Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle United – Press Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report

Newspaper reports

The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “If this was to be the final home match of Carlo Ancelotti’s brief tenure as Chelsea manager, then it was a drab way in which to bow out. Newcastle United’s industry was rewarded with a second equaliser in stoppage time at the end to leave Roman Abramovich scowling in his executive box and the mood utterly deflated around most of the arena.”

The Independent, Mark Fleming: “There was no emotional farewell yesterday for manager Carlo Ancelotti, who is expected to pay the price for Chelsea’s worst season during the ownership of Roman Abramovich with his job. Instead, the Italian cut an isolated figure as Stamford Bridge bade farewell to the Premier League crown. The stadium was less than a quarter-full when the players and coaching staff went on what was euphemistically called a “lap of appreciation”. Didier Drogba, who could also be leaving Chelsea in the summer, smiled and waved to those supporters who had stayed behind, while Ancelotti seemed a little uncomfortable by the occasion. “We have to wait just one week. A week is not a long period, and see what happens,” the Italian said.”

Daily Telegraph: “Carlo Ancelotti’s new-look Chelsea looked anything but challengers for next season’s Premier League title as they threw away victory against Newcastle. In what could be his final home game in charge, Ancelotti’s team selection very much appeared to have the new campaign in mind and it looked promising when Branislav Ivanovic scored inside two minutes.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Goals from two defenders looked to have been enough for all three points but Newcastle were allowed to score from a corner two minutes into stoppage time, ensuring Chelsea wait until the final day for a final league position.”

The goals

2′ Ivanovic 1-0
10′ Gutierrez 1-1
83′ Alex 2-1
90′ S. Taylor 2-2

The preamble

So after last week I’m not really sure how to feel. To be honest, I don’t think we deserved to win anything this season due to our inconsistency. Looking at it positively, we’ll probably finish second ahead of the Arse and a big-spending City side. Looking at the negatives, we’ve got the best squad in the country and still won nothing, and next season Citeh and Liverpool will definitely be more of a threat. But I don’t really want to speculate and analyse too much today – we can leave that to the end of the season. I’d just settle for three points and smashing a few goals in against Newcastle.

The team

Carlo fields a slightly different look team today, perhaps a sign of what is to come next season. I’m glad to see the midfield has changed as Lamps and Essien between them don’t seem to have contributed enough in the last few games, for one reason or another, and Ramires and McEachran both start in the usual (?) 4-3-3: Cech, Cole, Terry, Alex, Ivanovic, Lampard, McEachran, Ramires, Anelka, Torres, Benayoun.

The first half

We start the game brightly, with some good movement and enthusiasm from our attacking players, and score a goal after just two minutes. Ivanovic puts a dangerous ball in across the Newcastle box which is deflected behind for a corner. Lampard takes it, Torres flicks on at the near post and Branners sneaks across his man to side foot it home. It’s nice to see Chelsea come out and make a strong start, something we haven’t done often enough this season, and this continues in the first portion of the game with Torres and Anelka moving well off each other and McEachran et al conducting the play in midfield. A lovely ball played from deep by Lampard gets flicked on by Benayoun and Torres just misses out on controlling it and being left with a clear run on goal.

Unfortunately a bit of sloppiness lets Newcastle back into the game – Alex plays a pass a few feet behind Terry who then gives away a foul. Ryan Taylor hits the free kick from 25 yards out and it ricochets off Gutierrez and past the wrong-footed Cech. Newcastle don’t really deserve to be level but we don’t go and offer that much in response to get back in front. In patches we play well, with good movement on the counter attack, but we also give away too many fouls and misplace too many passes.

The best pass of the half comes from McEachran who threads a 40-yard pass along the deck and inside the Newcastle right-back straight into the path of Cole’s run. His pull back across the box is turned behind for a corner which Newcastle are able to deal with. A few minutes after that lovely pass we show our lack of concentration as the ball is again given away, for the third or fourth time, as we are playing it out between defence and midfield. Thankfully the Geordies lack any real class in their passing and they can’t capitalise.

The second half

Again we start the half brightly and within a few minutes we’ve had a couple of attempts, Benayoun chipping his effort wide and Nico volleying off target after the ball loops into his path. We continue the pressure after another good ball from Ivan ends up with a couple of corners in succession and then a Ramires shot which fizzes wide. However, as with the first half Newcastle begin to get into the game more after about ten minutes. They are helped very slightly by the ref, who seems to give them a few 50/50 decisions, and as the game gets a bit more broken up as the Magpies create a few chances from set pieces. Cech makes a couple of good saves, first from Gutierrez and then from Taylor’s free kick.

After about twenty minutes we make a triple substitution; Benayoun, Ramires and McEachran come off to be replaced by Malouda, Ess and Drogba. Anelka soon switches to the right as we move to 4-4-2. The game continues to be stop-start but swings in our favour as we start getting some of the decisions that previously were going the other way. From one free kick Drogba puts in a peach of a ball, skidding along between the keeper and Newcastle defence, but no-one gambles to get on the end of it.

With fifteen minutes to go there is a brief moment of magic, reminiscent of the end of last season, when Drogba drags back a Malouda ball into the path of Cole’s run, but he opts to square it rather than shoot and Newcastle clear the ball. A few minutes after that another free kick, this time won by Nico, puts us ahead. Lampard hits it hard and flat to the back post, Krull comes but misses, and Alex climbs well to firmly head us into the lead.

From here on I expected us to loosen up a bit, the hard work done, and start showing our quality. Instead we concede a sloppy 92’ minute goal from a corner, Steven Taylor heading in unmarked from the second ball. That basically sums up our season.

