Bolton Wanderers 0-4 Chelsea – Newspaper Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report, Player Ratings

Newspaper reports

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “On an emotional evening when Bolton Wanderers gathered to pay tribute to their greatest striker Nat Lofthouse, Chelsea celebrated their current crop of forwards. All three of Carlo Ancelotti’s attackers, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka, found the mark as the champions mocked suggestions of a crisis.”

The Guardian, Paul Wilson: “If Carlo Ancelotti really intends to win 13 of his last 16 Premier League games, to keep Chelsea in contention for the title, he is going to need Didier Drogba back to his best. He can only have been encouraged by the way his main striker set the tone for the first victory of the sequence here, putting his side in front with an unstoppable 30-yard shot that must rank as one of the best goals the Ivorian has ever scored.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “It has been a while since Didier Drogba has pulled off his shirt at the end of a game and handed it over to a member of his club’s travelling support but then it has been a while since Chelsea have been as good as they were last night.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Ramires scored his first goal for the Blues at the Reebok Stadium on a night when all three strikers also found the net.”

The goals

11′ Drogba 0-1
41′ Malouda 0-2
56′ Anelka 0-3
74′ Ramires 0-4

The preamble

Do you know what’s weird?

Well, loads of things are weird. Stuff like the hilarious video on Sky News showing Andy “I’ve fathered five children, by four different women but with age comes maturity so I certainly don’t see myself with anyone else” Gray and Andy Burton discussing “that looker of a lino” as they prepare to film one of those inane interviews Sky seem to specialise in, is certainly weird. And a bit creepy.

The signing of David Luiz is also a bit strange if you ask me. Personally, I think it’s a great move from us to sign one of Europe’s best young defenders. He can also cover on both sides as a full-back and is young enough to replace JT if everything goes well. Who cares if he’s cup-tied or that his arrival automatically tells Bruma that at the moment he’s not even good enough to be our reserve’s reserve centre-back? He’s now fifth choice behind a hobbling Alex and that must be disheartening for him. But what’s weird about it is that Roman has spent £25m on a footballer. Yes, this is Roman Abramovich we’re talking about. The guy who is so obsessed with cost cutting that he demanded half of our scouting network be sacked and that Carlo would have to make do with Emenalo as his new assistant instead of an expensive external appointment like Leonardo or Maldini (there may be another motive behind Emenalo’s promotion but the general point still holds. It does I tell you!). So to see him sanction a move for an extremely talented but expensive player did throw me for a while.

Enough of that aside though because the main thing that is bothering me at the moment is the extremely strange atmosphere around the club. I said before the Arsenal game that this season, everything had become a little less fun as “a wave of cynicism, pessimism and outlandishly high expectation was starting to overwhelm us”. But that feeling has changed for me because at present, things just feel a bit, well, quiet. I don’t know if some down at Cobham have already given up on the title or the Champions League or perhaps they’ve just given up on their Chelsea careers (I’m looking at you Zhirkov. You do still play for us right?). But everything looks and smells stale and flat. It almost seems like we’ve thrown in the towel and have started to raise the white flag. It’s a terrible thing to say and I hope I’m wrong but what I perceived as an intelligent calmness at the start of our blip/crisis when the whole club took up Carlo’s patented laissez-faire attitude and refused to talk about any problems, instead now just looks like resignation. Even we fans have gone a bit quiet recently. Just look at the reaction to our scrambled win against Blackburn. There was a collective sigh as some barely acknowledged that we had just won a league match for the first time in bloody ages before they moved on to other more important things, like Dancing on Ice I’m sure. I’ve even started to get into NFL to amuse myself. A tip for all those looking for some excitement: watch the Steelers and the way they reached the Super Bowl if you want to see something great to distract you from our recent problems.

But a shrug of the shoulders and a scratch of the arse and then we all forgot about it. That kind of sums it up at the moment because looking at the table and seeing us languishing in fourth place, I repeat fourth position in the league, doesn’t even provoke the same emotive reaction it used to. There is no fight, energy or fucking desire coming from anyone within the club and that’s because our present predicament is starting to feel normal and justified. We deserve to be miles off for the top of the table because of our terrible recent performances and the most worrying thing is that there seems to be little appetite for a radical change to shake us back into life.

I’m not complaining about the fact that we haven’t walked past every opponent, scoring hundreds of goals along the way as no team has a divine right to win every game but what has started to grate is the sense of pathetic acceptance within the squad. Everyone seems so comfortable in their guaranteed first team positions that they just can’t be arsed to start fighting to turn things around.

I’m not sure if it’s just me but Chelsea as a club just look tired. Things have stayed the same for far too long and the big players have sunk so far into their comfort zones that it appears impossible at times to scare them to react. When the spine of your side has remained unchanged and crucially unchallenged for six years then I shouldn’t really have expected too much more but in a transitional season, which this patently is, it surely isn’t too much to ask that the club start planning for next season by showing some real faith in our talented youngsters. When you have young players like Josh and Sturridge impressing in the handful of games they’ve been given this season with goals, assists and classy performances, there is no defence for continuing to reward the old guard (I’m looking at Malouda, Didier and Essien especially) with guaranteed starts every week. The fact that we have based our footballing philosophy around a 33 year-old who is on the wane is mad enough as that has led to an over-reliance on the big guy but when that 33 year-old is a temperamental child at times who has the ability to get a manager he falls out with sacked, then that my friends is suicidal. The bland football in Jose’s 4-3-3 looks stale, the squad looks stale and the club as a whole looks stale. And just to make things worse, Carlo is so obsessed with keeping the big players’ egos in check that he refuses to drop anyone. Perhaps the biggest signing since Sheva will act as a catalyst for a new glorious Chelsea age but Roman has waited a bit too long to change this side. We’re by no means a bad side and I still think we’ll finish second but there has to come a time when we embrace change. We may have stupidly ignored Fergie’s policy of always updating a squad from a position of strength so you can maintain your success levels but we still have a chance to correct our mistakes. Come on Carlo, just do what you really want to; drop Didier. We’ve seen glimpses of your true feelings (Spurs away) so just bite the bullet and bloody do it. You will most definitely be proved right.

