Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool – Second String (Theory)

Ah, the Carling Cup. It’s a competition that might have been designed purely to take the sting out of defeat. (Unless of course the defeat is at Wembley, in the final, against Spurs – let’s call it a design flaw.) With the blessing of hindsight one hardly cares that the great Mourinho presided over one of his astonishingly rare home reverses in this competition – on penalties, to Charlton: honestly, it’s impossible not to remember it with an odd kind of smile rather than the usual wince. Last season we fell at its first hurdle against the Newcastle second string, but of all the black marks against Ancelotti’s record that now seems the most utterly insignificant. So how should we measure the significance or otherwise of the game I’ve just got home from watching?

On my right shoulder sits the angel, beaming his oddly permanent smile (think Mr Abramovich, who always looks as if someone’s just told him a very faintly amusing joke about Belgians), saying it really won’t matter much at all once the initial unpleasantness wears off. With three extremely important games coming up, our progress through a competition in which both Manchester clubs (unarguably stronger than we are at the moment) still have an interest won’t distract us for long. Some important players – notably Meireles and Ivanovic; it was unfortunate that Ramires and Mata couldn’t join them – had a complete rest. Take away the sadly justifiable taunts of the impressively large travelling Scouse section, and do we really care about the downside?

On my left shoulder sits the demon. (Dennis Wise in a taxi.) He says:

  1. We’re sure as hell (demon … hell … see what he did there?) not going to win anything else this year, so defeat in a game where victory would have given us a 1 in 3 chance of having Cardiff City between us and a Wembley final is a bad pratfall;
  2. Our record against the better teams in the league is dreadful, and prolonging that sequence at home will just give extra air to the inevitable-but-pointless “Chelsea in crisis” media shouting contest;
  3. We played the two strikers who are supposed to represent our imminent post-Drogba future, and neither of them looked any more like scoring than Andy Carroll, which is genuinely terrifying;
  4. We have just wasted the credit gained from a decent performance at the weekend, and now go into an important away game with momentum lost;
  5. If this was our kids against their kids, then, truth be told, their kids won.

So, what of the game?

Selection was much as expected, with the possible exception of an uncharacteristic formation: to my eyes, a 4-1 [Romeu] 2-1 [Josh] -2. One might have expected the usual 4-3-3, with Kalou and Malouda flanking Torres and Lukaku waiting his turn on the bench. The fact that Kalou didn’t play at all even in this game surely means that his time at Chelsea is over. I won’t rejoice at this anything like as much as everyone else will.

In the first minutes, a delicious back-heel from Josh released Crazy David into the ‘Poo box. Some kind of ricochet let him and the ball go past the defender, who appeared to turn and trip him, for the world’s most obvious penalty.

I haven’t seen any replays so I have no idea whether I’m mistaken. I sit near the front of the upper East stand, more or less exactly in line with the edge of the box at the Shed End: I couldn’t have had a better view. My impression was that the referee was about to give a penalty and was stopped by the linesman. No doubt one or two among the hundreds of people who always post after our defeats will let me know the truth.

The game settled into an unremarkable bout of harmless back-and-forth. With Carroll, Nando and Lukaku all astonishingly hopeless in their different ways, and the ‘Poo’s defensive formation easily containing what little movement we had, nil-nil and penalties looked virtually certain; a prospect the ‘Poo seemed very happy with.

Did I say penalties? For no reason at all that I could see, the ‘Poo were suddenly awarded one. Now given the way their players reacted, I’m actually pretty confident something happened: if I had to guess I’d say some kind of handball in Alex’s aerial challenge, but honestly I have no idea. Up lumbered Wor Andy, seeking redemption. Down went Turnbull, and down went Carroll’s confidence, already so flat it must nearly qualify as a two-dimensional object.

Meanwhile, Josh attempted to battle through some kind of injury, presumably caused by a gust of wind banging into his sad chicken legs. Poor fellow. He’s our future, as Robbie announced this week, but it’s increasingly obvious that our future is at least a season away, and his chance to impress never got going, short of a couple of wonderful back-heel touches. Off he went, to be replaced by Ramires, presumably on the theory that Ramires is incapable of tiredness. (That’s why they called him the “Blue Kenyan” – a faintly iffy nickname; it reminds me of the way a trio of attacking players of Turkish descent who led the line for the Swiss national team were apparently called “The Kebab Connection”.)

