Chelsea 3-0 Burnley – Newspaper Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report, Good and Bad, Player Ratings

Match reports

The Observer, Paul Doyle: “Chelsea helped themselves to their fourth win in four games with this ruthless suppression of Burnley. Nicolas Anelka, Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole all struck telling blows and the margin of victory would have been even more emphatic but for valiant goalkeeping by Brian Jensen and wasteful finishing by the rampant home side.”

Sunday Telegraph, Oliver Brown: “Chelsea staged a rhapsody in blue as the expansive game that Roman Abramovich has coveted for five years finally arrived at the expense of poor, bewildered Burnley.”

Sunday Times, Brian Glanville: “How should one describe the Chelsea formation? It was fluid but no mathematical formula could really do it justice. This time, there was no accredited winger. Instead, players popped up in attack in a bewildering kaleidoscope of movement.”

Independent on Sunday, Mark Fleming: “Only Carlo Ancelotti, after four Chelsea managers and 20 months, has given Drogba and Anelka the opportunity they have craved. So far this season, with four League wins out of four, it has been working.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Andy Jones: “The win takes us to nine straight victories in the league, and this one rarely looked in doubt despite a string of first-half opportunities going to waste.”

The goals

45′ Anelka 1-0
47′ Ballack 2-0
52′ A. Cole 3-0

The preamble

With the season less than a month old, the dead tree press are settling into their well-worn groove quite nicely.

The hacks and the lemmings that follow and swallow their flatulent ramblings have plunged headlong over the cliffs of self-righteousness into the swirling waters of the sea of morality on the football’s issues du jour.

On Tuesday, Millwall and West Ham came together for a second round Carling Cup tie, ran around East London and liberally kicked the crap out of each other.

The nation plummeted back into the 1970’s, and Gene Hunt wasn’t there to sort the miscreants out.

Football dragged through the dirt, into the gutter via the dark ages and down into the sewer as Sky Sports went into gleeful moral overdrive, pausing briefly for advertisement breaks, one of which included a trailer for the soon-to-be released remake of seminal hoolie-porn drama, “The Firm.”


A day later, Eduardo only went and shat on football’s prone, twitching corpse, didn’t he?

Well, he dived and won a penalty, but given the reaction he may as well have bared his arse at the Queen whilst aggressively fingering the genitalia of a small, cute Cairn terrier called Geraldine.

Brouhaha and outrage ensued; UEFA awoke and rose up from its comfy pile of cash to announce that it would be investigating the incident – which fills you with as much confidence as Inspector Clouseau handling the case – and may consider a retrospective ban.

Excellent – a knee-jerk reaction to one high profile incident is surely the way to ensure that diving is eradicated from the game. I’m thoroughly looking forward to another nine months or so of such dedicated non-thinking and utter cuntery from the hacks and the authorities.

For shame! Won’t somebody please think of the children? (Cont. p.94)

The game

The 1970’s was, by coincidence (or piss-weak link, whichever you prefer), the last time the two sides met in the league (1974, to be precise). I have no idea whether anyone, players or fans, brought shame or disgrace upon themselves or the game as I was only four years old at the time.

Burnley is famous for Alistair Campbell. And hating Blackburn. But the town’s football team has made a sterling start to its Premiership career by seeing off the current champions and Everton thus far. And they did turf us out of the Carling Cup last season.

Given that Stephen Hawking would probably struggle to explain it, I have decided that it is now pointless to analyse, comment upon or dissect the workings of our interchangeable rotating diamond Christmas tree*; trying to understand how and why it works – and boy, does it work – is like trying to understand why watching Arsene Wenger throwing his toys all over the technical area at Old Trafford is bloody funny. It just is, OK?

Truth is, whatever the system was, it ran rings around Burnley. Owen Coyle has a decent side with some good players, but they were outclassed from start to finish. Drogba is looking like an absolute monster again. Ashley Cole is in the form of his career – so many positives, so few negatives.

Ancelotti’s manager during his playing days at AC Milan, the great Arrigo Sacchi once said the following:

“Football has a script. The actors, if they’re great actors, can interpret the script and lines according to their creativity, but they still have to follow the script.”

If there is a better way of summing up the discipline, intelligence and creativity that the players displayed today, I’d like to hear it.

The good

  • Top of the league, in excellent form and on a run of nine consecutive Premiership wins under Guus and Carlo. For all the talk of the need for new large tent signings, I maintain that the squad we have looks good enough to mount a major challenge on the big pots this season.
  • Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Anelka and (whisper it quietly), Deco. Two tiers of the Christmas tree? The diamond and the second striker? All of those things and more, and how sublime? I can’t do them justice by words alone, but I just loved watching them today – terrific.

    (I shall now contradict myself completely in the ‘bad’ section that follows.)

  • I had eggs Benedict in the pub pre-match. Bloody gorgeous it was too.

The bad

  • The turnstile entry system to the Matthew Harding Stand – slower than Shevchenko running through ankle deep mud. If there is some Chelsea conspiracy to get people arriving earlier to drink the average beer available in the ground, it isn’t really working and you’re just pissing people off.
  • Did we really need about three hundred stewards surrounding the pitch at the final whistle? Classic reactionary nonsense; ooh, there was some hooliganism this week so we’d better quadruple the number of stuffed orange jackets on duty. It was Chelsea v. Burnley, for Christ sakes.
  • Sounds ridiculous to mention it (given that he was key in two of our goals today) and it is only a minor quibble, but I’m not sure Frank is quite as effective in Ancelotti’s chosen system(s) as we know he can be. Maybe my football radar just isn’t quite tuned into the new season; time will tell, but when everything functions as well as it did today, why complain?
  • It would have been nice to see Sturridge get a run out at some point.
  • Bloody international break – always turns up when you’re on a roll. Fingers crossed everyone comes back fit for the tricky visit to Stoke.

Player ratings

Sixes, sevens, eights and nines liberally distributed amongst the fourteen players who made it onto the pitch in a Chelsea shirt today. Sort it out amongst yourselves.

Man of the Match

Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal? For us – a tricky one as there were too many contenders; Drogba and the afore-mentioned quintet were exceptional (Ze German edging it for me), but Ashley Cole’s flank-running masterclass and superbly taken goal puts him on top of the pile today.

Final thoughts / dreadful pun

Carlo’s diamonds might not be forever, and it doesn’t look like they will be Aguero’s best friends either. A top of the table clash with Spurs awaits next month – you really do have to go back in time to find the last time that happened.

* I think I saw one of those on QVC recently.

Related links