Newcastle United 0-3 Chelsea – A Comedy of Errors

The build up

Aristotle famously defined tragedy as a story in which heroes, who might be expected to end up happily, by a reversal of fortune end up miserably. A case in point is Villas-Boas who started out the season with such bright hopes, and with an initial run of good results, has now suffered defeat after defeat. To be sure, Aristotle also pointed out that tragic heroes often add to their own misfortune through some flaw in their character and I would argue that some of Villas-Boas’s team selections and tactical decisions in recent weeks haven’t helped his cause.

A comedy, by contrast, is a story in which fools, who might be expected to end in misfortune, in fact end up happy. A case in point was our narrow 0-1 win at Blackburn when our team made defensive error after error and still won.

A farce is a story in which fools who live in a state of delusion over what each other is doing – and keep on making the same mistakes again and again – end up with no resolution in sight. A case in point is the mid-week defeat against Liverpool in the Carling Cup in which we persisted in playing a narrow diamond formation (apparently without practicing it first in training) against the resolute 4-4-2 team that had beaten us with the same approach 10 days before.

I firmly expected this match to end up as another tragedy for the manager and I was somewhat flummoxed when I learnt that the bookies had made us an odds-on 10/11 to win this match. Do they know something I don’t? Given that Newcastle are above us in the table and haven’t lost at home since last March the bookie’s choice seems odd, to me at any rate.

The team

Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Romeu, Ramires, Lampard, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata.

Substitutes: Turnbull, Torres, Malouda, Meireles, Bosingwa, Kalou, Bertrand.

This is the same selection as for the Wolves game when for the first time in some weeks we played well, albeit against a poor side. Good to see Romeu get another start and (as eventually proved) Mata was given a free role in front of Lamps and Ramires. Interesting that neither Alex nor Anelka made the bench given the rumours that both are to be sold in January (l learnt after the match that both have now handed in transfer requests).

The match

Sky TV’s team of assorted pundits sounded like they were all being separately castrated after Mike Dean failed to send off Luiz in the first five minutes. And, in truth, Luiz was lucky to stay on after first ball-watching while Demba Ba stole behind him and then appearing to haul him down while he was the last man. Sky’s own replays showed that Ba was offside but no comment on that fact emerged. Nor did they seem unduly upset when Dean failed to send off Taylor for bringing down Sturridge in the penalty area in identical circumstances.

But Luiz had another farcical performance this first half when he made mistake after mistake playing Ba, who might easily have scored, twice. It was never entirely clear why Villas-Boas had given him the task of marking Ba when JT was clearly more suited for that task. As it happened they switched over after half time and JT kept Ba quiet thereafter.

Aside from that we looked by far the better side and Mata was, again, wonderful to watch with his pace, movement off the ball and sublime skill in turning opponents, and setting up Drogba and Sturridge.

Dan was also having a blinder of sorts. Time and again he beat Taylor and had no less than four attempts on goal, one of which hit the post and another resulted in the penalty. That was taken by Lampard and was about the poorest attempt you will see all season. In general, Lamps was not effective today although I don’t say he played badly. He just seemed, kind of, well – inconsequential.

But as the half progressed and Sturridge and Drogba between them managed to fluff five clear-cut chances I began to think my initial pessimism was well placed and I could see Newcastle nicking this, despite our general superiority. They nearly did so when Cech made a world-class save from Ba’s volley and then Ba beat Luiz (again) and hit the post.

On that point Ba looks like a good acquisition to me. In fact if we dropped the Drog from Drog-ba and bought him we would get… (sorry, couldn’t resist that one in the tradition of the Carry On farces).

Four minutes later and we are 0-1 up. Ashley throws in to Mata who, out of nowhere, does an acrobatic turn round his marker, bears down on goal, and flicks it up to Drogba, who powers it in with a header while the Newcastle defence are still trying to react. Drogba has been poor all afternoon, constantly giving the ball away, or being shoved off it by Coloccini, but his goal was vintage (although it helped that Colocinni went off injured 10 minutes before).