Half time. The fellow next to me, whose running commentary on the game consisted of “farking … cunt Scousers … cunts … fark … I ‘ate them cunts … ‘e’s a farker …” etc., turned to me, concentrated on digging up the other half of his vocabulary, and said, “That was a pen.” Yes, it probably was, but by that stage any sense of injustice seemed like a pretty futile gesture.

We’d been sluggish, humdrum, and on the whole not very interested. Nando kept running into massed defenders as if tomorrow’s headline writers could somehow guarantee a way through them; Lukaku was unable to keep the ball anywhere near his feet. A penalty looked like the only way we were going to score. To be fair, the same applied to the ‘Poo. (As long as Wor Andy wasn’t the one taking it.)

Except of course that they found others ways to score that didn’t involve the comically hapless £35 million Mr Wobble.

The first goal looked to involve a player who was a very long way offside. Murmurs around me afterwards suggested Bosingwa (who had a poor game) had played him on. Again, I’ve not seen highlights. Either way, it was an appallingly familiar concession. A diagonal ball over the top leaves the whole defence exposed, and the finish is utterly elementary. Think Leverkusen; think Johnson.

The second goal is the kind of goal that ought not to be conceded but often is – that’s why people get excited about set pieces. I have no idea who messed up, though since it was the impressive Martin Kelly who scored I’m afraid it may have been Ryan Bertrand (who otherwise emerged with a lot of credit from the game).

We’d never looked like scoring one goal, let alone two. The removal of Lukaku and the introduction of Mata helped pick the pace up, and our play became noticeably more coherent and threatening, but still without actually making good chances.

So, out we go, more disheartened than actually disappointed I suspect. Given that we played a far from first-string team, are there any conclusions we can draw about longer-term issues? Here’s my stab at a few:

  1. Of the kids, Bertrand did reasonably well at both ends of the pitch, and looks like a potential first-team player. Romeu was efficient, though (not surprisingly) less effortless than he’d been on Saturday. Lukaku looked very out of touch. He seemed fine until the ball arrived at his feet, at which point it invariably disappeared to points unknown. Mind you, Drogs was like that in his first season at the club.
  2. Of the other second stringers, Alex didn’t show any signs of being a better bet than JT, Malouda had one of those games that makes everyone want him to be sold as soon as possible, and Bosingwa (so impressive in Germany) looked like he didn’t give a monkey’s. Turnbull saved a penalty. When he came out for the second half and approached the goal at the Shed End, it seemed to me that the ‘Poo fans there applauded him. A nice gesture, if I interpreted it correctly.
  3. Of the people who may or may not be second stringers, Frank was unable to influence the game at all, and on this showing will not play instead of Meireles, and Nando … he came alive a bit in the last ten minutes but he showed very very little overall, though there was very little going on behind him and we know he prefers the game to be played at a much zippier pace. But much as we all want him to do well, he, err, didn’t.
  4. Of the regular starters, Crazy David was excellent. Needless to say there’ll be people queueing up to say that he was rubbish, a liability, etc.; he wasn’t. Ramires also looked like the only source of energy going forward, and by the end of the game he might almost have been the only reason to keep watching.
  5. Overall, forget the idea that the kids will save us this season. During a run like ours, anyone who’s not playing will inevitably seem ten times better than they actually are. We’re not going to regain our place in the top four just by swapping the bench for half the first team.
  6. Having said that, a few players – notably Meireles, Ivanovic, Ramires, Mata and Studge – are beginning to look indispensable. All five are youngish; none played under Mourinho.

Like it or not, the long-awaited transition is being forced upon us.

Do your best to enjoy it.

The press reports

The Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “The Carling Cup doesn’t matter — as Roman Abramovich told Andre Villas-Boas — and the Chelsea manager is apparently not in danger of losing his job. Yet. But he is losing too many matches and that simply can’t continue. This was another defeat, another seeping of much-needed confidence, another questioning of the “new Chelsea” promised by the new man, another question mark over where the club is heading. It may well be the fourth competition in terms of Abramovich’s priorities and, in truth, it doesn’t really matter but it was a third home defeat in four — and another to Liverpool, who deservedly swept into the semi-finals, and whose manager Kenny Dalglish maintained his astonishing record of dominating Chelsea (10 wins and three draws in two spells).”

The Independent, Rory Smith: “It was supposed to be about Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll; for a moment, it threatened to be about Phil Dowd. In the end, though, as it always seems to be these days, it will be about Andre Villas-Boas. Another defeat, another callow, anodyne performance, beaten by Liverpool and out of the Carling Cup: it could not be about anything else.”

