Sunday, 3 June 2012

Memories of Munich: The greatest weekend of my life!

It has been two weeks now since the most momentous night in the history of Chelsea Football Club, but it still feels unbelievable.  This is the type high that anyone connected with the club will take a long while to get down from.  Back in early March when we lost that away match at the Hawthorns, who would have thought that our season would end with a historic double and us finally being crowned CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!

After many failures in this elite club competition, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that Chelsea will never do it. There have been many instances when we have come so close yet have been so far.....think along the lines of the Liverpool ghost goal 2005, Moscow 2008, stoppage time Iniesta goal in 2009 etc and you begin the get the picture! But this year we have finaly done it and no one will be able to take that away from us; not Barca, not UEFA, not Platini and of course not Bayern!  This year was meant to be our year and the experience of being there and to experience Drogba's winning penalty live is something I will be able to look back on years from now and be able to say 'I was there that night in Munich when.....' 

I feel lucky to have been one of the many Chelsea supporters that were fortunate enough to have been in Munich to witness a piece of history being made - We came, We saw and We conquered! 

I am not going to talk too much about the game as I am sure you all have watched it dozens of times by now already, but I will give you all an insight into the greatest weekend of my life! My journey to Munich along with my friend that I was travelling with began on the Friday evening, the day before the match.  The route to Munich was to involve a long stop over in Milan on the Friday night, which would mean that the time me and my Friend arrived in Munich on Saturday morning, we probably would have had no sleep! However we had opted for this cheaper option rather than direct flights and we didn't care as long as we got there.

All packed and ready for the weekend ahead we set of from Heathrow on Friday evening. Once we had checked in and were waiting for our departure we settled down for our quick first pints of the weekend at the airport bar.  After a short wait in the departure lounge we boarded our 18.50 flight to Milan.  Two hour later and we were in Milan, and now we had the whole night ahead of us before we would be flying to Munich our final destination.  However, what I had only discovered a couple days earler was that we would need to change airports once we got to Milan. So not only was there a long stopover but there was an extra leg to the journey to Munich, involving a transfer from Milan Linate airport to Milan Malpensa airport. This transfer for us involved taking two different buses and eventually we got to Malpensa airport and made our way to the Departures.  We had hoped that there would have been some bars/restaurants open at the airport however when we got there the only place open was a small cafe in the far corner of the airport.  As this was our only option we headed there and got ourselves something to eat but unfortunately no beers!  Although the fridge did have some alcoholic drinks, as we went to pick them up and take them to the till we were promptly told in broken English 'Sorry no alcohol this time'. I assume because it was quite late, they were probably not allowed to sell any alcoholic drinks at that time, which was a shame as we had the whole night to get through.  At this stage the airport was virtually empty; it was just us and a few other people there!  We sat down on the seats in departures and after a while did try to get some sleep, however this was of no use. It was uncomfortable and clearly there was no way we were going to get any rest before our flight, so instead we just tried to pass our time in any way possible.

Eventually as it approached 05.30 we were able to check in and before we knew it we were on the 06.30 flight to Munich.  Once we were on the Milan-Munich we took the opportunity to at least attempt to get some rest, but and hour later we were in Munich.  It was 07.30 local time and, at last we were in Munich and although we were slightly tired we were already buzzing for the day ahead.  The first thing we did was jump in a taxi and headed straight to Marienplatz i.e the town centre of Munich.  We didn't bother going to our hotel, because a few days earlier I had spoken with the hotel we were staying at and had been informed that we would not be able to get our rooms till noon at the earliest.  Therefore we saw little point in going to our hotels straight away even if it was just to drop our bags off as our hotel was slightly on the outskirts and out of the centre of town.  We arrived in Marienplatz around 08.30ish and although it was packed at that stage there were already pockets of Bayern Munich fans walking around, singing etc and it looked like a particular group of Bayern fans had been on the booze probably since getting out of bed!  Once we were in the square we chose to go to a cafe directly opposite Marienplatz station; there were a few Chelsea (and Bayern as well) fans there and they were serving beer.  We sat outside in the sun, and for the next few hours we were there drinking beer, singing, talking to other fans and generally just getting our day started nice and early.  As time went on, more and more supporters started to arrive into the town centre and you could really begin to feel the buzz around the place.  The atmosphere was starting to build up and even Sky Sports News were on hand to sample it.  Outside the cafe we were at, a Sky Sports News reporter had decided to interview 3 of the other Chelsea supporters that were sat next to us.  Although me and my friend didn't get interviewed ourselves, we had clearly got on Sky Sports News and it was not long before I recieved a couple of texts from people back home in London along the lines of 'Dude just seen you on Sky Sports News...Come on Chelsea!'. Of course I have not seen this footage myself, but people I know have seen it.

