The newspaper reports
The Independent, Jack Pitt-Brooke: “For all of Andre Villas-Boas’s insistence that he wants to impose a new philosophy at Chelsea, it was the strength of the old virtues which carried them past Fulham in the Carling Cup third round last night. Despite playing for 73 minutes with 10 men, their resilience and athleticism – an effort described by Villas-Boas as “super-human” – allowed them to have the better of two hours of goalless football, before their ruthlessness rewarded them with a penalty shoot-out success.”
The Guardian, Jamie Jackson: “Chelsea progressed to the fourth round of the Carling Cup after a dramatic shoot-out in which Bryan Ruiz missed the vital penalty. Frank Lampard and Fulham’s Moussa Dembele had each missed a spot-kick before the Costa Rican’s penalty hit the bar and bounced down, with the visiting players claiming it had crossed the line. However, the referee, Chris Foy, ruled that it had not and Chelsea secured a victory despite having played with only 10 men for over an hour.”
The Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “Chelsea knocked Fulham out of the Carling Cup last night in the most dramatic of circumstances with the final kick of a penalty shoot-out coming back off the cross-bar and landing on the goal-line. Chelsea won 4-3 with new Fulham signing Bryan Ruiz missing the decisive kick to spark wild scenes of celebrations from Andre Villas-Boas and his players.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea win only our second penalty shoot-out in nine attempts to triumph in this local derby on a draining night in which we played 73 minutes of football with only 10 men. That was because Alex was sent off shortly after half-time, Fulham then missing an open-play spot-kick. The game became very open after that but neither side could find the quality needed in front of goal although Ross Turnbull, a substitute for injured Petr Cech excelled with one save. His good night’s work didn’t end there as he saved in the shoot-out too. Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz struck woodwork too so Chelsea went through. Frank Lampard was the Chelsea player who didn’t convert but no ultimate damage was done.”
The modern way of life is changing in so many aspects, principally as a result of the Internet. These changes have extended to the way we have children. We’re no longer restricted to simply ‘rolling our own’ or maybe adoption or fostering. Modern methods include hormone therapy, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, donor insemination and surrogacy. And of course if none of these methods work, or you’re a same sex couple or celebrity, you can just surf away and buy a baby.
And so it’s entirely natural that our academy system reflects this brave new world. The days where footballers grew up in the streets surrounding the ground are long gone. I’m not sure of this fact but probably our last instance was Alan Hudson, born and brought up near the King’s Road. Instead the academy acquire young players at different stages of their development; some embryonic, like young Josh, some mid-term such as Kakuta and others almost fully developed, like Romelu Benjamin Lukaku. There have been instances where very young boys have been acquired where they show some extraordinary talent. I’m sure the time will come when clubs acquire first rights to a couple’s offspring based on the parents’ pedigree, much the same way as stud farms work for great horses.
And so it’s great to have occasions when we can catch up on the progress of our youth to find out first-hand how they are developing and what new skills they’ve acquired. As any parent will attest, watching your offspring perform can be a moment of great joy. On the other hand attending a 90 minute concert with only the recorder on show can be a painful and tortuous ordeal but, as good parents, we must grin and bear it. However even the most devoted parent would complain when the music teacher announces that 90 minutes isn’t enough and you have to endure a further 30 minutes for good measure.
37,000 was a pretty good turnout. Fulham let us down by taking a 6,000 allocation but only selling 3,000, a fact which Neil Barnet pointed out in the pre match team announcement. Still, they’re only a small team in Putney. We’re THE team in Fulham.
On show with their recorders were Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Josh McEachran, Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge (he’s still young).
You can read a blow by blow account elsewhere. The salient points are:
- It’s odd how one can feel optimistic and invigorated after a 3-1 defeat yet downbeat and drained after a win.
- We haven’t got many true footballers at the club. By footballer I mean individuals who can control the football. Mata and Meireles account for two of them, and they weren’t playing. Josh is another and he got substituted after the Alex sending off. So, bereft of footballers and left with the likes of Kalouless and the apathetic Malouda, it’s no big surprise that we served up a listless performance and made Fulham reserves look half decent.
- Josh scored what looked like a perfectly good goal. Apparently the ball was going in and the offside Sturridge helped it over the line hence invalidating the goal. I can’t corroborate this from where I was sitting.
- Alex managed to get himself sent off early in the second half. Again from where I was sitting I don’t even know if it was a foul. Fulham missed the resulting penalty.
- We played 70 minutes with 10 men.
- Sturridge and Cech off injured. Sturridge I can live without but hopefully Cech is short term i.e. three days.
- 120 minutes can seem like a long time.
The youth report
- Ryan Bertrand – did OK, no mistakes, but didn’t get down the pitch as much as I’d like.
- Oriol Romeu – biggest bright spot of the night. This boy likes a tackle, can play the ball and kept going strong for the full 120. Do that again and he’ll be in the first team.
- Josh McEachran – looked great and scored. Really disappointed with AVB for taking him off to make way for JT to cover for the departing Alex. I’d have taken off Kalouless or Malouda or Lukaku.
- Romelu Lukaku – he’s big and strong but clumsy and tries to do a bit too much on his own. Then again Drogba’s had a great career with these same attributes so we’ll have to wait and see. We’d already made all our substitutions so he remained on the pitch in spirit only for the last 40 minutes.
- Daniel Sturridge – personally I’m not on the Daniel Sturridge bandwagon. Bit of a one trick pony with the cut inside and shot. Needs to look up more and improve decision making.
Sorry, should have mentioned, we won 4-3 on penalties. Yes, that’s right, we won a penalty shoot-out, so times really are a-changin’. The penalties were down our end (Matthew Harding) for a change and we took the first. Unfortunately Frank’s penalty, our first, was saved. You could hear the distant hammering of one more nail in his coffin. But by some miracle Ross Turnball saved one, we carried on scoring all of ours, even the maligned Kalou and Malouda, and Fulham missed their last. At this point the 120 minute recorder session became a distant memory.