Stoke City 0-0 Chelsea – Press Reaction, Match Report, Player Ratings

Stoke City 0-0 Chelsea – Press Reaction, Match Report, Player Ratings by Mark

The newspaper reports

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “Encountering Stoke City is a repetitive experience, but few learn from it. Chelsea drew at the Britannia Stadium as they did last season, although there was not even a goal apiece in André Villas-Boas’s first competitive fixture. Much of the interest aroused by the appointment of the Portuguese remains because this hard-fought contest told us little about how his side will fare in the more considered matches.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “In Villas-Boas’ defence, without Romelu Lukaku yet and no other major new signings, he is still trying to reinvigorate the same group of players who fell short last season. Yesterday he picked Fernando Torres ahead of Didier Drogba and was rewarded with what was arguably the best Chelsea performance on the day. Yet by the end of the game he had reverted to an approach that has been tried before: Torres, Drogba and Nicolas Anelka on the pitch together.”

The Daily Telegraph, Jonathan Liew: “It is the dancing feet of Torres rather than the imposing presence of Drogba that Villas-Boas appears to believe are best equipped to carry out his intricate, give-and-go attacking strategy, and if the Spaniard can stay fit, he could make himself an automatic first choice before autumn is out. One sumptuous piece of Torres skill lit up an earnest first half, a twisting, mesmerising run into the Stoke area thwarted only by Ryan Shawcross’s desperate heel. The longer he continues to play with this kind of gay abandon, the more inclined we may be to believe Villas-Boas when he insists that his two-year-long trough was the result of dwindling confidence rather than physical decline.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Nobody said it was going to be easy. A much livelier Chelsea in the second half than the first took the game to the home side but with three penalty shouts turned down and two good saves by Stoke keeper Amir Begovic, the breakthrough proved elusive.”

The preamble

Stoke ticketsAndre’s had a full pre-season and 90 minutes of Premiership and we’re already playing catch up with Man Utd.

Surely we’ve all had enough of AVB and it’s time for Roman to pull the trigger?

Well only kidding but looking at some of the early posts on the blog some (say a number between one and fiftee) appear to be seriously thinking this way!

The match

Watching the first half it did seem like an extension of the end of last season with slow, ponderous and predictable build up with no end product. And each player seemed to be exactly the same with the exception of Fernando Torres who looked like a quality player. Whereas last year he looked like a lost little boy, desperate to impress and trying too hard, today he was making great runs, showed excellent control and good decision making; maybe not a complete waste of £50 million quid after all.

Second half we were much better. Upped the tempo and played most of the game in Stoke’s half.

I was concerned by a couple of AVB’s selections.

Firstly I’d have picked Ivanovic ahead of Bosingwa because I thought we’d need his height in defence and last year I thought Bosingwa was gutless and wasteful with his crosses. I was wrong and AVB was right. Bosingwa was excellent and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in and made some great runs down the right.

Secondly I’d have picked Drogba ahead of Torres simply to help out on corners. Again AVB was right because Torres was excellent and will be our number 9. His recent concussion with Spain has obviously shaken him out of his coma and he’s remembered that he is a world class footballer and not a cast member of the Ladyboys from Bangkok.

Two players didn’t step up a gear in the second half. Malouda was still slow of thought, lazy looking and predictable. Kalou was… well Kalou was Kalou, what else should I have expected!

Second half the foul on Lampard looked a definite penalty from where I was standing and Kalou had a great opportunity. A top class, clinical finisher would have buried his headed opportunity.

If we could have had a couple of decent wide men today supporting Torres we’d have won comfortably. Unfortunately we don’t have any, we only have central attackers, including the imminent arrival of Romelu Lukaku if he can ever be persuaded to take the cap off his pen.

