Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea – Press Reaction, Goal Videos, Match Report

The newspaper reports

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “If there was one consolation for Andre Villas-Boas yesterday it was that, unlike many young managers’ first defeat at Old Trafford, he need not remember it as a humiliating experience. Eventually, he might even see it the way the rest of us did: as one of those football matches with the drama and unpredictability to make you shake your head in disbelief. In terms of its ebb and flow, it did not feel like a 3-1 win for Manchester United, but then it did not feel like any game in recent memory. There were two offside goals and one miss from Fernando Torres that defied explanation, although Wayne Rooney’s shanked penalty was not too far behind. There was the brilliant and there was the sheer erratic. It was football-eh-bloody-hell and it is only halfway through September.”

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “This was an extraordinary game, chaos and class writ large. This was a match that had everything: spectacular strikes, horrendous misses and relentless scrutiny of the beauty and blemishes of a star’s technique. One moment Wayne Rooney was tapping home, the next he was slipping up. One moment Fernando Torres was finishing like Romario, the next like Ronnie Rosenthal. Great game, crazy game.”

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “The two most powerful teams in the land in recent years combined to put on an enthralling spectacle of frailty. Chelsea, in view of the result, might look second rate. They were indeed inferior but Manchester United’s lead would have been trimmed had Fernando Torres not declined to take his second goal of the afternoon. Having carried a Ramires pass away from the Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea he shot wide in the 83rd minute.”

The Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle, Dan Levene: “In a pulsating and incident-packed game, Chelsea all but dominated United – but were crushed by their own defensive frailties.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season is over after an afternoon of frustration at Old Trafford. Both sides could have had a hatful of goals following an entertaining game littered with errors at either end, but it was the hosts who made the better of their chances to go clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.”

The goals

8′ Smalling 1-0
37′ Nani 2-0
45′ Rooney 3-0
46′ Torres 3-1

Some preliminary ramblings

With the Premiership title race apparently already a Manchester only affair, at least Old Trafford’s wise old sage had the decency to mention that Chelsea would be there or thereabouts come the day of reckoning in the build-up to today’s Super Sunday big ticket.

The Sky build-up included an interstitial (that’s what the TV types call them, you know) featuring impressive street magician chappie, Dynamo. A sort of Paul Daniels for the ‘Skins’ generation, if you will. There was some impressive mastery of a pack of cards, which, one felt, was unlikely to be a precursor to any game at Old Trafford with Phil ‘Look, I’m just big-boned’ Dowd in charge.

The overall feeling amongst the blue faithful this week has generally been along the lines of “Hmm, bit too early for us” and I can’t say I disagree. United have had an uncanny knack of sticking away every shot on target thus far this season, while we have been pretty much the polar opposite.

The grey suited gentlemen of Sky – do they all have the same tailor? – lauded young Mr. Villas-Boas for his attacking line-up which included a front three of Torres, Sturridge and Mata. Gary Neville, veteran of a few of these clashes, suggested a toe-to-toe, festival of attacking football was on the cards; the pessimist in me felt that on current form, this probably wasn’t what the mighty Chelsea needed right now.

Still, hope springs eternal and all that – our record up there bar last season is as good as it gets in the Premiership era…

The game

Entertaining fare for the neutral, as the old cliché goes. But for us of the blue persuasion, I suspect many adopted the old-fashioned Dr. Who “behind the sofa” standpoint, so horrendous was some of our defending and finishing.

I made the following ‘real time’ observations on proceedings which I shall share with you here, whether you like it or not:

3 minutes: De Gea saves cross/shot from Meireles, who is an awfully long way forward for a man marking Wayne Rooney.

7 minutes: Smalling, 1-0. Poor defending – Sturridge and Frank look on as the one-time amateur makes some very seasoned professionals look like, well, amateurs. Hint of offside, but no excuses for that.

15 minutes: We’re 5 to 1 ahead on shots on goal and 1-0 down. Draw from that what you will. Frank limping a little after coming together with Smalling.

19 minutes: Ashley Cole is spoken to by Phil Dowd. Darren Fletcher has come over to help out, which is nice of him. Good to see he’s not forgotten his role in officiating matches.

20 minutes: Cries of handball against Frank from sixty thousand muppets. Dowd, looking directly at the incident from about six yards, says no.

25 minutes: AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! Ramires manages to find De Gea in a relatively uncrowded net after good work from Mata. Should have been the equaliser, and I don’t mean Edward Woodward.

30 minutes: Torres attempts overhead kick. I shall say no more.

Ooh, City have blown a two goal lead at Fulham. You can have all the forwards you like…

37 minutes: Another hoary old football cliché is all I can offer here – you just don’t stop those. Nani from about 20 odd yards, and it’s two-nil. Cech hardly moved – an absolute rocket, not helped by our retreating, tackle-shy defence. I think that’s probably it.

44 minutes: No, actually, that’s it. Jones’s run from the back tenacity in the box ends in a spot of pinball, with Terry’s clearance bouncing off Nani to Rooney, who is frankly lonelier than Wordsworth’s bloody cloud on the other side of our box to tap the third in. Not good. I am retrospectively withdrawing my smug laughter at Arsenal’s recent misfortune up here.

Mercifully, Fatty Dowd wheezes a puff of air into his whistle and that’s half time.

