Chelsea 4-1 Swansea City – Swans Reflecting Mice

Newspaper reports

The Independent on Sunday, Russell Kempson: “Just when Fernando Torres thought it could not get much worse, the Spain striker’s career at Chelsea hit a new low yesterday. He was sent off for a horrendous tackle on Mark Gower that, had it fully connected, could have led to a serious injury to the Swansea City midfielder. Torres had just scored only his third goal for Chelsea and a beauty it was, too. But no doubt fuelled by adrenaline, still on a high as he dragged himself out of purgatory, he launched himself into the most reckless of two-footed studs-up challenges. Gower escaped by millimetres and was quickly on his feet.”

The Sunday Telegraph, Ben Findon: “Bruised and beaten in their Manchester misadventure six days earlier, this should have been the perfect balm for Chelsea and Fernando Torres. For Chelsea, it was indeed a soothing victory over Swansea City’s top-flight novices, but they were forced to achieve it with 10 men when an anguished Torres was sent off shortly before the break.”

The Observer, Jamie Jackson: “Fernando Torres scored his second goal in consecutive league games in Chelsea’s 4-1 win over Swansea City at Stamford Bridge but was then sent off. It capped a turbulent week for the Spanish striker.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A Ramires brace sealed another home win in the Premier League after Fernando Torres, later red-carded, had opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge and sub Didier Drogba rounded off the scoring in injury time.”

The goals

29′ Torres 1-0
36′ Ramires 2-0
76′ Ramires 3-0
86′ Williams 3-1
94′ Drogba 4-1

The preamble

Why the title I hear you ask? But then again maybe only my re-sparked imagination is telling me that you asked. Or even cared. Salvador Dali is one of my favourite artists and his lunacy and surrealism is what attracted me to one of my other passions, that of art. This piece of course is clever because you see the swans on the water, then the reflections of the swans in the water look like elephants and when you look back at the swans they then look like elephants as well and then the reflections look like… well you get the drift. Why this to start the report? Well, I’m sure when Swansea (the Swans) looked into the mirror at the start of the season they saw roaring elephants ready to rampage in the Premier League. Tenuous? Of course. But they’re not swans. And they’re not elephants. They’re not graceful but haughty. They’re not large, intelligent and powerful. No, not swans, not elephants.

They’re mice. Cute, fluffy mice looking for cheese and chocolate and peanut butter in the promised land of plenty, but who’ve nested in the middle of a cattery.

I don’t say this to annoy anyone either but today the gulf between us and them even with 10 men was as huge as the gap between earth and the nearest planet orbiting two suns. Light years.

This is my first visit this season having missed the games due to the usual ‘vacances pour une mois dans le sud de France’ and after such a long break, like many others from May until mid August the football tank had been refilled, the passion veneer re-polished, the desire engine tuned and serviced. The jaded broken machine of last season’s Chelsea seems to have undergone a similar makeover and it’s down to our very own Andre Villas-Boas. This young, intelligent, good looking, dapper, calm, thoughtful, philosophical man has cast a spell over the club not dissimilar to the harsh, ruthless winning one of Jose Mourinho. Except this one smiles. It cares. It has manners. It feels warm and safe. We have a new messiah.

And finally, no-one does a mixed grill like the American Diner cafe on the Fulham Road. No-one.

The match

I rather like the recent trend of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing for the match report, but as my consciousness is easily distracted by refereeing, food, hot women, bad tackling and trying to get a fucking tweet to work from my seat I think, for me, it would be better to stick to a traditional précis of events and a Good, Bad and Ugly approach with the much loved and cherished player ratings as well. By the way my Twitter handle is @chelseatony for any fellow tweeters. Well if I can’t plug here, where can I plug?

Was it a shock that Lampard was selected for bench warming duty today? Ian McGarry one time Sun hack (@garbosj for any tweeps here) warned on 5 Live that this would happen and I, along with others used the Twitterverse to hurl scorn at this revelation. Turns out of course he was right and again kudos to AVB for being brave – the bench was a glittering array of talent, with Drogba, Lamps, Luiz, Malouda, McEachran and err… Kalou. It’s been a while since we could boast such a glittering array on the bench. Other than that no surprises as AVB keeps faith with the players who have served so well recently. Of course there was edge as well with Brendan Rogers getting a warm welcome back, and no doubt Scott Sinclair itching to prove a point as well.

