Saturday, 27 October 2007

Chelsea 6 - Manchester City 0

Back to the premiership after Wednesdays lack luster win and once again SWP doesn't even make the bench. Still no Terry or Ashley Cole. Florent Malouda makes way for Kalou and Belletti starts on the left with Ferreira on the left. "The Jedi" comes in for Maka.

The Blues get off to a flyer but the first real chance goes to City when Stephen Ireland get in behind but his header drifs wide but the panic is short lived as, on 15mins, Lamps and Essien link up on the edge of the City box before Ess buries the opening goal. 1-0 to the Blues !! City come back looking for a quick reply and Petrov goes close again with a free kick but almost on the half hour its 2-0. Lamps picks out Drogba with a wonderful pass and Drogs fires in low beyond Joe Hart in the City goal. That's how the half end s and The Blues are cruising

Second half is away and with 10 minutes its 3-0 as the City keeper can only parry a strike from Super Frank and Didier Drogba is on hand to drive a shot back through the goalkeeper's legs. Despite his comments, you cant question his commitment. Its flowing football with a blue swagger and within 2mins its 4-0 as Drogba heads on to Joe Cole who dances past the city defence and slots the ball home. I cant recall us pushing on like this since the first few months of Jose's reign but this is tremendous stiff. City are really poor and on the Half hour, Essien puts Kalou through for number five - yes 5-0. Droggs goes off to a standing ovation to make way for Pizzaro as we look for six. Sheva comes on for Joe Cole to test his "10 minute legs" and makes it six with 2 minutes to go connecting with another great ball by Essien.

And so it end Chelsea 6 Man City 0 and the mighty Blues are back

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Chelsea 2 Schalker 0

..... But the score doesn't tell the full story and, truth be told, if the Schalker front line had a bit more luck (and could hit a cows ar*e with a banjo !!) the result could have been very different.

It all started so well. On 4mins Malouda broke down the left, cut into the box and drilled a lame effort straight at the keeper who fortunately let it slip though his legs. 1-0 and here comes the 'sexy football'. Well not really. Not if 20 square passes that never came near the opposition box counts as sexy football. To be fair, there was the odd flick from Drogba and Lamps but it never really had a cutting edge. Malouda kept coming inside way too often, Joe Cole and Essien looked pedestrian and the only bright spark was the return of Wayne Bridge and his marauding runs. So no surprise that the half ends without any more goals

Second half, no changes and it looks like its over as a contest within 2mins.. Ferreira crosses the half way line (almost gets a nose bleed being so unfamiliar with being this high up the pitch) and after what seems like an eternity, he finally crosses to where Drogba has been frantically pointing and his glancing header makes it 2-0. Surely now we'll get the sexy football - i mean AG is up on his feet and out if the dugout. But no, same old same as. Schalker huff and puff and miss sitters (they also have what looks like a good goal ruled out for offside) whilst the Blues press but with no real penetration. As the half draws to a close, Alex drags back one of their strikers on the edge of the box but miraculously the ref waves play on and the game peters out.

AG will say its early days and that the result is thats important whilst the attractive footie is developed. True enough, but it was merge fare for an almost full Stamford Bridge. Lets hope for better things on Saturday against City.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Police at Wembley - 20th October 2007

The Police's final concert of their European tour and I was lucky enough to be there. Some late comers - presumably those who'd been glued to a pub TV in the vain hope that they might see England win the rugby world cup - in a final against South Africa - really ?? - missed the excellent support band- Fiction Plane. A cross between U2 and The Police themselves they were fronted by a tall bass playing vocalist who resembled Sting in many ways. No surprise then to find that Fiction Plane are fronted by one Joe Sumner, son of Gordon Sumner. Must have been fun negotiating that support slot - nepotism rules OK.

It was a crowd full of people of a 'certain age' - me included - but we were treated to a blistering 'greatest hits and more' show with Sting, Andy and Stuart belting through their back catalog with remarkable aplomb. Message in a Bottle, Walking on the Moon, Don't Stand So Close, Every Little Thing, and I Can't Stand Losing You had everyone on their feet. The lights went red to set the scene for a great version of Roxanne and tee-up the two encores which featured 'King of Pain, So Lonely, a roof lifting version of Every Breath you Take and finally the rocking Next to You.

Stings vocals, given that the previous date had to be cancelled due to throat problems, were assured and majestic as ever and, though he's showing his years a little more than the rest, Andy Summers can still cut a jazzy lick or three. Stuart was just Stuart - switching his drum styles in an instant and loosing more sticks in a set than most drummers use in a lifetime, he kicked out tight reggae and rock beats that drove the band forward.

One of the London free papers noted in review that "... considering the band was only together for six years 20 years ago, they produced some of the most peerless pop songs in the world" ; hard to argue with that.

Full Set List
Message in a Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
Truth Hits Everybody
Hole In My Life
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You

King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Boro 0 - 2 Chelsea

Back from the disappointments of the international break and Chelsea start with Alex in for Terry and Ferreira in for Ashley Cole. Drogba starts upfront despite his “regretful” (but interestingly not withdrawn) comments from earlier in the week and Mikel is back from suspension. SWP and Sheva are on the bench.

