Saturday, 7 March 2009

Coventry 0- 2 Chelsea FA cup 1/4 final

Up to the Ricoh arena for an FA cup quarter final that Guss is taking very seriously despite the away tie with Juve on Tuesday night. Its a full strength side with Anelka and Deco still injured so the front 3 are the Drog with Maoluda and Kalou on either flank. The big news thogh is that Ricky and Ess return to the bench.

Its a bright start from the Blues and within the first 6mins a hoof up field from Cech sets Drogba through on goal but he scuffs his shot wide and then Ballack scoops a shot over the bar after some nice work from Kalou. Its all Chelsea and the reward comes on 15mins when a mistake by Scott Dann lets in the Drog who looks to have taken the ball too wide before he drills the ball home for 0-1. Coventry are really being stretched as Bozzy and Kalou combine well on the right but they are not lying down and are fighting for every ball. On 28mins Alex gives away a needless free kick which thankfully is struck high and wide - Heads up Chelsea !! Malouda is having another invisible game and when he is finally seen, he sky's the ball to waste some good possession. With 35mins gone, Westwood makes a fine save from a dipping and swerving LAmps free kick and in the last minute of the half, first Drogba and then Kalou shoot wide from the edge of the box.

Queresma is on for Kalou in the second half, presumably with Juve in mind as Malouda would have been the obvious choice to be replaced. Lots of possession in the opening 10mins but not much penetration and Coventry are coming back into this game. However a huge roar goes up on 62mins as Essien gets ready to make an appearance. he replaces the Jedi though frankly we all wanted to see the back of the ineffectual Ballack but .... Om 72 mins a hign ball into the Chelsea box results in a clash of heads between Alex and the Drog. Both go off as we defend a long throw with 9 men however from the clearance Quersma breaks forward in a lightening counter attack and finds Alex with a perfect cross and he side foots home - that's 0-2 and game over but 5mins later another quick break, this time from Malouda (yes he can do quick occasionally) releases Lamps but his shot is well saved by Westwood. Drogba makes way for Di Santo in the last few mins but it ends 0 - 2 and the Blues are on their way to a Wembley semi final.

Now the small matter of Juve on Tuesday - Come on U Blues !!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Chelsea 2 - 1 Wigan

Down to earth with a bump after the Juventus game as we face Wigan at home. Mancienne comes in at right back for the suspended Bozzy but otherwise its Wednesdays team.

Its a really slow start from the Blues in a disappointing opening 15mins. The first clear chance of the game goes to Wigan as Scharner breaks free between Alex and Ash but his shot is screwed wide across Cech. Not good from the blues - we're clearly suffering from the midweek exertions. With 20mins on the clock Ash clears a Bramble header off the line and then JT blocks the follow up. Its all Wigan at the moment and Guss is rightly fuming. Finally a decent attacking spell when fisrt Drogba drives wide and from the resulting corner, Mikel tests Kirkland with a stinging volley from the edge of the box. That's got us going and on 25mins a lovely exchange of passes finds Lamps clear in the box, his cross is headed clear but only as far as JT who scissor kicks home a volley from the edge of the box. That's 1-0 and normal service is resumed. On 36mins Chelsea flood forward after a Wigan corner and a peach of a through ball from Kalou finds Lamps in the box but he delays his shot which is saved by Kirkland and Ballack is flagged offside when he heads the loose ball. Right on half time Drogba is fouled 25yrds out, picks himself up to take the kick, much to Ballacks displeasure, but his effort dips too late to trouble Kirkland so the half ends 1-0.

No changes at half time and Wigan start brightly again but on 50mins Lamps breaks free and slots Drogba through - his shot beats Kirkland but is cleared off the line by Bramble. Wigan wont lie down though and whilst its only 1-0 there's a nervy edge around the bridge. Ballack's done very little again and you have to think that Essien's imminent return will have to see him off. Bruce throws on Rodeaga in a move to 4-4-2 but immediately Lamps lifts a through ball for the Drog who feeds in Anelka but Bramble clears. With 15mins to go Belletti comes on for Kalou in what looks like our own version of 4-4-2 but again the Blues look like they're running out of steam. Guss makes another change with Queresma replacing Mancienne and Belletti slotting into right back but in the confusion a whipped cross from that side finds Kapo ahead of Anelka at the near post to head the equalizer. But wait for it, as the stadium announcer calls 3mins to go, Ballack heads on a hopeful hoof into the box and Lamps is on hand to head past Kirkland.