It’s not as if he’s going to power us back into the title race with a wonder strike is it?


The team

Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.

Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Kalou, Sturridge, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.

“What’s that I see, no Didier? I can’t fucking believe it. Well done Carlo. You are so brave… Oh wait, there he is. Damn glasses letting me down.”

Yep the old guard were back. Yay! And Josh was again on the bench. Boo!

There has been a lot of hype around this kid but if you’ve seen him play you’ll realise that it’s all deserved. He’s the most creative midfielder in our squad and when creating chances and scoring goals appear to be far beyond our elderly attack’s capabilities, I do wonder what it will take to get Josh a start. Oh and Sturridge was again on the bench. Seven goals in a week aren’t enough for Carlo.

The match

Well, tonight turned out to be highly entertaining. Tuning in to see Jamie Redknapp desperately trying to act like the responsible senior partner who knows all there is to know about the world of Sky Sports was hilarious. As was Sam Allardyce’s attempt at commentary. His content was pretty impressive but his timing certainly was not. Let’s just say that long awkward pauses are a talent I never knew Big Sam had.

Personally though, I thought that this was a highly professional performance from a side desperately lacking in confidence. If this had come after a run of four or five consecutive wins then the press would be hailing it as “the performance of Champions” but seeing as it came the day after Carlo told us that he hadn’t been pleased with a Chelsea performance since Arsenal at home (remember that sunny day last year?), it was instead seen as a cross between a dead cat bounce and a last hurrah from a side nearing the end (extremely harsh from the press there).

The match started exactly as you would have expected it to; badly. We were slow, off the pace and sloppy on the ball as Bolton harried and pressed us into making a load of silly errors. They had of course flown out of the traps, eager to test out us southern softies on a sojourn oop North and for the first 10 minutes it looked like we may be about to collapse against their white wave of pressure. Kevin Davies, Paul Robinson and strangely Fabrice Muamba were all excelling in getting under our skin but we stood firm and a clever tactical tweak from Carlo allowed us to gain a foothold in the match. He switched us to a 4-2-1-3 and paired up Ramires with Mikel to help us withstand the increasing Bolton pressure and guess what, his tactical switch worked to perfection. Didier unexpectedly found himself with the ball in space, 30 yards out and for some unknown reason decided to leather it. And the ball proceeded to fly like a rocket into the back of the net past a despairing Jussi Jaaskelainen. It was a ridiculously great goal (picture Everton away in 2006/7 if you missed it but just not a volley! Ok that was a crap comparison) and just what we needed to calm ourselves down and brighten the mood. Carlo’s beaming smile and usual arms out celebration certainly cheered me up.

It was crucial we went 1-0 up as with such a defensive midfield, chasing a game would always have been beyond us. With the lead we decided to sit back and soak up any remaining Bolton pressure and seemed content to play on the break for the rest of the half. This gave JT, Branners, Ash and Pete plenty of work to do but we were looking comfortable as we knocked away everything they could throw at us, including a number of dirty and cynical fouls as they targeted our Lampardless midfield. Muamba and Robinson’s ability to avoid a yellow card for three or four disgusting challenges really was baffling.

So we were looking good defensively with JT and Ivanovic displaying plenty of class at the back and Cech putting in yet another immaculate performance between the sticks. But something wasn’t quite right ahead of them. Being 1-0 up away from home meant that I really had no right to criticise Carlo but if we continued dropping deep whilst regularly giving the ball away then we would almost certainly see Bolton score their first goal against us in this fixture for seven years, so I was beginning to get a bit worried. All I wanted to see was a little more control and creativity from our front four. Chances for those of a blue persuasion were non-existent and when your most attacking midfielder is Michael Essien, you knew that chance creation and creativity wouldn’t be seen too often on the night.

But we were doing pretty well. Didier – yep, that Didier who I demanded be dropped and sold – was having his most impressive game in months as he held up the ball and fed others expertly and Nico was also displaying all of his typical style and class as he strolled around the pitch with the ball glued to his foot. However, Bolton were still posing a threat with their direct football and numerous crosses and only a wonderful fingertip save from Pete to keep out Taylor’s header stopped them drawing level.

I was getting extremely nervy (I have no idea why but there’s still a nagging belief that we’re going to be Champions. Me, deluded?) and began to worry about the state of my underwear as Bolton continued to give us a few scares especially when the camera made it look like Elmander had spun the ball into the net. But I needn’t have worried as we then wrapped up the three points with a wonder goal. A sliced Mikel cross was flicked on by Ivanovic to an unmarked Malouda who delayed, then delayed, then delayed some more before playing a one-two with Robinson’s shin and then sliding the ball home into an empty net. It was such a bad goal that no-one knew how to react. The fans and commentators went silent. Both sets of players stood motionless and the referee even looked confused as to what to do next. But it was a goal and Carlo’s usual celebration, smile and crazy eyebrow confirmed that we would be taking a 2-0 lead into the second half.

The second period started much like the first in that we were sitting deep, soaking up the pressure and Bolton were running around like lunatics. Except there was one crucial difference; we were starting to play some highly professional, controlled and dangerous football on the break. Mikel was putting in a classy display on his return from injury with some brilliant passing and Ramires continued his incredible turnaround with a performance full of pace, power and intelligent covering next to Mikel. Even his passing began to improve. But the one slight disappointment was Essien. He was completely dominating Holden and Muamba in this half but his use of the ball on the break was frankly dismal. He twice fucked up a four-on-four breakaway by releasing the ball hours too late and in general a very promising return to the unstoppable Bison we know and love was nearly ruined with some shocking attacking play. But he got it right in the end as our third counter attack in the space of five minutes saw Didier, Malouda and Essien all combine to find Anelka in the box who fired home for 3-0. Yep, Chelsea, the side who were past it were now 3-0 up.