To the game.

Well, oddly enough after last week’s fine but losing effort against Manchester’s second richest team the first 25 minutes of this game were… well… a bit average really. Swansea tried to play a nice passing game without the requisite quality up the park to take advantage of it, and Chelsea were seemingly content to play the slightly bored cat playing with the freshly trapped mouse role. Let the mouse run, drag it back, give it a whack, let it run, drag it back and so on. Swansea had a few nibbles but as the half moved on more and more of the game was being played in their half. We had a few half chances and they frankly had none. Bosingwa showed that the art of crossing the ball was still evading him. Cech could have pulled his deck chair out, replaced the skull cap with a hankie, rolled a spliff and munched on a doner kebab such was the paucity of action he was involved in. And then in came the catnip in the form of Torres and the inevitable link up with Mata, fast looking like buy of the season. Torres looked sharp again and of course his life is all about yin and yang, good and bad, black and white, jump or burn. The goal was Torres at his best, reading the pass, taking the ball and finishing with deadly ease. The other side of his coin was of course yet to follow because someone somewhere does not want a totally good Torres story. We were off the mark and Swansea looked like they were running out of steam. Within a few minutes Torres had dropped deep to collect the ball, spotted a gap for Cole to run into and split the defence with the resultant pass for the impressive Ramires to slot home number two. Game over. More or less.

If we do have guardian angels, then it’s just as feasible that we have guardian devils. Torres is burgeoning proof of that theory. He had the yin of the goal, and then in came the yang, the devil on the shoulder winning the argument with the angel on the other, no doubt hissing into his ear ‘It’s your ball, go for it, use BOTH feet’. Nando promptly did and although not making contact with Mark Gower (who in fairness made little of it) it was one of those that could have been red or yellow. A players ref like Phil Dowd might have dished the yellow and a ‘no more’ stern warning. But Mike Dean isn’t a players ref. He’s the traffic warden of refs. He suffers from Mainwaring Syndrome, a condition whereby the privilege of rank instils a power complex into the mind and you become important in your own head but nowhere else. He’s a Scouser. An officious, incompetent, unpleasant aloof prick. So, of course he dishes a straight red. OK, in fairness it could have been called either way, but beside from that decision all of the other qualities I’ve described were on display from the first whistle. Six yellows were dished in a game where there was hardly a poor tackle on display. A yellow card for a shirt tug from Mata at a non point of the game said it all. There will be serious amounts of yellows if that gets applied rigidly across the league. From the sending off until half time the promised entertainment died. Literally nothing happened as the well drilled and disciplined Chelsea contingency so prevalent during Mourinho’s reign came to the fore. High praise there for AVB.

The second half, as one might expect, started with an unchanged Chelsea deciding to play the bored cat role again. Swansea reverted to their feisty mouse role, and as we purred and barely stirred we let them run a bit. At best even with the man advantage they only managed the odd half chance. And then the bored cat raised an eyebrow and stretched a paw and whacked the mouse back. We got the ball and with a coolness a frozen cucumber could only pray for we passed and stroked the ball around. Ten men looked like twelve. Swansea huffed and puffed and blew themselves out. A masterclass was in progress. Anelka now playing the lone gunman role showed what a class act he is. Superb ball control, superb passing, a shot that would have wrapped goal of the season up had it been an inch lower. This may be his last season and we will miss him badly. For the rolling stock fans, he is a TGV. Graceful, sleek and gets to speed with ease and very little noise or fuss. The ovation when he went off, which the Sky fuckwit commentator said was for Drogba was awesome. Mikel Obi was a giant all game but again, second half he was Makelele/Ballack/Desailly-esque. I doubt there is any higher praise. Ramires ran and fought and tackled and scored again and could have had a hat trick. This boy has a very bright future with us. Ivanovic deserves a mention for an utterly faultless display and one tackle in the latter part of the game when the dying mouse was thrashing out its last breaths of life, had me out of my seat applauding loud and long. Not one player had a stinker today but for me those four were the stand out players. The calmness of the team was reflected on the bench by AVB and gang, including the hot physio (who she?). Of course despite Ramires coolly slotting home a third goal we will always conjure up a bit of Keystone Kop football to give the opposition some hope. A long clearance which JT could and should have headed into touch was met instead by a poor attempt to drop it into the path of Cole. It was a hospital ball. Straight to Routledge who Ash promptly pulled down, selflessly taking a yellow for the team. The resultant free kick saw a great very un-Bosingwa like cross straight to Ashley Williams who Bosingwa had lost for a lovely headed goal. An unnecessary free kick caused by a sloppy JT moment followed by set piece defending the likes of which has not been as bad since the darkest days of Big Phil Scolari.

