West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Chelsea – The Tragedy of the Hawthorns


How refreshing. An international fixture break, the tragedy of the club footballing calendar, lasted only a couple of days, not denying the world the sometimes excruciating fortnight wait, and managed, for once, to turn the virtually useless intermission into an exciting and indeed revealing affair. A moment of calculated lunacy from an Ancelotti-revived Zlatan aside, England, like Chelsea, sorely missed the defensive leadership of a forcibly retired John Terry in Sweden.

The difference is one of his dependents gets him back.

Out in New York City, Oscar impressed for Brazil. For the Selecão to entrust a young playmaker with the reigns of such a nationally venerated position that might very well be his privilege to lose going into the 2014 World Cup speaks volumes of the talent we have at Chelsea. I for one am placing more hope and expectation on his potential and development than that of Eden Hazard.

Oh, and no, given the circumstances, Zlatan’s was not the best goal ever.

Back in the Midlands of England, Chelsea were perhaps reflecting on the points dropped against Liverpool with an even greater rueful lament as an away battle with a home-strong 5th placed side beckoned – a side that has fatefully written itself into the Chelsea story.

In a tale of two former Chelsea players turned former Chelsea assistants turned managers, Roberto Di Matteo, dismissed by West Brom two years ago, returned as European Champion while Steve Clarke, once Mourinho’s No. 2, faced a beloved side who really should have offered him the manager’s job at some point. Building on Robbie’s splendid work at the Baggies, the ascendancy of Clarke’s West Brom is nothing short of exceptional.

To look back at Clarke’s days as an assistant manager at Chelsea is to peer into a wealth of talent waiting in the wings. Jose’s subordinates included, as we all know, Andre Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers, who, despite their current misgivings, have achieved considerable levels of success in the game – relatively, of course. Is it any surprise what Chelsea achieved then given the backroom staff?

Never underestimate the significance of the support systems behind success.

Ancelotti, along with importing his famed fountain-of-youth physician, brought on board Ray Wilkins, a positive force if there ever was one. The effect of his departure materialized too quick for comfort.

While the current crop is not under scrutiny, it is worth pondering their contributions and deficiencies and how that might benefit or adversely affect the next six months.

In the season gone by, the match against West Brom, poignantly, was AVB’s last Premier League session in charge. More so than Napoli, Albion exposed a faltering Chelsea side for all its failings and inadequacies and typified everything we were not. A revealingly tragic day of football regardless of what followed a few months later. A return to the Hawthorns, then, could certainly be used as a yardstick of progress made as far as the league goes.

Team Selection

Despite the brevity of the fixture, Di Matteo saw fit to field his weakest possible side. Distant international friendlies and the crunch match against Juventus aside, the league surely must command utmost priority after a deeply uncharacteristic sixth place finish.

Frontman: Torres, a player unlike any other in that he divides opinion as sharply as the American presidency. To the non-believers: Torres has scored 18 goals in the last two years at Chelsea; only Mata and Lampard have scored more with 19 each. To the ardent backers: Torres is not only due any odd off-the-ass goal, he is due a goal of pace, technique, trickery and audacity to have any hope of being more than just a workhorse, which, appreciated as it is, is not enough.

Triumvirate: Hazard was placed in the hole, a position he allegedly demanded during contract negotiations and excelled at in the first match of the season against Wigan. His confrontation with Albion’s ever-impressive Mulumbu would be decisive, one feels. Sturridge was flung out right, a place on the pitch he has expressed his disdain for more than once. And Moses found himself on the left wing, a familiar responsibility at his time at the DW albeit under a very different system.

Pivot: Potential room for improvement in the deeper recesses of the midfield with Mikel possibly in need of a break and the evident need for a long-passing expert to truly complete the duopoly by complementing the now seemingly untouchable ball-winner.

Defensive Quartet: How David Luiz earned a starting spot ahead of Ivanovic or why the Cahill-Luiz pairing, which has not kept a clean sheet, should stand firm is somewhat of a mystery.

This was perhaps an unwisely experimental side. A different formation or shape, rather than repetitive variations of the 4-2-3-1, might be more appropriate in order to confound an increasingly adaptive set of managers and teams.

First 45

A good start, as always, is a must since our need to hit the 10-minute snooze button at kick-off remains a lingering affliction. With West Brom’s right hand side pinpointed as a soft spot, Moses stretched his movement to find space and enjoyed quite a bit of the ball early on. A clearance off the line from his cutback denied Bertrand a goal.

Forward roaming enthusiasm and Matteo’s laissez-faire policy towards the full-backs aside, one would prefer not to see a less disciplined left-back in the opposition box with five minutes played. Shape and organization are key for a side that will play on the counter attack.

Youssuf Mulumbu, who I consider to be Albion’s best player mainly because of a bias towards holding midfielders given their immensely invaluable role in shaping the fortunes of any team, became the first player I’ve seen this league season to truly have Hazard in his pocket. Strength and what appeared to be a well-studied sense of movement and anticipation laid waste to our most creative outlet.

An utterly innocuous exchange of passes on West Brom’s left hand side somehow, just somehow, managed to completely unravel the defence, leaving a chasmic gorge of space in the box unattended to by either Cahill or Mikel. To allow such a cross to come in is comedic. To then allow Shane Long to bid Luiz farewell without any real form of defensive protest was tragic. Young Ryan didn’t add to his cause by spectating as Luiz faltered again.

West Brom remained organized as ever, giving away nothing in defence with Mulumbu putting in a Makelele-esque performance. One would expect nothing less of a side drilled in the phalanx-like defensive arts of Steve Clarke. So much so that we resorted to one-time speculative flicks and hopeful tap-downs as penetration remained chastised. Torres’ movement was non-existent.

Just as Mata’s glaring miss against Liverpool was prophetic, one felt whether Moses’ dry heave strike on the byline was perhaps a sign of things to come.

Recognizing Hazard’s ineffectiveness in the middle, Robbie reverted to placing the Belgian on the left. Free of Mulumbu, Hazard immediately dictated play, stretching play to the right flank for the honorary right winger Azpilicueta to collect and swing back to the far post. A strong leap from Hazard deflected in by the arm of Billy Jones levelling matters and a turnaround certainly on the cards.

But it’s never been the attack that has let us down thus far.

Second 45

Chelsea began the second half like we should have the first – with purpose and vigour. Moses seemed undoubtedly more comfortable on the right, storming through and cutting it back for Daniel Sturridge, who would fail to finish his first of many, many chances this match. A second goal in our favour looked ever so likely, but as did a ruthless counter attack for the Baggies.

With Mikel and Romeu pushed forward, Morrison split a literally barren midfield that set West Brom on their way. Keen interplay isolated Long on the right flank, and with enough time to wait for the run and measure the cross, Odemwingie put West Brom 2-1 ahead. Yet again it was the left side that proved kryptonic. Bertrand was also fooled by the play, which drew him into the box, abdicating responsibility for the channel to David Luiz, who, with arms tucked behind his back, allowed the cross to come in. Odemwingie was always going to come up trumps in that battle.

That we have still not conjured a panacea for that cursed left flank is about as tragic as the simplicity of West Brom’s play that did the team in.

The customary denied penalty took place soon after as Moses was fouled in the box with unerring blatancy. One should really keep a meticulous tally of all the stonewall penalties that do not go our way to see if things really “even out” come season’s end. My not-entirely-confident tally stands at five.