And that third goal helped provoke an incredible return to the real Chelsea. Confidence was flowing back and chances were being created almost at will on the break. The lack of pace and piss-poor final ball did annoy me at times but the passing, movement and football on show was brilliant. It did bring back a sense of longing for those balmy days in August when these types of wins were routine but after a nightmare three months, I wasn’t about to let some pathetic reminiscing ruin my night. To top it all off, the boy wonder himself – Josh McEachran – was brought on and given twenty-five whole minutes. I will happily admit to loving watching this kid play but I sometimes wonder if all of these comparisons to Wilshere, Ozil and Xavi are putting too much pressure on him? Actually, fuck that. Having seen him star in the Youth Cup, Josh is the new Zidane and we’ve bloody got him!

The rest of the match was a cruise which everyone enjoyed, including Carlo. He brought on Kalou (“oh, how inspiring” I hear you ask. And yes, I’m also wondering what Sturridge has done wrong) and switched to a flat 4-4-2 as we turned the last fifteen minutes into a training exercise. Ramires immediately grabbed a lovely fourth as yet another quick counter attack down the left saw the ball drop to him on the edge of the box, which allowed him to fire home into the bottom corner. The reaction of his team mates and his beaming smile were a nice if slightly soppy highlight of the night and in the end the match kind of petered out. Nico was still looking dangerous on the break, especially when he won a certain penalty after skinning Robinson on the right wing but ultimately nothing much happened in the last few minutes.

But I didn’t care that we slowed down. Those last 15 minutes were great at times and to see our players jump into the away end and throw their shirts to the fans told me that the real Chelsea could be back. Just like Blackburn away in Jose’s first season, this was a crucial win which told everyone that these players can and will fucking fight for this club. On both of these cold winter nights we arrived searching for belief and left knowing that we are good enough to win the big trophies. The league isn’t gone yet but if we play with the same passion and commitment in the Champions League then who can stop us?

(Don’t say Barca you mean spirited bastards. This is a happy night full of hope remember.)

The good

  • Luiz signing – I can’t wait. He’s going to be a star and a back four of Branners, Luiz, JT and Ash will without doubt be the best in Europe.
  • Belief – The fact that the players were screaming and celebrating for ages in the dressing room afterwards and that JT said that “Didier’s was probably the best goal of the season so far. Our passing was really sharp, even late on, and we’ve worked really hard in training all week on it. United should still be worrying about us, yes,” tell me that some of the players still believe that they can win it this year. The passion was most certainly back tonight.
  • Didier – Three months of shit and then a performance like that. He’s still slow and old and his summer sale would benefit virtually every player in our squad but the old dog seems determined to go out on a high.
  • Away fans – “Andy Gray, Channel Five…” chant was brilliant.
  • Performance – The shaky first half an hour apart, this was quality stuff. It was a near perfect away performance built on a solid Mikel and Ramires foundation who both impressed in their defensive roles. The best part though was seeing the confidence flow back into the players in the last 15 minutes. Backheels and first time shots may appear to be silly things to bring up but if you’d seen us in the past three months you’d have been amazed when you saw the type of football we were playing when 4-0 up. Yes, Bolton were shit but we ruthlessly destroyed them and should have scored more. Nine days of training and a few of those classic “team meetings” look to have worked. This reminded me of that 5-0 win at Pompey last year after a mini-crisis involving Inter and Blackburn and perhaps I was wrong to talk of white flags earlier. The real Chelsea are back… well, sort of.

The bad

  • Performance – Just a minor complaint but the lack of creativity and useless final ball on the break confirmed to me that our midfield is desperately lacking in imagination. Class, power and experience are there in abundance but when playing at home and trying to get around those parked buses, we don’t have a Samir Nasri or David Silva. Lamps helps but even he can’t do it on his own. And I know he’s young but Josh just impresses me more and more. He merits a start and if we just believed in him, he’d outshine Wilshere soon enough.
  • Luiz signing – Forget the fact that it may dishearten Bruma as I think he’ll be trained into a right-back this summer when we sell Paulo and Bosingwa but of greater concern is the fact that if I gave any of you £25m to spend this January, none of you would have bought a centre-back. Sanchez looks like he may be coming this summer but I’d have bid for Torres or Neymar instead of Luiz. Both are Champions League eligible and will help with our goal scoring problems. We are in desperate need of pace and goals, not extra central defenders.

Player ratings

  • Cech – 8/10 – Immaculate.
  • Bosingwa – 6/10 – Weak.
  • Branners – 7/10 – Solid.
  • JT – 9/10 – Unbeatable.
  • Ash – 7/10 – Annoyingly good (those six consecutive throw-ins to waste time were hilarious).
  • Mikel – 7/10 – Classy.
  • Essien – 6/10 – Rusty.
  • Ramires – 8/10 – Powerful.
  • Anelka – 8/10 – Elegant.
  • Didier – 7/10 – Better.
  • Malouda – 6/10 – Quiet.
  • Josh (sub) – 10/10 – It’s because I love him. Actually he gets a 6 for a quiet yet impressive cameo. He’s a number 10 though. Move him from that defensive midfield role Carlo.
  • Kalou (sub) – 5/10 – Two touches. That’s it.
  • Carlo – 9/10 – Passionate, tactically astute and he still continues to ignore Emenalo. We still love you Carlo.

Man of the Match

Forget the arbitrary ratings as tonight I’m going to give the award to Ramires. JT was obviously the best player on the park but Ramires’ goal and all action performance swung it for me. His improvement since I battered him a few months ago has shocked me but bravo sir, you’ve been great.

The conclusion

So how about that then?