But it was too little far too late for the mouse. The cat was still bored and with seconds to go the sharpened death claw of Drogba struck the final fatal blow after a decent run from the very un-TGV Malouda ended with a square pass to DD for a stop/turn/shoot/score combo that would have seen him into the next round of Strictly. Yes, he was very pleased, Like the cat who got the… mouse I suppose.

4-1, well deserved and well earned. Something tells me last season that would not have been the case in similar circumstances.

The good

  • Ramires. Hard working, tracking back, forward runs. Vital.
  • Anelka – simply world class. Arousing.
  • Ivanovic. JT should watch the video of him today. Superb.
  • Torres. Got back on the bike. But the bike got a puncture. Striving.
  • Mikel Obi. His best performance by far. Ever. Promising.
  • AVB. Braver, more daring and dynamic than Carlo. Sorry if that hurts but it’s true so far. Inspiring.
  • Stoke showing their result against us was no fluke and puncturing the red Mancs’ air of invincibility. Gratifying.

The bad

  • Mike Dean. A disgrace to officiating, as were his assistants.
  • The TV in the club room with the fuzzy picture right by where we sit. Not a good advert for Samsung.
  • City fluking their way past Everton. It has to end.
  • Yeah, the Torres tackle. Unnecessary and a poor challenge. On balance he can hardly complain. Still not a red for me.

The ugly

An unusual one here. I got back and watched us again on Football First on Sky. What I then listened to was nothing short of Utter Cuntery of the highest order from Tony Gale. He spent the entire match sticking the knife into us with just the odd compliment spat through a stream of vitriol and derision. I thought Andy Townsend sat proudly atop the punditry fuckwit mountain, but the king of football arse gravy is dead. Long live the king. Tony ‘shitforbrains’ Gale.

Player ratings – subjective and very probably illogical and unreasonable

  • Cech – 7/10 – Could have gone fruit picking today and put Louis Spence in goal. Would have made no difference.
  • Bosingwa – 7/10 – Improving but dropped a bit for the last 10 minutes.
  • Terry – 7/10 – Something not clicking. Was the root cause of the free kick leading to the non clean sheet.
  • Ivanovic – 9/10 – One of the few constant things we can rely on.
  • Cole – 8/10 – Brave, hard working, dogged.
  • Obi – 9/10 – Utterly magnificent.
  • Meireles – 7/10 – Good game, shit haircut.
  • Ramires – 9/10 – Showing last season was no fluke.
  • Mata – 8/10 – A few sloppy touches but soon settled and showed his superb ability.
  • Anelka – 9/10 – Utterly magnificent. See Obi Mike.
  • Torres – 8/10 – Great goal, looked sharp and dangerous. Silly tackle.
  • Malouda (sub) – 6/10 – Sub for Mata but not in same league at the moment.
  • Drogba (sub) – 7/10 – Late appearance but looked lean and mean and hungry. Lovely taken goal.
  • McEachran (sub) – 7/10 – Didn’t get long but looks cool and calm.
  • Manager rating – 9/10 – Should be featured in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as the prime exponent of the Don’t Panic mantra.
  • Overall team performance – 8/10 – Can you hear that purring noise?

Man of the Match

Boy this is tough. Ivan was faultless today. Ramires got two goals. Anelka was a magnificent sleek beast oozing class of the World variety. Mikel Obi was magnificent. Frankly they all deserve it. So, I’ll give it to… Nico I think. Tireless, selfless, calmness personified and the rock of the team today.