Half time: Newcastle 0 Chelsea 1.

Newcastle bring Ameobi Major on (Ameobi Minor, his brother is on their bench) and it looks like they are going to 4-4-2 which could give us still more space to play in now they have given up their 5-man midfield. But instead they take the game to us. And for 15 minutes or so we go back to the same tired old mistakes: playing too deep, sloppy passes, poor concentration, with Drogba nowhere to be seen when it comes to holding the ball up. Shortly after heading against his own crossbar Drogba wastes another chance when he chests the ball down (rather adroitly) and blasts the ball into the side netting from four yards out. Two minutes later we could have been 3-0 up when Ramires – again set up by Mata – is one-on-one with the keeper and shoots straight at Krul (good goalkeeper that, by the way).

On 59 minutes AVB hauls off Lamps, who looks fairly pissed-off at the idea, and brings on Meireles. He doesn’t shake Lampard’s hand either. Something in that? But as soon as Meireles comes on we slowly take control again as we stop playing deep and he and Romeu start pushing up.

Slightly tongue-in-cheek, and also to ward off the dark forces that so frequently bring tragedy to us Chelsea supporters, I predicted on this blog yesterday that we would draw this game 1-1 with a Mata-created goal in the first half and an equalizer in the last 15 minutes. It so nearly turns out that way as we miss chance after chance (Sturridge with no less than seven of those) while they thrice hit the woodwork. A comedy of errors indeed but deliverance comes in the very last minute from a place I would never have predicted, as AVB brings off Mata and brings on Kalou and then substitutes Torres for Drogba. Though the first decision was a mistake but it is Salomon who scores a class impact goal to confound his critics. And it is Torres who sets him on the counter, first running rings round their defence, having a shot saved, and then retrieving it for Kalou to knock past Krul.

By now Newcastle look exhausted and it’s no surprise when Ramires hunts down a clearance to Sturridge, who finally scores in the 93rd minute.

Full time: Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3.

The ratings

  • Cech. Has finally been given permission to stop those calamitous pussy-passes between him and the back four that has given us so many farcical moments over the past few months. A stunning save from Ba in the first half and a reasonable solid performance elsewhere.
  • JT. Back to his absolute best.
  • Ivan. Seemed a little suspect against both Ameobi Major and Ameobi Minor who turned him several times but neither actually got past him for the most part.
  • Luiz. At his absolute worst in the first half and could have cost us the match had he been sent off. But second half he was back to normal again with his astute anticipation and moves upfield. Really wish he would cut out the farce from his game.
  • Cole. Another excellent performance and combined well with Mata going forward. Seems to have got over his blip.
  • Romeu. This is 20-year-old who plays with the deep cunning, and hard cleverness, of someone 10 years older. Now I come to think of it – exactly like Makelele, in fact.
  • Ramires. Hard-tackling play and fast on the attack but his shooting left me groaning again. But no doubt that he is going to be the future of our team.
  • Lampard. Never really exerted any influence on the game and played far too deep. His penalty miss summed it up really and I am starting to wonder whether his hat-trick against Bolton was a false dawn.
  • Mata. One of those Gods who appears out of nowhere to turn Tragedy into Comedy. My Man of the Match.
  • Drogba. Ba!
  • Sturridge. Has now scored 16 goals in 22 matches for ourselves and Bolton – a good example of the way in which statistics can mislead. He won’t get seven chances to score against Valencia or Citeh – so back to shooting practice for you Dan, if we want to avoid a tragedy on Tuesday.
  • Meireles (sub). Don’t know why AVB leaves him out as he is the natural first choice in midfield for me.
  • Kalou (sub). Did very little when he came on apart from score just when we needed it – when Sturridge didn’t. Is there is a lesson for his critics there?
  • Torres (sub). Was only given 12 minutes to play which was a bit baffling with Drogba, at best, average in the second half. But skinned their (by now, very tired) defence several times before setting up Kalou.
  • Villas-Boas. The manager has been getting brick-bats, with some justification, over recent performances so deserves credit for this display. He played the team wider, with Mata given a free role and Sturridge getting found time and again with early passes from midfield. He’s cut down the aimless passing around at the back which so often gives the opposition a chance to force errors and we defended a lot more solidly. Let’s hope he can continue in heroic style.