After nine days of training and a load of team meetings we pull out a performance like that in a must win game. There were nerves and some dodgy moments in the final third but overall this looked and felt like the turning point of our season. With confidence we still look like a great side but I fear we’ve left it too late. Carlo says the run to the title can only include six dropped points but I’d say that we need to win all but one of our games! Nearly impossible, I know but I don’t really care that we’re going to fall short of the line. It was just great to see some passion and fight from the old guard tonight. I feared that they’d thrown in the towel but a battling, spirited and classy win like that tells me otherwise. It looks like the old girl may not be dead just yet.

However, I still stand by my preamble. No matter what we win or lose this season we must embrace change this summer. A lack of pace and power are the first things to go when a load of players pass thirty but lately it seems like the old guys have run out of ideas and crucially motivation. Change is something to get excited about and the fact that Roman is willing to back Carlo with £25m to secure one of Europe’s best young players should delight all of us. This summer may see a revolution at Chelsea and personally, I can’t wait.

Nighty night. Don’t let Didier’s bare chest bite!

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There are 113 comments

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  1. MachchanHongKong

    Drogba’s wonder-goal gets the confidence to flow back and we start playing like the first few weeks of the season again. Cant complain.
    Carlo could have got Josh on at 60 min and perhaps Sturridge at 75 min. Ultra-cautious-Italian-football-mentality holding him back unfortunately.
    Anyway, now all we need is to play with the same confidence 15 times in succession. Simple really. What I wouldn’t give for two victories against Man U, whatever we do in the other 13…

  2. JT_dan

    “”a wonder goal. A sliced Mikel cross was flicked on by Ivanovic to an unmarked Malouda who delayed, then delayed, then delayed some more before playing a one-two with Robinson’s shin and then sliding the ball home into an empty net. It was such a bad goal that no-one knew how to react. The fans and commentators went silent. Both sets of players stood motionless and the referee even looked confused as to what to do next. But it was a goal and Carlo’s usual celebration, smile and crazy eyebrow confirmed that we would be taking a 2-0 lead into the second half.””

    Absolutely brilliant, Sir. Loved it to bits, the whole article was AWESOME!! CFCB goes straight into my bookmarks.

  3. Aravind NG

    Before people say Essien was bad… Yes, his distribution during counter attacks was bad, but he had max number of passes and tackles in the match. 61/71 successful passes and 7/9 tackles.So I’d say Ess has improved in this game like Bos and the Drog. Ramires – didn’t he prove us all wrong. Fast becoming a fans’ favorite like Bane.

    As you rightly said, only Carlo knows why Sturridge was overlooked for clueless Kalou.

  4. Aravind NG

    Maybe Chris Foy should’ve been added in the ‘bad’ part. A blatant penalty not given and numerous yellow card offences ignored. Bolton made 31 mistimes tackles altogether. 31 !!!

    As always, great post ! Love CFCB.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m a bit hesitant to say we’re out of recession just yet. I’d like to see GDP data for at least 4 more quarters. Thought Eidur looked really slim.

  6. Anonymous

    Eidur loved the interrogation about why things haven’t worked at Stoke, didn’t he?

    Really well summed up Habs. Nothing to disagree with really, though I personally wasn’t too impressed with Malouda or Anelka for the first hour. Too many times they dropped deeper than our midfield 3 to collect the ball, stumble around with it then needlessly lose possession. They simply shouldn’t be coming that far back – that’s why our attacks seem so pedestrian because invariably we’ve got few options as we move forward.

    Impressed by Ramires throughout, though he still has those occasions where control deserts him in crucial areas of the pitch. Glad to see Josh’s ridiculously composed cameo. Disappointed to see Kalou’s cameo instead of Kakuta / Studge.

    On the signing front, a CB is a must, be it now or the summer. JT is a creaking mess, Alex a way off fitness as I understand it. Paulo and Jose need to ge waved goodbye in the summer and that Chalobah from the reserves moved up as back-up RB.

    Luiz seems to be highly thought of, though a little strange he won’t be able to help / hinder us in the CL. A pacy attack-minded player would be quite nice, someone to keep the usual suspects on their toes selection wise.

  7. Anonymous

    Magnificently bipolar report, Habs, great stuff. From terminal malaise to better than Barcelona in just a few paragraphs. The truth is presumably somewhere in the middle, but since when did football fans care about that?

    I know what you mean about the odd atmosphere around the club, though. To me it feels like waiting for something to happen. I think a lot of us are really interested to know whether we have the best pack of kids in the country at the moment, and how long we’ll have to wait before we get to find out.

    I’m not revising my expectations yet. We’ll win nothing and just need to make sure we get in the top 4.

  8. Der_Kaiser

    A very welcome return to something like form. Some tricky games coming up over the next couple of weeks – certainly feel more confident about our chances than I did a couple of weeks back.

    Good to see DD back to his snarling, snapping and scoring best. Overall the forward line looked rather more competent than it has for some time; you could see the willingness to try something different return as the game went on. And ‘props’ to Ramires for his well taken and joyously celebrated goal – the more I see, the more I like.

    Personally, I’m pretty happy with Carlo’s handling of Josh; all been written before, but a gentle introduction is the order of the day for now. Let’s face it, it’s surely only a matter of time before he really makes an impression and half the world is talking about him. Richard Williams, a favourite around here, has already started drawing the Pirlo / Brady comparisons.

    (I wouldn’t actually be that surprised if we’re greeted with the revelation in Josh’s inevitable autobiography that he had a tyrant of a father who would whip him, Joe / Michael Jackson style, if he ever gave the ball away – he’s quite incredible in terms of retaining possession.)

  9. Marco

    Another excellent report from you, Habs. Do I detect a balanced bipolarity here as you mix the superlatives on our performance last night with cat-calls for the club to keep on developing the squad?

    Maybe each report from now on should conclude with a ‘Carthago delenda est’ motto on the lines of:

    “And another centre-back/forward/youngster (delete as appropriate) is needed in the team urgently.”

