Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Chelsea – Newspaper Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report

Newspaper reports

The Observer, Paul Wilson: “Victory kept Chelsea five points clear at the top of the Premier League, not bad going for October, and though one could not say they did not deserve it, they played well within their normal selves here and could have been caught out by better finishers than Blackburn. Allardyce’s side did most of the hard work, matched their opponents and kept Chelsea surprisingly quiet, yet not for the first time lacked the killer punch their efforts deserved.”

Sunday Telegraph, Graham Chase: “Having been the venue where they took a huge step towards Jose Mourinho’s first title, Ewood Park has become an increasingly frustrating venue for Chelsea but Branislav Ivanovic’s late winner ensured this game could not be added to that list.”

Independent on Sunday, Tim Rich: “Branislav Ivanovic’s winner may have been so much against the grain of the game that it left splinters but it was superbly executed. Throughout the afternoon, Blackburn’s crosses were of a significantly higher quality than the champions’ but, under pressure and in mid-turn, Yuri Zhirkov produced a wonderful delivery that found Chelsea’s right-back unmarked.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea maintained a five-point gap at the top of the league with a battling if unspectacular victory at Ewood Park. Goals in either half from Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic were enough to overturn a deficit brought about by Benjani’s early header, providing a win that for long stages had looked in doubt.”

The goals

21′ Benjani 1-0
39′ Anelka 1-1
84′ Ivanovic 1-2

The preamble

I always think of Blackburn as a bogey team for us, despite the fact that we have actually won six of our last eight matches against them. Last season we won the first match 5-0 at home but went out on penalties to them in the Carling Cup. The scrappy 1-1 draw we scrambled away to them last March left many people, me included, thinking that we had blown our chance of winning the Premier League.

Blackburn have also been in the news after Fulham’s Danny Murphy cited them, along with Wolves and Stoke, as dirty sides whom managers sent out to intimidate and injure players. A strange comment to make, given that Fulham are currently managed by Mark Hughes – who once sent out a Blackburn thug called Aaron Mokoena (nickname: ‘The Axe’) to break Arjen Robben’s ankle a few years ago. An injury that, to my mind, effectively ended Robben’s English playing career, as he was never the same player after that. Or maybe Murphy is too thick to understand Sparky’s pre-match instructions?

There again, Danny Murphy might have done us a favour. Carlo has been far too quiet about referees who let illegal aggressive play go unpunished against us this season. Recent matches have seen the opposition get away with several assaults on our players; Manchester City being a particularly bad example, as I complained in my last match report. Meanwhile Arsenal, who are themselves a dirty side (17th in the Fair Play League compared to our 1st place), have won three matches and secured a draw after their refs conveniently sent off an opposition player so that they can get on with their tippy-tappy dancing. Arsene Whinger’s moaning certainly seems to be working for them so far.

This afternoon’s ref doesn’t inspire me with much confidence either. Peter Walton has a history of eccentric decisions, including the one during our game against West Ham three years ago. After watching Boa Morte run around kicking everything in sight for an hour he then sent off Frank Lampard instead (a red card that was later overturned by the FA).

Difficult to predict this one. John Terry has said he expects a physical match so no doubt Blackburn will get into our faces, crowd the midfield and harry us all the way. There will be no room for the complacent, lackadaisical, attitude I noticed too often in the second half last Saturday against Wolves.

Blackburn have only lost once at home so far this season, while we have failed to win our last two away. Yet you can only get 1.44 on a Chelsea win today; miserly odds given our recent away form. No wonder all the bookies I know wear chunky 18-carat gold neck-chains.

The result will probably depend on which Chelsea turns up today. If it is the team that played the first half against Blackpool we will win comfortably. If it is the team that showed up for the first half at Aston Villa we will be lucky to get a draw.

Pre-match quote from Carlo:

“We have started the season well but I think we can play better because we played very well in some parts of some games but not continuously. We have to play 90 minutes how we want to play. We have to improve our play and our intensity. We can’t just play for 45 minutes like we did against Wolves. We want to play well for the whole of the match and we haven’t been able to do that so far this season.”

