Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Chelsea – In the Parlance of Our Times

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.

Background Noise

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?

Task 17

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.

Activity 1

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.

Activity 2

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!

Task Summary

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.”

The Goal

51′ Lampard 0-1

There are 13 comments

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  1. Marco

    Very amusing Mark. Spot on about the jargon. AVB sometimes sounds like he’s speaking English as passed through the Google Portuguese translator….

    Was less bullish than you about the game as I thought we were fairly awful (sorry, I meant ‘inefficient’) at the back for large spells of the game and our not conceding again was a minor miracle. Cech may well have been our MotM given some of his saves and the fact that he played on with a broken nose.

    Time for a few more sub-projects on the training ground methinks.

  2. Anonymous

    Ok, so I’ve only seen MOTD, but I still have grave concerns about a few things.

    Firstly, our defence which, despite a clean sheet, looked as ropey as ever? Why? Why has it turned so easily, so quickly? We could defend competently and without panic. That’s no longer the case. Ivanovic looks hardly any better than Bosingwa at RB. JT just looks overcooked. Period.

    Secondly, Torres. I really – really – kept believing and hoping it’d change for him and come good. But it wont. Another awful miss at the end. We have a £50m dud and all we’ll do is pick him to justify the cash outlay. Hes done. Utterly done. Off back to Spain within the year for a damn sight less than we paid.

  3. Machchan

    Loved the old-school to new-school speak, the Alex – Susan Boyle analogy etc., Mark, thanks!

    Gotta agree with Marko and Fiftee in their comments about our defence.  We didn’t concede, but that was thanks to luck / fate / the benevolence of the Gods of football.  I thought Ivan was an order of magnitude better than Bosingwa.  Kept Hoilett (arguably their biggest threat based on performances this season) quiet and contributed a fantastic assist too.  Cant ask for more.

    Felt sorry for Kean though, plane trailing banner and all.  Blackburn have a good chance of climbing out of the relegation zone if they carry on playing like they are.

  4. Anonymous

    We can’t say too much regarding our defence apart from the fact that they are slow and not ready to our new style of game. When team defend so high on the pitch recovery runs become one of the most important weapons of defence. Neither of our players can actually do it. John Terry was never fast and now he is even slower and sloppier than he was, now add to it his off and on field antics: December 2009 -John Terry sales Stamford Bridge tours, January 2010 Vanessa affair, October 2011 Racism probe. Don’t you think it is too much for someone who can’t run and defend any more.  

  5. Anonymous

    Couple of points I missed off my report (must’ve been the beer).

    1. If you’ve recently been getting frustrated with the co-commentators you’d have enjoyed Dean Sturridge yesterday who, as Daniel’s uncle, always sided with us.

    2. Blackburn had a few chances but overall their attack wasn’t too threatening, which is not surprising since they only had a thin veneer of Formica up top.

  6. Chris Howell

    Alex was truly awful yesterday, beaten repeatedly just fell down at a couple of crucial points in the game. Luis or Ivanovic needs to partner Terry.

    And Sturridge is showing painful signs of mediocrity. He missed at least two fairly easy goals, and on both occasions went to ground claiming he was fouled. He needs to score not complain. And he still holds the ball far too long.

    I actually thought Torres looked pretty good apart from that last failure to score. He carved open the Blackburn defense and created some decent chances for other players. I’d rather see Meireles on the field than Ramires, if I had to choose.

    • Benjami

      I agree with you on Alex, I think his lack of mobility and general performance was extremely poor yesterday. The fact he has been with us for a good few seasons and failed under any manager to cement a place in the first team says to me he isn’t quite going to make it.

      He is an excellent reserve defender and I would love him to stay on in that role.

      As I said a few topics ago, we have never replaced Riccy and until we do I think we will struggle against the top teams in Europe. We will not win the Champions League this year with this current defence, it is simply not clever or fast enough.

      Again as it has been said before Luiz has the potential to be world class! He just needs to learn to hold the line a bit more, not rush into tackles, not get caught out of position and not give away silly (argh) penalties.

      His reading of the game, passing, attacking runs, and goals are already legendary! If he makes this adjustment to his defending he will be one of our greatest players ever!

      I don’t agree with you with regards to Sturridge and Torres. It was Torres’ poor ball to Sturridge that drove him out wide instead of setting him up with a goal scoring opportunity. Then Sturridge did excellent to re-engineer the opportunity for Torres to mess up.

      Sturridge didn’t reach one of those goals rather than missing it, he then complained of being held back.

      Honestly though, I don’t think Sturridge is going to quite make it for us. He can’t hold the line on his own up front and has a lot of work to do to become a world class right winger/forward. Again I view him as an excellent squad player but won’t make those big big games.

  7. Anonymous

    I was going to try and construct some football-related management-speak comments, but can’t be arsed, so I’ll just run my usual ramblings up the flagpole and see if they salute, instead.

    Watched the 60-minute Football First highlights without knowing the score. Thought the line-up looked like our best defensive combination, arguably, but didn’t see much improvement in practice. Lucky breaks as much as anything got us our cleansheet in the end, though I remained convinced again we would mess up at some point in the second half.

    I wish Sky would give more clues to how much time is left in their highlights as it gets quite agonising in the second half at times, especially with Nando’s almost Kalou-esque miss near the end.

    I thought ESPN’s commentary on the QPR v Citeh game reached a new low, with their endless promotion of their plucky little challengers giving the fancy dan table-toppers a tough time line. Weirdly, I was actually quite glad when Citeh went 2-1 and then 3-2 up, just to shut them up a bit. Admittedly, David Silva’s involvement in the goals might have had something to do with that – the only man whose good form is apparently capable of withstanding the curse of being in my fantasy team.

    I hope you are all suitably grateful that I am sticking to my self-sacrificing pledge not to bring Lamps into my fantasy team this season to avoid tempting that same curse 😉

  8. Bippen

    Sturridge and Torres missed to easy, headed goals by choosing to use their feet. Lamps for some reason decided to dig his nose into the ground and head a ball he easily could have tried to volley. Just goes to show that he’s a way more intelligent player than the two other.

  9. BlueShy

    I was at the Bolton-Chelsea game, was sitting right next to our dugout, Kalou looked disinterested, Mireles was the friendlist, Bosingwa behaved/looked like he didnt want to be there :).The Chelsea fans made so much noise, I was so proud, the atmosphere was amazing, we were really lucky to go back with three points.Torres’s miss …aaaaargh!! He turned around and looked at the linesman to support him! didn’t work.
    And Sturridge was being such a baby!Every time he fell over, he would look at AVB for support,it was pathetic!Lamps saved us..But she made my day..I took some cracking pics of the new one..the fresh one.. aka AVB

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