Chelsea 5-2 Leicester City – El Nino Ends Drought

The preamble

I haven’t seen us play better this season than we did on Wednesday night against Napoli. Second half every single player did well – even Malouda and Bosingwa. For me, however, the match was really won by Drogba. He was back to his infuriating best: one moment monstering their central defenders, the next scoring with a diving header, and the next falling down clutching his face looking for free kicks. To win 4-1 against a very good Napoli side and to play for two hours with that intensity makes me proud to be a Chelsea fan.

And it is plain to me that the 4-2-3-1 formation with Mata playing in the middle (for which I have been arguing all season) is the way to go and Robbie Di Matteo scores a brownie point for enforcing that and for re-motivating the players. I really don’t buy this tabloid nonsense about ‘player power’ causing Villas-Boas’ downfall; the man did enough all by himself to create that. But what we are now seeing is players who before were playing without spirit under someone who was micro-managing every move have now been given the licence to play the way they can. And there is a directness and force to our attacking play rather than that endless series of boring side-steps and backward passes. I predicted last October on this blog that Clouseau wouldn’t last until May and although I am a bit worried that the reconstruction plan has been halted with no plan B in sight I am just so fucking relieved that he has gone.

But a cautionary note is in order. If Napoli had taken just one more of the numerous chances they created we would have been out. We still look fragile in defending from between defence and midfield against quick ball-players (don’t ask me why) and we will be tested hard in Lisbon against a very slick passing Benfica side, and by Barcelona if we get that far.

The opposition

Leicester City have to be taken seriously after they knocked out Norwich at Carrow Road in the previous round. They play a very typical Championship game: 4-4-2 with a big man up front (David Nugent) knocking down headers for his counterpart, Jermaine Beckford, to run on to. But they have been very inconsistent in their results recently, winning two and losing two and on an ordinary day there is no reason why we shouldn’t win handsomely. The main problem, from where I am sitting, is: will our players be too knackered to give a good account of themselves? To counter that difficulty I am expecting Robbie to rotate the squad players

There is previous between our two clubs in this competition. Readers with longish memories may recall the FA Cup 5th round replay in 1997 which was going to penalties with the score 0-0 right at the end of extra time. Then dear old Erland Johnsen managed to fall over in the penalty area, giving Frank Lebouef an easy penalty conversion. What was even more enjoyable following that was watching Martin O’Neill having an apoplectic fit over the referee and throwing his water bottle on the pitch. We went on to win it, of course, with Robbie scoring THAT goal in the final and Eddie Newton the second.

I expect Leicester to copy Birmingham: park the bus and hope to frustrate us enough to earn at least a draw. For that reason I also expect it to be close.

The team

As I suspected realism has won out and Di Matteo makes seven changes to the team that started on Wednesday. Good to see Ryan Bertrand in for Ashley Cole while Mikel, Meireles and Kalou all come in with Torres replacing Drogba.

Team: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Mikel, Meireles, Sturridge, Mata, Kalou, Torres.

Substitutes: Hilario, Luiz, Essien, Lampard, Drogba, Malouda, Ferreira.

The first half

I quickly realize that I have got it wrong: Leicester have come here to play and are making a decent fist of it too with some swift passing and movement. The problem is that this sets them up for us to take full advantage. Mikel has a superb game breaking up play and setting in motion some quick counter-attacks. Bosingwa and Bertrand are pressing up quickly and early passes forward from the backs, Mikel and Meireles, are releasing Torres, Mata and Sturridge into the danger zones. The result is that we have eight shots on target in that first 25 minutes.

Fernando is having a superb game, with tricky runs up the wings and in the box, assists to other players, while taking two decent chances for himself. One is a header that is saved on the line and the other a snap shot that Kaspar Schmeichel does brilliantly to keep out.

On 11 minutes Fernando’s trickery wins a corner and Mata places it right on Cahill’s head, who scores his first goal for Chelsea. And I really do think he has been a good acquisition for us and the bonus is that he scores quite a few goals for a central defender. I also liked the fact that he lifted up his shirt to reveal a ‘Pray 4 Muamba’ message for his old team-mate on his undergarment. Good bloke, him.