Final thoughts

Third. 3rd. Number 3. Trois. Troisieme. Sitting on the rails, tucked in behind the leaders. Pacing ourselves. Waiting for the others to falter. Like Seb Coe in his prime we’re sat on the shoulder of the pack. When we need to kick on we will. It’s not being top now that counts, it’s being top in May. We are undeniably a work in progress. The change in style will need time for fans and critics to understand. We will leave gaps, but we will score goals. This is evolution in progress folks and we can sit back and watch the fine AVB guide us through it.

We may win nothing this year, but we’ll win nothing in style, exciting and thrilling and entertaining which has to be better than last year when winning nothing with shambolic, listless, slow football was our trademark. The joy returning is showing on the players faces, bar Kalou and Malouda maybe.

The Doctor once said, when asked by Peri (the buxom assistant for the Dads) what was happening to him after regenerating from Peter Davidson to Colin Baker:

“Change my dear. Change. And not a moment too soon.”

Very apt for us I think. Very apt.

There are 57 comments

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  1. Machchan

    Fantastic report Tony.  Loved the weaving in of an apt piece from Dali at the beginning.  Loved the description of Mike Dean.  Your cat’n’mouse analogy was spot on.  One aspect of the Swans turning into mice I found most perplexing was how they failed to press with 11 against 10.  There were long passages in the 2nd half where we passed the ball amongst ourselves with no Swam/Mouse coming anywhere near the ball.  Have to question Brendan Rodgers’ strategy there.

    Re Ramires, I remember those early weeks last season when he was getting much poison pen treatment from our dear brothers with a lone voice or two (who shall remain nameless) explaining that the ingredients were there and it will come together soon…  good to see further vindication.  If there is to be one criticism it is that he still has this occasional tendency for the inexplicable lateral-pass-to-the-opposition in midfield – did one in this game too.  That aside he was magnificent and will get even better in the coming months/years.

  2. NorthernVA

    Great report Tony. The Cech comment was brillant! Agreed on Mikel’s performance. Continues to be the most underrated player at CFC. He is the best holding mid in the league hands down. Also probably played the pass of the match which Torres was just inches from latching onto.

    This was the strongest bench which we have had in quite some time. We have a squad that can compete on all fronts. Hopefully we get the Bison back in a few months. Many reasons to be confident and not buy into the breakaway Manchester train which we have been inundated with the last month.

  3. Anonymous

    I’d be interested to hear from those that have seen both matches who was better between Swansea and Norwich. I dearly hope the Canaries stay up.

    Josh had a composed cameo at the end. I’d love to see him play more but I think going out on loan has to be the best thing for him in January

  4. Cunningplan

    Fantastic read Mr Glover, it’s good to see your artisitc juices flowing, and back on reporting duty.
    Totally agree with many of your points, especially with regard Mike Dean, and the commentary from Tony Gale, who was commentating on the live feed I found on the net.

    Again we play with ten men, and it only brings me back to what I said with regard AVB making an official complaint about the officiating at OT. I just don’t think it’s worth shouting too much unless you’re old purplenose, because it just looks like our lads won’t be given the benefit of the doubt in certain situations.

    The game was as you described, total control and comfortable football from us, we certainly are moving that ball a lot quicker and with greater purpose than we used to. We’re becoming pretty to watch, but with a mixture of grit if needed to grind out results.
    AVB (yes I know it’s early days) is certainly measuring up in becoming a force to be reckoned with.

    PS The hot (cough) physio is our new team doctor Eva Carneiro, I should imagine the groin strains might be on the rise at the club over the coming season.
    Was that sexist? 😉

  5. Anonymous

    I like the mice analogy, TG.

    Indeed it was hard to disagree with the bloke in the row behind me, who had barely finished pontificating to his mate on Swansea’s likely rapid return to the Championship “as you can’t see any goals in them”, when that free-kick sailed into our net.

    A goal conceded from dodgy marking at free-kicks in consecutive weeks – send for the MOTD “It’s a defensive crisis” squad.

    Perhaps we need to start a Hall of Shame for favourite UC moments by TV commentators/pundits. My favourite Tony Gale moment yesterday was the early off-side decision against Mata where he blithely carried on congratulating the linesman on a correct decision even as the replay was showing Mata was a good yard onside when the ball was played.