The player ratings

  • Disappointingly frustrating – Kalou, Malouda
  • Better than feared – Bosingwa
  • Our best player – Torres – he might be back from wherever he disappeared to

The conclusion

As I sat in the taxi back to the station the crowd chants were still ringing in my ears, “Stoke’s a shit hole, there’s nothing to loot” and, looking out the window at the surrounding wastelands, I tended to agree.

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There are 90 comments

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  1. The SRG

    Overall, not a bad result.  Torres was excellent, besides the complete lack of service he was given.  Give him a decent creative mid tucked in behind or a quick winger and he scores a couple playing like he did today. Either we buy dip into the transfer market and fill this need or this type of result is going to be common place again this season.  

    Ramires, Alex, and Bos were all very good.  Bosingwa probably having his best game in over two years.  I see him being played against weaker sides where we need speed on the flanks, otherwise Branners will be playing on the right hopefully.  

    With there still being time in the transfer window, getting an attacking midfielder and a winger with pace and dribbling skills could make all the difference.  Hopefully Roman sees what AVB had to have seen today and we make the needed signings.

  2. Anonymous

    Forty-eight. That’s the number to pick, right?

    Yes, a little over the top in some of my comments, but I remain frustrated. We couldhave had a penalty or two but, that apart, we created little else.

    Torres was simply fantastic, especially considering the fact he had zero service from Kalou or Malouda so had to do it all on his own.

    The rest? Much of a muchness. People know what our same old faces are about. They know what to expect and how to deal with them. As I said, we never really troubled them. Is it that decent a result? Really? For title-contenders I’m not sure.

  3. Cunningplan

    Well my assessment after the opening weekend of PL football is (yes Citeh still to play)… it’s Bolton’s title to lose now.

    A reasonable result for us at a tricky place, they have a good home record as last season proved to a lot of the top teams. We were a tad unlucky, some reasonable penalty claims, and the woodwork saved them, and who’s been teaching Obi to shoot???

    And as unlucky as we were, Utd seemed to have their fair share of luck, two deflections off West Brom players for their winner, and their new goalkeeper looks well dodgy, but gets his blushes saved.

    I think the better premier league attacking players are relishing giving him a good hearty welcome to our league.

  4. Anonymous

    Hard to argue with match report it is spot on. However, minor addition to it I believe could be made. There was one more player who is just a shadow of himself – Lampard. Our midfield was extremely light weighted and disjointed and this is exactly why we continue to play like in the last season. The most important question, which we haven’t answered, so far, during transfer season  is midfielder. Unfortunately, no let me rephrase it, extremely unfortunately Frank hasn’t returned to his form since the injury he suffered last year. I don’t know, if he comes back or not, but the club have to address midfielder question very seriously.   

  5. Der_Kaiser

    Thought we gave a pretty decent account of ourselves overall; tough place to go and they were 2 competitive games ahead of us.  Not sure too many teams will come away from there with 3 points this season.  We picked up the tempo very well in the second half and were pretty unlucky not to get a result.  Defence looks pretty solid, just need a bit more zip on the flanks (you’d assume Sturridge is going to get a starting spot once the ban is over?) and I think we’ll be fine – not sure about title winners, but there or thereabouts.

    Torres appears to have rummaged through the packing cases he came down from Liverpool with and found his bollocks, which is encouraging – very good performance from him.  Ramires and Alex also fairly impressive, and Bosingwa might not be dead in the water just yet.

  6. DayTripper

    No need to add anything about the game as commentary and comments all seem to be spot on. The press reaction gets up my nose though. Man Utd showing why they are champions etc ad nauseum, same old Chelsea, plenty of possession, no penetration etc. Utd’s victory was due to a lucky own goal and WBA were much more impressive against them than Stoke were against us. We had the woodwork and a referee reluctant to give a penalty to thwart us.

    It is true, we do need someone to thread the passes through to Torres. So, had it been me, I would have brought Benayoun, or McEachran, on earlier, probably for Lampard

  7. Nick

    Missed the first half but by all accounts saw the best 45 minutes. Not a lot to add. It was a relief to see the Torres of old, a surprise to see the Bosingwa of old, and no surprise to see the Kalou of last and every season. I enjoyed the second half very much.