As crosses came in, particularly from Azpilicueta, a signing that is impressing with his attacking abilities each match, the reluctance of any of the frontmen to throw themselves at the ball without qualm or thought of injury, to get their heads in where the boots are, displayed an uncharacteristic lack of grit.

With an hour played, the anonymous Torres, his lip cut, was hauled off for Mata, who really should have started. Is there any more apt of a visual to illustrate Torres’ perplexing situation than a bloodied mouth? And yes, that foul was entirely missed by the officiating crew. Oscar replaced Romeu, putting every available attacking option Chelsea have on the pitch.

Mata’s expected incisiveness and Sturridge’s movement in the final third transformed our chances of walking away with at least a point, but the Spaniard’s altruism was not reciprocated as Sturridge missed a host of golden opportunities and, constantly in search of glory, refused to return the favour. Oscar’s world class side-heeled flick to release Sturridge deserved, warranted, demanded, damn near wept for an equalizer or, at the very least, a low ball across the box to Mata. The decision and the finish was, well, tragic.

One striker who hustles and harries for his team but seems incapable of producing a run that dumbfounds the defence while the other produces the necessary movement but lacks a finishing touch or communal attitude. Short of spending another absurdly high eight figure transfer fee, what is Chelsea to do?

To see Petr Cech extend his legs to acrobatically keep the ball in play during the final set piece in the dying minutes said it all really.

Two seasons, two losses at the Hawthorns. Have we progressed in the league? Of course. Has the early season honeymoon come to end? Most definitely. Don’t blame the Ides of November, West Brom have again exposed a work in progress. It was by no means an abysmal performance, quite the contrary, but this team’s shortcomings, or at least that of the “weaker” echelons, were illuminated.

Thankfully, the tragedy of the loss was lessened by Manchester United’s oh so deserved defeat at the hands of Hughton’s Norwich. The Canaries even survived Fergie Time, which was extended from three minutes to four to finally five.

A repeat of any of yesterday’s antics against Juventus and the tragedy of Turin will be far worse.

Player Ratings

  • Petr Cech: 7 – Little he could do for both goals.
  • Ryan Bertrand: 6 – Good going forward but has a lot to learn about defending and positioning.
  • Gary Cahill: 6 – Not his usual self.
  • César Azpilicueta: 6.5 – A good wing-back.
  • Oriol Romeu: 5 – Not a bad player by any means, but rarely commanded the midfield.
  • John Obi Mikel: 7 – General.
  • Victor Moses: 6.5 – Huffed and puffed.
  • Eden Hazard: 8 – He never loses possession. Ever.


  • Juan Mata and Oscar: 8 – self-explanatory.
  • Ramires: What could he really have done?

Tragic Heroes

  • David Luiz
  • Fernando Torres
  • Daniel Sturridge

Man of the Match

Steve Clarke, a Chelsea legend. We wish him the absolute best.

Press Reports

The Observer, Stuart James: “The ramifications will be nothing like as severe for Roberto Di Matteo as they were for Andre Villas-Boas, who was sacked after Chelsea lost here in March, but this still felt like a significant defeat for the Italian. It is now four Premier League games without a win for Chelsea – their worst run since Di Matteo took over from Villas-Boas – and there are inevitable comparisons to be drawn with previous seasons, when winter’s onset has frozen Chelsea’s title aspirations.”

The Sunday Telegraph, John Percy: “Roberto Di Matteo was at the centre of a stormy dressing-room inquest after his side’s fourth successive Premier League match without a win. Several raised voices were heard coming from the Chelsea dressing room in the aftermath of this defeat and on Saturday night the BBC’s Pat Murphy claimed via Twitter that Di Matteo himself had been overheard berating his players, shouting at them: “Call yourselves a Champions League winners’ side and you can’t beat them.””

The Independent on Sunday, John Culley: “There is enormous potential … for things to get worse before they get better, assuming that they do. On Tuesday, Chelsea go to Turin, where a defeat against Juventus would leave their defence of their Champions’ League crown looking anything but comfortable. Then, a week today, they face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. All this without John Terry, whose absence yesterday again emphasised the vulnerability of Di Matteo’s defence.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “The Blues suffered a first away defeat in the league as the autumn dip continues. Chelsea, who made several changes to the starting line-up, had the opportunities in the second half, most notably for Daniel Sturridge who moved from the wing to centre-forward after Fernando Torres was taken off, but he came across a keeper in form, making it an unhappy return to The Hawthorns for Roberto Di Matteo who will be hoping for a better night in his home country on Tuesday.”


10′ Long 1-0
39′ Hazard 1-1
50′ Odemwingie 2-1
Match of the Day highlights

There are 137 comments

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  1. Ian642002

    You could try and stop flicking the word ‘tragedy’ around like confetti, mate. Hillsborough was a tragedy. What you went through yesterday was a defeat.

    • limetreebower

      Oh, come on. Hillsborough was a disaster. What’s happening in Gaza is a tragedy.

      No, wait. Gaza is geopolitics. The Pacific tsunami, that was a tragedy.

      No, sorry, the Pacific tsunami was an act of God. The Holocaust, that’s proper tragedy.

      (or am I getting confused … could it be that coming on to an amateur football blog and applying po-faced moral one-upmanship to a self-evidently rhetorical piece of writing is, well, a little bit tragic?)

      • Cunningplan


        I did count how many times the word tragedy was used, it appears twice.
        Now if I was getting married again and there was only two pieces of confetti thrown, that would also be a tragedy.

    • Vik Sohonie

      I expected a few to take issue with the word. I used it as a euphemism to give a theme to the piece, Ian, and to exaggerate the circumstances – see the labelling of “tragic heroes” to understand my intentions. Thanks to those who understood.

  2. Blueboydave

    Well, if we’re debating semantics are we with the writer of the Indie on Sunday report above who suggests that rather than a blip it’s now approaching an Ancelotti-like “bad moment”?  

    Like under Carlo, we could be here for some time.

    Has no one told RDM we’re not yet at the point where he can abandon pursuit of EPL points to concentrate on upcoming CL games?

    Furthermore, in post-match interviews with the hacks he was bold enough to espouse the view that perhaps we need to scale back the cavalier attacking a bit, to shore up the bread and butter defending aspects of our game which are looking a mite threadbare recently.

    While you and I might think this is an entirely reasonable suggestion, I fear it is not one calculated to go down well in Roman’s  Fantasy Football World – and blow me a quick perusal of the football gossip summaries this morning sees one of the rags conflating “Guardiola for Chelsea” and “bringing Suarez with him” stories with a last para resurrection of the “TSO wants to come back” for good measure.

    Expect much more of this if things go tits up against Juve on Tuesday.

    P.S. Did some one at Sky take pity on us? Around 6pm my Sky EPG was showing us as chosen for the full 90-minute Game of the Day slot at 8.25pm, but they ended up showing QPR v Southampton instead?

  3. GrocerJack

    ‘Po faced moral one-upmanship’ – lovely little phrase LTB and one I intend to use whenever possible.

    Nice write up Vik but I disagree on one thing, the Zlatan goal was for me the finest goal I ever seen. To those who say he didn’t mean it…….what the fuck did he mean then with a 30 yard overhead kick towards goal?

    Anyway a few points. I like Luiz but there’s no doubt he has had to cover for some appalling left back MIA episodes of late. To those who say get rid of him I say your wrong. He’s young. Yes he’s occasionally scary , but he’s exceptionally skilful. There are far too many impatient trigger happy fans who think getting rid and spending a kings ransom on the next best thing is the only route to success. No it’s not. It’s stupid. Lets develop Ceazy David. Lets use our coaching teams to hone some of the rough edges and naivete

    • Vik Sohonie

      Cheers, GJ. 