The punditii (I’m inventing a new plural for the sheer hell of it) suggested that AVB might be shaking his head and wondering how his side were three-nil down at half time. I wasn’t – shite defending played a significant part in all three goals and the finishing at the other end wasn’t much better. Moan about offside decisions all you like – don’t leave players in acres of space eight yards from your goal, play to the whistle and trying to stick a tackle in and you might be onto something.

The second half commences, with Anelka coming on for the presumably injured Frank (who still isn’t looking quite the full ticket for me). Formation looks sort of 4-2-4 with Ramires and Meireles holding, but I’m not 100% sure.

45 minutes and a couple of Nandoseconds (see what I did there?): GOAL! 3-1 Torres makes a terrific run to collect Anelka’s superb little sort-of-reverse pass and dinks the ball over De Gea like a man who doesn’t have feet of clay and the touch of a rapist. Game (possibly) on.

53 minutes: After a decent spell of passing with Mata and Torres looking dangerous, United break after a slightly wasted corner and Nani goes down under Bosingwa’s (perfectly legitimate) looking challenge. Penalty…

Which Rooney misses, JT in Moscow style – on his arse, turf uprooted, still 3-1. JT booked for verbals at Dowd, I think. Dramarama all round.

61 minutes: Smalling and Anderson off, Valencia and Carrick on.

God, our defensive line is frighteningly high – need to be very careful.

67 minutes: Lukaku on for Sturridge. He is a monster of a man – Sky show him standing next to Evra – it’s like Arnie and DeVito in ‘Twins’.

Lots of CFC pressure – maybe three corners in a row (sorry, daughter now on lap, concentration lacking)? Torres really grafting today, most impressive – finally seems to be getting what the blue shirt is all about.

70 minutes: Torres dinking and dancing through the United defence, first shot saved, second blasted over. Looking good…

72 minutes: Rooney hits the post, Hernandez injured after his follow-up is blocked by Cole. Goes off with Berbatov taking his place. Mikel comes on for Meireles.

80 minutes: End to end stuff – plenty of Fergie time after Hernandez’s knock too.

83 minutes: Oh. Dear. Fucking. Lord. Torres rounds De Gea, goal gaping and… misses. From about four yards. Poor sod, doesn’t deserve that after the shift he’s put in today.

Ronnie Rosenthal’s ‘phone is now ringing quite a lot, you would imagine.

Thereafter, I am charged with reading an Angelina Ballerina book to dear daughter, but the game largely seems to fizzle out bar a great sliding block from Ashley, who almost Phil Babbs himself on the post. Ouch.

And that’s that. Eighteen straight home wins for United, a new record. Cracking game, which could have had another half a dozen goals if those concerned had turned up in their shooting boots.

The player ratings

Three is the magic number, said De La Soul, Whodini mused upon the wonders of five minutes of funk and the late, great Douglas Adams told us it was forty-two. Frankly, I could sit here generating random numbers all night, but if I were able to do so with any meaning or success, I’d have won the lottery by now.

The Man of the Match

Tricky one. Mostly good performances from our boys, but it probably has to go to Torres for nicking a great consolation and looking like he understands what is expected of him here. Just hope the miss hasn’t shot his confidence to shit for another ten games.

The conclusion

A result not entirely unexpected, if we’re honest. The suggestion that this game came too soon is partly correct, but our defensive and shooting related issues need addressing by AVB and his team. We play a high line away from home, which is most likely to be exposed on the two visits we make to Manchester, but there looks to be enough going forward to trouble any team in this league. Frank’s removal changed things for better and worse; we looked a little quicker in possession and had the ball for good periods on occasion, but took a long time to regain it which I suspect may not have been the case had he been on the pitch; if he goes off, then Mikel is the obvious answer in terms of ball retention.

A title winning team? Maybe not, but on first impressions AVB has set his stall out well and with some tweaking here and there, we should be there or thereabouts come next May, as Fergie suggested.

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  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for the verdict JD. All the high street bookies around here were teasing the punters with window displays telling you how much you’d win for a 3-1 to the Mancs, so I guess we’re not the only ones not to be surprised by this result. (They weren’t inviting people to wager Smalling for the first goal though …)

    I saw about 15-20 minutes of the game, mid-first half, roughly centred around the ghastly Ramires miss. For that passage at least we looked suprisingly excellent. I’m seeing lots of positive noises in the media buzz too. On the one hand, it feels slightly embarrassing to have reached the stage where one shrugs off a two-goal defeat with talk about a decent performance. But on the other hand, this is a new manager trying to construct a genuinely different shape and pattern in the team, so perhaps at this early stage it really is reasonable to talk about progress and improvement etc etc.

    And, oddly, we lose no ground this weekend to ‘Poo or [snigger] Arse and only a point to Citeh. So depending on your expectations for this season even the smaller picture isn’t too bad.

  2. Anonymous

    Excellent blow by blow account thanks JD.

    I’m feeling positive after yesterday.  Am I saying this as a way of dealing with the result? After all when Wenger talks about being positive, after yet another Arse humiliation, I laugh at him and ridicule him.  Am I delusional?

    No, none of these, I’m of sound mind and I really feel positive because;

    1. The gap between Utd and us isn’t the chasm the hyper journalists would have you believe.

    2. We had plenty of good possession.

    3. Created loads of chances and, on another day, might have taken the lead or won 4-2, had off-sides been given and we paid more attention to the training drills on finishing from 4 yards

    4. Torres isn’t the next Michael Owen and not yet finished.  He was running off the shoulder of the defender just like the old Torres.  Not only that, on three occasions our so called ‘mechanical’ midfield managed to slip perfectly weighted balls through without the help of £40 squillion quids worth of Luka Modric.

