Blog Page 16

Roberto Di Matteo’s Team & What His Team Talk Should BeTonight

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Chelsea have made six changes as Roberto Di Matteo rotates his squad. Lucas Piazon retains his Capital One Cup starting berth and George Saville is the only youth player to make the bench.

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 04 David Luiz
  • 24 Cahill
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 34 Bertrand
  • 06 Romeu
  • 10 Mata
  • 12 Mikel
  • 13 Moses
  • 23 Sturridge
  • 35 Piazon

Subs

  • 40 Hilario, 19 Ferreira, 07 Ramires, 11 Oscar, 17 Hazard, 21 Marin, 56 Savill

TeamTalk

Roberto Di Matteo’s team talk tonight should be simple given the events on Sunday.

Even though just five players from that game are playing tonight, the anger at the result should be enough to spark a performance tonight.

 

Why Chelsea Fans Must Avoid Manchester United Ref Witchhunt

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Football is facing a new racism scandal, with Chelsea making formal allegations about the conduct of referee Mark Clattenberg during our game against Manchester United on Sunday..

These allegations are very serious and leave this referee’s career hanging in the balance. For this reason I implore Chelsea fans to be objective and separate what was an abject refereeing performance from the alleged inappropriate comments, particularly if they have a racial element.

If these allegations are true and proven then this may well be the end of the Clattenberg’s refereeing career with the men in black unlikely to be given the same opportunity of redemption as players charged with using racial language by the FA.

As others have stated as a referee the standard that referees are held to should be higher than than the players as they are supervising the game and are the inforcers of the rules.

The FA cannot risk their refereeing appointments being bigger news than the game, particularly after the controversy over the recent Kick It Out week of action that attracted the wrong kind of media attention and called into question action being taken on an important issue.

Unlike the FA I believe in nnocent until proven guilty and this should be applied to this case.

Therefore as tempting as it is to transfer anger at the result on Sunday onto the allegations against Mark Clattenburg, we should refrain.

Due to the seriousness and the fall out, we should wait for the evidence to become clear and let others judge guilt or innocent, in turn avoiding rash judgements or letting the influence of bias impact our opinion on this issue.

For now Clattenberg is just a shocking referee, is he a racist? Well that’s for somebody else to decide.

Chelsea v Manchester United Debacle – The Final Word (Premier League)

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Team News

Roberto Di Matteo chose his strongest available XI for the biggest home game of the season so far. With John Terry serving the second game of his 4 match ban and Frank Lampard missing with a calf strain, the team all but picked itself.

Marko Marin was welcomed back to a strong looking bench.

 

Observations

This was some game. 5 goals (one offside), 2 red cards (one given to the wrong side) and a delicious Juan Mata free kick.

Not forgetting allegations of “inappropriate” language from Mark Clattenburg (Clangerburg if you prefer) to 2 Chelsea players and a formal complaint from the club.

After gifting United a 2 goal start, Chelsea dragged ourselves back into the game and looked likely to go on and win it before the wheels came off.

Its hard enough playing United with 10 men but impossible with 9. They may be a poor imitation of a vintage United side but QPR they are not.

1st half

A half of two halves as Chelsea conceded 2 goals in the first 11 minutes before hitting back on the stroke of Half Time to go into the break a goal down but with all the momentum.

Robin van Persie had an early sighter straight at Cech before Rooney drove in behind Ashley Cole (who was AWOL and I’m afraid to say, had a stinker) and crossed in low. Van Persie’s strike conspired to hit both the upright and David Luiz’s backside before crossing the goal line.

As with Shakhtar in midweek, Chelsea had conceded inside 3 minutes.

Branislav Ivanovic welcomed Evra to Stamford Bridge with a strong but fair challenge that left his opposite number more winded than wounded.

2 minutes later though, Valencia ran unchallenged into our left back area and crossed low for van Persie to apply the finish. All too easy, all too quickly and Chelsea had a mountain to climb and 79 minutes to scale it.

The Blues looked shell shocked for the next 10 minutes but we are Champions of Europe for a reason.

On 23 minutes, Ramires’ run came to an abrupt end, earning us a free kick 30 yards from goal.  David Luiz has found his range with these now. His pacey side footed effort dipped over the wall and De Gea had to rely on his right boot to save his blushes as he appeared to misread the flight of the ball.

A minute later, Eden Hazard worked himself half a yard but his shot on the turn was a yard past the post and lacked devilry.