      Zlatan’s goal was a goal of a lifetime, but given the circumstances – a friendly match – it detracts from the significance of the goal but not the technique or the execution. And of course he definitely meant it, lucky to say I haven’t heard anyone say that he didn’t! I agree about Luiz – no need to get rid of him and he has had to cover at LB, but he has rarely been dropped when he has not proven otherwise. Ivanovic and Cahill made more sense yesterday. 

    • Pacific Blue

       Noble sentiments about development, but we spent of over 20 million on a 25 year old centre-half who still can’t grasp  the basics of defending and we should be “developing” him??  Get rid. That Jan transfer window when we bought Luiz and Torres will go down as the worst in our clubs history. Crazy Dave says it all really.

      • GrocerJack

        Moronic statement. Nothing like giving time huh? And Luiz played well last night. As did most of the team. I could argue Cech was poor for first goal and massively at fault for last but people fuck up. Luiz is highly rated in the squad by JT and Branners…….but hey you’re a fan so you MUST know better.

        Torres……on the other hand……is toast. Gone. Over.

        • Dylbo Baggins

          So, what happens now then?

          Torres most likely won’t be starting so will we continue with a similar line up to the Juve game or will studge be leading the charge.

          Thought Azpilicueta looked good on the ball at times. 

  4. GrocerJack

    Hmmmm….commenting system doesn’t like iPad browsers. Hence the abrupt finish to last comment. Lets see if Safari is better than Chrome for the blog then.

    One addition to the Zlatan goal comment……since when did the context of a game be any sort of criteria for how good a goal is? Don’t friendly goals count? By that logic only goals scored in finals or title deciders can be considered for how great they are.

    Back to us now……Crazy David is exceptionally talented and getting rid of him rather than developing him is utter lunacy. I’m sick of knee jerk reactions from fans and club who chuck the towel in after a few errors aso forgetting his excellent display in Munich, versus United the other week and a game saving intervention to stop Shaktar taking a 3-2 lead late in the game. Just give him time and let the coaching staff improve him.

    Similarly Bertrand – a bright prospect but no Ashley Cole yet. Even Ashley Cole wasn’t Ashley Cole at the same tender age as Bertrand. He was suspect for the game vs Shaktar, maybe even a little out if his depth but he’ll learn. Lest we forget we were crying out for the kids to get a chance.

  5. GrocerJack

    Same problem. Perhaps Disqus has a built in anti rant system for iPads!

    Last point then for now. Fernando Torres has finally broke me. I had faith in him, really thought he could turn it around and become a Chelsea legend. But it ain’t gonna happen. He has no more excuses , no more hiding places. He is surrounded by creative talent but he refuses to shoot. I thought he might be another Anelka but he he’s not in the same class as that true Chelsea legend. He looks beaten, broken, isolated, sulky, moody. Lets part exchange him in January if anyone is remotely interested in him. Until then let’s give Studge a run. He’s cocky, greedy and arrogant but to criticise him for missing chances yesterday when he’s mainly had bench appearances is unfair. Again perhaps we should persevere with him and then let him compete with whoever arrives in January. At least Sturrudge tries and wants to score unlike Torreschenko.

  6. WorkingClassPost

    That’s what I call a good value post, Vik.

    England, Brasil, and Chelsea, not sure I’m in full agreement with your views on the latter, but great value just the same.

    And are there really 642002 Ian’s with Disqus accounts, or does this particular one like to overstate the numbers from time to time?
    Anyone who couldn’t describe his own team getting done the way ours was, as something of a tragedy, should probably change their sport of choice, anyhow.

    Glad you saw the second penalty shout, but where were you when their geezer blocked from Hazard with his arm moved to ball? If he’d tried to chest it away, then the risk of deflecting it in was obvious, so that’s about as deliberate as it gets.

    Then they went up and scored, but did nobody notice Shane Long grab Luiz’s admittedly outstretched arm, to pirouette him round and face him back to the ball?

    Just shows, that it is a difficult job for refs if we can’t even see these things with the aid of video playback.

    Here’s a working link to the highlights, please take a look see and tell me what you think.

    It’s not the awarding of a penalty that matters (I don’t like the poxy things, unless it’s in a shoutout that we win of course). But when they’re not given, the offending team know that they’re likely to get away trying it on, and they do, ala the shove on Moses.

    I’m turning into a ranter, but sod ’em. They’re changing our results.

  7. GrocerJack

    I’d sell Torres ASAP and give Studge the run he desires. Then we can judge him. It’s what SAF did with Wellbeck. He persevered. And Studge is better than Wellbeck IMHO. At the moment it’s the only choice in my view.

    Lastly – I maintain this is a season of arguably the biggest transition since 2003 when Roman first arrived. It’s both personnel and style. And to expect a trophy every season makes us as arrogant as the Mancs. Sometimes even SAF knew trophies had to be sacrificed in order to move to the next level. I’d rather that than just keep chucking out the baby with the bath water in pursuit of an instantly gelled utopian dream team ideal that just doesn’t exist. Better the blip now than in March I say.

    3rd seems about right at this moment. Oh and the mugs yesterday crying out for Pep to replace RDM mainly on my twitter timeline! Please just fuck off and support QPR because you know fuck all about football.

    Rant over (for now )

  8. mark_25

    Our current midfield is possibly the finest we’ve ever had. The skill, invention and understanding of Mata, Oscar and Hazard is better than anything I can remember.  Petrescu, Wise and Poyer were fantastic. Hollins, Hudson and Cooke are legends but honestly, have we ever previously been blessed with three such outstanding talents who interlock perfectly?  And let’s not forget the support act of the improved Mikel, who’s stepped it up a gear this season, and the ever running engine of Ramires.

    But unfortunately our midfield dynamism is tragically counteracted by defence that is always likely to concede making it difficult to go and nick a win.  I’d say it’s our weakest defence since pre Desailly and Lebouef.  Not as good as Terry/Desailly or Terry/Carvalho or Terry/Gallas. Cahill isn’t top drawer.  He’s decent enough and I’d keep him but he is not JT.  Luiz was entertaining at first.  “What a character!” we exclaimed.  We bought curly wigs and laughed as he buffooned during interviews.  But now it’s no longer funny and his recurring mistakes have taken the joke too far.

    The doubly tragedy is our frontline is the weakest in living memory.  Torres is an empty shell.  I don’t know if it’s his body or his mind.  I don’t care.  It’s time to take the decision and switch off life support.  Sturridge would like to think he’s “the man” but he’s delusional. Bolton is his level.

    In the transfer window we need two decent strikes and a solid centre back.  Up until that point I would pair Branners with Cahill in the middle until JT’s return and possibly try Luiz at right back.  “Just call me Dave” seems to position himself as far away as possible from his man leaving acres of space.

    Up front I’d play Moses.  Centre forward may not be his natural position but at least he has a look of interest on his face, is willing to run at defenders and gets stuck in.

    Despite the tragedy I still enjoyed my day out.

    • GrocerJack

      I’m sticking with Studge as I think we have little choice and a run might do him some good. People are writing him off way too early when he’s had no lengthy run if note and nothing approaching Torresutton. But yes, Torreshenko is toast. Can’t think of a single reason to keep him. He’s run out of excuses now.