    5. AVB is transitioning the side and our style of play.  There are some who on the one hand say “let’s write this season off whilst we re-build” yet on the other hand start slagging AVB off when he hasn’t managed to make us the ‘new’ Barcelona by September 18th!

    6. AVB isn’t afraid to make bold decisions.  Maybe Lampard was injured but I prefer to think the change was tactical.  And AVB makes changes according to what’s happening and not simply because 75 minutes are on the clock and therefore it’s time for a change.

    7. We look quicker and more inventive with the M’s instead of the F’s

    • WorkingClassPost

      It does seem a bit odd and even Wengerish to be so positive about losing a football match, but it’s hard not to feel up-beat.One of the most pleasing things for me, was the way AVB turned it around during the break. Heads were starting to droop (understandably so) in the last minutes of the first half but he got us up and out for the second in really good shape. Six competitive matches in and we were better than them for much of the game.We’re still experimenting with players and formations and that must have provided some real insight into who goes where and when.Would I feel any different if we’d had a bit of luck and won, or drawn? The points would’ve been handy, but there’s a long way to go this season, and talk of us being title favourites at this stage is something we can all do without.

      If we’re in a position to go above them the next time we meet, that’ll do nicely.

  3. Cunningplan

    Yes certainly not downbeat about the result, Utd just seem to be having the rub of the green.
    And we all know if had been us up 3-0 at halftime, and eventual winners at 3-1, the wrath of Sir Purple Nose would have been directed at poor officiating and offsides for their defeat.
    Credit to AVB he didn’t make a song and dance about the decisions, although Fergie has already deflected any attention away from thier luck, towards Cole’s tackle on the sneaky midget.
    And of course more attention is being paid to Torres’s miss rather than the sublime finish for his first, yes talk of his demise might be a tad premature.

    We’ve seen that Utd’s so called second string didn’t do so well in midweek, so perhaps their strength in depth, isn’t so deep, and things will go wrong for them (hopefully) sooner, rather than later.

  4. PeterW

    An impressive performance between the boxes, and I’m feeling pretty confident about the way things were going. At half-time I made a bet with a United fan that we’ll finish above them at the end of the season,cos I just didn’t think United were any good, playing mainly on confidence, bluster and fortune.

    The match was a little crazy and if you replayed it ten times you would get ten different results. We were easily the better side in the first half and did not deserve to be three down – I said at 2-0 that such was United’s luck that as Rooney was the worst player on the pitch, he was bound to score next… which he did. Two offside goals and a dodgy penalty should surely put paid to any more of Fergie’s crap about refs not doing his team any favours.Second half we created chances, but we gave away possession far too much without Lampard there to keep the ball in circulation, and United should have grabbed a couple on the break – understandable, given the way we were chasing the game. But I was disappointed we didn’t take advantage of our early goal. Lampard didn’t have the best first half, but our midfield lacks a certain something – stability, intelligence, nous – without him.Re:tactics. Generally spot on but not sure Meireles was quite the right man to pick in the defensive role. Would have started with Anelka over Torres. Lukaku looked overawed.As for Torres,hmmm. A decent performance – you could argue he was the best forward on the pitch – but what a shocker of a miss. I’ve always thought he still had the pace and touch of old, the idea that his legs had gone never seemed right when you watched him play, but it was his head that was the problem, and I shudder to think what that miss will do for his fragile confidence. Wish he had Drogba’s gumption. He should take solace from a very good individual performance, but I think instead he’ll be replaying that miss over and over again in his head each night.

    • Anonymous

      As I said, I’m feeling positive, but even so Pete, that’s a brave bet that we’ll finish above Utd.  Hope you didn’t put too much on it.

  5. Marco

    What a strange game. At 0-2 down we had had 10 attempts on goal to their 2 and we were easily the ‘better’ side in terms of passing and movement. But, as JD rightly says, piss-poor defending and cack-handed shooting let us down. There has to be a question mark over both Ivan and JT after that display. 

    For long periods of the game we made Utd look mediocre and, for me, this was another step forward. The side is being transformed and AVB is going up and up in my estimation. I particularly liked his decision to bring Lukaku on. Although he didn’t terrorise their centre-halves Drogba-style it was a bold, creative, decision.

    In short, a lot to be hopeful about. But our strikers really need to start converting more of those chances that are being made for them. Utd only had 12 chances and scored  three, while we needed 20 chances to get one.

  6. Der_Kaiser

    For all the slating he gets, I’d have had Mikel holding in a game like that.  Frank is going to become AVB’s 64 million dollar question at this rate; difficult to include him on current form, but we lack something when he isn’t there.

    Hopefully Torres will take a lot of positives out of the game and move on from the miss; watching it again, the ball gets caught slightly under his feet and he panics a little without realising he had time for another touch.  One of those things and fingers crossed he’ll see it that way – excellent performance otherwise.

    Didn’t note it in the comments, but Phil Jones looks like he could be some player – be interesting to see what Fergie does when he has Vidic, Ferdinand and Jones available together.

