Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland – Newspaper Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report

Newspaper reports

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “The shock must have been even greater than the shame. Chelsea are now suffering from an overload of disbelief. This, after all, was the first away victory of the season for opponents who were swamped 5-1 at Newcastle United a couple of weeks ago. Before anyone dwells on Chelsea’s defects and mistakes it should be emphasised that Sunderland performed to a high standard, with a sharpness of passing and movement that distressed the losers.”

Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “This was the biggest defeat Chelsea have suffered since Roman Abramovich bought the club back in 2003 and changed the landscape of English football. It was as seismic as that. There was no John Terry, no Frank Lampard and no Michael Essien. But no excuses either. This was the day when the Rolls-Royce stalled.”

Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle, Dan Levene: “Stood alone on the touchline, robbed of his assistant and missing his injured captain, Carlo Ancelotti looked at times a desolate figure as his team crashed at home to lowly Sunderland.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “It was a Sunday shock at Stamford Bridge as the Blues fell to our worst home defeat since April 2002. The goals were the first conceded in 10 home league games and while the first two were good Sunderland play, the third was from that rarest of occurrences, an Ashley Cole mistake.”

The goals

45′ Onuoha
52′ Gyan
87′ Welbeck


Exclusives from the dead tree press have to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt; anything that suggests ‘a source close to the deal’ has had quiet words with a friendly hack should be viewed with a degree of suspicion, even if the underlying story – our presumably inevitable change of address – carries a degree of truth. Earl’s Court would seem an ideal solution, but until such time as I see Roman in a hi-vis jacket and hard hat on the site sticking the first shovel in the ground, I’ll assume that we’re staying put.

Just when it was all running smoothly…

One has to wonder whether, somewhere in the depths of Stamford Bridge, there is a large red button labelled “DO NOT PRESS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES”. And just when everything seems to be going rather well, some fucker pushes it. It is the nature of Roman’s reign at Chelsea that every managerial departure or reshuffle gives rise to rumours of Machiavellian plots, subterfuge and stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of ‘Spooks’.

That the latest departure was Chelsea stalwart and lovable smoothie Ray Wilkins has only added to the speculation; I suspect that very few people really know why he was removed so suddenly, and I’d wager that the compromise agreement he has probably signed means it will stay that way, but it seems a great shame (and a bigger puzzle) that such a decent guy with blue in his veins couldn’t be retained in some capacity.

I shall leave it to Leonard to summarise what Ray might be thinking right now (yes, I know he’s an ex-footballer and it’s more likely to be Lionel Richie, but a) this is a classy establishment and b) I have to pad things out somehow, OK?)…

The game

I don’t really have the desire to relive that, either on TV or in writing, but suffice to say there probably isn’t enough bandwidth to cover what went wrong today; inability to retain the ball, poor passing when we had it, some suicidal defending and a bunch of players who looked like they’d met for the first time in the tunnel for long periods.

The problems, albeit that we should remember that many of them are hopefully temporary, go from backline to front. The forwards look leggy and uninspired; a defence without both JT and Alex is ripe for exploitation by any half-decent strike force and our midfield consists of players inexperienced, out of position and overall, a little out of their depth – Cattermole may be well on course to evolve into an angry looking giant phallus with a pair of tattooed fists protruding from the bell-end, but he had what we lacked today in spades.

That red button? It’s really time to leave it alone now, whoever you are.

The good

  • Petr Cech. Could have been an awful lot worse without the cat in the hat. Some inspired goalkeeping behind a defence with more holes than a teabag.
  • Sunderland. One of the most assured, effective Premier League away team performances at the Bridge in ooh, probably the best part of a decade. The spanking they took at St. James’s Park a fortnight ago clearly gave rise to some plain speaking between the manager and the team; we could do with something similar happening at Cobham, and a bit sharpish.
  • We’re still top. No, I’m not sure how either.
  • Following a very agreeable lunch, I can heartily recommend a bottle of The Stump Jump Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvedre 2008 for your wine rack / cellar. Actually, given what came thereafter, I’d recommend a couple of bottles and don’t bother with the interim storage options.

The bad

  • A performance that really stunk the place out. The makeshift defence / midfield didn’t particularly help, but if we’re really looking at expanding the capacity at the Bridge, you could probably have fit several thousand people in the space that Onuoha wandered through for the first goal.
  • Another injury to JT. If it just keeps him out of another England friendly, no great loss. Any longer without him (and Alex) and we look like sitting ducks.
  • Even longer without Frank and Essien – whose red against Fulham is now looking very costly indeed – the midfield is looking overwhelmed and undermanned in equal measure.

Player ratings

A random series of numbers from four through six and a lone seven. Rearrange yourselves as you see fit, as long as you give the top one to Big Pete. By way of guidance, there are probably more fours and fives than there are sixes, if you see what I mean.

Man of the Match

Petr Cech, and by some considerable distance. Ivan wasn’t too bad either.

Final thoughts

The simple fact is we have too many key players injured and most of the ones that are making it onto the pitch look bereft of one or more of little things like fitness, confidence and form. Lampard, Terry and Essien form a large part of the team’s spine and the options from the bench, whilst promising, are inexperienced and clearly not yet trusted enough (although as has been noted, why not Bruma over Paulo? Very odd).

Coming next? Birmingham (a), Newcastle (a), Everton (h), Spurs (a) and United (h). Get through that little lot to find ourselves with any kind of lead at the top and we’ll be a) laughing and b) bloody fortunate on today’s evidence.

To bring matters to a conclusion on something resembling a positive note – God only knows we need one – if we can get our two midfield fulcrums back and playing together for a prolonged spell, the whole thing should work far better than it does now; talk of our system being found out is overreaction – we have new and bit-part players out of position in key roles and if we are to introduce young blood, it will never be a seamless, pain-free process and they will have to learn that sometimes you’ll be two down and chasing rather than two up and cruising. I have pairs of socks older than some of the players on the bench today, but if we believe that they have something then we need to give them a chance; we can’t keep filling the gaps with thirty-somethings on vast wages.

So, coincidence that the wheels fell off in the week when the apparent harmony down in SW6 went the way of the dodo? Maybe, maybe not. No-one in the top six places is really motoring at the moment and the fact that the team in third place is there having drawn more than half the games they have played speaks volumes.

Until we really hit the gas last season post Inter and Blackburn, the period from around December to March was littered with shaky performances, scraped draws, losses and the odd sparkling performance; Carlo presumably did something right to get us back on track and he did so in some style. That said, this is the first loss I can remember since United put three past us at home some eight years ago that feels like a worrying turn for the worse; natural pessimism, I hope, but ultimately it’s up to the man in the hot seat to do the same as he did last season and get the team fit, inspired and firing again.

The last word…

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  1. Anonymous

    You’ve spared Ramires from a battering which is nice, but I thought he was shocking.

    However, it has to be noted that after another short 2-3 day break between games, we put in yet another shit performance. Carlo got things together after our Inter debacle because we didn’t have midweek games to ruin our old legs but if you want to be successful, not being able to win after only 2-3 days rest is quite a big problem. Especially when the day after a match is always spent with a 1 hour “warm-down” and absolutely no tactical work. Perhaps we are too fucking old and Roman’s cost cutting is beginning to hurt (Ramires and Zhirkov stayed on for 70 minutes today due to a lack of options, which says it all really) and with such a small lead at the top and a depressingly difficult December coming up (again, no seven day rest periods for our old players), things aren’t looking great.

    The tempo of our play and inability to pass the ball to a blue shirt, cross past the first man, dribble past a full-back or even show some passion and effort is alarming as these are the basics of the game. I know Lamps and Essien are big players but conceding 5 goals to Sunderland and Liverpool and scraping past Fulham just isn’t good enough.

    A Roman/JT/Eugene crisis meeting at Cobham is around the corner but perhaps a dodgy few weeks/months will persuade Roman that to stay at the top, football clubs need regular investment. Banking on the youth team is great but with only two (Josh and Kakuta) gaining the trust of Carlo after a third of the season, perhaps the Board need to realise that their transfer policy is starting to hurt the team. Carlo obviously doesn’t have enough options to choose from and the two players we did bring in have proved disastrous (Yossi out for a year and Ramires in that cursed number 7 shirt looking more and more like a pathetic joke). Our academy has improved but when a Dutch international centre-back, albeit with only 1 call-up, is seen as a more risky option than a third choice right-back filling in at CB, the balance of the squad has to be questioned. At the moment though, it looks like we’re a two man team. When Lamps doesn’t play our midfield ranges from poor to terrible and when Didier doesn’t score, our attack is anonymous against the best defences.

    In the end, there will come a time when parts of this side have to be replaced and maybe a wake-up call like this help us in the long run. Didier’s battering ram act will stop working soon, Malouda’s form lately has been poor, Anelka can have great games or become completely anonymous and our midfield replacements have been abysmal (well, Zhirkov’s been ok at times, but Ramires’ performance today was embarrassing). So there’s always positives we can take away from a game and we’re still top but not being able to watch Chelsea’s reaction for another week whilst being subjected to some midweek dross with England is depressing.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Didn’t really feel the need to scapegoat one player above the rest; it was a very poor team performance. And incidentally, Ramires misplaced 4 passes all afternoon, considerably less than many of his team mates. You’re developing the same kind of irrational bugbear about him as you once did with Alex; he’s been here for a few months – let’s not write the guy off just yet, shall we?

