Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Chelsea – The Bipolar Express Review

Newspaper reports

The Guardian, David Hytner: “Carlo Ancelotti had admitted in the build-up to this match that Chelsea were a club in crisis and in that context it felt appropriate that they should blow an injury-time opportunity to seize all three points, with a penalty, and return to the top of the Premier League table. The incident was the climax to a thrillingly open match which advertised plenty of what is good about English football and it saw Didier Drogba step up after the referee, Mike Dean, had ruled that Heurelho Gomes had fouled Ramires inside the six-yard box.”

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “What a crazy, compelling Premier League season. Just when everybody was organising a wake for Chelsea, the champions refound their resilience. John Terry and company made a very significant point on Sunday: dismiss us at your peril.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “They did not leave White Hart Lane having conquered the place but there was more of a familiar strut about the Chelsea team that departed down the stadium’s tunnel yesterday evening after they recaptured a little bit of what has made this team so indomitable in the past.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Didier Drogba came off the substitutes’ bench to score an equaliser and then miss a late penalty as Chelsea missed out on a morale-boosting win.”

The goals

15′ Pavlyuchenko 1-0
70′ Drogba 1-1

The preamble

OK everyone, take off your kevlar jackets and tin hats. Put the white flag away and feel free to stick your head above the trench. Everything is fine. It’s OK. Really, it’s all pretty cool. There’s a ceasefire of sorts. Maybe with Christmas approaching we can all gather together in no man’s land for a kick around with our sworn enemies, sharing some cigarettes and listening to Pipes of Peace before the Generals order us back into the firing line again.

I had hoped to be starting this review with something demonstrably more upbeat than that, perhaps lining up some Lennon lyrics with which to show that everything is back on track. That’s what I’d hoped. What I feared was a return to last season’s reviews where it seemed I was on duty for every flying visit Captain Cock Up made to Chelsea, which earned me a rather Jonah like reputation amongst the writing fraternity in this neck of the woods. So I find myself happily neutralised and walking somewhere along Middle Ground Avenue but with a definite turn approaching into Upbeat Street.

Like many amongst us I feared that the Redknapp inspired Spurs, beating Arsenal the other week, putting some more nails into Mad Rafa’s Inter coffin and generally fast becoming the media’s new darlings, would gorge themselves on the rotting corpse of Chelsea today, with the gleeful hyena packs of Manchesters United and City and the continuously hateful Arsenal circling in the distance ready to feast on the leftovers.

Yes, the Bi-Polar Express readers (that’s you lot that is) are a fantastic sample of typical Chelsea fans. Some have blue-tinted glasses of blind faith permanently super-glued to their person, others walk around in darkened houses, wearing hooded shrouds of doom and despondency, waiting for the inevitable collapse of the club and a return to the oddly nostalgic days of being managed by such coaching luminaries as Porterfield, Hollins, Hurst, Blanchflower and err… Avram Grant. Very few of us fit into any other category, although many of us as befits our Danny Baker bestowed bi-polar status swing wildly between both extremes.

The last few weeks have seen a slump that many of the younger fraternity won’t have seen before, but believe me my friends… I’ve been supporting Chelsea since 1970, and I’ve seen times when a streak of one win, three defeats and three draws was almost a cause for bunting and street parties down Fulham Road.

Like many it isn’t so much the poor run we’re on, we all accept that football is never as finite as teams that are better on paper beating others, or that teams in rich veins of form or poor will therefore continue with that. Sometimes luck plays a part, sometimes attitude, sometimes confidence, sometimes skill and sometimes passion. We all know we’re not the luckiest team, we all know we have bucket loads of skill, but we can all see that what’s been lacking lately is attitude and passion, leading to the loss in confidence, all covered in a nice ladle full of key player injuries and silly suspensions.

Today was a chance to show something else, to get all those attribute ducks lined up in a row, and but for some desperate bad luck it nearly all came off. I don’t mind a defeat if it’s hard fought and you’re beaten by a better team, or a hard fought spirited draw, it’s when we show no passion, no effort and no drive that upsets me and I’m guessing you fine readers as well. Today was a day when the flames of all of those attributes were finally re-lit.

The match

Gareth BaleWell, the only real surprise in the team selection was seeing Didier Drogba consigned to the bench, according to Carlo this was a technical decision, or as studio guest Gianfranco Zola (Roman, give him the no.2 job!) put it ‘Italian for being dropped’. The heart also fluttered at seeing Ferreira picked to sit at right-back and face the current ‘world’s greatest player’ (© the Sun, the Mirror, the Times, the Independent, the Torygraph etc. etc. ad infinitum) in Gareth Bale, or is it really Lee Evans? Or Cornelius? Separated at birth maybe?