    Yep, would echo the general sentiment that we’ll be OK over the course of a season; bit of work on our collective shooting and the cohesion between the back four with that high line wouldn’t go amiss, though – see Saatchi and his piece of rope method.

  7. Anonymous

    Genuinely hope that miss doest affect Torres’ confidence, but you just don’t know.

    Glad so many of you are level-headed about the performance and result. I wasn’t / still am not.

    One of the few positives is getting that match out of the way so soon at the start of the season. His tactics yesterday give AVB food for thought, wouldn’t be surprised to see Luiz or Alex in the frame next week. The impenetrable Chelsea defence of old is no more.

    Ramires frustrated and amazed in equal measures. Miss a sitter here, defence splitter to Torres there.

    Maybe too early to resign ourselves to many predictions, but while there were a few pleasing aspects, I don’t see us finishing above either Manchester side. Prove me wrong AVB…..

  8. Anonymous

    I’m going to add more weight the the sentiment of optimism in defeat. Like Mark says, the chasm as others would have it isn’t that great so early in the season. The football we are playing may be more risky, but with tweaks we can shore up the defence a bit more whilst retaining this pacy attacking style.

    And therein lies the key. Last year the Mancs beat us 4 out of 5, with our tight victory at SB being the only relief. For all of the other games we were not even second best, we were mid-table at best. We were slow, cumbersome, predictable, tame, lame and dull. But AVB is restoring a sheen to us with his changes, signalling clearly that he will be rebuilding this team and moving us out of Jose’s shadow. Yesterday we were calamitous at times and white knuckle thrilling at others (as were United, and that’s backed up by old Purplenoses own view). 

    As the fine hack Dan Levene tweeted yesterday we could end up winning or losing a few games 5-4 this season. I’ll take that whilst we’re so obviously a ‘work in progress’. And to be fair that work is long overdue. I’m not writing off the senior players yet, but Drogba is not our future. He can and will be useful for a year maybe two. Lampard needs to look deeply at his role. Mourinho used him as a lynchpin for the TSO brand of football but times have changed and that is now behind us. Frank needs to look at becoming a Ballack/Makalele hybrid, playing deeper and forgetting his box to box ethos. he’s just not likely to be able to continue as he did, and an intelligent player would take note and adapt to extend his top level career. He should quit England as well like Scholes did. And it didn’t hurt Scholes did it? 

    And what about Nico, the bastard son signing by Avram Grant? he’s taken a panning here from one or two and yet he holds the Torres key as much as anyone, along with the Drogba key, the Sturridge key and probably others as well. I was a lone voice in advocating the Anelka/Torres partnership last year because he looked like he knew how to provide the service. Who better than a selfless re-born striker to know what strikers need? He’s a gem and if this is his last season then he needs to be used to show the others how to unselfishly set up others for the good of the team. We’ll miss him a lot when he goes, but maybe Studge is the new Anelka, versatile and deadly and AVB seems to be developing that way.

    And finally, Torres. I thought he was great yesterday, his goal was sublime (perfectly described Lord Kaiser) and the miss was a howler, but was it worse than Ramires tame effort? Marginally…..either go in and the game complexion changes. However, as AVB so eloquently stated, the best strikers have the worst things happen today. Did anyone really think Rooney would miss the penalty or that Cech might save it? 

    So just to jog a few memories of how this sort of ‘miss of the century’ can happen to the great and good perhaps the copy writers, Torres knockers and baiters, the impatient Chelsea plastics and every other assorted purveyor of utter cuntery might want to watch this, note the century in which it happened and then tell me that Torres miss was worse! Oh and as far as I can tell this particular brylcreemed primaddona hasn’t fared too badly has he?

    • Anonymous

      Interesting YouTube link.  Is that yours?  If it is then you do know your meant to hang your flatscreen TV in landscape mode, not portrait. I know it’s possible your wife insisted it looks better upright next to the mirror and the landscapes but you’ve really got to put your foot down 🙂

  9. Der_Kaiser

    Just picking up on some of the thoughts expressed… Centre half is a tricky one for us – JT still the lynchpin, but not the player he was 2-3 seasons ago; Luiz is far too rash and needs some of the rough edges knocking off him before he can play in a game like that again (clearly not trusted enough), Ivan appears better at RB and AVB doesn’t appear to be Alex’s biggest fan.  Another purchase in January?

  10. Der_Kaiser

    It’s a barn door…

    I couldn’t find any images of someone trying to hit a cow’s arse with a banjo (and I’m not certain that a Google search of such terms is a great idea overall).

  11. Anonymous

    What’s become of us – all calm, measured and largely optimistic after a 1-3 defeat at the hands of the Mancs, with only Fiftee indulging in some token ranting?

    Seriously, I agree that AVB appears determined to make the transition from the Drogba/Lampard/Terry Old Guard core to a refreshed squad playing the style he wants much faster than anyone might have expected, even if it means some wildly hairy experiences like yesterday.

    I just wonder if Roman agrees and will be smiling benignly if the defeats pile up as they well may.

    More than a token smattering of youngsters to follow on Wedneday night, then ?