    Re: your comments on the strange atmosphere at the club. Sounds to me exactly like the strange atmosphere at Marco House: a mixture of disbelief, resignation, superstitious denial and the barely-acknowledged thought that maybe, just maybe, we can still get something out of this season.

  10. Anonymous

    Have to confess even at the upper reaches of my bipolar range I hadn’t anticipated as good a result as that. I thought the defence looked a lot more assured than they have for a while, though much of our build-up and attacking remained ponderous and sloppy (worryingly even after we were 3-0 up).

    That confidence thingy is indeed a fragile animal that needs much succouring and gentle nurturing – or a good whipping according to JD. You pays your money and makes your choice.

    With the Mancs miserable away record [still only 2 League wins] all things are theoretically still possible, even if the more likely is a Gooners’ triumph at last by default 🙁

  11. bluebayou

    Good man Habs

    An entertaining stream of consciousness journey from depression to joy and back again. There are 2 sides to everything and you’ve certainly shown that.

    I do still harbour hopes for Zhirkov I have to say. Maybe he’s brittle as he seems beset by injuries and these have hampered him getting a consistent run but I thought he’d put in some decent performances last season and this.

    It’s difficult to know what to make of it all. I’m just left hoping that players will play themselves back into form and then who knows?

    We really should have had a penalty but the positive in Foy letting a few things go meant that we were able to use a bit more of the dark arts at the back so as to combat the threat of KD and co.

    In the end it was Bolton who got frustrated having started the rough stuff.

    I don’t know if it was good judgement on his part but it was interesting to see a reasonably competitive game finish with no yellow cards. It doesn’t work for every game and some challenges have to be called but he never lost control of proceedings. I wonder what the players made of it?

    I wonder whether Essien playing left side had an effect on him? Playing right side and right footed you have to slightly adjust your body position to play the ball when on the left and maybe that explains some of it. His form is still patchy and I thought he stood a couple of yards too deep when we were defending. Cole was pushing up tight to block the cross and Ramires and Bosingwas did the same but Essien left that tantlising space which invites the ball in from the corner of the box and they weren’t slow to take advantage. Still he provided some flashes that might indicate he’s finding some form.

  12. Anonymous

    Thanks for the kind words guys.

    I really have tried to turn a corner into a more positive and optimistic avenue but sometimes those old frustrations come rushing back. I mean, Kalou, bloody Kalou gets a game aheadof Sturridge! I just don’t get it.

    Now, where are we on that whipping?

    • Anonymous

      Yes it’s a good moment because Andy Gray has been sacked. Hopefully Sky can recruit someone biased in our favour instead of Liverpool or Man Utd.

  13. Blue_MIkel

    Absolutely happy for Ramires. The kid is trying hard and I am really glad to see him scoring. Good win, hopefully from here things will be better. Finish top four, get to the final of CL (win it), get FA CUP there are still lot of things we can do to make it great season.

    • Anonymous

      It’s only a loan, right? I didn’t realise clubs did medicals for loans because if it’s broken just send it back?

      If it is a loan then that’s good. Might as well get some miles on the clock.

      • Anonymous

        Call me a cynic……

        When did any of our loaned players ever come back. I think it’s zero. Mancienne came back for a short while and then went off again, doubt we’ll see him again. Scott Sinclair? Miroslav Stoch? Franco di Santo? Need i go on?

        We buy them in when their young for £x , spend £y on developing them, £z on paying them, costing us £b (where b= x+y+z) , loan them out and then sell them for £n (where n = b*5), allowing the agent p%, therefore giving us a revenue stream of £(5n-(5n/100*p)).

  14. Ososdeoro

    God this shit’s well written! I don’t even feel like I missed the match now (which wasn’t on Fox Soccer for some reason — usually if Sky shows it, Fox does).

    It’s really fun to watch guys get their first PL goals. I doubt they’ve ever been that happy or ever will be again.

  15. Anonymous

    Nice one Habs, as others have said the perfect blend of bi-polarity.

    I’ll take issue with one point – Mikel ‘sliced a cross’ implies he didn’t mean it….watch it again and it’s a beautiful dinked intended cross into the danger area. The man had a good game last night.

    • Anonymous

      Correct mate. Dink is much better than slice. I had slice on my mind though when writing it (weird I know)

    • Anonymous

      Rumours that we’re going for an attacker to go with Luiz are true then. Aguero and Luiz for £65m would completely change our season.

  16. Anonymous

    Fuck me, at 2-0 down and a penalty to be faced, even the machine that is Utd would have struggled this evening.

    Good job Peter Walton completely pussied out of a stone-wall penalty then, isn’t it? What an utter cunt, could it have been more blatant?

  17. Ososdeoro

    Goddamn Alex F.

    Oh. Anyway. Yes, Roman has probably figured out now that GIFTS of any size to the club are okay….LOANS are not okay if the club cannot show an operating balance as a result of them.

  18. Der_Kaiser

    Interesting that Roman (apparently) wants to start spending cash again; very pleased, if so, but I think we’d all prefer if there were a fairly consistent approach to the transfer market, rather than long periods of frugality and cost cutting followed by occasional mad splurges (on players he presumably favours). Not really the way to go about things.

    Kakuta loan is interesting – will presumably tell the powers that be whether he really is good enough to be challenging for a starting place in a top 4 (or, ahem, thereabouts) side or not. ’tis tough at the top…

  19. Anonymous

    This morning’s semi-denial about the Aguero story suggests this is Athletico Madrid doing what Galliani is the master of at Milan and inventing/exaggerating old bids for their players which they have supposedly rejected to create a smokescreen about problems at the club or their inability to buy anyone themselves.

    I feel the disappointment of Kakuta being loaned out, but it seems clear that Carlo is wedded to Drogba/Anelka/Malouda as first choice front three for this season, and pecking order for even brief subs appearances up front starts with Kalou and Sturridge. Therefore he might as well move to another local club where he will get some decent game time at EPL level without even disrupting his life and moving from his home.