    Kalou, eh? Shit. Fucking shit. For fuck’s sake. Fucking sell him! Please fuck off. Goal! Match-winning goal! Goal assist! Pretty shit. Fuck off! Shit, shit, shit. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Useless! Sell him, for fuck’s sake! Goal! Goal! Goal! Shit. Shitting hell, he’s shit. Will he never learn?! Goal! Goal! Match-winning goal. Goal assist! Goal. Shit. Crap. Fuck me, can he get any worse?! Oh for fuck’s sake, not again?! Pass it! Pass the ball to a team-mate! Goal! Goal! Goal! Great goal return.

    I have nothing more to add.

    (Please, AVB, use him as an impact sub! Please, please, please.)

    Stop.

      • Nick

        I’m always lurking in the background, Clive. My enthusiasm for the game waned somewhat over the summer, but I’m brimming with it now thanks in no small part to Blue Bayou’s brilliant ‘Trailer Trash? Or Will We Smoke Ol’ Stokey On the Road to Being Kings Again?’ post. http://www.chelseafcblog.com/2011/08/09/trailer-trash-or-will-we-smoke-ol-stokey-on-the-road-to-being-kings-again/

        Am I somehow falling out of love with the club, with the game?

        No. I’ve decided to remain more unmoved by the shrill nonsense and at times rather nasty and brutish exchanges that pass for football related conversation these days. There’s too much of it and like some insane addict I’ve allowed myself to wallow in something that thrives completely on negativity.

        I’m going to concentrate on the game and its innate fascination. I’m purifying my football soul.

        I thought I’d become cynical about the game as a whole but in fact I’d become cynical about the football related conversation and reaction to games, the so called punditry (the obsession with getting the views of ex-players is out of control). It was getting to me. Ninety percent of it is cliche – in fact football itself seems to be one big cliche a lot of the time – nine percent is “nasty and brutish”, and only one percent is worth my time. But that one percent is more often than not brilliant.

        So, thanks to Blue Bayou, I too am purifying my football soul. It feels good. Deep breaths. Zen.

        Kalou, eh?

        • Cunningplan

          Totally agree Nick I think most Chelsea fans I know have been feeling the general malaise over the summer, myself included.

          I also remain cynical about the game, and will continue to do so while we have so called pundits making the usual uneducated and crappy comments.
          And the male bimbo on Sky (Jamie Redknapp) didn’t let me down with his remark yesterday stating that  if AVB doesn’t win the CL he’ll be sacked this season.

          • Cunningplan

            At least you have your finger on the pulse of all things football, and CFC.
            Do you fancy a job on Sky? afterall they’re not that fussy, they’ve got that vile individual Gary Neville onboard.

            PS I will add that I’m not referring to you as vile JD… but if it gets you a lucrative job to secure your families future, I’m sure the blog can give you references. 😉

    • Anonymous

      Looking on the bright side, 2 more performances like that should ensure he loses his starting place to Sturridge after his enforced holiday, you would think – though he’ll probably have a blinder now against Norwich.

      While I agree we didn’t seem too bad in the second half, it’s easy to wonder if we’ll decline to as truly leaden-paced as we were by mid-season last year.

      For once I have to agree with Blue_Mikel that Frankie is still looking out of sorts with the game largely passing him by, as Mikel now seems to have been told to bring the ball forward more himself and distribute directly to our attackers.

      It was nice of Uncle Ray to point out on the Sky commentary some decoy runs that Lamps made, but I’m struggling to avoid the thought that he’s on the rapid decline to being regularly hoiked off after an hour/ becoming well-acquainted with the subs bench if his form doesn’t improve unless player power really does still rule.

