Saturday, 26 April 2008

No fat lady singing to today boys :-)

Chelsea 2 - 1 Man U

Part 2 of a huge 3 part week that started with a great Champions League 1st leg result at Anfield and now needs a great performance from the mighty Blues who bring Jedi and Ess in for Maka and Lamps, while Kalou replaces Malouda in the front 3. It's no surprise that United rest Ronaldo and Tevez though they're on the bench.

Chelsea start brilliantly with Ess completely bossing the middle of the park and Joe Cole running riot. Ess has two great opportunities before Joe crashes a scruffy chance against the post. Its all Chelsea but there's still no end product. Ess again plays in Joe Cole but the angle is too tight and Joe smacks a shot into the side netting - all this possession and drive deserves a goal.... and it gets on in the 42min when Drogs brilliantly holds up play on the edge of the box and drops an inch perfect cross into the box which is headed home by an unmarked Ballack. All the players unfurl a number eight shirt with "Pat Lampard RIP" on it - nice touch and condolences to Frank Jnr, Snr and the Lampard family. Its probably as good an opening 45mins as we've had all season. As good today as we were bad against Wigan. Now the challenge is to press on in the same way in the 2nd half.

Chelsea go off in exactly the same fashion in the 2nd half but this time Man U respond - lots of possession for them but not much in the way of clear chances until disaster strikes. Ferreira rolls a free kick to Ricky midway in the Chelsea half and under no real pressure he lets the ball get caught under his feet and then, in trying to find JT, rolls the pass back to Rooney who drives into the box and finishes low across Cech.

An hour gone and were looking knackered so its worrying that off goes Rooney and on comes Ronaldo. Still we press on and with 15mins to go AG makes the change to 4-4-2. Off goes Ferreira and on comes Anelka with Ess switching to right-back. Nani brings down JT on the edge of the box and it suddenly starts descending into farce as Ballack and Drogs start pushing and shoving each other over who's taking the kick. Brogs finnaly wins out and van der Sar pulls off a great save. 10mins left and on comes Sheva and its back to 4-3-3 with Kalou coming off but 2mins later its a penalty !! Carrick sticks out an arm to block a cross from Ess and up steps Ballack to bury the penalty. 3mins to go and Maka comes on for Joe Cole yet there's still time for Sheva to clear off the line from a Darren Fletcher's header. But that;s the last of it - two goals from Ballack, 81 games unbeaten at the bridge in the Premier League and we're still in the title race.

Now for the small matter of Liverpool - Come on you Blues !!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Liverpool 1 - 1 Chelsea

Up to Anfield for a 1st Leg for a change and surprisingly AG pick Malouda ahead of Kalou. No Ess today so Ferreira starts on the left but Lamps and Drogs are back in a strong line up.

We have loads of early possession but our penetration and delivery in the last 3rd is woeful. Joe wastes our best chance when clear through in the box but seems to not know how much time he has and the ball is gone. Surely a penalty !! Drogs goes down under a clumsy Carragher challenges and up our end, Cech saves well from a Torres effort. Then just as we look like seeing out a difficult half, Alonso's quick free-kick bounces around the box only for Kuyte to scuff the ball past Cech.

Liverpool start much then better in the second half and the tie could have been over before AG introduces Kalou for the subdued Joe Cole. The response is immediate as first a Ballack header from a Lamps free kick is well saved by Reina and then Mascherano dives in to block Malouda after Lamps had carved open the Liverpool defence. Its all Chlesea but with 6mins to go Cech is called on to make stunning saves, first from a Gerrard and then Torres. But there was still one last twist as deep into injury time Kalou sends our first decent cross into the Liverpool box only for Riise to head into his own net at the Kop end.

Oh how we laughed. It's nice to be on the right side of a Mersey Migging for a change - Come on U Blues

Friday, 18 April 2008

Where there's hope ...

Everton 0 - 1 Chelsea

A vital away win at Goodison that keeps the title race alive for another week but depite the Blues dominance, it was another unconvincing performance. Brilliant in patches but the play in the final 1/3 and particularly the final ball / cross was woeful - whether it came for Ferreria, Cole, SWP or whoever.

Still no Drogs or Lamps and now Ballack is out with a hamstring problem however there were stand out performances from Essien (goal scorer) and Carvalio (just immense in every department)

Read the BBC report here

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Monday, 14 April 2008

Its over .... bar the shouting

Chelsea 1 - 1 Wigan

There's a reason why a match lasts 90 mins (...and change) - its because to win, you normally have to play for 90mins (and change).