The good

  • Our right flank – normally most of our attacking wing play seems to come from the left, and involves Ashley at some point, but today Benayoun and Branners linked up well, with Branners putting in some really good crosses.
  • Our movement up top – although we didn’t really create enough from it there was lots of good runs and movement from our forwards. Unfortunately a lot of our passes were cut out by Newcastle or were a just a fraction out.
  • Josh – he had a good game today on his first start in the Premiership. His passing was good and hopefully we’ll see a bit more of him next season.
  • Coloccini – I thought he had a really good game for Newcastle and was the main reason we didn’t score more.

The bad

  • Sloppy goals – one came from a free-kick that we should never have given away, and the other was from a corner which is always a disappointing way to concede.
  • Lack of urgency – I guess it was to be expected after last week but I thought we missed that little bit of urgency today. Perhaps we thought we’d win without hitting top gear, and we definitely played well in patches, but too often this season we’ve lacked a bit of urgency and ruthlessness.

The ugly

  • Joey Barton – well I had to put him in here, didn’t I?


I think this game and the next is all about getting second place and trying things out for the future, hence the team today. A couple of weeks ago I was ranting against Carlo’s inability to change things round when he needs to, and saying he has to go. Now I’ve had a chance to reflect, and I’m not so sure. I really think our team is in transition and it would be nice to see him get a chance to finish that transformation. On the other hand, we don’t want to be left with a Rafa who survives for too long based on his achievements with someone else’s team; namely winning the double.

Basically, I haven’t got anything intelligent to add on the manager debate. For me the most important thing for next season is to a) get Ess and Lamps back to their best and b) find a way to get the most out of Torres and Drogba. If those two things happen we could have virtually anyone managing the side and still win the league (except for perhaps Ranieri).

There are 61 comments

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  1. Anonymous

    So we finish second thanks to Villa.

    Torres was pretty anonymous throughout – here’s hoping a big rest will repairing for next year. Or we’ll be left with an absolute donkey. Was really impressed by Josh and Yossi today. Essien and the Drogs when they came on looked hungry and determined, neither or which was apparent from Maloudas stroll around the pitch. I have nothing but contempt for lazy arsed performances like his.

    I guess a lot of what Carlo says is open to interpretation, but hearing him say he’ll tell us why we had a blip ‘later on’ and a similar thing about his future make me think he’s gone and he knows it. No idea who’ll replace him, but Avram will be looking for a Prem job, so maybe Roman has his mate lined up already.

  2. Anonymous

    I think Blueinmyveins should be added to the Good section because I couldn’t have mustered the enthusiasm to write this report so quickly.  This was an end of season game to end all end of season games.  And the ref couldn’t have been more bent if he’d been Elton John.

    I didn’t stay for the, ahem, lap of honour because I didn’t know to which players I should be saying goodbye and which au revoir.

    Most of you are lucky because you’ve been to your last game.  I bought an Everton ticket as an insurance policy in case we won the league.

  3. Cunningplan

    I’ve decided to become a Scottish Citizen and support Rangers. I’m now in training to adapt myself to the culture, by drinking lots of alcohol, get into fights, and accept that deep fried Mars Bars are fine dining.

    I of course apologise for any offence to our Scottish cousins in the above stereotyping.

    On the plus side Arsenal, Liverpool, and Avram Grant lost!

    PS Good report BIMV summed it all up quite nicely.

  4. Anonymous

    We start brilliantly, stumble inexplicably and without warning, muddle along looking increasingly stodgy for the bulk of the performance, pick things up unexpectedly towards the end and then f**k up at the crucial last moment. Torres was useless, Frank well below par, Branners constantly willing and full of energy, Cech excellent, Drogs great at the end. Meanwhile, the Mancs did just about enough and the Arse made twats of themselves.

    The season in miniature, in other words.

    Dull, half-hearted game with lots of pointless fouling. Unlike BIMV I was unimpressed by Yossi — always liked him as a player but I don’t think he contributed much today beyond one lovely quick touch to put Torres through. He was outshone by Josh, as was Frank.

    All four goals from set pieces probably tells you all you need to know.

    Fortunately for me that wasn’t my farewell to the Bridge this season as I’m going to the reserve team final tomorrow. Anyone else?

  5. Anonymous

    Just can’t see where you got any positives from today other than Josh and Ramires looking good, and Ivan working like a trojan. Everyone else was just meh or dire. Although agree that Essien looked a bit more rampaging when he came on today. Brilliant. right at the arse end of a season and just in time to play forn Ghana.

    Lamps was sadly dire. 
    Malouda showed today why he should be despatched because I seriously couldn’t see any evidence of him when he came on.
    Mikel Obi must wonder just what the fuck he needs to do to be a regular.
    Torres was admittedly poor today.
    Ashley was OK in fits and starts, but still looked a little haunted by the spectre of his arse tearing from Valencia.

    Roman was there I think, at least someone was in a box with two bodyguards at the door. If so then today may well have sealed Carlo’s fate. It was seriously poor and I think anyone who thinks we were OK is gilding the lily a bit or has seriously blue tinted glasses on. 

    And then on MOTD “the performance was good”  comment from Carlo. No Carlo, it wasn’t , it was fucking dire for the most part. Which makes you a patronising fuckwit, or stupid. Take your pick. I don’t recall Krul being called into action in the whole of the second half. To be unable to hold onto a lead with 5 mintes to go, to be unable to keep possession at home when
     seeing the game out is bad enough BUT against an understrength newcastle side with fuck all to play for is downright unforgiveable. The players looked chastened at the end and well they might. They’re as culpable as Carlo. 

    I left at the whistle, not really feeling like a lap of appreciation to watch their kids have a kick about was appropriate. I gather the stadium was pretty empty for it, not helped by the long time it took for them to resurface. All I cans ay is outside the ground looked as busy as usual post match. 

    In essence then. Carlo  is a nice guy. But he’s inflexible and doesn’t seem to be able to see what so many others can. My players out….

    Kalou (not even on the bench today which might say everything about his future)

    Sturridge, Borini, Kakuta back please.

