Did Chelsea Turn Up At Wigan?

Well, for any of those who let themselves get carried away following our impressive start to the season against Pompey, yesterday’s game against Wigan might have come as a bit of a shock.

I’ve certainly seen and heard a few bragging about how the new ‘Brazilian’ style Chelsea would dispose of Wigan with ease and I have to say their naivety both irritates and amuses me. Irritates because that’s exactly why the rest of us – who actually know better – get tarred with the same ‘arrogant’ tag, but amuses me because they end up looking the mugs they fully deserve to.

I’m sure Deco’s superb free-kick on 4 minutes, chipped over the wall and into the top left, giving Michael Pollitt no chance, did nothing to quieten them either. Although maybe Wigan’s response did? Because, with the Latics intent on making us fight for every ball from there on in, there was no way Chelsea were ever going to replicate last week’s performance. This week, despite the early lead, it was Chelsea under pressure as Wigan enjoyed long periods on the ball, seeing Cech the busier keeper of the two.

Chelsea seemed happy enough to play at the tempo dictated, with a distinct lack of urgency about their game. Poor performances and a lack of concentration from too many players allowed Wigan to run us a bit ragged at times and as much as the pundits talk about midweek internationals, Wigan didn’t look any the worse for it so that’s no excuse.

On the subject of internationals, Frank Lampard clearly allowed the boos he received for every touch of the ball to affect his game far too much. With an awful long way to go until May though, I’d suggest he either gets his head around the country’s general dislike for him or invests in some industrial earplugs.

So, not much to say overall after a pretty forgettable away game from Chelsea’s point of view – although I felt we at least turned up which is more than the Daily Mail’s journo did, as the online headline screamed Chelsea back on top after Deco strike earns hard-fought victory at Hull.(changed in due course, obviously).

Credit has to go to Bruce’s Wigan side who never stopped looking for an equaliser, although unfortunately for them they caught Cech on one of his better days.

As for all those who predicted another 4-goal rout and might be feeling a little silly right now, I’d say be happy we came away with the points. Oh, and I’m sure the predictions for next week will be a bit more realistic.

 

Teams:
Wigan: Pollitt, Melchiot (off 85), Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios (off 80), Koumas (off 45), Heskey, Zaki.
Subs: Pollitt, Sibierski, Kilbane, Brown, De Ridder (on 45), Kapo (on 80), Camara (on 85).

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole (off 83), Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Deco, Anelka (off 89), Joe Cole (off 58).

Subs: Hilario, Ivanovic, Malouda(on 89), Bridge (on 83), Kalou (on 58), Alex, Belletti.

Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)

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Steve Bruce Gets Spanked

Former Manchester United captain, Steve Bruce, enjoyed plenty of success in his days playing football for the current Premier League champions and that success seems to have followed him into his management career with him guiding Birmingham to promotion and saving Wigan from the drop despite taking over mid-way through a season.

Sadly for Bruce though, his skills seem to be strictly limited to the world of football, with him announcing he took an “absolute battering” from Andriy Shevchenko – on the golf course.

Bruce apparently bumped into Shevchenko in Barbados, as you do, and being the sort of sound, down-to-earth bloke he is, offered the Ukrainian a round on the course. Bruce explains “I bumped into him (Sheva) at Sandy Lane and we arranged a game, not knowing what a demon he is. I saw Stephen Hunt of Reading there too and told him we’d got a match against Shev and his mate.”

However, what Bruce didn’t realise at the time was that Shevchenko, who, let’s face it has always had plenty of time on his hands at Chelsea, has not only spent some of that time getting tips from former Open champion Ernie Els, but he’s also played in high-profile Pro-Am events at Wentworth – oh, and this ‘mate’ also turned out to be the pro at Wentworth.

Bruce says “We got an absolute battering. It was all over after nine holes, never mind 18. Shevchenko plays off a four handicap and he looks even better than that. He normally plays left handed but I think he was prepared to play right-handed on the second nine to give us a chance.”

Nice work!

Shevchenko’s Experience Better Than Chelsea’s?

Finally, Andriy Shevchenko’s ‘nightmare’ is nearing it’s end, with the news that the on-off move to AC Milan, is not only on again but appears to be just about complete.

In a statement on the club’s official website Saturday it was announced “Chelsea FC have agreed terms for Andriy Shevchenko to return to AC Milan. Details of the agreement will remain confidential. The move is subject to a successful medical.”

Sheva’s had a pretty rotten time of it since his arrival from the San Siro in 2006. His £30million price tag was always going to be hard to live up to, and that was made even harder with limited appearances amid rumours that his boss at the time didn’t even want him. But, as avidly as I’ve supported the effort he’s made, going many rounds verbally in the process, even I’m forced to concede that 9 goals in 47 appearances isn’t a sufficient enough return on the investment to keep him.

Shevchenko is now onto his third manager in 2 years at Chelsea and the Ukrainian doesn’t appear to have figured in the plans of any of them. And whilst several key players at Chelsea have also taken time to settle into the Premier League it would seem that even if Shevchenko was accommodated in the same way, it’s probably a bit too late in the day now. The smile he arrived with was wiped away a long time ago together with the confidence of being a Serie A star, and if he has any hope of resurrecting his career then a return to AC Milan could be the answer.

Shevchenko almost saw that avenue closed earlier in the week, with talks between Chelsea and AC Milan reaching a stalemate. Because with Chelsea paying such a high fee for the striker in the first place, his lack of fruition in the Premier League and inflated wages were always going to see the club lose a substantial amount of money in his departure. So, whilst Chelsea sought a permanent solution to this financial dilemma, the Italian club were after the cheaper option of a subsidised loan deal.

However, amid hints of ‘financial sacrifices’ on the player’s part, Galliani told Milan Channel “After a series of frantic phone calls during the day today, we have reached an agreement with Chelsea. Andriy returns to the Rossoneri, tomorrow (Sunday) he will be in Milan, Monday he will undergo a medical, then he will sign a contract and from Tuesday he will be available to Carlo Ancelotti.” Galliani added “We succeeded in bringing home the player who in the last 50 years has scored the most goals in our shirt. President Berlusconi and I am happy, as is our coach and I believe also our players. Andriy has returned home and I am happy about it. I am a Milan fan and I am very happy. Andriy made a mistake in leaving and I believe that in the past two years he has realised that this is his home.”

Also speaking on Milan Channel following the announcement, Shevchenko himself stated “I am so happy. I had been hoping to return for some time and yesterday already imagined this negotiation could reach a positive conclusion. For me this is like winning the Champions League.”

Well, obviously we wouldn’t know about that at Chelsea but I’ve no doubt we wish him all the best on his return to the San Siro.