      Love the new confident Mikel and Ramires midfield combi-pivot thing, but wonder where that leaves Lamps? Not sure he’ll relish a bench role. And of course we’ve yet to see Marin yet. Our ‘creative Herbert’s’ are very exciting for the future.

      • WorkingClassPost

        Can’t remember when I’ve disagreed so profoundly with the consensus here.

        I thought Sturridge and Torres looked good together for the first time, what they lacked was more creativity behind them. 

        And I don’t like two holding midfielders, not yet anyway. They don’t seem to know which of them can push forward and when, might be simpler just to play Mikel as holder and let Ramires drive forward whenever, just let them know who’s doing what.

        An over reliance on Mata is not a good thing, and to be fair, Robbie seems determined to find a few different formations for when he’s not available, but perhaps we need to stick and tweak the alternatives, rather than chop and change.

    • Vik Sohonie

      Couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. Cahill and Luiz seemed immune from criticism because of the CL Final, but it is true, and even I’ve had trouble admitting it – Cahill isn’t top drawer. 

      Moses up front would most definitely utilize the invention of the dynamic trio far more than Torres or Danny. 

  9. WorkingClassPost

    Looks like this week will be some sort of turning point with half of us saying ‘I told you so’ or the other half saying ‘TFFT’. All depends on whether this really is a blip, or a bit of daylight robbery they got away with.
    Guess we’ll all know come Tuesday, or Sunday, or..

  10. WorkingClassPost

    It’s no surprise that footballers’ turn in such poor performances from time to time, when supporters are so quick to turn on them.

    Just a few weeks ago Cahill was the ‘new JT’ and Luiz was the life and soul of the party. But what are we saying now?

    If Danny scores a goal we need a greedy player, but if he misses, then he should’ve passed.

    If FT passes, then he should’ve scored himself, but if he scores, then no big deal, that’s what we paid £xxxm for.

    It’s little wonder that our team is becoming as bipolar as we are!

  11. Der_Kaiser

    Issue with the defence is unquestionably lack of organisation; Cahill, Luiz and Ivan are all decent players but have their moments.  Bertrand is still a little green and we need to bed Azpilicueta in, rather than play Ivan out of position at RB.  Back 4 is in a state of flux and with two of its biggest characters in Cole and Terry potentially both departing over the next year or so, it badly needs consistency and a leader in there.  None of the current contenders strike me as filling the gap; maybe Cahill – he was always going to find this season tough having gone from relegation fodder to CL winner inside of 5 months and he’s stepping into a fairly big pair of shoes, so a little patience might be in order.

    Midfield is potentially superb as has been noted elsewhere – no issues there bar a bit of cover in the more defensive roles (and maybe the option of a little more width on occasion).  Biggest problem is up front – quite obvious that a goalscorer is needed and quickly.  I’m no fan of merrily just slinging money around at the first sign of a dip, but it’s quite clear this is a problem that is going to test Roman’s wallet.  Top class goal scorers are few and far between and they certainly don’t come cheap.

    Torres back to Atletico with about £45m stuffed up his backside with a note asking for Falcao to make the return journey seems the most likely solution.  Suspect there are other options out there, but we all know how Roman loves his big name number 9’s, don’t we?  After £80m odd on Sheva and Torres, let’s hope it is third time lucky.

  12. PeteW

    Zlatan’s goal was average. 6/10. Hit and hope, there was only one thing he could do (and having already scored a bundle at home in a friendly, he was bound to try) and he executed it well enough, but it was a fluke, no grace or guile about it. Wouldn’t make my top 100.

  13. PeteW

    As for Saturday, I was at the theatre so missed it. I was watching Chelsea fan Phil Daniels, he was very good and even sang David Bowie’s Five Years.

    I’m finding this season a bit (age-appropriate analogy incoming) a bit like when you have finished a computer game and have to go back and do all the bonus missions. Yes, it’s great when you beat Spurs and Arsenal of course, but I really struggle to care about the occasional failure given that we’ve already completed the main mission. This will probably shift as the season progresses, but I’m about as motivated as Torres. (I told you he was shite.)

  14. PeteW

    With Torres, we’re playing without a striker and have been for one-and-a-half years. He doesn’t make runs, he never has for us. The idea that he wasn’t getting the service before was laughable (yet smart people fell for it), now it’s fucking slanderous. 

    The man is gutless, which is the one thing I really can’t abide on the football field. Give me Kalou, Sturridge, Moses – raw, inconsistent, not massively gifted in world class terms – but at least they aren’t cowards. We’ve let Anelka, Kalou, Lukaku, Drogba go trying to make this twat work, what a waste of time, talent and money. Kalou was ten times the player for us than Torres has been. I haven’t disliked a player this much since Zenden. 

    • Blue_MikeL

      Yes, any of those you mentioned has got better attitude on the pitch than this prima ballerina assoluta –   Fernando Torres.   

  15. Musumba

    Torres is ineffectual infact Malouda or Ivanovic as a striker would outperform him! we would be better off by not over relying on Mata,we should buy Willan and Demba ba or Nani (as a striker, he can do what messi does)

  16. Der_Kaiser

    Torres’s attitude and general demeanour tie in very well with the interview he gave while he was still at Liverpool, where he stated openly that he didn’t know whether he could cope with the physical demands of the Premiership in the long term.

    My four penneth on Ibrahimovic’s goal – very impressive (just to connect with the ball so well when it is 6 feet in the air is no mean feat), but it’s nowhere near in the same district as the Maradona / van Basten efforts it’s being lumped in with.

  17. limetreebower

    If we want someone to put their hand up as a striker, we’d better try and coax Maradona out of retirement …

    I’m looking forward to tonight. We’ve finally won the bloody thing, I can die in peace now, we don’t have to win it every year.

  18. limetreebower

    I don’t usually post at half-time, but … Is it just me or are we playing really well? (despite being a goal down)

    If this four-attacking-midfielders-and-no-striker selection catches on, we might even be able to fit young Josh McEachran into the team somewhere.

  19. mark_25

    Sadly we were second best. More depressingly I didn’t seem to care but just slumped back in the sofa reconciled to our fate.

    • GrocerJack

      This is perfectly normal. You’re merely regressing to more familiar times. As was I. The best lessons learned are the ones that hurt most. Lots of players will gain from that tonight and that’s no bad thing in the formation of a future team of greatness.

  20. Benjami

    Almost agree with you LTB, I think we were playing OK (in the first half). A bit of luck and we could have nicked a goal which would have changed the landscape of the game.

    I like RDM, and I am happy he got his chance to be the Chelsea manager. I also believe when we fail to qualify for the Champions League he should not be sacked. Our objective this season remains the same as it was at the start, finish in the top 4. Which we are on course to do so, blip or no blip.

    However some observations:

    We should never have surrounded that 2-0 lead at the Bridge

    I would have picked pretty much the same team as him tonight, TSO would always surprise me with his selection and it would be effective, RDM always seems to pick the “popular” team

    His subs are again follow the same pattern and timing each game, they are very easy to predict and very rarely positively influence the game (for example when he took off Oscar vs Liverpool, leading to us conceding midfield)

    It is interesting how Juventus have 1 corner taker Pirlo, we seem to have multiple takers who are very inconsistent

    Well done RDM for dropping Torres, would love to see Torres react and up his game for the Man City match, we all know that won’t happen

    We are extremely poor defensively and are conceding too many against the poor sides let alone the better sides. I remember an interview with JT where they asked him which managers he feared the most in his career when he had played badly and was returning to the dressing room, he said Guus and TSO. How many of them truly fear going back into that dressing room with RDM in charge?

