I wanted to take the liberty of going to this game but unfortunately on the morning the tickets became available I didn’t follow my normal routine. You know, getting on the PC at 6:55am to open three browser sessions, Firefox, Chrome and IE, to maximise the chances of escaping from the virtual waiting room. Instead I dithered until 7:45am when I suddenly remembered what I should be doing only to find to my shock and horror that all tickets were sold out.
Talking of tickets, following our success in the Capital One Cup and subsequent quarter-final draw, I asked my son if he fancied a trip to Leeds. Have we played them in a cup since 1970? Anyhow he said he’d check his work commitments and the following day told me he couldn’t make Leeds because he’d still be in Japan following Chelsea in the Club World Cup. My ageing brain took a while longer to process this answer than in years gone by but eventually I did respond: “If you’re in Japan watching Chelsea which team is turning up in Leeds?” The Club World Cup final is on Sunday 16th December, if we qualify, and Leeds is on Wednesday 19th and my son is tacking on a week of touring and returning on Friday 21st December.
This crowded fixture list begs the question of priorities. Should we take the Club World Cup seriously? My son and other fans will be paying a fortune to go to Japan to support the team so if they’re making the effort it’s only reasonable the team do too. Otherwise they might just as well pop down to Yo-Sushi at Fulham Broadway and then watch the game in the pub for a vaguely similar lower cost experience.
Should we have taken the Capital One Cup seriously? United didn’t but we ended up playing pretty much the full team. Even resting Cech was deemed too much of a risk so clearly there’s no confidence in the three reserve keepers. And by the end of the game the holy trinity of Mata, Hazard and Oscar were on the pitch and as a result Mata and Luiz were unavailable for this game. Should Robbie do a Wenger and make the Capital One Cup the fifth amendment or was he right to play a strong team? If I’m honest I think if we’re in a competition we should play to win. Who knows what will happen and we might be grateful for a Capital One Cup at the end of the season.
Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Romeu (Ramires – 46′), Oscar (Bertrand – 79′), Mikel, Moses (Sturridge – 72′), Hazard, Torres.
We failed to dominate for any period and were neither threatening nor looking threatened. Moses made a reasonable contribution in his first Premier League start whereas Marin, signed at the same time, sat on the bench as he lurches from injury to injury.
No racist chants were evident but I don’t know if anti-Welsh songs or sheep innuendos count. We had a couple of half chances but nothing much until the 45th minute when Torres had a break but lacked the confidence to make anything happen.
Ramires on for Romeu which begs the question why did Robbie start with two holding midfielders? Watching in the pub was a little disconcerting because the commentary was from the radio and was three seconds ahead of the pictures, so you always knew what was coming.
After 60 minutes a great Cahill header from a corner hit Moses on the head and into the goal. The lad’s blessed!
Aside from the goal this was a dour Mourinhoesque performance compared to our recent fare. Without Mata, Hazard and Oscar looked like the three tenors without Pavarotti, the Goodies minus Tim Brooke-Taylor or Charlie’s Angels missing Farrah Fawcett-Majors.
Oscar showed a few glimpses and has the class that I hoped we’d one day see from the banished Josh McEachran. Late in the half just as Moses was substituted there was a heavy hailstorm. Robbie needs to be careful about withdrawing Moses because a plague of locusts might be next.
With only five minutes remaining Swansea struck an equaliser with a shot from the edge of the box.
A point away a Swansea isn’t a shocking result but with United beating Arsenal we’re now off the top of the league. The game was roughly 50:50 so 1-1 is a fair result.
Torres once again failed to do anything. Last Wednesday, despite scoring, Sturridge was a hopeless one-trick pony so we’re effectively strikerless. In the January window if we can’t get Radamel Falcao I’d settle for Grant Holt.
The Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “A pale and uneventful game involving Chelsea? Surely not. For a long time the most colourful thing about an afternoon of alternating rain and sun in South Wales was a rainbow above the halfway line. That would not have bothered Roberto Di Matteo at the end of another hectic week, once Victor Moses headed the goal that was keeping his team on top of the Premier League. Then, with two minutes to play, Swansea’s Spanish midfielder Pablo Hernandez drove in an equaliser that left Manchester United, who had beaten Chelsea last Sunday, on top of the pile.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Jonathan Liew: “With verve and spirit, with resolve and dedication, and in weather fit for Swans, the home side deservedly seized a point against the champions of Europe, shifting them from the Premier League summit in the process. Three minutes from time, the Spanish international and club record signing Pablo Hernandez made himself a little space on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, spotted a gap amidst the maze of blue socks and coloured boots, and curled the ball right into it. Drenched and downtrodden, Chelsea’s players stared forlornly at each other. This time there was no referee to blame. Champion sides are generally the ones scoring late goals, not conceding them.”
The Observer, Joe Lovejoy: “Chelsea have had so many “issues” of late that their next signing could be Jeremy Kyle, and the European champions were again involved in drama on Saturday, albeit of a footballing sort, when Pablo Hernandez’s last-gasp equaliser for Swansea prevented them from displacing Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “Victor Moses with a second-half header gave the Blues the lead but a late Swansea equaliser means we slip from the top of the table on a wintry afternoon in Wales. The crisp, attacking football of much of this season was infrequently seen as the effects of recent games may have taken their toll and both keepers had an easy job in a near chanceless first half. Chelsea were better after the break and although Swansea were bright at times, once the lead had been established with a set-piece goal and Petr Cech had made a couple of saves, the three points looked London-bound, but Spaniard Pablo Hernandez finished a good move and we failed to win a league game in which we had opened the scoring for the first time this season.”