The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: "Chelsea made progress with a backward step. No home supporter could have complained about an old routine when they were overwhelmed with delight that patience was rewarded in this Champions League tie. Their side won with the familiar spectacle, in the 78th minute, of the captain, John Terry, outjumping a marker, Rodrigo Taddei, at the near post to direct Frank Lampard’s corner neatly across the goalkeeper, Doni. It was his first goal of this campaign."
Daily Telegraph, John Ley: "If John Terry is happy to play through the pain barrier imagine what he could do for Chelsea when he is fully fit. Terry is suffering from a back problem that prevented him from England duty last week, with Luiz Felipe Scolari claiming the defender would happily play in agony."
The Times, Matt Hughes: "It might not have been that way. Remove Terry’s contribution and perhaps Chelsea would be viewing the coming weeks with trepidation. Had they dropped points at Stamford Bridge last night, qualification would have been perilously open, with all four teams in group A in with a shout and Chelsea facing two of their final three matches away from home."
The Independent, Sam Wallace: "When the beautiful game does not suffice, sometimes the blunt object will have to do and they come no blunter than John Terry’s forehead. It was an old-fashioned centre-back’s header from the Chelsea captain that settled matters last night, but then you take what you can get against a side as shamelessly defensive as Roma."
Official Chelsea FC Website: "Bordeaux’s win over Cluj by the same scoreline leaves Chelsea three points clear at the top of Group A. Qualification can be assured in Rome in two weeks’ time."
- The result. Another home win, firmly in charge of group ‘A’ and no apparent injury concerns with Deco, Carvalho and Cech easing themselves back into action before Super Sunday’s bunfight with the Scousers.
- The performance. Some days you just can’t steamroller the opposition with dazzling football and goals by the truckload. However, the mark of a good team is knowing when you can’t but being patient and calm enough to achieve the same end result – three points. Winning was pretty crucial tonight; two European away games coming up could have looked a little trickier had we dropped points, but at no time did we look rushed or panicked by the goalless scoreline or an increasingly obdurate opposition. Impressive stuff.
- John Terry. First Champions League goal in over three years, it says here. A man who currently looks very driven by last season’s near misses; even better if he starts scoring goals again into the bargain. Nearly lost his rag with Mexes who looked like he was trying to slip his cock into JT’s pocket at set pieces (especially after the goal), but otherwise a captain’s performance.
- Free scarf. Never knock a freebie, especially when it’s from Chelsea.
- Roma’s support. Top notch – noisy, partisan and an impressive selection of flags (sorry, but ‘Roma Ultras’ emblazoned on a flag just looks infinitely more impressive than ‘Bletchley Chelsea’).
- Roma. Clearly reeling from a pasting at the hands of Mourinho’s Inter last weekend, not being beaten seemed the only ambition for most of the game, other than rolling about on the deck quite a lot for very little reason. It’s nice if the opposition shows some sort of will to leave their own half once in a while – Roma were poor, poor and thrice poor – I think we will fare better in Rome; they won’t defend as deeply and might even think about passing the ball around a bit. There could be a slight risk of a game of football breaking out, if we’re not too careful.
- Picky Euro referee. Greek chap, definitely a few marbles short of a full Elgin. Had his ancestors all been as anally retentive as him, the Parthenon would never have been built on time and the locals would have probably had to worship Athena in the car park instead.
- Francesco Totti. I’m sure I’ll be told I’ve missed something marvellous, but have I just not been watching on the days when Totti is the intelligent, tricky and generally mercurial number 10 he’s always billed as? The odd sparky run, but mostly crap tonight. And a whining tart with it.
- The booing of John Arne Riise. Short memories, some people. Disgraceful way to welcome a true Chelsea hero back to the Bridge.
Everyone gets a 7, bar JT who gets an 8 for his splendid winner, Deco an 8 for being a busy industrious little chap and Malouda who goes down to 6 for being a bit bobbins this evening. It’s far too late to bugger about with all that ‘extra half mark for whoever because they put a decent cross in’ malarkey.
Man of the Match
JT. Although Deco merits a mention for generally buzzing about the place a fair bit, which was good to see with Sunday in mind.
It’s midnight and I’m going to bed. I would advise that you do the same if you don’t want bags under your eyes.