Old Trafford. Man Utd in their best form. Chelsea still in a scratchy league start. Young and hot Reds versus the old and slow Blues. A referee with an anti-Chelsea agenda. Inevitable offside goals for Man Utd. Typical OT-style lucky ricochets. Disappointing 3-1 defeat. Despite all this, against all the odds, against all the expectations – this Chelsea team dominated Man Utd and had them run ragged to the point it was like we were playing at the Bridge.
This is what a Man Utd fan had said in their blog. You know manure fans are not the type that gives credit to opposition. But check this one out:
Not going to complain. But fuck me, we were lucky. The combination of getting the close calls from the linesman, Torres missing an open net, Ramirez fluffing the easiest chance ever, and Torres failing to score when gifted chance after chance, was enough for us to win. Jones was mighty. Evans too. But damn. Overall we were very, very lucky.
And I’m not going to complain about that. Chelsea were as good as I’ve seen them in recent years, they brought the fire and the fury, not to mention pace and energy. Holy crap, people been writing them off, they were amazing today. Our lads were terrific too, and it was a brilliant match, but it could easily have gone either way.
That sums up nicely, doesn’t it?
Fernando Torres: Make no mistake. El Nino is well and truly back. He’s been having some really good matches this season. In the last match, he could have got a hattrick but got a brace of assists. This time, he could have easily got a hattrick but ended with one important confidence-building goal. Yes, that was a bad miss but I don’t think it should play too much in his mind because he had a great game. And what a well taken goal that was. Great pass by Anelka and that’s exactly the kind of passes and support that Torres wants. Torres’ movement today was superb. His movement and the support he gets, have to go in tandem. I firmly think we’ve learnt how to use Torres and the man is also back in confidence. Can’t wait to see him in action next week!
Chelsea’s dominance: Look we were playing a red-hot Man Utd in Old Trafford who had just despatched Arsenal 8-2. And now, look how we played. We had them on the backfoot all through the game. Despite the offside goals and freak ricochet goal, we continued to pound them with our attacks. For about an hour, old Sir Alex must have had his heart in his mouth. In recent times, I don’t remember any other visiting team playing against them at Old Trafford like we did today.
Chelsea’s teamwork: Big positive! Chelsea’s teamwork in attack as well as in defence was brilliant. Suddenly, all Chelsea players seem to have figured out the strengths, weaknesses, styles and methods of their fellow Chelsea players. Our play showed how well we have been training and the amount of the work the manager has put in to make this possible. I said after the last match that we are clearly improving. Give us a few more matches – we are again becoming a dangerously good unit.
Andre Villas Boas: This was Boas’ first league defeat in about 18 months but what a game his team played! And for that, he should get the credit. He chose an attacking playing eleven and set up his team and tactics to attack Man Utd at Old Trafford. Hats off to Boas for subbing Lampard at half time. He shouldn’t have started Lamps but anyway he was quick to act as soon as he realised that. AVB is indeed looks to be a bold manager – on and off the pitch. Like we are saying, I’ve never ever felt so confident under a manager after Jose Mourinho. AVB looks to be the real deal. I have full confidence in him that he’s the right guy and that he needs all the support from us and from the board.
4-2-3-1: With the right tactic and with our squad, 4-2-3-1 looks like the most productive formation. In the second half when we changed to 4-2-3-1, we had Mata play behind Torres with Anelka and Sturridge on either sides of Mata. This also proved to be the ideal set up for unleashing Fernando Torres.
Chelsea’s attitude: I loved it. We were 3-0 down but we still gave a fight. We fought like real men. We had them on the rocks. We reduced their involvement in the game to counters. I could hear Fergie’s heart beat. The team’s attitude was well matched by the travelling Chelsea fans could be heard throught the match.
Manure’s luck: Never deserts them. Always lucky, especially at Old Trafford. They’re a very good team and I won’t take anything away from them but they are also a very very lucky team. Today, against the run of play, they took a lead from an offside goal. About two or three manures were offside there. To not disallow that goal was like a knife in the back for Chelsea who started very brightly. Then came the Nani thunderbolt, again helped with an unflagged offside along the set up. Finally, they had their cherry of lucky cake with a fortunate rebound falling at the feet of their prolific scorer about 6 yards in front of the goal. Call me whatever – all their three goals were against the run of play.
