The Observer, Jamie Jackson: "In the end, Chelsea were a touch fortunate not to lose. Their problem is the one which has arrived this season of finding themselves incapable of alchemising dominance into the scintillating stuff which leads to swaggering or indeed regulation victory."
Sunday Telegraph, Jonathan Wilson: "Their title hopes are surely gone, and the challenge for Chelsea now is to finish in the top four this season and secure Champions League qualification. There may not have been a fire, but as a rogue alarm drowned out the majority of Ray Wilkins’s post-match press conference, the sense of emergency at Stamford Bridge was real enough. Arsenal will be just three points behind if they win at Tottenham, and with Aston Villa two clear in third, Chelsea’s match at Villa Park in a fortnight is looking increasingly vital."
Sunday Times, Joe Lovejoy: "They were not about to admit it, but Chelsea tumbled out of the title race with this bankrupt performance against a team without a win in their last nine Premier League matches. Hull had some outstanding chances, especially in the second half, and with decent finishing would have won against more celebrated opponents, whose increasingly disillusioned supporters chorussed “You don’t know what you’re doing” at Luis Felipe Scolari as their team stumbled from bad to worse. Ominously for the manager, there was a banner unfurled bearing the legend “Scolari out, Zola/Di Matteo Chelsea Legends.” Against this background, Chelsea drop to fourth in the table, behind Aston Villa, who are their next opponents in the Premier League."
Official Chelsea FC Website: "Problems on the home front continue as attacking promise of the first half gave way to a poor display after the interval."
It all seemed so jolly to start with. A bright but cold day and as I sat down in my seat they were playing Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin, albeit the rather clumsily spliced radio version. And then the game started. Oh how I wish we had a Jimmy Page type player who could innovate and do new, strange and wonderful things. Oh how I wish we had a Robert Plant character, mesmerising the audience with his wizardry and showmanship. Oh, for a John Paul Jones quietly plugging away in the background, doing the simple stuff well and making sure everything pulled together. Oh how I wish we had a John Bonham, wildly thrashing away, driving the team on to new heights, daring others to match his speed and rhythm.
But today we weren’t Led Zeppelin.
Today we were The Bay City Rollers. Talentless pap.
The multiple orgasms section
- Ricardo Quaresma. His debut saw Florent Malouda demoted to sweeping the floors as he never even featured on the bench. That’s one down then, just two or three to go. Quaresma can play both wings, he’s fast and skillful and confusingly uses the outside of his right foot to cross from the left. But he does it well and but for a sterling save from the Hull goalkeeper would have had a debut goal. He showed me more today than Malouda has ever done in his entire (and hopefully terminated) Chelsea career.
- Hull City – the team. In free-fall of late they came to Stamford Bridge and showed us what ‘spirit’ is all about. We dominated them in the first half but they defended stoutly and in the second half they outfought and outplayed us. They won every loose ball, they tackled… yes like Tigers and frankly made the better chances. They should have won today.
- Hull City – the fans. They out-sang us, out-chanted us and are still in the honeymoon period as far as the Premier League goes. They’re enjoying the ride, whereas we aren’t even on the ride.
- Ashley Cole. Possibly looking like the Player of the Season for us. Always willing to run and tackle and basically run his socks off for the whole game. But I can’t help thinking he must be looking around and saying to himself, “I left Arsenal for this?”
- Salomon Kalou. Ended up running down blind alleys and losing possession but in his defence there’s only so many times you can hit your head against a brick wall. Played superbly first half and had a bright second half start before wilting under the futility of trying to make something happens when surrounded by utter duffers.
- The first 30 minutes of the first half. It was looking pretty good at that point. So how it did it unravel so badly after half time? It has to be Scolari’s team talks.
- A clean sheet. Scant compensation really.
The severe and prolonged vomiting section
- Alex. After the heroics of last week he was back to being a lumbering fool today. Played like he didn’t know anyone in blue.
- Didier Drogba. Replaced the promising Quaresma with 25 minutes or so to go. Stank the place out and even had the gall to try chivvying the Matthew Harding support with a ‘come on’ gesture. As the bloke next to me shouted, “No Drogba, you fucking come on, you give us something to shout about for once.”
- Jose Bosingwa. Plunged new depths of awfulness today. Poor crossing, poor passing and as for his ability to defend… I hope it’s just an off day because he’s been one of the few brighter lights this season.
- Every other Chelsea player on the pitch today. Spiritless. Banal. Mediocre. Unimaginative. Gutless. Wasters.
- Luiz Felipe Scolari. I’ll save the full venom for the end section but he’s out of his depth and is undoing the legacy left by Jose Mourinho with his incompetent buffoonery. Under his tutelage we are heading backwards. As pointless as it is at this stage in the season, I have concluded that he really should go. Now. Even if that means bringing back David Webb to caretake us to the end of the season.
- The second half performance. Since the dismal 0-0 home draw against Fulham last season it’s never been that bad. Until today. We didn’t have one meaningful attempt on goal all half. I don’t remember the Hull goalkeeper having to make one save. Unacceptable dross is far too kind a description.
Player ratings: using my new TURD rating system reserved especially for games like this. Ten turds is the worst. Zero turds is best
- Hilario – 5 flaky turds – looked nervous and Hull sensed it. Dreadful distribution and no command of the penalty area. I’ll spell it out. D.O.D.G.Y K.E.E.P.E.R.
- Jose Bosingwa – 6 rather sickly smelly turds – pathetic. S.H.I.T.E.
- John Terry – 5 cowpat size turds – seems lost. Uninspired leadership and seemingly unable to stamp his authority on the game or his team mates. His post match interview was patronising bollocks of the highest order, pleading for us, the fans, not to blame the management. P.O.O.R.