  12. JUDAS Blue4lyf

    The intellectual ineptness of bloggers expressing their ill researched and  presented opinions makes me go berserk,come on bloggers you cant just defend a 50million pnd striker who cannot use either foot,scores scarcely ,prefers to go round the ball  from the left to prior to shooting with his right foot, constantly wastes  golden opportunities at the expense of the team. Mr BOARS WAKE UP and look at the likes of AGUERO ?or else YOU’LL GET UR ARSE SACKED. To make it worse MR BOARS adds Mikel and u are 2 goals down K***CK XOR,HAS HE EVER SCORED???? DOES HE INCREASE THE PACE OF THE GAME?and he spectacularly
     proceeds to bench Luis  who is a match winner,CAN SCORE and throws in THE CLUMSY  LUKAKU .It frankly sucks! just sub torres and PUT ANELKA AS your main striker.STOP shOWING OPEN BIASNESS AT THIS JUNCTURE it is affecting the team,or else you risk losing respect in the dressing room , KALOU MESSED and he is rotting in the GUTTER why MR Torres PERSISTS and is still rated as a world class finisher still   IS BEYOND belief, SELL HIM to Anzhi Makhachkala MALAGA or PSG and recover that money b4 it goes down the drain.

  13. Anonymous

    I just removed a comment Nick which was a piss poor mixture of text speak, upper and lower case lettering and general arse gravy – hope that’s OK. 

      • Anonymous

        Yes, 2 upper case in one word which is how its been since the beginning  – look just re-submit it in a form we can understand, take the text speak out and don’t use all the upper case stuff. The way it was written was a stream of consciousness rant and believe me I’ve saved you from a host of retorts you would not have liked!

  14. Fiskerrr

    I’ve got to admit I am very surprised with Torres being picked as man of the match. From what I have seen from him so far in a blue shirt is, that he’s only as good as the midfield which supplies him. The thing is….from a nearly 60 million Euro man I expect more than waiting for a good pass and make some good movement. He seems to be simply not suited for us at the moment and reminds me of Shevchenko, only that this fellow had scored more goals by that time for less money. Sure, there is always a chance for improvement and with AVB I can see it happen, but Torres needs to play a major role in changing his approach and style of the game.

  15. zigoo

    utd fan here…i personally think chelsea played extremely well yesterday and were very unlucky,there play woz much quicker than last year,and i think that u guys r still worthy challengers and will be there come may…

    however,lets not forget we were without our main defenders,so alot of the chances that woz created against us probably would not have been created had vidic and ferdinand been playing,but nonetheless there was some great attacking play from u guys,but its frightening to think wot we could do when vidic and rio come back…

    cheers lads,and may the best team win the league…

    • Anonymous

      Indeed it seems our text speaking yelling ranting friend has taken umbrage. I have asked him to resubmit in a form the class can understand. 

          • JUDAS Blue4lyf

            MR Grocerjack your transit from jackass to a grocer and finally a cyber terrorist seems 2b paying off  after burning the midnight oil reading some Certified Ethical Hacking boot camp stuff,  and  of course having some “administration privileges” your work of deleting blogs is degrading this site, JERK OFF MY COMMENTS u basement eJACKulating GROSSERJackass. HERE IS MY BLOG ONCE MORE
            The intellectual ineptness of bloggers expressing their ill researched and  presented opinions makes me go berserk,come on bloggers you cant just defend a 50million pnd striker who cannot use either foot,scores scarcely ,prefers to go round the ball  from the left prior to shooting with his right foot, constantly wastes  golden opportunities at the expense of the team. Mr BOARS WAKE UP and look at the likes of AGUERO ?or else YOU’LL GET UR ARSE SACKED. To make it worse MR BOARS adds Mikel and u are 2 goals down K***CK XOR,HAS HE EVER SCORED???? DOES HE INCREASE THE PACE OF THE GAME?and he spectacularly
             proceeds to bench Luis  who is a match winner,CAN SCORE and throws in THE CLUMSY  LUKAKU .It frankly sucks! just substitute torres and PUT ANELKA AS your main striker.STOP shOWING OPEN BIASNESS AT THIS JUNCTURE it is affecting the team,or else you risk losing respect in the dressing room , KALOU MESSED and he is rotting in the GUTTER why MR Torres PERSISTS and is still rated as a world class finisher still   IS BEYOND belief, SELL HIM to Anzhi Makhachkala MALAGA or PSG and recover that money b4 it goes down the drain.

          • Anonymous

            What in the name of all thats Holy are you dribbling on about?

            That’s just a textual mess to me. Caps lock on, caps lock off. Abuse of punctuation.

            Sort it out, type something sensible (and readable) or do us all a favour and depart to Football365 or the like.

          • Marco

            12th language? 

            What must the others be?

            Pidgin? Epsilon? Street Cred?

            Back to school for you first thing in the morning my lad!

  16. bluebayou

    A sound interpretation of yesterday’s mystifying events JD.

    We went there to with the intention of going toe to toe in terms of attacking intent and to ensure Man United didn’t dominate midfield. And to a great extent that worked.

    Except we didn’t take our chances, they did and as last year we were always chasing the game.

    We seem to have traded a degree of defensive solidity for more creativity. The question is can we get away with that? It will be interesting to see how the Fegster reacts next time we play them up there.

    It’s good to see us working on moving the ball quickly and more importantly getting it forward more incisively. We got behind them far more than in recent seasons, which was good, even if the finishing wasn’t.

    The Sturridge, Ramires, Bosingwa trio seemed to work quite well defensively and Ashley Young was kept fairly quiet I thought. Ramires showed how much we need more pace on the right side of the midfield three, Bosingwa continues to improve (I could have sworn one replay angle showed a boot with a white sock got to that ball first, but my monocle was steaming up) and Sturridge did well in a position that he probably doesn’t really seem himself playing.