The manager’s reaction

“I don’t agree with people who say that his [Luiz’s] over-enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of him. David is the No.1 central defender for Brazil and they have six world championship titles so I think he will be one of the best central defenders in the world and in two years’ time he will be nominated for the best football defender in the world. I have that much confidence in him.

“It [the disputed red card] was a major incident. Mike Dean decided not to send him off and you have to agree with me that this season Chelsea have had tremendous decisions against them from the Old Trafford off-sides to penalties not given against Bayer Leverkusen and in the game against Liverpool.

“But nobody made any fuss about it so I hope you guys do not do the same. Maybe Mike Dean’s decision went our way and I am sure Alan Pardew will not be happy with that but all I can say is that with nine or 10 men we play even better. We might have won the game more than 3-0.

“The emotions from the stands and the Newcastle bench suggested they thought it was a sending off but I haven’t seen it again. Anyway, I was expecting to see a yellow card.

“It was a good, solid performance for 90 minutes. The players were decisive today with their inspiration and self-confidence and inner belief at a time when results haven’t gone our way.

“To find this inner belief and strength was the major key against one of the best defences in the Premier League and a team that was at full steam in terms of motivation. It was always going to be a difficult challenge and we did fantastically well and deserved applause for what they did.

“It was a much-needed win. We are making good progress. We hope that our Premier League fortunes are changing. We have a major game against Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday and we hope to go through and if we do we set up the right emotional stimulus to take on the league leaders with a shot further in the distance.

“The players were amazing. We have a fantastic team and fighting spirit when everything is against them. We have full belief in them.”

The press reports

The Observer, Paul Wilson: “Beating Newcastle is no mean feat these days, and Chelsea returned to something like their fluent best in becoming the first team to win on Tyneside this season. Their defence stood solid against some enterprising home attacks, with Oriol Romeu looking assured in front of the back four, and Daniel Sturridge, Juan Mata and Ramires all showed speed of thought as well as movement. Newcastle were unhappy with a couple of refereeing decisions, and had a right to be, though there was no denying that with slightly calmer finishing Chelsea could have had another goal or two.”

The Independent on Sunday, Damian Spellman: “Victory will have come as a relief to under-pressure Villas-Boas, who had seen his side lose three of their last four games, while opposite number Alan Pardew could once again be proud of a team which started the game without Cheik Tiote and Leon Best and lost central defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor before the end of it.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea made it back-to-back league wins and inflicted Newcastle’s first home defeat in a terrifically attacking and entertaining game. Didier Drogba with his third goal of the season gave his side a half-time lead after Frank Lampard had spurned an earlier penalty. Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge scored late on and in truth the scoreline was a little harsh on a home side who hit woodwork three times and gave the Blues defence a stiff contest. But we could have scored more goals too, and it was only at the end Sturridge got the better of Newcastle keeper Tim Krul in what was a long-running personal duel.”

The goals

38′ Drogba 0-1
89′ Kalou 0-2
90′ Sturridge 0-3

There are 65 comments

Add yours
  1. Anonymous

    Thanks, Marco. I was sadly too chicken to watch via my SuperMurdochSkyMobileTV iPod subscription after we went ahead. The late equaliser seemed totally inevitable and I didn’t feel up to witnessing it. So now I’ll have to turn on MotD later.

    This is surely one of those games where any kind of win is all that’s required. We’ve had trouble at CheapSports.crap Park over the past few seasons, too, so it’s not to be sniffed at.