So, the team was Cech, Ferreira, JT, Ivanovic, Cole, Essien, Obi, Kalou, Malouda, Anelka, Ramires with Drogba on the bench. The heartwarming bit was seeing Frankie Lampard back albeit on the bench as well. It’s been too long without him.

The first half was a decent affair and the prayers of most Chelsea fans seemed to have been answered in seeing Essien back to his hard tackling and driving best. We actually didn’t get off to our recently normal languid rather arrogant start, but actually looked like a team that had been stung by criticism and wanted to prove a point. To be fair to Spurs (not a sentence many will ever hear from me) they took their part in the game and didn’t act with any fear, or give us too much respect. In fairness why should they? The days when we could bully them off the park at White Hart Lane went west a few years back and our recent journeys there haven’t exactly been happy experiences. My heart still hasn’t fully recovered from Avram’s 4-4 nightmare. Plus they are a form team at the moment, leaky at the back but prepared to counter that with an attacking ethos more reminiscent of their bitter North London rivals, the detestable Arsenal. Harry Redknapp is a player, a wheeler dealer, and down this way he’s split the Hampshire Massive who either hate him for deserting Portsmouth, or love him for winning them an FA Cup. Either way, he is a proven manager who always engenders massive loyalty from players.

On 15 minutes or thereabouts, Spurs had their first decent chance, when an offside Defoe managed to twist back on Ferreira and find Pavlyuchenko with his pass. A turn, a feint and a lovely shot left our defence and Cech for dead. First blood to the horrible Spuds. Now, far be it from me to criticise anyone, but I do think Cech got his positioning wrong, and as good a shot as it was, I’d expect someone of Cech’s ability to at least get a hand to it. Within minutes Essien got in hard on Cornelius Bale who went down like some blooming great tart only to recover within 30 seconds when realising he wasn’t getting a decision, or more importantly and likely, getting the Bison booked. For the remainder of the half we huffed and puffed, had a goal disallowed for offside because Nico decided to be a lazy arse and not get himself back on, and although the game was technically very good and fast paced the clear cut chances for both teams were few and far between.

Half time, 1-0 down, but far from being out. If it were a boxing film we’d be Rocky and Mickey would be shouting in our ear to switch to southpaw. Carlo had similar thoughts. Time to dispense with the 4-2-3-1 or 4-5-1 or whatever it was, and go to 4-4-2. Off came the unfortunate Obi, who’d had a very good game thus far, to be replaced by a smiling Drogba. Well I saw him smiling, but the Sky commentary team saw fit to describe him as angry and frustrated. Still, they’re paid to spout utter bollocks, whereas I’m not paid to spout anti-bollocks. The second half was another fine spectacle of fast paced play, Drogba immediately starting to frustrate and agitate Dawson, and even Kalou seemed to lift his game a bit. Nico dropped off, although he may have already done this from minute one. I love Nico but today wasn’t his most sparkling display. Spuds had a few half chances as did we, but in the 69th minute a long ball found Drogba who annoyed the crap out of Dawson by pushing past him, only to smash the ball straight at Gomes. Luckily Gomes was already going to ground so the ball spun through his hands into the net. Sometimes power is more than enough. 1-1 and game very definitely on, with Chelsea looking by far the better team. We were tackling hard, passing well, we had real passion and effort and not one player really shirked their duties. Ferreira had negated Bale for the most part, and once or twice our simian friend tried to get past the mighty Ivan who took the ball off him with consummate ease, much to Lee Bale’s annoyance. As the learned Lord Kaiser said he looks like he’s developed serious ‘Do you know who I am?’ syndrome.

On 75 minutes, we were all treated to the wonderful sight of Frank Lampard running onto the pitch. Not a lot of time to change things but an important moment none the less. If we’re a third of the way through the season, then we’re about seven Frank goals down and that might have made a big difference.

The drama finally ended with Gomes inexplicably trying to get Ramires in a full nelson although Ramires had pushed the ball towards the corner flag from Drogba’s knock down. A penalty to us and unsurprisingly up steps Drogba, handed the ball by Lampard, so let’s not have any moans about that. If Lampard takes it and misses then everyone is up in arms and says it’s too early. Drogba is a good penalty taker (mind you I’d rather have Ze German for times like that) but today he changed his tack, preferring placement instead of power and changing sides. Gomes called red and it landed on red, with a fine save redeeming himself for his earlier error of not being able to handle a 75mph shot from Drogba that would have flattened his facial features had it hit him straight on.

Full time, a pulsating, fast paced, end to end game between two teams trying to win in a hard fought 1-1. I think we deserved to win, but them’s the breaks, and today the lads did more than enough to show that things may just be getting back to normal.