    I miss last season with Drogba pumping everyone up before the game in a circle, what a loss to the team off the pitch as well as on it that man was 🙁

  21. Dylbo Baggins

    When we were doing bugger all with about 20-25 minutes left, all I kept thinking was that we were going to continue to do nothing until somehow we scored with 3 minutes left and then all of a sudden we would put in a ‘brave, determined (futile) effort’ in. But hardly anyone looked prepared to put a shift in. 

    When the ball is there to be won, Torres looks like he is at least trying but when he is making runs he is purely going through the motions as if he doesn’t expect the ball at all. Not blaming Torres for the loss or the run of results but it says a lot about the lack of confidence (in him?)/divide(?) in the team. Add the pressure on RDM and it’s an uninspiring mix- like trying to push string.

    First half I thought we were good but 2nd half was exactly that- like trying to push a piece of string.

    It would be really nice to see the lads play with spirit.

    Still, where there is hope and all that…

  22. dustylancer

    Tonight’s game might have exposed the biggest flaw in RDM, as Benjami puts it he is succumbing to the populist demand, most likely Roman’s.

    Torres whether you defend or loathe him, its time to put him out of his misery and just sell the jackass. He has gotten everything you could ask for as a striker and yet looking at him now I pine for Drogs at his shittiest last year.

    That being said it saddens me that RDM seems to have forgotten everything the CL win entailed. You don’t have to play every game like Barca, you just need to be effective. Though I’ll be damned if you din’t give the team a red kit and ask people whether we looked like Gunners, we certainly seem to be emualating their style. Can’t defend set pieces or direct attacking football.

    A draw is all we could ask for from the manager playing away and against tough opposition in light of an easy game 6 and gauranteed qualification. Instead he does the most assasine thing possible ie. tinkering with the formation and playing strikerless. This is not being brave or courageous, its just being plain stupid. If anything the last couple of PL games have proven one thing while Hazard, Mata and Oscar look gorgeous when they combine, tiki-fucking-taka will only take you so far.

    Hazard is a great player but I won’t rate him in the same class as Mikel, Mata, Oscar and Cech this year. He should be a sub and not a starter. Similarly Sturridge despite being a selfish prick, proved he deserved a start atleast on the basis of being at the end of every move Mata orchestrated in WBA game. But bravo to RDM for not only alienating him but lets give Fernando his nth second chance as a feckless sub no less.

    This month has worryingly exposed the actual lack of depth we have as a team of winning against good/decent well drilled opposition. Whats funny is we thought we have found good replacements for Ashley and Terry and would have to fill the hole Lamps left.

    December should be interesting to see if RDM can shore up the gaping holes in our defense and attack till the transfer window.

    • NorthernVA

      So you somehow intertwine populism with Roman? I’m sorry but from which galaxy have you been following Chelsea most recently. I recommend you change your cable provider.

  23. GrocerJack

    Best lessons learnt the hard way. Massive over-reaction on Twitter tonight. We weren’t shit. They were just better.

    • limetreebower

      Haven’t got an account, but I always thought massive overreaction is what Twitter’s actually for …

      I didn’t watch the second half due to bedtime issues with the Limetreeshrubs. There’s definitely a really good team in there somewhere and it’s no surprise if it needs a bit of time to get out.

      Whether the club will ever give anything any time is very much open to question of course.

      Still, if I had to guess I’d say they’re more likely to throw stupid money around in January than they are to sack Robbie. But who knows.

    • Action

      It was a hard lesson, but a fair result, and at least RDM tried to do something different with his starting selections, and tried to change it around in the second half. It didn’t work this time.

      I would have been more disappointed if he had just gone through the motions and made like-for-like substitutions, so all credit to him.

  24. TrueBlue 007

    I think we all knew this would happen. RDM felt forced to change things after our recent displays and clearly was playing for the draw in Turin with the formation he choose. Personally I would have chosen a 4-3-3 formation that we are used to playing, with Obi in the holding role and Ramires and oscar in CM roles. 

    I do not understand the decision to play without a striker though. I think Studge is a great player and i ould leave chelsea if I was him. What does he have to do to start a game? What about Marin? hasn’t played a single game for us yet. I think RDM is out of his depth with a squad like ours. Yes he won us the CL, but he now has a new squad and and instructions to play tica taka football. So far only 1 manager has been successful with this and it’s Pep. 

    So – as long as Pep is coming next season, then we have 2 choices. Stick with RDM till then, or find a quick short term replacement. This decision is crucial, because we must finish in the top 4. 

    Stick or twist? 

  25. mark_25

    Dropping Torres and playing without a striker is the equivalent of having an engine problem and preferring to remove it and push the vehicle rather than replacing engine.  For a period in the first half we did manage to free wheel quite well.

  26. Der_Kaiser

    Certainly wasn’t a bad performance, just tactically a little too naive in places; Mikel had it right – we’re just dreadful when we don’t have the ball – shapeless, lacking in discipline and dropping far too deep.  The creative herberts need to learn how to win the ball back for a start.  Leadership on the pitch is lacking too – JT, Lamps and the old guard are sorely missed on nights like that.

    We were never going to go through a season having lost the kind of experience that took to the pitch in Munich (or at least not have it available) without things being a little painful.  Worry is that we’re now clearly in a rut with some difficult games ahead, let alone the distraction of Japan – the vultures are circling, and while it is utterly tragic that Robbie is being tipped for the push we all know from (sometimes bitter) experience that rumours about Chelsea managers are generally fairly accurate.  He at least deserves a crack at becoming a world champion – he’s earned that much.

  27. Cunningplan

    Well that didn’t take long, and I did say in a post on the Reading game that he would be gone by Xmas, I just had that uneasy feeling.

  28. limetreebower


    I can’t even be arsed to rant about it any more.

    Neeeext!! (Doesn’t matter who it is, obviously.)

    • Dylbo Baggins

      Let’s get Pep in and let him be fired after 6 months… 

      At least then Roman will realise that you have to build a team, through ups and downs, over time…

      • limetreebower

        “At least then Roman will realise that you have to build a team, through ups and downs, over time…”

        [wipes tears of laughter from eyes …]

        Ah, bless you. It’s the way you tell them.

  29. WorkingClassPost

    Rumours are a big part of our problem.If Robbie believed that Pep would take over next year, whatever he did, then where was his incentive to make things happen, beyond doing a little tinkering and experimentaion for his future post, wherever that may be?Similarly, if Torres is being moved out to let Falcao in, then we should be grateful that his performances have been as good as they have so far, and if he’s putting more emphasis on getting others to score, then he’s doing us a favour because they’ll be the ones still playing for us when he’s gone.umours are a big part of our problem.

    Best of luck R

  30. bluebayou

    Wrote this after Spurs

    “The progress of the team is really encouraging. So good has the start
    been that I think we are now travelling at the sort of speed that is
    traditional in a Chelsea train wreck. With November looming, I am
    starting to get nervous. This serene progress can’t continue can it?”

    I think this is now an official Chelsea Train Wreck is it not?

    I don’t think they ever believed in him. He won two trophies and it left them with little option but to back him in the absence of a strong candidate. I worried they’d ditch him at the first sign of trouble.

    • Blue_MikeL

      Yepp, they had to shake his hand and say good bye during the summer, but as you said in the absence of better candidate they decided to keep him.  
      Who is going to be the new one let’s see, who knows. 

