Chelsea 0-0 Fulham (aet, 4-3 on penalties) – Brave New World

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 goals

Penalty shoot-out 4-3

The preamble

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.

The crowd

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.

The youth

On show with their recorders were Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Josh McEachran, Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge (he’s still young).

The match

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.

The result

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.

There are 37 comments

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  1. Cunningplan

    I just wonder about the wisdom of AVB making a complaint to Riley with regard officiating at OT was worth it.
    The sending off of Alex was rather harsh, and the penalty was soft and rather dubious, perhaps that’s what happens when you complain, unles you’re Slur Alex.

    Very surprised we eventually won a penalty shootout, especially when our Mr Dependable missed the first one. On saying that it was a rather gutsy performance from 10 men, and watching the game on a live internet feed, I was wondering was it us with 10 or them, no doubting who the better side were.

    Agree on Lukaku Mark, and his near collapse for the last 30 plus mins, that’s the trouble with muscle bound guys, they lack stamina, more endurance training for him I think.

  2. Der_Kaiser

    Thanks for that Mark – penalty shoot out wins; whatever next for AVB’s Chelsea?  Who knows, we might even start stuffing Spurs again on a regular basis…

    Be good for the youngsters to have a run in the competition; shame about the sending off as it obviously altered things somewhat.

    Lukaku certainly sounds pretty raw – difficult to remember when you look at their respective physiques, but he’s actually 2 months younger than Josh.

  3. Anonymous

    Was that a dig at Turnbull.? What has he got to do? The guy has never let us down at PL level and last night pulled out some great saves including a critical save during the shootout and still no credit, just a jibe about a miraculous save? Seems harsh to me. 

    What doesn’t seem harsh is the criticism of Kalou and Malouda. Malouda has shown before a propensity for apathy perhaps he’s a moody player. However, Kalou, after 5 years has shown little if any improvement. If Torres is misfiring and trying to prove himself then Kalou really should do the same. From my twitter timeline (yes I know its unscientific) the general view was Kalou was his usual frustrating self, running into blind alleys, making poor decisions etc. The odd thing is we all know that as a sub he’s can make an impact. But as a started he rarely warrants his selection in the results. Personally I think it’s time he went with a thanks. He’s not going to be part of AVB’s future and maybe that’s best. Sturridge is a much better bet in my view, despite Mark’s reservations. Studge is cocky and arrogant but learning. A future monster alongside Drogba clone Lukaku.  

    Other than that, from all the comments and the highlights the youth did well. Its good to see.

    • Anonymous

      Point taken.  Overall Ross did well with some fine saves plus the penalty save.  One dodgy decision to come out for a cross but overall good.

      • Der_Kaiser

        Has to be said that while Sturridge clearly has potential, if we’re levelling the ‘runs up blind alleys, frustrating etc.’ charge at Kalou, young DS shouldn’t be immune from similar criticism.  Potentially a far better player with great natural ability, but his decision making and execution at this moment in time is generally pretty poor.

        • Anonymous

          Agreed, as mentioned in the bullet point

          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.

  4. Anonymous

    Agree with most of your “youth report” comments, Mark.

    Kalou and Malouda between them have more first team starts than virtually the rest of the starting eleven put together last night, though you couldn’t tell from their wretched performances throughout. As someone who has defended Kalou on here before, I thought he was utterly abysmal and often anonymous when we needed to dig in with ten men.

    I’d have taken either of those off, too, to make way for Terry instead of Josh, but with the prospect of extra time perhaps he didn’t have a note from his Mum to let him stay out late.

    I think it’s way too early to be writing Sturridge off already, though he has been disappointing so far. His 3-game ban seems to have revived that “trying too hard” streak that affected his appearances for us last year before his loan.

    Finally, I know the “Small Team in Putney” jibe is a MH stand attempt at a reply to Fulham fans’ chants but as a resident of that fine area I feel compelled to don my geographical pedant’s hat and point out that the Wandsworth, including Putney, boundary falls at the south bank of the river, or possibly the middle of the river if any good mineral rights discoveries are made.

    Therefore, Craven Cottage’s nearest connection to Putney is their ridiculous Wacko Jacko statue which points longingly across the Thames at the Land of Milk & Honey – or Waitrose and M&S Food Stores on Putney High Street as they are sometimes known 😉

  5. 44lyf

    Mr. BOARS please learn to be RUTHLESS.

