The Community Shield: Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool

Match reports

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “Mourinho will have departed reflecting that, for all his fabled resources, it will be important to get Petr Cech and Joe Cole back from surgery and injury. He might conceivably make a mental note to seek conciliation with the disaffected William Gallas. In addition, Claude Makelele’s rest must be well and truly over now.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “So what has happened to the width that made Chelsea the home of four of the world’s best wingers last season? Mourinho said after the match he had decided it was time for a change, although fiddling with a team that have swept all before them in the Premiership for the past two seasons is a risky business.”

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “For all the steel-and-velvet excellence of Andrei Shevchenko and bright promise of Salomon Kalou in Chelsea’s attacking surges, Liverpool thoroughly deserved this victory. Never a work of great art, the Community Shield went through a brief blue period, particularly when Shevchenko was rampaging around either side of half-time, but otherwise Cardiff again belonged to Liverpool.”

The Times, Matt Hughes: “Unlike their shamefully sparse side of the Millennium Stadium, it is difficult to judge whether Chelsea’s glass is half-empty or half-full. Inspired by Andriy Shevchenko to compete with a Liverpool side possessing superior fitness and application, the Barclays Premiership champions conceded an uncharacteristic late winner to Peter Crouch, but it will take more than this setback for them to lose confidence in retaining their crown.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Neil Barnett: “It wasn’t unexpected that Chelsea ran out of legs, but when Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge in September for a Premiership game, it may well be yet another occasion when Chelsea has to prove itself all over again.”

The Herald, Karen Giles: “It is bound to take time for [Michael] Ballack to adjust to his new surrounds. Yet so spectacular was his failure to cope with the pace and the aggression in a match, dubbed a friendly by all bar the participants, Ballack faces an uncomfortable baptism in the Premiership.”

The good

  1. Andriy Shevchenko. It was evident from the outset just why Roman Abramovich stumped up approximately £30m for the Ukranian. He’s clearly still one of the world’s greatest strikers. Technically brilliant, there’s a good few seasons left in him yet. Scored his first goal for the club, a sublime, composed finish from a (rare) good Frank Lampard pass. The first of twenty-five this season? Let’s hope so.
  2. Michael Essien. Was assured in the Claude Makelele role. Has looked sharp all pre-season and will surely give Jose Mourinho a few selection headaches.
  3. It’s always painful losing to Liverpool, but we can take solace in the fact that the squad isn’t yet up to speed, and the meaningless nature of the game. It will be a different matter come the first Premiership meeting with the Reds in September.

The bad

  1. The defence, particularly the full-backs. Geremi and Paulo Ferriera (admittedly playing out of position at left-back) were both exposed on several occasions, and Wayne Bridge wasn’t a deal better when brought on during the second half. Ashley Cole may be a money-grabbing so-and-so but on the evidence of pre-season it’s clear we need a player of his ability, especially if William Gallas continues to gripe. Carlo Cudicini’s effort to save John Arne Riise’s shot could have been better too.
  2. A rushed pre-season. The number of Chelsea players at the World Cup obviously handicapped Mourinho somewhat, but four games in one week, starting in the States, isn’t great preparation for the forthcoming campaign. With a week of pointless international friendlies coming up, Mourinho’s got his work cut out preparing for next weekend’s Premiership opener against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
  3. Our record against Liverpool in Cup competitions in recent times. Yesterday’s game may have been meaningless, but we are in danger of letting the Reds develop some kind of mental hold over us in knockout matches. Mourinho’s record against them in the Premiership is impeccable – four wins out of four, combined scoreline 8-2 – but Cup games are a different matter. Let’s hope we get the opportunity to address this in the coming months.
  4. The number of Chelsea fans in the Millennium Stadium. I don’t feel qualified to give an opinion or criticise (I’m one of the fans who genuinely can only afford to attend a small number of games each season) but surely yesterday’s somewhat meagre attendance is evidence that something’s wrong?

Man of the Match

By some distance, Andriy Shevchenko.

Final thoughts

I was a tad inebriated before kick-off and continued to imbibe lager throughout the game, so the above is what I recall seeing through an alcoholic haze – and the subsequent hangover is probably responsible for a little too much negativity. Waking up with a hangover of hideous proportions is horrible to say the least, but waking up with a hangover of hideous proportions the day after losing to Liverpool is a damn sight worse. Thankfully things can only get better. Roll on Sunday.

I’m going to take a couple of aspirin and lie down in a darkened room.

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(This post’s format unashamedly stolen from the spendid DCenters blog.)