The Observer, Paul Wilson: “Chelsea went down to an early goal, recovered, and sent on all their available attackers in search of the three points to keep their title hopes alive. There the similarity with Manchester United ended, however, and after accepting his side could not afford to drop any more points and retain a realistic chance of overhauling the leaders Carlo Ancelotti will now be able to concentrate on the Champions League.”
Sunday Telegraph, Rory Smith: “Within eight minutes of kick-off, Chelsea were behind to Jon Walters’s strike; they fought back admirably to earn a frenetic point, but it will not be enough. Their chances of silverware now rest solely on the Champions League. The spectre of United haunts them there, too. Against Sir Alex Ferguson’s champions-elect, they have 180 minutes to save their season.”
Independent on Sunday, Tim Rich: “By the time Chelsea began the warm-up, the electronic screen behind them was showing images, 10 feet high, of Wayne Rooney dragging the title ever closer to Old Trafford. And when the final whistle went and the screen relayed pictures of Stoke’s manager, Tony Pulis, embracing his backroom staff it confirmed what most, deep down, at Stamford Bridge, already knew.”
Official Chelsea FC Website: “Didier Drogba’s first Chelsea goal since late January levelled the scores after Stoke netted early on but two points were dropped in a lively encounter in the Potteries.”
Reasons for visiting the Potteries
- My wife likes Emma Bridgewater pottery and this match is our annual pilgrimage to the factory
- I enjoy away games because of the enthusiasm of our away support
- I believed when I bought the ticket we had a chance of the title
- I believed when I bought the ticket we had a chance of getting to the Champions League Final and therefore I had to give a final boost to my loyalty points total (hence West Brom away in two weeks)
Rollercoaster of emotions
This was the normal rollercoaster of emotions derived from supporting Chelsea. Enthusiasm for the match soared to greater heights as I listened to West Ham take a 2-0 lead over Utd. Quick calculations in my head meant that after we beat Stoke we’d be just six points behind with a game in hand (which we’ll win) and if we then go up to Old Trafford and win the title’s ours. Between leaving the car and getting to the stand it had all changed with that ‘fat bastard’ scoring a hat-trick. Following the game itself my emotions told me it was pointless to start re-calculating the league run in.
You’ve heard the expression ‘it’s a game of two halves’.
This match was a game of 65 minutes and 25 minutes.
A slightly sloppy opening couple of minutes and then a bit of slack defending by Luiz allowed Walters to run on goal and score. But for the next 65 minutes we totally outplayed Stoke during which Drogba scored a great header from an excellent Anelka cross. After our 65 minutes it all fell apart and we were left hanging on in the end as Stoke made some serious threats on our goal.
Player ratings (based on my view from the away end and without the benefit of replays)
- Team – (65/90*8) + (25/90*5) = 7.16
- Cech – 9 – some great saves and kept us with a point
- Cole – 7 – steady enough. Withstood the banter from the crowd that he “shoots kids”
- Luiz – 7-1+1 = 7 – generally ok but -1 for giving the goal away. I think Luis will give us plenty of heart stopping moments in his time with us, some for good reasons and others for bad, a sort of Peta Borota effect. The six blokes in front of me all had Luiz wigs on so I’ve given him +1 for services to the wig industry and economy. They did remove their wigs in disgust for five minutes after his mistake. Also towards the end he did get outdone by Fuller and generally didn’t handle Jones too well so maybe Luiz doesn’t like playing against big blokes
- Bosingwa – 8 – I’ve been very critical of him during recent weeks but today he played well and managed to get his crosses in without hitting the first man
- Terry – 8 – a natural leader and got stuck in
- Essien – 7 – seems to be regaining some of his energy. I think he’s improving
- Ramires – 8 – he’s our engine
- Lampard – 6 – ponderous, some sloppy passing and no longer able to come up with the goods in our hour of need
- Malouda – 5 – lacks energy and does everything at walking pace. Whenever he got the ball we slowed right down
- Drogba – (65/90*8.5) + (25/90*6) = 7.8 – scored a great goal and worked hard, including a chase back all the way to our box when the defence was caught short. As soon as Torres came on he stopped
- Anelka – 6+1 = 7 – overall a 6 because he played a bit like Malouda but marginally better. +1 for his cross for Drogba to score
- Ivanovic – 6 – didn’t do much and one lapse of concentration let the ball slip under his foot
- Torres – 6 – you can tell he’s got class but he was trying too hard and tried to run the ball himself when a pass might have been a better option
- Kalou – 5 – something he can be an impact sub. Today he twice got into good positions and stumbled as he ran in on goal but left the ball behind him
- Carlo – 8-2-2+1 = 5 – His initial team selection and our play for 65 minutes was good, so an 8. However the team stopped after 65 minutes and this coincided with his substitutions. Taking off Ramires shocked the away end; it was like pulling out the spark plugs so -2. Playing Torres and Drogba just didn’t work. With each attack Torres and Drogba alternated between playing up the middle and on the left. This is Carlo just ducking the issue by effectively saying “I don’t know how to play you so just take it in turns”, hence -2. Carlo did manage to wave to us, without prompting from Ray Wilkins, as we chanted “Carlo, Carlo” so +1 for his improved English.