Four minutes later we are 2-0 up. Torres is sent away again up on the right-hand side and from the edge of the box he sets up Kalou with a square pass. Salomon thinks about it for a moment and then abruptly turns and rolls a slow, slide shot beyond Schmeichel. Kalou has been driving me nuts so far because he constantly loses possession and then he scores. But that’s Salomon for you.

We spend another ten minutes creating a stream of goal opportunities playing around their defence in the final third with Juan Mata at the centre of most things. We could easily have been 4-0 up but Sturridge wastes two or three of them with poor decisions and Schmeichel is keeping out Torres.

Then we go to sleep and in the last 20 minutes the momentum passes to Leicester. Gary Cahill contrives to make amends for his goal by falling over while moving up with the ball in our half, is robbed by Danns (their best player today by some distance), who moves up himself with a rocket shot which is kept out by another world-class save from Cech. There is only 31 minutes on the clock and this looks like a classic FA Cup tie and full credit to Leicester for that. Leicester create two other good opportunities as we fade for a bit but they, like Napoli, lack both luck and incisiveness when it really counts.

Half-time: Chelsea 2 Leicester City 0.

The second half

Malouda comes on for Mata, which is not that surprising as Juan had gone very quiet at the end of the first half and I am reminded how tired Sturridge, Ivan and Mata in particular must be. A thought that gives room for some charitable reflections on Daniel’s relatively poor second half performance for us.

One thing I have noticed since Villas-Boas’ departure is that we play with a lot more simplicity and direct intent, moving the ball up quickly to Malouda in the middle, or to Kalou or Torres on the left and Sturridge on the right. Meireles did piss me off a bit when he seemed to be sulking during the Birmingham match but he is having a good game today with his quick passing up field.

Unfortunately, our quick passing game does have a downside and that is that we frequently lose possession and the first 20 minutes is a bit of a ding-dong with Leicester and ourselves exchanging counter-attacks. Great for the neutral to watch but not for a bipolar Chelsea fan and I suddenly remember that match in 1998 when Leicester came from 2-0 down to force a draw after a howler from Duberry. Which meant our title challenge was holed in the water for good that season. And, sure enough, I thought that Leicester had scored on 62 minutes when Danns’ shot seemed to be going in but it was inches wide.

A minute later Essien comes on for Kalou. No surprises there as Sal has done very little except score his goal (if you count that as ‘little’). Michael goes across to take Meireles’ place as a holding midfielder, who moves up to take Mata’s position in the ‘hole’ with Malouda moving out left. But I have to say, Essien does little to justify sending him on and turns out to be a liability with his piss-poor passing and sluggish running.

But that tactical change has one immediate effect in that Meireles starts finding Torres with his passes, who looks more and more dangerous as the second half goes on. It takes just four minutes for us to set up Fernando with his first goal in five months. First Mikel breaks up a Leicester attack in their half and passes to Sturridge who sets up Meireles on the wing and his cross-pass is rolled in by the blond bombshell. Stamford Bridge goes crazy and every Chelsea player is lining up for a snog with him afterwards. Brought tears to my eyes that did.

On 75 minutes Ivan finally goes off after running something like twelve miles in four days and is replaced by David Luiz. I don’t know whether that is because Leicester have been looking more and more like they might score but then they do anyway two minutes later. Essien plays another crap pass that goes nowhere and lets in Danns who strides forward and whacks it against the post. And Beckford powers in the rebound. Like Peter Osgood, he has scored in every round so far. An omen?

Subjectively I start worrying about what might happen if it goes to 3-2 and it almost does, twice, as Luiz almost lets in Beckford for one chance and from the corner their defender heads just over. I keep trying to calm myself with the thought that we are not quite as calamitous as we were in the 70s and 80s but it doesn’t quite work.