The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “The Portuguese has now overseen three defeats in four home matches, a troubling statistic with such a decisive Champions League group game to come here against Valencia on Tuesday. This selection had been youthful, maintaining a policy consistent through their three-match involvement in this competition, though the only real mark left by any of the juniors came courtesy of Romelu Lukaku’s studs on Henderson’s shin just before the interval.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “It was a bad night for Chelsea as Liverpool left Stamford Bridge victorious for the second time in as many weeks. A reasonable first-half display saw the Blues denied a strong penalty claim early on and then survive going behind when Ross Turnbull saved an Andy Carroll spot-kick. Chelsea then started the second half by hitting the bar but Liverpool’s opener just before the hour drained confidence from a Chelsea side less experienced than our opponents and when Martin Kelly doubled the lead minutes later, it left the Blues with too much to do.”

The goals

58′ Maxi Rodriguez 0-1
63′ Kelly 0-2

There are 74 comments

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  1. Ososdeoro

    So WE’RE basically where THEY were last year…..except for the development of the five youngish players mentioned. I’ll hope for a couple more come January, and with no choice but to enjoy the transition will do so. The biggest disappointment was Malouda’s poor play in the middle….he’d looked fairly decent there the last game he’d played, only becoming awful when veering left.

    Wish there were more coming out of the academy (though some seem promising from what I’ve read here and elsewhere).

  2. Machchan

    Thanks for the report Ltb.  Liked the Abramovich/Wise shoulder angel/devil analogy.

    How can AVB continue to trot out excuses that the goals we are shipping aren’t due to a failure in defensive organisation?  The personnel are collectively of a similar quality to the lot we had under Mourinho and yet we have shipped more goals than we did over a whole season with him.  I am all in favour of AVB’s philosophy of attacking, attractive play but this is not a zero sum game where defending has to be sacrificed.  I hope he re-thinks the high line, tracking back by the wide guys and marking at set-pieces. 

  3. Anonymous

    Good stuff Limetreebower. Great image too (Nick/Limetreebower) which explains everything.  Please get a copy to AVB at Cobham prior to Newcastle.

    It would be easy to dismiss this as our B team losing to their B team in an unimportant competition.  In reality our team was more like an A- and the concern is that we played rubbish football, devoid of any ideas and never once looked like opening up Liverpool’s defence.  Our front line contained Malouda, who just goes through the motions, Torres, who now looks totally bereft of confidence and ideas, and Lukaku, who if we’d bought by the kilo looks impressive value compared to Andy Carroll, was just a great big lump trying to play on the right wing.

    And our great hope, young Josh, managed to get himself injured and had to leave early, but don’t fret because his girlfriend was waiting outside to drive him home in his £60,000 Range Rover (insured at £20,000 per annum) so he could quickly return to his priority of playing on his X-Box.

    At least 40,456 turned up and it was great once again to be thanked for our continued support. 

  4. Anonymous

    Ok so not having been there, but is it really looking ‘that’ bad for Torres?

    The press harp on about him being rubbish but that’s what (they think) sells papers.

    I’m just curious if we have dropped a catastrophic clanger in paying so much for a dud?

    • Anonymous

      He really was that bad.  He offered nothing. After a brief renaissance around the time of the Man Utd miss he’s now slunk back to his pitiful worse.  Some might argue that he’s not getting the service in the way he likes but a top, top player should be able to make more of the situation.

      Prepare yourself for the worst.  Roman’s blown another £50m.

      • Anonymous

        Cheers for that.

        Clearly, dont want that to be the case. It’s hard to understand how someone who was so good can have become so utterly awful. But, just like Sheva, seems Roman is not adverse to wasting obscene amounts on ‘marquee’ signings. Who are more ‘bed sheet between two chairs’ than ‘tent’ and certainly not ‘marquee’.

        Sorry, that’s really tenuous! I know what I meant.

        Just read that AVB’s concerned about the fan anxiety at home games. Thats pretty low from the manager I feel. It’s he and the players causing that. How can he expect the paying public to change their outlook? Where’s the evidence anything will change soon? Sorry AVB, that’s me thoroughly disappointed in you for the first time. A cheap and unnecessary shot at an undeserving target.

        • Andy

          Fiftee – ‘bed sheet between two chairs’ than ‘tent’ and certainly not ‘marquee’. That is the best line i have heard in ages.