Relief all round the bridge but how many times will Lamps save our season ?

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Chelsea 1 - 0 Juventus

Big Guss gets his first home game and first taste of a European night at the bridge at the same time. Its the same team that beat the Villa apart from the return of Ash at left back. The Tinkerman gets a warm welcome back which is nice to hear.

The blues start brightly, as we did against Villa, and within 5mins Bozzy tests Buffon with a left-foot drive and 4mins later the Drog heads over from a Bozzy cross. On 12 mins, Kalou wriggles and then threads a ball through to the Drog who easily slots home. It should have been 2-0 just 3mins later when the Drog head wide from a Lamps corner when hitting the target looked much easier. Its all Chelsea but Cech is called into action to save from Del Piero with 22mins on the clock however on the half hour Ash tests Buffon with a 30-yard drive. The half ends 1-0.

No changes at half time but within 5mins Camoranesi goes off with what looks like a hamstring problem injury. On 53mis, the Drog is brought downb for what looks like a nailed on penalty but the ref waves away the protests. Its much the same as the first half with lots of nice football but few clear cut chances. An hour gone and a free-kick from Del Piero tests Cech and JT has to clear the fumble. Its all getting a bit scrappy now as time runs down but with 3 mins to go Anelka nearly doubles the lead with a 20-yard effort that is just inches wide. A big scare in stoppage time as Nedved shaves the post with Cech well beaten but it ends 1 - 0 to the mighty Blues.

Wigan at home next - slightly different challenge that one - Come on u Blues

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Villa 0 - 1 Chelsea

First games in charge dont get much togher than this - away to a resurgent Aston Villa but Guss goes with Anelka and the Drog but in a standard 4-3-3. No Ash through suspension so Ferreria slots in to left back.

Its a bright start and the Drog looks up for it as first Drogba and then Lamps threaten the Villa goal. Cech flaps at a Milner cross and the ball breaks to Heskey but his shot is high and wide and not too handsome. With 20mins on the clock, Lamps dances between Davies and Petrov before sliding a pass through to Anelka who lifts the ball over Friedel into the corner of the net. Its all Chelsea now and Friedel is called into action again to stop a thunderous header from JT connecting with a corner from Lamps. On 33mins a suspect freekick gives Ashley Young a chance to level things but his shot hits the bar and Heskey heads wide. The half ends 0 - 1 to the Blues.

Villa look more up for it as the second half gets underway but JT has the best chance of the opening minutes when he again connects with a corner from Lamps but Petrov clears off the line. On 54mins, Agbonlahor slips in behind Alex but Cech saves well from his cross come shot. Villa are much improved but much to O'Neils annoyance, the Blues keep slowing the game down to break up their rhythm. As the half draws to a close The Drog shoots over and a nice interchange between Bozzy and Drogba sets the defender free but Friedel saves from close range. So it ends 0 -1 to the Blues and Gus is off to a winning start. Now its just the small matter of Juventus on Wednesday.

Come on U Blues

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Watford 1 - 3 Chelsea (FA Cup 6th Rnd)

Ray Wilkins takes temporary charge for this FA Cup clash and its a pretty strange line up, even for a game against Watford. Not so much he choice of Drogba and Anelka up front (with Kalou) but its a back 4 that introduces Mancienne at left back (the boy's a centre half) with Alex and Ivanovich as the central two. At least Cech is back between the sticks and there's Quersma is on the bench.

Inside 20secs Mancienne breaks forward and releases the Drog and his cross is just ahead of the on rushing Kalou. On 7mins, Lamps feeds the Drog this time and he rifles a shot that is palmed away for a corner. Its a bight start with lots of neat possession anmd 5mins later another free kick this time reaches Kalou completely unmarked as the Watford defence fail to get out as a unit but he heads behind both Ballack and the Drog. Half way through the half another Lamps free kick is palmed away by Loach in the Watford goal but thus far its all been set pieces or long range shots - there's no real penetration or anyone capable of getting round the back. As the half progresses Watford continue to grow in confidence and threaten a few times but it ends 0-0. Over to Ray to make some changes ? Doubt it