But then Fernando comes to the rescue with – wait for it – his second goal of the match. First he is put through on the left and his shot from the edge of the penalty area is parried away and from the resulting corner from Meireles his header glances into the far corner. Our supporters go bonkers again and it’s great to see Fernando applauding them after each of his goals.

Two minutes later and Marshall scores the goal of the match but you have to wonder why he was allowed the time and space to score it. He really should have been shadowed by Essien but – credit to him – he scores from 30 yards out with a dipping shot that flies past Cech, who can do nothing but watch it go past.

But a minute later we are three up again and, again, that is down to the Torres-Meireles combination. Di Matteo’s direct tactics pay off once more and Fernando is released on the left with a long ball. His trickery takes him past four players before he unselfishly (Sturridge please take note) releases the ball for Meireles to pass into the net.

Full time: Chelsea 5 Leicester City 2.

The good

  • We’ve got our Chelsea back.
  • Fernando Torres was our Man of the Match with a complete and outstanding performance.
  • Roberto Di Matteo. Four wins out of four. Thanks, Robbie. You too, Eddie.
  • John Obi Mikel. My other Man of the Match.
  • Goals. Nine in two matches. Good God and the dark miasma that was Villas-Boas seems to have evaporated for good.
  • Leicester City. Great fans (6000 of them, silly hats and all, and singing loudly to the end). Good team, decent players and worthy opponents.
  • Into the semi-finals at Wembley with a potential tie against the Spurts. Oh joy!

The bad

  • Fabrice Muamba is still critically ill. Please recover soon young man.
  • We still look way too clumsy when defending.
  • Kalou and Sturridge. Watch out lads or you will be first on the list for the Summer Clearance Bargain Sales.

The press reports

The Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “Not since Oct 19 against Genk had Torres found the mark for Chelsea. Winter had come and gone. The trees had shed and regained their leaves. Even the protesters had come and gone outside St Paul’s. Torres was risking rivalling “The Mousetrap’’ for London runs. Then, like London buses, two goals came along at once and the blond-streaked Spaniard was smiling again.”

The Guardian, David Hytner: “The T-shirts are on their way to the printers. “I was there when Fernando Torres scored.” After what can only be described as a hard day’s night, Chelsea’s £50m striker finally ended his goal drought. It had passed the 24-hour mark in Wednesday’s Champions League epic against Napoli and the number-crunchers had it at 25 hours and 41 minutes when Raul Meireles broke forward and crossed for him.”

The Independent, Glenn Moore: “Torres had been scoreless for 25 hours and 41 minutes’ play, plus more than an hour’s worth of injury time, when he ran onto Raul Meireles’s pass yesterday and scuffed a 10-yard shot past the off-balance Kasper Schmeichel. Team-mates ran the length of the pitch to congratulate him, and the Spaniard looked like a man who had been relieved of a great burden.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A wonderful week for the Blues is capped with the side securing our fourth FA Cup semi-final in three years [sic] after a 5-2 victory.”

The goals

12′ Cahill 1-0
18′ Kalou 2-0
67′ Torres 3-0
77′ Beckford 3-1
85′ Torres 4-1
88′ Marshall 4-2
90′ Meireles 5-2

There are 68 comments

Add yours
  1. Blue_MikeL

    Fernando creates two goals, scores two goals, runs tirelessly! 
    Nando please repeat the same against Man Citeh.

  2. bluebayou

    Great report Marco. Had to get by with just the radio so that filled in the gaps.

    A fine end to what’s been a really good week for the club.

  3. GrocerJack

    The Podding Shed Episode 7 is in the can………..

    Available in all good outlets from tomorrow. Well here and iTunes….

  4. Blueboydave

    Good report, Marco. Captures well how we looked more than a bit slack at the back, especially after Ivan went off.

    Could be that Robbie is a “lucky” manager who gets the breaks with opponents chances, while under AVB 99% of them seemed to go in. I guess Wednesday night will tell.

    Other plus point was that a good result was achieved while letting the old boys rest their weary bodies. Great  to see Bertrand get a rare start again.

