Well, it had to happen but when it did it was no less disappointing. Through gritted teeth we’ll admit the weekend’s game against Everton was a cracking and fiercely contested FA Cup tie, in the best traditions of the Cup really.
Perhaps what made the game so disappointing to lose was the manner in which it happened. After Lampard’s extra time goal the momentum was clearly with us and, as seen so often at this level, an unnecessary free kick outside the area cost us dearly.
Ivanovic has been brilliant this season and most CFCnet readers rate him very highly but he has to learn that when a player is facing away from goal in the dying minutes of a game there is simply no need to foul him. If Ivanovic does that at any time during a Champions League tie we’ll be out, period.
The same level of criticism applies to Anelka. Again a very highly regarded player at CFCnet, he simply does his cause no good by taking penalties so casually. To be fair, his casual style might simply be a ploy to hide his nerves but, as we’re no psychologists, we have to point out that when he misses a penalty taken like that he looks lightweight and unconcerned to the millions watching. Still, aged nearly 32 we can’t see him changing now but we hope that Carlo has a ‘word’ nonetheless.
Everton have a superb record against us with only one defeat in the last eight matches. That’s not bad, in fact it’s better than any other team, yet most of their goals have come from set pieces which makes Ivanovic’s sloppy foul all the more frustrating. Surely Carlo’s future mantra against Everton must be, ‘no fouls in our half or I’ll dock half your wages’.
As we walked out of the game as downhearted as when Villa equalised in the last minute earlier this year, we couldn’t help remembering that no team has ever won the FA Cup three times in a row since Blackburn Rovers achieved the feat in 1886 – the same year that the country of Burma was presented to Queen Victoria ‘as a birthday gift’. How times change. You can almost hear the Royal Courtiers, ‘Happy Birthday Ma’am, here’s Burma and, oh by the way, Blackburn have won the FA Cup a record three times.’
Without trying to nail a silver lining to a very ugly cloud, we have to applaud our team for winning the FA Cup three times in the last five years. Indeed, if you’d told us in 1994 when Man Utd knocked us senseless at Wembley (with more than a little help from a certain Harrovian schoolmaster) that we’d go on to win the FA Cup five times in fifteen years we’d have thought the world had gone crazy. But not as crazy as giving a whole country to a person as a birthday present, we’ll admit that much.
Pub talk later on focused on Tony Glover’s brilliant CFCnet article on the nature of ‘what constitutes a real Chelsea fan’. It’s a must read for newer fans because it points out the need for healthy debate, not extremism. As CFCnet can testify, our Chelsea Forum can get inundated with polarised views which stifle real discussion. What our moderators strive to do is to get people to respect each other and, let me tell you, it’s not always easy after a gut wrenching defeat.
Tony’s been a brilliant addition to CFCnet this season yet the only reason he’s writing for us is that he’s asked to. We have been accused of publishing ‘anything’ but frankly that’s what we’re here for – so that Chelsea fans can air their views. If you feel tempted to put pen to paper simply email [email protected]. So long as the argument is cohesive and you’re not being lazy in the grammar dept we’ll (probably!) print the article. By the way, Tony will be providing many posts for this very blog from next season so we’re looking forward to that …