At last, Chelsea had a foothold in the game and began to dominate possession. Ivanovic’s throw found Mikel whose cross deflected off Evans and onto De Gea’s near post with him stranded. Fergie may have rued his luck in seasons gone by at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League but his side got plenty this day.

Mata’s corner was met by a strong header from Cahill and cleared for another.

Oscar and Torres were fouled in quick succession as United decided to defend what they had and were pushed ever deeper, fearful of allowing the creatives to play between the lines. Cleverley and Carrick were all but on the toes of Evans and Ferdinand as the bus was well and truly parked.

Our sustained pressure needed a goal to underpin it. De Gea did well to keep out a Torres header before Rooney went into the book for a foul on Hazard who had picked his pocket.

From the resulting free kick, Juan Mata punished De Gea for getting his weight too much onto his left side by slotting the ball just inside the post to his right and past the keeper’s despairing dive.

With a minute to go to Half Time, it was just what Chelsea needed and United were creaking. De Gea’s poor clearance was delivered back to Mata who forced him to save with his feet to prevent an equaliser before the interval.

In added time, Torres was booked for an agricultural challenge on Cleverley. It was about the only thing the latter won in a poor half from him but it would turn out have a major impact on the outcome.

2nd half

Chelsea began the second half as they ended the first: dominating possession.

After an early corner was cleared, Mata’s goal bound shot was charged down. After Luiz was fouled, Hazard was adjudged offside from the resultant free kick.

Hazard then worked an opening for Mata whose shot was on target but saved by De Gea.

A minute later though the United dam was breached again. After a sustained attack, Hazard’s cross met Ramires’ head and at 2-2, Chelsea were more than back in the game: we were on top and it was there for the taking.

Hazard had a shot saved by De Gea’s feet and then shot wide after a Mata dink as the two of them threatened to run riot.

By the hour mark, Rooney had dropped so deep that his head was clearing the ball for a corner from inside the United penalty area.

Completely against the run of play, the pendulum of luck swung firmly in United’s direction.

Ashley Young vs Branislav Ivanovic one on one with a headstart was not destined to end well. Branna could not resist trying to nick the ball, missed and in the opinion of the referee, fouled Young. Contact if any, was minimal and despite Luiz keeping up, Clattenburg adjudged it a professional foul and brandished the red card.

Taking off my blue specs, had it been Ferdinand on Torres, 38,000+ Blues would have been screaming for the same outcome. Somehow though, I doubt it would have come to pass.

Rooney put the free kick over the bar to the delight of the Matthew Harding stand before Javier Hernandez replaced Cleverley, with Fergie determined to make superior numbers count.

Di Matteo sacrificed Oscar for Azpilicueta (on Premier League debut) to fill the hole at Right Back but Chelsea continued to press for a winner.

With the game entering its final quarter, Clattenburg reached for his second and decisive red card. Torres was fouled by a two footed challenge from Jonny Evans, who had already been booked.

The Chelsea faithful shouted “off, off, off” and the referee obliged. Evans’ face was a picture of apology. De Gea shook his head. No one could quite believe it.

The card was for Torres. Despite a hole in his sock, he was booked for simulation as 2 yellows turned to red.

Van Persie blazed a shot way into Row Z but United knew it was only a matter of time before the knockout blow would come.

To add insult to injury, Hernandez was offside when he turned the ball in from close range.

Again removing my Blue specs, it was similar to Torres’ goal against Reading (also offside) and that one went for us.

For some sections of the crowd however, the preceding 15 minutes were too much to bear. A steward slipped and hurt his knee as objects were thrown on the pitch, followed by indignant chants of “3-2 to the referee”.

Chelsea were bowed but not broken. A surging run from Luiz fed Ramires whose shot was powerful but over the bar.

Hazard twisted, turned and teased the United backline but there was no centre forward to finish off his cross.

United made their numerical advantage pay as Chelsea could not fill all the gaps. Hernandez scuffed a good chance before Sturridge replaced Hazard.

Hernandez then shot over after Young played him in.

Despite 5 minutes of added time, Chelsea could not fashion another opportunity.

Graeme Souness and Gary Neville, hardly Chelsea through and through, were both incredulous after the game, not quite able to believe what they had seen. Neither could anyone else in the ground, regardless of their allegiance.

