DECEMBER 2008 REVISTED
Monday 1 December
Peter Kenyon said today that Didier is going nowhere without our permission, which doesn’t dispel the rumours that he wants out, merely reinforces the notion that we need to sell in order to buy.
He also touched on the stadium; yes, we will be staying put.
A terse statement on the web page revealed that Lyn Oslo and Chelsea have come to an agreement about the Obi Jon business. “The terms of the agreement will remain confidential. There will be no further comment,” but you didn’t expect any details did you? Rumours of £500,000 are unconfirmed.
Liverpool moved to the top of the table but were booed off by those knowledgeable Coppites after a 0-0 with West Ham.
Brendan Rodgers is finding life harder at Watford than expected; no sooner has he got his feet under the desk when his chairman, Graham Simpson, resigns after a hastily called EGM and talk of a vote of confidence.
Tuesday 2 December
Phew, that’s alright then a pint is, as we all knew, only £3.50 at the Bridge and Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport, who made the claim it was £4 in the first place has been invited to sample some for himself.
Only £3.50 what is the world coming to? Just to recap, a pint was 35p under old Labour in the supposedly bleak 1970s; progress, we’ve got a stick and we will shake it at it.
Thursday 4 December
Sulley Muntari says he wants Michael Essien to join him at Internazionale – the pair are team mates for Ghana. What, it’s a slow news day, apart from Roy Keane leaving Sunderland. We’ve developed a sneaking respect for Keane who used to be on the list of great footballers who cheat and/or are violent. But his first year at Sunderland showed a different side to his personality and a successful and attractive style of football. His downfall would appear to be his transfer policy; too many in and out without a great deal of difference in play. We will all have to suffer pictures of Sam Allardyce’s big ugly mug until the Rokerites appoint a successor.
Friday 5 December
Patrice Evra got it in the neck for the fracas after out match last April. The Manchester United left back was banned for four matches and fined. The FA regulatory commission also fined Chelsea £25,000 for failing to include FA jurisdiction in Sam Bethell’s contract. The case against Bethell was dropped at the last hearing, but had it not, would he now serve a four-mach grounds man’s ban, where no one is allowed to cut the grass for a month?
The charges of racism against Bethell were “not proven” according to the FA. We are unsure when the FA adopted this curiosity from Scottish law but this being England they mean, of course, that Sam is innocent (until proven guilty).
Still, solid work by the regulatory commission who only took seven months to sort this one out.
Saturday 6 December
Bolton Wanderers 0:2 Chelsea
The record for top-flight away wins is now ours to keep; 11 in a row makes our home and away form look back to front. Nicolas Anelka scored the first and Deco’s wicked shot gave us a second and for all the huff and puff Bolton managed Cech was comfortable and we could have had more. Oddly Bolton’s record coming into the game was four wins in five compared to our two draws and a defeat.
When we say Cech was comfortable we mean comfortable with anything Bolton tried to do, back passes where another matter, twice in the first-half he looked like giving Bolton a goal just by being clumsy.
Nicolas Anelka had to score the first goal on his return to Bolton, it is one of the laws of the game, so Bolton thought they’d get it over early by drifting off him as a Bosingwa cross came in and Anelka headed in off the post. Deco’s goal was altogether better, a break gave Kalou a shot which looped out to Ballack, helped back in to Deco and the wee Portuguese wizard scissor-kicked his first goal since August.
Michael Ballack finished the game with a comedy bandage after being hit in the head; he’ll live.
Ray Wilkins took the post match interviews and admitted that Luiz Felipe was feeling tired.
Crystal Palace youth 3:1 Chelsea youth
Familiar story for the youth team: good going forward ropey at the back. Half the team changed from the youth cup side that won in Manchester and the lack of experience showed. A second goal of the season for Marko Mitrovic.
Tuesday 9 December
Chelsea 2:1 CFR 1907 Cluj
Given the heavy weather we’ve made of home games this evening’s struggle seemed almost serene. We struggled, of course, against difficult opponents who with nothing to lose countered with speed and passed the ball more effectively than we did.
The first-half was scrappy with only Alex heading down so powerfully the ball bounced five yards over the bar, and Joe Cole’s swivel and shot to show for our efforts while Juan Culio was a constant threat for Cluj and we too often relied on last-ditch tackles. Our opener when it came was a odd goal with the ball heading in JT’s direction from a free-kick the big defender was barged off the ball only for Salomon Kalou to control neatly and blast the ball in.
Cluj had a debutant in goal name of Nuno Claro who played superbly to almost earn his side a point after Yssouf Koné equalised with a good header he shouldn’t have been allowed to make. By that time news was coming through from Rome that Bordeaux had fallen behind and it didn’t then matter what we did the group table would stay the same. We did something, Drogba fed by the slightly rusty Joe Cole, nicked one passed the keeper and we had the win. Drogba might have been absent for one reason or another this term but he has looked in excellent goal scoring form.
This performance should go some way to helping ease the home jinx, after all, our participation past the group stage was seriously in doubt before tonight, as a result the performance was perhaps edgier than it would have been.