It’s a bright start for the Blues with Drogba and Lampard linking up well in the first few minutes. Mido is playing upfront on his own for the Boro and for a home team they show little ambition so its no surprise then that we’re ahead on 8 minutes and with almost dramatic irony its Drogba who slots the ball home. It looks like he wants to prove a point on his 150th appearance and its all Chelsea. A Mido header on 20 mins seems to galvanise Boro and suddenly its all falling for the home side and Chelsea seem to be losing their grip. Fortunately, they are pretty wasteful and Chelsea end the half the stronger of the two sides but they took their foot off the gas and need to do more in the second half.

Chelsea start unchanged but its Boro who look brighter and Mido tests Cech with a strong header, however with 56 minutes gone Chelsea get a free kick quite a way out. It looks way too far but Alex steps up and almost breaks the net with an absolute rocket - two nill Chelsea. Maybe its a sign of the Grant era but the Blues are not sitting back and go looking for a third as space opens up while Boro chase to get back into the game. SWP comes on for Malouda with 15 mins to go only to be followed by Sidwell for Essien and Sheva for Drogba - Chelsea are cruising and it ends 2-0, its Boro so "we always win 2-0". Now on to Wednesday and Shalker in the Champions League

Come on you BLUES !!!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Bolton 0- 1 Chelsea

Up to the Reebok today after that epic performance on Wednesday and its another strange 4-3-3 formation with no Mikel or Drogs (suspended), Essien is out with a claft injury and neither of the obvious front 2 starting (Pizarro and Sheva both on the bench). On the positive side, Lamps starts so its a front 3 of Cole, Kalou and Malouda with a midfield of Makka, Lamps and Sidwell.

After an early Blue flurry in which Kalou goes close with a header, Bolton get into their stride and its another pretty frantic first 20mins, though initially the ref seems strangely obsessed with doing his school master impressions - excessive verbals and figer wagging to both Ashley Cole and then JT for doing nothing obvious. Joe Cole is looking very lively and getting kicked up in the air - first by Diouf and then Campo for his troubles. On 21mins Kalou puts Malouda through for a great chance which until skys over Jaaskalinens' crossbar. Chelsea are playing with plenty of pace and width with Ashley Cole, Malouda and Kalou linking up really well. The problem with this more flowing style though is that the three in midfield always look a bit vulnerable and a better team that Bolton would drive straight through (Bolton just want to go over them). On 29mins Diouf sets up Campo for a strike from the edge of the box and Cech makes his first (and very good) save. Its then end to end stuff for the final 15mins of the half as first Anelka (one on one with Cech) and the Kalou both go close, then on 40mins, and at the end of a straight forward route-one attack, Kalou slots home to put Chelsea ahead.

Second half sees Pizzaro on for Kalou but within seconds Cech has to save from Diouf as Bolton look for a quick response. It's pretty dire stuff from then on, with a Joe Cole screamer and an assault by Davies on Ashley Cole being the the only highlights (?).... but hang on its the 72nd minute and Sheva comes on for Malouda - the Bolton fans sing "wot a waste of money" and we wonder if his legs even have 20mins in them !! Sidwell gives away a stupid handball on the edge of the box trying to chest the ball away - he's tried that too often - but fortunately Anelka plants one in the top row. Ferreria comes on for Joe Cole (who's looking knackered) in the 83rd minute and Bolton through on Stelios for one last push but its Belletti who's checked on the edge of the box for a Chelsea free kick. Lamps does slightly better than Anelka but its still well wide and Chelsea hold on for a good away win and a well earned 3 points.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Valencia 1 - 2 Chelsea

Wow - a night at the Mestalla that few including me would have predicted.... and in truth the omens were not good as we got off to a dreadful start. Valencia were always going to fly out of the blocks at home but even with the return of the Ess Express and a more familiar 4-3-3 we still looked shaky and over anxious. So it was no surprise when, after almost going behind a few moments earlier, an unfortunate period of pinball resulted in the ball running for David Vila and we were one down. In truth, it could have been more but as the confidence grew, so did the effort and performance and a lovely passage of play involving Drogs and Malouda resulted in a Joe Cole tap in and it was 1-1. Game on and Valencia piled forward but that's how the half ended.

Second half and Valencia came out looking a bit subdued, almost as if 1-1- would do them and we started to boss the play, plenty of good controlled possession - something we've failed to do in the league to date. JT was a giant at the back (as usual) and as we approached the last quarter of the half a beautiful Chelsea counter, stunning outside of the foot pass by Joe Cole and Drogs muscles past the last defender to drive us 2-1 in front.

It was a nervy last 15mins, but you sensed that Valencia weren't gong to get through. Bodies thrown across shots, plenty of saving tackles and Rickey almost growing a second head (go see the video to be amazed at the size of the lump that came up after a clash in their 6 yard box). A slight downer - someone must really teach Kalou how to finish and how to hold up play. Twice he needlessly gave away possession when we needed a breather and worse that that he put a reasonably simple chance to go 3 - 1 up, and bury the game, over the bar.

Still no Sheva (good) loads of spirit (great) towering performances (JT - bl**dy hero, Drogs, Ess), a highly animated owner(nice to see) and a wonderful result.