      • Cunningplan

        Agree, no scapegoats at all, only Cech deserves credit, kept the score down, it could have been worse.
        Also lets be magnanimous here, Sunderland played some superb stuff at times, and deserved their win. The only bugbear I have is the team let the fans down today, but as you mentioned we’re still top of the table, and it looks like no team wants to stamp their authourity on the league at present.

      • Anonymous

        When things start to go wrong, I have been known to unfairly pick on some of the weaker ones in the group but I did think that Ramires’ performances against Sunderland and Liverpool were unacceptable.

        I don’t really buy the whole Ramires is Brazilian and all Brazilians are skillful, ergo Ramires must be skillful argument as Brazil are the side with Felipe Melo and now Lucas holding their midfield together. I also know that coming from a new league means you need at least one year before the fans see the best of you, but what really annoyed me is that he doesn’t appear to be too aware of those around him.

        We can all see he’s weak but so’s Josh so that in itself shouldn’t matter but what seperates the two is that Josh is aware of opposition players around him and is able to regularly turn away from trouble before laying the ball off to a teammate. Ramires though, needs 3 or 4 touches to control, turn and then look for a pass and against Lucas, Gerrard, Cattermole and Henderson, he was easily dominated and made to look pretty pathetic. I know it takes time to settle in but after Carlo himself criticised Ramires for his slowness on the ball after his first few games against West Ham and City, I am a little surprised that he still hasn’t learnt how to move the ball quickly in our midfield. He’s too slow and too limited in his play at the moment and his performances sort of remind me of another midfield number 7 we used to have…Maniche.

        It’s also worrying that he doesn’t seem to have any outstanding ability to define himself in our midfield at present. He doesn’t score goals like Frank (his Benfica record is poor), is too weak and slow on the ball to dominate games like Essien and doesn’t have the passing range to fill in for Mikel. He’ll turn out to be a great spare (although spending £36m on two squad players like Zhirkov and Ramires may explain why Roman is so afraid to spend big money nowadays) but right now, when we really need him, he’s too negative to compensate for Frank and Essien’s absences. It’s not his fault that he doesn’t have the attacking ability of Frank or creativity of Josh but surely Carlo should have seen by now that our present midfield 3 just aren’t good enough to sustain a league challenge (although his Paulo selection suggests otherwise).

        Talking of Carlo, there was some good news today. He’s confirmed that our first crisis meeting will take place on Thursday at Cobham.

        Roman, Eugene and Gourlay will turn up but I’m not sure that yet another shouting session will cure this squad of some big, underlying problems; principally our old legs (the dip in performances between a 6-7 day rest and a 2-3 day rest really are shocking) and a lack of strength in depth. Oh, and our horrible arrogance with so many of our players (I’m looking at our front three) thinking that it’s acceptable to walk around from kick-off and put in hardly any effort. Didier’s friendly, big brother act where he smiles at every opposition defender and seems to shy away from his battering ram act of old is starting to piss me off these days, especially when you see players like Sturridge, who despite being a lot worse than Didier, running around every minute he’s on the pitch and at least trying to press the opposition defence, high up the pitch. Small signs like these, suggest to me that a front three, with a combined age of 95, may be nearing the end of the road soon. Not yet, but soon.

  2. Ringo

    And after reading the report ,have to say it’s a better effort than anyone in a blue shirt put in.

    Time for some Stiff Little Fingers turned up to eleven.

  3. PeteW

    What a fucking horrorshow.
    The real travesty for me was that on a weekend when the papers were full of glowing enthusiasm about our youth policy and Villa and United both demonstrated what can be done with some teenage gumption, we failed to take the chance with our kids even when it was clearly all going to shit.
    From the moment I saw the team I knew we’d be lucky to get a point. we looked like we were going to get away with it afcter half an hour, but as soon as Sunderland clocked how shit we were, they took us apart.
    Have we ever won a game with Paolo at centre back? He was dreadful, basic positioning simply not right and it’s not really his fault.
    The refusal to pick Bruma, even if his form isn’t great, was probably the worst thing about yesterday and really made me concerned about this season because we have to use the kids, we have no choice, our squad is thin and our older players aren’t fit enough, especially with the injuries.
    The current first XI – and they are down to an XI – are knackered and the midfield of Mikel-Zhirkov-Ramires has been shown time and again to not be good enough. We had to make changes, take a few positive risks (Bruma, Josh. Kakuta, change formation) rather than negative risks (experienced players out of position in a formation they aren’t suited for).
    With Essien and Lampard out for a few more weeks, we have to drastically rethink the 4-3-3, find a way to get more numbers in midfield and protect Ramires and Zhirkov, who are both fine players, just not together in this formation at the moment.
    As for not singling out individuals, I would tend to agree but have to say that Malouda has stunk the place out for a while now and didn’t really have a problem with him coming off.
    Also, what has Borini done wrong? He’s at least a goalscorer in good form for the reserves and with some first team experience, but he’s not even getting on the bench at the moment?
    Something stinks.
    Oh, and yes Sunderland were good and deserved kudos for sticking two up top. God knows how many they’d have got if Bent was playing.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve asked about the Borini thing, because I saw your name mentioned on twitter, maybe a retweet from Chelseayouth, but you’re right, something is up. Borini is scoring goals for the reserves, 5 in one game recently I’m led to believe and yet with Sturridge injured he didn’t even get on the bench.

  4. Anonymous

    Morning All, the good Lord Kaiser’s report bursts with the sort of hurt and disappointment such an abject performance brings. In the good old days this would be considered normal fayre – we were that bi-polar, but in recent years that have seen us lose but 2 Premiership games at home under Scolari, albeit to Arsenal and Liverpool, so yesterday was a real bolt from the blue. However, just like Liverpool I’d day it had been coming. Our away performances haven’t been great so a decent team punching above its weight with a very noisy and partisan crowd urging them on was always likely to pierce our side at some point. Blackburn had chances to put us to the sword but failed to take them. At home, this vulnerability has slowly seeped in over the last few weeks, with Big Pete’s outstanding form and opposition poor finishing being the only reason we haven’t conceded at home, and it has been noted here by some very venerable contributors that our ‘laissez-faire’ attitude and general sloppiness born of arrogance would catch us out at some point.

    Yesterday was such a day. Drogba is way off beam at the moment, piss poor free kicks, taking corners (albeit because no-one else can) and wandering round like a minstrel looking for his mandolin. In fact he may as well have lit up a Gitanes as he so resembled those rather sad bands of social lepers huddled outside workplaces puffing away. Anelka as a lone striker with support from Kalou and Malouda might have been a better choice, giving us a fluid front line with Malouda and Kalou switching sides to cause the likes of Bramble et al some degree of concern. Ashley Cole was swamped at times, Mikel Obi tried desperately to assert himself on midfield with no support from anyone. Branners is a great defender, but no organiser he. Bosingwa……sometimes he looks so exciting surging forward, but at one point when Ramires was in the box looking for support, Bosingwa was wandering around on the edge of our own box. Anelka held the ball well, as he always does, but was given little in the way of options from an unbelievably static front line and midfield and often found himself with the ball but tripping over Flo or Zhirkhov in the same position. Someone has made the point that we’re far too left oriented and yesterday was a case in point, crowded and getting in each others way.

    And then we come to Ramires. Yesterday he was poor, but he is young and we have to be patient. As someone who was in the ‘keep Kezman’ camp and wanted to see him given another chance, and then paradoxically wanted Malouda out after his first season having been absorbed into he instant results camp temporarily, I think the young lad needs that season to get things wrong and to develop and enhance his trade. You can’t sit here and praise Arsenal for giving kids a chance and then get on their backs when we play them, it just won’t help.

    And on another point..yes he was poor, but he was badly exposed and ill supported by senior players who at times hung him out to dry with hospital passes and no obvious man on shouts. I’ll say this – he was poor, but Essien was worse against Fulham and I don’t see the same levels of vitriol aimed at his shite display. And if Ramires is too lightweight and gets knocked off the ball too easily then where does that leave Mceachran who is even thinner? What Ramires needs is a comforting arm (yes, the sort that Ray Wilkins could provide) around him to keep his spirits up and turn the negative into learning positives.

    This leads to my own feeling that the treatment of Ray Wilkins did affect the team. I’ve been at work when redundancies have been made and dealt with in an entirely appropriate and decent manner. The affected people have always walked off with a generous compromise agreement that has cushioned the blow BUT every single one of them has had a negative affect on the remaining team and it has taken weeks to get that team back to working optimally again. Now look at the magnification of that performance drop when the treatment of a well liked colleague is done so shoddily as with Ray. He was a friend of the players, a friend of the staff and for currently appears to be no real reason he has been summarily sacked whilst his alleged ‘friend’ did nothing to change the way it was done, or find him another role. As the guys on Sunday Supplement said yesterday, this means he is either a powerless puppet (and hence no Ferguson or Wenger) or he just didn’t care. And for me that calls the integrity of the man into question. I’d hazard a guess that had a similar thing happened to Steve Clarke then Mourinho would have made that a resignation issue. As would Ferguson over Phelan, or Wenger over Rice.

