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Blog Page 20

Huge Result In Entertaining Game Against Shaktar

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After the Champions League not much fuss was made over Chelsea’s group and it certainly did not earn the moniker “Group of Death”.

However our opponents yesterday Shaktar Donestk are playing fantastic football and have set up the group in a way that could see us or Juventus fail to qualify from the group.

Last nights game was one for the football purist with both sides fielding strong, creative and attacking line ups with both sides taking seeming to give little thought to how they would prevent the opposition from scoring.

This was the kind of football that neutrals want to see every game, the game was free flowing and had a fast paced end to end tempo from start to finish.

Shaktar dominated the first half but went in behind due to less than impressive goalkeeping and a moment of divine skill from Oscar.

The second half belonged to Chelsea although it saw Shaktar equalise earlier in the half and only a last gasp header from Victor Moses prevented the Ukrainian champions from claiming a well deserved draw.

This was the first defeat in 25 for Shaktar and a huge result for Roberto Di Matteo, only one point separates the top three teams in the group and the game against Juventus will be huge for us.

Earn a draw and a win at home against the group minnows will be enough to see us through to the next round, lose and well there are several potential outcomes.

Onwards and upwards and hurrah for good football.

Stamford Bridge Home To Football’s Entertainers!

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Stamford Bridge is fast becoming the place to watch the entertainers of European football.

The last four games in SW6 have each yielded five goals, with Chelsea on the wrong end of the results just once, just the controversial league game against Manchester United muddying the waters.

Free from the shackles of our Champions League success we have gone out and recruited a clutch of players that are the perfect support for Juan Mata who is somehow managing to build on his debut season during which he won the Champions League and the supporter’s player of the year.

Oscar and Eden Hazard have taken to the Premier League like a duck to water ably assisted by Victor Moses who has chipped in with a goal in our last two games, including the dramatic winner against Shaktar Donestk.

This is great entertainment but each of the games should come with a health warning as we have been almost as leaky at the back as we have been deadly going forward.

Despite a solid defence on paper we are vulnerable to pacy wide play with Manchester United and Shaktar scoring from wide positions.

It seems a shame to want the drama to end but if we are to challenge for major honours this season we will need to remove these leaks from our game, however if we outscore our opponent does it matter?

If not we will have to start selling popcorn and beta blockers at Stamford Bridge as the Champions of Europe are putting on a show that will get your pulse racing.

Final Word On Swans – Issues To Address Before Shaktar

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As I didn’t watch this game live, I’ve dispensed with the full match analysis which, by now, others will have put on their blogs.

Instead, I’ve picked out some observations on the game, positive and negative, based on what television allows.

The elephant in the room: we really missed Juan Mata. His goal threat in open play and set pieces, assists and overall intelligence have seen him become the Premier League’s most prized asset in recent weeks.

3 games in 6 days may have been a factor in a jaded, leggy performance. No one really grabbed this game by the scruff of the neck. Swansea are a fair side but no more than that. To mount a serious Premier League challenge, we cannot drop many points like this away from home.

We seemed to settle for 1-0 as soon as we’d scored. Perhaps with an eye on Wednesday but a second would have given more wriggle room in the crucial last 10 minutes. Swansea pushed up, stopped us playing out from the back and in fairness, deserved a point.

Without Mata, we looked a crucial yard slower in our build up and lacked punch, returning to a more predictable side to side movement of the ball with much less penetration.

Its easy to forget that Oscar and Hazard are 3 to 4 years younger than Mata and expectations need to be tempered a little, especially away from Stamford Bridge.

Playing Romeu and Mikel together is like eating the same meal twice: as nice as it may have been the first time, once you’ve eaten it, you know what’s coming next.

Moving Ramires to the double pivot was inspired. He had a quiet half after replacing Romeu but his directness and energy, is ideally suited to playing alongside Mikel, whose primary instinct is to stay and shield.

Mikel’s own engine is improving. He made a great block midway through the first half from a Swansea break that started with him ahead of the ball.

Hazard’s trickery will frustrate some supporters at times, especially when possession us conceded or he shoots when he could pass. He has huge self belief (his 93rd minute penalty to take the League Cup game to extra time exemplified that) and his set pieces in the second half, including the corner that led to our goal were high quality. His pace over the first 10 yards is a real asset.

Oscar had a quiet game and missed Mata more than anyone. He showed his tender years by getting caught on the ball and his final ball was not too his usual high standard. He was due a dip and had one.

All the more reason to give minutes to Marko Marin. This game looked ideal for him to get at least half an hour. After Moses’ goal, Robbie Di Matteo could have turned the screw with Marin’s fresh legs but chose not to. A trick missed perhaps.

Shakhtar is a must win game and I’d be tempted to start with Sturridge on Wednesday. In my opinion, he is not a Chelsea Centre Forward. If Torres starts, he must play in the width of the penalty area and really up his work rate. His brittle confidence has returned and my advice to him is simple: wherever possible, have a shot.

Despite an instinctive flick of the head for his goal, when he has time to think about what he’s doing, Moses must work on his finishing. He carried on where he left off in midweek and needs to add a clinical finish to his repertoire. His substitution though suggests he may start on Wednesday.