  5. Anonymous

    Malouda, Anelka, Alex, Kalou, Mikel, Lukaku, Drogba…focusing on these players was as usual my way of tuning out Chelsea’s latest pitiful display of strategy, focus and commitment on the pitch. They don’t want to be there and it shows. If AVB had the instincts of a John Terry he’d kick their asses all the way to the dressing room. He has the same passion, sure, but he’s still got to lumber this ton-weight of albatross through to January. Hopefully then our owner will offload them all and use the transfer fees to recruit greater purpose into the defence and wing-play. Until then, and next summer, we do have great players in the squad but they can’t do it all by themselves. Right now everything that can go wrong is, in every match, including the performances from those with flags and whistles that would be better suited to the circus ring. Chelsea will still decide who wins the EPL in  the second half of this season. It won’t be us, but even fork-tongued Ferguson warned last week that a fired-up Chelsea remain one of the most dangerous teams on the calendar.            

  6. Dylbo Baggins

    We’ve all talked about transition from the Mourinho to the future but i think it might be a bit deeper than that.

    Maybe CA was fired (on the back of the double) for not bringing through enough of the youngsters. 

    Sure RA can buy a superstar team, as Man City have done and as we did, but i get the feeling that the real satisfaction, as an owner who has everything, would come from seeing players that have come through the youth system prosper and deliver the goods. 

    Maybe, in RA’s perfect world, CA would have turned the youth into 1st team stars and they could have sold some of the old 1st team players (Malouda et al) for a decent amount rather than the reduced amount we’re surely going to off load them for. 

    But, CA didn’t do this and now we are left with players that are too old to perform in a new system and some fringe 1st team players that don’t have enough experience to keep Chelsea at the top.

    There is a massive gap and that’s the daunting task that AVB has to face. 


  7. bluebayou

    Great stuff LTB. Be good to see your name up in lights more often.

    Pushed for time so will come back later but a couple of quick thoughts.

    It wasn’t good. The porous defensive midfield set up continues to bug me and it was compounded by a lack of ideas on how to break down a well organised two lines of 4. Dalglish has them drilled. The 11 on Sunday frustrated Man City. The opinion in the pub was that Liverpool are drawing a lot of games at home because they play the same type of sit back and hit on the break style home and away. Maybe.

    It was mid period, pedestrian Scolari if I had to put a name to it.

    The performance of Luiz, on the left side of the back two was one of the few positives. He really is settling down and getting egregious errors out of his game.

    How Carroll didn’t get booked for dumping him into the hoardings late on when he was seeing a nothing ball over the touchline says everything about Dowd’s appalling performance last night. And I’m not talking about penalties here.

    Some things I’ve read recently tend to suggest that CA wanted young players between say 22 and 27, with the under 21 type of player needing further development. But there weren’t any at the club. And rocking Ron didn’t get any in during the summer after the double. Perhaps CA’s reaction to that was part of the reason for the breakdown. Who knows?

    But gotta go.

  8. Anonymous

    None of our previous post TSO managers ever tried to develop whatsoever.  They continued to nurse TSO’s team and tried to squeeze more and more from getting older horses. Time passed by and here we are more than four years since TSO left and no new team. What do you want from AVB he has got a mountain to climb he has got task bigger than anyone before him he must build the new team while all the spotlights are on him. 

  9. Anonymous

    A prior commitment meant I wasn’t there and I was still pretty clueless about quite what had happened after watching the Beeb’s butchered highlights.

    Our line-up looked more respectable than the Scousers, but as the first half seeemed to consist of virtually nothing but the two penalty incidents and Josh was substituted on a caption without expIanation I had to check out the official website to see what formation we were nominally playing and why he disappeared so early.

    Second half seemed to start with our only decent effort of the night when Luiz failed to put away an effort off the crossbar, followed swiftly by conceding yet another goal with a long ball into acres of space down our wing. More dodgy non-marking at a set piece ended matters.

    From the comments above it seems confirmed what we already really knew – Lukaku is a long way from being ready to be a regular starter, while Romeu should keep his place for most games.

    Personally I think we can live without two extra midweek games in January and might concentrate on sorting out our defending instead.

    A special mention to Phil the Fusspot for a ludicrous booking of Luiz for dragging his leg over a defender, something Rooney has made a living out of doing and managing to book Bertrand for a tackle by Lukaku.

  10. Der_Kaiser

    A very fine debut, LTB, well done for taking the plunge – really enjoyed the read.

    I think your final point (6) nails it and developed further, gives some idea of the task AVB is facing.

    Think part of the problem is that what he is ultimately trying to do is sell a long term vision to a group of players, and only a handful of them are likely to be around to see it through. 