  20. FanSinceTheSixties

    Nicely balanced read there Habs.

    Currently got a bout of the old blogger’s block, so all the better to read the thoughts of those whose brains are still functioning.

    And talking about non-functioning brain cells, just saw this clip and Andy Gray really is one of the most obnoxious toss-pots around. It’s not that what he does is so bad, but the total blank that Charlotte J gives him shows how unwelcome and unprofessional he is…hey, but haven’t we been saying that for the last how long?

    A new meaning for ‘Gray’s Anatomy’?

  21. Anonymous

    It helps that Kakuta just signed a new contract, too. So he knows he’s a Chelsea player for the future but will (I assume) get to start games. Everyone’s happy.

  22. Anonymous

    So, much like advertising shirts with Robinho on the back before he joined, ummm, Man City, was the organisation of a work permit for today hugely optimistic or just par for the course? Seems wasted whatever the reason, David Luiz is unlikely to join.

    Leaves just over 5 days to sign a defender if there’s one we deem good enough. Not much time, is it?

  23. Anonymous

    So now both Kakuta and Pat van Arnholt have been sent on loan…… I’m surprised about van Arnholt, he seems to have fitted in nicely when needed and I can’t see how another spell at Leicester is going to help him more than being around the fringes of our first team.

    As for Keys and Gray, I personally think that Sian Massey should be knighted for services to football for getting shot of those two tosspots!

  24. Anonymous

    So now both Kakuta and Pat van Arnholt have been sent on loan…… I’m surprised about van Arnholt, he seems to have fitted in nicely when needed and I can’t see how another spell at Leicester is going to help him more than being around the fringes of our first team.

    As for Keys and Gray, I personally think that Sian Massey should be knighted for services to football for getting shot of those two tosspots!

  25. Anonymous

    Everyone calm down. Not even Roman is dumb enough to let Pat leave before we’ve secured Luiz. Reports are that Benfica want the £25m in one lump sum whereas we want to pay it in stages over 2 or 3 years. The price is agreed but we’re seemingly happy to risk fucking up this transfer window by having an argument over the details!

    That’s Chelsea for you.

    • Anonymous

      Jose’s quote is interesting “”I’m not saying the Premier League is the most spectacular in the world but it is the best organised… the fair play and the enormous respect for your opponent.”

      Presumably he’s referring to the periods pre and post his time here 🙂

  26. Ososdeoro

    Well, considering RM wants to fire Mourinho if he gets no hardware and then go hard after Carlo Ancelotti (again, all rumors), that result would not be so outlandish. I’d rather stick with CA, though.

  27. Der_Kaiser

    Guardian trailing the following on the ‘Twittersphere’ at present:

    “Major – and boy do I mean it – football exclusive coming up on sometime around 5.30.”

    Blatter found to contain brain cells?

  28. Gleb

    Is the Guardian “major-boy-does-he-mean-it” exclusive the one about Bale to Inter? Personally, couldn’t give two shits about him and Inter… Maybe it’s just me.

    • Anonymous

      No, you’re right I’m not exactly shaking with excitement at this one either. Says it all about this transfer window that a possible bid next summer is punted as a “major” story.

      On the other hand, some are putting a rather different spin on the current state of the David Luiz saga than the “Current Bun” did this morning:

      – and we’ve given another of our youngsters, Mellis,an extended contract too.

  29. Anonymous

    It seems pretty obvious that the Luiz thing is going to happen — obviously in the final stages both sides try to do some last minute renegotiating, and equally obviously the desperate media pack have to spin this as “BREAKING NEWS — LUIZ DEAL ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE!!”

    The interview with Pat vanA on the Pravdatastic official website is fractionally less boring than the usual player interviews, if only because of the way it describes the depth structure for a given position. Apparently Pat only goes out on loan because Bertrand (also a left back apparently) is back from his loans and moves up to become the reserve LB.

    As a Grauniad reader I kind of hope their tongue is in the cheek for the “major exclusive” but I’m afraid they too probably really are that desperate.

  30. Anonymous

    Have to say I feel a bit sorry for Blackpool (as I did for Wolves last year) following today’s fine. It’s a squad game these days. There have been enough rule changes dictating the make up and size of the squad etc. in the last couple of seasons, as long as your team is selected from your squad that should be enough.

    Should the rule about always playing your strongest team apply to big clubs like Man U, Arsenal etc. when they rest players? (In the past I would have included us in that but our squad doesn’t have the depth these days!)

  31. Anonymous

    Desperate or great stuff from Roman in bidding for Torres? I love it personally.

    Luiz is in the bag but bids for Aguero and Torres! Roman’s getting serious. Yay!

    • Anonymous

      Obviously the honeymoon period is over with Roman’s girlfriend and his thoughts are returning to where they should be.

  32. Der_Kaiser

    Luiz will be a good addition when (if) he comes, but the Torres / Aguero bids sound like either a) just recycled news or b) highly speculative punts late in the day to prove to the world that we’re ‘still in the game’. Not terribly convinced, myself…

  33. PeteW

    It’s like 2003 all over again!

    Think Kakuta loan is good for everybody. Not sure our loans are always that thought-through, but this one works.

    PVA for Bertrand is interesting. Wonder if Bertrand will get any game time? There’s no way we can hang on to both of them for much longer, so this is probably RB’s chance to prove himself in the squad (in training as well, remember, under CA’s eye). Isn’t the lad Gordon a left back as well? Shame we aren’t bringing through any right backs.

    Last day of the transfer window could be interesting if any of the bid rumours are true…

      • Anonymous

        I love the way the first 4 stories on the Beeb’s gossip site all quote different figures for our “bid” for Torres ranging from £35m to £60 milllion.

        Can’t see how ‘Poo could possibly risk the wrath of Scouseland by accepting any bid below his contract buy-out which is allegedly quoted at £50m.