    Meanwhile, for those of you who take no notice of Scottish football [and why should you?] I can report that Ben Gordon another of our promising youngsters out on loan currently, with even less chance of ever replacing Ashley, unexpectedly picked up a Scottish League Cup winners’ medal yesterday as Kilmarnock beat Celtic 1-0 in the final.

    Celtic were on a 26 domestic games unbeaten run and especially after Rangers 10-point deduction for financial problems deemed a nailed-on certainty to win the treble.

    Killie hadn’t read the script, however, and even survived that long-tradition of Scottish football of a last minute penalty claim for the Old Firm side to spare them an embarrassing defeat against one of the minor teams.

    A special Lord Ferg Award for Gracelessness in the Face of Defeat to Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, in his post-match interview which is the video right at the bottom of this link:

    He spends over 2 minutes whining about the “nailed on” penalty they were denied and all the chances his side missed before offering a grudging congratulation to Killie – though can’t stop himself adding “not that they deserved it”.

    Classy or what? You can judge for yourself on the highlights video at the top of the report – the penalty incident is about 6 minutes in.

    • bluebayou

      Very sad to see that the father of one of the Kilmarnock players collapsed and died at the end of the match. What should have been a stand out day in a man’s career will now be a dark one.

    • Blueboydave

      Yep, sorry.

      Forgot to mention how pleased I was to see Nando finally get some reward for his fine efforts in the last few games. Though on the pattern of earlier in the season he will presumably now get sent off against either Citeh or The Spuds 🙁

    • Marco_Chelsea

      To paraphrase something you once said, Kaiser, in connection with your love affair with Drogs…..

      Quite happy for Fernando to shag me on the sofa once a week if it keeps him scoring.

  5. bluebayou

    In celebration of Torres’ performance here is a joke from Milton Jones:

    “If I could take Abba out for lunch, I would my friend for Nandos”

    I thank you

    • Cunningplan

      All we’re missing now BB is some good old fashioned Knock Knock jokes, then you can be suitably awarded the no-bell prize.

      I’m appearing live at the Apollo shortly 😉

  6. PeteW

    Hasn’t Studge now gone a few games without scoring? Given he’s spent the last 12 months watching everything he hits fly into the net, it’s probably not surprising he doesn’t quite know how to respond. I actually prefer his response to Torres’s habit of going hiding.
    Arm round shoulder, praise for his good work and a little reminder of his wider responsibilities should do the trick.
    otherwise, all good in the Chelsea ship – but bugger me backwards, what a horrendous run of fixtures we have coming up. Had forgotten how bad it can get at this stage of the season when you are pursuing three fronts.

  7. PeteW

    Also worth noting what a lovely finish that was by Kalou. 

    Apparently he has now scored in every competition this season. Not bad given how badly he was utilised earlier in the season.

      • PeteW

        Not intentionally – pleased that Torres did well, and thought his first goal wasn’t bad either – not scuffed as I’d read.

    • bluebayou

      He’s had between 36 and 57 appearances for Chelsea per season be it as a starter or sub. This season around 13. He’s scored 4 goals. He gets around a goal every 3 or 4 games for Chelsea across all competitions. He’s 26 and still a useful player to have around I think.

      The focus was on Lampard, Drogba etc., but it would have been good to hear a question or two asked of AVB as to why he more or less dispensed with Kalou.

  8. mark_25

    When I woke yesterday I had a number of unanswered questions.

    Q1. What’s the meaning of life?  Well bugger me sideways they showed Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on TV and the answer is 42!

    Q2. Will Torres ever score again? Just like London buses, you wait for one for ages and then all of a sudden …

    Q3. Will Sturridge ever pass the ball? Slightly more tricky this …

  9. ravenous1

    Aha…majorly off-topic but just heard that Jacob Mellis (decent player) from the reserves has been dismissed following him pleading guilty to setting off a smoke grenade, yes thats right, a smoke GRENADE inside Cobham.
    Young Billy Clifford has also pleaded guilty for having procured the grenade and having bought it into the training ground. He, however has been let off with a fine.

