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

Match reports

The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “The fire and brimstone may have been reserved for a venue some 200 miles further north, but the Premier League leadership remains firmly in west London. Chelsea’s serene progress under Carlo Ancelotti was maintained here, a sixth consecutive victory restoring their three point advantage at the top while most eyes had been distracted by events at Old Trafford. The Italian’s perfect start almost feels as if it has slipped in under the radar.”

The Times, Matt Hughes: “Chelsea led from gun to tape on the two occasions they won the Barclays Premier League under José Mourinho, so the sight of Carlo Ancelotti’s side moving ahead by a length should worry the rest of the field.”

The Independent, Glenn Moore: “This derby may have lacked the drama of Manchester’s but it was notably more conclusive. “Tottenham are back” rang around Stamford Bridge at the end but the chant was gloatingly ironic. This has been a sobering nine days for Spurs, their opening burst of four victories followed by successive defeats to “Big Four” clubs with three goals conceded in each.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Andy Jones: “Chelsea cruised to a club record 11th straight league win after an entertaining London derby at Stamford Bridge.”

The goals

31′ A. Cole 1-0
57′ Ballack 2-0
62′ Drogba 3-0

The preamble

Six wins from six is a rosy old start to the season in anyone’s book. It’s when you get to the off pitch matters at Chelsea that the black clouds appear overhead and cowpats from Satan’s own dairy herd are strewn across the path.

These are uncertain times we live in. Transfer bans, chief executives departing and the press alive with rumours of plots and subterfuge behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge. Frank Arnesen is apparently looking over his shoulder for the men in grey suits as I type.

“A nest of vipers,” said one hack on Sunday Supplement this morning. Even allowing for dead tree press exaggeration, it’s difficult to disagree with the sentiment.

Hell, we haven’t even beaten Spurs in about four games. If things carry on like this the next ‘Downfall’ bunker parody will probably be filmed in the boardroom at the Bridge.

Ah, beating Spurs. A wistful glance down memory lane (think Hovis music, sepia tones, grandchildren on knee and all that jazz) takes you back to almost two decades worth of domination over North London’s most Del Boy of clubs (this time next year, we’ll be Champions League…) I trust that you will use the comments section wisely to recall your favourites.

And when you thought you’d seem all the amusing ways to scupper the hopes of the boys from Three Point Lane, we’d come up with a new one. There were late goals, stunning hat-tricks (the presence of Mr. Hasselbaink in the Sky box today brought back more happy memories of stuffing Spurs rotten) and miraculous comebacks. Life was simpler back then – it was just a job. Grass grew, birds flew, waves pounded the sand. We beat Spurs. We beat them so often that we should have been allowed to keep them.

If Roman had the hump after failing to conquer Kilimanjaro, anything other than a win against ‘Arry’s merry band of vagabonds and ne’er-do-wells would be likely to darken his mood further.

The match

In random thought format because it’s nearly midnight and I have work in the morning.

Spurs looked reasonably tidy in the first half and a better side might have punished us for being a little sloppy in possession and profligate in front of goal – Liverpool, up next at the Bridge, are unlikely to be as forgiving. A good win, but a few lessons to be learned for my money.

It was surprising not to see Crouch partnering Defoe up front (especially seeing how much he won in the air after coming on).

Neither Terry nor Carvalho looked particularly comfortable when one of the Defoe / Keane / Lennon trio ran at them.

Cole and Bosingwa spent more time in the opposition half than Peter Andre spent in Jordan.

Lampard is getting used to the whole point of the diamond thing; very deceptive as he looks less involved but we seem to create more chances overall. I think he’ll probably score less this season as a result though; a couple of uncharacteristic misses from him today.

Essien seems to start slowly, building up to runaway train pace by about the seventieth minute by which time Spurs were completely unable to handle him, and us.

Overall, we didn’t really seem to shift out of third gear for most of the game, yet won reasonably comfortably in the end.

The good

  • Three goals. Three points. Top of the league. The esteemed Mr. Glover of this parish remarked that Sundays like this make that Monday trudge back to the office a little bit more bearable. Amen to that.
  • You can never tire of beating Spurs. You really can’t.
  • Didier Drogba. Gave the Spurs’ defence a thorough going over today – the combination of the mighty Drog on fire and Ledley King’s fragile pins was never going to end happily for the latter.
  • In amongst it all, some atmosphere broke out at the Bridge. Singing and everything. Wonders will never cease.
  • The appearance of Fabio Borini. The clamour for Daniel Sturridge will get louder – it could be that we don’t want him making headlines before a tribunal sets the fee we have to pay Manchester City for his services – but despite the disturbing fact that the Italian youngster was born in the 1990’s, another youth teamer making the step up is never a bad thing.
  • Nice to see Carlo Cudicini back at the Bridge. You suspect that he knew he might be retrieving the ball from the net on more than one occasion though.
  • Non Chelsea I know, but early contender for quote of the season from Fergie after a lively Manchester derby: “Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour. You cannot do anything about that. They will always be noisy. You just have to get on with your life, put your television on and turn it up a bit louder.” You’ve got to love the old goat.

The bad

  • The injury to Drogba. At the time of writing the suggestion is that cramp and/or a calf injury – anything more serious would be bad. Not nursing a semi over thoughts of Margaret Beckett wearing winceyette lingerie and a ‘come hither and enter me, big boy’ look type bad, but at least Susan Boyle covering ‘Wild Horses’ bad. As in not good. You get the general idea.
  • Howard Webb. An odd performance; credit for trying to let a fairly feisty game flow, but there were times when the odd yellow should have appeared. His decision to ignore Robbie Keane’s penalty shout benefited us – and arguably turned the game – but it looked like the worst call of the lot.
  • The new turnstile arrangement for the Matthew Harding Upper. All very techy and flash with clever lights and all, but largely shite in practice. One of our number remarked as we queued for several days to enter the hallowed ground that there is surely a Shevchenko analogy to be made somewhere. So, they are now to be known as the Andriy Shevchenko Memorial Gates – slow, annoying, ineffective and cost a bloody fortune.
  • Sebastien Bassong – rivalries aside, seeing a player carted off on a spinal board with a neck brace after several minutes on the deck is never a good thing. A speedy recovery to you, young man.

Player ratings

Mostly Hollywood, really. One or two a little bit Cricklewood in places, but it didn’t matter much in the end. Drogba and Ashley Cole were Norwegian Wood (I still don’t think the sitar was entirely necessary myself, but that’s for another time). Look, I’ve no idea where the wood motif has come from, but I did consume a large amount of a very good New Zealand Pinot Noir on Saturday night. This might explain any lurches away from the straight and narrow.

Man of the Match

Didier Drogba. La la la la laaaa.

Final thoughts

Tottenham are back. Normal service is resumed.

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