     It Is professional for a manager, to
    choose the players based on performance ,not age and dressing room influence,
    in fact  at this juncture, age cant be a
    determining factor ,some of the obvious  biological factors of wear and tear all point
    to Frank Lampard’s alarming descent into terminal decline.
    Once feared, respected and most certainly did he strike terror to all EPL defenders
    Franks (20+ goal scoring midfielder) transformation to a toothless lion can not
    be overemphasized ,There’s only one thing that can guarantee his
    failure, and that is  if he refuses to quit.

    The manager being his age mate is even more intimidating, having
    to sit out as a bench warming captain, half time “Tactical” substitutions, MEIRELES,
    MATA, romeu it’s obvious to see.

    The situation is more telling than meets the eye, Frank
    brings nothing to the CHELSEA squad, His free kicks have gone from good to dismal,
    duties been delegated to Didier DROGBA, his turning slow, his ambidextrous ability
    gone, penalty shooting predictable (center) and his reflexes seem to have
    retrogressed horribly, he has now become a burden that even the deep pockets of
    the Russian oligarchs will want to dispose

    This is worsened by the fact He nearly cost us yesterday! The Frank am
    seeing is the fat type and completely lacking in confidence. I am not starting a
    campaign to railroad one of the most significant footballers of the past decade
    into retirement. But it’s high time we came into realistic terms that Grandpa
    just can’t use Viagra.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed with you. And furthermore the open play spot kick be made open to some other players during any match even I can’t remember when Kalou lost a penalty for us. At least he is good in that.

  6. PeterW

    Lampard probably our most effective player in the second half.

    Kalou was indeed poor, been treated very badly by AVB in my opinion, perhaps it is better for all of us if he just moves on. He’s never going to be appreciated for what he’s done for us by a significant proportion for our fans, which is a real pity.

    Ferreira, Luiz, Romeu and Turnball all impressive. McEachran should get more league time. Bertrand and Lukaku still a little way off. 

  7. bluebayou

    Interesting thoughts Mark. I felt a bit more upbeat than you I have to say. Maybe that’s partly down to the fact I don’t get to games regularly these days so anythings a bonus.

    I enjoyed the game, though our lack of ability to finish was a constant frustration. A little more composure and accuracy would have seen us home and hosed long before the final whistle.

    The penalty and sending off was all over in a flash and I didn’t get a good look at it. Surely we weren’t the victims of more poor officiating, as Mr C Plan suggests in the first comment?

    I was very impressed with Romeu. He grew into the game and certainly didn’t seemed fazed by playing 120mins. He rarely if ever gave the ball away. The Barca stamp is certainly on that aspect of his game. And his ability to lever people off the ball bodes well for providing an effective screen in midfield.

    Bertrand should have been trusted a bit more. He took up some good attacking postions but his teammates didn’t find him. Overall though he was steady against a Fulham side who lacked adventure big style.

    Malouda while not spectacular had a decent game from where I sat. On several occasions he battled hard to get the ball back having misplaced the pass and while he’s not as effective as he used to be I think to portray him as indolent or apathetic last night would be unfair, He played through 120 mins and along with Lampard, Romeu, Terry and Ferreira helped to keep a pretty steady ship. 

    And it should be said that Ferreira, while he does get there in instalments these days, showed a lot of anticipation and was key defensively on a number of occasions. He’s a real steady eddy and that sort of dependibility is valuable.

    It would be churlish to be over critical of anyone last night. Lukaku certainly looks like he needs a bit more time even in what was a step or two below full on premiership football. It was more his decision making than anything else that seemed out of synch.

    So we won on penalties and on the balance we created a lot more than Fulham. But we have to get sharper in front of goal.

    • Marco

      Completely echo your last statement Dr Bayou. In some ways last night’s match was a continuation of Sunday’s.

      Sunday: 21 attempts on goal and one goal.
      Last night: 20 attempts and 0 goals (Fulham had 11 attempts).

      41 attempts on goal in four days with only one goal to show for it is both gratifying and shocking! We are creating chances at will but not converting them. Think the benchmark for most managers is to convert 1 in 5 so the result could have been 4-2 to us last night with a 4-3 win against Utd.

      Are we becoming the new Arsenal?

  8. PeterW

    Man United = 21 goals from 92 shots = 23% conversionMan City = 17 goals from 114 shots = 15%Chelsea = 8 goals from 102 shots = 8%

    • Marco

      Thanks for the back-up Pete. The average for ManU and Citeh combined is roughly 1 in 5. While we are at 1 in 12. 

      Let’s hope AVB has got some shooting practice lined up for every single one of our players tomorrow!