    Captains of aircraft, of cruise ships, of army battalions and of industry always tend to have a trusted band of lieutenants by their side, and usually one of those is an XO – a number two, someone who can support the boss with options and possibilities or observations that the main man can’t see. It’s just not possible to see and do everything, and this applies on and off the football the pitch as well. Maybe Ray would have spotted the Ramires performance and nudged CA into pulling him out of the fire, maybe he wouldn’t. But whoever was there yesterday failed to see it, despite 41,000 all spotting the lad was in trouble and being swamped. So, ask yourself this – if Rays successor was there yesterday, why didn’t they spot it, and if they did why didn’t they suggest it? Further to that, this makes me question CA at times anyway. Yes, he might be used to the Autocrat method of club management, but surely as a person, as a man, you have some pride, some dignity. Surely no-one is happy being a puppet? Yesterday, he looked like Avram Grant, isolated, confused, bemused and perplexed. as no doubt most of us did. However we’re not paid to change things, and bringing on Kalou for Malouda was typically Avram, or at best a Ranieri-esque tactical louse up. As was the decision to put a right back in place of a tailor made but untested centre back. If I were Bruma, I’d be asking just how shit does everyone have to be before I get a game. If after the first 45 he’s had a hellish game then steady things up with Ferreira. I’m not blaming Paolo here but the way, but he is not a centre back. That decision alone was as bad a piece of man management as Capello replacing Green with James for one fuck up….at which point that distrust means Green should have gone home. Bruma could well be thinking about a move, and I for one wouldn’t blame him. He won us the double last year, and gave us a flying start this season but yesterday he looked bereft of ideas and inspiration, as did the whole team.

    Now, lets give Sunderland some well deserved credit. To a man they played with fire in their belly. They were hard into the tackle, supported each other, and left no part of the pitch undiscovered. The goals weren’t lucky but well worked and well deserved and had Cech not been is such fantastic form, with one Banks like save and 3 or 4 others of world class status, then we;d have been buried and humiliated further. Michael turner is a vindictive nasty shit, but yesterday he was a fucking tiger, Henderson was superb, Richardson a thorn in the side, and the pairing of Wellbeck and Gyan looked ominously fluid and empathetic. As for Gordon the goalkeeper, I can’t say because we did nothing to trouble him really. But for an outsider, you’d have only picked out one of those sides as reigning champions and it weren’t us! Steve Bruce picked his two strikers and stuck with them, Sunderland didn’t park the charabanc, and came for goals which they duly got. Well done to them, and well done to Steve Bruce, a fully deserved and fought for win.

    As for us, well if the rumours of a ‘drains up’ meeting post Inter Milan were true then lets hope something similar happens today because despite it being heart-warming like the old days, to the point where the gallows humour in my part of the MHU was in full flow, this is not what’s expected. Defeats at SB will happen, but what’s unacceptable is the passionless and gutless effort of yesterday, 3 or 4 players excepted. As AGH57 so rightly says, the last game like that was the anodyne 0-0 versus Hull that done for Scolari, a game in which we managed precisely zero efforts on target the whole game. A big big change is needed for Birmingham, a team with a formidable home record themselves, or we will get murdered on Saturday. Sadly, I’m not sure I can see that change happening in one week.

    On the assistant front, my contact within SB who plays golf with Robbie, Gus, Franco, Ruud etc has spoken to GFZ. As you’d expect the man is honourable and has said it’s a loyalty thing and he would be uncomfortable taking Rays place as it would feel like jumping into someone’s grave. So that’s a ‘maybe’ then in my book!

  5. PeteW

    Wise words from the Grocer.
    100 % agree on Ramires and Bruma.
    In Carlo’s defence, we know his strong points and his weak points, and he has never been particularly good at bold, game-changing substitutions – very few managers have that Mourinho knack for grabbing the initiative in wholly unusual and unexpected ways, and even he would have struggled with the squad he had to play with (remember also the absolutely key injury to Benayoun, who would have played a lot of football recently if he was fit).
    But regarding our summer activity, the one that surprised me as letting Matic go right at the end with no replacement. That left us a midfielder down and, a bit like the Gallas/Huth transfer, was always likely to come and bite us, cos if you are weak in one position, you can be sure that’s where trouble will come.

  6. PeteW

    ChelseaYouth implied that there was a problem with Borini and somebody at a lavel between the owner and manager, which suggests Arnesen. Given Borini and Kakuta can walk in the summer, this seems like a profoundly suicidal attitude to be striking.

    • Anonymous

      Yep, agree with that, especially if we’re moving to the ‘I believe that children are our future’ mentality. When I’ve seen Borini play he’s looked fast (not as fast as kakuta mind, whio has a touch of the Usain Bolts about him) and has been unlucky not to break the goal cherry for us in the first team. I wonder how secure Arnesen is mind……

  7. Der_Kaiser

    Isn’t Borini refusing to sign a new deal?Had a mail from a Sunderland supporting mate this morning – he’s still in shock; impressed by them but blown away at how poor we were, given their record down here.

  8. FanSinceTheSixties

    Well done JD for getting that report out.

    Think most of us would’ve just followed the team’s example and said sod it about halfway through.

    Too much to comment on now – gotta work on-site today – but first impressions were that the team selection cannot be an excuse.
    We looked comfortable if uninspired until they finally put pressure on us, and then we just didn’t seem to have the heart to compete, not surprising under the circumstances.

    Our defence which has been bad, just got worse.

    Everyone in the PL knows what to do against us and this result (home or away) has been coming for some time.

    Maybe Carlo’s trying too hard to keep Roman happy with attacking football but we should still be able to defend our goal. Don’t want to read too much into this result given the lead-up but at least we lost in some style.

    No wimpy 0-1 for us, not even a last minute consolation, so perhaps this will raise enough alarm for the club to get themselves sorted.

    I’d like to add more, but need to go out now.

    I may be some time.

  9. bluebayou

    It probably says more about me but that quote of the day with its “Death in Venice” overtones is disturbing on a number of psycho-sexual levels and is only adding to the distress induced by yesterday.

    Some good points being made by JD and others. It wasn’t good and while it may have happened anyway, coming on the back of the Wilkins business it makes us wonder whether there are deeper problems bubbling under and we plunge towards a crisis of faith.

    I’ve nothing to add really other than to congratulate Sunderland on playing well and deserving the result. Let’s remember where they’ve been recently with a 5-1 hammering in a derby game.

    No, I do have a couple of things to add.

    I think we only failed to score once in the League last year. That’s 4 games in 13 already this season. At this rate we’ll have no problem with eggs come Easter.

    Conceding 5 goals in 3 games and scoring one – that’s a slump.

    Ancelotti doesn’t become a poor manager over night. I’m sure he can see what we’re seeing. We have to keep faith with him.

    Borini may not have been the answer yesterday but I keep seeing worrying things about him and Kakuta and their contracts. (see deeper problems above). There was one comment somewhere that they’ve been offered less than Sinclair was on and that’s causing a problem. But who knows?

    I didn’t do any shipbuilding yesterday, which is just as well as I’d have set it alight and let it sail across Clapton Pond.

  10. Statto

    Strangely, and I never thought that I’d come to say it, but I think that we’re missing the experience of Ballack and Deco in midfield.

    The lack of depth on the bench was a major concern – I don’t think that I’ve even heard of Sala!

  11. PeteW

    Apparently Carlo ‘didn’t have faith’ in Bruma. That’s dreadful.
    Sala is 16, and understudy to Borini. Far too young.
    If there was a highlight yesterday, it was towards the end when Cattermole had three nasty swipes at Mikel and still ended up getting beaten for strength and skill. Mikel and Cech are outstanding at the moment.

  12. bluebayou

    Next time there are complaints about the treatment that the “smaller” clubs get at the “big” clubs people might well refer to Ivanovic only getting a yellow and not a red.

    Am I the only one who thought Turner could have had first use of the soap minutes earlier when he brought down Zhirkov (I think) as we went on a break from our own box following a corner?

    There was no attempt to play the ball. It was a yellow the live-long day through, but as he’d been booked only minutes earlier, I think he was the recipient of a little charity, which is fair enough. It’s just that no-one seemed to notice.

    (Disclaimer: This is not an attempt to claim we wuz robbed)

  13. PeteW

    Turner committed half-a-dozen fouls in the first half and could very easily have got sent off, but the ref was pretty soft in general. Think Cattermole didn’t get booked when he could have done. I also thought there were a couple of fouls on our players in their half before the first goal, but not seen any replays.

    With the same disclaimer.

  14. Cunningplan

    Yes a lot of fuss was made by Sky on Branners not getting a red, which on evidence he should have. But just before that he was the victim of a cynical trip by Turner, when we had a break on from our box. Of course Turner already on a yellow, would have walked had the ref been consistent with punishing that type of foul, I think that’s why he didn’t give Branners a red.

    • bluebayou

      Ah it was Branners was it? Thanks for the correction. The ol’ eyes you know.

      And talking of eyes just read someone on a non football blog pointing out the perils of Capitalism. A system in which they’d paid thousands for laser eye surgery so they could dispense with glasses and now with 3_D TV on the way they were going to pay out more money for equipment that meant they had to wear glasses to watch it.

  15. Anonymous

    I think that first para of “final thoughts” captures most of the major points, JD, though see also Cech’s concise view in a clip from his post-match interview now available on the official website – if you give the opposition that much space and time they’ll murder you .