    The trouble seemed to come down the left. Nani is becoming difficult to play against, but Jones should never have got as far as he did. I thought Ivanovic and Terry didn’t do too badly and got their tackles in but I’m sure AVB will work on defensive organisation. Hernandez didn’t do a lot and Rooney seemed less incisive than last season. Perhaps some of that was down to us but then holes appeared elsewhere.

    The question is whether we can replicate that type of attacking performance through the season. I’d rather we didn’t replicate aspects of our defending if possible. We are heavily dependent on Mata and also Merieles in terms of attacking vision and speed of ball movement forward. Can we keep the new style going when they are missing? To some extent this season will see square pegs and round holes, particlarly out wide and there may be some frustrating reversions to the slower lateral tempo.

    But if we want our football interresting then I think that’s what we may be getting.

  17. Cunningplan

    Reading some of the other Chelsea blogs, apart from AVB must go from a few idiots, and some of the older players, Lamps,JT Anelka etc.
    One name cropped up a few times which I was surprised about and that was Cech, I mean what did he do wrong yesterday? surely he wasn’t to blame for the goals.

    • Marco

      Thought Cech played ok and what was weird was that he didn’t actually have that much to do as they only had six shots on target. Certainly, he could do nothing whatever about the goals.

      Think we real fans only want one thing: for AVB to develop a team we can all take pride in.

      I criticised him a few games ago when I thought he wasn’t doing enough to develop the team but I am satisfied with what I have seen over the past three matches. 

      Don’t understand the brainless ‘let’s sack the manager’ chants you get from some fans after a defeat – and we will get more of those this season I’m afraid.

    • bluebayou

      My understanding of custodial matters doesn’t extend beyond a general awareness that if you drop your soap in the prison showers you leave it there. However watching our rather disjointed effort on the first goal, could it be argued that if your holding a line on the edge of the box the keeper should be a step or two further into the corridor of uncertainty perhaps?

      On the second goal he should have thrown himself into an arcing dive as it looked as though he just opened the door to let the ball through. In reality of course nothing was stopping that one.

      Overall he didn’t pull off anything spectacular, unlike De Gea, so perhaps some think that means the performance level wasn’t what it should be.

  18. NYCBlue

    I assumed that the picture was meant to signify that we were “taken to the woodshed” but then the commentary was fairly upbeat.  I also felt that although there was some terrible defending/marking that there are certainly some positives to take away from yesterday’s performance.  Ramires was frustrating at times although his energy and drive were great…I don’t mind the long runs forward but just wish he would try and stay out of the opposition’s box and leave it to the proper finishers.

  19. bluebayou

    Way back when I was a young lad kicking cans down the road and dreaming of the day when Chelsea would win a double, Arsenal enjoyed conspicuous success while sporting a badge which was understated and restrained. Over the years their badge has evolved and got a bit larger, but not obtrusive.

    In 2002 they changed it and saw several years of success but then the power of that badge began to wain. It was nearly 10 years old.

    So what did they do? Go back to the small badge days and begin again.

    No they went for a very big badge as though wearing something in inverse proportion to their waning confidence would set them back on the path to success.

    Is their shocking start a reward for such hubris?

  20. Machchan

    Yes he is a legend and all that but I thought Terry was guilty of piss poor defending and defensive leadership in this match… there you go I have spoken the unspeakable.  

    Goal 1:  Yes Smalling was off-side so the linesman screwed up but what was Terry doing lamely back-pedalling whilst the rest of the crew at the far end kept the defensive line high?  I wonder what his instructions were to the line. It was obvious as the free-kick was being taken that Smalling and another were in off-side positions.  If JT had been brave enough to hold the line, perhaps the linesman would have had to put up his flag.  We will never know but I wish I could be a fly on the wall at AVB’s inquest. 

    Goal 2:  Yes Mata should have done better; yes Meireles should have cut across sooner BUT the buck stopped with Terry.  What the hell was he doing backing off.  The JT of old would have sprung forward to meet Nani and spreadeagled himself at his feet as he had a pop.  It wasn’t as if he had to hang back to cover another red-shirt…

    Goal 3:  Ok I guess he was unlucky to get that deflection… but if you were going to hack the ball away, a higher trajectory would perhaps have been wiser?

    Rooney 1:1 with Cech 2nd Half:  Rubbish cross field punt to give the ball away and then dozy attempt at playing Rooney offside by who else but our JT.

    OK now I’ve said it – I’m a heretic – lay into me 😉

    [For the record though, I am still a big fan of the man, I just hope he sorts himself out so that we can appreciate the present rather than his past glories.]


    • Marco

      Don’t think your remarks are heretical at all. JT has been poor all season so far and his slowness to react reminds me of dear old Erland Johnsen at his worst.

      The frightening thing is that all four of our centre-backs are now suspect. Luiz will get red-carded any day now, Alex is looking demoralised and even Ivan has been poor.

      Time, methinks, for AVB to copy George Graham and make Cech and the selected back four spend the morning training sessions defending against a full eleven until they learn not to concede.

  21. Nick

    I don’t know. I go out to do an honest day’s graft (OK, I spent a couple of hours in the pub recovering from yesterday’s excesses) and a lunatic invades the comments. It’s been a while. Will do something about it when I get home.