        If any of this stuff is true I guess the break-even target goes back to 2100 again 😉

        • Der_Kaiser

          Maybe they’re holding out for £50m plus however much they’re paying Joe Cole over 4 years – I know I would…

          All very strange; if we’re genuinely interested, why this late and not when he was utterly disillusioned under Woy? Appreciate we’re probably not in possession of all the facts, but does raise questions about what we’re doing. Trying to panic Athletico into letting Aguero go, possibly?

  34. Cunningplan

    I think there might be a little bit of brinkmanship on our part with regard Torres if the reports are accurate. Afterall it would certianly test Liverpool’s resolve with the sort of money being offered. Or perhaps we just want to unsettle the lad before he turns up at the Bridge in a week, a clever tactic to stop him getting his usual goals against us. 😉

    • Der_Kaiser

      The cynic in me (a large and fairly persuasive individual, it has to be said) thinks it looks very good for both sides; not that they’ve conjured it up between them, but for us it looks like we’re still in the big league etc., and for their new owners, they’re standing firm, King Kenny is back and won’t sell our best player(s), so on and so forth.

  35. Cunningplan

    So a quick straw poll for those of you that might be interested, do we want Torres or not?

    I’m sitting on the undecided fence.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Nah. Has suggested he has concerns about his ability to deal with the physicality of the league in the long term which is not ideal given that the next 3 years are meant to be pretty much the peak of his career. Great player, and maybe for more sensible money, but that’s never going to happen.

      Sky running the story that he is ‘open’ to the move and wants Liverpool to keep talking. Hmmm…

      • Der_Kaiser

        And if blow the best part of 50m and he does flop, Roman wouldn’t pay any more than thruppence ha’penny and a packet a cheese and onion Monster Munch for a player again. Ever.

  36. Cunningplan

    I here what your saying guys, and it makes sense, but part of me also thinks £50 million would be worth it…. just to piss off all those scousers!

  37. bluebayou

    Mr Platini is busy at the moment but on his behalf I would like to express my concern that some people of this blog are not buying into the concept of greater financial probity going forward and it should be understood that the club is seeking to operate on a more realistic financial footing and all this reckless speculation is ill advised at best.

    I’ll get my coat….it’s the blazer with the UEFA badge

    • Der_Kaiser

      Financial probity – well, within 5 years or so
      Fernando Torres – 40 million
      Annoying several million scousers to the point of impotent, shirt burning fury – priceless…

  38. bluebayou

    I agree with AGH57’s comment above.

    The punishment of Blackpool demonstrates, as if we didn’t already know it, that the authorities will always go after the smaller fish in order to make a show. When the more powerful teams make 8 changes game to game nothing is done. And yet Blackpool lost by one goal to Aston Villa and were competetive. Arsenal made wholesale changes and lost to Wigan. What’s the difference?

    Are they really telling us that every time the big five or six clubs make more than a couple of changes they are feilding their strongest team. No they’re not. They’re using a squad and their judgement. The League are basically denying the clubs with more limited squads the same rights. If we or Fergie fielded 8 or 9 players considered back up players while the first choice were fit, would the PL do anything? Of course not. And if they tried it once all that would happen would be loads of players going on the injured list.

    Blatant hypocrisy. They’re basically telling Blackpool they’ve got to sustain a season with 14 or 15 players (other than for injuries) up against teams who can use a squad of 25 and more if they want to play kids anytime. The deck is stacked already and now they want to break their hands for counting cards. Pathetic.

    And that’s what these clubs should do in future. Put the 6 or 7 players they want to rest on the injured list days before the game.

  39. Anonymous

    Luiz deal is OFF. Unable to agree a fee apparently.

    Wonder if we’ve had an alternative in mind all along or if this means no signings in the window – which is not good. We need a bit of rejuvenation in the personnel.

    • Anonymous

      Not just yet.

      Benfica just playing games with us like Lyon did with Essien all those years ago. If they’ve asked for €30m all along, why wouldn’t they accept it when the stock exchange opens again on Monday morning? And not even Roman is stupid enough to blow the deal for Carlo’s #1 target over a few million Euros. I still think he’ll come and it’s just the usual, annoying Chelsea transfer saga.

  40. Anonymous

    Wasn’t Lawrenson on MOTD the other night saying Abramovich obviously isn’t interested any more?

    With ref to Mark above — perhaps Roman has combined his old love (fitba’) with his new (art-collecting glamourpuss) and decided to turn the current transfer window into a piece of surrealist theatre?

    I’d *love* to get Torres for the same reason as everyone else — and wouldn’t it be exquisite watching them try to persuade themselves that he was no good after all and they didn’t want/need him anyway? — but … it just doesn’t seem very likely.

    Pete — one of the most likely youngsters in the academy at the moment is Billy Clifford, who often operates as a right back.

  41. bluebayou

    It’s been a bad week for News International and as I far as I am concerned it hasn’t finished on a particularly good note either.

    As I foraged in the corner shop close to my place of work and but a stones throw from the Wapping Fortress, I couldn’t help but note the cover on the Sun which endeavoured to stir up righteuos indignation about a couple of Premier League players and their brunette amours engaging in an orgiastic romp with the purpose of summoning the beast with 2 backs.

    Well having spoken to the persons in question I have to say this appears to be an egregious misrepresentation of the facts.

    In a week where Mervyn King was warning us all that years of falling living standards are ahead, is it not a matter for celebration that young people in the public eye seek to set an example of how to cut household costs by maximising utilisation of bedroom furniture and saving on heating by hugging together for human warmth?

    For shame Mr Murdoch!

    This is the sort of selfless and noble example that seizes the zeitgeist and stuffs it down the front of Andy Grays trousers, I would have thought.

  42. Anonymous

    I really cannot wait to see the look on the Scouse faces next week, if Torres is playing in blue!

    Utterly priceless……. Mind you, I’m still not certain he is a good fit for us.