    I commented before the Fulham game in Fifty-mode on the hostage to fortune facts that would be plastered all over the match day programme for the 2 upcoming home games and yesterday’s didn’t disappoint:

    – Sunderland have failed to score on 6 of their last 9 visits to the Bridge;

    – Sunderland have lost their last 11 games against us, etc., etc

    The minute I heard JT was out and saw Carlo had gone for Ferreira as centre-back I knew the clean-sheet record was gone and it became a question of wondering if Bent’s absence meant we might still scrape a result, as my brain brought back vague but searing memories of his last disaster when asked to play out of position there.

    I blame Carlo, not him, particularly for not even making a half-time substitution for Bruma which might have stopped the rot which spread through the entire side. Football is still a game often decided by confidence levels and ours certainly shrivelled to nothing rapidy in the second half.

    The angry regular with the loud voice a few rows behind me had recovered from his apoplexy at the referee from the Fulham game enough to vent most of his bellowing at Ramirez and Abramovich for getting rid of Wilkins. I can’t say I recall any occasion when Wilkins was clearly instrumental in tactical change to turn a game around, indeed as someone mentioned earlier, Carlo’s sides have no real record of decisive in-game tactical switches.

    Somehow we are still top of the League. I’m not one for throwing my money at bookmakers, personally, but those of you do might want to check the odds for EPL being won with lowest ever points total. Having seen a fair chunk of both sets of Mancs and ‘Poo games this week-end [though we probably needn’t count the latter any longer] and with the Gooners in similar inconsistent form it looks unlikely any of us are capable of the kind of long winning runs that normally decides the title.

  16. John

    With same disclaimer yes, Turner got off lightly. The Ivanovic booking was right and no way a red. Cech apart, Mikel and, to a lesser extent, Anelka were the only players who were anything like their normal selves. I was hoping we’d get to half time level and sort it out at the break but I agree with the point about Carlo’s use of subs and I suspect it would have made no difference. All round an awful performance which follows a sequence of less than good displays. When was the last time we played well?

  17. Marco

    Too shocked to write anything about the match.

    As usual, the sane comments, both within the report and on this blog, are helping me to get over the hurt and shame.

    Special mention to the Grocer for his analysis of the impact of RW’s sacking and Carlo’s apparent loss of control over the team; seems spot on to me.

    It really does look like the Stalinists in charge of this club have f*cked up again and we may look back on the decisions made this week as up there with Jose’s sacking and the decision to appoint Grunt and Big Phil.

  18. Fifty


    And to risk alienating those youngsters who are in the first team squad by continually overlooking them in favour of average-at-best alternatives who are their senior is crazy.

    If the likes of Borini and Kakuta leave (more ‘when’ than ‘if’ from what I’ve heard) then where does that leave us? We’re bodies short already, so either promoting even younger players or spending more in the market to replace them. Goes against what we’ve been told the club is trying to do. Give them a chance – a decent chance FFS – or we’ll only end up regretting it.

  19. Anonymous

    I’m all for avoiding the mob mentality, but I’m a little surprised at the easy ride Ramires is getting here so far. Never mind Calring Opta ProZone Allardyce-O-Matic stats about numbers of completed passes: upwards of 41,000 people yesterday could see that he had a dreadful game, utterly unable to get any sort of grip on midfield either with the ball or without. And yes he’s young, but he’s also a frickin’ Brazilian international who played in the World Cup: he doesn’t need the same gentle nurturing one might offer Kakuta if he’d been similarly overwhelmed.

    Obi did the work of two men in midfield. Unfortunately we play three there, so we were still one light.

    Which isn’t to say that Ramires won’t turn into a very good player for Chelsea. And it’s not to let the rest of the team off the hook either. But he was the weakest link in a desperately fragile midfield.

    What’s so frustrating about yesterday is that for the first 15 minutes or so we did exactly what needed to be done given the obvious flimsiness in central defence, which was to keep the ball no matter what. Pass pass pass pass pass, no matter if its backwards or sideways: Paolo can’t be caught out of position if the other team don’t have the ball.

    And then for some reason we seemed to get panicky, lost patience, started clubbing long balls up, and the shift in momentum was palpable. Their first chance was so out of character with the rest of the game that you assumed they wouldn’t get another, but within minutes it became obvious that this was the pattern. We’d lose possession in an attacking position, the ball would be passed away, and suddenly everyone would be all over the place.

    Mind you it wouldn’t have mattered if their passing hadn’t become so tidy and effective. I’m not sure I can remember us being outplayed so thoroughly. The battles against Barcelona had us being utterly outpassed but not really outplayed, because we just about kept control of what was going on. Yesterday we looked like one of those away teams that comes dahn the bridge and doesn’t know what’s hit them.

    It’s a real pity we never got to see whether the midfield subs had made a difference; once Josh & Kakuta came on we’d decided to punt it upfield anyway. The poor lads spent the whole time watching the ball go over their heads and then chasing after Sunderland as they brought it back (on the ground).

    Next couple of league games are going to be interesting. Tough but winnable, and ordinarily six points would be a reasonable expectation. But I bet I’m not the only one fearing we might not get any.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry LTB, I don’t accept the argument that being a Brazilian international (with handful of appearances) makes you tougher for the game. He was poor, but he was drowning and got just about fuck all support from anyone but Obi, trying to be 3 men but as you say failing. He should have been pulled for Kalou, letting Malouda slip back to sit alongside Obi. it was a poor decision to leave him on so long, and Essien was as bad if not worse against Fulham and yet a lot of people seem happy to let that slide ….why? Because he scored from a header than i could have put in?

      I’m not for the mob mentality (until it suits me) and there were others equally as bad yesterday, and to me it just looks like people looking for a scapegoat, when in fact anyone of 5 or 6 are culpable, including Ancelotti.

      • Der_Kaiser

        I concur. Not generally given to throwing stats into the argument as they are often misleading, but one of the many accusations leveled at Ramires was that he pretty much failed to pass to anyone in a blue shirt all afternoon; yes, he had a stinker – although I don’t think he was anywhere near as bad as the forward line – but this was patently bollocks.

  20. Cunningplan

    Well I thought I word share mine, and my good lady wife diary entries from yesterday…

    The good Wife..
    He was acting really strangely. I did go shopping in the afternoon with a friend and I did get back a bit late with lots of bargains, so thought it might be that.

    I asked him what he fancied for supper, but he just grunted “not bothered about food” He was very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat.

    All through dinner he just didn’t seem himself; he hardly laughed ,and didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me or to what I was saying. I just knew that something was wrong.

    We got back home after a very quiet meal out, I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on. After about 10 minutes of silence, I said I was going upstairs to bed.

    I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh, and a sad sort of smile. He didn’t follow me up, but later he did, and I was surprised when we made love. He still seemed distant and a bit cold, and I started to think that he was going to leave me, and that he had found someone else.

    I cried myself to sleep.

    My Diary entry..
    Sunday 14th November 2010

    Chelsea lost at home to Sunderland, absolutely gutted.
    Got a shag though!!

  21. Anonymous

    On a different note. Censorship.

    My dear lord Kaiser, my sister in law Nicky spent much of her early childhood utterly scared shitless of the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town. Yes, she’s 40 now, yes she’s an adult and yes life has at times shown her far worse things, but I fear she may now be subject to traumatic flashbacks. Should I fail in my attempts to keep her from reading this fine article I trust you have suitable lawyers standing by in case any compensation case that may come your way 😉

  22. PeteW

    Some interesting rumours doing the rounds which we can attempt to shoddily tie together. The story is that Ray got the boot cos he had a row with Arnesen after Arnesen insisted Bruna and Sturridge played a friendly on thurs for the ressies v Bayern. RW felt with Terry and Anelka carrying knocks this was an unnecessary risk.
    Apparently Roman got wind of this and is terrified of dissent in the camp after the JM years and given that Ray was due to leave in the summer, decided to bring it forward and give him the boot.
    This could explain why CA then decided to pick Paolo ahead if Bruma as a fuck you to Arnesen, and also explain the likely promotion of Paul Clement as a way to get Frank’s kids into the first XI past a suspicious CA.

    • Anonymous

      Sounds plausible.

      Although the truth will come out on Thursday night/Friday morning. With yet another crisis meeting scheduled, the players are sure to ask Roman why he decided to sack Ray. The story of a row between Ray and Arnesen seems relatively realistic as Carlo has been saying that the first team’s fringe and young players needed a reserve game to maintain their fitness (and Carlo and Frank were/are quite close) whilst Ray would have been looking at the big picture and would probably have argued that the first team squad needs to be protected with our annual winter injury crisis in full swing.

      It’s certainly more realistic than the Carlo to City, Roman showing who’s in charge theory of last week.

      One piece of good news is the promotion of Paul Clement though. He’s a very good young coach and certainly a better choice than that idiot Emenalo (his prediction that Sunderland would come to defend with only one up front was the latest in a long line in disastrous predictions from our Chief Scout).

    • FanSinceTheSixties

      Pete, I’m a big fan of Roman but as an absentee owner he’s always liable to back the wrong ‘un in situations like that, and it all sounds so plausible that I’m prone to accept it as truth and call for Arnies’ head – could be a big mistake if he’s anything like the other Terminator.

      Whatever the truth, the way it was handled challenges credibility.

      As a club always so keen to defend its meagre history, to be so disrespectful of a loyal and committed member of Club Chelsea was bound to cause mayhem.

