Monday, 24 December 2007

Xmas round up

Blackburn 0 - 1 Chelsea 23/12
A tough away trip to Blackburn on a freezing Sundy afternoon but we're back to winning ways in the league with Joe Cole finishing off a sweeping counter attack in the first-half to settle what always looked like a trickey fixture. Blackburn pressed hard for an equaliser but only really looked threatening once Cech was subsititued with a hip injury to be replaced by the cross-flapping Hilario. He did however pull off a superb save late on to deny Roque Santa Cruz and keep Chelsea in touch with the Arse and Mancs.

Chelsea 4 - 4 Aston Villa 26/12
An 8 goal thriller for the neutral but 2 home points dropped if you're a blues fan (even though its now 72 games unbeaten at home). In a woeful first half, where the Sheva / Pizzaro partnership was as ineffective as the Cole and Kalou wing play, Chelsea were already 2 down when Ballack (on for the injured Lampard) was pushed in the area in the 44th minute. Zat Knight was sent off and Sheva buried the resulting penalty giving hope for a better second half

Within 15mins of the second half it was 3-2 after a Sheva pile driver and a sweet finish from Alex (Sheva was having his best game - OK his best 20mins - to date) . But the drama was just beginning. Rickey C is rightly sent off for a 2 footed lunge on Agbonlahore and Villa came back into the game to score from a whipped in kree kick whilst our defence had a boxing day snooze - but there was evem more to come. On 88mins Joe Cole was felled in the "D" and Ballack curled in a low free kick for 4-3. Surely it was 3 points now but no - in the 91st minute a floated ball into the box once again caused panic in our makeshift defence and Ashley Cole was adjudged to have handled when heading off the line. He is sent off and, even though the replays are far from conclusive, that'll surely be a one match ban. Garreth Barry nets the resulting penalty and its 4-4.

More pantomime than football match and now the issue will be, with 9 first team players injured or suspended, who will AG put out on Saturday against Newcastle.

Chelsea - Newcastle 29/12
That we can put a reasonable(ish) side out at all is amazing with no Cech (or Carlo), Ash, JT, Carvalio, Maka, Lamps, Malouda, Sheva or Drogba. So its Hilario in goal - a back 4 of Belletti, Ben Haim, Alex and Bridge - Ess, Ballack (capt) and Jedi in the middle - with Kalou, Cole and SWP up front.
So its no surprise that Newcastle come out all guns blazing, looking for an early break. The home fans sing "stand up if you're not in jail" for the banged up Joey Barton and the Blues look to have weathered the early storm.

The first good chance of the half falls to Kalou on 18mins after a mazey run from SWP but its well saved by Given, and 2 mins later Jedi has a deflected shot equally well saved. Its all Chelsea now and Alex has a header from a Joe Cole free kick saved but a minute later we're ahead after Essien pounces on a loose ball in the Newcastle box. The lead should have been doubled on 44mins when a whipped cross from Cole is headed into the side netting by SWP but the half ends 1-0.

The 2nd half starts with Butt almost putting through his own net from outside the box but he makes amends within 10mins by bundling in an N'zogbia cross. Chelsea have a chance immediately to restore the lead but Kalou heads tamely at Given and Newcastle press again - its all got a bit frantic. Strangely, and to a chorus of boos, Pizarro comes on for Joe Cole on 65mins - Kalou goes out wide. But Newcastle are back in this game and we're struggling. Duff almost makes it two as first Rozenhal and the Owen comes on for Smith and Martins. There's only one side that look like wining this .... and its not us. Now AG really has us confused as he takes off Ballack and brings on Scott Scinclair. Sections of the the crowd chant "you don't know what you're doing" and they may be right. However with 2mins to go, a shot from Jedi is deflected by Pizarro into the path of Kalou who slots the ball home (... though he looks well offside in replay). Sidwell comes on for SWP as there's 4 added minutes but its not enough for Newcastle and the Blues scrape home to the news that Man U have lost to West Ham - Game On !!.

Friday, 21 December 2007

You better not pout, you better not cry

probably the best of the Xmas ditties

Have a great holiday everyone

Thursday, 20 December 2007

On to the Carling Semi's

Chelsea 2 - 0 Liverpool

Goals from Lamps and Sheva sealed a good win against the Scousers and passage into the Semi finals to play Everton - but the match will be mostly remembered for an absolute horror tackle from Peter crouch on the Jedi for which he was rightly shown a straight red. A two footed, off the ground, studs showing lunge that would not have bee out of place in a kung fu movie or Eric Cantona video. That Rafa Benitez could come on TV and claim that he thought Crouch had been provoked and that worse challenges go unpunished is as laughable as it is disgraceful. You can be sure that if it would have been the other way round, jedi wold have been vilified in the press for weeks to come.