The Warm and Toasty

  • The performance – full of effort, pride, passion and confidence. The polar opposite of recent pallid, limp showings.
  • The re-appearance of Frank Lampard – much missed and hopefully back for the season.
  • Paulo Ferreira – like Johnny Morris when he’d walk around with a chimp on a lead, he pretty much did that to Cornelius Lee Bale. He’s not the fastest but he is intelligent and at the moment he’s far better than Bosingwa.
  • John Terry – world class today, superb captaincy and some masterclass defending that would get him first on the team sheet ANYWHERE in the world.
  • Ramires – I doubt he’s ever had to work so hard, but credit where it’s due the lad toiled well.
  • Seeing Carlo and Clement working together so well, with Emenalo frozen out. Maybe Clement is the new Ray?
  • Our away fans. Even after Spuds scored all I could hear was our lot.

The Cold and Wet

  • The long ball shite. Even before Drogba came on there was far too much lumping the ball long from Cech. Judicious use is OK, but time after time is Wimbledon-esque.
  • Cornelius Gareth Evans-Lee Bale. Really? No, I mean really? Nothing to see here, now please move on.
  • Spurs fans. Is White Hart Lane the new Library?
  • Andy Gray. Seemingly more and more anti-Chelsea. Must have harped on about the alleged handball about 20 times, whilst barely mentioning Defoe’s offside position prior to their goal.
  • Sky – describing the Loathsome Mancs vs Vile Arsenal as the biggest game of the season, both on Goals on Sunday and all through today’s game. Oh, so we’re not the Champions then? Their dislike of us is really getting my goat.

The Putrid and Rotten

  • Gareth Cornelius Lee Evans-Bale. World class allegedly but after today living proof of the hackneyed old cliche that one swallow does not a summer make. Sulky bastard as well.
  • Wilson Palacios. Has patently looked at some old videos of Drogba in his bad old diving and play acting days. Bloody great tart.

The much loved and adored player ratings (out of 10 and from the default score of 6 with marks added or subtracted for being good or bad)

  • Big Pete – 6/10 – not much to do, but could have done better for the goal.
  • Paulo Paulo Paulo – 8/10 – a very very very good game.
  • Mr Cheryl Cole – 7/10 – chippy little so and so, but excellent today.
  • John ‘Shagger’ Terry – 9/10 – Fabulouslytastic.
  • Branners – 8/10 – his usual sturdy high class stuff.
  • Obi-Wan – 7/10 – a bit subdued compared to his recent high standards, but OK in general.
  • Ronnie Ramires – 7.5/10 – his best game thus far, very hard working.
  • Florence and The Malouda – 8/10 – left Hutton for dead time after time and looking much more like the old Flo.
  • Bison Man Essien – 8/10 – growling, snarling, salivating, hungry, massive, great.
  • Nico ‘pas le sulk’ – 6.5/10 – oddly indecisive and if anything a little too selfless today.
  • The Beast Drogba – 7/10 – poor penalty but more good than bad. Odd goal celebration, if you can call it that.
  • Scarecrow Kalou – 7/10 – improved when Drogs came on but still seems confused about… well everything really.
  • StudgeMan – 7/10 – I think he deserves his start in front of Kalou, just to see if he can finish what he starts unlike Kalou.
  • Sir Francis Lampard – 6/10 – not on long enough to make a huge impression, but he is patently talismanic and any team with him is better than any team without.
  • Carlo Ancelotti – 8/10 – gambled a bit and didn’t do bad, came out even but saw some ground regained. I liked the way he finally seemed to be interacting more with Clement, although I would love Zola to be there.
  • Overall team performance – 8/10 – passionate, spirited, hard working, terrier tackling, winning loose balls, fighting, snarling and much more like the winning but unliked Chelsea that we’d all rather see.

Man of the Match

John Terry, by a country mile, who was utterly world class today and delivered the perfect display of leadership from the back.

Final thoughts

So, the crisis has abated a bit, mainly on the back a decent 100% performance across the board today rather than the recent showings akin to some sort of castration inflicted mass erectile dysfunction throughout the team. Today, we had ‘wood’ and we had balls the size of Serena Williams’ buttocks. Maybe even bigger. It was good to see, and even JT stated in his post match interview that he knew the fans would accept defeats and draws as long as there was effort and attitude. I’d like to say he heard me in the pub and just copied me, but my last pub visit has had all the memory erased through copious amounts of Staropramen (probably now on my list of never again drinks).