      I’ve even left him out of my fantasy team this year to see if it can improve things 😉

  8. Anonymous

    There is a spirit of general agreement on this page of the blog, for a change. I want to believe that AVB sees the same things we see and problems will be addressed. One would hope so, at least.  It looks like we are not after Modric anymore, unless our board exercise some special tactics to make Spurs running after us. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/14523936.stm  

        • Anonymous

          In addition to deep breaths I thoroughly recommend total use of a Sky+/ other appropriate hard disk recorder for all live football coverage [ I’ve never watched MOTD any other way for years now] to enjoy a near pundit-free experience.

          Start watching approximately half an hour after kick-off and you can fast forward through as much of the the half-time bore-in as you like and make judicious use of x2/x6 buttons to speed up the goal kick/free kick delays and the endless adventurous passing the ball back and forward across teams’ own midfield which appears to be a major tactic in many EPL games now.

          I usually get to the end not long after the official full-time whistle, or indeed for especially exciting games like Newcastle v Gooners, I catch up rather earlier [ during the 62nd minute on Saturday] and either watch the end live or find something else to do for 10 minutes to give me some fast-forwarding space again for those pesky pundits’ post-game “analysis” before we get to the managers’ self-justifications.

  9. bluebayou

    Thanks for the report Mark. Seasoned as we would hope with the usually dry observations. Drollery personified.
     
    The most surprising aspect of the very welcome report is the ticket giving the writer fair passage on the permanent way. First Class! Travelling in style. As it should be for contributors to the world’s premier football blog.
     
    I write that as someone who is in final half hour of a day trip to Edinburgh (8 hours 45 mins total on the train) achieved in standard class accomodation. And the bit in Edinburgh consisted of wandering up and down various bits of train depot. Mind you even if I’d had to travel in the Guards Van it would beat flying.
     
    Only heard the game on the wireless but your report confirms the general impression I got of the proceedings. It is good to see Torres and Bosingwa showing some confidence. Lets hope it stays that way.
     
    It could so easily have been a win but the real spark was absent. However, first game of the season against an awkward side who we ended by dominating is not too shabby.
     
    Talksport were quite impressed with Chelsea’s effort and Collymore, Alvin Martin and Alan Brasil all had very positive things to say about the performance. I don’t listen to ShoutySport much but was pleasantly surprised at how evenhanded they were.
     
    One can only hope Mikel’s father returns safe and sound. Amazed he could play in the circumstances. Impressive.
     
     
     

    • Anonymous

      Sorry to hear about your travel experience.  I’m also off to Edinburgh tomorrow, First Class of course.

      What’s it like travelling Second?

      • bluebayou

        The trip was fine actually but thanks for caring.

        I think the term “standard” or “coach” class is more suitable in these “egalitarian” times.

        After all, we are all in this together….supposedly
         

  10. Gleb

    Played just one game and already scored more than Torres. Who? Aguero. That’s for all the talk of him not being built for the Premiership. Why don’t we ever get the right players?

      • NorthernVA

        Its was only Swansea. Last season we thumped newly promoted West Brom 6-0 at home and were crowned champions on the opening day of the season. We all know how that turned out. I don’t know who said Aguero was not fit for the EPL. He gave us the business in the champions league two season ago. I believe we were interested however his wages demands may have put the powers that be off a bit.

    • Anonymous

      Why don’t we ever get the right players?

      Other forwards City have recently signed include

      Robinho
      Craig Bellamy
      Roque Santa Cruz
      Emmanuel Adebayor

      If you keep on buying enough of something eventually one of them is going to work out.

      Taking off my 3D glasses an replacing them with my Samsung Perspective glasses, Aguero has had a decent 30 minutes against a newly promoted team that try and play expansive football (a la Blackpool) beyond their technical capabilities and were already beaten by the time he came on.  Let’s see how he fancies all in wrestling with no holds barred against Stoke.

  11. Gleb

    Sure, it was only Swansea, but a) the quality of the goals and the assist is astonishing; b) Fernando didn’t exactly have to play against Barca and Real every week, either.