- Alex – 7 turds from a very ill dog – a dreadful game, constantly out of position and hence left our already fragile defence very exposed. C.R.A.P.
- Ashley Cole – 2 rabbit turds – the only one of three to get anywhere near a Man of the Match nomination. I.N.D.U.S.T.R.I.O.U.S.
- John Mikel Obi – 4 turds – looked okay until he got a silly and probably undeserved booking and then disappeared from view. Wisely substituted. T.I.R.E.D.
- Michael Ballack – 5 turds neatly laid out – a slightly heavy touch on two occasions but in the first half did well as a linking player. Then in the second half whatever mental Mogadon Scolari applies took its toll and Ballack disappeared, possibly up his own arse. D.I.R.E.
- Frank Lampard – 5 turds – huffed and puffed but was a long way from his best. W.O.B.B.L.Y.
- Ricardo Quaresma – 2 rather fragrant turds – a promising debut, unlucky not to score. Substituted too early. There is hope. B.R.I.G.H.T.
- Salomon Kalou – 2 bird turds – bless him he really tried today and was let down by the fucking dross all around him. I.M.P.R.O.V.I.N.G.
- Nicolas Anelka – 6 merdes – a lean spell isn’t helped by lack of service to him and obvious confusion between him and Scolari about his role.
- Deco (sub for Ballack) – 8 turds in a puddle of vomit – do I really have to spell it out for you. OK then. U.T.T.E.R.S.H.I.T.E.
- Juliano Belletti (sub for Obi) – 6 sun-hardened turds – contributed absolutely nothing other than getting caught in possession. S.M.E.L.L.Y.
- Didier Drogba (sub for Quaresma) – 9 runny smelly turds from a very sick dog – do I have to spell this out as well. Okay then. P.I.S.S.P.O.O.R. and U.S.E.L.E.S.S.
- Overall team performance – 9 runny turds from the insides of a rabid dog – D.I.S.M.A.L.L.Y.D.E.P.R.E.S.S.I.N.G.
And the BAFTA for best guitarist goes to…
Jointly awarded to the only three players to show any desire. Step forward Ashley Cole, Ricardo Qauresma and Salomon Kalou.
The post gig party
As you can see I’m not happy. Instead of seeing footballing Led Zeppelin (edgy, raw, innovative, unplanned) or footballing Pink Floyd (polished, rehearsed, honed to perfection, soaring and uplifting) I got the rejects from X-Factor. You know, the ones that Simon Cowell and gang treat as Victorian freaks to parade in front of the moronic British public so that millionaires can ritually abuse and demean them. I’ve said enough about the players so it’s time to turn to the root cause: Luiz Felipe Scolari.
If this is disingenuous then so be it. If it upsets any of you then so be it. This time last year I was howling for the head of Avram Grant, partly because he wasn’t up to the job and partly (through no fault of his) he was being portrayed as the future of our club. He had usurped The Special One in the affections of our benefactor as well. However, he had the sense to let the team run itself and after the shock we rallied to come close in three competitions. Close, but no cigar. Then we announced the arrival of Scolari and the season started promisingly. But now, after seven months in his tenure records set under Mourinho are falling. The home record went first and now the clean sheets record has gone. We are now in a footballing recession and we are going backwards at speed into a footballing depression. The grit and determination fostered under Mourinho’s fortress mentality has gone and, according to the owner’s wishes, we are no longer making headlines for bad behaviour. Now we’re making headlines for bad performances. It won’t be long before we’re not making any headlines because we’ll have faded back into mediocre obscurity.
Scolari isn’t getting anywhere near the best from the players. His chosen son Deco has been an out and out duffer and the remaining players bar one or two are merely going through the motions. Heads have dropped, spirit and unity has gone. Desire has ridden out of town. As coach, it’s his job to motivate and inspire. It’s his job to read the game and make the tweaks to swing the pendulum back in our favour. It’s his job to know the opposition and plan accordingly. It’s his job to choose the right players. It’s his job to have contingency plans in place when things go out of kilter during the game. Yes, the players play their part, but the coach is there to make them play to their best capability. It’s his job to make sure they understand what’s required of them. It’s his job to deliver results. On every single count Scolari is failing and the sad conclusion after just seven months is that he isn’t good enough for the job.
Now, I know that sacking him now won’t do us any favours, but surely Roman can’t be thinking this is better than what went before? Surely he can see the golden chalice of Champions League football is now severely under threat. Surely he doesn’t think we can win the Champions League playing the sort of dross seen today. Does Roman really think we could take on Real or Barca when we can’t get any results against our own closest rivals and then trip up against the likes of Hull? Arsenal are now six points behind us, with a game in hand and we still have to visit The Emirates… do we really look like getting a win there? Lest we forget our next game is away to a rampant Villa at a ground where good results for us are like finding a single diamond in a pile of elephant dung.
So, what’s the answer then? Well we keep Scolari until the end of the season. Let him do the David Webb job. We then remove Peter Kenyon from any decision on the coach (he’s a United fan for fuck’s sake so I doubt he wants the best for the team in results terms) and make him concentrate on revenue and brand. We hire a headhunter now who knows the game inside and out and we get them to start tapping up younger replacements, ready to start the day after the last game of the season. We let Ray stay in an ambassadorial role as he is Chelsea at heart. We sack Scolari after the whistle blows on the last game. Then we start again. I’m already looking at Moyes, O’ Neill, Gullitt, Zola/Clarke, Bilic, Rijkaard and maybe Klinsmann.
Anyone but Scolari.
Keep the Blue Flag Flying High.