The team

Alex is fit again and comes back into the team so Carlo has to choose between Bosingwa and Ivan at right-back for the first time. An interesting choice, as Bos looked very good indeed in the first half against Wolves. On the other hand, who can ever forget Ivan’s towering performances there last season, which might have won him the Player of the Season award? No doubt a debate will start up on that one, as will another debate about whether Alex should be first choice for the centre back role, ahead of Ivan.

Selection: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Cole, Mikel, Essien, Zhirkov, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka.

Substitutes: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Ferreira, McEachran, Kakuta, Kalou, Sturridge.

The first half

The first half display must be the poorest Chelsea performance I have seen since, oh, last week in the second half against Wolves. We were out-fought, out-thought and out-played all the way up until our equalizer in the 38th minute (yes, I realize that might sound contradictory, but see below).

After an enterprising first seven minutes in which Drogba might easily have scored from Ivan’s cross, Blackburn took the game to us. Both Dioufs were outstanding, while Benjani could, and should, have scored three goals instead of one.

On 10 minutes Cech makes an absolutely stunning save from Mame Diouf’s chip. First he slips in the rain then he recovers with an amazing back flip to palm it away behind the post. A truly world-class goalkeeper and, for me, he is our player of the season so far. A minute later he saves with his legs from Benjani. Over the next half-hour Blackburn pour forward, creating chance, after chance. They could easily have been two or three-nil up before the equalizer.

Their goal on 21 minutes was inevitable. After a period of sustained pressure, with their players massed in our penalty area, El-Hadji Diouf supplies a neat cross to Benjani, who beats JT and heads in.

I will confess that it is sometimes difficult for me to see where the fault-lines are when we play poorly (I find this easier to do when I watch the replays, a facility denied to me if I am to get this report out tonight). But here are some initial thoughts:

We keep losing possession. Zhirkov is the main culprit, but Alex, JT, Mikel, Essien and Malouda are all joining in the competition to see who can pass the ball back to the opposition fastest.

This might be the reason for the last-mentioned problem, but we look over-run in midfield. Is that because Blackburn are playing 4-5-1 against our 4-3-3 and Essien, Mikel and Zhirkov are getting out-numbered three to five?

The two Dioufs look like they have been told to play well up the pitch on Ashley and Ivan, forcing them back and preventing us from developing our characteristic wing-play.

Another answer is that Blackburn are playing out of their skins. A naïve observer watching the first half would have thought they were the champions and us the relegation candidates.

Carlo seems to be aware how serious it all is, as he spends the entire half in the technical area scowling and, from time to time, screaming at various players.

Then, on 38 minutes we get a goal from nothing with our first shot on target. Cech punts it forward to Flo, who, instead of dribbling it, loops it straight up to Drogs as he arrives in their penalty area, heading unselfishly on for Nic to sweep home. An exquisite, intuitive, goal that could only have been scored by what Sir Purple Nose likes to call ‘ageing’ players who have played with each other for years.

The goal demoralizes Blackburn and we, more or less, control the rest of the half but without doing much else to justify our status as champions.

One of the things I really appreciated about Jose was that, at half-time after a poor performance, he would usually issue a bollocking or two, tweak a few instructions, or change the tactics. Will Carlo be as efficient this time?

Half-time: Blackburn 1 Chelsea 1.

The second half

The first twenty minutes or so look scrappy and uncoordinated to me. Although we don’t look a lot better, at least we are holding Blackburn off. But, again, we keep losing possession.

The first chance of the half falls to Zhirkov on 60 minutes, who forces a great save from Robinson. But, immediately, Blackburn run up the other end and win a free kick. After a bit of pinball, with our defence looking all over the place, Diouf misses a simple chance for them to go 2-1 up.

On 70 minutes Carlo finally makes a substitution: Sturridge on for Malouda. Flo has been generally poor today but I can think of at least three other players, Drogba amongst them, who could have done with an early bath. Daniel comes on and makes an immediate impact, beating two players and then having me out of my seat thinking his shot had gone in, but it hits the side-netting. But, in reply, Blackburn waste three more chances to regain the lead, with Jason Roberts missing an absolute sitter, one-on-one with Petr.

But, slowly, we seem to be pushing them back and I notice that we are spending more and more time in their half. On 83 minutes, after some careful build up play, with our players gradually queuing up around their penalty area, we take the lead. Nic plays in Zhirkov, who, from what looks like an impossible angle, plays an perfect reverse chip to the far goal-post and Ivan appears out of nowhere to head it in.