    Have I started hallucinating or was this not the second game at least where Mikel has regularly advanced into the opposition half – and gone into their penalty box at corners?

  6. Anonymous

    Another superb read Tony, thanks.

    You’ve absolutely nailed Dean. I was struggling to sort out in my own thoughts what felt so wrong about that decision, given that as soon as it happened I was thinking “that looks like a potential red”. As you say, it was just so unnecessary. Nando was apologising while he was still sliding, missed the man, clearly has no interest in making a vengeful tackle at that stage: perfectly obvious that there’s no malice and no harm done. Of course no one can complain about a straight red for a two-footed tackle off the ground, and Dean will say he was just applying the letter of the law, but the fact is he wasn’t. He saw his chance to put himself in the spotlight and write all the predictable headlines about The Ongoing Torres Catastrophe, and he couldn’t resist it. The sensible decision would have been a yellow and a serious talking-to: “I know you didn’t mean it but we can’t have that sort of tackle, anything remotely like that again and you’re off.” It was never going to have any effect on the game at 2-0.

    The yellow cards he issued to the Swansea players in the second half were nonsensical too. He knew he’d f**ked up and was trying to show that he was being fair.

    On the whole I think refs are actually pretty good in the Premiership now but every time you hear the intolerable ex-ref with the grotesque fake tan on TV (Someone Winter, is it?) you realise how easy it is for them to tip over into ridiculously delusional self-importance. Dean’s been around too long and thinks far too much of himself.

    Game-wise, nothing to add except that as always I’m less impressed by Nic than Tony is. I didn’t see him contribute much in the first half (Mata was everywhere by contrast) and Drogba was a far scarier option as the lone striker when he came on, though to be fair Swansea were all over the place by then.

    Another excellent game from Mikel.

    However I can’t let one of Tony’s observations go unrefuted. Dali’s a waste of space. Far too theatrical and tricksy, too in love with the surface of his paintings, and his surrealism operates at the level of sight gags. Contrast Magritte or De Chirico, who radiate proper mystery and unease (and beauty). Dali is the Robbie Savage of modernism. Dali is the Quique de Lucas of art history, the cack-witted semi-literate internet troll [see above] at the interface of art and pop culture.

  7. Anonymous

    Mikel’s a dilemma.  On the one hand he’s excellent at nicking the ball, controlling it in tight spaces and passing to a team mate, yet on the other hand he is a bit slow in both thought and process.  The accusation, both from pundits and Fernando, that our game is too slow and predictable is valid.  We’re showing signs of changing that under AVB but my guess is, if all players are fit, in the crunchiest of crunch games Mikel wouldn’t be in the first eleven.

  8. Der_Kaiser

    Splendid stuff, TG. Sorry I didn’t catch you at H/T – got chatting with the folks over my way, not seen them as I’ve missed most of the early season fun. Next time…

    Enjoyed the game – think we’re really starting to take shape now; masterstroke by AVB to keep us practicing with 10 men; excellent preparation for the inevitable Barcelona meeting (see Courtois didn’t manage to hang on to his clean sheet run this weekend).

    Impressed with pretty everyone on the pitch in a blue shirt, but especially Mikel, Ramires and Mata. Torres clearly eager to please – his red card pretty much the only thing Dean got right all afternoon in a refereeing performance that was so picky it made your average CL group game look free-flowing and well officiated.

    At least FT can keep his eye in via the Euro games and DD can make his way back via the league. Looking forward to the Valencia game this week – should be a good one.

  9. WorkingClassPost

    Being so keen to steam in, I often forget to mention the excellent reports here, but that’s almost exactly as I saw things.

    My only reservation was that we were starting to look slow and ponderous again in the minutes before FT got us off the mark, with too many intricate little passes around their box, all too easy to cut out.

    One really good pass changed all that and two in two might be the start of a what we’ve all been waiting for.

    With a couple of CL games to come, the following ban shouldn’t be an issue and may simplify AVB’s selection options.

    From being far too casual with 11, we started taking the game more seriously with only 10 on the pitch, and looked a better, more professional, team.

