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.