    • Blueboydave

      If you’re looking for an omen, just before I came on to read the latest posts my computer screensaver, set on random photos, popped up one of Fat Rafa looking happy…….

      Will they let us take in scissors to do ritual season ticket cutting up on Sunday?

  31. Blue_MikeL

    When should you sack a football manager?
    Results from a simple model applied to the English Premiership
    Chris Hope* University of Cambridge 
    What strategy should a football club adopt when deciding whether to sack its manager?

    • mark_25

      Have we been following that strategy?  If yes then clearly there’s scientific research, from Cambridge no less, rather than emotion behind the sackings.  Presumably Arse having been basing their strategy on a white paper from a part time student studying Home Economics at the Open University?

      • GrocerJack

        Don’t knock the OU!!! OU degrees are harder to achieve*

        I worked bloody hard for mine!**

        *hoping to divert internal anger elsewhere


        • Blueboydave

          Well said, Sir, mocking the OU is a very tired, outdated attitude – though it is now rapidly disappearing down the pan in its leap into the new world of high-cost part-time Student Loans.

          Please note I have changed my avatar to my tip for our next manager – though Dear God, I read the Daily Wail is suggesting Roman may turn to Uncle Avram again if Fat Rafa  says no to short term job again!

      • Blue_MikeL

        Evidence suggests that we are following something very similar to what is explained in this paper. Football is multi million business, so one would believe that science is involved.  

  32. Cunningplan

    I think I’ll stop supporting Chelsea and just support a manager from now on, at least that way I can get some stability and hopefully lots of success.

    I’m torn between Jose and Mark Hughes.

  33. SweetDairyAir

    I really don’t get this decision. Even if Roman wanted Pep, what’s the point of hiring him in the middle of the season. Without a preseason is he suddenly going to make us into a free-flowing team with a rock solid defence, Torres scoring all the time?! That just isn’t going to happen. Wouldn’t it have been easier to keep RDM and buy a striker to help him out in January. If we plummet down the table, then fine, sack him and bring someone else in, but we are third with no real threat of not making the Champions League next season. Whoever you bring in we still have to rely on other results to make it out of the group stage. This is lunacy.

    I don’t think Pep will come now anyway. It will be someone underwhelming (in my opinion at least) like Rafa. But what I don’t understand again is the fact that Rafa didn’t take the job last year after AVB was sacked because he didn’t want to be a short term manager until the board got who they really wanted. What has changed this year? It seems they have someone lined up already, but unless it is Pep (which doesn’t make much sense), who else would it be (and whoever it is, that won’t make sense either because you know Roman wants Pep eventually)?


  34. dustylancer

    @eaca4c2e31e2c54826bd5cae261d74d3:disqus Hmm the statement was written by me in the wee hours of the morning, and I should clarify it a bit, and yes I did accidently intertwine them lol. The Roman part should have gone to a sentence regarding why does he persist with Torres

    What did the team picked last night indicate. That we will try and play beautiful football irrespective of the circumstances. Is RDM playing this style so that the media won’t villify us. We won the CL based on sheer grit in the Barca game and mostly luck in the final. Now its the same manager, the same players minus Drogs, and apparently RDM has been mindwiped to believe that you can’t play anything like last year in crunch games. Well he got a bloody nose for the effort and hopefully learned from it.

    That being said given that Luiz is basically a Drogba type personality as a defender, and we will villify and love him equally, @GrocerJack:disqus with Terry being injured and in the absence of mentoring figure should he be moved to midfield and take the role Ramires provides. He is currently too big a liability as a CB, but would be excellent in that position.

  35. Cunningplan

    I suppose now we can now play our annual quiz and ask the questions…

    Who do you think we’ll get?

    And who should we get?

    And no abstentions, as saying it makes no difference who it is, as the end result is always the same!

  36. bluebayou

    From out of left field a thought.

    They’ve sacked RDM without immediately announcing his successor. Why?

    It didn’t have to happen today did it? There’s a big game Sunday against City. Did benching Torres really require such a response?

    Why not wait until a permanent or temporary successor can be announced at the same time. Or would that smack of working behind someone’s back (even though we all think that’s what’s gone on).

    Well in the background lurks the Clattenburg affair.

    There must be a decision soon. This week perhaps.

    Did RDM play any part that could be construed as detrimental to the club? Did he play any part that would allow him to be blamed?

    Would it be convenient for them to point to a departed manager when the whole shithouse comes down on them?

    Removes tinfoil hat and resumes quietly sobbing in corner.

  37. Vik Sohonie

    The tragedy of Turin was far worse. 

    One Di Matteo. 

    Surely it can’t be Rafa – no one is willing to offer him a job and we go and hire the one guy nobody wants? Shocking.  

    • WorkingClassPost

      Never was a Rafa fan, but towards the end of last season, when there were previous rumours of him joining us, I saw him in a pundit type interview, and was reluctantly impressed.

      He’d lost weight (looking years younger), talked sense and had an authoritative confidence that was in total contrast to my memories of his time at Poo.

  38. WorkingClassPost

    So this makes Robbie officially our most successful manager.

    He got the biggest pot (CL), then left without any of the usual slow and tortuous, rumour, innuendo and press-driven frenzy that was about to engulf him. Better now than in a week, a month, or even a few days time.

    He didn’t deserve it, but goodness, didn’t he ask for it.

    What last night’s line-up was all about, only  he knows.

    Though I remember thinking at the start,  that if we’re still 0-0 when he brings Torres on, then it might just be pure genius – there is definitely a very fine line there – so what voice of insanity whispered to him to bring on Moses first, I can only wonder.

