Last updated Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 10:58 PM
Good evening chaps and chapesses,
Absent-mindedness on my part (it’s the Cornish air, for I am in England’s pasty county keeping an eye on my brother as he recuperates from a nasty accident) means no one is lined up to write a report on tonight’s match. I had hoped to watch the game live on my iPhone via Sky’s Mobile TV app (Arsenal have the pleasure of being shown on terrestrial ITV here in the UK) and post a handful of updates to the blog in-running, but at this stage it doesn’t look like Cornwall’s broadband infrastructure and my brother’s net connection are going to play ball – the stream is buffering every few seconds, and it’s driving me effing nuts. I’ll keep trying, but I doubt things will improve the closer we get to kick-off. I’ll probably end up listening to Radio 5 live’s commentary from Slovakia while watching – forgive me – pictures of the Arsenal game on TV. In-running comments welcome though.
Carlo took the unusual step of naming his side yesterday. JT has recovered from a rib injury, while Sturridge (good to see him given the nod ahead of Kalou) is handed a start with Drogba suspended (two-match ban resulting from his red card against Inter last season). Ashley has been given the night off and Frank is still recovering from a hernia op.
Starting line-up: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Zhirkov; Essien, Benayoun, Mikel; Sturridge, Malouda, Anelka.
Subs (from): Turnbull, Hilario, Ferreira, Ramires, Kalou, Kakuta, Van Aanholt, Bruma.
Wikipedia: “MSK Zilina is a Slovak football club, based in the town of Zilina. They play in the Slovak Superliga and are one of the most successful clubs in this competition, having won five championships since the league’s inception in 1993. The club and their supporters alike are nicknamed Sosoni (after the Shoshone Native American tribe). Their home is the all-seated [12,000 capacity] Stadium Pod Dubnom.”
Zilina have made it through three qualifying rounds to reach the group stage for the first time.
We played Zilina in the 2002/03 third qualifying round (I have no memory of this). It finished 5-0 on aggregate; we won 2-0 in Zilina and 3-0 at the Bridge.
The other two teams in our group, Group F, Marseille and Spartak Moscow, face each other at the Stade Velodrome.
MSK Zilina 1-4 Chelsea. I don’t know. Two goals conceded in two games.
Carlo: “I was very happy with the way we started the game, we knew the opposition would attack so we used the speed of our strikers on the counter-attack. It was a very important win for us. We are doing very well at the moment – we have started well in the Premier League and the Champions League.”
In the other game in our group, Spartak Moscow defeated Didier Deschamp’s Marseille 1-0 in Marseille. We play Marseille at the Bridge in a couple of weeks.
Um, a confession: I quite enjoyed the Arsenal match.
The newspaper reports
The Guardian, Jamie Jackson: “Back where Roman Abramovich’s big Chelsea adventure began seven years ago the 2010 vintage ended with a comfortable win that kick-started their quest finally to claim the Champions League in the eighth season of the Russian’s ownership. Yet if the score-line indicated this was a stroll against MSK Zelina, whom Chelsea defeated here 2-0 in August 2003 in a play-off to reach the group stages of this competition, there was enough sloppy defensive play to worry Carlo Ancelotti as sterner tests await.”
Daily Telegraph, Ian Chadband: “The concept of Champions League fairytales in these oh so predictable group stages was dismantled here as Carlo Ancelotti’s Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum brigade stamped all over little Zilina’s dreams in the same greedy manner in which they have been despatching Premier League small fry this season. No easy games at Europe’s top table? Hmm. Four more goals – two from Nicolas Anelka and one apiece for the quite magisterial Michael Essien and Daniel Sturridge – continued Chelsea’s quite irrepressible opening to the season. Twenty one goals in five matches now; at this rate, the record 142 they netted last season could even be at their mercy during this campaign.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea went within one goal of the 150 mark in the Champions League with a comfortable win over Zilina to start our European campaign tonight. A Nicolas Anelka brace added to Michael Essien’s opener before Daniel Sturridge made it four in the second half on a night when Josh McEachran made his debut.”