    Ashley Cole just breathed a huge sigh of relief and Balotelli must be checking e-bay right now for a Bazooka.

    • Cunningplan

      I don’t know about Balotelli, but I should imagine Tevez may just have found a way out of Citeh.

      • ravenous1

        A likely timeline of events…

        1.Tevez accepts blame for burst oil pipeline in the gulf.
        2.Tevez pardoned and forced to sign contract extention.
        3. Tevez caught planting smoke grenade up Mancini’s …
        4. Tevez pardoned and Mancini forced to resign.
        5. Balotelli surfs…
        6.  …fine, castration, chinese testicle torture, trial by media ensues
        7. Why always me.

      • ravenous1

        A likely timeline of events…

        1.Tevez accepts blame for burst oil pipeline in the gulf.
        2.Tevez pardoned and forced to sign contract extention.
        3. Tevez caught planting smoke grenade up Mancini’s …
        4. Tevez pardoned and Mancini forced to resign.
        5. Balotelli surfs…
        6.  …fine, castration, chinese testicle torture, trial by media ensues
        7. Why always me.

  10. Blue_MikeL

    The next ten days are going to be extremely important for us. from 21 of March till 31 of March might be 10 days that either shake even further of restore our volatile season.     

  11. Blue_MikeL
    Some of the more responsible reserve and youth-team players are becoming worried about their safety at one of the most expensively-assembled academy systems in world football.
    Last December a knife described as ‘something out of a Rambo film’ was discovered in the youth-team dressing room. It was later claimed to have been a workman’s tool which had been inadvertently left behind. 
    Last January, Ashley Cole was forced to apologise to an intern after the England left back brought an air rifle to training and shot him in the leg in the first-team dressing room.

  12. Blue_MikeL

    “[We are] looking at every aspect of what happened and if there are ways and means of improving,” said Scudamore on Tuesday. “Incidents and events shape policy, shape developments, shape progress. “Jose Mourinho made some strident comments about the treatment that Petr Cech got. Everything that we’ve put in place since helped Fabrice at least have a chance.” 

    No words or comments needed! 

    • Ryan

      Don’t forget that Jose was vilified in the press for those “strident comments”. Where are all the tabloid sports journalists that called Mourinho a disgrace for questioning the safety provisions at the Madejski? It took half an hour to get Cech an ambulance that day. If Jose had been less “strident” who knows what might have happened at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

      • Blue_MikeL

        I have never forgotten how Jose was demonized.  They thank him now and admit that he has change things.

        • Ryan

          Yeah. I was never suggesting that you personally had forgotten that. Just that the media are quick to slag people off (remember Mourinho being demonized for “lying” about Rijkaard/Frisk half-time chat? Turned out it was true) but much slower to hold their hands up when they’re proved 100% wrong.

  13. Fiftee

    So glad we got Hilarious nailed to that extra years contract.

    I can sleep safe now.

    Weve got Turnbull. We’ve got Lollichon as GK coach. We’ve got Blackman in the reserves, and two other youngsters out on loan. So why? Couldn’t we have saved a few quid on his wages?

    • Ryan

      Experience, happy to sit on the bench and he’s probably not on much more than Romans personal chef or the Captain of his yacht. So all in all another year while a few of the youngsters get some more experience won’t hurt. We won’t recall Courtois at the end of the season. He’s too good to rot on the bench. He needs CL level experience next year. Any decent young goalkeeper needs to play regularly. Hilario is reliable enough and he is so far past the “needing games” stage that he suits our purposes pretty well at the minute.

      Can’t really understand the Tim Krul stories today though. What are we going to do with him? Unless we’re planning to ship out Cech. Which I definitely can’t see happening. I doubt there is much truth in that story. I’m pretty doubtful about the Hulk stories today as well. Considering we’ve just sacked his mate I’m not exactly sure he’ll be dying to sign for us. Then again he might not give a toss about AVB one way or another. We’ll see. The story is based on his apparent desire to leave Porto now. Which I suppose means they might be forced to negotiate on the £85million release clause.