After a few hours of drinking beer in Marienplatz square, we decided to head off to our hotel at around 11am.  We got on the train from Marienplatz to Dachau, and from there we had to take a taxi for 10km to our hotel.  The hotel we had for the Saturday night wasn't an ideal location as we would have preferred something more central, but with the limited availability of affordable hotels in Munich, we took whatever we could get. We arrived at the hotel shortly after noon, and checked in but our room was still not ready for us.  We went down to the hotel bar while we waited and took in a few more beers.  While we were at the hotel bar, we we bumped into a few other Chelsea supporters who were also staying there. We decided to join them for some beers and they told us tales from the night before in Munich, however they did not have tickets to the match like we did but they had decided to make the trip anyway like thousands of others.  They did however have tickets to the screening at the Olympic stadium and had planned to watch the match there.  This particular group of guys had been in Munich the previous day and by the looks of it they had a pretty messy one on the Friday night, while we were killing time at Milan Malpensa airport!  After a few more beers and chat with the other Chelsea lads, we could finally get the keys to our room.  After a quick shower, Chelsea shirt on, match ticket in wallet we departed the hotel with the other guys we had met earlier at the hotel bar and headed back into town at around 2pm.  By the time we got back into the centre of town, the area was all packed out with a sea of blue and red.  Chelsea and Bayern fans all over the place, although it is fair to say that we were outnumbered by Bayern, after all it was their own city!

German Beer- Loved it!

I can't remember the name of the bar we went to, but it was mixed with both sets of supporters both inside and outside.  We quickly ordered a few large German beers (Absolutely loved the German beer!) and started to take in the pints.  What followed was few hours of endless drinking and singing and just having a good time.  It was not until around 4.30/5pm when we decided to move from that bar.  We just walked a bit further down the square and went to another bar which was largely full of Chelsea. Had another beer or two here before we decided to head to the nearest train station at around quarter to 6.  Although it was still quite a while left before the match, we had figured it would be busy and that it would be a good idea to make a move early. Just as well that we left for the stadium when we did because the journey there (and on the way back as well for that matter) is one that makes TFL look amazing!  Not only were all the platforms overcrowded when we got into the station at Odenoplatz or Marienplatz (Can't remember which one), but there was no management of the crowd at all and there was a lot of pushing, lot of people trying to squeeze into already full trains etc. Although there were a lot of Bayern fans at the station, there were a group of Chelsea fans there as well. We went where the Chelsea fans were, and before I knew it here was lot of singing, bouncing etc all on the platform, while we waited to get on a train.  Eventually we did get on the train but it was as expected a very overcrowded train.  However, the unbearable train journey to the stadium, which involved us changing trains due to a lot of Bayern fans on the train heading to the Olympic stadium for the screening rather than the Allianz Arena, was made slightly better by the banter singing on the train.  We chatted to some Bayern fans on route, some of them asked to have photos with us, and at one point along the route I remember bursting out into a 'ZIGGER ZAGGER ZIGGER ZAGGER' which the other Chelsea on the train followed up with the 'OI OI OI'. Other than this, there were many other songs on the train journey and given that we had been on the German beer all day from 8.30 in the morning, you can imagine that we were in very good spirits ahead of the game.

