Amazing. Or is that too strong a word? It may be way too soon to draw any conclusions yet, but a season that was potentially going to be a low key one with the lack of money and the alleged goings (whether by transfer or at Her Majesties pleasure), has started in a way many would have not thought possible. Fixture by fixture, these first four games last season produced a total of four points. This time around we have matched that and we still have two to go. Okay, maybe not time to go jumping up and down, but both last week’s game and this one against United showed signs that we actually have a team that is prepared to fight for each other — something that was sadly lacking on many occasions last term.
This was an exciting and ultimately even match. Chelsea certainly edged the first forty-five minutes with United probably having the better of the second half. What a dream start, barely three minutes on the clock, a free kick out right that was viciously slung in by Bolo and William Gallas got the faintest of touches to edge the ball past Carroll in the United goal. Cue lots of hugs, warm smiles and lots and lots of singing. Jimmy Floyd, who had another poor night by his standards, had a good effort flash wide and just failed to get on the end of a low Zola cross before disaster struck. Beckham latched onto a long through ball, left Baba for dead and flashed in a shot that deflected in off Dessy and past the helpless Carlo. Whether it would have gone in without Dessy’s intervention we will never know. Sadly, lots of good work had gone to waste as we were back on level terms.
It could have been worse, of course. Five minutes before the break Giggs hit the outside of the post with a powerful effort. Then it was our turn again. Bolo had already been involved in the move before snatching the ball off of Lumpy’s toe and belting the ball from twenty yards into the back of the United net. Cue even more hugs, warm smiles and lots and lots and lots of singing.
We may have only added de Lucas to the squad this season, but it is clear that we are now seeing a Bolo Zenden who only made the most fleeting of appearances last year. He was involved in both goals tonight, the maker of one against Charlton and he hit the bar too. Carry on like this and we may have found a new favourite number eleven.
Second half and United came out far more determined. Beckham hit the top of the crossbar and then the ginger whinger, Scholes, went tumbling over Carlo. In truth, it looked every inch a penalty, and with Poll being the man in black (or green, or blue, or whatever other colours they wear now) there could only be one decision. Play on? Whoever said that Graham Poll was a f—ing arsehole? Top bloke if you ask me. Fergie was livid. In fact, the bomb squad needed to be called as he looked likely to explode any minute.
Of course, our good luck was never going to last, and in the 65th minute a good ball in from our right was flicked in on the run by bloody Ryan Giggs for his bloody 100th bloody goal for Manchester U-bloody-nited. We did seem to tire visibly towards the end, and maybe the changes made by Claudio in Cole and Eidur for Zola and Jimmy Floyd should have been made sooner. United could have snatched it towards the end, particularly with an effort from Roy Keane, but Carlo earned his chips once more and the game finished evens.
Overall, I reckon that this was a fair result. It also moved us to the top of the Premiership, if only for seventeen hours. Is there no way we can stop the league now and claim our rightful place as Premiership champions? If nothing else, it does the heart good to look at the table and see us six places above the Gooners. Now, if only that could be the case come next Easter.
Chelsea line-up: Cudicini — Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Babayaro — Zenden, Lampard, Petit (Gronkjaer), de Lucas — Hasselbaink (Cole), Zola (Gudjohnsen)
Subs (not used): Ferrer, de Goey