Premiership review: Manchester City 0 – 1 Chelsea

Match reports

The Guardian, Daniel Taylor: “Manchester City’s season is beginning to resemble a plunge through football’s lift shaft. Chelsea are merciless opponents and a night of significance at either end of the table concluded with Manchester United’s lead at the top of the Premiership table reduced to six points and, simultaneously, fresh doubts about whether Stuart Pearce’s position as City manager has been terminally poisoned.”

Daily Telegraph, Tim Rich: “Having berated Manchester United for their ability to win matches when playing badly, the Chelsea manager watched his own players do much the same. Grinding results out is the polite way to describe it.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “Was it a penalty? It was the tightest of calls but Kalou seemed to be falling before Richards made any real contact and dragged his feet into the ground to help his stumble. That the ball was gone by the time Richards made contact did not help his case. Lampard stroked the ball assertively past Andreas Isaksson for his 11th Premiership goal of the season.”

The Times, Oliver Kay: “Lampard’s goals have been invaluable in keeping Chelsea alive in the title race, but this was a result that was founded on the combative defending of Ricardo Carvalho and John Terry, making a successful return from injury, and the controlling presence of Claude Makelele in midfield. That, with Petr Cech largely untested behind them, suggests a Chelsea that might now return to maximum efficiency, but while there is much to be admired in a team that can win matches without even approaching top gear, it is doubtful whether this result will have sent too many shockwaves across Manchester to Old Trafford.”

Official Chelsea FC Website, Neil Barnett: “The whistle went with no great shocks to the system having happened all night. The quadruple remains a possibility.”

The good

  1. Well, another three points and I managed to get to the end of the game without slashing my wrists or worse still, turning over to watch Spurs.
  2. The gap is as it was before the Carling Cup final. I’m really clutching at straws here, I’m afraid.
  3. Ricardo Carvalho. A shining light in the midst of an awful lot of mediocrity on both sides.
  4. The bottle of St. Emilion that I opened. The game would have been even worse without it.
  5. And we’re still second, I suppose.

The bad

  1. It was just an intolerably bad game of football; not even worthy of a meaningless Championship clash, let alone the business end of the Premiership.
  2. The players. Bar the odd rare moment of coherence, I’ve not seen a bunch of 11 players in blue look so unfamiliar with each other for a long time. They look even less connected than Roman and the former Mrs. Abramovich.
  3. Citeh. We were bad, but I thank the almighty and whoever else is listening that I don’t have to watch that every week. Stuart Pearce may be a legend, but to think that he was recently mentioned as a potential England manager is plain embarrassing. Passion and shouting does not a decent manager make.

Player ratings

6 out of 10 for the lot, bar Carvalho who edges to 7. And maybe Makelele who, whilst not at his imperious best, didn’t do badly tonight. If that is grossly unkind on anyone, I’d be pleased to hear it.

Man of the Match


Final thoughts

This team is running on empty at present; all credit to them for hanging in there but the whole thing looks tired, devoid of ideas and a shadow of the team we’ve generally seen over the last two seasons. Trading wins with United is just about keeping it interesting as they cope with a few injuries; who will slip first?

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