Positives

Bouncebackability: 10/10 for the fight we showed to get back into the game after a shocking start.

Juan Mata: its like a stuck record but the hottest player in the Premier League was fantastic. Again.

John Mikel Obi: arguably outshined Ramires in the double pivot once the Blues hit their stride. Covered the chasm left on our left when Ashley Cole went missing (as he did a number of times in the first half).

Negatives

Ashley Cole: If anyone wanted to question giving him more than a one year extension, watch the rerun of this game and you’d have plenty of ammunition. He repeatedly went missing as Valencia, Rooney and Rafael overloaded on the United right. Once in the first 11 minutes is unfortunate, twice is unacceptable.

Branislav Ivanovic: I can argue a yellow may have been fairer but Ashley Young still had plenty to do before Branna’s ill fated attempt to win the ball. The 3 match ban will be ably deputised by Cesar Azpilicueta but the Red Card was both costly and avoidable.

Fernando Torres: Yes, unfortunate to be sent off when he was but arguably could have gone before for a challenge of sorts on Ferdinand. Another below par performance that some were blaming on tiredness. He now has Wednesday night off.

Moment of the match

For all the wrong reasons, Torres’ sending off. Literally, a game changer.

Why Chelsea Must Use Anger At Manchester United Result To Kick On This Season

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Yesterday was a very frustrating day, however sometimes in life things will not go your way.

Defeat was painful and many decisions were unjust but we must not let the anger and bitterness consume us as a set of supporters or as a club.

We may have been defeated for the first time in the league, the players must use the anger and taste of defeat as a driver to move on and ensure that defeat does not become a normal feeling.

Looking at the positives

Bar a lax opening 15 minutes we bossed the game until we went down to 10 men, we looked full of energy going forward and showed for the second week in a row real heart when faced with adversity.

If we play as we did against Manchester United in all our other games this season we will be in with a real shout for the League.

November has in the last few seasons been our undoing and we are better than a brief flirt with success, this year we must kick on and ensure we are still in the race coming into the New Year.

Next up is United at home in the cup, what better way to cleanse the soul than a convincing victory.

When luck just ‘aint with you…

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As superb the game was for the neutral, Chelsea can feel very aggrieved at the way the first meeting of the season with Manchester United went today.

The Blues went into the game defending a good home record against Fergie’s men, but also with question marks hanging over them about their ability to sustain a title challenge. Given they ended the game with nine men, and fought back from two-down to gain the upper hand, only to be denied by a series of unfortunate events, the questions were answered positively – Chelsea should remain among the challengers.

Not many teams come back against United once they have a stranglehold on the game, but Chelsea did just that. There’s no doubt in my mind that if Chelsea had not been so savagely reduced in numbers, they would have gained a result against United. It’s a bit like saying, “if my brother was a women, he’d be my sister”, admittedly, but at the same time, red card number two looked a bit harsh.

In fact, when Mark Clattenberg brandished the second red, for Fernando Torres, I thought Johnny Evans was the recipient – and so did the United defender! Clattenberg is a card-happy official who has handed out almost 25% of all red cards in the Premier this season – so there may lie the explanation.

Chelsea showed great character today and Mata, Oscar and Hazard all demonstrated why so many plaudits have come their way this season. Circumstances meant that all three had to be subbed at some point, but their contribution was so positive – especially, in my view, Juan Mata, who continues to get better and show real leadership. A Chelsea skipper in the making?

Mata’s goal was superb and the work that went into Ramires’ equalizer was equally impressive. At that point, I would have wagered a Chelsea win, but when Ivanovic was sent to the dressing room – no complaints there – hopes of a win became the consolation of the draw. Then Torres’ sending off started to erode all hopes of getting anything at all.

And so, the winning goal. One word here – offside. Judging by the post-match reaction, United also felt they had been a little lucky. But Chelsea should not be too despondent, they did enough to suggest that the early season effervessence is no fluke and the new wave of optimism that has swept into Stamford Bridge in the aftermath of Munich is warranted.

The two Manchester clubs remain the teams to beat if you want to win a title. It looks like being a three-way race this year, and RDM’s nimble, performing ponies will make Chelsea part of that trio.  Chelsea will be in the mix, make no mistake.

View From The Enemy – Manchester United Choppy Form & Early Goals

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In the run up to our game against Manchester United we have spoken to a United blogger to see how they feel going into tomorrow’s game.

First of all, can you introduce yourself to the readers.