    They’re all professionals and have their pride, but realistically of the current crop, what do Drogba, Malouda, Anelka, and being realistic (possibly harsh in some cases), Frank, JT, Alex, Bosingwa, Essien, Cole, Ferriera and Hilario really care about (or will be part of) AVB’s plans for Chelsea and the proposed beautiful quick-paced tika-taka football in 3-5 years time? 

    Not a lot, I would imagine. 

    Meireles, Ivan, Luiz, Mata, Sturridge and probably Cech are ultimately our medium (and some long) term future with the likes of Bertrand, Romeu, Lukaku, Piazon and Josh plus others likely to play a part if they are what we are led to believe they are. 

    Jury is out on Torres, with Mikel and Kalou playing a part if they don’t decide to move on to pastures new for regular football. That’s a decent core, but it needs some fairly radical additions and surgery in the next season or two if we’re going to compete in the longer term. A lot of this should have been addressed a long time ago, but the music has finally stopped on AVB’s watch.  I think he’s looking out of his depth right now, but that isn’t to say the long term future isn’t his to grasp if he handles the pressure and keeps the men in suits onside.

    Whether he is the right man, who knows? Some good signs, some bad and quite worrying in places – I don’t think he’s handling the players he needs to rely on in the short term at all well and he has to keep us competitive, one way or another – but the problem outlined above will be on the desk of whoever pitches up, and the worry is that is we keep throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it’ll end up being Sven or some other has-been living on fading reputation and former glories. 

  11. SweetDairyAir

    Young players between the age of 22 and 27 is exactly what we need until the likes of Lukaku, McEachran et al can flourish (hopefully). Mata, Sturridge, Luiz, Ramires all fall within those age brackets, and they have good pace, skill and technique between them. That’s more like what we need, not hoping against hope that some of the youngsters are going to push out the likes of Malouda, Lampard and Drogba this season. 

  12. Marco

    Great report LTB – hope this is the first of many.

    To answer your question about the ‘penalty’ – looked nailed on to me. Thought Fatty Dowd had still another one of his inept performances and the sight of him lumbering up and down the pitch with his fat buttocks wobbling about, making silly decisions, and fumbling about for his cards, had me groaning all night.

    But, in a strange way, I am glad we didn’t get the penalty. A win over Liverpool might have led to more trumpeting from Villas-Boas – as we heard after the Wolves game – on the lines of ‘we’ve turned the corner’, and ‘we’re still in all 4 competitions….’

    We were poor beyond belief yet again with only the players you mentioned in dispatches showing any credit. I actually felt sorry for Romeu at one point having to play amongst this dross and found myself wondering how soon he would be getting the plane back to Barcelona.

    And still no evidence that Villas-Boas has what it takes to succeed with this squad. As the Kaiser says, the mismanagement of the past few years has come home to roost on his watch but it looks to me like he is adding quite a few more problems of his own creation to the ones he inherited. Not the least of which is the way in which our defence has fallen apart while he has been coaching. Both Liverpool goals were entirely avoidable.

    • Anonymous

      the sight of Phil Dowd lumbering up and down the pitch with his fat buttocks wobbling about and fumbling had me groaning all night.

      I find this rather disturbing Marco.

  13. Cunningplan

    Good job on the reporting LTB, I echo Marco and hope it’s the first of many more, if you have the stomach for it 🙂

    I know most people are mentioning the words transition, development, evolution of the team etc etc.
    My only fear of that is, are we going to turn ourselves into an Arsenal? Lets be honest, that’s the way Wenger likes to play, all style and no substance, and they haven’t won anyting for the best part of six years.

    We used to ridicule them, everytime we played, let them pass and move like a well oiled machine, and then unleash Drogs to show them how to win games.
    Off course if we can add substance with the style and win things, then everyones happy. I will admit I’ve never really given a crap on how we win, as long as we win, perhaps I’m not a footballing purist.

    Anyway a long and painful season awaits us as fans, I suppose most of us know how to cope with being shit/ordinary, with the occasional sprinkling of brilliance.

  14. Anonymous

    Thanks for the comments all.

    I’m inclined to stick up for AVB. Obviously everything he does looks rubbish when games are being lost, but I think if one puts one’s mind to it one can pluck out things that don’t look like bad man-management. His public line on Torres — ‘it’s our job as coaches to get the best out of the player, therefore if he’s not doing well we should take the blame’ — strikes me as an intelligent one: much better than saying he’s actually doing brilliantly when he patently isn’t. Plus it seems close to the truth, unless one accepts the argument that Nando has forever lost his footballing gifts, which, though possible, seems unlikely.