And that’s game over. We only have 3 efforts on target and yet score two goals. It really was a smash and grab raid on poor old Blackburn.

Full-time: Blackburn 1 Chelsea 2.

The positive side

  • About 15 years ago I used to get really irritated watching Manchester United on Sky TV when they were dominating the Premiership. They always seemed to scrape those 0-1, 2-1 wins even when they were crap. Now, we seem to have acquired that annoying knack. Must be really pissing our rivals off right now. We just never give up. Like true champions, we keep on grafting until a winning opportunity or two comes along. None of our players (with the exception of Cech, Ashley, Ivan and, possibly, Nic) played particularly well today, but two moments of individual brilliance decided it.
  • Petr Cech. Looks like he is back to the way he was before Stephen *unt tried to kill him. The best goalkeeper in the world right now and definitely my Man of the Match.
  • Sam Allardyce. A real gent who proved Danny Murphy entirely wrong (although that’s not too difficult to do). His side were better than ours for long periods of the game and that wasn’t down to thuggery but clever tactics, passion and skilful players. See, also, his generous post-match comments about us below.
  • The Arse splutter on to beat the bottom club 1-0 at home while Citeh lose 2-1 to Wolves. That’s right, against those sides whom (we were told after our winning start) were ‘not real tests’.
  • After 10 games we are still top, with a five-point lead. What’s more we are eight points up on the corresponding fixtures played last season.
  • Peter Walton. After my recent rants on referees I am entirely happy to praise a good performance. Walton controlled this game well, with a series of objective decisions. The game, as predicted, was a physical battle but, this time, we were as culpable as Blackburn and, if anything, looked the dirtier side. The yellow cards issued – two to us and two to them – favoured Chelsea in my opinion, as Zhirkov was very lucky to escape a yellow for his scything tackle on Salgado early on.

The worrisome side

  • Aside from those two brilliant goals we created very few chances and were on the back-foot for most of this match. Has our 4-3-3 formation now been found out, in the same way the ‘diamond formation’ was, about this time last year?
  • Carlo said before the match that he wanted us to play for 90 minutes, rather than 45. From where I am standing we didn’t play that well for more than 25 minutes this time out. Back to the training ground, methinks. Otherwise, we are going to get a hammering fairly soon.
  • If Cech gets injured then God help us.

Both positive and worrisome

  • Malouda produced a moment of individual brilliance to create the first goal. Otherwise, he was poor beyond belief and that was one reason why Blackburn dominated the midfield. The same applies to Drogs; one great assist for Nic but, otherwise, you wouldn’t have known he was on the pitch aside from his play-acting.

Man of the Match

Petr Cech.

Final quotes

Carlo Ancelotti:

“Blackburn played a good game in the first half, they put strong pressure on and we were not able to play our football or find space in the middle of the pitch. We had difficulty first half, second half was better, we took a risk with counter-attack because Blackburn could score before our goal, we were a little bit lucky.”

Sam Allardyce:

“Look at (Zhirkov’s) ball for Ivanovic’s goal, it’s an outstanding ball to the far post in a tight area, he’s on the half turn and looks like he can’t get the cross in but he drops it to the far post on Ivanovic’s head, it’s a super, super ball.

“…It’s pleasing to create the chances against such a big team and give them such a good game, but you get the ultimate kick in the teeth when you don’t punch the opposition when you get the chance, and a team like Chelsea will take full advantage of that.

“…When they’re being outplayed they hang on in there and in the end, look at the first goal, quality. Two passes, third pass it’s a goal, that’s how good they are.”

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There are 52 comments

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  1. Anonymous

    A little harsh for me.

    Blackburn away is always a horrible test for us (much like Villa Park, Eastlands, Goodison Park and Spurs) and fighting back from a dismal first half performance and being a goal down, deserves a little more praise in my opinion. I said it was the stuff of Champions earlier and looking at the match again on Football First just reinforces this feeling. It was crucial that Carlo found a way to turn around our away form, and with some brave subs (Sturridge) and a half-time shout, he comes out well from this test.