    To be clear, I’m not one of them Torres criticizers, I like the guy, honestly wish him well for us, not to mention my girlfriend’s unhealthy obsession with him (she plays footy, mind you), so I was double-happy when we signed him, but… you just have to marvel at debuts like these. I mean, Aguero, Suarez… who else… a lot of players who were deemed “unfit” for the EPL, or at least had their abilities doubted, have shined straight away, while our star striker is struggling. Some people have even gone far enough to say that Messi would fail in EPL, what a load of crap. We paid 50m for a “proven EPL striker”, and look where we’re at. If someone’s quality, he’s quality, end of story. And Chelsea needs quality. Lukaku already looks massive (literally, too, for his age…), so let’s cross our fingers the deal does happen.

    Either way, it was only game one, I’m sure AVB will sort things out. He’s the first manager since Jose that I have complete trust in.

  12. BlueJohn

    I think we all wanted Aguero … what a strike force him and Drogs would have made. I really hope we sign Neymar, we need a Zola-esq forward so badly. Eidur G was our last really creative forward (I don’t count wingers like Robben) and here’s hoping RA gets his cheque book out. 

    We either match City’s spending or get left behind. 

  13. Cunningplan

    With regard Aguero, no doubting he’s a very good footballer, but I agree with Mark, and to use the old footballing cliches, lets see how he does on a cold windy January night at the likes of Blackburn and Bolton.

    Besides I recall a certain Mr Deco on his impressive debut for us against… I have to say a very very poor Portsmouth side, we all know what happened after that as the season progressed.

    PS Mark you also left out Balloteli, surely he’s heading for the exit.

  14. Der_Kaiser

    Certainly very impressive debut for Aguero; one of the very few ‘big money’ players like Sneijder I’d have been happy to see us go for.

    That said, hearing the odd whisper as to why there was only really one club in for him and that there may be the odd ‘issue’ further down the line.

    *goesallcryptic*

    • Anonymous

      *beingthatcrypticisunacceptable*

      Spill the beans. Go on, you know it makes sense.

      £27m AND Yossi now for Modric? No thanks, still Sneijder please.

      • Der_Kaiser

        Arf…

        Was put to me in an almost equally cryptic manner, unfortunately.  But the gist was that signing certain Argentine players does seem to come with a fairly unique set of challenges.

  15. bluebayou

    “winkcrespoveronwink”

    And may I say what a fine piece of “stream of consciousness” writing from young Nick yesterday. The world of the experimental novel is missing a major practitioner. Or is it…….?

     

  16. Anonymous

    Crikey, I’m away from the blog for a couple of months and when I come back I can’t tell what anyone’s talking about any more.

    Except for the stuff about Kalou, of course — reassuringly unchanged since approx. 2008.

    I’ve no idea who’s doing what or where or what anyone looks like. (They sold Yuri?) Thanks to the decision to seek East Asian shirtbuyers instead of US shirtbuyers this summer, those of us channelhopping in the states looking for preseason nonsense were fed a relentless diet of Man Effing U.

    Funny how one can get strangely blasé when it comes to one’s feelings for one’s own club, and yet find that the intensity of loathing for club you viscerally despise remains as fresh as it was in the old Beckham-Keane-Nevilles-Schmeichel-Pallister-Bruce days.

    Judging by the teamsheet against Stoke, the powers that be seem to have inexplicably ignored this blog’s calls to refresh the team. They’ll pay for that, I’m sure.

  17. Cunningplan

    (They sold Yuri?)

    @LTB welcome back, and yes that’s the spin from the club, I’ve a feeling he’s been banished to the salt mines in Siberia.

  18. Cunningplan

    And another thing, it’s a bit tardy of our regulars to be turning up late for the start of the new season, it’s a bit like not turning up for school after the summer hols on due date. I think we need to hold a register call everyday, and unless people have sick notes from their mum, detention is in order.