  22. Anonymous

    I thought I know most rude words (at least that’s what I rather proudly told my 6 year old the other week when he asked me) but I’m struggling to see what “K***CK XOR” can mean. If I haven’t heard of it, it must be filthy.

  23. Anonymous

    For the record: I got the barn door thing straight off. (Not that makes me cleverer, let alone as clever as the master prosodist who so justly criticises us for our ill presented opinions — just wanted to reassure Nick that the joke functions.)

    Machchan: I didn’t see any of the goals so can’t argue with the details, but actually I think there’s a general consensus here that JT isn’t looking like the player we’re used to watching. In fact I think there were signs of something similar last season as well.

    It’s a bit annoying that Citeh screwed up down at the wrong end of SW6. Now everyone’s started talking about us as the challengers again. I was quite enjoying flying under the radar. And in all seriousness the Manc-loving hysteria was making AVerticalB’s job easier. He’ll need a general atmosphere of slightly lowered expectations to have any chance of getting some proper rebuilding time.

    I wonder whether Abramovich is buying into the media vibe about a promising/encouraging defeat?

  24. bluebayou

    I’m going misty eyed for the Moffat’s cryptic one liners.

    “The intellectual ineptness of bloggers expressing their ill researched and  presented opinions makes me go berserk” – not a freedom of speech enthusiast then I’ll be bound.

    In answer to Agh57’s question my interpretation is that he is accusing our esteemed manager of engaging in an act or acts of fellatio.

    If you haven’t come across fellatio before, he’s the bloke Hamlet is talking to when he says, Alas poor Yorrick, I knew him………”

  25. Cunningplan

    Nick as you’ve removed the postings from the troll, it might be wise to remove all replies to him, as anyone visiting the blog and reading them, might think we’re all on drugs. 😉

    • Nick

      I put the relevant comments back, Clive. We wouldn’t want anyone to think we’re all on drugs. 🙂

      Re the photo. Not only is it a barn door, it’s a RED barn door. Clever, huh?

      As for yesterday, just about the only thing I remember is feeling physically sick when Torres missed the open goal. I can’t recall ever feeling that sorry for a footballer. Let’s just hope he gets over it.

      • Anonymous

        Err, as someone who’s just logged back on after several hours I think you may have missed a few relevant posts to put back, Nick, as it reads a bit like a tribute to Harold Pinter at the moment with lots of apparently random comments about it’s not clear what.

        Personally, I rather like it – perhaps BB could try out a similar stream-of-consciousness blog during the next dull international break 😉

  26. Marco

    Nick. Thought Tony’s decision was right. Let’s leave the Troll’s comments on so that he can receive the correction he so clearly requires.

    It’s up to the likes of us to pre-empt the government and show the Great British Public how to deal with trolls 😉

  27. NorthernVA

    Credit to Fergie for turning the pubic’s attention from the two rather dodgy goals he was the beneficiary of towards the “horror” tackle of England’s number one hate figure on the Mexican prince.

    It beggars belief that the man who coached up Roy Keane and the “Ginger Prince” has the chutzbah to lecture on tackles which go over the edge. 

    I loved AVB’s defense of Ashley which brought it back to the two decision which actually impacted the game.

  28. Machchan

    Thanks Limetrebower and Marco for your constructive feedback to my JT rant.  Agree with you Marco that George Graham-like practice frills would certainly help.  AVB is clearly concerned given how keenly he seemed to be looking for decent defenders in the last window.  

    On that other rather conspicuous matter of a troll invading our little home in blogosphere… best not to feed the beast, imho…  or have I just fed it with this comment?

    • Cunningplan

      I think you’ll find that most of the regulars on this blog will always be constructive in the majority of replies, we all see the game differently at times. Your point on JT being at fault for the first goal is interesting, because I seemed to agree with the Sky pundits, that it was Frank who let Smalling edge away from him. Anyway I never like to point the finger at any player, football is full of mistakes, that’s how the majority of goals are scored aren’t they?

      I will bring up one thing with regard substitutions on Sunday, when Lakuka came on I  thought he was somewhat overawed by the occasion. If ever there was a need for an experienced impact sub it had to be Kalou, (shame he wasn’t on the bench) his ability to run at players, and be unpredictable would have been well suited to the situation.

  29. PeterW

    I didn’t think Terry did a lot wrong, but would much rather see him alongside Alex than Ivan while we are ironing out the wrinkles in David Luiz’s game. A couple of times in the second half, Terry’s last-ditch tackles were all that stopped United having another clean run on goal and Hernandez barely got a sniff until Ashley zonked him.

    The first goal – well,when a player is offside, a player is offside – you can’t blame the defence for expecting the linesmen to do his job. The second was all about the lack of protection offered by Mata and Meireles, and the third was just a fluke – Terry’s tackle was good, and if anybody was at fault it was Ivan for not protecting the space alongside.

    Terry had one of his best seasons for years last year, so not sure where all this ‘he’s been on the decline for years’ crap has come from. The fact is that our current defensive set-up does not favour our two centre-backs  – no cover from midfield, playing high up the pitch, and full backs with licence to attack – so we are going to concede, especially when chasing the game. Perhaps we need to just get used to that.

    It’s also worth recalling that Evans and Golden Boy Jones were beaten far more times, collectively and individually, than our back four, but the difference is that our forwards and Ramires failed to make them pay.