    Likewise, it’s only a couple of weeks ago that there was the huge media shitstorm about how Crazy David was a useless defender, prompted by an admittedly very witty barb from G Neville. When someone slaps a memorable line like that on a player it can’t be easy to shrug it off; and yet since then Crazy David has played extremely well and relatively calmly. If we’re going to blame AVB for some players looking out of sorts, it seems odd not to credit him when the reverse applies.

    History (Scolari Era) suggests that the players have no shame about leaking their feelings to the press when they’re not happy with the manager. I don’t get the sense that’s going on.

    Which isn’t to say that everything’s rosy. Just that I don’t see obvious evidence yet that we’ve entrusted the next few years to the wrong bloke.

  15. Ryan

    I don’t think it’s fair for AVB to suggest that the fans are playing some part in our displays at home. The supporters were trying to get behind the team until it became clear that we could play for a fortnight and still not create a decent chance and we conceded two goals too easily again.

    “The team played like shit and consequently the supporters failed to get too excited at the prospect of losing at home yet again”

    Is what he really ought to have said. Because it’s true. I resent the management speak bollocks AVB comes out with sometimes. Perhaps he’d like the supporters to give Malouda the “emotional stimulus” to beat a full back or get a cross in? Maybe the Matthew Harding upper could alleviate Lamps’ “anxiety” by getting him to stop taking 4 or 5 touches when 1 or 2 would do. He has to realise it goes both ways.

    Two fellas in front of me got up and left as soon as Liverpool scored their second goal. And I wouldn’t have blamed them if they’d gone after the first. To think the fans will dig the team out is fanciful. I didn’t see a nervous Chelsea team play last night. Just a poor one. And that isn’t the supporters fault.

  16. Anonymous

    Currently there is the same amount of activity on this blog as in our opponents penalty area.

    I’m feeling a bit lethargic at the moment and I need the emotional stimulus from other bloggers to get me motivated.

      • Anonymous

        Interesting article that. Though I can’t believe the comment about us playing a diamond against Liverpool without trying it in training.

        The bit about Lukaku is odd. Yes, he appears a long way from the finished article, but if he was a club signing rather than AVB, wouldn’t he have pressed for alternatives in the summer?

        As for Emenalo, who the fuck is he anyway? What has he actually contributed to the cause in his various roles?

        On the odds front, 9/1 to win all December games may as well be 1000000/1.

      • Cunningplan

        Either we have a mole at the club (not the rodent variety) or phone hacking is still alive and kicking!

    • Anonymous

      OK – how about:

      1) I’m not one to indulge in amateur attempts at body language analysis to decide how AVB is coping with the media’s attempts to put pressure on him but, while his words at his pre-match press conference earlier were full of calm unworried phrases like his “three year project”, I couldn’t help notice he indulged in a serious bout of knuckle-cracking at one point.

      2) Oh Really Moments in Award Nominations – I was a bit surprised before the Wolves game to see no less than 2 Supporters’ Associations giving Player of The Year Awards to JT for some reason. However, not as surprised as I am by the nominations for the 2011 Fifpro World XI:,,10268~2533921,00.html

      I know he staggered into double figures for goals eventually last season but has The Drog really been one of the 15 best forwards in the world in the last year?

  17. bluebayou

    REO (that’s Real Estate Opportunities, not Speedwagon so settle down you 80’s MOR lovers) the majority shareholder in the company formed to develop the Battersea Power Station site had this to say on their website in August

    Planning permission granted for Battersea Power Station:

    -Section 106 agreement completed and planning permission was issued on 23 August 2011, with backing from the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government subsequent to the previous resolution to grant planning permission by the London Borough of Wandsworth

    -Negotiations continue with a number of potential global investors expressing strong interest in committing to the project

    -Battersea Power Station Shareholder Vehicle Limited (“BPSSV”) continues to work closely with its lenders: Lloyds Banking Group, the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”) and the holder of the Series A and Series B loan notes (the “OLNs”)

    Today this is on the BBC website:

    Plans to develop Battersea Power Station in south London are in doubt after creditors applied for administrators to be appointed.

    Battersea Power Station Shareholder Vehicle, the holding company behind the plans, has yet to find a partner to develop the derelict landmark site.Lloyds Banking Group and National Asset Management Agency (Nama) have asked for the firm to be put in administration.