By the time we arrived near the stadium there was about an hour and a half left to go before kick off. As we still had some time we decided to stay outside, and got some food and drink (non-alcoholic beer) from the kiosks outside and stayed there till for a while before going in about 45 minutes before kick off.  We went in, made our way to our seats in the upper tier right behind the goal.  Although we were high up, the view we had from our seats was tremendous and I have got to say the stadium is very well designed as it allows you to stand safely as well.  As kick off approached atmosphere was building up, seat were filling up and now this was it; this was the time for us to shine, and to paint the Allianz Arena blue.  After all the pre-match build up in the stadium, the match had started and now Bayern Munich were all that stood in the way from us and the famous Champions League trophy.

Me inside the Allianz Arena

The large part of the match passed without any goals until the 82nd minute when Muller scored for Bayern. The way they celebrated, it was as if they thought they had already won it, and given that there were only 8 minutes of normal time left it was hardly surprising.  I was gutted, I slumped into my seat, but after a brief moment of being disappointed I got right back up.  We still believed and us Chelsea faithful did not give up on it.  We were to be rewarded a few minutes from the end when the man for the big occasion Didier Drogba produced an equaliser.  At that point we were all joyous and relived....we were back in it!  Extra time came and passed without any further goals and to add to hope Robben had missed a penalty for Bayern in the first period of extra time.  The winner of he match was to be decided with a penalty shootout and this took our minds back to the heartache of Moscow 2008 still in the back of our minds and with it being an English side against a German side, surely the odds were against us???!!

Fast forward to the last few penalties of the shoot out. Despite Mata having missed the first penalty for Chelsea, we were back in it. Bayern had just missed another penalty and now it was left to Drogba for the final penalty kick for us that could win us the Champions League.  It had been absolutely nerve racking watching the shoot-out but with this last kick left we were actually starting to believe that we could do it!  I remember thinking to myself...'Come on can do this...just one more goal and we are done....come on', and up stepped Drogba and quite calmly hit the ball in the back of the net!  For a few minutes then my whole world stopped, it was unbelievable feeling....just pure elation.  Of course it could have all gone pear shaped a.k.a Moscow 2008, but this was our year and we have fully deserved it with the journey we have had getting here.  As we found out few days later that was to be Drogba's last kick for us, and that will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest moments at Chelsea.  We had waited so long for this, and we had finally done it, but it was almost as if was unreal.  There were hugs all round, everyone jumping and bouncing, waving flags, congratulating each other and I am quite sure that at one point I even jumped a few rows in front from where I was sitting! 

The emotions experienced that night at the Allianz Arena, and the feelings of pure euphoria and joy is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.  No matter what happens, this night will be something that will never be matched as arguably the best night of my life. We had done it, it was just an amazing feeling.  It is a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life. On 19th May 2012, against all odds, Chelsea made history and we were there that night to witness it.

We stayed back for quite a while to enjoy the celebrations and cherish the moment.  After we finally left the stadium and made our way to the train station what was to to follow was another unbearable journey back into town.  Again, as it was with our journey to the stadium, trains were overcrowded, and for some odd reason the train was stopping randomly not moving without the driver announcing any reason for this.  After a while, some of us on the train just gave up and got off after a few stops. It was taking too long and we were just not moving.  It was too hot and we could not take it any longer so we decided to walk out and try to find a taxi.  However, when we got off we found that we were in the middle of no where and also it was impossible to get a taxi.  We walked around for about 2 hours, unable to get a taxi. We stopped off at a bar while we were trying to get a taxi, and we weren't the only ones trying either.  I'm not going to go too much into how bad the transport system was in Munich, as that is the only complaint I have from the trip. But eventually we did get a taxi, and at the end of the night by the time we got back to our hotel after having to pay 75 euros for the taxi it was nearly 4.30am. As soon as we got in, we just collapsed onto our beds having not slept since leaving London early on Friday evening. However, before I went to sleep one thing I did was plug my phone into the charger and I went on YouTube.  We just had to re-watch the highlights of the match, as we just could not believe what had happened that night.  Having seeing Drogba's penalty kick it the back of the net again, this time on YouTube on my phone we went to sleep happily in the knowledge that we were European Champions and we were not just dreaming it!