    I couldn’t give a rats arse who comes in really buit we could do worse than pinch one or two of  Modric, Schneider, or Aguero, Ashley Young, Adam Johnson, Fabregas (I kid you not, he wants to go), Micah Richards, Sanchez, Lukaku.

    Oh fuck it, season over, time for a break……..

  6. Gleb

    Another vivid symbolic representation of our season is the lack of comments on this very blog, apart from the as-usual-hard-working regulars. Says all you need to know about the club circa 2010-2011. Really, the worst thing about Chelsea now is not necessarily that we are/were bad or under-performed or what other fancy euphemism one could think of. We were, above all, just plain… dull, boring, unexciting, uninspired through and through (and actually plain as well). To me that is the real problem and as such is much worse that a team merely not playing well. The latter happens to the best of them, whereas the former is a sign of things truly and fundamentally having gone/still going wrong. A lot, therefore, needs to be done/changed/revolutionized.

    Face it, on paper being 2nd in the league (after a double) isn’t really a disaster, is it? It’s what one might even call a twisted form of “stability”. Similarly, being knocked out of the CL by a formidable Man United, again, isn’t really a disaster too. Yet the atmosphere, not only here (the blog), but in the club, in the dressing room, at the Bridge – it’s as if we got relegated to the Albanian second division. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but, again, to me this is the real sign that Carlo needs to go, his backroom staff (can we even call the likes of Emenalo “staff”?) need to go, a significant number of players need to go, and those few who remain need to take a hard look in the mirror and really think about the utter dreary staleness that our club has long been wallowing in.

    I can always forgive a few (even a string of) defeats, as I’m sure can most of you. But the lack of character, the lack of what the Yanks call balls cannot be forgiven, not only in football, but pretty much anywhere in life. Chelsea reminds me of them amoebas. Again, the funny thing is that we’re second in the league, with the lowest number of conceded goals, some staggering performances, what, in September(?). There’s, therefore, a lot of proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Which is why a lot of people are trying to be sensible by saying that Carlo needs to stay, most of out players deserve another season, et cetera et cetera. Which is justified and reasonable, if it wasn’t for the fact that… do they, themselves, really want it? Do we really want it? Does anyone even care anymore? A lot of clues point to the contrary, and that’s why Roman, quite unfortunately, needs to push his big red shiny button and, in a way, start things over.  

    Thank you for reading, if anyone still cares 😉

  7. Cunningplan

    No doubting it was a rather poor home finish to the season, a goal in stoppage time against us again, just adds to the overall flat mood to the campaign.

    I won’t get into who should go, or who should stay, pretty pointless really as we have no control on how the heirarchy come to their decisions. I will add with a positive spin, we’re still the second best team in th league, and the best team in London, I’d be more concerned if I was an Arsenal fan for obvious reasons.

    One more game to go and then we can all recharge our batteries, as Tony says time for a break.

  8. Anonymous

    And so the EPL title/European places “race” ends with the proverbial whimper.

    The Mancs need a soft penalty to get the point they needed, we contrive to lose 2 points in stoppage time and need the Gooners’ continued melt-down to clinch 2nd place for us afterwards. [Yes, I know theoretically Citeh could turn around a goal difference of 15 in 2 games].

     Even the King Kenny revived ‘Pool lose to the Spuds for the first time in nearly 20 years – and I’d buy the conspiracy theory that they don’t want the distraction of Europa Cup if they hadn’t complained quite so vociferously about the penalty award.

    As others have said our performance summed up everything that was so frustrating about our “bad moment” quarter 2 of the season, and I slunk out of a thoroughly deflated  stadium at the final whistle too – and glad I did as it meant I reached home just in time to watch Darren Bent provide 2 of the 3 enjoyable moments of the day. The third was Wigan dispatching Uncle Avram’s Spammers in stoppage time. Though Lawro took the edge off that with his “word in the industry” rumour that Uncle Avram is likely to worm his way back into Roman’s empire somewhere.

    Please say it ain’t so 🙁

    @Cunningplan – I take the Scottish stereotyping as amiable joshing. But having seen Old Firm fans from close up in “my plooky youth”, trust me you don’t want to go there – and they’re really crap in Europe, anyway 😉

  9. DayTripper

    I would add Anelka to the list of players whom I would be pleased to see the back of. Slows the game down to a canter when he receives the ball, and this ironically in a player who himself possesses pace. Lampard is a difficult one. From how his injury was described, I would think his decline is irreversible. Nonetheless there are those who will think we should be loyal to a player who has given so much service to the club but my view is that there is no room for sentimentality. After all, he used overtures from Inter Milan at the beginning of 2008/2009 to get himself an improved and lengthier contract. And getting him and Drogba off the payroll will help in the extremely problematic task of complying with the Uefa ‘fair’ play rules.

    I’m in for the radical overhaul – and that includes dispensing with Ancelotti as 1st team coach – even if it means being patient on the trophy hunt for a couple of years 

  10. Der_Kaiser

    Some observations on an interesting weekend of football…

    Went to the Cup Final on Saturday; as is often the case, not the best game but a great atmosphere with two sets of fans clearly delighted to be there.  Best team certainly won and having watched them at fairly close quarters, I’d have to say that City are maybe a signing or two away from having a pretty formidable outfit.  Kompany, Toure and Silva very impressive, Ballotelli equally so and obviously on one of his less mad days.  Talking to some of the City fans gave a timely reminder of what it was like winning something for the first time in decades – a sharp contrast to hearing folk moaning about throwing away the league and coming second yesterday.  And seeing 40,000 plus ‘doing the Poznan’, as it is apparently known, is a pretty remarkable sight.

    Yesterday – well, a suitably ‘meh’ result for a very ‘meh’ game and not exactly a great surprise.  I thought the following:

    1) Second (courtesy of the ongoing Arsenal implosion) is about right for this season and not too bad in the grand scheme.  Some of the players out there yesterday clearly need to get on the beach and forget about it all for a month or so.