- Woodwork – 8+2-2 = 8 – saved us twice but cost us twice
Premier League title hopes
I’m travelling to Old Trafford Tuesday week for our Champions League match. I think we should take the Premier League trophy with us, take a slight detour east to the Emirates at the start of the journey to remind Arsene and his young boys what silverware looks like and then drive it up the M1/M6 and hand deliver it to Fergie’s office.
you are right about ancelottis substitutions he dropped a bol–ck!
Citeh well on the way to over-taking us. Again.
Battle for forth again.
We have a game in hand though ……….. again
Sounds like Manshit have won, but I’ve been out all day and will need to watch MOTD2 to confirm, or maybe not.
Don’t want to start the false hope syndrome, but, if we spank manu then we not only progress in the CL, but we also make the end of the season severely challenging for them, too.
Especially as the FA will be handing Roody a three match ban for swearing at the camera…
Thanks for an excellent report – love the markings!
I knew we would drop points as soon as Carlo was named manager of the month, and had a feeling Luiz would be involved as soon as he was named player of the month.
Not too fussed really, as it would only prolong the agony. We have diddly chance of taking the title and I’d be happy see as cruise into top three finish.
Not feeling very optimistic about the CL either. United have picked up recently and I don’t expect our decent recent run against them to last for another two matches. This doesn’t particularly bother me either as this season now feels dead and I’m already looking forward to August.
I think some stoic calm is required toward the season now.
The Mancs dragging themselves back from a 0-2 deficit away from home again smacks of a team that’s heading for the EPL title.
CL games against other English clubs are always tricky to call, but let’s veer towards pessimism and we won’t be disappointed at least.
Worrying statistic that backs up your 65 – 25 minute split, Mark: Torres & Kalou didn’t manage a single attempt at goal between them in their 30 minutes on the pitch each.
Yep, top 3 pretty realistic and would do just fine in the circumstances. All the ‘if United slip and if we…’ stuff just reminds me of listening to oppo fans when we were on top; clutching at straws, ultimately.
Not sure about CL either – second leg at home and I’d fancy us, but less confident now than when the draw was made. Need our strikers to start firing above all else.
Interesting analysis of United on F365 – not somewhere I usually frequent – and the luck they’ve had with decisions in their 5 away wins this season. Again, lots of ‘if if if’, but it makes some interesting points about how it has affected a pretty poor PL season.
Batty old Sir Alex was wanking on in the paper yesterday that Chelsea have now had favourable refereeing in the last FOUR games against United, and also that they were the better team at the Bridge. He don’t half talk some tosh.
I did think that Slur Alex was mellowing with age, but he’s obviously regressed back to his youth, and fast becoming the prat he used to be.
And on a side note of England’s patron Saint of football, Mr Shrek of Scousland, remind me again how long Drogba’s ban was for using industrial language in front of the TV camera?
I say it’s a F******g disgrace!
Disappointed in not getting the win, thrilled we didn’t lose, kind of relieved to get the tie. Stoke is in good form.
Bosingwa was surprisingly good, first time all season. The team desperately needs that level of play from him on Wednesday.
Agree with most of the other sentiments. Luiz did bungle that play at midfield, but Essien ran in (okay, kudos for that) and chose to defend the tougher angle and Terry was nowhere to be found. Plus, the goal itself was terrific. So I’m not too upset about it.
The crossbar may have hurt us on Drogba’s try, but that giant divot where the goalie sits had a say in it too I think.
Lampard made that nice run into the box in the second, but had an open pass to a completely uncovered Torres he either didn’t see or ignored, and ended up shooting into a block.