  43. Cunningplan

    No matter where you live, if you turn down your telly, and go outside into the garden, you will hear the collective sound of toys being thrown out of the pram by Poo supporters.

    If we do manage to get him, I should imagine one of the clauses will be, that he doesn’t play against Liverpool next week.

  44. Marco

    It seems to me that Abramovich has proved many of us on here wrong (including me).

    We thought that he had lost interest in the club. Wrong.

    We thought that he had withdrawn support from Carlo. Wrong.

    We thought that cost-cutting was a form of slavery to Platini’s unworkable new financial rules. Wrong.

    The bids for Torres and Luiz, whatever their merits, are clear-cut signs that the board is serious about maintaining our position as one of Europe’s premier clubs.

    Personally, I think Torres will be a great signing. He has lost his way at Liverpool because he is in a club that really is in decline (although they will, no doubt, start to build again once King Kenny’s return to management is seen for the gimmick that it is and his successor is appointed). He is 26 years old and a good 7-year, investment as well as a proven goal-scorer in the Premier League. It seems likely to me that Torres is Carlo’s choice of player, just as Inzaghi was for Milan.

    And the fact that Martin Samuel, in this morning’s Daily Wail, takes the opposite view from me with his out-of-date opinions is, surely, proof positive.

    • Anonymous

      Well, to be fair to Martin Samuel his “out-of date opinions” were actually written on Monday/ early hours of Tuesday morning as the “last update” time at the top of the article makes clear and hence the reference to “tonight’s” game against Bolton.

      Which only goes to prove that even less than a week is a very long time in football [just ask Andy Gray and Richard Keys for example] and Samuel’s reference to “The Age of Austerity” at Chelsea does now seem to lie in tatters this morning along with that concentration on developing our own youngsters that Carlo’s been parroting the official line on all season. I see the rumour is that Sturridge is now being offered up as a makeweight in any Torres deal.

      What remains even more clearly true from Samuel’s article is that the club is run on Roman’s whim and anyone who wants to stay involved at the club had better jump in the right direction on command.

      • Der_Kaiser

        Bang on the money. We’ll all be grateful if Roman unleashes his wallet a little, but there needs to be a degree of clarity as to how it all fits in with the longer term planning; dumping promising kids as part of a deal for a striker he clearly wants is questionable and in general, sudden splurges of cash amidst longer periods of austerity and spouting the homegrown / self-sufficiency line is not the most sensible way to run a football club. Yes, add quality of course, but make sure it all fits, so to speak.

        • Anonymous

          One interpretation might be:

          — at the beginning of the season Roman puts in place the plan for orderly transition from ageing team to youthful tyros

          — Studge, Kakuta, Pat and Bruma turn out to be further away from first team readiness than the plan assumed

          — team loses loads of games

          — risk of not qualifying for CL

          — man used to getting whatever he wants finds out that Torres is a bit more available than previously thought and has “window shopping” moment (“oh, look at that … I want that … I could buy that … How much?”

          Ah, I let my attention wander from the snoozefest and we go a goal down. Oh well. Might be a bit more interesting now.

  45. Marco

    Thanks for the correction. I was looking at the top of the Mail’s web-page for the date. Must try harder to pay attention when reading articles by sports journalists, on the rare occasions when I do.

    Is Roman ‘whimsical’? Or just autocratic?

  46. bluebayou

    I see the Neville Rule is in operation. You know the one that allows them any amount of fouls of the type that will draw a yellow/red card for any other player. 3 challenges at the last count.

  47. bluebayou

    As we say in France Le Smash et Le Grab.

    Everton reverted to their usual style overlapping wide against us 2nd half and despite the familiarity of this we looked helpless to stop them. It will be the same when we go up their in the league.

    Je ne comprend pas.

    Thank God Ivanovic wasn’t punished for his only mistake all game. He was very good all day.

    Is it me or did Lampard and Essien leave Ramires trying to carry the midfield?

    I thought we were ok for an away early kick off first half, particularly as it wore on, we created some chances. Then we went in the dressing room and stayed there.

    Two games on the trot without a card to either team. A record?

    And something about not losing when Kalou scores…..

    Sturridge not sur la plank, the mystery deepens……

    That’s your lot. It’s Junior Bayou’s birthday and I have to get to a restaurant.

  48. Anonymous

    I’ll take that. Apart from Ramires, Cech and 3 counter-attacks, today was a dismal performance. Chelsea and early kick offs don’t go

    I’ll also happily admit that Ramires is continuing to shock me. He’s rapidly turning into one of our most important players (pace and power are rare in a Chelsea side). As for Essien in the holding role…well, I’m amazed he made it past the half hour. If it was Jose, he would have been hooked. Let’s say that if you don’t know how to pass a football, you shouldn’t be Chelsea’s deep lying playmaker.

    But more importantly, Studge wasn’t even in the squad! Torres here soon?

  49. Anonymous

    When Essien can’t be arsed, he *really* can’t be arsed. They do say he’s the world’s most laid-back human being. Obviously didn’t quite make it out of bed today.

    Even Branners seemd to have caught the malaise a bit with his klutzy swing o’ the leg. And Cech standing flat-footed on the line as Saha headed past him was pretty funny too. And those two were probably our best players, along with Ramires (who had obviously decided to copy Neville, P.’s approach once it became clear that it was legit).

    Weirdly pointless game. Doing it all again seems like the right result — if that game was an undergraduate essay it would have been ripped up and its author told to go away and write another.

  50. Marco

    We seem to be making the cliche ‘a game of two halves’ our own.

    First half we looked like Chelsea: tight, muscular, swift and clever going forward, with Ramires, Lamps and Malouda unlocking them with ease. We should have been 1-0 up at half-time but Howard made a great save from Nic (who really should have scored).

    Second half we played like the team that lost to Wolves. And JT’s slow and clumsy displays are really beginning to worry me – does he creak at the joints after 45 minutes? With Essien playing like he is on opium in front of him we would struggle to get past Crawley Town.

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