John Terry in a statement of the bleedin’ said: “We have to up our game. Things have not been clicking but let’s not panic. The fans know we have a lot more to give in this competition and the Premier League. Hopefully that will come sooner rather than later.”
Thursday 11 December
Chelsea youth 2:2 West Ham United youth
Dermot Drummy’s first game as coach of the youth team and a game of few chances with all the goals packed into the last twenty-minutes. Exciting stuff if you turn up late.
Now Alex wants to leave in January “I told Chelsea a few days ago that I wanted to leave,” he told the paper of record that is the Sun. He has played 12 games for us this season and is looking for regular first-team football.
Friday 12 December
Avram Grant has cropped up to deny saying of Chelsea: “some of the players there have problems that you can’t find [in] a children’s team”, now why would he want to say something like that?
Alex is going nowhere according to the club and rumours that PSV are interested are being denied.
Saturday 13 December
Chelsea reserves 0:2 FC Spartak Moscow
Spirited display from the stiffs against the Spartak first-team as a warm-up for the Uefa Cup match with Spurs
Sunday 14 December
Chelsea 1:1 West Ham United
Zola came home for a visit and left with a point, playing after everyone around us had already drawn it is criminal not to take advantage to go top of the table.
That we didn’t was partly due to Gianfranco and partly to our new found frailties at the back. Jose Bosingwa has won plaudits for his attacking but it was another tame attempt to clear from the bantamweight right-back that led to our East London neighbours opening the scoring. Yes, Noble batted the ball forward with and arm/shoulder and yes, JT didn’t close Bellamy down with anything like his usual vigour, possibly because he was injured and possibly because his form has been patchy this season.
We huffed and puffed in reply but the one bright piece of football we created all afternoon led to the equaliser from Anelka controlling from a Lampard chip. It was the only time the tippy-tappy approach play looked like producing a result. And yes, we should have had a clear penalty at the end when Frank was clearly fouled in the box, that we are not getting any luck is making the form we’re displaying even worse.
This was not the result of West Ham coming to sit behind the ball and defend for their lives this was an open competitive game from which we were lucky to get a point as Carlton Cole’s shot was saved by Cech at the death.
A final word for Scolari who was in hospital over night with kidney stones, men are prone to describing this experience as being as painful as child birth, having had a mild attack of the former and watched the latter we can assure you that it is not true.
Monday 15 December
Rumours abound that all is not well behind the scenes: Drogba to Inter and Alex away whispers are still there and there are noises that not everyone was impressed that Ballack was swapped for Drogba on Sunday instead of Deco.
Tuesday 16 December
West Ham United reserves 4:3 Chelsea reserves
Paul Clement’s first competitive game in charge and a feast of goals, we nearly clawed our way back from three down but against Hammers with plenty of first team experience we competed well.
Thursday 18 December
The FA published the full findings of the commission on the Evra/Bethell scrap and it makes interesting reading; evidence from United’s first-team coach, Mike Phelan, and goalkeeping coach, Richard Hartis was inconsistent, unreliable and misleading. It is on the FA’s website if you want to join in the fun.
Friday 19 December
So it is old Clownio. Claudio Ranieri and his Juventus side will be the next obstacle in Europe in February. Internazionale and Mourinho travel to Old Trafford, Arsenal got Roma and Liverpool play Real Madrid.
It will be good to see Ranieri again, he was hopeless coach at Chelsea but he saw us through to the end of the Bates era and managed the transition to megabucks with some dignity.
Meanwhile, Frank Arnesen is “a natural candidate” to succeed the current Danish coach, Morten Olsen, according to The Danish Football Federation. But we might have to wait to see the back of him until or if the Danes fail to qualify for South Africa.
Saturday 20 December
Now we have been told to ignore the transfer window, nobody out, nobody in, and Scolari didn’t even look too surprised as he said of Kenyon: “Peter is my boss and if he says that this is the philosophy, it is OK, it is finished”.
Jose Mourinho has hinted at a special relationship with Didier, well, more than a special relationship, more of a grafting/transplant affair: “Drogba is more than a player for me, he is a part of me, an extension of the coach on the pitch.” For all that he said he had no plans to buy him in January.
Sunday 21 December
“Luiz Felipe Scolari laments that unscrupulous individuals outside the club, acting for their own benefit or trying to make profit, tell lies to the general public through the press.” This statement was issued in Brazil partly to scotch rumours that Scolari will return to manage the national side but he couldn’t have sounded more paranoid if he’d tried “Not a single player in Chelsea’s squad has contested the substitutions made in English championship or Champions League games. There has been no kind of criticism, comment or complaint from any player” okay, so stop going on about it.
Monday 22 December
Everton 0:0 Chelsea
Three chances to go top of the table and we have spurned them all. This game was a bundle of frustration with Terry off and Chelsea players further punished by being penalised for every challenge it seemed the referee had ideas of his own about who should be top of the table.