The only possible reason I can see taking Ramires off is that he might need some rest for CL. If he was taken off for that bad first touch in front of goal then Carlo is overthinking things. But resting him amounted to sacrificing EPL for CL, didn’t it? And for only 20 minutes of action saved? I think I would have preferred Zhirkov or Josh whatsisname (or even Yossi, who wasn’t even on the sub list) in for Malouda, and Torres in for Drogba. The team may want to start thinking about subbing for Lampard too, blasphemous though that probably is.
Despite that Ivanovich IS a center back, I prefer him at right, so with Ivano at center and Bosingwa at right for CL I skeered. Would much rather have this combo at Old Trashford in the first leg and have Alex back for the second leg.
Can’t they ban Rooney just for, I don’t know, the statutory offence of Being Wayne Rooney? (I’d like to see them try to appeal against that one.)
Not looking forward to the CL ties at all.
Is it August yet?
Now that’s unfair on Mr. Rooney, surely he’s a misunderstood young man.
I’m all for the BBC using license payers money to allow Louis Theroux to spend a month with him, just to get inside his head, and see what makes him tick.
Well they spared us a long and tense April then. But there’s still a lot to play for as we don’t want to be worrying about CL placings right down to the wire.
Didn’t see the game as I was down at the Head of the River Race but heard bits on the radio. Sounded entertaining. Saw the brief highlights on MOTD. The goal was good, theirs was good if you’re backing Stoke but not form our point of view.
Worrying about Luiz in the one on one situation. Doesn’t move his feet. We could have bought a hairy bollard and got them same result. Generally impressed but he needs to get that sorted. It’s very early days in the Prem, but I don’t think been run at by journeymen pros is that much more difficult in England than it is anywhere else, unlike some other aspects of the game.
Hoping that Bosingwa’s turned a corner, even if he doesn’t stay. It wasn’t good to see a player of that quality seemingly lose the lot.
Enjoyed the summary Mark, although the maths is a bit beyond my feeble mind.
Earlier in the day, got in the car and heard Vidic avoid his red and thought to myself that Fergie must be satisfied with a solid month of whinging at the refs. Then I hear they got a soft penalty. He must be more chuffed than Mr Chuffy. It’s becoming an annual event now. Wait ’til its all getting tight then lay into the refs. Get in their heads and a few borderline decisions will drop the right way.
To be honest, the combination of his rather pathetic whining and Rooney generally make me wonder if the title wouldn’t be better off with the Goons. It’s really down to how you like your whinging really. Bitter Govan shipyard or odious French philosophe. I’ve made a decision to make up my mind on that very soon. A real Sophie’s Choice if ever there was one.
Some fine words about JT from Riccy.
I thought it was a well played game by both sides. We got great contributions from some of the most heavily abused players online (Drogba, Boswinga). This game was much better than the NCAA championship game (college basketball) which I am currently watching that I have the sinking feeling I am about to lose quite a bit of my hard earned dollars on.
Should I watch Spurs or Lambing Live on BBC2?
Kate Humble or Peter Crouch? Hmm…
Surely there are a few old episodes of the Simpsons or Top Gear that you could catch.
Would like to see Real play, but that might involve watching the winker and spuds at the same time,
Apparently she’s a fabulous pastry chef, but had to give up that career as no-one was very keen on her pies.
I’ll get my Barbour and wellies
……I say no-one but the exception is her husband Ludo. But then he’s game for anything……….
Better have my deerstalker as well as it looks like rain
For those enjoying the livestock, Spurs are only down 1-0 at the half despite Crouch being sent off at 15:00 (I didn’t see whether it was a second yellow or if this was a straight red in addition to his first yellow). Bale still almost scored after that. Korluca deserved two yellows he wasn’t called for, and in addition the refs seemed to miss a Dawson handball in the box and another push by Spurs defender while an RM player was going up for a header about 2 feet from the net. So really it should be 3-0 RM with a 2 man advantage. All things considered, Harry’s boys are in much better shape than they deserve (though they still did make lots of good defensive plays and had one other decent scoring opportunity after Bale missed).
My word. “We” didn’t deserve that.
Ray, Ray, Ray. Enough. “Your” team deserved it. Outplayed, outthought, outclassed.
P.S. Ray, what were you on?
A part of me is relieved Ray was relieved of his duties at Stamford Bridge.
Also: Ha ha ha. Apparently, Harry’s the saviour of England. Oh dear.
Agree, flying the flag is one thing but Ray went a shade too far!
I got bored of lambing and enjoyed the ritual slaughter instead.
