More Points Dropped At Home

CHELSEA 1-1 WEST HAM

So, another home game, another draw. Little consolation Liverpool, United and Arsenal all drawing if we fail to capitalise against West Ham.

I actually thought we started ok. Fair play to West Ham for not bringing the bus with them but Bellamy’s first half goal on the break was against the run of play. Were there a couple of handballs in there? Well, I wouldn’t like to see either of them given against us so I’d have to say no.

So what else stood out in the first half? Well, as ever we dominated in possession but did very little with it thanks largely to Scott Parker breaking up just about everything we tried to put together. John Terry was limping about way too early in the game for comfort after a knock on the ankle although it was the poke in the eye from Carlton Cole that seemed to trouble him more. Mike Riley, it has to be said, seems to turn into a tourette’s victim the minute he’s given a yellow card to play with because he was waving it about furiously at anyone who moved – which I guess could’ve explained Michael Ballack’s lack of movement.

The second half saw Didier Drogba on for Michael Ballack and his impact definitely troubled West Ham, with Anelka scoring his 100th Premier League goal within minutes of the Ivorian’s arrival. Mikel, for me our best player, worked his arse off again both helping out a ragged defence and giving the midfield a starting point to push on from. And yet, West Ham’s defensive play continued to stop that push from coming.

The second half also saw Kalou coming on for Joe Cole, although Scolari might as well bring my mother off the bench as Kalou considering Cole wasn’t doing a lot wrong anyway. Belletti came on for Mikel, who also didn’t warrant subbing although clearly Scolari was going all out to attack by this time. Again, it didn’t work against a resolute West Ham. As for Lampard’s penalty shout, well clearly there was contact and Neill admitted as much after the game but he went down a little too hard and maybe a little too late to convince Riley.

So that’s 14 points dropped at home already this season and certainly not title winning form.

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, A Cole, Mikel (Belletti 80), Deco, Ballack (Drogba 46), Lampard, J Cole (Kalou 74), Anelka

Subs Not Used: Hilario, Ivanovic, Bridge, Ferreira

WEST HAM: Green, Neill, Upson, Davenport, Ilunga, Collison (Boa Morte 87), Parker, Noble (Mullins 72), Behrami, Bellamy (Di Michele 90), Cole

Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Faubert, Tristan, Sears

 

Chelsea scorer: Anelka 51

West Ham scorer: Bellamy 33

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CHELSEA 2-1 CFR Cluj: Another Forgettable Night In Europe

CHELSEA 2-1 CFR CLUJ

Well, Chelsea had been warned Cluj weren’t just coming to make up the numbers last night and so it turned out as we recorded a marginal 2-1 win to go through to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The first half was as dull as ditch water, with not much to write home about as Chelsea did the usual ‘huff and puff’ routine at home. I mean, we didn’t particularly look like we would lose but then again, with our attack looking about as effective as  an umbrella in a hurricane, it wasn’t the most entertaining game we’ll ever see.  Any threat from our left backs was smothered, our defence had more holes than a tramps vest and our midfield looked like they’d never met before the game.

To suggest Joe Cole was our liveliest player and he’s probably not even match fit, is probably the best way of describing the first half.  To be fair though, I thought Mikel had a decent game although even a rush of blood to the head for him didn’t help the nerves much.

Still, even with  Kalou’s first half opener wiped out early in the second by a bloody good equaliser, the fact that it was now against the run of play was a good enough omen – well, that and the fact Roma were beating Bordeaux anyway.  And just when I was ranting about Scolari’s persistent delay in substitutions, on came the Ivorian to save the day.

Drogba, who took his time lapping up the adulation before he threw himself head first into the game, had an immediate impact.  Inspired by the substitution, Chelsea looked a lot more assured and never more so than after the winner was dispatched sublimely off Drogba’s foot and into the back of the net six minutes into his game.

Overall then, another forgettable game in the Champions League but the win that we needed means we can breathe easy again for now.

 

TEAM

Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Alex, A Cole, Mikel (Bridge 87), Ballack, Deco, J Cole, (Belletti 74), Anelka, Kalou (Drogba 65)

Unused subs: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Stoch

 

Goals

Chelsea: Kalou 40, Drogba 71

CFR Cluj: Kone 56

Bolton 0-2 CHELSEA: Away Win Sets New Record

BOLTON 0-2 CHELSEA

Chelsea kept up their 100 per cent away record in the league with a comfortable enough win at the Reebok.