        • WorkingClassPost

          Going back to those stats…

          If we maintain a consistently low conversion rate, then it must be down to our players, rather than brilliant or lucky defences. 

          It’s true that goalkeepers often seem to have their best games against us, but that could just be us giving them the opportunity to make their saves.

          Also, I went over to that site to see if they had the conversion rates for the whole PL and saw this:-

          “United conceded 22 shots here, 22 at Bolton, 20 against Arsenal, 21 against West Brom and 16 against West Brom. These are surprisingly high figures (they’ve allowed more shots than any other Premier League team) – the question is whether this is because of defensive slackness, or because opponents are overly-keen to test David De Gea.”

          Note: The double reference to West Brom is theirs, not sure who it’s meant to be.

          Is this a disaster waiting to happen, or do they deliberately let teams come forward so they can then hit them on the break, or just to prevent the old ‘parking the bus’ syndrome?

          Either way, it probably proves the only stats that really matter are the goals for and against variety.

          • Cunningplan

            Or the other conclusion you can take from it is, that their midfield is exposing the back four more than they would like.
            A lot of Utd fans are worried about their lack of defensive quality and strength in the middle, we did seem to enjoy a fair bit of domination in the middle last Sunday.

    • WorkingClassPost

      Disappointing, but not surprising, stats there.

      From a purely anecdotal perspective, our opportunities this term have been much better than last season, when many ‘chances’ weren’t particularly clear cut. The chances we’ve fashioned so far have had a really high ‘should have been converted’ element – so I guess that’s progress, of a sort.

      I don’t see it as a lack of confidence, more the kind of mental block that even the best strikers sometimes get, which is permeating the squad.

      Maybe a little more care in front of goal is all that’s required.

  9. Anonymous

    Not much to add. Only seen the highlights.

    Sturridge with a deserved injury for blatantly trying to steal a goal from Josh. Bad boy.

    Josh looked like he had some nice touches. Completely the opposite to Kalou. Lamps played him in a treat early in the second half, and his first touch took him BACKWARDS. That’s some skill.

    I think Studge has heaps more to offer than Kalou, though I agree he’s far from a finished article. He’s got a cocky swagger about him. Kalou never really did, and Lukaku exhibits signs of classic ‘rabbit in headlights’.

    All in all, good win. On pens as well. Yay. Let’s hope the injuries aren’t too severe.

  10. Ososdeoro

    Fiftee: I really do think the ball was going slow enough for the defender to get to Josh’s shot, so I don’t really blame Studge for that.

    Marco: the new Arsenal? To do that you have to score goals first, before you blow the lead. 

    • Machchan

      Agree that with a defender at his shoulder who could well have cleared on the line, cant knock Sturridge too much.  Not sure he thought through all that in the given time.  My worry is that Sturridge still has much work to do to grow up and control his natural arrogance and selfishness.  Till he does, he will continue to be a bit of a liability, despite the oodles of talent.
      On a separate issue, as PeterW says, Lamps was great from the time he came on.  Perhaps he is walking his talk.  Long may that continue.

  11. PeterW

    You have to assume that given the very similar standard of players at Chelsea, City and United that the figures as they stand are just a statistical aberration taken from a small sample and will balance out – or at least get much closer together – over the course of the season. 

    I wonder also if United are conceding a lot of shots from distance, because teams fancy their chances against De Gea. Like JD, I am just happy we are creating chances at the moment. They will soon start going in. 

  12. Anonymous

    Celebwatch: I was on my way back from picking up a bag o’ chips and a blue cheese burger (medium rare) from the Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Putney Bridge Road last night when I was passed by someone who appeared to be AVerticalB himself. Anyone know if he’s living anywhere near SW15?

  13. Anonymous

    Ho hum.

    Midfield showed well today I thought. Tidy and controlled. Otherwise I can’t think of much to say. Malouda was very good when he came on — a bit more direct than Mata which suited the situation. The Swansea no. 12 on their right (Dyer?) looked impressive. Sinclair appears to have found his appropriate level, and good luck to him. I don’t think Cech made a save, not even a straightforward falling-on-a-slow-roller save or a simple-catch-from-distance save.

  14. Anonymous

    Wowzers. Torres loves being in the headlines doesnt he?

    Another goal conceded from a set-piece. And pretty unmarked as well. Poor.

  15. Anonymous

    Has anyone else noticed that in the photo atop this post the second woman from the right is wearing a gigantic paper aeroplane on her head?

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