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 !!.

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