Liverpool never looked threatening and in reality it was heading for a pretty comfortable 1-0 win for the Blues even before the sending off. Sheva sealed the tie with a late strike from acute angle after a pass by substitute Michael Ballack playing his first game for over 6months.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Arsenal 1 - 0 Chelsea

Off to the Emirates on the back of a 16 game unbeaten streak but expecting the worst - no Drogba, Carvallio, Essien or Malouda and Arsenal with almost all their first choice players back. So it was no real surprise to leave with our first defeat since February 2004. It was made even worse by loosing JT to a late challenge from Eboue - Tal Ben Haim coming on for the remaining hour of play.

Though the Gooners will never admit it, a draw would have been a more realistic result given the manner of their goal - a rare howler from Cech to let in William Gallas to head home unchallenged from a 47th minute corner - and the golden opportunity that SWP missed to equalise from six yards. Almunia also saved well from Lamps in the first half and pushed over a Sheva free-kick in injury time. Arsenal did have the ball in our net twice more but both were ruled out for offside and fouls respectively.

Six point off the leaders now and a disappointing day all round - lets hope JT's injury isn't as bad as it looked.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Chelsea 0 - 0 Valencia

A meaningless tie, set off by some pretty dull and meaningless football. Granted we had all the play and all the efforts of note, Canizares saved well from Lamps, Sheva (yes Sheva !!) and Pizarro. Joe Cole hit the post, while Salomon Kalou managed to hit the crossbar from only six yards out (a skill he seems to be perfecting - much to our anoyance).

Still, group winners at a canter .....and we weren't expecting that when JM left after Rosenborg.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Gary Moore (a very young and jazzy version)

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of Gary Moore. Of all the guitarists I've seen, his speed, versatility and technique just blows me away, not least because, unlike many modern players, he has such an original style. So I'm really indebted to a friend who sent me this youtube link

Its a very young Gary playing with Colosseum II (with Don Airey on Keyboards, Jon Heisman on drums and John Mole on Bass). This was where I first heard/discovered Gary Moore and the video is from a BBC "sight & sound in concert" broadcast. Its incredibly self indulgent jazz rock from the seventies - who ever gave Gary that stage gear should be shot - but his playing is a taster of what was to come.


Saturday, 8 December 2007

Chelsea 2 - 0 Sunderland

Home again to face Sunderland and three changes from the win against West Ham. Sheva comes in for Drogba (who'll be out for several weeks due to knee surgery), SWP replaces Sidwell to play in a 3 man midfield with Lamps and Jedi and Wayne Bridge makes way for Ashley Cole.

The opening 10mins is a relentless blue onslaught with 5 corners and Kalou hitting the crossbar. Both Sheva (coming too deep) and SWP (getting caught in possession) look out of sorts but its Sheva who settles first when on 20mins he gets on the end of a floated Kalou cross to head the blues ahead. Its 32mins before Carlo has to make a save and it comes from a scuffed Kenwyne Jones (their only real threat) shot. The half ends 1-0 and its almost too easy.

Second half begins with no changes, the continuing Blue torrent is matched by the now torrential rain. Its coming up to the hour and Sunderland are getting back into this game - loads of Blue possession but no cutting edge and the visitors are growing in confidence. Pizzaro comes on for Kalou on 66mins and that signals a change to 4-4-2 but Sheva's a passenger now and his touch is getting worse. SWP is still not doing enough in middfiled and keeps loosing the ball in dangerous midfiled possitions. We're gonna struggle without Drogs, maybe buying Anelka in the window is not such a daft idea.

On 73mins, and from a whipped in Lampard free kick, Alex is pulled back by Higginbotham and Lamps buries the resulting penalty 2- 0 and its all over now. Joe Cole goes off on 85mins to be replaced by Sidwell and its back to 4-3-3 with Pizarro on his own with Sheva and SWP on the left and right..... and that's how it finishes (despite Lamps hitting the post from a last minute drive).

Another home win, the unbeaten streak continues and no doubt we'll see a few kids (and maybe even Ballack) against Valencia on Tuesday night.

Come on u Blues.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Its been a busy (and successful) week ....

Rosenbourg 0 - 4 Chelsea

A superb away win and qualification as group winners, with Drogba effectivly killing the tie in the first 20mins with two superb goals. It was an hour before Rosenburg even got into the game and by then it was all over. Alex and Joe Cole chipped in with the other goals.

Chelsea 1 - 0 West Ham

a tough old London dery - a scrappy and bad tempered first half gave way to a much better and more fluid second half performance from the Mighty Blues and was ultimately settled by an excellent Joe Cole goal from a Drogba flick.
Not a classic by any stretch but 70 games unbeaten at home