    Right back to the football! 😉

      • bluebayou

        Duly noted.

        However if Diddy Dave, Mad Boris and Theresa Maybemaybenot can toddle home when there’s a bit of crisis it ill behoves Mr Tony to lie around in the sun while players remain unbought, wins against Stoke remain unwon and things are generally a bit untidy round the place.

        However as I’m going on holiday Thursday, perhaps one of you lot could pass on what I assume are commonly held sentiments about his all too casual approach.

        This is a new area, a new approach. Discipline is required.

        Now carry on everyone

        • Der_Kaiser

          I would do, but I’m off on the day he travels back – but we’ll have soundly beaten West Brom by then, anyhow, and all will be right with the world.

          *fingerscrossed*

  19. Benjami

    I am very happy we didn’t sign Aguero and Sneijder, both will demand wages in the region of 200,000 per week. That is just under £12m per year, over 4 years is 36m plus transfer cost of say 35m is £70m (ish). That is a hit of £17.5m to our profit figure per year and will wreck our Financial fair play position.

    If that cost was paid for by us the fans at home, considering the potential future implications, that would be an increase of £17* per game each in addition to what we pay now, balls to that 😛

    Also Modric is too expensive. Nasri is a better player, more suited to the role we need, cheaper, and we can probably get him on lower wages.

    If we can exchange Kalou with it as well, then that is awesome 😀 Though I think Kalou would actually do ok under old Wenger!

    *£17.5m / (41,435 average attendance x approximate number of home games 25) = £17

  20. Anonymous

    Speaking of the shocking lack of discipline around at the moment, I see The Gooners had the brass neck to appeal [unsuccessfully] against Gervinho’s 3 match ban for his spat with Barton at the weekend…. and that Eboue and Vela are the latest rats to desert The Goodship Wenger.

    Another disaster tonight against Udinese and how many more will be forming an orderly queue at the exit?

    • Cunningplan

      Have any footballing pundits actually come out and send Wenger has lost it and should be fearing for his job? thought not.

  21. WorkingClassPost

    Missed the game but not too disheartened by the comments so far.

    Really struggling to get a connection. Brought a laptop this time, but wifi appears to be second choice for many (they seem to favour those little dongle thingies here in NE Brazil).

    Anyway, getting to watch quite a bit of S. American footie ( Veron played last night and he was surprisingly influential).

    Hoping to see Chels while I’m here, but it’s a bit hit and miss with who’s covering what on the TV.

    At least I can trust the write-ups here.

    BTW: Seriously contemplating becoming a teetotal vegan, or maybe not.

  22. Gleb

    Regarding Yuri (if anyone’s interested):
    He joined an average team from Dagestan (a neighboring region that’s much worse than Chechnya in a number of ways), with an owner wealthier than them Man City sheikhs (they’re bringing Eto’O in and lots more). For that he got booed during the Russia vs. Serbia friendly, and is still getting booed by fans from all over Russia, which turned into a huge scandal. I’m bad with examples and a bit drunk (just came back from a huge family celebration), but imagine a legendary England player joining a team from Ireland (IRA and all) in the 80ies, or something. Yuri was probably the last player whom everyone in Russia, and I mean everyone, truly respected, both as a footballer and as a person (after the us not getting into the WC debacle). So him joining a team from a region that doesn’t consider itself a part of Russia (they burn our flags, boo the national anthem, get into conflicts with pretty much all the fans of the rest of the teams) and clearly just for the cash (because he could have easily signed for CSKA, his former team where he is/was a true legend, or Spartak, which would have sparked a different kind of controversy but anyway…) is seen as something unforgivable by the 99% of the fans.

    Now, I’m not really taking sides here, but I can see the booers’ point.

    Just some background info, don’t want to start a political debate or anything.

    • WorkingClassPost

      I was wondering why he left, with Flo a year older and a new manager at the helm, he could reasonably have expected a good shot at a regular start, so your info kinda explains why, but also makes his decision all the more baffling, given the reception he’s inviting.