Anyway, into the notoriously tricky festive period of games and I’m feeling a whole lot more confident about United next week than I was this morning. We can get a result against them but IF and ONLY IF we put on a display like today. Do an Everton / Newcastle / Blackburn or Sunderland level of display and United will tear us apart. For tomorrow night all I can do is hope Santa brings a dire 0-0 draw, with both teams down to nine men, tough red cards and Rooney / Berbatov / Nani / Fabregas / Van Persie / Nasri all getting unfortunate long term injuries from a multi-body pile up caused by someone washing the floor of the tunnel with washing up liquid like they did in the Matthew Harding Upper last week.

It’s too early to declare everything is right again, but the signs are there and if the character is anything like we’ve become used to the maybe just maybe we can hit a rich vein of form at the right time. As in now.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

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There are 55 comments

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  1. Austin Solari

    Great report, Tony and I agree with your MotM. JT was immense today. I loved that tackle he made on Defoe in the second half when the little shit thought he was about to gallop through on goal alone. JT just stood there like a rock and took the ball off him. All the defence were good and despite all our fears during the run up to the game, Paulo dealt with Cornelius/Lee/Gareth Do You Know Who I Am excellently.

    Did anyone see who Sky gave MotM to?? Wifey made me turn over before they gave it out after moaning something about me hogging the telly all afternoon and having to sit upstairs. Has she forgotten I am a sick man and need to be mollycoddled?

  2. MachchanHongKong

    Nice report… brought on the de rigueur quota of smiles!
    I was pleasantly surprised that Paulo was able to manage Bale like a “chimp on a lead”. Paulo was a fine example of the laziness that has been permeating the team recently but hats off to the fellow; when he gets his finger out he shows he can play Johnny Morris to an Animal Magic Bale. Long may his fingers and others’ in our venerable team remain unsoiled if we are to have any hope this season.

  3. Anonymous

    I thought JT’s post match comment was revealing “… MY players did much better …”

    So JT is running the show!

  4. Cunningplan

    Good report Tony, and yes JT was immense yesterday, and if it continues like this for the vast majority of games we’ll be fine.
    I will disagree with you on the penalty, I said to my Chelsea supporting neighbour who I watched the game with, and said straight away, give it to Frank.

    I know the logical choice was Drogs, but something just told me that he’d miss it, and Frank wouldn’t have. Highly speculative on my part I admit, but I just had a gut feeling.

    I should be happy that we didn’t lose yesterday, but I’m more disappointed that we didn’t win, especially getting that pen in the 92nd minute. We all know had it been the Mancs in the same situation they would have scored and got all three points.

    Bloody hell this bi-polarity wears you out sometimes!

  5. Anonymous

    CP echoing my thoughts from the other article, I knew (somehow) Drogs would miss. I maintain it was an awful pen. If you’re going for placement, at least place it in the corner FFS. Also, what was his celebration all about? Came across as a bit of a twat after that.

    Bi-Polar sure is a curious thing. I’m no happier this morning than past Monday mornings. Just as disappointed. Still see it as 2 points dropped.

    And Utd v Arse is the big match. They’re the two best teams at the moment.

    Tevez in January anyone?

  6. Der_Kaiser

    A very fair assessment of proceedings chief Glover.

    Certainly a far better performance; might be a piece of poor cod psychology, but maybe the sense of injustice (knowing that we really should have won the game) might serve us well when going into battle with the Mancs next weekend?

    Agree on MotM – vintage JT; you could see that he was absolutely desperate to make things happen. And maybe the odd spell on the bench for Drogs might fire him up further. Great to see Frank on the pitch again too – no doubt that he’ll be incredibly important for us over the coming months.

    Nice angry card and injury-ridden draw tonight would be very useful…

  7. Anonymous

    In agreement with the report too……

    Thought JT had a huge game, and particularly loved his fronting up to the Tottenham fans at the end, reminding them which London Club currently owns the trophies…… A nice touch, I thought.

    Drogba was so much better, as well. Perhaps he is finally over the malaria….Shame about the penalty…It could really have lifted the gloom, and put some pressure back on Utd and Arsenal before tonight’s game.

    Thought the midfield did much better than I expected, and more than held their own. One disappointment for me though, is that the marauding wing play of our early season games seems to have now been lost, in the fight to become tighter at the back.

    Still, a small quibble….Much better performance, and we will beat the Mancs next week…..You heard it here first!

  8. Marco

    Spot on about identifying Bales’ origins on the Planet of the Apes, Tony. I had that very thought watching him wiggle across their pitch yesterday.

    Would take issue with JT’s 9/10 MoTM rating, though. He was at fault for their goal and his slowness to react to Defoe made Pavlyuchenko look good. I fear his injuries mean he will never be as good as he was as a player, although his ability to inspire the team is still matchless.