First half goals from Nicolas Anelka and Deco proved enough to seal a 2-0 win as Chelsea made it a record 11 wins on the trot away from home.

On his old stamping ground, Anelka launched himself at Bosingwa’s cross in the eighth minute to head in off the post and make it 9 goals in 7 in the league and 99 overall for the Frenchman in the top-flight. Chelsea’s second came courtesy of a spectacular Deco scissor-kick 12 minutes later. Jaaskelainen had kept out a Bosingwa shot with his legs only to see it spin up towards the head of Michael Ballack who headed it down for the lively Deco to finish superbly.

Megson had clearly had a few words at half-time because Bolton looked much more up for it in the second 45, which saw Chelsea changing tact as their defence reacquainted themselves pretty effectively. Fortunately a couple of penalty appeals for handball by John Terry came to nothing and Petr Cech’s reflexes were looking pretty sharp to keep out Gary Cahill and a Gavin McCann follow up. It was a valiant display from Bolton in the second half although they were still vulnerable on the break and we had our chances for a third.

After the game, a disappointed Megson said “You can always take positives out of a game once you sit and analyse it but at this moment in time I’m disappointed – not just with the result, but with the way we played in the first half. We always try to push on against teams and take the game to them – get in their face, to use a players’ expression – but we just weren’t intense enough in the opening half. Ultimately, it has cost us because you can’t expect to give a team like Chelsea a two-goal lead and get away with it. Yes, we did better in the second half, but by then it was too late.”

A happier Ray Wilkins meanwhile stated It was a great win for us. When we needed to fight, we fought, and when we could we played good football and made some very good chances, so we’re delighted. We’re not too concerned about the record, all we’re worried about is silverware so this was all about three points. Of course our away form is exceptional but no-one here is worried about our home form. That will come, I’m sure.”

Overall then, Chelsea looked good value for the win, creating another record in the process. And whilst our home form still needs a lot of work, our eight wins away aren’t doing our point tally or goal difference any harm, particularly since another clean sheet means we’ve conceded just one goal on our travels so far.

 

TEAMS

BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O’Brien, Samuel (Smolarek 80), Davies, McCann, Nolan, Muamba (Gardner 46), Taylor, Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Riga, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi.

CHELSEA: Cech, Bosingwa (Ivanovic 89), Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Kalou (Ferreira 83), Lampard, Ballack, Deco, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Sinclair, Mineiro, Stoch, Woods.

Goals: Anelka 9, Deco 21.

Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal: Questions To Be Answered?

do players get any uglier than this?

do players get any uglier than this?

 

 

CHELSEA 1-2 ARSENAL

If there were questions asked before this game then there’ll definitely be some asked now.

Brazilian football when you’re away from home against lesser opposition is all very nice, but it’s never going to convince anyone if you can’t come up with the goods against the ‘big four’. Add to that the fact that the ‘fortress’ is now more like a sandcastle, and it starts to get a bit worrying. Chelsea might still be top of the table, until tonight at least, but we won’t be enjoying that status in May unless Scolari’s got some contingency plans up his sleeve.

That’s not to say we played particularly badly at home against Arsenal, in fact, we were the better side for an hour,  our passing was better, we had more energy, more fight and totally outplayed them. And at 1-0 up, they didn’t look like they were going to buy a goal – with the exception of the one they scored for us of course – until the linesman who clearly needs a refresher course in the offside rule, gifted them their equaliser. Strange that he missed their player blatantly offside when he’d been so meticulous in ruling an on-side Kalou as off when he was through on goal, but there you go.

 Anyway, the benevolent officiating gave Arsenal the confidence they needed to push on and make that generosity count. And yet our reply to that – the sort of reply Chelsea used to be renowned for – was nowhere near clinical enough. Because the only way to describe Chelsea’s response is to compare it with the waving of a white flag as soon as van Arsehole’s second went in.

From the minute Chelsea conceded, there was a desperation about their game. Gone was the composure they had when they were in front as they ran around like headless chickens, lashing at every ball in the hope it bounced off someone’s arse and flew in the right direction. Literally nothing went right for them from there on in, as they ran out of both ideas and steam.