    2) Can we accidentally *cough* set light to Torres and claim on the insurance? (just joking – at the moment…)

    3) All reminds me a little of the 98-99 season in a way; obviously pre and post Roman are two very different animals, but the core of that squad that pushed United and Arsenal all the way that season eventually just fell short (draws against Boro and Leicester late on killed us); Flo, Poyet, Franco, Wise etc. – did well in the CL and won the cup the following season, but ended up about 5th or 6th because they just didn’t have the legs for it in the end.  Claudio arrived early the following season and started the long (and sometimes fairly painful) process of revitalising the squad, eventually led us back to the CL and the rest is history.  Can see similar happening now – a fair chunk of the current squad have performed at such a high level for so long and did well to recover and push United in the league (eventually), it’s only natural that some might not have the legs to do it again.  A similar process needs to take place over the next couple of seasons (has already started with the arrivals of the likes of Ramires, Luiz and Torres); whether our dear owner and the increasingly loud and lunatic fringe of the fanbase will tolerate the terrible humiliation of not winning everything every year and accept a period of gradual rebuilding is another matter entirely.

    4) The obligatory Josh observation – very good, some impressive passing, composed and did very little wrong.  Minor ‘downs’ – bundled off the ball easily once or twice (on the rare occasions they could catch him) and looked a little out of puff when substituted.  Still think a Premiership loan spell next season would be the best thing for all concerned.

    5) Either Spurs (or more likely, Liverpool) will miss out on Europe next season.  Raises a chuckle either way.

    6) Avram the fraud down and out again, taking West Ham with him which will surely send them skint.  Is he becoming football’s very own ambulance chaser?  Find a club on the skids, say all the right things, accept ultimate responsibility for relegation when it inevitably comes but point out that it was an impossible situation from the start and then bugger off having taken a pile of cash in the process.  Where will he turn up next (God forbid…)?

    So, who knows what Roman has in store for us post Everton?  Carlo looked fairly hangdog on the ‘lap of honour’ yesterday – all will become clear in time, I suppose.  Personally, the break from all things football can’t come soon enough – a difficult season in a less than inspiring Premiership has left me looking forward to the summer break, but a reasonable degree of hope (that fatal emotion…) for next season and beyond provided things are handled with care by the club.

    No, I’m not holding my breath either…

    • Anonymous

      BTW……I did call us for nothing this year, seemed about par for the course after a Double. I think we just got our ‘refresh’ policy horribly wrong.

      The GFZ as number 2 rumours continue to grow, but number 2 to who?

  11. Anonymous

    “Top of the league, we’re having a laugh, top of the league, we’re having a laugh”

    Fair Play League that is. England will get an extra space in the Europa League and as we’re running away with the (Fair Play) League, Fulham will benefit. Aren’t we kind?

    In other news, I reckon Carlo’s a goner. Not much of a prediction, granted, but I reckon it’s done. Avram will be Director of Football and Guus will split his time between us and Turkey, meaning Baron Greenback will be in charge when Hiddink’s unavailable. You heard it here first….

    • Anonymous

      Though as those attentive pinko lefties at the Grauniad point out today Fulham have picked up 5 yellow cards in each of their last 2 games in their desperate attempt to avoid copping the Fair Play short straw “reward”.

  12. Anonymous

    I think I’m a bit more tolerant of the muted effort than our friend Gleb. I’m sure the players made all the right noises about needing to secure second place and putting on a good show for the fans and all that, but they must have known at some very fundamental level that their season ended last weekend. I’d be disinclined to blame Carlo for that — and I’ll also be disinclined to blame him for Frank and Nando playing so poorly. Still, he has to take the can for the mid-season sag.

    But I’ll stick with the view that we won’t gain anything by sacking him, unless we do something radical like appoint Brendan Rogers and go for a three-year rebuilding programme, which is about as likely as Abramovich donating his fortune to the Battersea Dogs’ Home and going off to India to live as a hermit.

    Anyway. Blah blah blah, there’ll be enough Chelsea Manager Nonsense in the papers for the next X weeks and I suspect we’ll end up hoping to come to the blog to escape it.

    First on my departure list would be Anelka. He’s had some great games but not (nearly) enough and when things are sluggish he so often seems to be the epicentre of sluggishness. Otherwise, yes, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Malouda, and of those three only Paulo will feel like an affectionate parting. Those four to be replaced by Studge, Van Aanholt, Bertrand-or-Mancienne and Kakuta.

  13. bluebayou

    “The GFZ as number 2 rumours continue to grow, but number 2 to who? ”

    If not Carlo then it must be Deschamps. They played in the same Chelsea team. Deschamps has coached in Italy and therefore they can share a language apart from English. Both played in Italy and therefore have a shared football culture. The name Zola is an Italian name but there’s also a famous French writer. We sacked a coach who went to Juve. So now we can employ one sacked by them. He left  Juve as Carlo came in, so now vice-versa. The clincher is that Deschamps is 5 foot 8 and half, Zola 5 ft seven and a half. That makes it easy for press conferences etc. with microphone heights, getting both in camera etc. etc. And they can look each other in the eye. Important in management I feel.

    (We played Marseille in the CL, plenty of time for shady dealings in hotel rooms- though not of an IMF nature)

    Good odds at the moment. Lump on.

    And why do we play our last 3 games of the season against the 3 teams who have denied us in 4 competitions?

    And didn’t the Magpies knock us out right at the death in the League Cup? It was our first defeat of the season.

    Oh the circularity of existence. It makes me head spin.

  14. bluebayou

    Yeah it’s like at the end of Miss Marple where all the chief protagonists gather in the drawing room, while she goes over the plot to remind you how it all worked  even though you’ve known for ages or conversly you haven’t because there’s some important fact(s) that you were not given and they think you wont notice that.

    What is it with football and detectives?