So no changes (and probably no plan B) as we start the second half. A superb long ball from Ivanovich finds the Drog on 48mins but his shot is well saved by Loach and 2mins later Lamps hits a swerving 25yrd shot just wide. An hour gone and a skewed cross from Kalou is headed back across the goal by Anelka only for Ballack to miss from 3 yrds out in even worse fashion that JT last week - pathetic. On 68mins the inevitable happens, everyone's up for our 13th corner and with people only trotting back, a lofted ball reaches Thomas Priskin who looks well offside but he runs on to chip over the advancing Cech. Wilkins' response is to take off Mikel and introduce Stoch - looks like its 4-4-2 but is it too little too late. Fortunately not, because its two Anelka goals in 80seconds; the first from from our 15th corner with and overhead kick from 5yrds out and the second being a nudged header from am Ashley Cole cross. With 8mins to go Belletti comes on to replace the hapless Ballack. On 90mins its almost all undone as Jobi McAnuff almost steers on past Cech but the Blues got straight up the other end for Anleka to squeeze home his hatrick.

Trailing with 15mins to go, it was quite an effort to turn this one around. Its Villa next week so come on U Blues !!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Its so long Phil...... and welcome "the Dink".

So Guss is the man - at least until the end of the season - and despite the stories of player power and dressing room discontent perhaps he's a big enough character to grab them by the scruff of the neck turn things around.
We hope so - Come on U Blues

Monday, 9 February 2009

Scolari sacked - its deja vu at the bridge

OK, so the performances have been very poor but the injuries have conspired against him.

But hang on..... we were awesome at the start of the season ...... so what happened ? Steve Clarke left, that's what happened and as nice a Ray Wilkins is as a bloke who does a passable Uncle Fester impersonation, he lacks the training ground experience.

Its not Scolari's team (apart from Deco - remember that Bozzy was coming anyway), but clearly he's had problems in the dressing room and on the training ground. This is a huge mess and please tell me the rumours about Grant and Hiddink are just a joke.

Come on U Blues

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Chelsea 0 - 0 Hull City

A big home game this one after the disappointment of Sunday and it sees the debut of the on loan Queresma. Rickey is still out with a hamstring problem so Alex starts alongside JT but the worse news is that Cech is out with a back problem. So in comes Hilario (yes, that's right Hilario ,,,, because we gave Carlo to Tottenham ...... so we're left with a Calamity Jane and 12year old as cover).

It starts at a cracking pace with a chance falling to JT from a Lamps free kick in the opening minute but somehow he side foots over the bar from barely 3 yards out. Queresma is looking more lively in the first 15mins than Malouda has looked all season and the ball is being zipped around but as the half wears on Hull are starting to look more threatening and we're restricted to long range shots and free kicks - Ballack and Lamps go close .... but no cigar and the half ends 0-0 to mutters of discontent.

No changes at half time and a bright 10mins peters out and Hull nearly snatch a lead as Craig Fagin breaks clear but his shot is easily collected by Hilario. Scolari has seen enough so its Belletti coming on for the Jedi but Hull continue to grow in confidence - closing us down and moving the ball more effectively than we can. For the last 25mins it will be the Drog up front with Anelka as he replaces Queresma. It makes little difference and Dean Marney breaks free for the best chance of the game but his shot is driven wide. Kalou has a shot blocked by the hand of Andy Dawson - but a a clear penalty denied. Deco replaces Ballack as a last throw of the dice with 15mins to go. It would be harsh for Hull to not get anything from this as they've worked tirelessly to close down every inch of our possession. As we enter the last 10mins, Villa are still one up at Blackburn and if it stays like this we'll drop to 4th in the league. Kalou goes down on the edge of the "d" with 4mins to go but Drogba hits it wide. With 2mins to go Fagen and Marney break through for Hull but JT shepherds them away for a corner. Another scare survived and there are 3mins of added time but it comes to nothing. The game ends 0 - 0, boo's ring out around Stamford Bridge and we're down to 4th place.

What's going on !!

RIP John Martyn

Sometimes a song just resonates with you and that's how it was when I first heard "may you never" by John Martyn who sadly died in Ireland on 29 January 2009. I cant lay claim to being a big fan but the hairs on the back of my neck always stood up when I heard that song.