The average three day old lamb is probably more in control of its limbs than Peter Crouch is.
I shall refrain from any full-on gloating until tonight is over and done with.
Well, maybe just one text to my Spurs following cousin who went to Madrid to attend his first live game in nearly 20 years, then…
I struggled to decide which was more shocking: the Spuds keeping the score respectable till the last 20 minutes or normally calm, urbane Uncle Ray’s transformation into a raving Little Englander repetitively urging “our” boys to stay on their feet/ keep hold of the ball to the point of tedium.
Magic mushrooms or some particularly virulent Spanish coffee, perhaps?
I was watching a programme where Dan Snow talked about the different types of shit which originated from London. Surely a coincidence?
Looking at my hair, I’d say I’m ready for a change of barber…..
Just received the actual backpage from a very old broadsheet size Daily Express dated thursday Sep 30th 1971.
Now I see it as very good omen as the backpage headline has in bold print…..21 – 0 to Chelsea
Yes that’s right, for those of us that have vague memories, we beat those giants Hautcharage by that aggregate score over two legs of the Cup- Winners Cup.
And I predict a similar scoreline over two legs against Utd, yes I’ve been eating the same mushrooms as Ray!!
I was at the home leg, 13-0!
Me too. Didn’t they have a player with one arm and another wearing glasses?
I think so but he seemed pretty armless
From a look outside you won’t need a coat tonight. Leaving now – need a drink and a sit down before this one.
interesting that you mentioned Daily Express…here is an article dated TODAY, and I will leave it to Habs do decide what kind of omen it represents:
I don’t know what Habs thinks, but my immediate reaction was summed up by my fellow countryman here:
Bosingwa at RB, Ivanovic at RCB. Torres and Drogba, with Zhirkov instead of Malouda. Yossi now available on bench.
if Bosingwa plays as well as at Stoke, we might have something here.
hahahahaha!! What shit from Bosingwa.
none of the team played well, maybe except cech with a few decent saves. Drogs wasn’t great, I mean he played with passion but kept losing the ball trying to take on the whole ManU team. This seems to be our problem, to many superstars not enough team players.
That said … we could have one that 3-1 if lady luck had been on our side. Lamps/ Nando opp, Anelka opp and then Ramires penalty.
It’s a tough ask getting 2 at old trafford and only conceding a max of 1. Is our season now over? I think so and I hope Roman realises it’s gonna take at least another 75 mill of spending in the summer to rebuild this squad.
I shall be very amused if Ancelotti’s bizzare subs actually work in our favour.
3 very simple observations :
Lampard and Torres/Bosingwa should have been subbed off. Lampard has the exact same look of desperation that Ricky Ponting had in the match against India. He looks haunted, out of ideas and tired.
Torres began playing negatively as the game wore on and perhaps has the unluckiest streak ever of his playing career.
Bosi should preferably slink off to a decent academy for a little defence 101.
Drogba unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time. Awesome, maybe godlike.
Ancelotti has the tactical acumen of Benitez wannabe. The subs in the Man City match might have paid off, but its becoming increasing clear he’s like a kid playing a game where rather than change or adapt his playing style he simply opts for hey Player X has more pts. in his attack and passing bars. Lets sub him in.
Still while it is simply a 1-0 loss. I think Chelsea will quietly exit CL next week on an aggregate of 2-1.
Tonight’s performance summarises our season clueless, desperate, disjoint…. you may find more negative adjectives to add to it.
…and one more thing I really tired of champions league refereeing controversies. it is fucking disgrace from the fucking UEFA.
Shopping list at the ready? Let the rebuilding begin.
Get them summer holidays booked for early May lads, if you perform like that next week. Farking awful.
Thats holidays for everyone except you Bosingwa, you ball watching statue. You can just have a one-way ticket.
On the whole, just not good enough. There will be arguments that it’s not over yet, but I’m afraid current form and the uninspiring nature of Carlo and his changes mean I’ve signed the season off.
Big Ears will continue to elude us.
Unluckiness in front of goal aside, we looked disjointed tonight. Something continues to be wrong with the formation and the selection. We looked much better with Mikel in the middle.
Bosingwa obviously has to go. I don’t think Torres is the problem, however.
Dustylancer I can’t say I agree with you on Drogba. He had good and bad moments.
Well good bad moments aside when you look at the passion he played with after a long while it was nice. Hell being a Drogba fan does tint the view an awful lot. But I would like more of the same from him in the future.