    So farewell, Nic and Alex. Both had a number of excellent games for Chelsea and will be remembered affectionately, but definitely the right decision to let them go. I wonder if the young Czech defender Tomas Kalas will come back from Vitesse Arnhem (where rumour has it he’s impressed — I saw him in the youth side a few times last year and he looked very good), or whether (more likely) we’re in for a major centre-half signing in January?

    [edit — Kalas loan apparently is season-long so never mind that]

  2. Harry

    Fortune favors the braves. Chelsea had to rely on
    luck and we all know what happens when luck deserts Chelsea. While AVB makes amateurish
    mistakes in team selections and subsequently tries during the match to
    rearrange to make up for his mistakes, no one in right frame of mind should
    consider him a tactical genius. Chelsea long term fans are after real
    improvements. Today on BBC, SAF said and I quote: fans have no patience”
    unquote. Why should fans have patience for people who earn millions of dollars,
    just for kicking a ball!?.  Chelsea long
    term fans are right when they demand for a competent management.

  3. Anonymous

    I’ve watched the whole game through just now.

    Mentioned in the other thread about Luiz. Not much more to add. He needs to knuckle down and concentrate on the simple stuff or we really are going to come a cropper.

    To win 3-0 and miss a penalty and them say this us strange, but our finishing was awful. Utterly awful. Loads of one on one’s missed.

    Thought Kalou had a very good cameo. Did the simple stuff and got a goal. 3 in his last 3 starts. Enough said.

    All in all, pleasing. Still think we are in for a torrid evening on Tuesday….

  4. Anonymous

    Good stuff Marco.

    I can’t understand why Alex and Anelka have to train separately. Are they really such bad influences?

  5. Gleb

    One of those games that warrant few comments on Chelsea FC Blog (hint: referring to one of my previous posts) 😉

    Congrats, everyone, that was pure class with a healthy dose of entertainment and suspense involved. Romeu is brilliant. Mata is brilliant. Dan and Luiz are nuts (each in their own special way). We’re still fragile like hell, but when things go our way (seldom these days) we’re unstoppable. In fact, it’s one of them games when I wonder whether we were so good or the opposition just suddenly became shite. At times there was so much space for our front three to exploit that I had to double-check whether we were actually playing Newcastle, live.  

    P.S. I love Meireles but he could have done a tad better in my opinion. Still, coming on as a sub is always difficult.

  6. Ryan

    Yeah good summing up. I expect Cahill transfer to happen in January but expect he’ll stay at the Reebok on loan until the summer. Thoughts?

    Anyone see the Independent piece supposedly suggesting a major overhaul in the summer? Cech going along with quite a few others. Seems unlikely and obviously no actual quotes so don’t know where that story came from. Do think there will be changes however. Lampard had another chance today. Didn’t take it. Meireles starts against Valencia for my money. Not sure about AVB’s “Luiz is Brazil’s No.1 CB” quote. He has just started to break into the squad and currently Thiago Silva is certainly a superior CB. To be fair to Luiz I would like to reserve judgement until this time next year. Great boost for his confidence, though I don’t really think he needs it.

    Good win today. We must convert our chances if we are no longer going to be so tight at the back.

  7. Der_Kaiser

    Nice one, Marco. 10/10 result for a 7/10 performance will do nicely in the circumstances. JT, Mata and Romeu stood out, Studge troublesome but fark mine, had Kalou missed that many chances there would have been effigies of him burning from here to the Tyne by the final whistle. Great game to watch, too.

    Au revoir Alex and Nico then – sad to see them go but understandable in the circumstances. Good luck to both – great players and fine servants.

    Makes Tuesday look a little less daunting, but we’ll need to tighten up at the back.

    Oh, Harry – you really do talk a staggering amount of bullshit, don’t you?

        • Harry

          What else one can expect from  an uneducated moron like you! I am certain that u have no tolerance for any notion but yours. week after week u make stupid comments and others like me, for the sake of freedom of speech, have to tolerate u. poor franz Bekenbauer, if he only knew…..