      Water under the bridge now, so to speak.

      Saw the ‘highlight’ of Arse and then was intrigued by the commentators references to Chelsea – they were talking about Modric and other stuff, but my Portuguese ain’t that good, so I can’t say more that that – but we were a definite topic of conversation.

      Should be grabbing a nice cold one quite soon…

    • Der_Kaiser

      Sounds like fairly standard football fan stuff that happens the world over – pretty much impossible for players to go anywhere without pissing someone off; just a question of degree really and it sounds like Yuri has picked the top end of the scale.

    • Anonymous

      Indeed!

      Today’s “Fiver” column in The Grauniad gives us some choice extracts from his weekly pronouncements on Radio Yorkshire which suggest his views on controlling disorder have not changed much since his “electric fences and cattle prods” proposals at The Bridge all those years ago.

      Unfortunately, they start with more from his latest match programme notes in which he draws a disturbing metaphor about his relationship with Leeds which is not for the squeamish and may cause nightmares in those of delicate sensibilities.

      Still if you feel brave enough you can read it here:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/aug/17/the-fiver-leeds-ken-bates

      He could certainly liven up Chelsea TV channel from the soporific stuff we get “highlights” from on the official website at the moment 😉

  23. Anonymous

    Today’s chatter about us leading the race for Mata is heartening. No doubt utter nonsense, but would be a pleasing acquisition.

    And probably completed before the Lukaku deal. Seriously, WTF is going on there?

    • Anonymous

      AVB just said in his press conference that Lukaku’s papers are now going through – and the press flunkey said he’ll be presented with Romeu next Tuesday.

      Least I think that’s what was said as I was still recovering from the opening bombshell that Cech picked up a ligament injury in training yesterday and is out for 3-4 weeks 🙁

      I expect Nick will be along with a Kalou-like outburst in response soon!

  24. Anonymous

    Does that mean no Lukaku or Romeu this weekend then? Things arent so desperate that I’m hanging on the appearance of a couple of 19 year olds, just that things seem to be taking their time.

    And we are – royally – fucked with Cech being injured. Neither Hilarious nor Turnbull fill me with any confidence that they’ve ever been goalkeepers.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Just up on the official site that Lukaku has completed his deal and will be available for Saturday, which is nice…

      Could do with having Cech back for the United game, but the next 3 fixtures shouldn’t cause too many problems for Hilario.

      • bluebayou

        “but the next 3 fixtures shouldn’t cause too many problems for Hilario”

        do you want that on white, brown, or rye?

        baguette, ciabatta, roll, pannini?

        mayo, pesto, vinagrette dressing?

        a little salt, pepper?

        Just helping you decide, ’cause deep down you know you’re going to have to eat ’em.

  25. Cunningplan

    “Could do with having Cech back for the United game, but the next 3 fixtures shouldn’t cause too many problems for Hilario.”

    Didn’t Custer say something similar about those pesky indians.

  26. Anonymous

    Agreed. One of the defining characteristics of Hilario Time is that it never ends up being as bad as you think it’s going to be.

    (Me, I take mine with mustard.)

    • Der_Kaiser

      Quite (same here, English preferable).

      Hey, think of Old Trafford in a month or so.  Hilario at one end, De Gea at the other – there’s a whole DVD of goalkeeping blunders for the Christmas market right there…

  27. Anonymous

    So is Courtois next-seasons-and-all-after-that number 2?

    Because, let’s face it, neither Hilarious nor Turnbull are anything other than very much second choice. Other clubs have more than one competing for the number one slot, and we don’t, despite Petr spending a while out injured after he got ‘Hunted’.

    ESPN have kindly allowed me their service free for 3 months, so I get to watch on Saturday where usually I’d have to wait for MOTD. Guaranteed snore-fest that’s all my fault then?