    Dropping one of the ‘Untouchables’ (Drogba) was something Carlo should have done a long time ago. Had he done that after the Sunderland fiasco the dithering and complacency would have stopped there and then, although it reared it’s head again in the first twenty minutes yesterday, with several players (John Obi and JT in particular) still ball-watching at the back.

    We finally got back to being our snarling, nasty, Mourinhoesque selves after Carlo dropped the 4-3-3 and went for the 4-4-2, with Drogba – kicked-up backside and all – at last back to his muscular best.

    But, as others have said, this was really 2 points dropped with Spurts there for the taking after we battered them in the second half. That will cost us over the next few months, as I honestly can’t see beyond two draws in our next two matches.

  9. Oligarch

    good report, nothing more to add really. JT was great and so was Paulo. a real shame that Drogba missed the penalty but I could see it coming somehow…we are only improving step by step. Probably another game where we could have controlled more and maybe won with a player like Ballack. Lamps should definetly be back as the no.1 taker next week.
    I have to admit that I am kinda getting tired of seeing Mikel…ok his is good at distributing the ball and got some nice movement going on but he still hasn’t convinced me. A shame Schweinsteiger has signed with Bayern München until 2016, he has made a great transition from winger to centre midfielder and would provide the vision and dangerous deep space passes we require so badly. Mikel still is a great player but I simply expect more from a player in such an important postion at Chelsea.

  10. Anonymous

    I think you were right to set an upbeat tone for your report, TG, though in truth I thought we still looked pretty ponderous and uninspired for most of the first hour.

    I feared we were going to have another of those days of losing to a team who scored with their only shot on target in the entire game too, until we finally started to crank up through the gears and look much more like our usual self.

    So definitely a step in the right direction to ending possibly the most elongated “bad moment” ever. Indeed I wonder if Carlo has a somewhat latin approach to time, which might explain why Lamps seemed to be “1-2 weeks” from returning since early September in his press conferences 😉

  11. Anonymous

    Afternoon, as I sit here steeped in the misery of a mancold, I’m happy to share some stats…..which I of course use selectively when it suits me

    Shots on target – Spurs 1 / CFC 8
    Shots off target – Spurs 7 / CFC 6
    Corners – Spurs 1 / CFC 7
    Offsides – Spurs 1 / CFC 5
    Possession – Spurs 38.20% / CFC 61.80%
    Pass success rate – Spurs 75% / CFC 82%

    I find the bottom 2 very interesting and maybe they back up the upbeat tone of the report.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Interesting – thought it was a little more even in terms of possession; really need to concentrate on sticking the round thing in the back of the onion bag a bit more like we used to. Hopefully with the forward line looking a little less lethargic and the return of Frank, that might happen a little more often…

  12. FanSinceTheSixties

    Spot on with the sentiment of the report, but I’d take issue with some of the details.

    DD’s goal came from a long punt upfield from Petr and at times that was the only way we could get the ball forward.

    I’m usually first to criticize Nico for spending too much time in our half, but it seemed that was his only chance of getting a touch on the ball when our defence was tippy tapping it about.

    Spuds saw that when they challenged us we would pass it backwards and they could just sit on their one goal advantage.

    Also agree that starting Didier on the bench sent the right message: that it was shape up or sit out time for all. Thought that bringing him on for Mikel was a brave and good decision and not one that ‘Arry was prepared for, either.

    And how close was Essien to getting sent off?

    It was a red or nothing and he got the benefit, but another inch or a different ref…

  13. Austin Solari

    Marco, I’ll take issue with your issue about JT getting 9/10.
    No way was JT to blame for the goal!! If you looked closer, JT and Obi were in the middle ……….. Branners was covering at RB as Paulo was watching the Ape. Obi dropped off Pavlywhateverhisnameis giving him the space to score the goal. Not JT’s fault at all.

    • Marco

      Sorry, Austin, but I have to disagree. As the ball comes over JT is the player closest to PallyIwillgiveitagowhenIfeellikeit and all he needed to do was cut the ball out. On a second viewing his slowness to react seems alarming to me.

  14. Cunningplan

    Have to agree with Austin, Marco. I think you just have to put your hands up and say it was a good goal, the touch, initial control then movement from Pavlovsdog was pretty good, that’s what did the defenders. Perhaps Cech was slightly out of position, but the shot was hit early, and that’s what did him.

  15. Der_Kaiser

    We note that ‘Big’ Sam has parted company with Blackburn.

    Are we to assume that, following his recent “I’d win the double / treble every season at a big club” boast, that United / Real Madrid have finally seen sense, got rid of their rubbish managers in the hope that Sam will come and lead them to season on season glory?

