The Observer, Daniel Taylor: "In the end, it was a reminder for the Premier League’s newest billionaires not to get too far ahead of themselves. Manchester City’s supporters will have enjoyed their first sight of Robinho and the swish of his right boot that brought him a debut goal. Yet, ultimately, Chelsea made it a bruising experience for all those fancy-dress ‘Arabs’ who had walked down Joe Mercer Way with tea-towels tied round their heads and something that looked suspiciously like Cherry Blossom smeared on their cheeks."
Sunday Telegraph, Duncan White: "It will take a lot more than one brilliant Brazilian to overturn the Premier League hierarchy. Robinho may have made a thrilling debut in English football, opening the scoring with a deflected free-kick, but ultimately this game merely underlined that the team he spurned are still a marker of excellence for any incalculably rich owner.
Chelsea were outstanding and this would have been a perfect evening for Luiz Felipe Scolari had it not been for Terry’s late red card, which has ruled the England captain out of the Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday."
Sunday Times, David Walsh: "[Robinho] wasn’t a patch on Frank Lampard, who was the game’s best player and by quite some distance. To every good Chelsea move, he was centra: the choice of his pass, the timing, the accuracy, the weight, he had it all and it was a joy to watch. What the other Chelsea players love about Lampard is that he never takes a fraction more time to make the than is necessary."
Independent on Sunday, Guy Hodgson: "[J]ust because you have Abu Dhabi banknotes spilling out of the coffers, it does not mean you can catch up the elite overnight, and "Middle Eastlands" was given a cold dose of reality last night. City did not flop their big entrance or revert to calamitous type but they were comprehensively defeated by Chelsea, who have a five-year start on collecting the planet’s best footballers."
Official Chelsea FC Website: "The new Manchester City couldn’t succeed where recent past ones have failed against Chelsea after Ricardo Carvalho, Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka completed an emphatic response to an early set-back."
Although the UK economy is in recession, the house market is reversing all mortgage holders into negative equity, and club sponsors like Northern Crock and XL (Xtra Losses) crash it’s heartening to know that the Premier League is attracting the funds of the world’s wealthiest individuals. The face of football is changing and the game is likely to get as much coverage in the Financial Times as the tabloids. As a consequence this blog needs to appeal to a wider audience, not just die hard fans but also our financial friends from the City.
Steel Barons 0 – 4 Jewellers
Harrods 2 – 1 Reebok
The Worst a Man Can Get 2 – 1 Window Glazers
Really Big Oil Wells 1 – 3 Big Oil Wells (plus Gas)
Fat Blokes Shouldn’t Wear Replica Shirts 1 – 2 TV Betting
Russian Upstarts 2 – 1 Global Transport
West Brom (I Wouldn’t Invest in Them Either) 3 – 2 Big in Biscuits
Tacky Sports Gear 1 – 1 Irish Horse Traders
The ground was filled with Mancunians who thought it would be a good joke to wear an Arab headdress. Expectations were high. After all, when you have money you can buy anything, like a mock Georgian mansion, Burberry hat, Aston Martin etc. so surely you can buy instant success.
First trading session
The game was really open, helped by the fact that referee Mark Halsey obviously thought that body checks are within the rules. After 12 minutes Ricardo Carvalho gave away a free kick on the ‘D’ of our penalty area. With the collapse of the building trade it’s difficult to build a decent wall nowadays and ours was full of gaps which Robinho exploited with a decent strike into the net. He then performed the obligatory run to the corner flag kissing the badge. I’d like a player to be honest and run kissing their wallet. A heated argument ensued between Petr Cech and John Terry regarding the poor wall.
Fortunately we equalised within one minute. From a corner a fortuitous bounce off Joe Cole fell into the path of Carvalho who thumped the ball home, making amends for giving away the free kick.
During the remainder of the half we had some excellent interplay and dominated position with both full-backs getting down the wings. We created plenty of chances; Florent Malouda had two headers, one hitting the bar, Nicolas Anelka one headed opportunity and two shots. I feared we’d regret these missed opportunities later.
Second trading session
We started the second half with the same good form from the first. We were able to go short or long, hit balls with extra interest that paid dividends resulting in excellent Footsie with Cech performing SAYE (save as you earn).
Our passing was the best I’d seen for ages and we looked a class above City. From a City attack we passed the ball out of our area and interplayed into the City area with Frank Lampard side stepping a defender to drill the ball home clinically with his left foot. Classic Lampard.
Not long later a great move involving Deco and Joe Cole and the ball got threaded through to Anelka who miraculously finished with aplomb.
We took our foot off the gas and after 75 minutes a wayward pass left Terry exposed and he had no choice but to foul the attacker. Unbelievably, despite the fact the Terry wasn’t the last man, Halsey reversed his opinion on body checks being legal and showed Terry a red card.
- Petr Cech – Not required to do much. His kit looks fuzzy even on my very expensive Sony – no change.
- Ashley Cole – Excellent going forward, steady at the back – up 2 points.
- Jose Bosingwa – Excellent going forward, steady at the back – up 2 points.
- John Terry – Solid performance and unfairly sent off – no change.
- Ricardo Carvalho – Well taken goal and some well timed tackles – up 1 point.
- John Obi Mikel – Generally slick but had a couple of Mikel moments where the red mist set in – no change.
- Deco – Excellent, aside from the pass that caused Terry to get caught short and subsequently sent off – up 1 point.
- Frank Lampard – At his classy best with a brilliant goal – up 3 points and strong buy recommendation.
- Florent Malouda – Average – down 2 points – sell.
- Nicholas Anelka – Average but at least he scored – down 1 point – sell.
- Joe Cole – Wore his head bandage with honour – some good passes – up 1 point.
- Juliano Belletti – Steady.
- Didier Drogba – Not fit but still able to perform sulky expressions.
- Alex – An excellent stand-in for Terry.
Super Frank. As good as I’ve seen him.
Ten points from four games, six points ahead of our main rivals; it’s too early in the season to extrapolate these numbers but I’m really encouraged by today’s performance where we dominated the game and played some excellent football that also entertained. My only concern was our forwards’ inability to convert a high percentage of chances and, in tighter games against better teams, this may cost us points.