Outside of the Allianz Arena

The next day was to be spent continuing the celebrations with a chilled out day enjoying the German beer halls of Munich.  We missed he parade back in SW6 as we were not back till the Monday but main thing was that we were there for that historical night for Chelsea.

Sometimes things in life are just meant to be, and this was meant to be our year....

It was written in the stars!
So it is with this I bid you all a farewell. See you all next season and until then keep it blue and keep it carefree because after all we are the CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!

p.s. check out my vid I compiled from Munich:

19th May 2012 - We were there that night Chelsea became Champions of Europe



Monday, 13 February 2012

Dropped points and bad results......Where has it all gone wrong?

So where shall I start?  As I write this after having just watched the extended highlights on Sky from our dismal display at Goodison Park this weekend, it is fair to say that things have not exactly been too positive with Chelsea recently.  In a season, which back in August we thought would bring a title challenge in an exciting new era under the guidance of AVB, we now find ourselves at present lying in 5th position, trying to fight out for a top 4 finish this season. 

Now if we were to rewind the clock back to the 2002/2003 season (pre- Abramovic), fighting for a top 4 finish to get into the Champions League was precisely what we were doing, and needless to say that was considered a largely successful season, and I can remember exactly how elated I felt at the full time whistle on the last day of that season! That season, we finished 4th after a dramatic last day encounter with the bin dippers to qualify  for the Champions League, whilst much to our pleasure the Scousers had to settle for a place in the UEFA Cup (or Europa League as it is known as now).  It was a match that marked the start of what was to become a drastic change in SW6.  It was said that the club were under severe financial difficulties at the time, and had we not qualified for the Champions League that season, one can only imagine what would have become of the club we all love and adore.  With that last day of the season victory against Liverpool, not only did we qualify for Europe's elite club competition for the second time in our history, after having endured a few seasons of unsuccessful spells in the UEFA cup, but it brought in the much needed added income that the club were in desperate need of at the time. For this reason, qualifying for the Champions League then was perhaps slightly more significant than our first spell in the competition under Vialli in the 1999/2000 season.  Of course, it was not long after that a certain Mr Abramovic bought the club, and with his Russian Billions, started what has been the club's most successful period.  But the point is, that season when we finished 4th, it was considered a successful season, where as if we come back to the present time, finishing 4th is considered a minimal requirement! No disrespect to the Europa League, but having been in the Champions League each year since 2003, it would certainly be a big blow for a club of our standing.

Fast forward back to the present and this season, it can safely be said that we have been below par and AVB has certainly not brought to Chelsea what we had hoped he would.  Last Summer, when AVB was named as the successor to Ancelloti, he was dubbed as the Special One- version 2! Now we all know Mourinho was something unique, and did in fact bring something special to the club, but trying to compare anyone else to compare anyone else to Mourinho by anyone's standards was a dangerous line to take.  AVB, although he did learn his trade working under Mourinho as a scout, he has been successful prior to coming to Chelsea in his own right at Porto.  AVB is his own man, with his own ideas and ways of doing things.  One thing that should be noted is that AVB lacks managerial experience as he hasn't been in the trade long, and at his age is in fact younger than some of our senior players.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, as he is a man with hunger and drive for success.  But when we look at this season so far, with way we have been playing and the results that we have been getting, one has to question who is to blame for our poor performances. Is the manager to blame, or is the players...or even both?