Paying tribute to Martyn, BBC Radio 2's folk presenter Mike Harding said: "John Martyn was a true original, one of the giants of the folk scene".

Strangely I always thought is needed a harmony vocal so i was pleasently surprised to find this on You Tube - Enjoy

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Liverpool 2 - 0 Chelsea (no small thanks to Mike Riley)

A game that look destined for a goalless draw turned on a ludicrous decision just after the hour from Mike Riley to "straight red" Lamps for a tackle that was like a foul on him by Alonso. Despite throwing on Deco and the Drog (for the largely ineffective Malouda and Anelka) to stem the inevitable red tide following the dismissal the Blues finally scummed to a couple of strikes from Torres in the final two minutes.

That's the title chase over and it'll be a fight with Villa to avoid 4th place.

See the BBC match report here <<<

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Chelsea 2 - 0 'Boro

Home to the 'Boro and its the same line up as Saturday except that Alex comes in for Ricky who's out with a hamstring problem. The Drog is still warming the bench. ts a lively opening though from the Blues with loads of possession but as has been the case so far at home, no end product. Boro have 10 men behind the ball and we just aren't moving the ball quick enough or wide enough to be effective. Ash goes close with a header from a Bozzy cross but as the half goes on so the frustration grows. Lamps wastes 3 free kicks and as many corners and as we approach half time I can only remember the keeper making one save. As the whistle goes for half time the boos ring out and its not surprising - 75% possession and only 2 attempts on target.

For the second half, its the Drog on for Malouda but will it be 4-4-2 ? No such luck as Anelka drifts wide with his head bowed. Within 2mins Drogba is free but his shot goes out for a throw - yes a throw ! This game has the stench of a 0 - 0 about it. Boro loose the ball on the edge of our box and it takes 6 walking pace passes to reach the centre circle by which time there's 10 men behind the ball again - pathetic. On 54mins we finally swing in a threatening corner which is headed on by Ballack only for Kalou to head over from 3yrds out. Alex has a free kick on 56mins deflected for a corner which again is well delivered and the ball fall to Kalou who buries the loose ball to make up for the earlier miss. Now can we push on but not concede ? Southgate throws on Alves and Tungay in response.On 72mins, Lamps drive a free kick from 35yrds out which is spilled at the feet of Kalou who promptly slips over and the ball runs out for a goal kick. Bozzy cuts in and finds Lamps on 77mins but the shot is wide. With 10mins to go, its 2-0 as Kalou heads home unmarked from a Lamps corner and his reward is to be replaced by Deco. A huge cheer goes up as the news comes in that Wigan have equalised against Liverpool and that's the end of the excitement despite the introduction of Stoch and a late free kick from Deco.

Now on to Anfield - Come on U Blues

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Chelsea 3 - 1 Ipswich (FA Cup 4th Round)

A home FA cup tie and I'm depending on the BBC for some coverage. Its a strong side to face Ipswich but no Jedi (through suspension) or JT (through back injury) so Belletti holds the midfield and Alex continues alongside Rickey. The Drog is only on the bench prompting more speculation.

Its a bright opening from the Blues and on 8 mins Anelka finds Ballack 10yrds out but his effort is woefully tame and wide. It only takes another 8mins to go ahead as Lamps finds Ash out wide and his cushioned cross is stroked in by Ballack. That's 1-0 and lets hope we press on. Unfortunately that's not the case though as we've taken our foot off the gas and just past the half hour, defending from dead balls lets us down again. Rickey chooses to chest down a ball that should have been cleared and Alex Bruce (Steve's boy) nips in and drives home an equaliser. We simply can't defend any more !! Just appalling !! Now we're in for a tough battle. Maybe the Drog is needed for the second half.