      Ray Wilkins first wore a Chelsea shirt before any of our current team were born. he played almost as many games for Manchester United and had three seasons with Milan, yet he has always regarded himself, and been regarded by our fans, as ex-Chelsea above all else.

      Contracts aren’t always renewed and I have no problem with his leaving if that’s the way it had to be, but the manner and meanness of the affair has brought the whole club into disrepute.

      And I’m not complaining about the way we performed on Sunday.

      Three or four of the players made a real effort to overcome the general malaise even though, as a team, we just weren’t functioning.
      I was seriously pissed off for a while, but to tell truth, by the end I was kinda hoping for a fourth.

      Better to sort these things out than to let them fester (sorry Ray).

      Anyway, at least we can look forward to a decent commentator on ESPN’s Football Italia.

  23. Anonymous

    I’ve defended Ramires so far this season and will continue to do so. He fast, hard working and surprisingly brave for a Brazilian and I’m sure he’ll come good.

    My only question is the wisdom of spending £18m on a player that isn’t quite ready yet. It’s like buying a ready made meal from Waitrose (yes I’m middle class), tearing open the packaging only to read that it’s not yet ready for the oven but needs planting in the garden for another twelve months.

  24. ososdeoro

    Long, exasperated exhalation — a weekend full of the inability to complete a pass. Both by Chelsea and by my college American football team — the latter of which with only a few choice completions would have upset the number one team in the country. Anyway, truly what was most shocking was how good Sunderland looked. I’ve seen them a few times this season and they rarely have looked any better than the Chelsea attack yesterday.

    Ferreira at center back. The problem with this is that his best asset is the cross. All the rest of him is neutral. He has to be put where he can make a positive impact. Would that we could fashion an ideal defense with the still-deep right back position of Bosingwa, Branners and Paulo.

    Ramires. I don’t think he was terrible, but he wasn’t going to win the game either. The effort was okay, and given that no one was skilled, you have to start somewhere. Yesterday’s broadcast is all a blur now, but I still have images of players passing to players who are triple teamed, and then of said triple-teamed players valiantly trying to hold possession for five or ten seconds waiting for help that never comes.

    And Kalou should really have started yesterday.

    Overall, they didn’t play ALL that much worse than many of their other recent matches. Big challenge for CA, especially in light of the RW fiasco.


  25. Anonymous

    I’m all for having the crisis meeting but it should be left to Carlo, Roman and his random idiot associates should just stay out of it and let Carlo get on with it. With Ron Gourlay don’t you just look at him and think there’s a less-than-average double glazing manufacturer in the East Midlands that’s been missing a Managing Director for the past years?

  26. Anonymous

    ‘One has to wonder whether, somewhere in the depths of Stamford Bridge, there is a large red button labelled “DO NOT PRESS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES”. And just when everything seems to be going rather well, some fucker pushes it. It is the nature of Roman’s reign at Chelsea that every managerial departure or reshuffle gives rise to rumours of Machiavellian plots, subterfuge and stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of ‘Spooks’.

    I watch Spooks religiously. Splendid nerve shredding hokum and exceedingly far fetched requiring a lot of suspension of your sense of reality. The writers of Spooks couldn’t get close to what goes on for real at Stamford Bridge 😉

    Mind you, Harry Pearce might make a good manager.

    And yes, AGH57, Gourlay does resemble that……

  27. Anonymous

    I don’t want to come accross and Mr Grumpy and I realise it’s for charity etc. but given Essien’s recent injury record and the current injury problems, is it the best idea to let Essien fly to and spend a few days in Ghana??

  28. Greenlightinoz

    Pretty depressing reading, regarding Terry.

    Let’s hope we find 2 players to play centre half by the weekend

  29. Anonymous

    Maybe Essien got himself sent off deliberately so he could spend time in Ghana?

    If the Terry ‘out for months’ story is true then that’s of serious concern. I’ve opened up my expectations preferences tab and unticked “expect to win the Premier League and probably one other cup” and selected “anything we win will be a bonus during this period of transition”. I’m already feeling calm and relaxed.

  30. Der_Kaiser

    Good grief. Who shot the black cat then? Alex and Ivan together in the middle is no bad thing, but JT has been pretty much outstanding this season. Not good. Please, not Paulo in the middle against Birmingham…

  31. FanSinceTheSixties

    JT’s problems sound like sciatica which could be related to his old back injury, unfortunately that needs bed-rest for starters and any amount of time to follow.

    Most here think that Bruma’s capable, so let’s hope that he makes the most of his opportunity if it comes.

    Also hoping that Sunderland was a big enough defeat to clear our heads and get everyone focused on turning things around.

    Not sure what Carlo can do at this time.

    Even if he wanted to revert to a more defensive diamond or whatever, who is there to put in the middle?

    With no midfield powerhouse available, we might just have to play our way out of trouble…

  32. Nick Benfield

    Joking aside, my father had sciatica about 10 years ago. He was in excruciating pain (mainly in his right leg) for a few months – he could hardly walk and lost three stone in weight – and no amount of injections, codeine, massage etc. helped. In the end he had an operation done privately. Surgeons shaved some of the cartilage/bone from the intervertebral disk that was protruding from his spine and pushing on the sciatic nerve. This relieved him of most of the pain but the scary thing is a decade later he still suffers bouts of intense discomfort.From the pictures I saw of JT at the Bridge on Sunday, he didn’t look to be in a great deal of discomfort. But from what I’ve experienced of sciatic nerve problems (if indeed it is sciatica) he will have to be very careful. Worrying times.

  33. Cunningplan

    Yes sciatica isn’t very pleasant speaking from experience, but JT ‘s leg pain could also mean his femoral nerve might be the problem.
    And bed rest isn’t the modern treatment for back pain FSTS… don’t give up your day job 😉

    • bluebayou

      Any chance of getting Ricky back on loan? Seriously speaking, this could be a showstopper. With Alex and Branners we had a good pairing to see us through but now?

      • Der_Kaiser

        This is not good. Carlo will have no choice with Bruma, whether he likes it or not. I would also like to point out that I was a decent left-footed centre half in my day.

        Which was some time ago, I have to admit…

  34. bluebayou

    It may seem a trifle callous, but I can’t worry about John Terry at the moment. Not when the heir to the throne is contemplating marriage to a woman whose mother purportedly used the words “pardon” and “toilet” to the Queen.

    Yes she may have gone to Marlborough and St Andrews, but her parents run a mail order business for God’s sake.

    Should they be blessed with issue, we are talking about the heir to the throne being half middle class! That’ll make him/her almost as common as Mark25.

    Norman Singed Arse Stevas (Baron St John of Falsey) must be suffering the vapours.

    They’re already living together apparently. The one and future Head of the Church of England making the beast with two backs outside of wedlock?

    The week just gets worse.

    • Anonymous

      I slightly resent that remark. Neither of us are common.

      I’ll have you know that I never buy the “Essential” range of products at Waitrose and Kate’s mum might have been cabin crew but she only ever worked on the upper deck.

    • Anonymous

      With TG now confessing to allowing the recycling of his efforts here on cfcnet would you like to confess to moonlighting on the Grauniad’s Fiver column?

      See part of first para of yesterday’s column below:

      “Clarence House was quick to take advantage of the media hoop-la surrounding Fabio Capello’s decision to start Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll and Kieran Gibbs against France, to sneak out the disappointing revelation that the Queen’s grandson Prince William is set to marry a commoner who is neither German nor a blood relative, and used to work in … [Fiver holds nose between thumb and forefinger] … a shop.”

      Given their rabid anti-JT/all things Chelsea attitude I hope they pay you well for your ideas to salve your conscience 😉

      • Anonymous

        YEs, Dr BB we need answers!As a committed republican I should rail against the news of someone with inherited privelege, in position because his forefathers were better at killng people is to marry the daughter of an air stewardess, thus besmirching the spirit and camaraderies off the working class and ratifying the anachronism of a monarchy in a modern democratic and meritocratic society. But, the news made me smile (he’s a lucky lad), I quite fancy a day off, and this country needs a bloody good knees up more than ever. Looking at some of the comments in today’s Grauniad, we really have become a very bitter and miserable bunch of curmudgeons.

          • Anonymous

            Well, as good fortune and coincidence would have it, the coalition have kindly removed our last serviceable aircraft carrier from service, plus those rather handy VTOL aircraft that did a decent sort of job out there before. Has the Argentiniean ruling latin american meat packing glitterati noticed this yet?

            Be careful what you wish for and all that……..

          • Cunningplan

            But lets remember, we have, or will have time share aircraft carriers/military capabilities with our dear French neighbours.So if the Aregentinians do invade The Falklands/Malvinas, I wonder if they’ll bring their most used bit of military equipment along, that wonderful white flag of theirs.

      • bluebayou

        I’d say that after years of vaguely pinko lefty leaning reading of said journal, I’m starting to “channel” (I believe this is the latest chic phrase) the Guardian without even having to glance at it.

        Tony you wont be getting a day off, so you can get back to reading Tom Paine and manning the barricades.

        If your looking for time off I think your money should be on one of the Queen or the Baroness shuffling off the old mortal as it were.

        • Anonymous

          As a republican leftie, and had I been 25 years younger so as to make me ‘angry young man’ who would shout and bellow, as opposed to ‘slightly tetchy, occasionally irascible middle aged man’ who’s signature noise could well be descrbed as ‘Harumph’ both of those would have given me cause for a knees up.