The reality at the moment is that we simply cannot beat anyone. We are dropping far too many points, especially at places where we should be getting all three points!   At the rate we are going, the chant of 'THURSDAY NIGHTS CHANNEL 5.......THURSDAY NIGHTS CHANNEL 5!', which we have given to both Man City and Man United fans recently, may indeed come back to haunt us.  Imagine this, we finish 5th, fail to qualify for the Champions League, and both sets of Manc fans as well as potentially the scum from North London (S**rs and Le Arse) have the pleasure of directing this chant back at us! The harsh reality is that this may well be the case come the start of next season.  Although this is not all we have to worry about, the form we have been in of late is more resembling of a team in the bottom half of the league table, and what if we finish outside the top five, let alone the top four?!  This season, aside from Man city and Man United, who are leading the chase for the title, it is quite a competitive chase for the remaining Champions League places.  Aside from us, there is S**rs, Arsenal, Newcastle, and the bin dippers competing for the two remaining Champions League places, once the top two places are taken out of the equation.  Now, with the fixtures remaining, and given that we still have to play Man City, Newcastle, Arsenal, Sp**rs and the Scousers, we do have the capability to finish in the top four.  But the problem lies in the fact that overall there seems to be a lack of passion within the squad.

'A team in transition' is a phrase that has been used by many this season, but at what point do we stop using this as an excuse?  Every manager needs time to make their mark and I agree if any manager, whether it be AVB or anyone else for that matter, needs time to build their own squad and achieve success, then indeed they should be given that time.  Of course we don't want to be an Arsenal and end up with years of no success, at the expense of discovering quality young players that end up leaving for bigger clubs anyway when they reach a peak in the career. But at the same time, there is no point hanging onto any deadwood in the squad either.  The backbone of the current squad has been part of the most successful squad that the club has had and years, and we are not going to deny them that, but as with all things 'all good things come to an end', and perhaps it is now time for a big shake up and a summer clear out. However, before we can even look as far as summer, there is the more pressing issue of the remainder of the season to concentrate on.

Yesterday at Goodison, it was most arguably the worst performance of our season so far.  No passion, no desire and well it pretty much sums up the problematic season we are having.  I won't go back and analyse the whole season so far, but looking at just the matches so far in 2012, it is clear that there is something missing.  Prior to the defeat at Everton on Saturday, we were undefeated so far in 2012, however given that it is only February and also given the opponents we have had, that isn't really saying much.  In January, we went away to Norwich and Swansea, both of which I was at, and from both these games, the only real positives I could draw was the support.  However, on the pitch, we did not perform, and these were places where we should have bagged the points! Drawing away to Norwich and then to Swansea is not ideal, although at Swansea I was happy with the draw, given that we were only few minutes away from defeat. When you are losing, on a cold Tuesday night away from home, a late equaliser is sweet! Not saying that the late equaliser compensates for the dropped two points, but it is something we would be happy to take given our current form.  After all, a draw is better than defeat right? well not quite, it simply just covers the cracks that exist!  

In the January transfer window, we brought in Cahill, which in my view was a good signing, especially given the departure of Alex, and the need to strengthen in defence.  However, what baffles me is why AVB did not use Cahill until the Man United game, which was probably our best performance in a while....although given our bad luck and incapability to hold a lead, meant we were 3-0 up and we f****d it up!!  To not play Cahill, when JT is out injured, and to use Boswinga at RB, when he could instead be using Ivanovic there with a Cahill and Luiz partnership in the centre  is something that makes me think.......why!?!   Aside from this, there have been a number of incidents in matches, where changes have simply just been frustrating.  I'm not going to bore you all and go on and on about things that should have been different/could have been different etc, but all in all it does make you ask a few questions:

Is AVB out of his depth and is he the wrong man for the job?

Has AVB lost the dressing room?

Why are the players not performing?
Have some of the players lost the passion to play in the blue shirt?

Well, all I can say is this, we don't know the answers to these questions, but all we do know is that all is not right with Chelsea.  We are not playing well and we are not getting the results that we need.  Is AVB to blame for this?........maybe.  Are the players to blame?......maybe - in fact some players just simply do not look cut out to play for us anymore, Malouda, Boswinga etc to name a few!

