Football parlance has changed during the last few years, presumably due to the influx of educated foreign coaches, such as AVB, and the outflow of uneducated home-grown managers.
Objective 1: Keep a clean sheet. I haven’t been this pleased since last Tuesday’s delivery from Sunlight Laundry.
Objective 2: Keep pace with the league pace setters, Newcastle.
Noise 1: A strange buzzing sound. I asked the pub landlord to check if the wine fridge was faulty. That was passed OK. I then ask if him to check the speaker system, specifically if the speaker cables were running too close to the beer pump. That was passed OK. Eventually we discovered the source was the single engine plane, hired at great expense by the Rovers supporters, flying overhead trailing a banner “Steve Keane OUT”. Puts our CPO protests to shame.
Noise 2: Our fans singing “We’ll sing what want, We’ll sing what want”. Is that OK? Anyone find that offensive?
AVB’s time with us is a project. The season is a sub project. This match was task 17.
AVB has taken a lesson from Greece, management by consensus. The consensus view over the last couple of weeks is that we need to tighten the defence and replace Boswinga with Ivanovic at right-back. AVB obliged. Additionally the consensus view has been that Torres has been a passenger. AVB duly obliged by dropping Torres and playing Sturridge in his preferred position of main striker.
A brisk start with some good one-twos but lacked a decent final ball. Oops, sorry I slipped into old school speak. I meant we started brightly and played some good combinations but lacked efficiency in the final third.
Sturridge had a couple of half opportunities. To be honest I thought we were playing well in absolute terms but in the context of the last three results, and having the hindsight of our fragility, I felt we would be caught on the counter attack at any time. And so it transpired when Yakuba broke through with a one-on-one with Cech and in the resulting melee Cole head butted Cech on the nose causing a seven minute break in play. Everyone’s immediate concern was for Cech’s head, which fortunately was OK, but he had a nasty gash on the nose and had to play the remainder of the half with wads of tissue wedged up each nostril.
Torres replaced Malouda, not for tactical reasons but because Malouda had taken a knock towards the end of activity 1.
Some more decent interplay ensued and finally we got our breakthrough. A ball out to Ivanovic on the right wing who then cut a fine cross using the outside of his right boot, a technique that is becoming his trademark. Lampard met the ball with his head about one foot above the penalty spot to power the ball firmly to Robinson’s left into the corner of the net. A great goal.
During the remainder we tried to kill time by lots of inter passing but Rovers looked dangerous on the break and had two or three decent chances to score.
Alex looked solid, but more in the way that Susan Boyle looks solid, rather than providing the reassurance we all crave at the back. We managed to survive several onslaughts including one powerful header from Ivanovic which thumped our own crossbar.
In the final minutes Torres could have relieved all the tension. He broke on goal with Sturridge completely clear to his left. A perfectly weighted ball to Sturridge would have set him up perfectly but unfortunately Torres over hit the ball to send Sturridge scurrying off towards the corner flag. Sturridge recovered the situation and played a perfect cross to Torres with only the keeper to beat. From only six yards Torres lifted the ball well over the bar!
A positive outcome. This is a results business.
The Match Reports
The Observer, Paul Wilson: “Andre Villas-Boas, trying not to be the first Chelsea manager this century to lose three league matches on the trot, found himself under attack via Twitter from the England cricketer Kevin Pietersen. When Steve Kean looked skywards midway through the first half to see where the loud droning noise was coming from, he found the stadium was being circled by a small aircraft trailing a streamer calling for his removal.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Graham Chase: “It was a day of deep droning at Ewood Park, from John Terry’s every touch being booed by the home supporters to the plane which towed a ‘Steve Kean out!’ banner, circling overhead. It was not quite the defiant response to Terry’s last trip to Lancashire amid a scandal when he scored in his team’s 2-1 win at Burnley almost two years ago, but after a miserable fortnight for him and his club it will certainly do.”
The Independent on Sunday, William Johnson: “A match which was in serious danger of disappearing into a quagmire of apathy and ineptitude was mercifully rescued by Frank Lampard’s latest demonstration of predatory finishing. The England midfielder’s instinctive plunge to meet a low cross from Branislav Ivanovic gave Chelsea welcome respite from their mini-crisis as the international break beckons. It had the opposite effect on Blackburn Rovers, endorsing their depressing start to the campaign and keeping the heat on their beleaguered manager, Steve Kean.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “On an afternoon when eyes turned towards the sky to view a protest by the home fans against their team’s manager, Frank Lampard dived down low to head the game’s deciding goal shortly after half-time. A plane circled Ewood Park during an uneventful first half trailing a ‘Steve Kean Out’ banner but it had gone by the time the Chelsea vice-captain scored his seventh goal of the season to put more pressure on Blackburn boss, and at the same time raise Chelsea spirits going into the international break. It was not a fluid Chelsea performance although it was more solid than recent games, although Blackburn did hit the bar near the end and Petr Cech was called into action in the second half having recovered from injury in the first.”