          • Der_Kaiser

            You’re a monomaniac. Dull, repetitious and lacking the intellectual capacity to form any coherent viewpoint that doesn’t resort to tired cliche – plenty of tolerance for other viewpoints on here, just not one subject spunk drinkers like you.

            The only thing ‘long term’ about you is your evident mental illness – come back when the ECT starts to have some kind of effect.

            One hint – when you’re suggesting someone is uneducated, it might pay to learn how to spell first.

          • Der_Kaiser

            I have plenty of both – just none for you. And congratulations – an almost correctly formed sentence; at this rate you might be walking upright and capable of rational thought by about 2018.

            Nighty night.

  8. Cunningplan

    Good report Marco, I’m glad you also noticed that Ba was offside when he was fouled, but no mention of it from the eagle eyed pundits, so even the yellow card could be deemed as unfair. I will say that apart from the first 5 to 10 mins Luiz was fairly comfortable for the remainder of the first half, without any further dramas, and he made some timely blocks and interceptions.
    I mentioned on the other report, AVB needs to get our players to practice finishing with one on ones, we had more than I can remember, but failed to score, what I would give for a Van Persie in those situations.

    I don’t think many peeps give us a chance on current form of a win at  (whatever they call their place these days), so three points is not to be sniffed at. Perhaps a tough month of fixtures is exactly what we need, and  who’s to say that we can’t win all of them, Citeh are due a defeat, and we might just be the team to do it.

  9. Joy

    Applause for Alex and Anelka as they exit. It reminds me of when Crespo left; except i was much more broken up about his departure. Not sure about Alex leaving; he seems pretty decent to me; granted Luiz has more potential in that position but as Terry will probably retire soon; unless he follows in Maldini’s footsteps

  10. Ryan

    Fucking hell. We win one game and no one’s got anything to discuss except spunk drinking, monomaniacs! Anyway looks like Modric might be back on the agenda. The Mirror reckon… Lampard or possibly Anelka or maybe Drogba could be used as makeweights to tempt Spurs into selling Modders! I’m not sure where this story came from either (see the Independent for similar “out with the old” unsubstantiated rumours). Frank looked pretty hacked off when he got the hook but I’d suggest his reputation is getting him in the team ahead of Meireles anyway so… watch this space?

  11. Dylbo Baggins

    I reckon Lamps understands that he is about to enter the ‘scholes era’ of his career. Problem is, if he only plays 20 minutes here and there between now and Euros it’s going to affect his chances of playing in what would surely be his last England tournament.

    Probably not the way he imagined his career would wind down…

  12. Simon

    What a historical event… Chelsea registered the first away win at the Sport Direct Arena!

    Sadly, we’ll miss Anelka; hopefully he’s gonna play in Qatar and not in PL.

    • John

      Agreed. Sorry to see Anelka and Alex go and not so resigned to it as others. Anelka especially could still have done a job for us for a couple of years and we’ll regret it if he stays in England. 

  13. Anonymous

    I think comedy of errors is pretty much spot on, Marco – and you list almost all of them, apart from Krull’s “heroic” penalty save having a fair bit to do with being allowed to stand well off his line during Lamps’ run up by the officials, as well as the now regularly sanctioned early dive by keepers before the penalty kick is taken. This point too was only grudgingly admitted eventually in Sky’s coverage and then ignored by all including The Ruud One who rambled on about “justice”.

    Personally, I was gratified by our major step back toward some decent form against a team who’ve been getting good results. Our profligacy [well, mostly Sturridge’s to be fair] with chances when through on goal may bite us on the bum on other occasions.

    I remain impressed by the Ramires / Romeu / Meireles midfield we ended up with and hope we will see that trio with more regularity from now on.

    The Indie’s article on The Great Clear Out To Come is surely a sad comment on how The Dirty Digger’s rags have dragged journalistic standards to the point where even the supposed quality papers indulge in unsubstantiated speculation and mindreading.