For now, all we can do is back AVB and the team 100% for the remainder of the season, and hope that fortunes change sooner rather than later.  I don't think getting rid of AVB will be beneficial at all.  I know that it looks like he may not be the right man, given the way things are going, but it is not all down to him.  Players and AVB need to come together and save our season.  I can't stress how important it is that we finish in the top four, and if we have any more performances like we did at Everton, the patience of many Chelsea faithful will be tested...but remember just keep the faith and just give your backing week in week out!   Of course, there is also the scenario that we could finish 5th, but then win the Champions League and still qualify for next season a.k.a Liverpool.  Although if this was to happen, I would accept being a 'Liverpool' only for this season, as long as we return to the Chelsea challenging for the title next season. 

Anyway, that's enough of me going on, but just remember it may not be the best of times, but we must stick together, give our support and given all the games left still this season, there is every chance that we will finish in the top four, because WE CAN DO IT!



Monday, 28 November 2011

Back to Winning Ways!! Match Report: Chelsea 3 Wolves 0

A relatively comfortable 3-0 win ensured that the recent pressure piled upon Andre-Villas Boas was eased, having prevented another home defeat which quite frankly would have led to the media hanging AVB out to dry.

Chelsea went into the weekend’s match knowing that only a win would be sufficient enough to boost confidence levels having suffered a recent dip in form with back to back defeats.  The opponents came in the shape of a Wolves side, who themselves have not enjoyed a particularly good start to the season, having picked up only 11 points from the first 13 games of the season so far.

AVB made a few changes to the side that had lost to Liverpool the previous weekend. Mikel, Lampard and Malouda all dropped to the bench and in their place, in came Romeu, Merieles and Sturridge.  Dropping Lampard to the bench was a bold move by AVB, but one must not be drawn into assuming that Frank is no longer a guaranteed starter.  The good thing about AVB’s approach to managing Chelsea is that he is not afraid to make changes when deemed necessary for the team to get the right results!  As with the Liverpool match there was again no place for Torres in the starting line up, with the manager instead opting for a front line of Mata, Drogba and an in form Sturridge.  Ashley Cole was also back in the side, having been out for the trip to Leverkusen in the Champions League.  Anelka was not even in the squad, and it now looks increasingly likely that he may be seeking pastures new sooner rather than later, with the January transfer window in sight!

With Chelsea determined to put their recent ‘bad moment’ behind them, the signs were good from early on in the game.  Chelsea pushed forward, with Ramires showing signs of the quality player that he has been for us this season.  An attack by Ramires a.k.a. the Duracell Bunny was blocked by the Wolves keeper and led to a corner kick being awarded to Chelsea.  This subsequently led to Chelsea’s first goal, with none other than Mr Chelsea, John Terry heading home in the bottom corner of Hennessey’s goal just 7 minutes into the match.  With the home side already 1-0 up, early on in the game, it had an arousing effect on the crowd.  This early goal certainly opened it up for Chelsea to build from there and seek more goals.  Just one goal was not going to be enough for the home side to settle down.  In recent outings, against Bayer Leverkusen and the home defeat to Liverpool, the downfall had been sloppy defending leading to late goals for the opposition.  It seemed that on Saturday, the defence was a bit more solid, perhaps with the change in personnel proving to be of benefit, with Romeu sitting comfortably in his position in front of the back four.  However, Chelsea were not going to just sit back and defend, and were determined to push forward as much as possible.

The choice of Mata, Drogba and Sturridge seemed to be a good choice, with the men up front constantly causing problems for Wolves’ defence. Mata has been a good addition to the team, while Sturridge has come back to us, with a beneficial period on loan at Bolton at the end of last season certainly having helped him to develop his game.  Ramires, Merieles and Mata were all key to causing Wolves problems on Saturday afternoon, and it was not long before the Chelsea faithful saw the ball go into the back of the net again for the second goal. It was in the 29th minute when Juan Mata went past Zubar, and then set up Daniel Sturridge to neatly finish off and give the blues a 2-0 lead.  Following on from that, although Wolves made a change as a reaction to conceding a second goal, this was no prevail as shortly before half time Mata neatly finished off a cross from the fit again Ashley Cole to make it 3-0.  As half time arrived the game already seemed to be done and dusted!!