    A court hearing has been scheduled for 12 December.

    This week Chancellor George Osborne confirmed the government’s backing for plans to extend the Northern Line into the heart of the planned development.

    Read the rest here

    From August optimism to December disaster. A few short months and it’s all going down the sh*tter.

    I think we understand that feeling.

    Time for Mark to dig out those plans of his…….

      • Anonymous

        I thought I heard on the radio that A Spokesman for Wandsworth Council claimed they were confident redevelopment of the site would go ahead soon – well, it’s only been nearly 30 years since the Power Station closed I believe, so even by local government standards it might be thought it’s time to make this happen.

        There again I also heard on the radio A Spokesman for The Currant Bun assert that all those nasty details being aired at The Leveson Inquiry is either very old stuff or unsubstantiated claims. Furthermore, he said without a hint of irony in his voice “The Sun is a force for good in society, today”.

        I think I listen to too much rubbish on the radio……

      • bluebayou

        As it happens, due to my line of work I have a full range of PPE both for standard construction and rail available.

        Just by reaching under my desk I’m able to put my hand on any number of variously coloured helmets.

        Along with Hi-Vi’s gloves and glasses, it should be said.

  18. Cunningplan

    “Just by reaching under my desk I’m able to put my hand on any number of variously coloured helmets.”

    There is soooooo much innuendo in that statement BB!

  19. Anonymous

    Chelsea in good news shocker!!!!

    Nice to see Sam Hutchinson has signed a one-and-a-half year deal at the club. What a story it would be if he could get back into first team contention.

    Mind you, being a defender means he’s on the periphery already….

  20. Ryan

    Regarding The Independent article I would say a couple of things…

    If Emanelo was pushing for wholesale changes in the summer it must’ve been because he realized the squad wasn’t up to much (remember he would have seen a lot of what happened last year). So fair play to him, he has been proved right so far. If, as I have suggested previously, AVB believed what he said about the squad being good enough pre-season then he made an error of judgement. Or perhaps he didn’t have the bottle to come in and start replacing the fading stars immediately. Either way he must be starting to realize he got it wrong.

    Secondly it is far too early to say Lukaku isn’t good enough. Perhaps he didn’t have a great game Tuesday but he showed some pace and willingness to run at defenders. We didn’t create anything so even an experienced, top class forward would’ve struggled to make
    an impact. Ok his first touch isn’t great at the moment but we obviously didn’t think we were buying a Zola or a Bergkamp did we? The fella’s an absolute monster and if he can be coached a bit, maybe go out on loan and get some experience he could be a great PL striker. The last thing we need is another goalscorer with a big price tag and no confidence.

  21. Gleb

    It’s funny, in a way, how someone who comes from a totalitarian country (Roman) set up so many layers between the manager/players and himself. This system doesn’t really work for us, does it? Irrespective of their personal skills and ability, people like Emenalo and our many other “directors/advisers” just make it harder for the team (and that’s the whole point of a football club, isn’t it?) to function properly and efficiently.

    Roman has done so much for this team that we’re left with no other choice but to trust him and rely on his judgement. The same, I guess, goes for our players (at large). Whom I don’t trust are the middle men, aplenty at Chelsea. This not only generates unnecessary pressure, but also obscures any attempts to rectify things. In other words, if AVB wants something, he should go straight to Roman and be accountable to him and only him. Otherwise it resembles something we in Russia call “a broken phone”, when the initial message, having passed through a great number of people, turns into its complete opposite upon reaching the recipient.   

    • bluebayou

      That’s a good point about the problems posed by having too many people with limited responsibility being able to affect the performance of those who have the real responsiblity for getting the right results from the team.

      And the “broken phone” is a good analogy too.

      It reminds me of the old joke about the message that came back down the line from the trenches in WW1.

      It started with a clear request from the officer on the ground.

      “Send reinforcements we’re going to advance”.

      By the time it’s been repeated by numerous messengers on down the line, in the noise and confusion of battle, headquarters receive a somewhat different request.

      “Send three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance”

      (That’s pre-decimal of course and 3 shillings and fourpence is equivalent to about 17p in today’s money. And I bet there’d still have been enough change for several bottles of stout, a plate of chips and the tram home)

  22. Cunningplan

    Certainly agree with the problems posed by advisors/middlemen whatever you want to call them.

    I’m going to say something really controversial now….. THEY SHOULD ALL BE TAKEN OUTSIDE, AND SHOT IN FRONT OF THEIR FAMILIES!

