Tuesday 8 December
Chelsea 2:2 Apoel
On the bright side, Gaël Kakuta continues to shine, playing at the tip of the diamond he found passes and angles others wouldn’t have thought of, his pass to Zhirkov to set up the second goal was a beauty to behold. Carlo wasn’t really looking on the bright side, thinking more about the seven (7) goals we have reported on this week he lambasted the team for lacking focus: “That was not a good evening … In the second half we lost intensity, we lost concentration, we played too slowly and were too soft. For that, I’m not happy. I’m unhappy because we have to play the whole 90 minutes with intensity and concentration. It’s not important always about the result, but you have to play your best every game and, tonight, it was not like we want.” He hadn’t finished: “I spoke with the players at the end. It was the poorest we have played under me since I became manager. In the second half, we played badly. I don’t have a problem saying that. The first goal we conceded can happen. The second goal should not. That was a consequence of our own play. We played too softly. We had the possibility to close the game out, but we didn’t play well. Apoel deserved their draw.”
Apoel can feel themselves slightly patronized, they played well, bursting out of the blocks to make John Terry look half-asleep to score after six minutes when Żewłakow tapped in a cross from Kosowski cross. He was offside but then the first goal since the opening day was always going to need a bit of help.
We pulled ourselves together quite quickly, Malouda crossed for Joe Cole to nod in only for the linesman to flag him off. Zhirkov made a nuisance of himself down the left and started to show some of promise we were, er, promised but we didn’t have to wait long. Essien banged in a cracker after 18 minutes and everything looked rosy when Didier bludgeoned a second a few minutes later from the aforementioned Zhirkov (guy in the pub said he looks like Bobby Tambling and you can see what he means).
Michael Essien went off shortly after Didier’s strike, he appeared to tear a hamstring stretching for the ball and when a player goes off when there has been no contact you worry. Lampard came on the replace him.
For the rest of the half we were bright and lively but didn’t bring many saves from their keeper. In fact Turnbull, on his debut, had to get across to scramble one shot round the post.
John Terry thought he had volleyed us further ahead but was again flagged. It is a shame for John because it would easily be the best goal he ever scored, easily.
Kakuta’s bright night was brought to an end when Fabio Borini replaced him with 20 minutes left.
Ancelotti mood was secured with four minutes to go when Obi John dithered and allowed Mirosavljevic clear to tuck the ball under Turnbull, well ok we didn’t want to spoil his night – that should read nutmegged and on your full debut too.
Wednesday 9 December
Michael Essien’s injury has been confirmed as a hamstring tear and will keep him out until the African Cup of Nations, so we’ll have to live without him until February.
Obi John held his hands up about yesterday’s little mishap: “it was a very big mistake from me, but the mistake is done now. I take responsibility for it but I think overall we didn’t play well enough in the second half.” He revealed that Ancelotti was not happy with the performance: “The manager was really, really mad with the way we played in the second half. We had lost the last two games and playing at home as well, we should have won this game. We played well in the first half but the second half we didn’t move the ball quickly and you could smell the danger coming.” At least we are all agreed on the facts.
Meanwhile, both Barcelona and Inter came through in the Champions’ League. The pot of group runners-up reads like this: Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Lyon, Stuttgart, CSKA Moscow, Porto, Internazionale Milano and Olympiakos. The draw is next Friday.
Thursday 10 December
Dean Ashton announced he is retiring due to a persistent ankle problem. And no sooner were the words out his mouth than some ambulance chaser put a rumour about that he will sue Chelsea and their then player Shaun Wright-Philips for the tackle that ultimately ended his career.
Saturday 12 December
Chelsea 3:3 Everton
Didier Drogba gave a master-class this afternoon, a master class of the striker’s craft. Power, speed and precision combined in two beautifully taken goals, the only shame was the defence decided to continue their clumsy incompetence to let in three of the stupidest goals you will ever see. No, really, they have been talking all week in interviews about needing to concentrate for 90-minutes and how we mean to build another unbeaten run. Then the minute they step on the pitch they are all over the place. Second fecking attack and they score, free-kick given against Lampard when he clearly won the ball and only brushed the player and you know what is coming next – hoof into the box and the header has only bounced off a post and then in from the back of Petr Cech’s head. (0-1, eight goals in four games)
We didn’t have long to wait for an equaliser; Carvalho did his total football act fed the ball to Lampard and Drogba lashed to equalise at 1-1 before Anelka found a miraculous chipped finish over ’keeper and defenders but under the bar for 2-1.
The interval was nearing and five minutes of injury time played the ball went out for a goal kick only the ref ignored it and gave Everton a throw. Of course we failed to clear and, as the ball bounced up for his from the prone Carvalho, Yakubu bundled in. (2-2, nine in four.)
Ivanovic was having a great game going forward and Drogba smashed in a third from his cross for 3-2 just before the hour. Just after the hour a high ball into our box has Cech coming, staying and going back all at the same time and Didier’s headed clearance ricocheted into the net off the back of Saha’s head. 3-3.
We still had half an hour to turn it round but the belief seemed to be draining Ballack tried a free-kick and Drogba chipped from wide of the penalty box for what would have been goals of the season but Tim Howard was equal to both.
Ballack late shot across goal wasn’t going to trouble the scorers and suddenly we’ve dropped points to three of the most comically unlucky goals you will ever see.
The boos at the end were a touch unnecessary for a team that has worked incredibly hard this season, however, two points dropped at home became one gained when those who stayed in the pub to watch United catch us at the top of the table saw Aston Villa beat them at Old Trafford. A day of such mixed emotions cannot disguise the shambles our once proud defence has become. Portsmouth on Wednesday now looks a must win game.
On Friday Ancelotti said: “I do not need a whip with these players, because I know their professionalism. They have to concentrate in every game and play with the same intensity for 90 minutes,” get out the gimp mask in training Carlo we need to take this to the next level.
Sunday 13 December
We are gathered here today, dearly beloved, to bear witness to the end of Liverpool football club’s title ambitions – Arsenal came back from a goal deficit at the break to win 1-2 at Anfield.
Talking of Arsenal, Wenger is considering appealing to have our game against Wolves on November 21 declared void because Michael Essien played. It is confusing: Michael refused to play for Ghana the Wednesday before and so he should have been banned. Chelsea say they have a letter from his mothe… the Ghanaian FA giving him permission but Internazionale also had a note but left Sulley Muntari out of their next game.
Manchester United star Ryan Giggs was crowned BBC village idiot of the year 2009 tonight after a season in which he made an impressive handful of appearances, including being spanked in the European cup final, and one in which he scored a staggering handful of goals. Sadly both Jessica Ennis and Jenson Button (who both did win something important this year) beat him up in the car park after the ceremony and nicked the coveted trophy.
Phil Taylor was absent preparing for his fifteenth world title.