After half time, although Chelsea did push forward and did have a fair few chances to increase the lead, the ball did not find the back of the net.  Wolves did keep a tighter defence for the second half, however, going forward Wolves were not creating the chances that Chelsea were.  With the last quarter of an hour to go AVB brought on both Lampard and Torres.  Just like the match with Liverpool, Torres was brought on too late to make much of an impact, however with the score at 3-0 in Chelsea’s favour it did not matter much.  With Torres, however, personally I would have liked to have seen him get some more time on the pitch, as he can only improve and gain confidence simply my playing more.  If he had come on shortly after half time, with the score already at 3-0, perhaps it would have given him more of an opportunity to shine.  Saying that however, I have complete faith in AVB, and as long as we get the results, I don’t care who is on the pitch, as long as they have the blue shirt on and are performing.

In the end, the second half did not see any more goals to add to the first half goals, and the final score was 3-0 to Chelsea.  When the final whistle went, and once the 3 points as well as a clean sheet had been secured there was a sense of relief all around Stamford Bridge, for each and every individual inside the stadium, except of course the visiting side and travelling supporters.  The day was made even better in the knowledge that Manchester United had dropped points with a home draw against Newcastle. Unfortunately however, Spurs did not drop any points away to Wigan, but with our win we took one step to closing the gap on the teams above us.  The season is yet to reach the half way stage, and if we continue to build on the confident win on Saturday we can pile pressure on those above us in the league.

Roll on Liverpool in the Carling Cup on Tuesday, followed by the long trip up to Newcastle next weekend!

Win or lose, up the blues!!

Team Line ups:
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic (Bosingwa), Luiz, Terry, Cole; Romeu, Ramires, Meireles (Lampard); Mata, Drogba (Torres), Sturridge

Wolves (4-5-1): Hennessey; Zubar (Forde), Johnson, Berra, Elokobi; Jarvis, Edwards, Henry, Milijas (Ebanks-Blake), Ward; Fletcher (Guedioura).

Attendence: 41, 648

My Man of the Match: Daniel Sturridge – He was lively throughout the 90 minutes and he is in good form at the moment!!

Monday, 3 October 2011


'Lampard is finished'.....'Lampard is no longer first team material for Chelsea or England'......' Fat Frank has lost it'.....'Lampard storms off after Swansea snub'.......These are just some of the b******t things that you may have been fed from the dimwits in the media as well as many individuals that have done nothing but criticise Frank for far too long, most notably after his recent exclusion in the home match against Swansea last week. However, the fact of the matter is Frank is a hard working individual, always giving 100% for the team, and when he has been faced with the harsh criticism, like recent times, how does he shut his critics up??.......The answer is by doing all the talking on the pitch and scoring 4 goals in the two games!! Yes thats right- the same Frank Lampard that is supposedly past his best and apparently cannot score, has just shown why critics do so at their own peril!!

His performance at Bolton, was certainly a top class performance, and by scoring a hat-trick along with his performance, he has simply put all his doubters in place and hopefully shut them up. However, be under no illusion, due to the bias nature of the media, it is very likely that the morning papers will focus more on how poor Bolton were rather than the performance by Lampard and the rest of the team in securing a 5-1 win. Lampard has, and in my opinion continue to be and integral part of the Chelsea team.  One can never forget the momentous day on 30th April 2005 (click here for clip of epic day in 2005), when he was responsible for sealing the first title win for us in 50 years.  For many, like myself who were not born in our previous title win in 1955, this title in 2005 will always hold fond memories.  Of course as Chelsea supporters, it is a day that we will cherish for years to come, and will always remember the part super Frank played in it. Yes, whilst it is true,that everyone ages, and with age performance can drop in many players, however there is no one as hard working as Frank, and he has without a doubt been the fittest and most consistent player in the team for the past decade.  Personally I think too much has been made about his exclusion last week against Swansea.  With games coming in thick and fast, AVB is wise enough to rotate the squad to keep the players fresh and ensure a top level performance.  Lampard isn't one to sulk and give up.  His answer is to work hard and fight for his place.  His hard work has certainly paid off and was evident at the Reebok Stadium.      