We started brightly with an Ashley Cole volley turned over by Carson after only a couple of minutes. Everton were creating a few half chances going forward but our control was growing when John Terry went for a 50/50 ball and caught Osman and was, to everyone’s surprise, given a straight red. Within the letter of the laws Phil Dowd was within his rights, but few thought the tackle anything other than clumsy and the ref does have the discretion to use his commonsense. Sadly Phil Dowd doesn’t have any commonsense as he demonstrated by giving a string of soft free-kicks and booking any Chelsea player who objected. Lampard and Ash both went in this idiot’s book for complaining about absurd awards.
At half-time Drogba and Ivanovic came on for Joe Cole and Anelka but our play was only sporadic, that we held out for a point was testament to our resilience that we didn’t win was down to Dowd. His most petulant and absurd moment came when booking Ballack; Michael complained that a defensive wall was not ten-yards at which the petty martinet marched ten baby steps toward the wall and booked Ballack. This ranks with Deco’s booking for taking a free-kick to quickly as the most absurd card issued this year.
Petr Cech performance after JT’s dismissal was enormous. He came for everything, reacted quickly to anything Everton could think of and saved bravely even when being bundled into the goal right at the death. We have to be thankful that the linesman saw Pienaar offside because the ref seemed inclined to award a goal even though Cech had the ball in his hands as he was pushed over the line.
Overall another poor game and another two points dropped; what really makes you sick is the thought of the glee in the Ferguson household this Christmas.
Wednesday 24 December
Ryan Bertrand is going to stay a Canary until the end of the season. Happy Winterval one and all.
Thursday 26 December
Chelsea 2:0 West Bromwich Albion
Didier took just three minutes to give us the lead and the game was won from that point onward. Frank added a second in first-half injury time and the players switched off in the second period. In fact Lampard seemed to hog the chances in the first-half, having four shots to the rest of the team’s two. Only Ashley Cole, who hit the woodwork offered a threat.
In the second-half we saw fleeting glimpses of Anelka and Drogba linking and a shocking push from Ballack on Brunt that could have been a straight red card for raising his hands.
Ultimately we created plenty of chances, controlled the match but failed to really convince. Drogba came back and waited just a few minutes to get on the score sheet but Scolari chose, as Avram had, to play Nicolas on the left instead of the two together up front and if you can’t experiment against West Brom at home when can you?
Sunday 28 December
Fulham 2:2 Chelsea
Another frustrating afternoon as Fulham come back for a barely deserved draw. With Liverpool meeting no resistance on Tyneside with a 5-1 win, we are now three points behind the top spot and we are looking frail.
Things started badly, Fulham were bright and confident but the manner of the opening goal showed a defence that lacks confidence as Dempsey was allowed to control and tamely flick the ball in with Cech and Ash looking on.
It took forty minutes for us to hit back, when Lampard latched onto a loose ball, before smashing us ahead from a free-kick. We looked more purposeful second-half and didn’t really allow them a chance until Dempsey (again) headed them level.
We should have had a penalty immediately as a defender’s arm kept Lampard’s shot out but we haven’t had any luck this season, nor any penalties.
Scolari was furious with his defenders but should have been angry with himself as he started Malouda instead if Anelka in a tame line-up. Anelka came on for the limping Malouda after half an hour and immediately tested their ‘keeper. Deco’s decline in recent appearances continued as he played the ball out as often as to a colleague, we were warned by Barça fans in the summer that Deco was on the wane, he has provided some moments to suggest he could fit into the Chelsea side but he clearly now needs a rest, it must be hard coming into the Premiership at 30. Better news was the return of Ricardo Carvalho who came on for Alex but looked as class performer from the moment he touched the ball.
Chelsea youth 4:2 DC United youth
Opening the Disney Soccer Showcase saw Paul Clement’s side open with a thumping win with goals from Frank Nouble, Jhon Pirez, Billy Knott and Anton Rodgers taking us to 4-0 before conceding two before the end.
Monday 29 December
Chelsea youth 1:0 Lonestar SC
In conditions too humid to play football Bobby Devyne nicked the only goal as a much-changed side beat a well composed side from Austin Texas.
Tuesday 30 December
Chelsea youth 2:2 Lower Merrion SC
Already qualified with our first two wins we struggled a bit in this one after losing a player, Bobby Devyne, to a questionable red card after only ten-minutes. Goals from Frank Nouble and Aziz Deen-Conteh twice drew us level.
The players were back for training today ahead of the FA Cup at the weekend and there were frank views expressed by everyone, in what will be called clear the air talks.
Possibly up for discussion will be Didier’s latest interview with France Football he said that in the summer; “I felt completely extinguished. For the first time in my career, I’d lost the passion for football. I was lost.”
Shaun Cummings will stay with MK Dons until May as Di Matteo’s side press for promotion continues.
Wednesday 31 December
Chelsea youth 5:0 Javanon youth
We have our first trophy of the season, the Disney Soccer Showcase beating Javanon from Louisville, Kentucky in a one-sided final.
Liam Bridcutt has extended his loan spell at Watford where Brendan Rodger’s experiment continues with mixed results.