Saturday, 29 September 2007

Chelsea 0 - 0 Fulham

First game at home since the special one was moved on and the atmosphere is surprisingly positive. Drogba starts which is a major (good) surprise but there's no Essien or SWP due to injury.

The opening 15mins echos the positive tone with lots of movement but sadly very few clear cut chances. The problem is that there's no end product. Sheva still looks way off the pace and Drogba is clearly not match fit. Kalou is our best player and is the main supply line for the few early chances. By the way, what is it about us and set pieces; free kicks from distance look like a pantomime farce and corners rarely beat the first man. It gets a bit better for the last 10 minutes but the half ends with Keller not having made a save. Lots of effort, lots of mistakes and not much quality. I wonder what Grant is like with half time hair dryers because we need more quality in the second half.

Second half starts with Alex on for Terry (hurt early in the first half) and gets worse when Kalou has a certain goal miraculously saved by Keller in the first minute. Things peter out after that initial flurry of excitement and on 54mins Grant at least shows he's not afraid to do the right thing (or afraid of big Roman) as he drags off the hapless Sheva and sends on Pizzaro. Kalhou misses again with a free header on the hour and its starting to look like its not going to be our day. I can't recall so many wasted set pieces of passages of clear possession.

Last quarter and Fulham are feeling confident. They throw on two forwards - Kamera and Bouazza as Drogba is sent off for a crazy high challenge that results in a second bookable offence. Two reds in two league games and now the home record is in seriously doubt. In response, Malouda comes on for Ashley Cole as Chelsea go to 3 at the back. Avram Grant clearly wants the win - brave or reckless - you decide. However, its Fulham that have the best of the remaining time and have two clear chances on 90 minutes to take all three points but the Blues hold out for a draw.

The home record is intact but the boo's ring out at Stamford Bridge and no one can feel confident about a trip to Valencia.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

One step at a time

Hull 0 - Chelsea 4

Many will say it was only Hull City but it was a banana skin waiting to be slipped up on and one that the pre Jose Blues might well have struggled with. So it was nice to see the post Jose Blues dispatch Hull and knock in a few goals to boot.

It wasn't the most flowing performance and not the the sexy football that Roman seems to be after but a good team performance and with some notable individuals - Scott Sinclair's first goal for the senior team stands out amongst them all.
A nice post match touch from Avram Grant when asked why Roman wasn't at the game .... "when he's here you say he picks the team and when not here - you ask why; I think he missed a very good game" .... all delivered with a rare smile.
Onwards now to a tricky home derby against Fulham and an unerring sense that maybe our invincible home record might be in doubt - I hope not.
Come on you blues

Monday, 24 September 2007

Some things never change - just the faces and the names

... between love & hate; respect & pity

Man Utd 2 - Chelsea 0

The result was almost irrelevant, though 11 against 11 and a decent bit of time keeping might have at least made it a contest. What was needed was a display and by and large we got one. We were never going to just roll over and there were some positives from the game however what is clear is that the post Jose era is going to be tough on Avram Grant who already has the demeanour of 'dead man walkin'.

It actually doesn't matter that the personnel in the Chelsea dressing room haven't changed. At this level its all about mentality and Jose had the winning mentality. Sure he was arrogant and his comments were often poorly chosen but things were black and white - you either loved him (and us) or hated him (and us). The football was not THAT dull - to a fan, winning is never dull - but the style question became a stick to whip us with.

Winning ultimately breeds respect, even if it doesn't come in the short term. Could Arsenal really be where they are now if it wasn't for the "1-0 to the Arsenal" days of George Graham and co ?. Would people respect Man U if they hadn't won so many premier league titles ?

We have sacked a winner and as fans are now the object of pity in many quarters. I heard Henry Winter saying that he felt sorry for Chelsea fans who had got used to "visiting great stadia and picking up trophies over the last 4 years".

I / We don't want anyones pity. I want my Chelsea back.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Say it aint so Jo-se, say it aint so...

The ability for my beloved blues to implode never ceases to amaze me. OK so we were rubbish on Tuesday and haven't had the best start to the season but in the last 3 years ...

Back to back Premiership Champions
Runners up last year
FA cup winners
League Cup twice
Champions league semi finals twice

.... hardly sacking material but make no bones about it this was not "mutual consent", this was "last straw" time from great uncle Roman and he sacked the most successful manager we've had in the last 50 years.

Jose was not to everyone's taste but I thought he was great for Chelsea and great for the Premiership. It will be dull without him.

Many thanks Jose, not just for the success but for ALL the memories

Updated 21/09 - if you want more then read Jonahthan Dyers great tribute over at

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Chelsea v Blackburn

Home again after the international break and Chelsea start without Drogba or Lamps and have the unfamiliar midfield pairing of Sidwell and Essien. Sheva starts upfront with Kalou and England’s wide boys of SWP and Joe Cole complete the attacking options.