      • Austin Solari

        Tony, I can see your a good Republican. Now I am the opposite … a devout Royalist so that coupled along with the fact I am laid up having just had a total knee replacement, I had no option yesterday than to follow this story seeing as it was being covered on just about every channel.
        But not only did that lucky gal use to work in a shop but one of the many boring details revealed about her and her family is this ………… just a mere two generations ago, her grandfather was a lorry driver!!!!! Can you imagine them going off on honeymoon sat in a Scania with her dear old grandpappy taking them off to the airport??

          • Austin Solari

            Not nice at all… never felt pain like it and I still have to have my left one done ……… I think not LOL
            BUT it is just 15 days since the op and I am getting around better now than I was before the op.
            Only good bit about it was all the wonderful drugs I have been on for the last 14 days.

  35. Anonymous

    I suppose he might persist with the Cashley — Branners — Paolo — Bosingwa back 4. Having done it once he must have decided it’s the best option, presumably.

    We might even see one of the other yoof lot on the bench — Deen-Conteh or Rohan Ince.

    Interesting times. It does help that we won the double last year, doesn’t it? — makes it easier to reconfigure this as a “transitional season” rather than a “slow-motion car crash season.”

    • Anonymous

      Please tell me you don’t think Carlo could possibly accept Paulo’s display of being caught badly positioned repeatedly is the best option we have. Add the prospect of facing tall strikers who will murder him in the air as well and I’d say we can officially declare ourselves stuffed if this is our back four.

      Where’s Fifty when he really has something to be gloomy about?

    • Anonymous

      Surely not.If he persists with Ferreira at CB, then why is Bruma even in the squad? I assumed it was because he would provide cover for injuries and get a few games when there’s 20 mins left and we’re 4-0 to the good. Well, here are the injuries so if CA is leaving it to the latter part of that sentence then……Bruma will be a few months before getting any pitch time.

      I mean really….a 3rd choice right back instead of an admittedly raw but natural centre back? Is this some sort of senior player appeasement tactic?

  36. Ringo

    Grocer – You need to have a look at CFCnet.
    Some bastard has copy & pasted your analysis from yesterday and passed it off as his own!

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it was me………I’m a lurker there really but felt so strongly I decided to put it as a comment there and so they wrote to me asking if they could use it (via Nick)……… seems to have been met favourably by the readership there…..

  37. Anonymous

    I think these injuries improve our chances of winning the Champions League. JT, Alex and Lamps will all be fresh next spring. I’m so convinced I’ve bought 2 extra tickets for Zilina worth 8 loyaly points each which will help if the rumour is true that we’ll only get 15,000 to Wembley.

  38. Aravind NG

    We have just 11 outfield senior players available for the next 2 games.. A grand total of 11 including Kalou and Ramires.

    If Alex was supposed to undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his right knee before the end of the week, why the hell did he train with Brazilian team yesterday !!!

  39. Ganesh

    I guess the main problem for us lies in the attack rather than the defence now… I guess if it had happend during last season I think we would have still beaten sunderland considering the fact we were always scoring goals and even if sunderland had scored 3 we would have scored 4. I have never seem such an inept display from our three front man since the mauling we got from ManU during scolari days… We never failed to score during our last season except the Birmingham match.. but already this season we haven’t scored 4 times in the last 7 matches..

    ManU also had the same issue last season, but they were able to score goals and hence were able to withstand the injury problems.. we really need Drog,Nico & Malouda firing ASAP

  40. Fifty

    Can I just add that Branko is one yellow card away from a one-match ban? Thought that would cheer you up.

    Chuck Bruma in all the way I say. Nothing to lose now – he either proves his worth or shows he’s not going to be good enough. Or the option to recall Mancienne from Wolves in Jan is being mentioned, but one or both of the crocks could be back by then

    Josh’s season continues to snowball, made his U21 debut last night. Yeah they lost, but he’s clearly going places.

  41. bluebayou

    I believe it was her grandfather’s occupation that first brought them together. He mumbled something in her ear at a party and she immediately assumed he was asking her about a truck………

    I know, people have been to the Tower for less.

  42. Anonymous

    Nice to see Malouda back on form tonight as France embarrassed England at Wembley. The scoreline may have been close but the football certainly wasn’t.

    England really were dismal as we hoofed balls up to Caroll all night (who, by the way, did fuck all. Forget the “he did alright conclusion” as his technique, touch and fitness levels are unacceptable for a player at this level) and forgot how to pass to each other. The midfield were anonymous and Gerrard’s penchant for a ridiculous Hollywood pass really did get annoying by the end.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow and our first crisis meeting of the season at Cobham. I can almost hear Roman’s plane from here.

    • Greenlightinoz

      ‘his technique, touch and fitness levels are unacceptable for a player at this level’

      Surely his technique, touch and fitness are entirely appropriate for the Engalnd team!

  43. Fifty

    Quick question on the continuing England debacle :

    Gareth Barry, why?

    He’s never ever had a good game for the national side that I can recall. Continually selected, regardless of form. Doesn’t really do any ‘breaking up’ of play that his role requires. Get Parker in there. Or Rodwell. Just someone – anyone – else.

      • Anonymous

        After the ‘Ozil Incident’ in which Barry was found guilty of doing a very passable impression of Brian the Magic Roundabout snail you do have to wonder whether Capello has learnt a single thing from the South Africa debacle. And on the youngsters note, at least they tried and got some experience. I mean who gives a shit if we lose a friendly, for me it’s far more important that the likes of Carroll, Henderson etc get some international game time. Wouldn’t Spotty Parker be a far better option than Barry?

        • Der_Kaiser

          It was generally awful. Difficult to criticise Carroll when he was feeding on scraps all night whilst presumably watching in utter frustration as the wide men cut inside and lost the ball continually; had anyone stuck a vaguely decent cross or two into the box he might have had a little more joy.

          Spotty Parker and international football – even at friendly level, he’s just a yellow / red waiting to happen. He got a yellow about once every three games last season in the Prem – international referees… trademark Parker ‘reducer’…


          Capello looks like he just can’t be arsed with it all now, and it’s difficult to blame him. When you look at some of the players he’s managed over the years he must despair when he has to play some of the skill-free dross on the basis that the passport is right. Watching Nasri in comparison to Walcott – team mates, same training methods etc. – illustrated perfectly the gulf in ability.

          • Anonymous

            I agree it’s unfair to criticise Carrol. It’s our midfield/back four that are the problem and the way they try to work the ball up the pitch. Gerrard and Barry were crap. Whereas France midfielders keep moving, to create triangles, Barry tends to look towards his own goal whilst Gerrard just wants to fire 50 yards balls to wingers. The blame for the fact we’re playing this way must rest entirely with Crapello.

            Malouda looked silky smooth.

  44. PeteW

    Nasri is a great point – come on massively this season, while Walcott is still regressing.

    Think there is a massive problem with trying to bring youth into this England team because there is a massive disparity in talent between England’s 30 year olds (the failed but undoubtedly talented golden generation) and the mature younger players coming behind – ie those between 23 and 28 who should theoretically be the backbone of the team but are, with the exception of Rooney, simply not good enough. Parker, Jagielka, Lennon, Defoe, Wright-Phillips, Upson, Huddlestone – a real collection of the so-so and never-will-bes.

    It’s the generation behind that – Josh, Rodwell, Gosling, Wilshire etc – who offer hope, as they are the first generation who will have been totally schooled in European tactics and techniques from schoolboy level onwards (ie, probably never played 4-4-2 in their lives).

    But they are six years away at least.

    Said it before will say it again, Englands’ squad for the next world cup is going to be about the weakest we’ll have ever seen. Can’t blame the manager for that.

  45. Anonymous

    Things just go from bad to worse as Roman moves Emenalo onto the bench.

    Personally, this has the dodgy smell of the Avram nightmare when he was planted onto Jose’s bench as Roman’s personal spy. And even if I was able to leave Emenalo’s Avram link to one side (he was brought in by that idiot with Henk) I can’t ignore the fact that he is a terrible scout with no record of high class coaching on his CV. His record as a scout of late has been dismal (watch Chelsea TV on a Friday to see his weekly shit prediciton of how the opposition will line up) and his appointment smacks of Roman having a sulk and wanting to show everyone who’s boss.

    Stories of Ray “offending” Roman aren’t surprising although if one throwaway comment is worthy of the sack, then Roman really must be running a tight ship down at Cobham. Strangely there’s been no news of the crisis meething thus far. Although I struggle to think of how a week where we’ve lost 2-0 at Anfield, sacked Ray, got Essien suspended, seen Frank’s injury get worse, get battered 3-0 at home by Sunderland, lose our two first choice centre backs for weeks and then hired Emenalo can get much worse.

  46. Anonymous

    Oh and Chelsea just announced that Emenalo won’t be able to take up “all of his assistant duties at present because Michael Emenalo has yet to recieve all of the required coaching badges.”

    That just spreads more confidence amongst the fans. This seems like a car crash waiting to happen.

    • Anonymous

      Yep,I’m with you Habs, this has disaster and conspiracy and collusion and ‘eyes for Roman’ written all over it!!!!

      Not happy………….

      • Anonymous

        Having had time to reflect on it, I’m still amazed that Roman keeps falling for these shady suck-ups, whose main ambition in life is to get close to Roman so that they can manoeuvre themselves towards the bench.