    The confirmed news that Alex and Anelka may leave in January gives the rest of the twaddle more weight than it surely deserves. Definitely a bit short on centre backs if Alex does find a club in January unless Cahill or whoever is already lined up.

  14. NorthernVA

    Marco thanks for the report.

    Via @ChelseaStats. Our goal scorers with goals, shots on target, total shots. Drogba (1:1:3), Kalou (1:2:2), Studge (1:4:8). 

    I remember an interview with Drogba a year or two ago and he was asked who is the best squad member in one v one situations and his response was Sturridge. 

    Against your run of the mill keeper Studge could have had a hat trick but Krul was sensational. Tony you were right he is definitely in the upper echelon of Premier League goalkeepers.

    I must admit I am stoked for Kalou. He’d been essentially banished to the wilderness since August well before the first snow. Mind you this is a player who scored more goals last season than Rooney. Did he go to the press and question the ambitions and the direction of Chelsea Football Club…like Rooney. Of course he didn’t he obviously had a proper upbringing. He kept his mouth shut and bided his time. Cometh the hour cometh the man! This man has the power to literally turn Twitter timelines into case studies in schizophrenia just by his presence on the pitch.

    Re: the Anelka & Alex situation I can’t understand the need to push them out the door in January. We could actually use Alex next Monday vs City. Also we are going to lose Drogba and Kalou to the ACN. Why ship out Anelka in January the very month of the tournament? It seems to me a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. I guess the board didn’t learn their lesson of trying to assimilate a new striker and central defender in January.

    Here is another article in reference to, as BBD has properly titled, the Great Clear Out to Come.

  15. bluebayou

    Thanks for that Marco.

    Didn’t get to see the match due to being at a pre Olympic Test event (Goal Ball, don’t ask) so had to depend on the radio and MOTD. So it’s good to get a proper Chelsea view of the game.

    While we avoided serious problems with the referee I fear we are in deep trouble with the animal welfare lobby.

    Forcing a gift horse to spend nearly two hours with it’s mouth wide open while the Chelsea team took a long collective look into its darkest reaches before coming to some conclusion about it’s orthodontic condition, bordered on the cruel.

    I can’t feel guilty about “getting away with one” when Luiz got a yellow, not after some of the decisions we’ve had to put up with. But once again, early in a game, we could have been in deep doo doo. Concentration? Organisation?

    Sqaundering an almost endless supply of decent chances (yes Kruul did well but…) allied to Colocinni departing early, Lovenkands seeming to show how much they missed Guttierez protecting the left side and several whacks of the woodwork around Cech, amounted to a fair bit of luck.

    But on the plus side, they did create the chances and did enough to have won it by half time from what I could tell.

    I’ll be sorrry to see Alex and Anelka depart. Alex has struggled with injury and perhaps the last minute collpase of the deal taking him to Juve didn’t help. Anelka was such a great buy for us and I can only wish him well. This training apart business seems curious and can only feed an impression of a squad that’s not united.

    But the transition was always going to be painful, particularly if, like me, you see a Chelsea player as a being apart. It’s sad to cast them off into the darkness. (Even Winston Bogarde although maybe but not so much).

    Happy for Kalou.

  16. Anonymous

    OK, now I’m starting to think the hacks on the posh papers are running a Xmas competition to see who can get the most outlandish summer clear-out story about a top EPL club printed – see this re-hash of a Sunday Times story about the Mancs’ alleged plans:

    I know Lord Ferg has history of bringing down the axe on key players before they decline, but offloading Ferdinand and Vidic simultaneously sounds about as likely as Ivanovic and Cech being on AVB’s list to me.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Be surprised if they both departed at the same time, but suppose it depends on various factors – not sure how long Vidic has on his current deal and whether he’s interested in signing a new one and Ferdinand’s creaking knees are not looking the best long term prospect.