No changes at half time and is depressingly similar. Kalou is charging around like a headless chicken and taking too many touches, Belletti is pushing up and leaving acres of space behind whilst Anelka looks completely disinterested. Malouda is giving the ball away every 5mins but finally the Drog is warming up. Its Drogba for Malouda on 58mins so Anelka needs to go wide right and, surprise surprise, he's having a bit of a strop. It might have woken him up though as 2mins later he breaks forward and is brought down on the edge of the box. Up steps Michael Ballack to drill home the free kick and its 2 - 1. Its a bit better as Kalou and Lamps combine on the edge of the box but Kalous shot is well saved. Rickey has a problem and is replaced by Ivanovich with 20mins to go. Kalou misses an absolute sitter from 3 yards out as Lamps stands a ball up from Anelka that even I could have headed home. If we keep wasting chances like that, we'll be made to pay. With 10mins to go, Deco comes on for Ballack but we're looking sloppy again and its nearly 2 -2 as Kevin Lisbie connects with a deep cross but fortunately he heads wide. Straight up the other end and the Drog looses the ball in the box and then charges back to win the ball. He wins a free kick which Lamps rockets home off and that's 3 - 1 but the scoreline masks a poor performance.

So we're into the last 16 but in very unconvincing fashion - I'll be back at the Bridge on Wed for the Boro game - Come on U Blues

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Chelsea 0 - 0 Stoke

Looking to build on the midweek FA cup victory so again no Drogba (he's not even on the bench) but the really bad news comes as we hear that Joe Cole had an operation on his knee this morning and will be out for the rest of the season. Worse still is that JT limped off during the warm up and is replaced by Alex. So its up to Malouda and Kalou to provide width for Anelka. No Deco either (calf strain) so its a very young bench with Di Santo, Mancienne, Stoch, Kakuta as 4 teens from the possible 7 subs.

Its a nervy start as an early Delap throw causes havoc in a strange zone come man-to-man hybrid. But from then on its all Chelsea as they park in the Stoke half. Lots of possession and half chances - Ballack hits a free kick straight at Sorensen and on 23mins Lamps whips in a free kick which beats the entire Stoke defence but Kalou knocks the chance over the bar. Kalou is brought down in the box 2mins later but the ref is having none of it. On 32mins, a lovely exchange of passes on the edge of the box breaks to Anelka but his snap shot is well saved by Sorensen. You believe a goal must be coming but again the Blues are denied on 42mins as a goal bound Ashley Cole strike is deflected over. In the last 2mins Lamps twice lets rip from the edge of the box but both times Sorensen gets his gloves behind the ball. Its been all Chelsea but the first half ends goalless.

No changes at half time and its the same pattern - first a driven free kick from Lamps and the Bozzy drives over. On 50mins a flowing move ends with Malouda floating a simple cross which Ballack somehow heads wide when completely unmarked. Apart from one Beattie effort its been all Chelsea but on the hour Beattie feeds Delap whop works his way into the box and lifts the ball over Cech. We're loosing at home to the team with the worst away record in the league and the response is to swap Malouda with Di Santo. With 63 mins its nearly 2-0 as Cech comes and flaps at a Delap throw but its scrambled away. A lovely exchange with Anelka a minute later sets Lamps free but he drags his shot wide. On 69mins the ball is fed out to Ash and his cross / shot eludes everyone. This is not our day (or season ?). Jedi, Ballack and Alex all blast over and this is looking desperate as first Belletti and then Stoch come on for Bozzy and Jedi respectively with 5mins to go and finally Belletti connects with a knock down from Di Santo and its 1-1.

So we celebrate an equaliser against the team with the worst away record in the league - hardly acceptable but ..... on 90mins Kalou picks up the ball in his own half and runs at Stoke only to be brought down on the edge of the box. The free kick is tailor made for Lamps but for some reason Belletti flicks it wastefully into the Stoke wall. On 92mins a fabulous cross field pass from Lamps finds Stoch and his drive is parried by Sorensen. With 30seconds to go and a shot from Anelka breaks on the edge of the box to Lamps whop drives it home - What a turn around. !! Unbelievable scenes as the team and bench go wild....

OK so its a well overdue home win but ....... it was against Stoke and incredibly lucky - just hope this is that start of something better. COME ON U BLUES

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Man U 3 - 0 Chelsea

No invention, now width, no hope ......

No comment

Sunday, 4 January 2009

FA Cup 3rd Round Chelsea 1 - 1 Southend

Another home game, another catalog of missed chances, heroic defending from the opposition and finally another victory thrown away in the dying minutes.

This is starting to occur with alarming regularity. We need a new plan (or 3) and maybe some finishing practise

Read it here > Southend Snatch Chelsea Draw
and here > Scolari rues goal-shy Chelsea

I just cant bring myself to comment further