  14. PeteW

    Jose’s line on the Reading ambulance got horribly/deliberately distorted. He complained that from the moment of the incident to Cech getting put on the ambulance took half-an-hour. Reading NHS, for reasons I have never fully understood, got all touchy and put out a statement they’d arrived 10 minutes after they called – which isn’t actually what Mourinho had been complaining about.

    The press jumped at the Reading NHS comment and accused Mourinho of lying, really laid into him (crazy, when you think what had happened to Cech AND Cudicini that game). We didn’t defend him, as usual. But the changes we suggested were taken up straight away by the FA (who also didn’t defend us) and I am sure that a player the very next season who suffered a serious head injury (I think he played for Boro) was saved from a potentially life-threatening incident because an ambulance was already on the scene.

    Richard Williams was particularly keen to propagate the ‘Mourinho slandered the NHS’ line, despite attempts to explain the truth to him. It’s remerkable how detested we were that season, and how many lies were written about us (it got particularly bad around the time of the Barcelona CL ties). The observer celebrated our title by calling us ‘the most hated champions of all time’, absurd hyperbole but worth remembering. 

  15. ChelseaAfrica

    I think Daniel would not wait to have a separate coach before he catches up. He is just a team player and it’s a pity he is one of our starting eleven wright now.

  16. Ryan

    So Fernando gets a start ahead of Drogba in a Cat. A game when both are fit, on form (well sort of at least) and available. I’m quite surprised to be honest. Torres had a great game on Sunday though in fairness. Same again then please ‘Nando!

  17. Fiftee

    Big call from RDM in my mind. That’s his decision, obviously. We’re not really set up to take the game to City.

    Can see Studge and Drogs being called for when we go behind (yes, when not if. Come on, it’s me, pessimism rules).

    Two huge games today and Saturday. 6 points and we might finish top 4. Anything else and I can’t see it.

  18. Gleb

    Fucking hell… Lamps is at it again… He’s a legend, but these perfect passes to the opposition are starting to bother the crap out of me. We’re holding on, tho… 

  19. Ryan_shot

    I’m ever so relieved that sacking AVB has transformed us back into a top quality side who can compete with anyone.

    All I saw tonight were the same old problems. Giving the ball away constantly. Inevitable crumbling under pressure and total inability to compete at the top level. Make whoever you like the manager but this group of players aren’t going to win another PL never mind The CL.

  20. Benjami

    We have learnt nothing today we didn’t know already, still concerned that our goal was just a little deflection but it was only thanks to Mike “penalty” Dean and a silly moment by Essien.

    Dicks playing one step beyond, no class 😛

  21. Blue_MikeL

    yes, the honey moon is over and old ugly bitch is back at it again, utter cuntery. The worst part is that they weren’t good at all they were so freaking fragile it was so winnable game…   

  22. Fiftee

    That’s leads surrendered against both Manchester sides. We were never going to hold on. Lamps was poor, as was Ramires I thought.

    Feel for Torres, man needs a supply line and that’s what we lack.

    Seems like we’ll be relying on Spurs capitulating now for a forth-place finish. Oh, after we beat them Saturday of course. Ahem.

  23. WorkingClassPost

    Sorry guys, but we watched a different game.

    All I saw was an in-form team, who started by playing as if they were managed by Mourinho, end up like a team managed by Ranieri.

    I’m a big fan of Roberto, and I really want him to succeed, but wtf was he doing tonight?

    Only he knows.

    Robbie, you’re still in charge, and we’re all allowed one mistake and this was yours, please learn.

    And the lesson to learn?

    Tinker not, lest ye be tinkered with.

    • Ryan

      Physically we weren’t in the game. Mata was muscled out of it too often. Ramires, Lamps, and Meireles couldn’t control the midfield. Chiefly because they kept giving the ball back to City. Not sure that you can blame Di Matteo for Ranieri style tinkering. We lost because City have better players than us. Simple. We might not be used to seeing it in recent years but we played like an inferior side. Under constant pressure. City ran the game. Not us.