It’s a scrappy first 20mins with nothing to write home about unless Sheva heading over from 15 yards on 15 minutes gets you going. It’s a full 25mins before Essien tests Freidel with a wonderful swerving drive and Sheva is wasteful again, this time from a one on one with the keeper. Chelsea close the half a little more brightly with Joe Cole coming close from an SWP corner but overall it’s a disappointing half with only Essien and Belletti coming away with any credit. It looks like there’s plenty for Jose to rip into during the break.

An unchanged Chelsea attack the Mathew Harding in the 2nd half and a chance falls to Sheva within 5 mins which is well blocked, apart from this it looks like more of the same. It takes JT charging out of defence to create the first real excitement. Just about an hour gone and Malouda and Obi the Jedi come on for Sidwell (very poor) and SWP (looking tired). Within a minute, Belletti and Joe Cole combine to send Kalou through and the ball’s in the net ..... only to be ruled offside – Clarke and Mourinho are furious as it looks well onside. Sheva looks way off the pace, he’s not got much service but equally he’s not grafting for it either, however Chelsea are controlling possession.
Last 15 minutes and Blackburn are starting to push on and stretch Chelsea. Chec saves brilliantly from Savage after a Malouda mistake. At the other end, Kalou and Sheva link up well but Kalou’s shot shaves the post as it skips wide. It’s all end to end now as the Blues push on for a winner – its times like this that you really miss Lamps and Drogs. Five mins to go and Sheva finally does something useful and gets a good far post header on target but it’s saved by Friedel. Christopher Samba takes a kick to the head on the way down from his challenge on Sheva and play stops for what looks like a serious head injury. Chelsea throw everything but the kitchen sink at Blackburn for the remaining minutes, playing 3 at the back and Terry as a centre forward, but Blackburn hold on to take a share of the points.

Once again, Chelsea are short changed from a game they have dominated. All the talk will be about the offside that never was but ultimately we’re not looking anything like the team of the last few seasons.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Prince at O2 (6th Sept 2007)

The little purple one returned to the O2 for his last set of shows at the venue and I was lucky enough to be there. Its my first Prince show since seeing him back in the eighties (when Jacko was disappointing 'em all at Wembley Stadium, I was enthralled by the little man at the Arena) and I have to admit I was quite excited – despite the patchy reviews. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

From the opening medley, that lasted for some 25mins – who can manage that !! - it was clear that this is a guy who just lives for the performance. Some call him arrogant, self obsessed or just down right strange but no-one can deny this mans talent. Whether he was dancing, singing, soloing on his symbol shaped guitar or just sat paying solo at the piano you couldn't’t take your eyes off him. His pre gig video had his bands saying that he could and does play all their instruments and you get the idea that he probably can play them as well or better than any of them. He is the ultimate showman and works an audience with consummate ease. Let’s go crazy sets a blistering pace, Little red corvette is delivered as a piano solo and Purple Rain takes the roof off. Prince tells us the “dis is mahhhh house” and frankly we believed him.

It all got me thinking, particularly in the light of the recent “controversy” about giving away his album in the Mail on Sunday, about the measure of talent and value. Some people had complained about the length of the Prince set. He played with no support and the show itself was well under two hours – less if you deduct the encore gaps. However this misses the point. Seeing Prince live is a rare event and frankly I'd rather see 100mins of pure genius than 3 hours of padded out dross. JP Rangaswami posts on the subject of the
because effect in this context and rightly observers that ".... the point is that Prince understands how he makes money, what’s scarce and what’s abundant about it. Digital downloads are abundant. Concert appearances are scarce. He makes money because of his CDs and not with them". This is spot on. Seeing Prince is a rare event, one that I was fortunate to be at and one that I hugely enjoyed.

I'm off to see The Police in a few weeks - a gig that will no doubt further underscore my views on abundance, scarcity, talent .... and probably the because effect.

Monday, 3 September 2007

My favourite sketch (.... possibly ever)

Young Rick .... on theatre

Lots of huff and puff

Aston Villa 2 - Chelsea 0

....... well you have to say it was coming. A really poor display against Portsmouth last weekend and a lucky penalty at Liverpool - frankly the mighty blues don't look that mighty at present and we need to work out how to play for more than just 30 minutes a half. Our once solid defence looks shaky to anything thrown in high and we can't carry on giving teams a one goal start - as was shown yesterday.
Sure in the first half there was plenty of movement, again Malouda looked good as did SWP (just wish his end product was better), but it was just lots of huff and puff before the sucker punch.
Lets hope that the week off gives Jose a chance to work on things