    There I’ve said it, let the complaints come flooding in. 😉

    • bluebayou

      So far you’ve got 1. And that’s from me…

      In excess of 30000 calls to the Beeb was enough to see Ross and Brand shown the door.

      It’s at 21000 for Clarkson so far.

      Watching the total go up is a bit like those charidee telethons. Will they reach the record?

      Got to get back to the phones….

    • Anonymous

      Generally I’m not offended by much.  If he’d stopped at “THEY SHOULD ALL BE TAKEN OUTSIDE, AND SHOT” then this would pass as a childish remark but I do think that adding the rider “IN FRONT OF THEIR FAMILIES” was distasteful.

  23. Nick

    Jeremy Clarkson is an objectionable human being who is best ignored. I do like Top Gear. I don’t own a car. Such is life.

    Anyway… The man Marco has volunteered (been press-ganged) to view and review Saturday’s Big Match at the Sports Goods for the Good and Sporty of Newcastle Arena. I’m sure you will all join me in thanking him for his bravery and dedication to the cause, and wish him and the team the best of luck.

    • Marco

      I prayed and was shown a vision.

      We score in the first half with a goal created by Mata. And then let in the equaliser in the last 15 minutes.

      So I’ve written the match report – only the ratings to do now 😉

  24. Der_Kaiser

    Mr. Clarkson plays a part (very successfully) that he’s been honing for years.  Mrs. KJ once arranged a meeting between him and Lord Rogers, famous architect and Labour peer for the latter to take part in a programme he was making some years ago on the subject of transport in cities; to their collective surprise, they actually found much to agree on, not that either would be seen dead admitting it.

  25. WorkingClassPost

    LTB: Point 4 well taken.

    In this recent poor run, it’s only the younger players that have shown any consistency (also include DS who has experimented with passing properly to good effect).

    Early start today.

    Let’s see if that does something to wake our guys up.

  26. True blue 007

    Watching the game in the usa … Half time.

    romeo is a fantastic tackler, really really composed

    Sturidge is so fast and gets into great positions, causingr the toon many problems.

    Mata is just pure class’s

    Luis had a shaky start but seems more composed now.

  27. Cunningplan

    Well half time report, we’re certainly good for our 1-0 lead, could have been more, Sturridge could have had a hat trick.
    The possible red for Luiz, was probably a correct yellow, the replays did show (to me anyway) that their player was just offside, although it wasn’t given.

    Certainly appear comfortable at the moment, and in control, just as we were against Leverkusen, and we all know it went tits up late on.

    Back to a final 45ish minutes of fingernail biting for me.

  28. Cunningplan

    Note to AVB…. get the bloody players to practice finishing with one on ones. I lost count on how many we had today, and we failed to convert any of them.

  29. Anonymous

    Spot on with subs today AVB and great team work! JT very slow, but still reads the game better than anybody in EPL. Come on Chelsea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. NorthernVA

    Excuse my language but John Terry is my motherfuckin’ hero! Vintage CFC performance today. The board may want to re-consider that Drogba contract. Seems to be getting sharper by the week.

      • NorthernVA

        I heard that they are both training separately from the first team. Luiz is suspended for the City game so I guess that means the return of Boswinga at right back which will at least make the game “entertaining.”

        BTW LTB great job on the report. 

  31. Anonymous

    Back from playing myself. Just watched the first 5 minutes. My God what a clusterfuck of defensive naivety from Mr Luiz. I know we won. I’m sure he got better but that was a red in my opinion.

    He’s not showing any signs of learning at all. Entertaining? Certainly. Liability? Certainly. Any believe we’re going to sell Alex. CB purchase in January then?

  32. Ryan

    Anybody see the Independent article about AVB’s (apparent) summer clear-out? No actual quotes from the boss about players going. Kalou, Anelka, Alex, Drogba, Ferreira seem nailed on to go now. Not sure Ivanovic and Cech will be on the hit-list. Unless he really is going to have a serious purge. In which case chuck Lamps, Terry, Mikel and Torres into the mix as well? I can’t see it personally. Yeah a few need to go and be replaced with younger players better suited to the system but ideally players like Cech, for example, would mentor Courtois.

    Another world-class striker (Cavani), some width (DeBruyne/Hazard), a creative midfielder (Modric!?[Mata could fulfill this role IF he can tackle and boss a midfield]), a RB (Van der Wiel), LB cover (Perreira), CB (Cahill) and maybe a replacement for Essien (Tiote) all seem pretty essential. I wonder if anyone has other suggestions?

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