    • Austin Solari

      So if I sit there bored shitless, Mr Fiftee, I shall curse you tomorrow night!!!  First game I have been able to go to since the Wigan 8-0 trouncing (I have a doctors note, honest ….. a new knee op kept me away)

  28. Dylbo Baggins

    Don’t get me wrong, i would certainly prefer Cech to be in goal but considering 3 of the 4 games are against teams that would normally be happy to take a point from us and are most likely to ‘park the bus’ it could open the games up a bit. a ‘shonky’ 2nd string keeper may just be the tonic to encourage the teams to attack in the hope of schniggling all 3 points.

    Should this happen then there will be a lot more space for Master Torres to find himself in and, as such, put away some confidence boosting goals.

    Hoping to see some big score lines come out of the games.

  29. Anonymous

    I’d pay decent money to see Woy Hodgson go in front of the cameras and announce his intention to schniggle three points from us tomorrow.

    • Dylbo Baggins

      I think Schniggle may even be too urban for urbandictionary..

      To schniggle- the act of sneakily taking something that rightfully does not belong to you…If you were at a house party and someone took your last beer just before you went to get it from the fridge you would most likely mention to your mate “man, i can’t believe it. Someone schniggled my last beer” to which your friend would most likely respond “devo”

  30. Anonymous

    Thank fuck I’m not paying ESPN to watch this. Anything more than 0p would be too much froma Chelsea point of view.

    Big second half on the way. Can Mata be signed in time to provide a spark? We’re devoid of that right now.

  31. Anonymous

    Going to be a long season, I fear.

    It’s come to a pretty pass when you owe Hilario for your three points.

    I think it was West Brom who got schniggled. Hard to think of a bright spot. Branners’ arrival turned our central defence from a shambling catastrophe into something merely moderately awful, and Bosingwa’s skill for the winner capped a decent game. Otherwise … pffft. Let’s hope Josh, Mata, Lukaku, Romeu and various other young ‘uns are ready by next season, cuz there’s doesn’t seem to be a lot more mileage on last season’s team.

  32. NorthernVA

    Fiftee completely summed off the first half performance. In a word..rubbish.Should have been down 2 nil at the half to be honest. Credit to Woy his side was well organized side and tough to break down. Much different to their visit last season. 3 points at the end of the day and it looks like Juan Mata. Not opposed to the occasional smash and grab. United lives by it however in their case the media refers to it as resilience. 

  33. Anonymous

    Admittedly just two games in, but when Jose Bosingwa has been your best player so far, there’s a whole lot of issues to address.

    Lamps can’t find a goal or shot on target for shit.

    Alex looked as far from a potential Juventus signing as humanly possible. Juve could stick a pin in photos from the crowd and pick a more reliable defender. Shoddy beyond belief.

    Kalou. Im his biggest critic but even AVB’s decision caught me off guard. Surprising, but ultimately fruitful.

    Mata and Modric would be the catalyst we seem to need. Robbie Savage pointed out how predictable we were. Hows that for hurtful?

  34. Cunningplan

    What we did to WBA was no different to what Utd did last week.
    Yes poor first half that looked like we’d picked 11 strangers from a pub to have a game, second half vast improvement. Lets not get too carried away yet, I quite prefer we have a low key start unlike last season when we apparently won the league in the press after 6 games. I think AVB knows what we need to improve things, at least he made a very bold JM like substitution after 35 mins, which did work.
    And remember things could be worse, we could Arsenal fans!

  35. Austin Solari

    Only thing I got to laugh about yesterday was that seconds before Malouda scored, he was being roundly abused by the MHL for not running after a pass mere seconds earlier!! The guy behind me was screaming at him. Hence his run to that section of the MHL and his little jump for joy. I just turned and looked at the bloke who did have the grace to say ‘Great goal but he is still a lazy bastard’ LOL

    I have seen two games now and the thought that comes to mind is ‘Same old, same old’. AVB is really going to have to work hard to get this team playing as champions.


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