    Following a slightly different two in two, I’ve been looking for a good, recent, vid of 10 men went to mow, but they’re all a bit out of date.  At this rate we should be seeing some newer versions soon.

  10. Ososdeoro

    Premier League Preview Show posed the question of which Torres would show up on Saturday. I said “both most likely” and was half pleased to be correct. Can’t blame the ref for the card, unfortunately.

    Oh, the Dali painting is fantastic. Hadn’t seen that one. Thanks.

  11. SimonT

    With 10 men and without Supa Frank, Chelsea still won by a 3 goal margin. This is certainly not a classless society we live in.

  12. Marco

    First match I have seen at SB this season and Mata looks even more awesome close up than he does on TV – or is that because he is more influential playing in the middle? The second goal was like one I haven’t seen from us for two years – in 10 seconds we had switched from defending as JT passes to Torres, who puts Ashley on his way to setting up Ramires, to the goal. Counter-attacking at it’s lightning best and we did it again for Drogs’ goal, with Ashley again involved.

    Difficult to rate our comparative performance as Swansea really didn’t offer much and I was surprised how pedestrian and uninventive Brendan Rodgers’ team were. It was only because our back four went to sleep again in the last ten minutes that they threatened to get back to 3-2 with two free headers allowed on goal from set-pieces. But, then, watching our beloved Chelsea wouldn’t be the same without some Chuckle Brothers’ moments.

    15 attempts on goal and 4 conversions with Ramires scoring two from four. Looks like someone on AVB’s team has been reading this blog……

  13. bluebayou

    Swans, Mice, Elephants?  Was this football or a visit to some Medieval Bestiary? Very entertaining TG. And as I didn’t see or hear the game and have only the minimal highlights on MOTD to go on it is a useful view of what the game was like.

    Shame about Torres, but I think a fair few refs would have given him first squeeze on the shower gel.

    Good to see Didier back. Indeed it was in keeping with the theme that one of our two ‘Les Elephants’ should deliver the coup de grace to the Swans.

    On the subject of Dali, I can offer little as my knowledge of art is poor. But he obviously cultivated a certain noteriety such that even amongst working class men in Britain there was a certain unease about his attractiveness and avialbility to women in general. This probably explains the opening lines of that well known song

    “My old man said follow the van
    And don’t diddle Dali on the way”

    I’ll get my smock and beret…………

  14. Cunningplan

    Changing the subject from our awesome Barcelona-esque  play on Saturday, did not the press report it that way?
    To the… how it was a great point for Utd at Stoke on Saturday, as it’s a very difficult place to go to, afterall Utd did go one up, and shouldn’t their great defenders have kept Stoke out?

    If my fading memory serves me correctly, wasn’t our game reported as two points dropped?
    It’s still fascinating to hear the pundits go on about the twin Manchester juggernaut, and their huge 3 point lead with only 32 games left.

    • bluebayou

      Not only the usual Stoke ruggedness allied to organisation (and some decent footballers as well) but  they are a few weeks ahead in conditioning due to an early start in Europe. I think we were well aware that this added extra difficulty to an away game at the start of the season. It also probably helped against the Mancs. Experience shows that this usually catches up with the early start teams but they are maximising the current advantage because if you include Liverpool (and I think it’s reasonable to do so) they’ve taken 5 out of a possible nine against probable top 6 finishers at home so far.

      Like Mark says that was always a decent point day 1.

      • Cunningplan

        Not like you to lower the tone with ribald remarks BB 😉
        I hope your reference to cock was of the chicken variety?

        • bluebayou

          I strive, CP, I strive but just occasionally the frail tissue of civility tears under the brutal sneeze of base humanity.

        • bluebayou

          Is it coincidence that we should be doing cock jokes on the day that Winkleigh tops a report into the best place to raise a family (as long as you have a car and can drive it, or horse ‘n cart if you’re Amish).

          Down your way I believe.

          • Cunningplan

            Yes it is, and having lived in Devon for 10 years and visited the place, you would enjoy and fit in very well BB, if you ever decided to move. 😉

  15. Cunningplan

    Mark  & BB
    Don’t disagree at all, we all know this blog provides far more sense than the so called expert pundits, and our media.

