PRICELESS

By Daniel Rankine
Sep 20th, 2008

It’s been a bumpy old week. There have been more ups and downs at the Bridge over the last ten days than if tabloid fodder Winehouse and Spears shared a sea saw. In the International break Lampard found his England form again, Joe Cole bagged a classy brace and then Essien went and did his cruciate. ‘Gutted’ doesn’t even cover it. To add insult to injury Steve Clarke resigned before the clash of the cash to join (fellow legend and Chelsea hero) Gianfranco all aboard the comedy ship that is West Ham. ‘Bewildered’ doesn’t even cover it. After all of the early promise and a crunch game, against a fired up City, still to play and suddenly things looked a bit ropey.

Any worries were swiftly dispelled on a warm evening in Manchester. City were taught a brief football lesson with the ever impressive Deco running the Chelsea midfield as though the little fella’s played there all his professional life. Who needs Robinho? City do and more than us, that’s for sure. The only sour note of a fine performance was the poor decision to give JT a straight red for his rugby tackle on Jo. The club announced that they would appeal and we gave up hope. No one ever gets an appeal upheld do they? The win was soured with our captain certain to miss the big game against Man Utd. Then, weirdly, before Tuesday’s game we heard the FA had come to a common sense decision and the big man is now all set to exact some timely revenge on Manure.

Just to round off the good vibes Chelsea went on to batter Bordeaux four nil without hitting second gear for much of the game. It was exactly the kind of European stroll that is so hard to come by and, more importantly, is just what you want before you go up against your nearest rivals. For me, the most pleasing aspect of the match was Big Phil’s post match comments. Yes, we’d won four nil at a canter. Yes, we could have had more. Yes, we again played some great footy with fullbacks playing as wingers and the centre backs surging forward on a whim. Was Scolari happy? Hell no. And wasn’t that great? The fact that the manager was so demanding has got us fans rubbing our hands in anticipation. Not only does he want a lot more from his players, he wants perfection. It’s certainly something to aim for and I applaud this Brazilian footballing madness. This team are going to take some stopping when they hit top gear. If this is how the team is playing now and it’s nowhere near the big man’s beautiful vision, we should be in for some performances later this season.

In the end the week has turned around quite nicely. Zola and Clarkey can continue their Chelsea managers training course at Upton College and hopefully take some points off our rivals. It’s out with one Blues legend and in with another as Butch returns to the dugout with all the experience and knowledge of the football league that we would struggle to find anywhere else. Essien is one tough cookie and if any player can return from a serious injury, in superhuman time, it’s surely him. Here’s hoping we see him in a blue shirt when they’re dishing out the silverware. And what’s that noise? Ah, it’s the penny dropping over at Eastlands where Robinho has released City are still a bit rubbish. It’ll certainly be fun when the rest of the team catch up with his talent. Meanwhile we have a date with the smaller team in Manchester.

Looking ahead and a performance on Sunday would be extra special but a win is all we want. Performances can come later. Not only is it a chance to open a gap it’s a chance to get some of that sweet, sweet revenge for Moscow. Fergie’s hilarious playground comments regarding Hackett may be stirring the pot or they may be the inner workings of a bitter old man but, let’s face facts, we couldn’t care less. We just want three points not more pathetic mind games, thanks. 

JT scoring?  Fergie’s face? Priceless.

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