      No pressure then, Phil Jones…

  17. Ryan

    Lazar Markovic, Partizan Belgrade’s highly rated seventeen-year old striker is keen on a move to Chelsea and the PL if you believe The Metro today.

  18. WorkingClassPost

    Marco, must admit that I thought Luiz was facing a red card too, but the replays seemed to show him focused on the flight of the ball, with the forward making sure a collision occurred, even Andy Townsend called it a nothing event; anywhere else on the pitch and it wouldn’t even get a mention.

    Maybe all those recent reds made ref Dean think more carefully about a hasty sending off. Strange how decisions affect games, and a disputed, but correct,  throw-in led to the first goal.

    Not sure what was wrong with Frank. He missed a pen and didn’t do much else of note, yet he stropped off in a most odd way – surely coming off with the CL on Tuesday could’ve been construed as a vote of confidence, I’m sure that Mata’s departure was.

  19. Anonymous

    For someone so ambivalent about our current form / position, I am absolutely bricking it ahead of tomorrow night.

    Our biggest game of the season. I have no confidence we’ll get the right result. Troubling.

  20. Anonymous

    NorthernVA — love the thing about Kalou’s name being enough to induce schizophrenia on Twitter.

    50ee — biggest game of the season? I’m not sure it’s as big as Saturday’s. Falling behind the top four is a really major concern, so a winnable away game against a team above us in the table was extremely important.

    Whereas the difference between going out of the CL now or in February really doesn’t seem make-or-break.

    Maybe this is just what I’m telling myself in order to be less anxious …

  21. Nick

    I had a dream (last night). I dreamed I was watching the game against Valencia in a bar (which no longer exists) where I used to watch every televised Chelsea game and we went 2-0 down. At this point I stopped watching and went to the betting shop in which I used to work 20 years ago (which no longer exists – dreams are weird). On arriving at the betting shop the score was 4-4. Just so you know.

    Thanks WorkingClassPost for mentioning the Amazon links (below and on the homepage). All pennies and cents earned from them are much appreciated in these austere times.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but 4-4 at the betting shop makes it sound like a happy ending but unfortunately a score draw and we’re out.

      What happened next?

      • Nick

        I woke up with a splitting headache, desperate for water and painkillers… the litre of red wine imbibed the evening before was a mistake, as always.

        Anyway… Blue Bayou was at the game tonight but won’t have time to post his thoughts until tomorrow afternoon. I will post the usual press reports, links to goal videos etc. in a bit. Anyone got an idea for a good featured image?

        • Anonymous

          Maybe something based on “life in the old dog yet”? Given that Big Pete, JT and Drogs all had good games, the latter especially.

          On that subject, did anyone else get the feeling that Frank wouldn’t have been brought on even if Meireles and Ramires had both broken their legs and we were 4-0 down? Well, maybe not, but I can’t help thinking AVB quite enjoyed not putting him on. There’s a bit of an edge to AVB, perhaps.

  22. Peterw

    Amusing to watch Match of the day on Saturday, where they just went on about Luiz’s escape and Lampard’s body language – no mention of Terry and Mata’s superb performances or the fact this was a resounding win against a team that hadn’t lost at home for months.

    Then the Spurs game came on and they were in raptures about this amazing team – no mention they were playing a shitty Bolton at home who spent most of the game playing with ten men.

    It’s almost like they have some sort of agenda to pursue…

    • bluebayou

      They also omitted to show what the guys on the radio said was a rather needless and reckless challenge on Sturridge by an obviously frustrated Ryan Taylor late on when the game was gone.
      But then that wouldn’t fit the narrative either would it? Now if it had been Terry, Luiz or Cole………

    • Cunningplan

      And I’ll still bang on about Ba being offside before Luiz tangled with him. Marginal it might well have been, but still offside, so a free kick to us, and no yellow, or red for that mattter.

      So instead of lambasting the officials for not calling for a red, why not lambast him for not raising his flag for the offside. Had there been no incident with Luiz, and the offside given, the expert pundits might well have been praising the linesman for an eagle eyed call.