Ashley Cole’s display was an improvement from Man Utd last Sunday but his sloppy, misplaced pass after our throw in led to their goal and again he got caught too far up the pitch on several occasions, unable to get back. That 2 year extension is sadly looking like a bullet dodged in a League that does not respect reputations.

Ivanovic and Cahill may well be our medium term first choice pairing at Centre Half. They both read the game well, stayed close enough together and organised the line.

Carefree.

Follow Chris Davies on Twitter: @chrisdaviescfc

 

Late Goals Conceded Must Be Eradicated To Compete This November

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This weekend’s result is frustrating; despite Swansea arguably deserving a point to have got the lead and concede so late is oh so frustrating.

Last season we caught the late goal concession bug and it was at least partially responsible for the dismissal of Andre Villas Boas.

We cannot afford a recurrence if we are to challenge for major honours this season.

This year we conceded in the 88th minute against Swansea and this should be the time when we are at our most dangerous and rely upon superior fitness to punish our rivals as they push for a way back into the game.

This is just one game so it is too late to panic, but after the last two November’s I am on edge and keen to avoid the slumps that effectively ended the reigns of two former managers.

Hopefully Swansea will be just a minor aberration on our record as November is an important month.

Starting with Shaktar Donestk and Liverpool we need the performances that will put us back in the hunt for trophies.

Chelsea Fans Are Not Racist – The Idiots Do Not Define Us

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I would like to open this blog by stating categorically that the majority of Chelsea fans are not racist and Chelsea Football Club is not institutionally racist.

Like all football clubs there is not a selection process for supporting Chelsea football club, fans come from different backgrounds and all walks of life. Unfortunately some people who choose to affiliate themselves to the club I love tarnish the image of the whole group.

Chelsea attract fans ranging from upstanding members of society to those that are at times morally reprehensible. The spectrum goes as low as Members of Parliament and those lacking intelligence such as the racists that continue to blight football.

This is true of other clubs, Osama Bin Laden was reportedly an Arsenal fan and David Cameron an Aston Villa fan, this does not make Arsenal fans terrorists or Aston Villa fans inept politicians.

Therefore please do not associate these idiots with my club, these people are not representative.

On Wednesday of the 40,000 fans at Stamford Bridge it took just one to steal the headlines after a pulsating match where football should have been the story.

With tickets on general sale it is even harder to identify this individual or even fully determine if he was even a Chelsea fan, however this is immaterial this fan should be found and an example made so football can again show that racial hate will not be tolerated.

There is Racism In Football

I am not denying that there are people who try and affiliate themselves as Chelsea fans that are racist I have heard songs that are bigoted and frankly chilling when on a football day out, there has been some success though as you generally do not hear these in the stadium due to enforcement.

The links between some Chelsea fans and racist far right groups in the past have been written about before however, these fans never represented the majority and are fortunately a dying breed.

Extreme chants are now only heard in places the fans know they will not be heard by authorities as they have been driven out of the ground by the club and fans who demand that this behaviour is not wanted or tolerated at Stamford Bridge.

For all the hard work of the club there is still a small minority that need to be continually reminded that racism will not be tolerate and a drive towards eradication maintained.

The Other Chelsea Related Racism Scandals

The John Terry racism saga was not a great advert for the club, innocent in a court of law but guilty in the eyes of the FA no party feels truly vindicated by what happened and football was damaged by what happened.

I do not believe John Terry is a racist but our club cannot afford any more incidents alleged or otherwise of this nature.

I will not comment on the allegations made against Mark Clattenberg as I do not know what evidence exists, it is positive that this is being investigated but we must not condemn the referee until the facts are clear.

Racism is a serious issue and must be taken seriously, we must avoid making it a points scoring exercise between opposition fans and instead use it as a way of rallying together cracking down on incidents as needed.

Focussing on The Football

I love football as a game and am passionate enough to write about it regularly, it upsets me that these social issues are impacting upon our game.

So much progress has been made since the dark days where open racism was tolerated in our stadia.

Let’s hope that football can pull together to “Kick It Out” so we can all focus on the football.

Kristian Downer is the owner of FamousCFC.com a Chelsea fan blog

 

Chelsea v Manchester United – Confidence In A Can

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Well what a great game of football, 120 minutes, nine goals and a come from behind Chelsea victory that included a last kick of the game penalty to send the game to extra time.

Both teams made changes but both sides were relatively strong with a blend of fringe youth players and squad members mixing with regular first teamers to create a blend that lead to a brilliant game dynamic.

This time the second half was not ruined with red cards and we were treated to a goal fest with the pendulum swinging backwards and forwards across the 90 minutes.

Whilst both defences were porous the attacking prowess on display made the game exhilarating and meant that we were on our seats for the full hour and a half.

We saw an inspired performance from Victor Moses whilst if Cesar Azpilicueta and Oriol Romeu struggled but once we brought on the big guns we looked like scoring at every opportunity.

After the weekend we needed something to raise our spirits and breed positivity coming into another important month in the Premier League.

Scoring 5 goals and coming from behind is a perfect tonic, confidence in a can you might say.

Final Word: Well done to the ref, despite giving three penalties he got the big decisions right, only criticism was that Scott Wooton stayed on the pitch.

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.