    But i have to agree that some of the performances on show today were rather worrying. Didier was terrible for the most part and Malouda either looks tired or worryingly similar to the ineffective snail on show in the Avram and Scolari days. But your criticism of Zhirkov is baffling for me as his pace and direct running added some much needed tempo and attacking threat to the side which we were missing when Malouda and Nico kept slowing the game in the first half. And his chip for Branner’s winner was sublime. Sturridge looked promising but again the stars of the show were Pete, JT, Ash and Branner. These four and on most days, Mikel, are the key to our great form this season and if we can continue this run to Christmas without a blip, then the title’s ours.

    And a five point lead after a quarter of the season means we don’t really have much to complain about.

  2. Ringo

    Coulda/shoulda lost that game ,but we didn’t.
    Don’t wanna make a habit of it.

    Spending a Saturday night watching the videos posted on the last two blogs.
    How sad is that.

  3. Anonymous

    Sloppy first half and we could have been well behind, had Petr not been in outstanding form, once again.

    Second half was a vast improvement, and although Roberts missed his chance near the end, for us to have lost would have been very harsh. Not sure what Kalou has to do to get a game, but to bring Sturridge on instead of him is one of the more bizarre decisions Ancelotti has made from the bench.

    Only downside was the Gooners late winner.

    Also, for those that missed it, have a read over the previous “Father and Son” thread……. For anyone that was ever introduced to football by their dad, I can highly recommend it…..Had me in tears.

  4. PeteW

    Good win, and incredible cross by Zhirkov. He’s doing a great job given he’s playing out of position and is probably our fourth choice there given injuries.
    Never entirely clear why there is such resentment against Allardyce – it largely seems to be the construct of Arsenal fans and their boosters in the press. His teams are agricultural but they always give a good game and I can’t recall a single game when they’ve set out to kick us despite the reputation. As Marco says, Hughes is much worse.
    So I’m a fan of Sam, all the bile he attracts is snobbery, pure and simple, by Wengerists who have a stupidly narrow concept of how football should be played.

  5. dans

    Am I the only one concerned at our performances in the last month?

    Arsenal deserved more than what they got.

    Man City bullied us to beat us.

    Wolves didn’t deserve to lose.

    Villa deserved to beat us.

    Blackburn deserved to beat us.

  6. Marco

    I sometimes think reports on Saturday games should be published in this blog on Mondays. Thus giving the writer time for review and reflection.

    On looking at the highlights I think my jaundiced view of the game was too much influenced by our shocking performance in the first half. We were much better in the second half. Zhirkov gave away possession far too easily in the first half for my liking but I agree with Habs and Pete that he was better in the second. And, of course, he created our winner with sublime skill.

    Still wincing at the 7 easy chances we gave away to Blackburn. If we do that against Liverpool next Sunday even Torres will score.

  7. Der_Kaiser

    Don’t think the performance was anywhere near as shoddy as has been billed. First half wasn’t great, but that was largely down to Blackburn hassling for every ball like crazy, which they were never going to be to sustain over 90 minutes – seen that against us all too often in the past and it rarely succeeds. And ultimately, for Alan Hansen’s suggestion on MotD that Blackburn ‘dominated’, if we’re going on pure stats (never ideal), most outlets give us 60% plus possession and put things as pretty even territorially – hardly evidence of Blackburn’s dominance in my view.

    Drogs still looks out of sorts but probably just needs a goal; sooner we get Frank back, the better.

    Interesting views on Allardyce; no question that he doesn’t get some of the credit he deserves, but whilst some of it is pure snobbery, an awful lot of the brickbats he gets I’d put down to the fact that he has an unfortunate knack of coming across as an utter c*nt. Utterly dislikeable in the Shearer mould, referring to himself in the third person, suggesting he’d win doubles and trebles every season in charge of a bigger team, I’d get more respect if I was called Allardycio and so forth. All subjective, of course but I simply can’t warm to the bloke at all.

  8. Ringo

    Anyone who pisses off Wenger is alright by me.

    I’ll always remember a (not so) big Sam scoring a stoppage time own goal to give us a 4-3 win against Bolton ,after Clive Walker came on to change the game with 20 mins left and us being 3-0 down.

    Shame there’s no video of that one.

  9. Gary

    Good report Marco. I don’t think you were too far from what happened – no need to wait and ‘review’ before posting.