The first half of tonights game was the worst, dullest, most lifeless and soul destroying 45mins I've seen in a long time. A game that demanded urgency and an early strike (or two) to settle the nerves had nothing of the sort. Anelka (starting ahead of drogba) should have scored at least once from two headed chances - one free header from 6yards out and another looping effort that was denied by an athletic save from Chris kirkland - but aside from that the first half was woeful. Kalou and Malouda (awful) started up alongside Anelka and Alex and Bridge came in for Cole and Carvallio. Lamps left during the warm up (due to personal reasons) so the mid three were Jedi, Ballack and Ess. Zorro (as CechWigan .... but not so.

The second half changed dramatically with the introduction of Joe Cole replacing the hapless Malouda and he could have scored twice inside the first 5 mins. JT vollied against the crossbar and then Kirkland brilliantly saved from Kalou shot before Ess drove home from an Anelka lay back on 55 minutes. It should have been all over as the chances kept coming. Alex, Ballack and Joe Cole all missed good chances - Alex bring another great save from Kirkland - and yous started to get the sense that things were not going to end well for the Blues as Wigan kept pressing. Sheva had been warming up for the last 15mins at least before, with 92 mins on the clock, Heskey vollied home a Koumas's cross to leave our tiltle hopes in tatters. To make matters worse, AG brought Sheva on with 30 seconds of the added 3mins to go - if he'd have done that even 3 minutes earlier it might have disrupted Wigans flow - complete nightmare !!

Now a win at Everton, on Thursday is essential and Man U(re) need to slip up big style .... an in reality, playing like this (for 45mins at a time) we don't even deserve to be second.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Chelsea 2 - 0 Fenerbache

A nervy night at the Bridge as the Blues looked to turn around a 1-2 deficit. No Cech but a full strength side with Ess at right back and Drogs up front with Cole and Kalou.

A good start was essential and that's what we got, when with only 4mis gone, Joe Cole swung in a free kick and Ballack flicked a deft header into the far corner. Kalou and Cole were ripping up the flanks and it all looked on for a big night however once again we took our foot off the gas and allowed the Turks back into the tie. Things went from bad to worse when Carlo limped off with what looked like a hamstring pull only to be replaced by the less than inspiring Hilario. Drogs kept shooting from way out when a pass was a better choice and things were looking grim.

It was no better in the second half as the Turks sensed an upset and brought on Kezman to bolster their attack..... and they wen damn close first through their other sub Ugur and then Kazim-Richards who both forced Hilario into good saves. Ess was booked for fisting the ball away which meant he'd miss the 1st leg of the semi final (if we ever got there) but he made amends with 3mins to go by getting to the byeline, cutting back into the box and then crossing for Lamps to tap in the clincher.

Job done, not particularly well and only 38,000 in the crowd. It will need to be better in every department (inc the crowd) if we're to get past the Scousers.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Man City 0 - 2 Chelsea

Up to Manchester with 6 changes - Belletti and Alex at the back, Ess back into midfield to partner the Jedi with SWP, Anelka and Kalou up top. What initially looked like a tricky away test wasn't... but it still took another own goal to get things started - on 6mins the hapless Richard Dunne deflected Anelka's cross (intended for Ess) into his own. Anelka almost had a real goal 2mins later only to be stopped by a last ditch tackle by Nedum Onuoha. City came back into it and had a few chances from Petrov, Johnson and Ireland - one clkeared off the line by Ash - but we still looked dangerous on the break and only another superb Onuoha tackle stopped Anelka making it 2 - 0. That scoreline appeared early in the second half when on 52mins a pass from Ess was deflected into the path of Kalou who duly dispatched the second. It could have been more, Kalou and Anelka both drew good saves from Hart. And that was that - all over bar the shouting and thoughts inevitably turned to Tuesday and the (not so small) matter of dispatching Fenerbache - COME ON U BLUES !!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Mugged in Istanbull

Fenerbache 2 - 1 Chelsea
......... mugged in terms of playing like mugs to let what was a comfortable, albeit fortunately achieved, 1-0 (.... that should have been 4-0) turn into a poor 1 - 2 defeat.

Chelsea started as they did against Arsenal with Ess in the problem right back position and a middle 3 of Ballack, Maka and Lamps. Only in inclusion of Malouda in place of Kalou raised any eyebrows however it was a wicked deflection from a driven Malouda cross that putthe Blues ahead. Drogba and Ballack were both guilty of not putting the tie to bed when they squandered gilt edged chances - Ballack even had a chance to stem the mounting Fenebache tide soon after the equalizer but he shot tamely at the Fenebache keeper. The tie was won with a stunning 30 yard strike from Deivid and, if you had to loose, this was the kind of shot you'd take your hat off to - Carlo had no chance.

Read the BBC report here

It sets up a tricky return leg at the Bridge and signals some ominous clouds to start gathering around AG.