Premiership review: Charlton Athletic 0 – 1 Chelsea (includes video)

Match reports

The Observer, Stuart Barnes: “What looked like a stroll when Frank Lampard struck in familiar fashion proved anything but for Chelsea. Before and after Lampard’s 18th-minute goal, they were in control of virtually every situation. But their failure to deliver a clinching second goal offered Charlton the incentive to regroup, redouble their efforts and ultimately go close to drawing level.”

Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “Once Frank Lampard scored his 17th goal of the season after 19 minutes they seemed likely to cruise it, but failed to maintain their domination in the second half, when Charlton’s new spirit under Alan Pardew might conceivably have brought them another invaluable point. Jose Mourinho, never one to put style above substance in his teams, was merely happy to take the points and get on the bus, though not before praising the fighting qualities some of his squad have often lacked.”

Sunday Times, Rob Hughes: “If doing just enough to monopolise all the points is an art, then Chelsea are masters of it. One bolt from the boot of Frank Lampard, surrounded by efficiency and effective toil, was sufficient to keep Chelsea in the slipstream of Manchester United, and to keep Charlton buried in the foothills of Premiership survival. This match, at least until Shaun Wright-Phillips came on to provide some exuberance and soul, carried the label: men at work.”

Sunday Telegraph, Roy Collins: “The late Brian Clough used to say that his Nottingham Forest and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton was worth a dozen points a season, a sentiment that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho would no doubt echo about Petr Cech. And Cech produced a couple of outstanding saves here that did more than preserve three points; they kept Chelsea’s whole Premiership title bid afloat.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Neil Barnett: “As the final whistle went the Chelsea choir was singing the name of Riccy Carvalho, deserved recognition for his performances in the absence of Terry.”

The goal

The good

  1. Petr Cech. Despite commanding large parts of the game, we could have ended up dropping two or more points if it weren’t for Cech’s brilliance in goal.
  2. Wayne Bridge. Ashley Cole’s long-term absence will give Bridge a much deserved run in the side, and he proved in this game just why many fans consider him a better left-back than Cole, particularly going forward.
  3. Frank Lampard. In the words of Jose Mourinho: “Unique… fantastic… fabulous.”
  4. The return of John Terry. Enough said.

The bad

  1. It was disappointing we couldn’t put the game beyond Charlton with another goal or two. Some credit must go to the Addicks who have looked more like a Premiership side in the last couple of weeks. On the evidence of this game, they have a much better chance of staying in the top flight than West Ham.
  2. Lassana Diarra. Not his play – he put in another encouraging performance out of position at right-back – but his tendency to give away stupid free kicks, a la the Claude Makelele of old. It is bound to cost us at some point in future games.

Man of the Match

Wayne Bridge.

Final thoughts

We gained two points on both Liverpool and Arsenal, and moved to within three of Manchester United. It wasn’t as easy as many fans and pundits predicted it would be, but these games against teams fighting for their Premiership survival rarely are.

Again we must rely on one of the teams from the north of town to do us a massive favour: Arsenal helped us out a fortnight ago, now can Tottenham do the same? The old adage says that you should never rely on Spurs. But, if they play like they did against us back in November, they have a chance.

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