    To me, only three players did well – Cech (I said it first he is getting back to his best here!), Ivanovich and Nick. Ivanovich deserved the goal – I am surprized this is only his second league goal. Hope he scores more of these.

    Nick is a gem – I am glad he found a home at the blues. Only downside with him is that he sometimes slows down a good counter-attack – but, I am fine with it as long as he is more than making it up.

    Ashly did his job more or less – but nothing spectacular there – and he missed a pretty good chance himself too.

    Drogba – he is definitely not back to 100% yet. Somehow, I just know he is not in the game from his defending rather than what he does up front. Y’day, he lost the ball on many occasions while we were defending the corners or set pieces. But he is still creating goals – and I am fine with it.

    Mikel did not have a great game, but then, he did pretty well considering we were over run in the midfield at times and there was not much support for him. Bison was surprzingly off y’day – and I think that was the key to our losing midfield battle, along with Malouda’s erratic performance.

    Zhirkov – I am not sure about him – I mean, all credit to him for his good late performances, but I feel sometimes he loses ball too easily in the midfield – though he tracks back better than a lot, it still creates some problem for us. This is not a complaint though.

    Ringo – right on with Maradona and AW!

  10. Anonymous

    Hey, don’t beat yourself up, Marco. I don’t think there is anything wrong with posting your initial, honest responses straight after a game. There’s surely room for that as well as the considered view after reflection.

    Your first thoughts chimed mostly with mine, though that was because I was struggling with a series of stop-start, fuzzy internet streams that were irritating me as much as our lacklustre play. I only just caught our equaliser on action replay because I was making my 2nd or 3rd swap to try and find a better stream.

    I couldn’t face the full 90-minute re-run on Sky [were we really the best game of the day?] but can’t say the 60-minute version seemed too much better. I just take solace in the fact that it was another mediocre day at the office that ended with 3 more points in the bag and was lifted by a superb display from Cech to keep us in the match on several occasions.

  11. FanSinceTheSixties

    Don’t delay, Marco.

    The earlier the better and those first impressions are what make the reports here so interesting. On that topic, I think our reporters do a great job and put their stuff together quickly and with style.

    Hats off to all.

    Watched almost the whole game courtesy of Sky Italia, only missed about 20 seconds of the first half, when a charming, if somewhat buxom lady stood in front of me while clearing some plates. And of course…they scored.

    It had been coming and that kinda settled us. We knew then what to do but they weren’t entirely sure whether to stick or try for more and we got back into the game.

    Agree with everything except Zhirkov who I though had a very good game. He didn’t seem to give the ball away any more than anyone else and his good work was much better than most.

    There were some fairly naff performances on our side and I wonder if Carlo has done too good a job getting the team to accept rotation. It was as if a few guys would’ve preferred to be rested for the CL rather than roughing it with Blackburn.

    Two class goals just when we needed them.

    Not sure if Blackburn were particularly good which is most disconcerting. They just did what needs to be done – press us hard and hit back quickly when we attacked them.

    It wasn’t difficult and managers throughout the PL will be telling their players the same thing.

    Our defence just seems to go missing too often when we’re on the attack.
    Then we’re caught one on one and have no option but to back off and let them pile it on. We need a spare man who’s not afraid to tackle higher up the pitch, knowing that there’s cover behind if he gets skinned. Break up their attack and hit them coming forward – I know, just like Carlo hasn’t already thought of that!

    Anyway, that was proper football with cut and thrust and chances galore (for them at least) and the supporters who travelled seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

    It’s not always comfortable, but I wouldn’t want to swap these matches for the Mourinho 1-0 variety.

  12. Clive

    Good report Marco no need to reflect, I think everyone who writes match reports has the right to be wrong, oops I mean creative with their views. I managed to get a good ESPN feed with Ian Darke commentary, although it didn’t improve the quality of the game, perhaps a dodgy feed might have made it look better.

    Fair play to Blackburn, they played well, but even after going a goal down, I just felt quietly confident we’d get back into it and probably go on to win. We only have to worry when I start posting like Fiftee 😉 and think we’re going to lose. But at the moment, I can see us rewriting even more history at Poo next Sunday.

  13. Anonymous

    Morning all, saw the highlights of the game and got the jist from 5 Live – seems to me that you’re report is pretty much spot on. It’s often easier to write after a period of reflection, but this is about opinion as well as solid fact and I often find the review period tends to back up my initial views rather than change them.