      No doubt there’s an agenda when it comes to certain teams.

      PS I promise not to mention the offside again.

  23. Peterw

    anyway, I am still unconvinced by AVB but delighted by performances from the past-it Terry, Cole and Drogba and the crucial goal by the useless Kalou. Sturridge is inconsistent and makes too many bad decisions, but his pace is crucial and he is so stupidly confident he doesn’t go hiding no matter how many straightforward chances he misses. There’s something to admire in that. 

    Luiz needs proper coaching. 
    I think the banishing Alex and Anelka to the reserves shows what a delicate act ‘transition’ is. It certainly shouldn’t work like this and it’s a complete waste of two excellent players during a very busy period. What has gone on behind the scenes that we have got to this stage?

    • Der_Kaiser

      Seems to be pointing towards AVB’s line being very much ‘my way or the highway’.  Risky strategy if he doesn’t get the players he wants in January.

  24. Anonymous

    Ah well, what do I know?

    Whisper it quietly, the Chelsea of old might not be a million miles away. That’s pretty much got to be our first choice XI. Cheers Lamps, but your time is up. My only disagreement within anything AVB did tonight was bringing Mikel on. If Ramires had to come off, then Torres or Malouda on to stretch things in our favour. We just invited that little but too much pressure when we perhaps didn’t need to.

    Much else? Drogs might not be dead just yet. Mata oozes class and the creative influence we’ve yearned recently.

    And Romeu? Woof. Complete monster. Harsh yellow card. He bossed that midfield. Continues to impress. Just a shame he’s part of the most convoluted deal ever. I imagine Barca will be banging our door down soon to smuggle him back.

  25. Anonymous

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Third win, third clean sheet and third three unanswered goals netted! 
    Come on Chelsea!!!!

  26. Ryan

    Well worth just offering Barca the difference on the £13million (or whatever it is) they can buy him back for. He is going to be world class in the that position.

  27. Cunningplan

    And the cherry on the icing on the cake, we also topped the group. So Genk have proved they are a tough team to beat at home.

  28. Anonymous

    Other observations:

    Drogs didn’t look at the goal ONCE when scoring his second. All about judgment and knowing his surroundings. Class.

    Gary Neville really isn’t all that bad as a Sky commentator. Talks sense, and knows what’s happening.

    Arsenal are a fucking mess beyond their first XI.

    Valbuena of Marseille has scored a blinder tonight. Please try and see it.

    I’m all optimism now. I reckon 4-1 on Monday. Torres hat-trick. Too much, too soon????!!

  29. Anonymous

    Couple of things were evident.

    1. Cech didn’t play any short suicide passes but kept it nice and long

    3. We played deeper in our half and looked much more solid. Don’t think Sturridge will be happy to spend his entire career at fullback but it was effective tonight.

    • Anonymous

      1. Well, that’s because we were 2-0 up and making no effort at all to do anything with the ball (I think final possesion stats were 68%-32%).

      3. Ditto. As soon as we were ahead it was up to them to score and we stopped playing our attacking line and defended deep. Which we did extremely efficiently, although Valncia (their no. 8 excepted — no idea why they took him off, they went even flatter once he was gone) were surprisingly poo.

      I’d add:

      7. I didn’t see anything wrong with bringing Mikel on. It was late enough in the game that all out defence was fine, and maybe 70% of their attacking was done through the middle, so why not bring an extra blocker in? This idea that Mikel is a liability is a bit annoying. It’s the wisdom of crowds, like the idea that Crazy David “can’t defend”.


      49. Very gratifying to see Big Pete make a few saves.

  30. Nick

    Thanks for the featured image suggestions. All brilliant, but I think ‘life in the old dog yet’ and ‘phoenix from the flames’ should be saved as options for next Monday’s victory over City. 🙂 I’ve decided to use an image based on a tweet from someone followed by the @chelseablog:twitter account…

Comments are closed.