The usually unruffled Luiz Felipe Scolari, was a little hot under the collar after the game, stating “Chelsea and the referee (were responsible for the defeat) because Arsenal scored the first goal one metre in front of our players and in the first half the same linesman gave (Salomon) Kalou offside when it was not.  I never speak about referees normally. After 15 games in the Premier League, four or five in the Champions League and in the Carling Cup I say nothing. But today, it’s different. It is important to speak to the people about this because if we play and the referee gives two things against my team sometimes it is difficult to win.  OK I make mistakes but we needed a man to come to Stamford Bridge as a referee for both sides, not for one side.”

But whilst I think he had every right to moan about the decisions, which in all fairness probably were the difference between the two sides over 90-odd minutes, I think he’s being a bit forgiving of his own players to suggest the decisions “killed his team”. At the end of the day, we all get games where the officials are definitely more of a hindrance than a help but if we hadn’t insisted on aiming every shot we had halfway down Fulham Broadway, we wouldn’t even be debating points like these. After all, this isn’t the first game Chelsea have ever played against twelve men and his flag waving sidekicks, this is just the first one they’ve played where they had no idea what to do about it.  

To be fair to the Chelsea boss though he doesn’t excuse the fact that his players hadn’t made their dominance count when they had the chance, suggesting “It’s our problem in the last three games. We score one goal but only have one or two good chances. We don’t shoot in or outside the area. We don’t build enough play. I am sad, not happy. I think we didn’t play very well.”

But anyway, whatever the ins and outs of this game were, the fact remains we’ve lost at home again, but more than that, we did it against one of our main rivals – again. And whether the injuries to key players are the deciding factor in the big games (despite Scolari insisting he’s got the squad to cope with them), or whether it’s the lack of the now famous ‘plan B’,  the fact is Chelsea have dropped far too many points against their rivals already. And from a team who previously paid a ridiculous amount of attention to the defensive side of their game, I can only assume Scolari’s been prescribing them all electric breakfasts in an effort to erase all traces of the Mourinho era from their minds.

That’s 12 points dropped at home now, 7 of them in the ‘big four’ games and there’s questions to be answered.

Chelsea: Another Poor Night In Europe

BORDEAUX 1-1 CHELSEA

Well that was pretty crap I have to say. We can happily beat teams away in the Premier League but when it comes to the Champions League, Chelsea couldn’t play any worse if they turned up in stilettos. And to think we were fortunate to even come away with the draw we got is even more depressing.

But, yet again, Chelsea put in a really poor performance in Europe. No energy, no creativity, no desire, nothing. Maybe the fact we’d thumped Bordeaux last time around worked against them because the fact that they needed to put a little effort in didn’t seem to cross their minds last night. And if we’re honest, Bordeaux were all over us and their equaliser was the least they deserved.

We have Petr Cech’s goalkeeping skills to thank for keeping us in it for the first 45 minutes and Nicolas Anelka’s goal on the hour, gave us a 1-0 scoreline that would have flattered us. Fortunately for them though, the Chelsea of old – you remember, the one that could hold on to a 1-0 lead? – appears to be a thing of the past as Diarra headed in the equaliser amid some of the worst Chelsea defending I’ve seen in a while.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Frank Lampard’s suicidal challenge, bearing in mind he knew he was already on a yellow, saw him leave the field earlier than expected. And with us now needing a win at home to a Cluj side we couldn’t break down in our last meeting, things probably couldn’t feel any worse for us right now.

 

TEAMS

BORDEAUX

Valverde, Chalme, Planus, Diawara, Jurietti, Menegazzo, Diarra, Gourcuff, Gouffran (Cavenaghi 67), Wendell (Obertan 75), Chamakh.

CHELSEA

Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, A Cole, Mikel, J Cole (Ferreira 85), Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka (Drogba 63)

CHELSEA vs Newcastle: Home Form Still A Concern

CHELSEA 0-0 NEWCASTLE

I was thinking as this one headed ever closer to a predictable 0-0 at home to Newcastle that this could very well be the story of our season.

Chelsea just aren’t convincing anybody at Stamford Bridge, but then again, this isn’t a new thing. Despite that ‘record’, we drew far too many at home last season and it probably cost us in the end – let’s hope Chelsea sort it out before history repeats itself again this year.