        I don’t know if Emenalo wants to make up for a shit playing career and an even worse coaching one (his background hardly inspires confidence does it?) but what are his real motives for wanting to become an assistant coach? I read that he wants to get back to “the coaching side” of football, but why does that have to be at Chelsea? We are one of the best clubs in the world who should be interested in hiring the most talented coaches out there, not those who are skilled in kissing Roman’s arse.

        It brings me back to the Avram nightmare. We all knew that he had an ulterior motive when he arrived at Chelsea, and in the end it was obvious that he was trying to force Jose out so he could rise to the top. I’m not sure if Emenalo wants to push Carlo aside but how has he been able to manoeuvre himself to become Carlo’s number two? Things are not looking good at the moment and if Roman refuses to bankroll a January spending spree to make up for our dismal summer dealings (is Carlo really happy at losing 5 experienced players and replacing them with Ramires and Yossi or does he just keep his mouth shut to keep Roman happy?), then I could easily see Carlo leaving. There are reminders of Jose’s spat with Roman when we had a defensive crisis in his third season and instead of buying some new players, Roman decided to spend the cash on Avram!

        We all know how that turned out and at the moment I’m fucking pissed off at the stupidity of the Board and slightly torn between hoping Carlo can stick two fingers up to Roman and still win everything despite the Board’s interference, or instead hoping it all falls apart and Roman realises that his meddling only results in disaster.

        I know it sounds bad, but for the first time in ages, a part of me hopes that Chelsea don’t win this weekend so Emenalo’s debut at Birmingham ends in defeat. For all the great things he’s done for us, Roman has to learn that forcing his dodgy hangers-on onto the club is just fucking stupid.

  47. bluebayou

    What sensible person in Chelsea could possibly be pleased to announce it? Still, we don’t have to share that pleasure.

    Speaks volumes about Carlo’s position.

    Do you know there was a moment some months back where I nearly got lured into thinking this club had finally got itself together.

    Thank God we’ve got our Chelsea back. First Team coach without the badges. That’s more like it.

    Say goodbye to Carlo in the summer and we will have avoided the possibility of having a manger for more than 2 years, which wouldn’t do and might spoil the characterful nature of our beloved team.

    It’s time to go up a mountain and pray.

  48. bluebayou

    Oh yes, just thought you’d be interested to know that I probably wont be posting much next year.

    I’ve been taken on as Chief Designer by Red Bull.

    Although it’s been a while since I’ve done much driving, I wanted to get back to drawing pictures of cars. They’re giving me day release so I can do my NVQ in 3D CAD.

  49. FanSinceTheSixties

    Was enjoying catching up on all the non-football fun (royal wedding, Wembley et al) then the latest crapshell about Chelsea…

    Roman’s mid-life crisis?

    We’ve experienced worse over the years, so hoping this is as bad as it gets for now.

    Watched Argentina v Brazil and our boy Ramires looked ok with time and space to work the ball.

    Alves and Ronaldinho (who everyone excuses because of his age, yet he’s only 30 – which highlights our reliance on ‘mature’ players) were probably best of the Brazil bunch.

    A few Argies showed promise but it was Messi who did the business yet again.
    He has the strangest knack of appearing greedy without being selfish – he always rides one tackle too many yet often gets away with it, and shoots when he should pass, but still finds the net.

    Gerhard is out for a month so Bruce calls for an end to England friendlies [not a word when our guys get injured of course]; guess it’s not all bad.

  50. Gleb

    We’re officially screwed
    P.S. And running out of decent unemployed managers while we’re at it… Rich people just can’t ever settle, can they? Always on the lookout to fuck something up

  51. Cunningplan

    Yes looks like we’ve got our old (shoot the full magazine at both feet) Chelsea back.
    But playing devils advocate here with regard our new assistant, didn’t a certain translator start from humble beginings, just a thought.

    You’re work with Red Bull, would that be designing new drinks cans?

  52. Gleb

    …still, to Chelsea he came as UCL winner. I’d have had no problem with Emenalo, had he started somewhere in League 1 and worked his way up. Chelsea can’t be someone’s first job experience.

  53. Anonymous

    I don’t want to state the obvious and the two may not be that closely connected but, results wise, haven’t we been sh*tter since Stevie Me became captain?

  54. Anonymous

    Jesus wept…or he would do if he was a Chelsea fan. Zhirkov out due to calf problem, Alex has delayed surgery so plays tomorrow and JT ‘might be back after Birmingham game. What the fuck is going on? So, lets worsen Alex by delaying surgery which is presumably necessary, lets pressuraise JT to come back when the problem still exists, and lets fucking forget about Bruma, who might as well be fucking sold, loaned or shoved back to the reserves. It’s a fucking tailspin of piss poor PR and seemingly fuckwit loss of control on the part of a manager looking more and more like Ranieri every day, except less decisive and more malleable. .

    • Anonymous

      or looking at it another way you could say they’re trying to make the best of a bad situation. Losing Terry and Alex simultaneously is a problem so delaying Alex’s surgery, which he may have needed for weeks so delaying another won’t matter, to allow Terry another week to rest is a good move.

      With Alex playing, Match of the Day may now be worth watching so I’ll put my “Royal Weddings Throughout The Ages” DVD back on the shelf.

      • Anonymous

        Nope, I’m being completely unfair and irrational with eveyrone today, and that explaantion is far too reasoned for me.

        I need some music to calm me down….whats this….the Best of Motorhead……….yep that’ll do!

    • Anonymous

      You don’t mention the really weird bit where Carlo said, if I understood him, that Emenalo may have a new job title but his role is just the same as far as he’s concerned. Perhaps that’s as close to a “sod you, Roman” as he can manage 😉

  55. bluebayou

    From that organ of veracity and understatement, The Official Chelsea Website:”Michael (Emenalo dear reader, for it is he about which the following was writted) will continue to oversee the first team scouting operation as he makes the transition to coaching. He will split the initial period between assisting first team coach Carlo Ancelotti and updating his coaching qualifications as he takes on this bigger and more influential role.”In a way they obviously didn’t with the master of propaganda who penned the above, words fail me……………yes they really do

    • Anonymous

      My slightly vague recollection is that I was in the ground quite early that evening and saw no sign of Ballack being brought onto the pitch.

      Reading that Indie article we are all clearly underplaying Emenalo’s skill level as it suggests he coached junior girls in that well-known hotbed of soccerball expertise, Tucson, Arizona and so is clearly ready for the EPL now.

  56. bluebayou

    “as he makes the transition to coaching”

    I particularly love the use of the term “transition to coaching”. It suggests a straightforward and achievable goal being attained with consummate ease. You know, like Katie Price regaining her virginity and becoming a Carmalite nun.

    • Anonymous

      The “organ of veracity and understatement” is now reporting Carlo’s words from his press conference today:Nothing changes for me because Michael Emenalo started to work with me when I came here last year and he was involved and supported me for every game,’ says Ancelotti.’He will not be involved in the training because I have Paul Clement and he will maintain the same position. Now Emenalo has a formal position of assistant first team coach but he was an assistant all last year so nothing changes.’It was not my decision but he has been working with me for one and a half years and was a fantastic support last season as an opposition scout.’He was involved in our meetings and he will do the same in the future. He will support the team by being close to me in the tactical situations.’Sounds to me like he’ll be lucky to get one bum-cheek on the edge of the coaching bench, though this is spun as being temporary till he gets his coaching qualification and presumably constitutes their idea of “transition” – priceless stuff!

      • FanSinceTheSixties

        This has got to be one of Nick’s quotes of the day

        “‘It was not my decision but he has been working with me for one and a half years and was a fantastic support last season as an opposition scout.”

        So he’s not a coach and also works for the opposition…

  57. Anonymous

    Holy all-singing all-dancing fuck-up, Batman! This is hilarious … It’s hard to imagine Carlo coming any closer to saying explicitly “This person will not be my assistant while I live and breathe.”

    Hard to bear in mind that we actually have a game tomorrow. Scratchy 1-1 draw, anyone?

    We’re doomed. But in a comical way.

  58. Anonymous

    I can’t stress enough how glad I am that Carlo has told Emenalo to fuck off and stick to his scouting. Memories of Roman planting a personal spy on the bench still depress me and despite a part of me still thinking that Emenalo will force himself onto the bench this season, at present I’m pretty glad that not much has changed.

    Carlo and Paul will take training whilst Emenalo will act more like a personal assistant than an assistant coach. Phew.

    And Alex is back despite having a broken knee. So everything’s fine right? Well, we’ve forgotten how to score goals, Didier’s performances have been terrible and our football is dismal but after a pretty awful week, today hasn’t been that bad.

      • FanSinceTheSixties

        That was from BBD’s earlier link to Carlo’s interview on the CFC website.

        Sorry if my reference to Nick was misleading, I meant our Nick B and his new ‘Quote of the Day’ feature on the home page.

        And it wasn’t even that funny anyway, just taking a poke at Emamelos title of ‘opposition scout’ – couldn’t we at least appoint one of our own scouts?

  59. Anonymous

    No Zhirkov tomorrow, so midfield will be Obi, Ramires, and either Malouda or Kalou, with either Kalou or Malouda partnering Nic and Drogs. Assuming no bullet is bit and we don’t throw Josh in.