    • Anonymous

      I rather think he’s been shabbily treated. Got a soft spot for a man who can stop clubs being yo-yo teams. Maybe he’s not top class for a big club but the truth is Newcastle didn’t give him the chance. No doubt Blackburn are lining up yet another foreign coach to grace the top league in English football. It’s not hard to see the failings in the game really.

      I do hope Sam isn’t contractually silenced either. I find it all rather disheartening when decent chaps doing decent jobs get sacked because trigger happy owners get stars in their eyes when in reality they haven’t got a fucking hope in hell of challenging for the top 6.

      • bluebayou

        It’s not just “decent chaps doing decent jobs” lower down the league either………

        Just spent the last working week poring over plans for the new Spuds Training Ground. A whole lotta fun you can imagine with the dread getting worse after Tuesday’s debacle in Marseille. But they put up a decent show and banished the worst fears. Mind you the penalty….. it feels like a season of ifs buts and maybe’s coming up.

        You hit the right tone Big Tone. We’ve got to look up, not down after the recent misery.

        The sky hasn’t fallen in on us yet or the roof for that matter……

        Hopefully some confidence will return and bring with it some sharpness in the final third. For too long in yesterday’s game we had no-one in the box, no-one making the runs. “If you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win the lottery” as our Geordie wizard of the wing always says.

        Some of the passing was awful too. A mixture of nerves and pressure I think. Trying to force the ball rather than maybe maintain possession and let the moves develop.

        In some ways it was enjoyable to see us take on the ol’ Spurs “run and gun” game by going for it ourselves in the second half. Not sure my nerves were really up for that, but the defence stood up and a little more composure on the ball might have yielded a bigger reward.

        There was certainly something stirring there in the last half hour. Perhaps we might be getting out of the rut.

        Not sure it’s going to be soon enough to get say 4 points out of the next 2 games though.

      • Der_Kaiser

        Evening TG

        My sarcasm aside, I do think it’s ridiculous in the extreme; I don’t like the bloke (no issue with his teams or style of football) but quite what Blackburn’s new owners are hoping to achieve is anyone’s guess.

        I would say that he is managerial Marmite though – clear which side of that debate the new board / directors are on.

  16. ososdeoro

    On the one hand, the result is better than last year. And, watching the game, it was very exciting to see the the team could actually complete passes to one another. But on the other hand, this is what it’s come down to, hasn’t it?

    Defense was great, but where was the help on offense down near goal? Terry was about the only one and it’s usually not his job.

    Still, some encouraging signs: Drogba powering a goal (many previous attempts had been as tepid as he probably feels or felt); the defense holding together; Lampard on the field; only two of Drogba/Malouda/Anelka at a time; Ramires is getting around…..should be all repaired by next week, I’d say.

  17. Anonymous

    Great report Tony.

    I loved the positive theme as after that performance, even I felt optimistic about the future. Spurs away is a nightmare fixture for us (much like Everton, City and Villa away) and to see us dominate the game for so long, play some beautiful football and nearly get the win we definitely deserved, cheered me up greatly. As Lamps said afterwards: “if we play like that, at that tempo for the rest of the season, we will definitely be Champions again.”

    There were a few worries like Didier’s pen which I, like others immeditely called as a miss, especially after Howard got pretty close to saving it last week plus the fact that I think all of us knew he would switch sides to the keeper’s left after going bottom right for the past 5 pens. Cech’s positioning was also frustrating especially as it was a perfect replay of Bale’s goal last year which slid past him at the near post. And despite me calling for Nico to start over Didier, his display was pretty average as was Malouda’s which should give Sturridge a shot at a start but perhaps that’s a risk too far?

    However the positives were numerous. JT was Beckenbauer esque as he stopped everything that came near him and strode forward with ease. Branner and Ash also put in good performances, full of anger and passion which reached a high point when Ash was screaming at Dean for not booking Palacios and Andy Gray responded to the question of why Ash was protesting with the line “well, he always does it, doesn’t he?” That made me feel great as lately that angry, snarling Cole has gone missing but yesterday he was back and it confirmed the return of the real Chelsea. In our slump, we’ve become a bit too friendly and a bit too nice (see Didier’s pathetic best friend act in Marseille) and perhaps a match against Spurs was just what we needed to bring back our famous bastard side. We have always played best when people are against us and perhaps the press’ negative stories has brought back the siege mentality we’ve been missing.

    Ramires was also great and his effort did deserve to get us the winner but the biggest positive was the shift in mentality. The fact that all of our players were running and actually trying, straight from kick-off, as well as flying into challenges meant that the missed pen was a little easier to take. Whatever happens tonight we are going to be a little way behind and the pressure will be on for the next two games, but 6 points out of 6 will get us right back in it. However, a defeat could give us too much to do. So the pressure’s on.

