After having our own ‘bubble’ of invincibility burst, and by ourselves rather than any pins from outside the Chelsea sanctum, it was nice to see on Saturday that we were still able to put our own sharp edges to better use.
Man City came to Stamford Bridge with a decent record behind them and a coach who, whilst unexciting (to the non-females at least) had a fair bit of technical and tactical nous. The rest is history of course, as goals from Essien (pop) Drogba (pop pop) Joe Cole (pop) Kalou (pop) and Shevchenko (hiss) evacuated the air from Man City lungs far more effectively than Apollo 13 managed.
However, that match has enough comment elsewhere so I thought it may be an idea to take a look at a few other premiership bubbles that have been irreparably punctured or are rapidly losing air.
Arsenal – in fairness, their bubble is still growing somewhat. Having watched them tear Liverpool apart at Anfield and still only get the same result that we managed however would suggest that the loss of Van Persie has somewhat blunted their attack. Add to this that the likes of Eboue & Torre will be of to the ACN in January and it isn’t difficult to imagine that this season isn’t going to be anything like the procession that many pundits are hoping.
Liverpool – thoroughly outplayed by Arsenal, bottom of their Champions League group, injuries starting to mount up and a manager who increasingly has difficulty in knowing what team to be put out would suggest that this year, like all the others, will be one of Premiership underachievement. In the recent past, European exploits have deflected the criticism away from Benitez, but will the UEFA cup have the same magic for the fans? It’s more of a balloon than a bubble at Anfield, and I can see theirs having the most massive expulsion of air – floating several loops around the league making a comedy farting sound that the kids will adore, before landing half way down the dining table (which I will adore).
Man Utd – considering the media view that Chelsea are only criticised because they’re at the top, criticism of Utd has been slow in coming forward after last seasons Premiership. The bubble isn’t deflating here yet, and frankly I don’t expect it to. However, this is still a team which can drop points carelessly. Coventry have already removed the League Cup from their wish list and you feel that, like last year, a top European side will leave them to concentrate on the two remaining domestic competitions. Avoiding defensive injuries will be the key here.
Spurs – Bubble already long gone here. With the boardroom constantly shooting themselves in the foot it was inevitable that a stray round would cause damage. They’ll avoid relegation but the primarily young English team that Jol was building is going to be dismantled. Will Ramos do a Benitez and stick to what he knows in the transfer market? Probably.
Bolton – Another burst bubble, Sammy Lee was uninspired and Megson unexpected. A dogfight this year, and I don’t think Anelka is going to want to hang around for that (and what a good option he would be for Chelsea in the January window).
Newcastle / Blackburn – I can’t separate these two. They’ll both do ‘ok’. Both managers will increase their stock but neither side dares inflate their bubble beyond a conservatively safe level.
West Ham – the team synonymous with ‘bubbles’, their own bubble has never recovered from the effects of an Argentinian hurricane. As ever, they faded and died in pretty short order.
Finishing back at Chelsea, the old bubble has been punctured and caused a loss of points, performance and optimism. However, work has speedily progressed on a replacement bubble and early signs are encouraging. I said at the time of the Grant appointment that I fully expected us to be in with a shout of the Premiership at the end of the season and with the bubble still inflating and showing plenty of room for expansion it could even be our year for European glory. Yes, the Chelsea bubble is looking good – and it’s inevitable that it’ll be floating proudly above all the others before the end of the season.
After all, you only have to look in the forums to see that we have an unlimited supply of hot air. It’s almost unfair isn’t it?