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.

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