  15. Anonymous

    So our (ex-)champions finish second, and our second string … are champions. Congratulations to the reserves who drew an excellent game and then won on penalties. That’s the first time I’ve seen a penalty shootout where the side I was backing has won since 1998. (Not joking.)

    Quite a few of the current yoof team played (Chalobah, Kalas, Todd Kane who scored a quite wonderful goal, George Saville who’s Josh-like in his lack of physical resemblance to a footballer but was excellent today, Lalkovic), and there were a bunch of last season’s yoof champions too, notably Bertrand and Gokhan Tore who’s beginning to look like quite a prospect. Also entertaining to see young Carl Magnay who’s modelled himself on JT to a hilarious degree — mannerisms, hair, shoulders, everything.

    Ross Turnbull was in goal. He looked like a dodgy old bloke who’d blagged his way into the young ‘uns dressing room.

    Blackburn were pretty good. (They have Kevin Hitchcock’s son!) Probably the better team in the first half. But the second 45 were about as one-sided as football can be.

    It was genuinely cheering to end the season with an enjoyable relatively pressure-free watch ending in trophy-lifting, cheesy exploding streamer things, champagne spraying etc.

    • Ososdeoro

       Hey Limetree, did you miss that Community Shield from two seasons ago? That’s a Chelsea PK win right there 🙂


  16. bluebayou

    Thanks for the report LTB. Saw the result and like you the fact we won a penalty shoot out was what caught the eye. That would be a good habit to bring through to the senior side, if any get a chance.

    Saw a pic on twitter of Roman at the game with none other than Sheva.

    Has he done his coaching badges yet? Open the trap and let that hare run…….

    But fair play to Roman for turning up. My ambivalence level drops a bit when he shows interest beyond the glamour end of matters. But then again he does live just up the road.

  17. Anonymous

    Looked like he scarpered at half time too. Thus missing most of the good bits. Perhaps he was worried about the traffic.

    • Anonymous

      I’m led to believe Roman stayed until the end – with his special guest. 

      One Andrei Shevchencko

      Let the rumours start here. 

      By the way the Swansea/Forest game was an absolute cracker with 4 great goals, the final Swansea goal being a wonderful Beckham/Sullivan moment, minus any actual goalkeeper being in the area as he’d gone up for a corner……aaah well sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. Borini and Sinclair looked pretty darn good, but the word is Borini (or his agent) have burnt their bridges within Stamford Bridge.

      As someone else pointed out to me……..Sinclair was sold , whereas we’ve persevered with Kalou who has shown no visible improvement in 5 years. I think Kalou’s lack of a place even on Sundays bench says everything you need to know about his future with us. It appears his goal sulk vs Spurs wasn’t taken too kindly within the hallowed halls of CFC.

      Lastly, a big rumour here that we’ve earmarked 5 target players for the summer, none of whom have been chosen by Ancelotti…again it may mean nothing but it may also mean everything.

      The truth is out there*

      *But not in SW6 after a generous payment and associated gagging clause has been completed. 

  18. Ososdeoro

    Suffered through this. I’m sorry, but if you’re a 50 million player you don’t stand there on the edge of the box when Cole (?) works hard to get free and fires off a good cross. I also think Torres has picked up Anelkitis, which is the disease of dribbling until someone takes it away from you or at least blocks off any hope of completing a pass to a teammate. At least he’s able to do it a little longer than Nic.

    I will not say again that we could have had Suarez for 15 million instead. Drogba has got to stay so that he can be there in case Torres is a wash. I suspect strongly that he is, but I really hope I’m wrong.

    I enjoyed having Benayoun, Ramires and Josh in the lineup but some of the others completely destroyed what they constructed. It only takes a few players in this beautiful game.

    Like everyone I value hard work (in others, like football players) and decent passing. Luiz, Alex, Cole, Terry, Ivanovic, Benayoun, Ramires, and Drogba all exhibit at least two of these traits. Sadly, Lampard, Torres, Malouda, Anelka, Ferreira and Essien no longer do. Some others never did. I’ll certainly be around next season (and next weekend if it’s on), but I really would prefer to look at it as entertainment rather than a chore. If the theory that everyone will be back with a full tank because this is not a World Cup offseason is true, then I take this all back. But I’m skeptical.

    If Carlo is going, I’ll take any manager this side of Grant and Rafa who insists on and gets much more of a say in personnel and roster decisions than Carlo probably gets. I want Carlo to stay, but assume he is not considering how glum he looked during the ManU game.

  19. bluebayou


    Apologies, I meant to say thanks for the report. I was camping in the great ooutdoors and only caught the last 15 minutes on the radio. So it’s good to get an overview.

    It was sad to hear the guys on the radio saying that everyone was leaving after Newcastle equalised. You mention Ranieri there at the end. It is salutory to contrast what was his last game at the Bridge with what might prove to be Carlo’s in terms of the crowd’s emotion.

    Expectations have changed perhaps?

    We are less tolerant of failure perhaps?

    The District Line was running restricted services perhaps?

    I’ve seen a couple of surveys on blogs which show between 60 and 75 per cent of respondents wanting Carlo to get another year (or the opportunity to see out his contract, something of a curiosity at Chelsea it must be said). I wonder is that  general across the fanbase? Is there a difference between the regular Bridge goer and the other fans. What about those who do the away games as well I wonder.

  20. Der_Kaiser

    Cheers LTB for the reserves review (and thanks BIMV for the report – not an easy one to get excited about, I suspect…)

    Blue Bayou – have to say I’m guilty of not hanging around for the players lap of the pitch; first to admit that I’m rather jaded by this season and am happy to see it pass.  Not particularly about the results, the slump and so on, just the direction that the club seems to be taking and the attitude of a fairly sizeable chunk of our support that seems to be almost as impatient as Roman when things aren’t going our way.

    As has been observed, we’re hardly strangers to seeing decent managers get the boot, but it’s getting rather extreme now and all seems to be about Roman’s relentless pursuit of Champions League glory.  Not a competition I’ve ever been that keen on, but the more desperate we get for it and the more we keep ditching very good managers, the less keen my support becomes.