  60. PeteW

    The Ballack interview is a bit of a nothing – ‘I had a feeling’ rather than ‘he told me’, so worth taking with a pinch of salt.

    Look, we’ve all known for a while that it was time to trim the wage bill, cast off big earners and starting seriously thinking about becoming profitable and self-sustaining, so let’s not have any of this ‘dismal summer dealings’ or suggestions that Carlo is in some way comparable to bloody Ranieri. We don’t have a divine right to win something every season or spend loads of money every summer, and if the club takes its foot off the gas us screaming about things not being fair so spend spend spend or suggesting a double-winning manager isn’t up to the job is not the solution.

    I don’t have a problem at all with our transfers – although I am disappointed we’re not taking the opportunity to start with the younger players and bugger the consequences (within reason) – nor do I want Carlo to start confronting Roman at every opportunity, because that’s what Mourinho did and the upshot was it led to three years without a title.Carlo can handle himself and I’ve a feeling doesn’t let Roman walk all over him. but at the same time knows which fights to pick and when.

    This season was always going to be a challenge after the last one, especially given the increasing and understandable ecomimic constraints, and the current injury crisis obviously isn’t going to help. The key is for us to get through it while making serious challenges on three fronts, and hope that some of the kids get some serious game time. Anything more is, as ever, a privilege not a right.

    • Anonymous

      The Ranieri comparison for me is fair on some points. Double winning or not, he’s affable like Claudio was, which means for me that he may not be the most ruthless of people. Say what you like about Fergie or Wenger to some degree, but both have a ruthless streak in them and I still have suspicions about Carlo, as a good a coach as he is, being a bit too reverential in front of the board.

      On the kids front, I agree totally and that disappoints me as well. Lets play Alex despite needing an Op rather than give Bruma some real experience at the sharp end. And then Emenalo’s appointment or non appointment (I think CA’s statement was more down to poor English than any nose up to RA) – it all smacks of unrest within the power layers at the club, factions and all that. I’d take a season of nothing to see the kids start making real inroads to the starting X1.

      Good to see Wilkins seek legal advice. Seems to be that any compromise payment will be threatened by this but it does show him as a man of principle rather than someone bought off by cash and maybe Gourlay etc need to be exposed a bit.

      I see Wilkins is seeking legal advice

    • Anonymous

      Just seen the CA press conference and happy to be corrected. What he didn’t say, and what he did is as damning an indictment as I’ve ever seen. Very clever and subtle but damning all the same. I was wrong!

  61. Anonymous

    According to the bits of the interview reprinted in today’s Torygraph — presumably cut to make room for more royal wedding references, and yes there is at least one in the Sports section, although it’s not on the front page like it is in every other section — Carlo responded to some kind of question about whether he’s happy with the changes in his staff by saying (I paraphrase): “I’m a professional, I’m not here to answer questions about whether I’m happy.” As well as saying that Emenalo won’t be his assistant, and that the decisions about him and Butch were made “by the club.”

    I don’t think you have to be I.A. Richards to perform the necessary practical criticism. “I’m not happy, it wasn’t my choice, but I’ll do what I want with the team and the coaching and get on with it.”

    I think he’s steered a very able course between the freak-out that José would have performed in the circumstances and the resigned comical shrug that would have been Claudio’s reaction. In fact I think it’s been one of his more impressive moments.

    That said, I totally agree that a season with Bruma, Josh, Van Aanholt and Kakuta helping win nothing would be a lot more enjoyable and worthwhile than scraping to the FA Cup and second place in the League by squeezing a few more performances out of crocked superstars. Still, it appears the club has decided that only Josh and Kakuta are even close enough to being ready to put on the pitch at all, and I guess Carlo knows he can’t risk losing too many games. That may partly be Roman’s fault.

  62. FanSinceTheSixties

    Haven’t seen the PC but this statement on Ray’s departure has certainly clarified that it was a dismissal rather than a contract not being renewed.

    ‘We are having amicable discussions with Ray’s legal advisors. Although the matter is confidential, we can say that we have told Ray and his advisors that we will honour the termination provisions in Ray’s contract.’

    Anyway, I’m off to my local friendly (Italian) Sky subscriber – there’s a good chance that Brum will be shown there.

  63. Cunningplan

    Has the footballing world gone mad? Spurs coming from two down, I think I’ll have a little lay down in a very dark room, just to come to terms with it.

        • Anonymous

          We have mullered them! they’ve had one shot on target from which they scored! They’ve been camped in their own area for most of the game, it’s just one of those days again.

          • Anonymous

            Yes we were dominating, but we had only one clear cut chance wasted by Drogba!!! We are still missing midfield. Ramires is far from being a player we need. If we continue like this next week it will be third defeat in the row and good bye top spot. Thank Spurs for saving us otherwise we would have lost top spot today. One more interesting thing when Clarke left us couple years ago we played really bad, this time it is Wilkinson! Why on earth did they have to do in the middle of the season??!!

          • Anonymous

            I’m getting a bit tired of the anti-Ramires brigade. He played OK today, and to be fair no-one in our side had a bad game. It was Barnsley all over again, we battered them, had 80% of the possession, so many corners I lost count, at least 8 shots on target first half and many more in total. Brum had all 11 in the area at times and that’s hard to break through for anyone. I’m not happy, but it was far better than the capitulation and disgraceful attitudes shown last week. I saw Sturridge come on for Ramires and he acquitted himself well. and Bos for Ferriera was decent as well, although Paolo did well……..I’ll accept a hard earned defeat, not a sloppy or lazy one. This was the former, hard earned but unlucky and so no disgrace. As I keep saying, the team showing champions form is Manchester United, no defeats, not playing well but NO DEFEATS….that’s championship form, not losing 3 games in 2 weeks, scoring 1 and conceding 6 and having a piss poor away record like we have.

            I maintain something’s not right, but maybe it’s not as broken as I feared. I just want to see more faith in the youngsters, because if they ain’t good enough then turf them out.

          • Cunningplan

            Yep agree Tony, one way traffic and that goal was their only attempt for the whole 90mins. Worrying stat for me is the one goal we’ve scored in the last four games, how the fuck are we still top?

  64. Anonymous

    Kalou’s ability to miss open goals really does amaze me. As does Didier’s inability to finish a one on one. Oh well, yet another shit weekend thanks to Chelsea.

    At least Emenalo looked useful on the bench. Oh wait…he looked more clueless than Avram. Things just get better and better.

    • Anonymous

      1-0 to Birmingham. Well play worse and win, play better and lose. Not even halfway through the season and we’ve lost 4 and United have lost none. yes we’re still top but this is looking a bit serious now. Drogba seems hesitant and Kalou back to his old frustrating ways. Birmingham had one shot on target and scored, I lost count of the chances and corners we had.

      No doubt we’ll smash Zilina and the club will say everything is OK, but 3 defeats in 2 weeks, with 1 goal for, and 6 against, thus diminishing that great goal difference shows me that we’re in some sort of slump. It can’t be a transitional year unless some of the youngsters get starts, which they’re not. I’ll put up with a trophy free year for progress but as yet I’ve only seen us regress rather progress.

      No panic yet, but please don’t patronise me with an ‘everythings fine’ message when it patently isn’t.

  65. Anonymous

    I don’t do stats unless it suits me….

    Birmingham 39%
    Chelsea 61%

    Attempts on target
    Birmingham 1
    Chelsea 10

    Attempts off target
    Birmingham 0
    Chelsea 15

    Birmingham 4
    Chelsea 16

    Birmingham 9
    Chelsea 2

    To ChelseaAfrica – hope that gives you an idea of how unlucky we might consider ourselves there.

  66. Anonymous

    First back to back defeats since 2005/6.

    What’s really annoying is that if we were able to do the basics, like score away from home, we would be anything from 6 to 10 points clear by now. Instead we’ve got no gap at the top and with a nightmarish December coming up, we could easily be third by 2011.

    We did get a reaction as the tempo and football were great at times but our finishing and level of composure in front of goal was woeful. Our corners were brilliant today but crossing from open play was still an embarrassment.

    It did confirm to me though that this team is too bloody old to keep going. We get a high tempo and rather good performance after a week off (let’s face it, if we had got the first goal, it would have been 4 or 5-0 today) but we look dismal after only two or three days rest. I agree that the kids will smash Zilina but Newcastle will be up for it next weekend after getting battered today and I’m actually a little scared of our Christmas fixture list. The likes of Utd, Arsenal and Spurs combined with only 2 or 3 days rest make me want to have a cry.

  67. Anonymous

    Luckily I avoided the match today but I will take all of your words for it.

    The club statement on Wilkins is disengenous to say the least. It’s all very well talking about honouring the termination provisions in his contract, but due to his length of service with the club, these do not allow him to be unfairly dismissed (which seems to be the case here).

    I assume it is a claim for unfair dismissal that Wilkins has engaged lawyers to assist him with not because of any particular gripe with with the termination provisions of his contract.

    If he is entitled to any payment on termination by virtue of his contract then this has to be paid this in full in addition to any claim he may bring for unfair dismissal.

    For the club to impliedly claim that they are somehow being benevolent by paying something he is already contractually entitled to sort of takes the piss in my book.

    I’m getting to the point where I would rather Roman and his lot “do one” to be honest. Part of me hopes Ray takes this all they way so all the murky stuff gets into the public domain.

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