This is why we’re gonna be champions! This is why. Today’s match was a real test of character in which we came out with flying colours, three goals and as many points. Liverpool might have beaten Man Utd but still they aren’t worthy of a top spot. We stay where we belong while leaving the likes of Arsenal and Hullcity (I just wanted to put them in the same line) in third and fourth spot, while Man Utd Reserves (you know there’s no Ronaldo now!) are left reeling somewhere in the bottom half. Fantastic weekend!
Today’s match is a very special one. One where there were a lot of things to be proved, and more importantly, settled. Man City are no way a rival to Chelsea but they needed a quick lesson so that we can bring them to planet earth and set them straight. It was the worst nightmarish start I didn’t want to see. Robinho scores against Chelsea in his Man City debut, after all that deadline day drama and his ‘vow that he’ll show it to Chelsea’. In fact, that was the last thing I wanted to happen. You should have seen the way Robinho and co celebrated after that goal. The crowd went frenzy and the all things Man City were bubbling with energy. Robinho must have thought that the day belongs to him. He had not known Chelsea yet. It’s a 90 minute game kid!
At that moment, it needed a resolute and determined team to stop Man City running away with the game in front of their fans, with their spirits sooo high. We didn’t have to wait too long. Carvalho smashed one from close range in the post-corner scampering. It was back to level terms. The moment we equalised, I texted my mate, ‘we’re gonna murder them today’. Murder them, didn’t we? We created chance after chance while Man City had to be content with those odd deflected passes that fell their way. For good part of the game, Man City didn’t get to touch the ball. Yeah, all that they could do, was to simply watch as weave attack after attack.
We should have got this full time score by half time itself, but for some poor efforts from Malouda and Anelka. May be because we have won, I somewhat feel they can be given another chance. The player of the day has gotta be Frank Lampard. Give him a 10-year contract I say. The man was pure gold. He was so brilliant that he couldn’t go wrong at all. Deco was outstanding too. I admit, I did not expect to see Deco and Lampard play so fluently together as if they have been midfield partners for seasons. That goal by Lampard in the second half was a glorious piece of work. He passed, he set it up, he got the ball back, he dribbled inside the box, beat a defender and finished like a charm from an acute angle. He was the saviour again. Have no fear, when Frank’s here!
I wanted Joe Cole to start today and some of us were not quite convinced if he can start. He came on with his head bandaged which looked quite dramatic. It’s not that we had no one else and he had to come straight from his treatment table. But I think he must be quite fine and that’s what I could make out of his game today – very intelligent and very Joe Cole. It was his inch-perfect through ball that resulted in the Anelka goal that sealed the match. It was really accurate, so accurate that even Anelka could not miss it! Jokes apart, Anelka finish for that goal was simply splendid. He had little time and space for his reaction, first touch and finish, but he did a great job with that finish. Okay, I won’t talk about his other failings in the match for he put the match out of Man City’s reach with that goal.
From about 25th minute till the 75th minute, we simply snuffed them out. We were playing great football. Man City could only watch us play. There was hardly any involvement from their players. Whenever they were fortunate to see the ball, we just won it back before it touched the second Man City player. Robinho was was not be seen in the second half. He was very easily handled by the Chelsea defence, we did not fall for his usual flip flaps. In fact, I thought we tackled him well and snatched the possession back from him with some ease.
Mikel was phenomenal. He understands his role so well and works intelligently within his framework. You see young players, teenagers as strikers, wingers and attacking midfielders. You can’s find too many young players playing the defensive midfield role. That role needs a lot of maturity and experience. That’s what makes Mikel very special. Take a bow, young man!
When we were just cruising along came that moment. For the dozenth time in the match, Man City got a lucky loose ball and Jo started sprinting towards an almost empty half of the pitch. John Terry did the right thing of soft tackling him and the wrong thing of dragging him back with his arms. He wasn’t the last defender mind you, there was another established top European central defender, who I rate better than Terry, who could have cleaned up Jo. The referee, absolutely inconsiderate of this fact, sent Terry off with another 15 minutes to spare. I’m sure the ‘respect the referee’ initiative won’t be a massive success with decisions like these. It wasn’t even a difficult decision to make. It was a yellow card, as simple as that. I’m sure we’ll appeal against that decision because of two reasons: (i) it was injustice (ii) that could mean Terry missing the Man Utd match.
With about 15 minutes to go, I wanted just three points with the same score line. No fancy flicks, no back heels, just three points and a two goal difference. I guess Scolari must have sent across the same message. We brought on Alex for Anelka and the remaining period was just about bringing the tempo down and throwing more bodies when there was trouble. If we had all 11 men on the pitch until full time, we could surely scored couple more goals. Man City had already surrendered to the Blue Army (black army?), while the red card lifted them a bit only to surrender again. Our last match in black jersey wasn’t too great and when Robinho scored, I almost concluded that it could be a jinxed one. Thankfully, we won a fantastic match sporting black.
Negatives? Well, I don’t want to spoil my celebratory mood by talking about negatives but there are some though. We should stop conceding goals. Now that’s the third straight match that we have conceded a goal. With our back four and goalkeeper, we should do lot better. We seem to make things little difficult for ourselves at the back. Bosingwa and Ashley Cole’s increased involvement in the attack is a part of the problem but we earn more than we lose there. But is there a way where we earn but don’t lose anything? Scolari will come up with his goods. I trust him.
Drogba came on for the last 20 minutes and contributed nothing at all. He was simply walking around, looking a bit indifferent. If he wasn’t fit enough, he should have played another reserve match. If he was fit, what was he doing there, walking like he was in his garden? I was waiting so much for his return and he comes in only to flex his muscles. Next match, I want to see the Drogba, the intimidator not Drogba, the by-stander. And yes, I’m officially a fan of Bosingwa. He turns out to be superb signing. I like his intelligence, his work rate and more than anything, his attitude on the pitch.
Overall, it was a great team performance. Everyone worked so hard. Despite being a goal down in this high profile away match, our players wanted to beat them and they did not want to settle for anything less. Man City knows that we should have won this match by a 4 or 5 goal margin. Scolari had said that we won’t miss Robinho, there is no better way than this win to prove that. Keep away, the blue army marching on. Who’s next? The team placed 13th in the league table? Bring them on!