    A couple of months off is just what the doctor ordered…

    • bluebayou

      I’m by nature a stayer and I know I would have stayed on Sunday (but then as I wasn’t what right have I to talk I suppose). I admit initially I felt angry with the fans there on Sunday. But on reflection I shifted to thinking that too much of what surrounds every game is the effort to stage manage the fan response.

      If there’s a trophy to be presented or a proper farewell to be paid then fine set it up. But this end of season business of the players disappearing for 20 minutes or whatever can be ill judged when there’s little to celebrate. I know it was a response to pitch invasions and so on, but that’s ever more unlikely these days.

      It wouldn’t take much imagination to know that Sunday’s response could be very flat particularly if the game result was uninspiring. Add to that the fact that no-one knows for sure whether Carlo is going or staying.

      So why not let the players and CA have a quick wiz round at the final whistle and leave it at that. It must have been just as excruciating for them.

      And what you say about feeling jaded does chime. It’s not the football it’s what goes on around it.

      Let’s face it even while we were winning a Double, half the squad was being hustled out the door in the wild and whacky world of the internet.

      Last season, no-one knew what Ballack did for the team and Wilkins was characterised as a clueless Uncle Festa.

      Now we’d have won the quadruple if  we had ’em both.

      But then I don’t have to follow every comment, every twist and turn do I? As my mother always says the greatest invention after television is the knob that turns it off………….(obviously this was pre the communications revolution and there’s a lot more knobs around now)

  21. PeteW

    Difficult to get too excited about a meaningless end-of-season game after a strange season, and that is true of the players as much as the fans, so not much point drawing any conclusions from this game. Everybody needs a break, and think about what they realistically want/expect from Chelsea next year.

    Good to hear about the reserves winning, given that it is essentially last year’s youth team. Also interesting to note in passing this morning that the famous United kids won the FA Youth Cup in 92 – and didn’t really come into the first team until 95. And that’s at a time when the stakes were far lower. Kind of puts our demands that our kids go straight into the first team a year after winning the tournament into some sort of perspective.

    As for comparisons between Kalou and Sinclair, do me a favour. When Sinclair is scoring a dozen goals a season in the top four of the Premier League year-in-year-out, then we can talk.

    Still kind of perversely holding out for a Rafa-Avram double-bill to come in this summer just to show the critics what disappointment and drift really look like.

    • Anonymous

      You miss the point. Kalou, who I dislike quite openly and think isn’t good enough for us, hasn’t improved a jot, in my opinion since he arrived. Sinclair, who seems to be doing quite well, albeit at a lower level was barely given a fraction of the opportunities that Kalou got.

      Now there are 2 points……

      1.) Loans are seen as good things to develop players, but invariably they often occur a league down. Are people saying this is pointless then, that the experience gained is invalid in some way? If they are valid then a longer term loan for SS might be due to end and we might think he’s now ready for the PL. 

      2.) Kalou on the other hand comes into the club and has had a fair few starts but barely ever seen a reserve game. WAS or is his ability so far above that of the other reserves and debutantes that he is immune to proving himself? Which usually means an owner/CEO hell bent on ROI rather than ability. Or it means player power is so high that Kalou himself refuses to be tarnished by playing for the reserves and the others in the dressing room back that up. 

      My main point was that Kalou has been given loads of chances, is frustrating, is not a starter, is a good bench option…a view shared by a decent enough number of other fans to give some viability to it. Sinclair was never given anywhere near that amount of chances, ditto Mancienne. Who knows how they might have developed if we had? Kalou was/is far from the polished product for me and again doesn’t seem any better now than on his arrival. Sure Sinclair et al may not have made it even given the chances but then again they might have, and this makes a mockery of an academy system designed to lead us to some sort of self-sufficiency. I don’t think I’m saying start the kids, or chuck them in right away but even you have to admit the amount of first team playing time this season has been no more than any previous season. 

      I’d let Kalou go, its just my own view, however I think he may have blotted his own copybook with the powers that be. 

      Maybe he should have adopted the Flo Malouda model of becoming Roman’s alleged confidante?

  22. PeteW

    Also, despite what I said above it being meaningless, I am increasingly having to fight off the conclusion that Torres is utter gash. This doesn’t bother me because I never liked the bloke much in the first place. I might have a hope for him if he demonstrated he had one per cent of Drogba’s guts, but he’s a bit of a melter. Hope I am wrong.

  23. PeteW

    Don’t understand how anybody can dislike any of our players, especially one who performs so many different functions in so many different ways without ever moaning.

    Genuinely find that attitude to be really bizarre and it makes rational discussion very difficult, sorry.

    The idea that one of our most effective performers and a proven match winner from the bench should be banished to the reserves is simply ridiculous.  

    Kalou’s absence from the first team on Sunday may have had something to do with the fact that his home was broke into and ransacked by government forces in Ivory Coast and his father went missing for 24hrs.

  24. PeteW

    Re loans, I do think a loan to a Championship is pretty much an admittance that a player isn’t going to make the grade these days. Players like Bendtnar look like world beaters at that level, it doesn’t really transfer to the top four.Impossible to judge how good Borini is from performances at Swansea. He’s good, but how good?

    And the likes of PvA and Bruma haven’t even impressed at Leicester, sadly. What does that mean? I have no idea.

    Sturridge and Kakuta’s loans are much more sensible and I’d put good money on Josh following them in the Premier League next season. 

    • Der_Kaiser

      Very true.

      Sometimes difficult to be objective about things when we’ve clearly got a pretty decent group of kids coming through which is always interesting, but I maintain that if we end up with any more than one or two genuine first teamers in the next 2-3 years from the current crop of 17 yr. olds and above, we’ll have done very well indeed.  And if the rest we’re producing start to fetch a few million in fees between them and forge decent careers at whatever level, then the academy will be pretty much funding itself and doing a good job overall.