But as for Drogs losing the ball, where the hell were the rest of the team if Jon is referring to the same instance when he took on four Man U players.
Also a question for anyone who watched it live, when Torres went down in the box, and Vidic and company decided to manhandle him how many Chelsea players were close by. I mean generally atleast one player would have turned up to help him or has Torres truly pissed of a few behind the scenes.
Similarly – after being slow and ineffective for most of the first half, Essien made a fantastic play to get around his man in the left corner – and then had no one but no one to center it to.
One of the things I’ve been noticing is that someone will make a great play to break through, but no one expects said player to make said breakthrough so doesn’t expend the effort to get to the next step. It isn’t as bad as Gareth Bale’s defenders being late on their long passes upfield, but REALLY!!!!
Despite all the carping though, this could easily have been a Chelsea win. That’s the way it goes sometimes (though I would have preferred Yossi for Lampard since Torres has pointedly said he is looking forward to some service from him, or conversely pulled Torres for Nico – but then Nico pulled his usual ineffective slow shot past the left post again routine, didn’t he ?)
I hate to start questioning Lampard, but he’s been mostly ineffectual since his return.
I only saw the 1st half due to the time difference and work (blah blah) but i thought there were some good passages of play from us. In fact, at times i thought we played well. It’s just that when we weren’t playing well we were playing utter sh!te. No average spells of play wheras Man U never had a really bad patch, they just kept grinding away.
I thought Lampard was odd. It was almost like he lost his ability to read the play. One time he was just outside the box and tried to pass through THREE Man u guys. Would have been a good pass if United only had 8 players on the pitch.
Not sure we can really expect much from Torres if he’s getting that sort of service. A bit like taking a Ferrari Formula one beast down to the local chain mechanic and expecting the car to perform at it’s peak.
Having said that, it would be nice to see Torres take his chances…
Thought Bosingwa did ok, nice overlapping play. A couple of decent crosses into the box which Drogba just missed (where was Torres)
I reckon we’re a chance. KTBFFH
WTF is this Bosingwa bashing all the time, lets look for a scapegoat should we??
Lets give credit to Carrick for the pinpoint pass, and the sublime touch from Giggs, it would’nt have made a blind bit of difference if there been two defenders there, you just have to put your hands up and say brilliant.
The game overall last night wasn’t that enthralling, pretty tedious really, and perhaps a draw would have been a fairer reflection of the game, considering Utd only had two chances on target.
We can of course mention yet again, with regard us, and penalty decisions by European referees, but we should come to expect it now and move on. The tie is far from over, and beating Utd 2-1 at Old Trafford isn’t beyond the realms, yes it might be difficult, but lets wait until the end of 90/120mins of football next Tuesday before the venting starts in earnest.
United were more in a tight, often scrappy game, and scored a good goal with the best bit of football of the night, so it’s difficult to begrudge them the win. But a draw would have been the fair result when you consider the Torres/Lampard near miss, the Torres header, and that fucking penalty decision. Christ I hate this competition and I am so fucking sick of getting the worst end of a shitty refereeing stick every time we play in it.
Sorry, should have typed “incisive” after “United were” at the beginning. Or perhaps it’s better as it is?
A more detailed set of comments because I’ve got more time than I thought. I’ll be interested in what the report on here says as it’s always by someone sensible but from my vantage in the Harding Upper I thought (i) Lampard and Essien did not play well and this was perhaps the key – although both got into the game as it wore on and finished quite strongly, it is becoming a worry that neither now seems to reach the heights they were once capable of; (ii) we did not seem to get the best out of Ramires from his positioning on the right, but it was interesting that Evra who is usually impressive and solid made quite a few errors additional to THAT tackle; (iii) Cech and the back 3 played well and Terry was at times immense but Bosingwa was again poor even if you take a generous view of his culpability for the goal (he is not my scapegoat, just a player I’ve moaned about as below our standard ever since we bought him); (iv) Drogba huffed and puffed and did cause some trouble but too often took the extravagant option and failed to pull it off – but I hate the way people around me slag him off and forget too quickly what a great player he’s been for us; (v) could have got a draw and overall probably deserved one but not a good performance; (vi) wish someone in the media would challenge Ferguson rather than letting him get away with these assertions about decisions in our favour. Today’s Grauniad talks about our 2-1 league win up there last season as a possible precedent for our going through next week (no chance) and refers to the offside Drogba goal with no mention of the handball that should have ruled out theirs.