      • WorkingClassPost

         Not one bit of it.

        As the home side, they started each half quick and aggressive.

        They closed us down and looked effective. But we kept at it, kept possession and control, and after not many minutes their only ‘good’ play was the result of our mistakes and poor passing, i.e., we were in control.

        All I’m saying to Bobbie is, when you make subs, it’s usually advisable to take off your worst players, not your best ones.

        • Ryan

          But Iva came off cos he was injured, Meireles because he gave the ball away too much and basically did fuck all and Drogba came on to try to hold the ball up because we couldn’t get out of our own half. Just read the match report on the official website and they seem to concur that City utterly dominated us and we were poor/wasteful in possession.

          If you think that we were in control of that game then I’m sorry but we really must have been watching different games.

          • SweetDairyAir

             I tend to agree with you that they were better than us. However I think Mikel played really well and I don’t think he put a pass wrong all match. And Cech was good, as was our central defence. But you were right about the rest of our players. The same problems still persist.

          • WorkingClassPost

             That’s what I said.

            And the day I take the official view is still a long way off.

            At 1-0 we needed a second to be sure of all three points, so DD for Lamps, or whoever, looked a good call, but when Torres got the hook my evening (and our game) started to fall apart.

            FT was motm, again, so, just tell me, what was the poxy point?

            If DD scores, then we’ve just heaped another pile of shit on FT’s resurgence. If he does nothing, which he did, then he starts living in FT’s shadow.

            Is that bad enough?

            No. We fucking lose.

        • Blue_MikeL

          Probably taking taking off Torres and bringing Drog was mistake. Ramires and Lamps were the candidates for getting off the pitch. Taking off Raul for Essien was as well sort of enigma for me.

          • NorthernVA

            FT motm? for what? We couldn’t get the ball out of our half prior to DD’s introduction with 20 minutes left. Can’t fault Robbie for the subs everyone was spot on.

            Ryan is exactly right. City were the better team and deserved all 3 tonight. It pains me to admit it but it is the truth. They created the best chances on the day. 

            SDA I tend to agree that we still have a shot a fourth and it will be at the Tottenham’s expense. ‘Arry for for England!!

  24. SweetDairyAir

    Oh and at least Tottenham didn’t pull too far ahead. My theory that we’ll pip 4th at their expense and not Arsenal’s is still holding up. Straws are being clung to!

      • NorthernVA

        But Mata was AWOL was well while the less said about Raul the better per usual. You have bitched Danny recently but at the Bridge he managed to get Clichy sent off so you do respect his ability. 


    • WorkingClassPost

      Looks like I’m in a minority of one here.

      Torres was MOTM because he defended from the front, harassing and harrying their defenders and midfielders. He gifted a goal to Mata within the first 5 or 10 minutes and maybe now he knows why he needs to take these chances on himself.

      If we’re giving the ball away in our half, then whoever’s doing that needs to go.

      Ramires and Mata had poor games against Napoli, but the result papered that over and if we’d left Torres on and won tonight, then I’m sure you’d all be saying what a great team we’ve got.

      Essien came on and conceded a pen – whether it was justified or not, that’s what happened.

      Torres went off and we spunked our advantage – and as our potential new manager would say ‘That’s a fact’.

      Like it or not, Torres is a team player. Forget the money and forget the goals, if he’s worth his place, he should stay.

      Mata and Ramires are both great, but perhaps they need the hook from time to time.

      Frank should be prioritizing Benfica now.

      Good EPL news is that fourth is still on, and City may now win the PL on Fergy’s watch.

      My biggest concern for CFC, is that Robbie misses out, and we get back on the New Manager Merrygoround again.

      • NorthernVA

        WCP thanks for getting back. But please get some rest mate. It’s 9 pm on the East Coast of the US so I’m assuming your looking at 2 am at the moment in the UK. 

        All I will say is that we never really stretched City’s defense until DD’s introduction in the second half. Which is not an indictment on Fernando because he did work hard however that is not always enough when we are attempting to beat a team which has not dropped a point at home all season.

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