my eleven-year-olds will get to hear Anton Ferdinand being continuously and unpleasantly abused for having had the temerity to hear racist language directed at him. The cheek!

  41. WorkingClassPost

    Early start again.

     Thought I’d poll a few Rangers supporters and try to get some inside info on what Sparky might be planning for today:

    Would he go for us straight from the off, hoping to catch us a bit hung over, or will they dig in, and try to nick something on the break?

    Problem is, I don’t know any QPR supporters, I don’t even know anyone who knows anyone who supports them, in fact, I don’t know anyone, who knows anyone, who knows any…

  42. mark_25

    One little part of me (not the part you’re thinking) wants us to finish outside the top 4, so that Arsenal or Spurs can have their Champions League place rescinded when we win it.

    I’m talking as a fan and hopefully the management and players will be thinking more professionally than I’m capable.

    Also us winning the Champions League is probably 50:50 so I shouldn’t be counting chickens too early and leave that to Blackburn instead.

  43. Peter from Adelaide

    Seems like there are two Peters from Australia reading this blog ! I should change my name to Peter from Adelaide… The game tomorrow morning always brings back memories for me of that infamous night in the League Cup when a certain ex Chelsea winger scored twice to knock us out and a full on riot ensued. Probably the most scared I have been at a football match even though I was out of way in the Shed….

    Predicting a narrow 2:1 win this time….

  44. limetreebower

    Best I’ve seen the team play since the early part of last season — for half an hour, at least; after that, not surprisingly, we weren’t too bothered.

    It’s amazing what confidence can do. At least I suppose that’s the explanation. Conditions were terrible, the atmosphere could have been poisonous, and in theory this was a pressure game for both teams as regards league position, so one can’t credit any external factors: for some reason the players found their fluency and freedom again, and you have to think that the extraordinary events of the past couple of weeks are responsible.

    Many players were at the top of their form (Essien, Mata, Terry notably) but Bosingwa was absolutely outstanding. Zamora must be twice his weight.

    • GrocerJack

      Lots thought the atmosphere would be poisonous. In the end it was no more poisonous than a nettle sting. QPR tried to up the ante a bit but no-one could really be arsed. perhaps the joy of tearing them a new one was enough?

  45. limetreebower

    Indeed. The game being over as a contest after 10 minutes sort of dulled the competitive edge. The qoopers weren’t even bothering to boo JT by the end.

    Still, things might have been a tad tense in the tunnel — which is the point I’m making. Though I suppose it’s not too surprising that they ignored any bad atmosphere. When you’re going to the CL final you’re probably not too bothered about Joey Barton trying to wind you up.

  46. The Podding Shed #12: There’s a Fine Line Between Pleasure and Pain « Chelsea Football Club « English Club´s « Club News

    […] The Podding Shed #12: There’s a Fine Line Between Pleasure and Pain Posted by Feedy on April 26, 2012 Posted in: Chelsea Football Club. Leave a Comment Anúncio OnlineHotel document.getElementById("oh_ads_525").style.display = "none"; In which our toilers on the allotment of life discuss the forgettable draw with Arsenal at the Emirates and the unforgettable draw with Barcelona at the Nou Camp. […]

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