    JD Very funny, there should be a warning sign occasionally on this site not to drink anything while reading comments.

  16. bluebayou

    Moving our minds to a higher plane for a moment.

    A much higher plane it should be said, because we are going to talk about Uncle Claudio who is once again acting as the “Red Adair” of Italian football having parachuted into Inter.

    And he started with a win albeit against a struggling Bologna.

    Should we and they progress in the CL it is almost nailed on that we will play them I suppose.

    But happy days. Glad he’s back in work. Not that he needs the money.

    • Cunningplan

      Yes have to agree, his reaction was priceless, a game that everyone expected us to lose.

      Then of course he goes and blows it in the semi, I’m sure there’s a sexual connotation in there somewhere. 🙂

      • Der_Kaiser

        Yep, Monaca… still a shining example of how the ‘old’ Chelsea would get so close… and then royally fark it all up in the most spectacular fashion possible!

    • BlueJohn

      Wasn’t that the season where the Arse didn’t lose a single league game? I remember that game so clearly and was sooo proud of the boys beating such a strong Arse team. 

      Good times under CR … he called the team his gladiators and we were the darlings of English football. How things changed under JM!! 

  17. bluebayou

    Eidur’s touch, Bridge’s finish but vitally Crespo stays on side. Brings tears.
    I think if ol’ Claudio’s knees could have taken it he’d have been sliding down the turf a la JM.

  18. Anonymous

    Great stuff, Tony. I thought as much that (someone somewhere does not want anything totally good about FT). One can even see from most 0f the newspapers report, how they described FT with the tackle.

  19. bluebayou

    In the news today.

    It’s official Carling beer is weak….(from the Guardian story about Carling finsihing their sponsorship of the League Cup. It’s been Milk, it’s been Beer, what next?)

    “The company has also suffered financially, with income at Molson Coors falling 6% between April and June this year due to weak beer sales and increased costs for fuel and ingredients.”

  20. bluebayou

    I saw this piece form Blues Chronicle about Petr Cech.

    It mentions that he suffered “only” a concussion in the Fulham game (no criticism intended). Following Hockey as I do, I’m aware of the somewhat tardy but growing concern about repeated concussions and their cumulative effect in that sport.

    The focus has increased now stars like Sidney Crosby have been sidelined for months and some forced to retire due to problems induced by headshots. Crosby’s problems came after a couple of hits four days apart. The temptation for sports men to just shake it off is very real. I wonder about John Terry sometimes because he’s taken some knocks to the head.

    Concussion is a very complex subject and I certainly don’t have the expertise to disuss it properly. But I am aware that one player can be knocked cold and show no long term symptoms (problems with bright light, vision problems, headaches etc.) whereas another can be hit, never knocked out but exhibit worrying long term issues (a la Crosby). Plus there is the cumulative effect of repeated blows.

    In football it is probably rare to take the sort of blinside hit to the head where you take the complete impact from someone moving at speed who could weigh 15 stone or more. In football more often than not players will be braced for an impact but how much this helps who knows?

    I trust Cech is getting good medical advice but given his history I do wonder how many more blows to the head he can take.

  21. Ososdeoro

    Now most of the knocks come from contact with other players….I read where now the ball is coated so it doesn’t take on water, but back in the day it would and the extra weight was enough to give some players a lot of problems. The few times I’ve played, the last thing I wanted to do was a header. I think I’d be a candidate for an immediate pinched nerve if I tried.

  22. Cunningplan

    So what have we learned this week, apart from Neutrinos may travel faster than the speed of light?
    Well I’ve learnt that the Manchester juggernaut are not as invincible as our expert pundits make out.

  23. bluebayou

    Man United 3-Basel 3 ???????

    Historically the receipt of that sort of news would leave a chap uttering the invitation to “bugger me sideways”.

    Last I looked United were 2 up and I assumed carnage would ensue. And they only equalised in the 90th.

    I’m sure Suralex will sort it out (maybe his friend Asterix might help), but that couldn’t have been in the script.

    And does the result in Germany mean Bayern still haven’t conceded a goal this season?

    And Uncle Claudio marches on. And against a team with connections to our own Roman.

  24. Anonymous

    I clicked in to Sky Sports Gnus at about 9:20 and saw Basel 3-2 up with 15 mins to go.