    Talk of Tevez coming cheers me up though.

  18. Anonymous

    I reckon Big Sam has left his current employment to steer us to the title. Only a shit manager would be happy with a draw at WHL and let someone like DD take a crucial penalty.

    Just seen it again in 3D. It’s still shit. Really shit. Cannot accept there’s an excuse behind it, it’s just awful. Reading Lamps post-match interview, he says he’s only trained twice last weekbto prepare for the game. Two games? Fucking rubbish, what the hell are you going on about Carlo?

  19. ososdeoro

    After deciding they couldn’t get the refs to issue yellow cards to Arsenal with some really pathetic dives (Rooney, Anderson, Nani and someone else all practicing to supplant Guo Jingjing as the Princess of Diving, with Fletcher yapping on and on about the injustice of it all), ManU got down to business and controlled the first half (though the goal by Park was pretty flukey). Pretty football sure is ugly when one can’t complete more than two touch-passes in a row.

  20. Anonymous

    I’d just like to say that Darren Fletcher is a c*nt.

    And after watching that first half, I’m still amazed that we’ve let these two poor sides rise above us in the table. The football on show really has been dire.

  21. Anonymous

    Hate United…….. But you have to love the look on the voyeur’s face, in the last 10 minutes.

    He is looking more and more like a broken man, who knows his boys cannot compete against the best sides in Europe.

    Disappointed they couldn’t get a point, but if we can beat them both we will be well and truely back in the race

  22. Anonymous

    Arsenal and sh*t. No worries there.

    Man U aren’t much better.

    I don’t know why we’re panicking. Just get our arses into gear and it’ll be fine.

    • Anonymous

      Couldn’t agree more, literally nothing to see there tonight. Was Rooney’s one of the worst pens ever? What was that sideways skip run up all about?

  23. Cunningplan

    Mark & Tony are spot on, the frustrating thing for us is that Utd have managed to remain unbeaten, by just being average, and sometimes good.
    As far as Wenger and Arsenal go, he still remains stubborn and one dimensional, never changes his tactics, especially against the big teams, and yet another defeat.

    Now has the stage been set for us to inflict the first league defeat on the Mancs Sunday?

    PS And yes Drogs penalty was saved, now Rooney’s was a MISS

  24. bluebayou

    I can’t be bothered to read the reports. I assume they’re just full of invective against a team playing anti-football.

    Setting out to stop an attractive and entertaining passing team by just closing down the space and blocking up the passing lanes, while staying disciplined at the back is an appalling affront to the beautiful game and certainly not what the paying customer is there for is it……………….?

    Sadly football was not the winner last night……………………….

  25. bluebayou

    This is your final examination in The Certificate of Footballing Insanity.

    The subject is the acquisition of Carlos Tevez. You have 3 hours. Remember to show all your workings on the back of a fag packet.

    Turn over your papers now

    How much will we pay for him?

    How much will we overpay for him because of who his management are?

    How much do we pay him?

    How much more than any other Chelsea player will he then earn?

    How many weeks after signing for 5 years will he/or his management start agitating for more money or a move?

    How much less homesick do you feel when you’ve moved 3 hours closer to a major airline hub when you’ve still got a very long flight to get home.

    How does living anywhere in the UK other than Manchester and it’s circumambient postal districts bring you appreciably closer to your children if they live in Buenos Aires?

    Name me an Argentinian who Chelsea have signed who didn’t leave because their family couldn’t settle in the UK?

    Will the short term benefit we gain from the enormous financial outlay outweigh the grief when he wants out and the number of clubs who want him at a price that would recoup our outlay has shrunk even further? Show the algorithm used in this calculation.

    Elucidate on the qualities, outside of paying an enormous wedge, that make Chelsea the club that will help Tevez find inner peace and stability leading to a long and fruitful career. Pay particular attention to the aspects of management continuity and club solidarity which are so much a part of our club.

    Calculate the effect on all players, senior and youth, who have been living with the impression that money will no longer be pissed away and are being offered contracts somewhat below their expectations.

    If Chelsea do piss the money away, calculate the arc of the piss stream.

    Given the calculated arc of the piss stream, nominate at least 2 pockets into which most of the money will disappear. (assume Tevez is wearing shorts and doesn’t have any pockets in them).

    Put your pencils down now.

    • Der_Kaiser

      Well said that man. The thought of us going anywhere near Tevez, his shady, grasping agent and their ridiculous, change with the wind demands is outright, 24 carat howl at the moon lunacy.

