Chelsea 2-0 Werder Bremen

Match reports

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “The result has the authentic Chelsea ring to it but there were still false notes. It took the penalty that Michael Ballack converted after 66 minutes for his first goal at the club to dim the brightness of Werder Bremen’s spirit. Only the post prevented Frank Lampard from raising the margin to 3-0, but even Jose Mourinho agreed that would have been unjust.”

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “Although the English champions were not completely convincing, they showed enough threat, particularly from midfield, to have their fans dreaming of the Parthenon in spring time. They may even renew acquaintance with Kyros Vassaras, whose daytime job involves tourism in the land of Mount Olympus.”

The Times, Matt Dickinson: “Mourinho accepted that his team conceded too much territory immediately after the interval, when Miroslav Klose twice went close, but his main complaint was the bookings picked up by John Terry, Didier Drogba, Lampard and Joe Cole. Terry certainly had no defence but that did not stop Mourinho alluding, once again, to bias against his team.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “For the away supporters in a sparse crowd of 32,135, Ballack was the target of some unprintable chants which, even in German, left little to the imagination. He played like a man with a point to prove and despite one brazen dive was the pick of Chelsea’s players.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Paul Mason: “It was little wonder that the Chelsea players were so annoyed when the regulations were applied unevenly, the referee failing to book Diego when he blasted a shot over some seconds after the whistle had blown for offside.”

The good

  1. Michael Essien. His first European goal for Chelsea capped yet another excellent game for the Ghanaian. Mourinho may beg to differ, but this season’s dynamic performances make him undroppable in the eyes of most Chelsea fans.
  2. Michael Ballack’s penalty. Simple really – when you have a German in the side, let him take the spot kicks. Even Frank Lampard agreed – despite the inevitable reports of rivalry between the two, he handed the ball to Ballack and was the first to congratulate him when the German captain made it 2-0.
  3. The result. A patchy performance with a system still struggling to accomodate the talents of Makelele, Essien, Lampard and Ballack in midfield, but with Barcelona off to a flying start after a 5-0 win against Levski Sofia, three points will do very nicely.
  4. The Bremen fans. Despite the inevitable stick they gave Ballack, their numbers and constant vocal support marked them out as the best European away fans seen at the Bridge for some time.

The bad

  1. Empty seats. £50-60 per ticket for a televised game against a lesser-known European team, nearly 10,000 empty seats. The club claim a fan base of millions – someone’s figures don’t quite add up.
  2. The referee. In fairness, John Terry was lucky to stay on the pitch but the inconsistency was there for all to see. Pointless bookings which may come back to haunt us later in the group stages.
  3. Wingers (or lack thereof). The depth of talent in the squad is vital for an assualt on Europe and the Premiership, but quite who will make way for the return of Cole and Robben (let alone Shaun Wright-Phillips) is anyone’s guess. Not an easy problem to solve.

Man of the Match

Michael Essien. Again.

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