    • Cunningplan

      The second goal was also another situation where the linesman didn’t do his job. Nani was standing clearly in an offside position, then ran back onside to collect the pass, but as you say he should have been closed down a lot more quickly when he had the ball.

      I will say  that since Fergie’s rants about the decisions that went our way in some of our games against them, the tide of good fortune has appeared to have turned in their favour, coincidence?

  30. Der_Kaiser

    Main concern was that for the most part, our back four wasn’t really operating as a unit; don’t particularly trust Ivan in the middle and Luiz needs a fair bit of work before he slots in there.  Not sure whether AVB rates Alex or not.  Lost track of what Bruma is up to in Germany, but I don’t even think he’s appeared or Hamburg yet, but they’re in shocking form and propping up the Bundesliga.

    Has to be said that Drogba plays a huge part in defending set pieces for us; suspect he’d have been all over their first goal like a rash had he been playing.

    • Cunningplan

      I don’t think they’ve got the hang of defending high up the ptich either, far too many balls been thread through, or lobbed over the top for my liking. On saying that the midfield are not exactly helping, by being in more of an attack mode, and even further up the pitch at times in my humble opinion.

  31. WorkingClassPost

    Yes, Mikel’s omission was a bit unexpected, but maybe AVB thought we would be just too defensive and let them pin us back – not a good thing at OT (or anywhere else for that mata – oops).

    • Anonymous

      Mikel is playing well and is a master at winning the ball, retaining it in tight spaces and making a simple pass.

      But he and Malouda are the main culprits in slowing down our play. It’s a choice between measured/mechanical/mundane or fast/frail/fandabidozi.

    • Cunningplan

      I just hope it doesn’t backfire Marco, didn’t Dalglish complain recently to Mike Riley and subsequently got two players sent off against Rottenham. 🙂

  32. Machchan

    Type: for frills pls read drills in my earlier post.

    Cunningplan, yes Lamps did dink back and forth as the ball was about to be played.  If that was part of a plan then it was a poor playing of odds.  But I don’t think it made any difference.  I agree that essentially it was a linesman’s mistake.  I just suspect, but agree I cannot prove without being privy to the AVB inquest, that there was poor defensive line management too.  

    Der_Kaiser makes a great point about the difference Drogba would have made defending set pieces.  We look a different team with him in… defending. 

    Overall though I think we are far more penetrating in attack than we are weaker in defence c.f. last year.  So the portents are good.

  33. bluebayou

    I read this blog regularly (Stumbling and Mumbling), for which I think I have to thank PeteW for back in the day. I understand about half of it on a good day if I’m honest. Today he’s writing about feetballs and though it’s a bit Arsenal biased, he still makes some interesting observations. Have a read.

    I’m off to watch the Fulham game live, in the stadium. But first some beer.

    I’m goin’ to miss the ol’ barn. Although maybe Nick will keep it for tomorrows report if we miss another shedload tonight.

    Barn, shed, dya see what I did there……….?

  34. Cunningplan

    Barn, shed, dya see what I did there……….?

    Yes I did BB, it’s a barn conversion.

    Taxi for me, no coat, I’m a lazy bastard.  😉

  35. Anonymous

    Sturridge off injured. Cech off injured. Alex sent off.

    Not really got the hang of resting the important ones, have you AVB?

  36. Anonymous

    Weren’t Studge and Petr the *only* starters retained from the weekend?

    We might have to count this one as bad luck.

  37. Anonymous

    “We might have to put this down as bad luck”

    That’s putting it lightly LTB. Couldn’t give a shit about the result, but ET will tire the players. Add that to the injuries and its been a car-crash of a week really. Gutted for Josh as well, seems to have been acquitting himself well tonight until an enforced change.

    Saturday could be a struggle against a very pacy Swansea side.

  38. Anonymous

    Agreed — though Saturday’s team will largely be those who didn’t play at all tonight? Bosingwa, Branners, Cashley, Obi, Ramires, Mata, Nando, probably Nic …

    Not that they won’t struggle anyway but you take my point.

    I actually wouldn’t mind us making a bit of a run in this competition, as long as AVerticalB sticks with tonight’s kind of team selection. We have a good squad and it would be a good thing if the irregulars like Josh and Bertrand had some reasonably serious games. Mostly pointless it may be but there’s no doubt that winning it in ’05 gave a huge kickstart to the Mourinho project.

  39. Anonymous

    Have to say, Schwarzer is pretty much nailed on to save a few of our spot kicks. One of the many keepers who seem to play amazingly against us.

    Turnbull just doesn’t have that ‘presence’ that I feel a spot kick stopper needs.

    • Nick

      Thanks, Clive. Noted for possible future use. But Mark already had an image lined up…

  40. WorkingClassPost

    Watched a re-run of the highlights of the manu game last night, and I had forgotten just how much better than them we were for most of the game – silly goals aside. 
    That said, we could’ve gone down by 5 or 6 if they’d taken their chances when we were chasing the game – would that put us in Arse territory? 

  41. Anonymous

    Come on, CunningPlan, where would the blog be without my unswerving pessimism?

    And show me anyone who expected us to win on pens last night, and I’ll show you a liar 😉

    Seems like Cech may be ok, but Studge will miss at least one match. Could have been worse I guess. But also could have been better…

    • Cunningplan

      True Fiftee, I expected the usual defeat, and I’m still checking the reports to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. 🙂

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