      Re Sinclair – he seems to have found his ‘place’; have no idea what he is like as a person, but he went on loan to numerous clubs and got nowhere.  He’s obviously thriving under Rogers; whether he was told he had no future here or that he could stay and fight for a place if he chose to is anyone’s guess, but he’s finally taken his chance so good luck to him.

      There is always the fear that we’ll let a gem go, but so far, I don’t think we’ve let any real serious Premiership top 4 quality depart from the youth / reserve set up in recent years, have we?

      • Anonymous

        I agree with the good Lord Kaiser. I believe the academy’s stated aim is to produce one (one!) first-team squad player every year. Presumably like everyone else they set their targets high: so the starting assumption is that however excellent the youth set-up is, 95% of those players aren’t in the end going to be good enough for Chelsea.

        Nevertheless it’s hard not to get overenthused about the kids. They feel like they’re “ours” in a way that very few of the household name players manage; and they feel like they’re going to get better. Both impressions are just pleasant illusions, of course, but it doesn’t make them any less pleasant. Why else does Josh McEachran get the biggest cheers around the Bridge these days?

        I’m sure our academy will continue to seed players around the top division or two, players like Huth and Di Santo and Sinclair and Mancienne. But it’s always fun to imagine something Barcelona-like happening: three or four geniuses arriving together as if by magic.

        As the Kaiser says, though, those players show up once in a blue moon. We haven’t let any superstars escape. The kids tend to find their level. Two years ago Kakuta was the supposed to be the best schoolboy player in Europe and now he’s a Fulham reserve. He’s still young of course and may push on.

        I do suspect that Josh is a proper Chelsea player though, the first home-grown one since JT.

        Pete — where do you hear that Bruma and Pat Van Aa haven’t impressed under Sven? I haven’t read any details, but it looked to me like they both started every game except when injured (ditto Jack Cork at Burnley).

  25. Anonymous

    Have to agree with Pete here – Kalou is a good player. In my view he has clearly improved since he joined to, most notably in the second half of next season. He is a difference class from Mancienne, Sinclair, and probably Stoch too.

    Whoever goes in the close season I hope Kalou isn’t on the list.


    • Anonymous

      Neither you nor Pete have answered the point.

      You can’t compare Mancienne or Sinclair simply because they weren’t given the same chances. Its not a comparison full stop. 

      As I recall Kalou came from Feyenoord. Hardly a top name even in Holland. Would they survive a season in the PL?

      It’s a non argument because it can’t be proven either way of course. 

      Stats …….pah! 

      Its what I see overall I don’t like. Dani Alves is allegedly one of the best RB’s in the world but to quote Jules from Pulp Fiction ‘sewer rat could taste like pumpkin pie but I still wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker’ = Times change, we’ve sold players I’ve loved (Robben) and some I was glad to see the back of (Deco). Nothing I’ve seen in kalou makes me feel any different.

      I’d love to stay and debate, but I’ve a much bigger and more exciting thing on tonight

      If only Susannah Reid was coming with me as well…..sigh

  26. PeteW

    And that’s a key point we’re dancing around here, it’s not always about ability as much as attitude. You can look at United’s genius crop of 95 and say that will never be surpassed, but arguably the later group – Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Darren Fletcher – have been just as important because they have the temperement that allow greater talents to thrive.

    It requires a certain sort of person to be happy with that role – filling in as and when, playing any position, sometimes being parachuted into losing teams and sometimes playing massive games during injury crises, getting abuse from supporters because you’re not Maradona –  and it’s one that will naturally attract players who, perhaps, aren’t as technically able, aren’t as personally ambitious, who know their limitations but also know their strengths. Kalou and Ferreira are the only players we have with a similar attitude.  

  27. PeteW

    Mancienne can’t get in the Wolves team. Wolves are facing relegation from the Premier league. He clearly isn’t all that amazing. Should Sinclair have had more opportunities? Probably, but again a number of managers have had the chance and decided to pass on him in favour of Kalou. Do you really think that’s player power?

    Alternatively, why risk Sinclair as a replacement for Kalou, when Kalou is doing his job – uncomplaining squad player, goal-scoring attacking forward – perfectly well already? Now Sturridge could well be better than Kalou, in which case bring him on.

    Frankly, we should be far more concerned about bloody Torres than we should Kalou.   

    • Der_Kaiser

      Good article.  It was an awful final given some of the talent on display for both sides – that Red Star side disintegrated within a season or so as Spanish and Italian scouts / agents descended and hoovered up most of that squad (along with most of the cream of Eastern Europe).  Dejan Savićević was one of my favourites of that era – won the European Cup / CL again with Milan when they smashed Cruyff’s Barcelona in 1994; his goal in that game wasn’t too bad either… of Romania in the ’90’s will please Pete – he’s something of a Hagi devotee, as I recall.

  28. bluebayou

    This has nothing to do with football other than to remind us all that in times of crisis we should just mix a White Russian and ask ourselves “How would the Dude handle this?”

    But I’d be failing in my duty if I didn’t bring to people’s attention the ideal Christmas present to be requested or given as is your wont. Buy early so that you can get it suitably distressed looking in time for Christmas.

    (and for those of a certain musical bent this is a rather spiffing site as well – everyone else just pass on by)

    And neither photo features myself…….

  29. bluebayou

    2 important football items

    The Kaka coming to Chelsea. Kaka says he’s not coming to Chelsea story that normally runs through the summer would appear to be over already and it’s only just the middle of May. Time is speeding up or compressing or something, which probably means the world is going to end soon.

    Josh McEachran has started a twitter account in the last 24 to 48 hours. Billy Clifford helped him get started.

    • Anonymous

      I’m no physicist [understatement of the year], but surely the atoms in the football gossip columns are already churning at a rate that ensures they will outdo CERN by mid-June at the latest and form super novae, or something equally big, hot and shiny [ you can see what a clear grasp of the technical jargon I have] that Brian Cox probably is already creating a pretty CGI version of for his next TV series .