  39. Sarah

    Dear friends,I’ll be as short as possible,so many details will be left out, I’ll just talk about the turning points.
    I was a supporter of Chelsea since the times of Zola, because of couple of reasons.
    First, in spite of my uncle and second, because Chelsea played beautiful football. Chelsea were mostly underachieving,and i actually liked that.When fame ,money and Abramovich came, I continued to cheer of course, throughout good and bad.I cried and I laughed and at one point, there was nothing more special to me than football.My mom was getting concerned.I started using nail polish.
    Over those years of my small life, I informed myself about football the best I could.The fact I was actually a girl with such knowledge, was liked by some, others, of course found it funny.
    Before Abramovich, I didnt care much about the manager, I cared about the team, about the way we played, about Zola in particular, later ,Gudjohnsen for some reason. First manager I truly cared about was Ranieri and I thought his sacking is wrong, but I accepted it as moving on with Chelsea and , the fact is, he is a good manager but in times of crisis and pressure, he makes some really bad tactical decisions.
    Since Jose Mourinho Chelsea is described like a pinnacle of Chelsea, I got to say that I was too distraught when he was sacked, but not as distraught as I am now. Simply, fans, my small amounts of friends , people online, press , everyone, sobbed for Mourinho.I sobbed too, but I moved on. When Grant lead us to CL final and to possibility of winning the league I moved on. And i found faults in Mourinho.Others didnt’t. When Grant was fired, I said he lead us to CL final, don’t fire him.But I realized that was a good decision.Scolari, I said, it was a bad decision.It turned out like one, but when he was fired after 8 months, I was actually happy, hoping we’ll finally settle down.Hiddink was amazing, but he couldn’t stay.Ok, what about Ancelotti?I was divided.I was watching Serie A often and I found Milan very unispiring,Ancelotti overrated. But when he came, things looked for the better.He was on long term in Milan, it seemd he will be at Chelsea, even though I said before Chelsea, his tactic is always the same and predictable, he transfers too. Roman sacked him too. After him, it was AVB i was ecstatic, but he turned out wrong too.Roman sacked him too, after 8 months.When DI matteo came i thought of him as a short term solution, but i was guess what ecstatic and optimistic. He was Chelsea player, I remember watching him as a small child,well,glimpse of him , cause I was very young but later I watched his clips via internet and all, so I was happy.He won us CL. I survived many failings about Cl and to tell you the truth, I thought, under Abramovich, we’ll never win it after 2009. referee bullshit. I just thought we ain’t lucky.
    Well it happenned.And in the new year of Di Matteo, things were starting to look bright.New team.I always said its not about MOurinho or the coach its the team that needs to be changed and Di Matteo or whoever, needs time.He was doing it the right way, notAVB pretentions and rushed way. We were great.But guess what, we stopped being great.
    I agree losing out the CL is bad enough.But departure of Di Matteo is even worse.
    I survived many things, but less then you guys, cause I’m mere 18 years of age. I remember supporting Chelsea since I was 3, not knowing all the players and all, just out of the fact i spent most of my young life idolizing my uncle cause dad wasn’t aroung and he supported Arsenal, so I was a very stubborn child and he actually,at the time, cause we are not English, thought Chelsea are cool, cause Chelsea played nice football and weren’t that big of the treath as MU and rivals like Tottenham. I started supporting Chelsea seriously since Ranieri,learning all the players names, understanding the tactic and all.
    My favourite player of all time is Makelele.I sticked out through good as bad,but not much as you because a ) you are older b) you are all guys c) most of you are English and therefore ,supporting a club is a symbol of tradiotion and football is ingrained in your minds. Sometimes I’d write a couple of sentences about the situations at the club and this was always my favorite blog. Everyone in my surroundings changed clubs at the first sight of failure, most of them first starting supporting Real Madrid cause of the Galacticos, then Barca, then MU,then barca again.I always stayed with Chelsea,no matter what .
    So, this is my “official statements” and the rest of the world doesn’t care of course, that I m stopping watching football or anything that has to do with it overall, cause I understand this thing is not for me.Nobody will be affected- you can call me young and a supporter of Chelsea since Abramovich era ( but as I was telling you,it i s a coincidence, an age coincidence), I disagreed with many Abramovich decisions, am not big fan of Terry anymore, not because of his off field antics but because no player is bigger than the club etc…..so i m not your stereotypical Chelsea supporter.I can’t stop being Chelsea supporter.But i can stop being football supporter.I’ll be just like other girls, commenting about whose better player Ronaldo or Ronaldinho (those brazilians) and supporting Brazil at the World Cup.Simply put, this is simply, not for me cause I can’t stand watching whatis this club doing to itself.
    I will always admire true supporters the most, who are supporting Chelsea since times of Peter Osgoode or for 60 years,more.It seems I’m not the material cause this was a last straw.If we got relegated to third league and all the players left, but with the same goddamn manager that is 8 months in charge only and for that 8 months , brought us HISTORICAL success, I’d be cheering from the bottom of my lunges.But not like this. This is not me. 
    Keep The Blue Flag Fly High guys and please forgive me.

    • GrocerJack

      In the words of the immortal Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel

      ‘Don’t give up, you you have friends….’

      Stick with us Sarah, we’re always good to lean on – we share your despair 🙂

  40. Guest

     Us sacking managers is so common that I’m not bothered. Perhaps the club
    or the owner really wants to win the club world cup thing and wasn’t
    confident that RDM could turn things around by then, or perhaps Pep has
    actually agreed to come out of his holiday, or maybe being talked about
    is good for the business… Oh well bring in the next one.

  41. Blueboydave

    Another omen for those into these things: 

    In my bit of SW London the winds have suddenly swirled up in a fair imitation of a resurrected Hurricane Sandy, the remaining leaves are being torn for the tree branches and flung far and wide, the rain is lashing against the windows and it’s so dark at 2pm that the light-sensor controlled lamp in the car park outside has switched on.

    I’d say the Gods are angry – any signs of lightning bolts in the vicinity of Stamford Bridge or Cobham?

    • mark_25

      You could try and stop flicking the word ‘hurricane’ around like confetti, mate.  It’s a light drizzle, nothing more.

      I’ve reported your post to Ian642002.

    • bluebayou

      It’s God’s desperate attempt to stop the plane that’s bringing the Tubby Spanish Waiter from Abu Dhabi landing any time soon. He’s doomed to fly eternally round the world looking for a club, like the Flying Dutchman, except he’s not Dutch. And he’s in a plane not a ship.

      • Agh57

        Of course the thought of time actually taking over is substantially more scary than the actual Flying Dutchman.

  42. Agh57

    I’m not sure Robbie was ever the right man for the job, but like most of you I think he deserved a crack at it. I also don’t think he should have been sacked this morning and should have been given more time. I did have a feeling after the game last night that he’d be gone some time today.

    We’re sort of getting used to this as others have indicated.

    The most annoying thing about this, is that it gives the hacks another opportunity to express their faux moral outrage at the club from the moral high ground they seem to inhabit most of the times these days.

    • Cunningplan

      Yes the very same press that are so keen to push the agenda for Chelsea managers to get sacked when results are poor.

      Admittedly RA is quite happy to comply!

      • Abhishek Srinivasan

        I am shuddering with the thought of having to adjust to Rafa, Guardiola or Redknapp. Vialli is out of a job too. Can’t we make do with him till Jose wins the Champions League again. I just wish we had finished fourth in the group to avoid those painful thursdays.

      • GrocerJack

        To be fair, the hacks I follow on twitter weren’t pushing the RDM out agenda, but were merely stating what has once again turned out to be the bleeding obvious. Romans trigger finger makes Batesy’s look positively arthritic. 

  43. limetreebower

    What I’m looking forward to are the official statements from the suits when [ChelseaFCManager_027] is unveiled.

    “Yes, we are absolutely convinced that [ChelseaFCManager_027] is the man to bring the club success … We wouldn’t have given [ChelseaFCManager_027] a three-year contract unless we were committed to him for the long term …” etc etc. It’ll be hilarious.

    @Sarah — cheer up! It was miserable for all of us the first five or six times too, but after a while you get wearily used to it. By the way, I loved Maka too.

    • mark_25

      Yes but we’ve recently all lost faith in the BBC, unless you’ve heard the Rafa rumour from the Newsnight team.

      • Blue_MikeL

        Yes, you right, BBC is nothing, but a biased company, which serves as a shelter for child molesters and sexual abusers and news from there shouldn’t be taken for granted.   

        • GrocerJack

          Which is one of the daftest things you’ve ever written. yes…the WHOLE BBC is like that….

          as they say in the Twitterverse #smh

          • Blue_MikeL

            I am surprised BBC worries you more than Rafa 🙂 
            Now regarding BBC, people around knew what is going on, that actually makes them participants. 

          • GrocerJack

            Just think tarring BBC staff with the whole brush is wrong. Lots of NHS staff knew but said nothing? Bad in all organisations. That’s all. And I read every comment ! From everyone.

  44. Timmy

    Well after the month we’ve just had, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to going along on Sunday and watching us trying to keep City and their strike force at bay. However, if Benitez does indeed take over, I should imagine the atmosphere in the ground shall be at least er… interesting.

    My two pennies, for what it’s worth. Roman never wanted to give Di Matteo the job, but even he couldn’t justify getting rid after he delivered the Champs League, even more so as Pep wasn’t available. He’s essentially been waiting for the first slip as an excuse to do what he wanted to do in May.