      Splendid footballer and all, but off pitch has he actually done anything other than whine incessantly since he’s been in England? I’m not getting enough football, I’m playing too much, I’m homesick and don’t want to be here, I’m pretending I don’t want a new deal whilst my agent agitates constantly behind the scenes, I’ve fallen out with club executives (I mean, does it really matter that he doesn’t get on with Gary Cook? I imagine he’s hardly alone on that front) and so on and so forth. Be about as good for team unity as, well, ditching Butch and employing some bloke no-one has ever heard of as Carlo’s right hand man.

      Avoid, avoid and thrice avoid – that way lies madness. You could stick the 30 million plus on a horse and have a better chance of a return of some kind.

      • Cunningplan

        I should imagine very few teams could even afford his obscene wages, let alone want the baggage that goes with him.

        I just wonder at the wisdom of his dog handler, I mean agent, in possibly making the guy unemployable in the footballing sense.

      • bluebayou

        Assume sea level for calculation purposes. However we don’t really know where the money transfer will take place.

        In reality the Bridge is at 35ft and Cobham 38ft (see previous post around July time), a difference of 3 feet, the same number of feet as possessed by Jake the Peg (with the extra leg diddle diddle diddle dee).

        and the number of left feet possessed by Kalou.

  26. Cunningplan

    Arselona Syndrome Explained.

    Prodromal Features

    The early symptoms of this disease are practically undetectable. The only discernible sign that something is wrong are phrases such as “This young Arsenal side has so much potential” or “Arsene Wenger has signed brilliant player for peanuts”

    The prodromal features continue by flat-track bullying of lesser teams in the Premier League, fixture pile-up and abandoned games for major rivals. This results in an atypical collection of Premier League points that promotes the team to the top of the league

    Early Disease Symptoms

    Arsenal fans begin hailing their players as the second coming of Christ. This is usually supported by a mass of stats about how many goals they have scored, how many passes they have completed and how they play the most attractive football. They key diagnostic point is their manager stating that “This young Arsenal team has come of age”

    Full Blown Arselona Syndrome

    The messageboards of rival teams are swamped by endless hoards of Arsenal fans proclaiming how they are the men against the boys. There are confident predictions of the handing out of cricket score defeats to their main rivals. Their hysteria reaches delusional level when they compare their top players to Messi and Ronaldo, and their team to Barcelona .

    Their players start proclaiming that Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge no longer hold any fear, and that their team has a steal and grit to win big and win dirty.

    Treatment Phases

    Fortunately the treatment for this contagious and nasty disease is short, simple and extremely effective. All it requires is 90 minutes of isolation on a football pitch against Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City or frankly any other half decent team in England or Europe .

    Effectiveness of this treatment can be measured by the rapid disappearance of the rash of Arsenal fans from all sight and sound. Complete resolution of the disease is confirmed by comments from the manager of “I blame the pitch”, “I did not see the tackle”, or “I thought the referee was very poor tonight”.


    This epidemic usually strikes about 3 times per year, but seasonal variation studies usually indicate it’s complete absence in the months of spring.

    • Marco

      Clive – are you sure that the only available treatment option is for supporters of the team known as ‘Drayton Park’, or (sometimes) ‘Woolwich’ is for them to be forced to watch their team lose to opposing football sides?

      There have been outbreaks of mass hysteria in the past and it has not been unknown for batteries of psychiatrists, supported by thoroughly briefed teams of counsellors, to move in on the stricken area in order to calm things down and re-oreint the inhabitants to a reality-based existence.

      I recall the Great Tea Trolley Disaster of 1967 as a case in point.

  27. Ososdeoro

    The team needs more depth, but with the new financial rules, M. Tevez is not the answer. The two Spanish teams have already said NFW…….and Chelsea should follow that example. There are plenty of bruising midfielders and accurate forwards to provide the depth that is needed.

    • Cunningplan

      I think we’d all need copious amounts of sherry if the flim flam man ever returned to us.

      Any recommendations on the sherry BB, Harveys Bristol Milk or cream? 😉

      • bluebayou

        Don’t know really, mine is shipped direct from a sherry farm nr Jerez that’s been part of the family estates out there for a couple of hundred years.

  28. Anonymous

    I see the Daily Mail seems to have put 2 and 2 together and come up with 347 to somehow implicate JT in the suicide of the young Rushden goalkeeper Dale Roberts.

    A very sad story no doubt….. But does the British Press not realise that they are at least partly to blame for continually reporting this shite, day after day……They really are scum.

  29. Cunningplan

    I’m being a bit cheeky here, but is anyone doing a quick pre- match blog for Sunday to raise spirits and steady the nerves.

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