My name is Sam Peoples. I’m a lifelong United fan and I own and run The Peoples Person, a blog that started off very small but has now blossomed into my full time hobby.

 United have started this season off in choppy form – what has happened?

Defensive instability has marred the start of our season. We have relied on the attacking prowess of our front three to get us out of a lot of messes.

We have conceded the first goal in 8 out of last 12 games but have had a phenomenal record of coming from behind to win already this season, in a typically United fashion.

The injury to Nemanja Vidic has rocked us again this season. Much like a City without Kompany or a Chelsea without a Terry, we are missing that captains presence. Not having him at the back means we are a lot weaker, especially at set pieces, and teams have been abusing it.

United are traditionally slow out of the blocks but a lot of the time, they come strong when it matters. Do you think this season is different?

This season has shaped us as most of us expected. Without a stable defence, we aren’t able to build anything from the back and controlled build up play has always been part in parcel of our game. We have been experimenting with a new diamond formation this year that has worked wonders in some situations but against Braga, it backfired as we couldn’t find any space in the middle.

Against a Chelsea side boasting central players like Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Ramires, I expect us to revert to our traditional 4-4-2 otherwise we would risk getting overrun by you.

United have a pretty dire record against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and haven’t won there since 2004. Last years match was a thrilling 3-3 draw – do you expect a similar sort of game on Sunday?

I expect a goalfest on Sunday. United can’t keep a clean sheet for toffee right now and up against a free scoring Chelsea, that won’t change. We have made an unfortunate habit so far this season of conceding an early goal but we simply can’t let that happen against Chelsea because we would be making it really hard on ourselves. Your ferocious pace on the counter-attack would expose our pedestrian central midfield if that happened.

As for our attackers, I can’t see Chelsea keeping a clean sheet either. Hernandez announced himself to the season against Braga with a wonderful brace midweek and with Rooney and Van Persie starting to build what could be the best Premier League partnership this season, our options are fruitful. Throw an ever improving Danny Welbeck into the mix and we are spoilt for choice up front.

I think that, given his record against you, Hernandez is in line for a rare start this season alongside Rooney and Van Persie. For the first time in his United career, he managed to get no offsides against Braga and his first touch was much improved. He looks ready to fire on all cylinders and, hopefully, he starts on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

How do you expect United to set up on Sunday and do you think United will come with an attacking purpose?

I’m a bit worried really. Scholes and Giggs were both rested against Braga midweek and I think Sir Alex will be looking towards experience in what is going to be a tough seven days for United considering we play you twice in three days and Arsenal next Saturday.

I expect us to come out in a 4-4-2 formation as our wingers will be the key to unlocking your defence, not neat football through the middle. Valencia and Young should get the nod because they add a lot to the team defensively, doubling up with Evra and Rafael.

In the middle, I want to see Carrick and Cleverley. Scholes should be brought on for the second half so he is fresh for the last 45 minutes. It probably won’t happen but as long as I don’t see Giggs playing as a central midfielder, I’ll be happy whoever Sir Alex puts out.

Finally, how do you predict the game will go on Sunday and what do you think the score is?

Both teams to score on Sunday has got to be a safe bet I’d say? I think the most likely result is a score draw really – both teams look strong in attack but weak at the back. An early goal for either side could really set the game on fire and I think it would play into Chelsea’s hands if it comes to life early on.

If we come away with a point from Sunday, I’ll be happy.

Goodbye Didier Drogba – Video Tribute To A Chelsea Legend

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Today is the last day in which Didier Drogba is contracted to Chelsea Football Club.

After his heroics he leaves Stamford Bridge a hero, knowing that his kick in a Chelsea shirt delivered the club the Champions League trophy sealing his place in club folklore for eternity.

The Didier Drogba story was not always a positive one at the club, he had his ups and downs but that all that will be remembered is the positives.

When players leave or retire we only remember the good, the glorious and the heroic. The bad times are washed away by the sands of time once a player hangs up his boots glorious and the heroic, the bad times are quickly forgotten once a player hangs up his boots.

Therefore we are only going to focus on the positives by looking back on his finest moments on his final day in this fantastic video.

It includes key goals against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham (FA Cup Semi) as well as some belters and of course the goals that have won major finals.

An emotional video to say goodbye to a player that may have frustrated but wrote his perfect ending as a Chelsea player, so long Didier and thanks for the memories.