    Yes, this is a tough game, and yes Blackburn will always be tough opponents at home….I also agree with them having a rather unfortunate reputation for kicking which derives more from Sparky’s reign than anyone else. Allardyce does a decent job with limited tools and I don’t doubt that Newcastle would never have been relegated had he been given a decent chance there.

    All in all I think the performance was OK, no worse than times against Wolves or Villa……it’s what United have done for years. Agree in the main with your positives/negatives and worrisomes!

  14. Anonymous

    Good review Marco, found myself agreeing with pretty much everything, including your point that Cech is back to his absolutely brilliant best.

    One positive from our recent bad play is that we are still winning while playing without probably the best CM in the world, the man who controls games for us. It’s also compounded by us missing Benayoun and Ramires, and when we play with Cole, Zhirkov and Malouda I don’t think the balance is quite there. With Super Frank back I really think we will start playing well again.

  15. Ringo

    Read the report again ,and I’ll parrot what everyone else has said ,sounds about right to me.
    Apart from the one line accusing Drogba of play-acting ,which you expect to hear elsewhere but not here. Anymore.

    Nick – What’s there to read today?
    You don’t expect me to look for myself do you?

  16. bluebayou

    Enjoyed the report Marco and appreciate the immediacy followed by the reflection which is something we all do. It’s very difficult in the heat of the moment to keep perspective, particularly when the performance is below par. I think some of us are more phlegmatic or philosophical than others and it varies depending on the circumstances. The contrasting views give rise to the opinions and that’s what makes a blog worth reading.

    A few thoughts

    I only had the radio commentary and the MOTD highlights but Carlo’s wish for a consistent 90 minutes wasn’t fulfilled.

    More and more teams are going to press hard early in the game, try and get a goal and dig in knowing they might get something on the break as we then go after an equalizer. We need a strategy to deal with this, other than the knowledge that they’ll run out of steam after an hour, ’cause with one or two teams we might be dead and buried.

    That’s 2 of the leagues “mad hackers” played in 2 weeks and both of them were decent games of football. Could the sports media be getting things out of proportion. Can seasoned observers of the game be guilty of acting like teenage girls at a David Cassidy Concert (please update reference to suit your era).

    Jason Roberts suffered a lot of comparisons with the “clinical finishing” of Chelsea’s frontmen. Two things. We’ve seen our boys miss plenty like that. Why no credit for Sturridge defending like a demon? Out of the corner of his eye Roberts must have seen Danny boy hurtling in and the ball was very nearly taken off his toe as he got the shot away.

    I think Zhirkov is going to be good. He didn’t really get a settling in season last year what with injury and so on. Every time he plays he produces something. He needs time maybe, a run in the side and to feel he’s part of the regular set up even if he doesn’t play every game.

    It was great watching Carlo smirk as he was invited to confess that he had Paulo warmed up and was about to replace Branners just as he scored. He has a think and decides to fess up rather than play the wise man.

    @ Nick – I like the added links, a good idea.

    • Der_Kaiser

      I think we’ll see plenty of the ‘get in their faces early on’ tactic, especially away from home. Frank returning will be useful, as between him and Mikel they should be able to dictate the pace of the game a little better than we are at the moment. One or two sides might sustain the pressure over the course of 90 minutes, but I’m always confident we’ll nick something, even when we’re not at our best. Think it was Fergie that once observed on the subject when United were doing similar that ‘this team doesn’t lose, it just runs out of time occasionally’ (or words to that effect). You could probably apply the same to us.

      Very odd to think we’re visiting Liverpool next week in the knowledge that their tails are up; not on the back of being a couple of points off the top as they often have been in recent years, but based upon their first away win of the season which lifted them out of the drop zone. They weren’t bad yesterday, but they really weren’t that good either.

      • Marco

        Yup – top bloke and amusing when he confessed he was about to take Ivan off just as he scored the winner.

        But what IS going on with that eyebrow? Shouldn’t it be in the Guinness Book of Records?

  17. Clive

    I see Joe limped off yesterday, lets hope he won’t be fit to play against us come Sunday. I think we all know how some of our ex-players have a habit of biting us on the backside from time to time.