Joe Kinnear’s Newcastle side put in a pretty stubborn defensive display and as often seems to be the case at Stamford Bridge, we had plenty of possession yet failed to make it count. In fact, Chelsea totally dominated in terms of possession (61%:39%) and shots at goal (26:2) but just couldn’t break down the resolute Newcastle back-line.

Scolari sounded a bit narked after the game with the suggestion that Newcastle had played for a draw but the fact is, such is our reputation for giving points away at home, why shouldn’t they? Surely the onus is on Chelsea breaking them down? And yet whilst Chelsea flooded the midfield keeping the ball pretty easily, and Newcastle failed to get a proper foothold in the game, they still managed to ride out every storm that came their way whilst Chelsea squandered the opportunity of opening up a gap at the top of the table.

Chelsea certainly had their chances and yet a combination of dodgy finishing and Shay Given’s keeping kept them out. Given’s only real slip coming in the 52nd minute when he parried an Anelka shot, quickly pounced on by Joe Cole, who tapped it in, only to see it chalked off for an offside decision against the Frenchman. Mind you, Given made up for that mistake when he somehow managed to keep a lofted Lampard shot from going over the line with some serious backpedalling.

And the second half pretty much carried on in the same vein as the first, with Chelsea having most of the possession and goal-scoring chances and yet remaining unable to make the breakthrough. And so once again for all Chelsea’s huffing and puffing at Stamford Bridge, they failed to blow the opposition down, dropping another two points in the process. So that’s nine points dropped at home this season and with us still only in November, it’s time Scolari addressed whatever it is that’s going on here.

Joe Kinnear seemed happy enough despite Newcastle’s lack of creating anything at all in the game, after all, you wouldn’t have put money on them getting anything from Stamford Bridge a couple of months ago. And as for Chelsea, another pretty frustrating result at home although not exactly a complete disaster with Liverpool and United’s results mirroring our own.

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA

Cech, Terry, A.Cole, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Malouda (Kalou 72), Lampard, Mikel, J.Cole (Ballack 82), Deco, Anelka

NEWCASTLE

Given, Coloccini, Enrique, Beye, Bassong, Gutierrez (N’Zogbia 77), Guthrie, Duff, Butt, Martins (Ameobi 61), Owen

Predictable Result For Chelsea?

WEST BROM 0-3 CHELSEA

With our home record done and dusted it’s starting to look as if Chelsea are ready to concentrate on picking up as many points away from Stamford Bridge as possible – an effort they managed to sustain against The Baggies yesterday.

It was a slow build up in the first half, with West Brom applying their own pressure and Chelsea needing some effort to break them down. Mind you, once we did get on top of the game, 3 goals in the space of 11 minutes saw the game just about decided going into the break.

The first goal took it’s time to come although you kind of knew it was only a matter of time the longer the game went on, and when it did come, the sweet strike from Jose Bosingwa was well worth the wait. Nicolas Anelka, who continues to defy his critics, popped up with two more, and that was that as far as the scoreline was concerned.

Chelsea played out the second half efficiently, if a little less urgently, and Scolari’s frustration on the touchline probably reflected the feelings of many. Not that Chelsea have a god given right to batter teams by a five goal margin every week, and their performance in the second half was certainly professional enough, but it just felt a little ‘comfortable’.

Mind you, maybe our ability to put sides like West Brom to bed is pretty much expected this season and the plus 28 goal difference has placed a new expectation on our games? And maybe the reason a comfortable 3-0 win over this sort of side feels less satisfying is because questions remain about our ability to demonstrate the same sort of dominance consistently, particularly against tougher opposition?

Anyway, back to the game and the positives. Most notable had to be the performance of Nicolas Anelka because not only did the Frenchman bag another couple of goals but he put in another very convincing performance, highlighted even more so when subbed for Didier Drogba. The Ivorian received the sort of welcome you’d have expected and his sulky disinterest in the game did nothing to suggest he should be starting ahead of Anelka any time soon. Deco was another one who stood out, not that he set the world alight or anything, but his performance showed the first concrete signs of him being on the road to recovering some of his early season form.

But of course the game wouldn’t have been complete without the obligatory injury, which this week saw John Terry limp off towards the end with a foot injury.

So, all pretty predictable really.