Phil Dowd: My most hated referee in the world of football. I always find him to be a Chelsea hater. I also think he is an attention seeker – a negative quality for any referee. Poor refereeing doesn’t always hit us through penalties and free kick in dangerous areas. Like today, a number of fouls went against us in our build up and as well as theirs. I hate to complain about referees in general but you gotta despite someone like Phil Dowd – a man that will always find himself under my BAD section every time officiates in our match.
Lampard: I’ve been saying that he doesn’t deserve a starting place, purely based on form. Even today, his performance in the first half was poor. He needed too much time and too many touches on the ball while the rest of the attack is moving forward swiftly. He is surely not in the kind of form to make the piercing passes that Mata, Anelka and Ramires made today. I’m sorry to say that we looked a much better team after he was subbed off. His days of being a sure-starter should definitely be over.
Daniel Sturridge: This wasn’t Sturridge’s day, clearly. Too many pointless shots and frequent losses of possession. Sadly for Sturridge, when he’s not in his spirits it shows quite clearly. His body language becomes very negative and defeatist. More than anything, his decision making goes awful. Should have got subbed at half time. Lukaku replaced Sturridge after the hour mark. Unfortunately, Lukaku was invisible mostly and when he was visible, I saw him committing an error. In his defence, he’s not the kind of player who can play in the right attacking midfield in the 4-2-3-1. He looks like an out and out striker. With the form that Torres is in, if Lukaku plays as a striker alongside Torres, he can draw some defenders to make space for Torres.
It’s gotta be Fernando Torres. His best performance in a Chelsea shirt. Torres proved two things (a) his class and supreme quality (b) his confidence is back. He reminded us what a fantastic player he is and why we bought him. What he’s also managed is to cement his place in the playing eleven. He was right all along after all – with the right kind of playing style and supply of ball, he can be very dangerous indeed. If he can run rings around Man Utd defenders at Old Trafford, you’ve to agree that he’s back!
Normally when you create 21 opportunities at Old Trafford you should come away with at least a point and a couple were very good opportunities so I think 3-0 at half-time is crazy, If the 1-1 [from Ramires] goes in it is a different story. Before 1-0 we had a good chance as well. It was a chaotic game and to be fair a very open game. I am very happy with how our team reacted to such a negative half-time result and we showed commitment and desire to turn things around. We did everything within our power to try to find the second goal, which is difficult because you are always exposed and it was because of that that eventually United found the penalty that they missed, but we continued to attack and try to create opportunities but it just didn’t fall our way.
If it does and a little bit of luck comes in the game, then the result is different. It didn’t fall our way in every kind of the word, not only in goalscoring opportunities but referee or linesman decisions, not that I am looking for any excuse but it is the reality and they influenced the game. It’s a 2-0 instead of a 0-0 or whatever. I am pretty unhappy with how the linesman performed but these things happen in the game.
They are in a good position now but it is very, very early. Nothing that would happen here will mean anything in the Premier League table, and today, not that I want to overemphasise it, you had Man City going to Fulham and Fulham getting a point. Arsenal lost and Liverpool lost, so all five contenders for there and anything can happen. The most regular has been United but we showed we are up to the levels of the champions – it is just this time this game didn’t go our way but we will be up there competing for the title and I am glad sir Alex corroborates in this opinion.
This league season has yet to see the best of Boas’ Chelsea. On the other hand, I can say, we have seen the best of Man Utd. We are still putting the pieces together. We will settle down, consolidate and most probably peak when it matters. Most important thing is, we seem to have solved the Torres puzzle. That in itself would make us quite dangerous.
We’re 5 points off Man Utd. The season is still very young. We still need to play Man Utd at Stamford Bridge. Mata, Meireles, Lukaku and Romeu will settle down. Josh McE will emerge to prominence. All these things and the progress under Andre Villas Boas leaves me with a lot of hope and promise for this season. Not very often would you feel this way after a defeat. But I do feel this will be a great season for Chelsea. KTBFFH!