    It makes no sense, it’s probably not in the the clubs best interests, but it’s Roman and it’s Chelsea. Who really expected any different?!?

  45. Vik Sohonie

    Rafael Benitez all but confirmed as our new manager, length of stay unknown. 

    The snowballing of tragic events is making me mourn. 

    Wisdom dictates that we should get behind the new man… I guess.  Out of work for 2 years and we pick him up. 

    Can a Benitez-Torres reunion bear fruit? I doubt it. 

  46. Vik Sohonie

    According to the to-be-published 2013 Global Job Security Index, the Chelsea FC manager role has now jumped just below the Mexican Drug Cartel Police Informer position.

  47. Cunningplan

    Mad Rafa confirmed according to SSN

    “There’s no dark side of the moon as a matter of fact it’s all dark”

  48. dustylancer

    Any takers on Rafa being replaced by Jan, considering if Juve draw/win we’re out of the CL and December being the worst month of any Chelsea campaign, coupled with brr.. zonal marking, where would we stand in the tables.

  49. limetreebower

    Oh. My. God.

    Atmosphere should be a little bit special on Sunday, and not in a good way. I’m looking forward to going, and adding my voice.

    I’d be curious to have the opinion of the Liverpool fan who was posting interestingly here the other week.

  50. limetreebower

    Hmm, the girls who were being abused knew what was going on and didn’t report either, let’s blame them too!

    Personally I think it’s all Rafa’s fault.

    • GrocerJack

      As an aside….as much as I sympathise……..over 300 people too scared? Not one person willing to speak out whilst the weird old perv was alive? Laws of averages etc…….either that or the man had more power than a mafia crime lord.

  51. Benjami

    Very disappointed with the Benitez appointment 🙁

    Reports I have heard imply that the players were still backing RDM at the end. If the fat waiter has been brought in to help Torres rediscover his form then Torres has (through no fault of his own directly, indirectly through poor performances) cost RDM his job. How can Torres look himself in the mirror now and how will our players respond to him? I would be slightly aggrieved with him and his attitude at the moment if I was in the Chelsea dressing room.

    Personally I do believe that Benitez has a better track record than RDM (winning La Liga etc), however at Chelsea because of RDM’s links within the club and the fact he is a club legend he was able to get more from the players than he would normally at a random football club.

    I won’t say Benitez out, and I will support him….but I will be happy when he leaves.

    • Dylbo Baggins

      I’m disappointed with Rafa too but I don’t think it has anything to do with Torres.

      The scenario, for me, is that Pep won’t come in mid season and no one decent is available until the end of year (interestingly enough, a former Real Madrid president spoke out 30 mins before RDM was sacked saying Jose wouldnt be at Real next season).

      So, if the big managers that we want can’t/won’t come in till new season then we absolutely have to finish top 4. Can’t see Pep/Jose coming to manage us if we finished 6th in the league- and that’s why RA was sketching so hard about our current form. For what it’s worth I reckon a tenner on Jose coming back is the way to go- unfinished business and I get the feeling he would like to win everything with us (while we have a young, exciting squad) to shove it up RA’s arse. Jose seems wonderfully spiteful like that.

      As for RDM getting a better response out of the players because he is a club legend- that may be so but that was last season and the players that he got a rise out of were players that AVB was transitioning out of the team- so they had a very big interest in ‘playing for’ RDM. Looking at our available team for the Juve game I don’t see many of the players lifting their game because of the Chelsea legend. Actually, besides Cech and maybe Cole, I don’t see any. Lamps, Terry and Drogba are the only ones and they are unavailable/don’t play for us anymore.

      It’s all about top 4 and god help Rafa if he doesn’t keep us there. Actually, god help us if we don’t finish top 4- RA might be forced to make him permanent. 

      Anyway, just my 2 cents worth.

      • Benjami

        Well I agree with you about a big manager not wanting to join mid season and I think we all knew unless RDM won either the league or the Champions League again this season he was not going to stay beyond it.

        In terms of his legend status well, I think Juan Mata has a lot of respect for RDM, and the players are affected by how the fans feel for the manager. I am concerned that this level of managerial destabilisation may influence our young trio into jumping ship a few years earlier than they might have originally considered.

        Anyway as you say top 4 is all that matters this season.

        Interesting fact if you exclude the Reading game at home this season (as Reading weren’t in the league last season, note we won it) our results in 2013 in the comparative games to 2012 have us 9 points up!! 21 points to 12.

        This season we have won away at Wigan, home to Newcastle, home to Stoke, away to Arsenal, home to Norwich, and away at Tottenham.

        Last season our only wins in the same fixtures were home to Stoke and home to Norwich.

        OK our form has dropped in the past few weeks, but this situation is laughable really, away wins at Spurs and Arsenal. I wonder what the odds are for us to win 1 domestic cup and finish 3rd this season and everyone to think Benitez is amazing ;/

  52. Blue_MikeL

    Now if news about Rafa were not enough, Drog is considering loan move to Liverpool

    “It is not known whether Drogba has a club lined up to move to, but the Ivory Coast international has been linked with a move back to Marseille, the club he left for Chelsea in 2004, as well as Liverpool.”  

    • GrocerJack

      And if you read certain other press you’ll see him linked with a Thierry Henry type ‘extraordinary’ loan back to us. Which with Rafa in charge would be …….interesting!

    • WorkingClassPost

      That article doesn’t seem too far off the mark.
      Fact is that those among us with IQ’s in double figures would prefer to do it like Chels than Arse.

      I have one big reservation:

      If Rafa gets the job and does it well, wins PL for example, will Roman still want rid of?

      Somewhere in all this craziness we’ve surely got to stick with someone, sometime, and build something for the future.

      Hang on. This is Chelsea FC, we’re talking about…

    • mark_25

      Excellent article which I agree with.

      The sacking would have happened anyway but because it’s comforting to have someone to blame I blame Torres.

      Needed more familiar service; buy Yossi Benayoun.

      Still not satisfied with the service; buy Mata for that bit of Spanish seasoning.

      Yet still not happy with the way we play; buy a bunch of performing midgets to fully implement tiki-taka.

      Now getting the service but not feeling loved; install Rafa.

      Presumably if Torres doesn’t score against Man City will be changing to a red kit for the Fulham game.

      If he fails against Fulham we’ll be substituting The Liquidator for You’ll Never Walk Alone.

  53. Cunningplan

    I thought i would celebrate my 1000 post by reporting back on what various Poo blogs are saying on our latest Spanish acquisition.

    1. They think he’s a treacherous rat for even considering taking a job with our scum club.
    2. We’re now going to cherry pick at least half of their first team come January.
    3. They’ve taken personal offence because the vast majority of our fans don’t want Rafa at the club.
    4. He’s now going to show RA how much better he is than Jose.
    5. We’re going to win the league and Torres the golden boot (the latter will probably upset a few on this blog) 😉
    6. And some actually are wishing him well.

    I dare say I shall continue my dirty work to see how their views develop over the coming months.
    I also would like to have this post liked, to get the posting/liked ratio a bit more respectable, there’s a beer in it for everyone. 🙂

    • WorkingClassPost

      That is about right for the Poo Brigade, once anyone has any connection with them, they become part of the istory and can never have a life without carrying that poxy millstone round their neck.

      Perhaps they should change their song to ‘You’ll never walk again (if we find out where you live)!”

      [Forgot to add congrats CP on your decadenary or whatever 1000 is called]

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