    On a side issue as to the comedic element to Utd’s second goal, and that fool Battenburg, is he really a referee?
    I would just like to establish as to why Rio was allowed to be privy to a conversation between the linesman and referee, when they were deciding how crap Spurs were, and should be punished with a further goal against just for turning up.

    I can hear the national outcry now if a certain Mr Terry did something similar, hanging wouldn’t be good enough.

    I would also like to add with regard this like system on the blog, I see I only have 3 likes out of 25 posts, a poor return by anyones standards. I’m now offering people on the blog £10 for every time you click my post like button. All you have to do is leave your name and bank details and I’ll transfer said monies.

      • Clive

        I also think Nick that link should be a sticky on the site so peeps can be pointed towards it from time to time. It could also be used something akin to a swear box for anyone who uses foul and ribald language on the blog.

          • Clive

            Fuck I didn’t see that Nick, never read the fucking small print. (this could get expensive)
            And yes sad news on Danny Baker, same age as me.

          • bluebayou

            Blimey, that’s brought me up short. Thought he was away on some project or other. Hope to God he recovers. I know he hates Chelsea but it’s our imperfections that make us human. What would we do without him?

          • Anonymous

            A terrible piece of news – he invented the idea of the bipolar Chelsea fan and despite his dislike of our club he never lets it get in the way of friendship (as with Suggs for example, where I gather many a jar has been sunk between them). It’s an old and probably oft repeated story but I once got drunk with him and Fred Housego after a 6 O Clock show (an LWT light hearted start to the weekend…The One Show without the silly wild animal stuff). I’d been as the guest of one of the researchers, Jeff Pope, who’s wife worked with the original Mrs CT. Mr Pope did rather well as he’s now Head of factual entertainment for ITV which probably pays rather well. Baker stayed for about 3 hours regaling us with stories and listening intently to my tales of drunken debauchery and frozen Chelsea burgers and between him and Housego (who stayed for the whole session) I was royally entertained that night. I had the feeling both would have happily done it again as they seemed to enjoy the experience of a non-celeb telling them how it was, as a rather raw and wet behind the ears early 20’s person. His take on the weird and wonderful of football and latterly life in general is unique. Just a few months back a caller regaled him with the story of her football mad 8 year old playing football by himself and being both player and referee simultaneously. He tackled himself rather badly and then had an argument with himself as ref, who then produced the red card and the young boy trudged sullenly out of the garden and went to his bedroom. Everyone in the car was laughing along with DB on that one. The rumour is that its throat cancer which is particularly cruel for a broadcaster.To the creator of the BP Chelsea fan, get well soon….. football, life and broadcasting need you back sir.

    • bluebayou

      I feel by turns, pity, outrage and an uncomfortable sense that you may access my bank account for nefarious purposes.

      I just found an old postal order for eleventy guineas. I was going to send it to you and then Nick came up with a more deserving cause.

      Sorry 🙁

      I understand the rather thin Clattenburg defence (sounds like a chess thingy) but Wiley and others are staying a bit quiet about the yellow card that should follow such a blatant hand ball non? Coming on top of the “Carrol Clawback” (clatterbog) and the “Collapsing Carrick” (world cup webby)) I can understand how yer average spud might feel a bit tetchy about the refereeing at the Theatre of Screams (late halloween related joke).

  18. Der_Kaiser

    We note from this morning’s media coverage that Rafa is now clearly certifiable. Surely not far from a press conference with underpants on head / pencils up nostrils etc.?

  19. bluebayou

    It’s small comfort to me now, but no less an august body than the IMF have produced some research that indicates luck as well as ability can have a very significant impact on your sporting career. Perhaps more luck to go with my outstanding lack of ability would have seen me to the top. a related thought, it’s good to see Scott Sinclair taking his chance with both hands at Swansea. I hear him mentioned every weekend now. I wonder what effect the increasing trend to loan young players to other Premiership clubs has meant in terms of their development. It’s difficult to think of anyone who has done really well for us. Like the research above I wonder is there any correlation between where a player gets his starts and an increase in his chance of success?Perhaps with confidence being the key, it’s better to play a league below, in a team that’s going well, rather than try to force your way into a struggling team where dressing room tensions, confidence etc. can have a destabilizing effect on your outlook..