    Yeah yeah yeah, I told myself, and watched a few minutes of the Bayern thing. (My, they look good this year, at least on the basis of those few minutes.)

    Checked again with 5 mins to go. Still 3-2. Against my better judgment I began to hope that just this once the inevitable would fail to occur.

    3 mins to go. Still 3-2. Warm fuzzy feelings beginning to arise.

    Bloody Man U. Always the same. Bastards. I can’t even enjoy a proper dollop of schadenfreude now, knowing that it could have been (and so nearly was) so much tastier a dollop.

    • Cunningplan

      Have to agree with Bayern, that they looked good, or it could be that Citeh when they face a team that has some quality they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. I watched the game on and off and happened to be tuned in when Dzeko was subbed, he was not a happy boy, but the refusal of Tevez to come on was astonishing, never seen that before.

      As far as Utd go, I was glad that Basel scored to make it 3-2 because at 2-2 with minutes to go, that Young goal would have given them an undeserved victory, as you say the bastards always seem to do it.

  25. Der_Kaiser

    Good side, Bayern – can see them making the latter stages again without too much trouble.

    Very glad that horrible little chunt Tevez didn’t end up here – staggering behaviour.

  26. Anonymous

    Even by my over the top criticism, and even by his usual Marmite appearances on the pitch and their associated performance, that was an unmitigated car-crash 10 minutes from my mate Kalou.

    Missed challenge followed by missed challenge followed by lost possession followed by idiotic handball. Take a bow son. That takes some doing.

    Detracts from what was a decent performance overall. The not-quite-dead-in-his-coffin Lamps played very well I thought. Probably would have settled for a point beforehand, but feel slightly robbed now.

  27. Anonymous

    Got to admit I was a bit shocked when AVB brought on Kalou for Lampard to retain our lead.  Hopefully he’s learnt from that little mistake.

  28. Anonymous

    Whoever writes a report will probably reflect on some really weird subs made by AVB. Kalou for Lamps when we lead 1:0 is probably one of the most ridiculous subs since Tinkerman. What is the reason to open up midfield when we are leading? WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Cunningplan

    Three points
    Their keeper played a blinder
    Why can’t we get a penalty in this competition?
    As far as the Kalou substitution goes, you can’t legislate for stupidity when it comes to handling the ball in your penalty area

  30. Anonymous

    My goodness. What a terrific game. I’ll happily eat my words of a month ago regarding our terminal sluggishness.

    The competition for places brought on by the rotation system certainly seems to have perked a few people up. All the starting 11 were terrific. Malouda and Luiz stood out for me by virtue of having had some fairly dodgy appearances this season.

    Unfortunately poor old Kalou seemed to get so excited about finally getting a chance to play that he went into brainlock. As 50ee says, hard to imagine a more catastrophic ten minutes.

    The Frank haterz will have to go back to bothering turkeys yet again. Terrific game even without the goal.

    I suppose the bigger picture is once again the rather embarrassing rate of return on the number of excellent chances we created. Not much once can complain about regarding the two saves from Torres but some of the other chances really weren’t that difficult.

    Still, great fun, and a decent result given that Valencia and the aspirins have to play each other twice.

  31. Benjami

    I can see why AVB did that substitution, though I personally would have put on Drogba rather than Kalou. Still the chances the plonker would put his hands up like that are minuscule.

    If he brings on another midfielder it just encourages us to sit further back and soak up the pressure. If he brings on Drogba our set piece defence improves but we will just lump it up to him for the rest of the game and it will probably come straight back. So instead put on Kalou and try and stretch the game against a defence playing an extremely high line.

    To be fair to AVB it almost worked when Kalou set Anelka up after the goal so…

    Defensively we sort of played well which is encouraging, there were some dodgy moments but we seem to be improving steadily. A few great tackles by Luiz helped but still when I think of our defence a few years ago:

    7/10 Ferreira, Carvalho, Younger Terry, Cole

    It is clear it has declined in quality from argueable the best in the world to only Ashley Cole being of that class.

    However Luiz and Ivanovic are both excellent and could easily reach that quality in the future, but I still think we need to consider buying a new defender 🙁

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