      As for the FA and Carlo, do they plan to ban journos from asking managers questions about referees before games then? I believe his entirely innocuous statement quoted was in response to a pre-match press conference question asking him to react to Lord Ferg’s remarks earlier.

      • Cunningplan

         What you have to remember with regard physics and CFC, is that we’re always looking for that elusive Higgs Boson particle.
        That’s why our managers are fired off at great speed into the infinite distance.

      • bluebayou

        BBD – Get with the programme son. Atomic physics is like sooooo yesterday. It’s all sub atomic particle stuff now like the Boson fella that Clive is on about.

        But you’re right about the journo’s questions. These things are tedious enough as it is. He was hardly saying anything controversial.

        My guess is the Fungus’ people threatened a stink if their man got it in the knackers and dug out what Carlo had said. After all it went more or less unremarked at the time and who knew he was in line for a disciplinary?

  30. Der_Kaiser

    Anyone have any luck with Olympics tickets?  I missed out on the 100m final, but managed to get 28,054 for West Ham v. Doncaster.

    OK, already heading for the cloakroom…

  31. bluebayou

    That’s worse than the one doing the rounds about that rather unpopular chap who was rather hurriedly consigned to the vasty deeps recently.  Instead of lead weights they were advised to put a West Ham shirt around the body.  Much less chance of it coming back up………………

  32. Anonymous

    And speaking of the Hammaz, I see that dear old uncle Avram is once again briefing about his team’s relegation being everyone’s fault except his. His wife’s gone public — she who commented last year with respect to Portsmouth that it wasn’t fair that Avram only ever got rubbish teams to manage (like Chelsea?) and he’d show what he could do if he ever got a decent team (like one with multiple interantionals and the player of the year?). And today’s guardian quotes his unnamed “friends” about how terribly unfair it all was and he’d never have taken the job if he’d known what he was getting into etc etc

    Pete — interesting (and a bit depressing) about our boys at Leicester. However on the more positive side I remember that the Newcastle players and fans were very keen on young Pat when he had his loan spell last year. But perhaps his head’s grown faster than the rest of him. Probably not an uncommon affliction with yoof footballers.

  33. bluebayou

    From Sam Wallace in the Independent

    “Remarkably, the FA only became aware of Ancelotti’s comments about Webb when its attention was brought to an article in the Ealing Gazette, a weekly newspaper in west London, in which the Chelsea manager’s remarks, made in his weekly Friday press conference, had been reported. Most national newspapers had judged them too innocuous to report. ”

  34. NorthernVA

    Pete made a great point that no one has really addressed. Why are people focused on shipping off players like Kalou and Ferriera when in reality we should be much more concerned about the 50 million pound white elephant in the room.

    I couldn’t agree more with you Pete, he doesn’t contain any strain of the DNA you find in workhorses like Drogba or Eto’o. I truly believe the man is a gump. That’s mid-atlantic slang for soft, spineless, or kind of a bitch. I feel comfortable saying that now because my girlfriend’s co-workers tell her that the world may end in two days and I really didn’t want to take that to the grave.

    The excuses for the man have been rich. Unbelievable movement however his championship winning teammates just the lack the quality and brains to get him the ball, also the black fellows won’t pass him the ball, let’s not forget the best one of all that he just needs the ball played to his feet. Imagine that a striker who would like the ball played to his feet. 

    We must not forget he is coming back from injury. Amazing how little sympathy was reserved for Didier who had surgery prior to the season on his groin, fractured his forearm prior to the World Cup however still managed to become the first African player to ever score a goal against Brazil in the World Cup and make an impact in every game he played with one arm, and was also diagnosed with a deadly infectious disease which happens to kill more people than HIV Aids in sub-saharan Africa. Some wrote that off like a common cold or prescribed the Chris Rock remedy of throwing some ‘tussin on it. No need to bring up civil wars and genocide because well sadly most could give a shit how that could affect the psyche. 

    Wake me when he can bear those crosses and still dish out 13 assist in the league and 11 goals. Show a sign that when the chips are down you are willing to stand up and be counted. I haven’t seen it all. The pressure cooker won’t get any easier next season. This is Roman’s Chelsea after all.

  35. Der_Kaiser

    We note with some interest that Pirlo is leaving Milan and will be available for nowt…  Despite the fact there will be many inevitable howls of ‘no more pensioners looking for a final payday’, I think he’d be a really decent signing for a couple of years.  Much has been made of the lack of Deco / Ballack type experience to hold our sometimes ragged midfield together this season which he would fix quite nicely in the interim – 2 year deal, loan Josh out for a season and then get him back for Pirlo to show him the art of pulling the strings from deep…?

  36. Ososdeoro

     Weren’t Deco and Ballack injured for huge chunks of this season? That’s all we need.

    I sort of addressed the 50 million pound elephant by saying it wouldn’t be a good idea to get rid of Drogba at all until Torres shows us something. I wasn’t that unhappy with him until last weekend. And now Neymar is making noises about coming to EPL, Chelsea in particular (or the chumps in waiting). He seems like the kind of player who could make all three of our other starting-quality strikers (Studge, Drogs, Torres) all look pretty good. 

    Of course that still leaves the problem of the midfield (there must be a total of 195 lbs among Ramires, Yossi and Josh, and Lamps and Essien I fear are fading very badly). The idea that was floated on the Chelsea website, to move Luiz to midfield might be a great idea. But then that just transfers the problem to the right side defense.

  37. Ososdeoro

     Thanks Lime. Well deserved on Petr’s part. Ramires’ goal was fantastic but I thought Luiz’ against United was just a tad better and everyone of course loves Alex’ goal. Kalou’s deserves mention as well.

    Interesting that the team has given out player of the year only since the 60s. Lampard is the only 3 time winner.

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