  20. Der_Kaiser

    As irritating as it is to see Spurs celebrating, there is something deeply satisfying about seeing Rafa sporting the face of a man who has just put his finger through the toilet paper.

    But if Spurs could just stop all this doing well in Europe nonsense, that would be great. We were told that ‘Arry’s outmoded football would be embarrassingly exposed on the big stage – how can this be?

    • Clive

      Liverpool fans still think he’s the canines genetalia, and he’ll take Inter to greater heights than Jose did. I don’t know who’s deluded more, them or Rafa.

  21. Fifty

    Hi Roman,

    However much it takes, whoever it upsets, I’d say that Bale kid from White Hart Lane would be worth every penny.



  22. bluebayou

    In the midst of the general trouser wetting on R5 Live, one commentator saw fit to remind us that at no point last season did Inter Milan look so shaken while on their progress to the title.

    Now I don’t know the accepted international standard for the measuring how shaken are a collective of humans in pursuit of a shared, common goal.

    But qualifying out of the group last season with only 9 points, garnered from two wins and 3 draws, while losing 2-0 to Barca, must have induced a little shakiness. Then again it may have been part of JM’s masterplan.

  23. bluebayou

    I work in Shadwell close to old lady Thames. Given the travel chaos that will envelop any effort to get to the game by public transport, I may have to use the river.

    Does anyone have a canoe to spare (complete with paddle as I mean to avoid going up Shit Creek)? If not it may mean breaking out the speedos and goose grease. I’d better check the tidal tables or I might end up watching Gravesend.

    • Anonymous

      Well, as someone who can see the Wimbledon branch of the District Line from my front window I can confirm a reduced number of largely empty trains are currently running – though if RMT propaganda is to be believed they may be simply management-controlled decoys shuttling between Southfields and Putney Bridge to confuse Putney residents.

      Rumour has it that Fulham Broadway will helpfully remain closed all day rather than abruptly just before kick off and match finishing times, as more often happens.

      Personally I will be donning a stout pair of walking shoes and trusting no Noah-like phenomena ensue to punish me.

      Could you acquire a pair of water-skis and hitch a ride behind the no doubt packed to the gunnels River buses heading west?

  24. bluebayou

    I did in years gone by master the basics of water skiing, but I feel that to ski along the Thames in these “austere times” when “we’re all in it together ” might smack of an uncaring attitude towards my fellow citizens. It might also result in getting a right good kicking.

    There is a river bus that goes from Balckfriars to Chelsea Harbour, one at 5.10 or 5.20 (depending on what time table you read) and another at 6.25. I aim to get the 5.10 but keep picturing scenes akin to those of the American Embassy in Saigon as the last helicopter left the roof.

    Once I’ve seen the boys in blue do their stuff and have fortified myself with a few tinctures, I will then face the problem of getting back to Clapton in the middle of the night, with a stout heart and wobbly legs.

    • Anonymous

      On a more practical note, if the river bus proves to be an unreachable, seething mass of humanity [and I see the official website has pointed out this usually neglected option] and you’re at Blackfriars as early as 5pm, then a brief walk along the south bank offers the possibility of a journey on South West trains from Waterloo station that should be just this side of the comfort available on the Tokyo Metro in rush hour.There are lots of trains stopping at Queenstown Road and Wandsworth Town, both less than 15-minute trips, putting The Bridge within striking distance via Battersea or Wandsworth Bridge respectively, for those with a pioneering spirit and a downloaded streetmap.Can’t help with return to Clapton as I’ve always believed this was a mystery-shrouded, “there be dragons”, legendary place invented by a relative of mine who claimed to live there briefly many years ago in his adventurous youth phase.Any weakening of resolve to attend the game should be stiffened by reminding yourself that ITV have the live TV rights and near-permanent use of the mute button would be obligatory.

      PS. Anyone know if there’s a shred of truth in this suggestion from the Daily Wail:

      I note he has only made the first team subs bench twice so far this season, but assumed he’d been injured?

      • bluebayou

        Thanks BBD. Might prove useful.

        Old folk have told me that if you sail to the other side of Clapton Pond you reach the edge of the world and fall off.

  25. Anonymous

    What cracking performance, I’m looking forward the communal wanking from the press about our performance much as they did over Spurs………

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