Super Frank celebrates the goal that sealed his hat-trick at the Reebok Stadium

Aside from Frank, the performance of the team in general has been improving over the past few games, and AVB's side seem to be gelling together.  I am not going to talk too much about the Bolton match, but one thing to take home from the game is the fact that another player that seems to be doing particularly well is Sturridge.  His loan spell at the Reebok stadium has done him good, and the young English striker is now stepping up to the mark.  With so many members of the squad improving as the games go on including Sturridge, healthy competition for places can only be a positive thing.  Danny has certainly been improving and it was good to see him get a couple of goals this weekend to add to the one he had up at Sunderland last month.  The only disappointment, is that astonishingly 'Crapello' has opted for Andy Carrol instead of Sturridge for the upcoming England game.  I would have thought that Danny has done enough to be in the England side but obviously Fabio Capello does not see that.  Nevermind, I am sure he will get a place in the England senior side very soon.    Anyway coming back to Chelsea, there are definitely promising things to come from this side, and without a doubt Sturridge and Lampard will have big parts to play this season.

So until next time keep the blue flag flying high! UTC!!!!


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Taking the positives out of defeat

Well, so just as we had done in our previous two visits to Old Trafford at the tail end of last season we came away with defeat.  However, despite losing 3-1 it certainly does not feel like we have lost.  Whilst we may have fallen on the wrong side of the scoreline, our overall performance was decent. Perhaps we deserved to come away with at least a point, but the key factor in our defeat has to lie in the inability of us capitalising on the numerous chances we had while United finished off with the few chances they had to get their 3 goals.Football is a game that often relies on luck, and it is something we just didn't have today. 

I thought that we played reasonably well today and if we forget the result and just look at are overall performance we certainly will have a lot to look forward to for the rest of this season.  The only complaints that you can have is the fact that we failed to finish off good chances to find the back of the net, most notably the chance Ramires had in the first half and of course the sitter that Fernando missed in the second half that would have made the score 3-2 at that point in the game.  However, despite the shocker of a miss that is sure to make the back page headlines tommorow morning, I thought Torres had a good game and over the last few games he seems to be recapturing the form that promted Roman to part with £50 m back in January.  It was an interesting change that AVB made at half time when Anelka was brought on for Lampard, but this worked almost immediately as we increased the presence in attack, leading to Fernando's goal just after HT. On another day Fernando would have got a few goals, but it is good to see that he is improving and finding his form now, and I think that the new look squad with the likes of Merieles and Mata have a part to play in that.

I must say the feeling of defeat at Old Trafford is rather different from last season as there is a sense of optimism.  I have complete faith in what AVB is doing and judging by performance alone we should have a lot more to look forward to this season as we are still improving day by day.  Therefore, the overall picture does seem positive and we shouldn't worry too much about the loss.....after all it is still early days.  We will see who has the last laugh in May.....

Until then just keep the blue flag flying high!

Win or lose ....up the blues!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Who the f*** are man united??!

It has been a while since my last blog post, but here I am writing ahead of our trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.  It is a trip to the same ground which effectively ended our season in terms of both the Champions League and the Premier League, at the tail end of last season.  However this time we  face them 5 games into the new campaign, which I believe is good for us in the long run.  It is always an advantage to get a challengeing away day out of the way early on in the season, but one must not give in the the mass media hype over the 'exceptional' start that United have made to the season.  It seems as though we have already been classed as underdogs this season, with an awful lot of fuss being made over both Manchester teams. Yes, although it seems that they have started like a house on fire this season, one must not draw conclusions for the rest of the season purely from the first couple of games. Take for example the start of last season; we started with exceptional 6-0 and 4-0 wins, and some people were confident that the title was already headed to Stamford Bridge.  However, we all know that it wasn't to last long, as in spectacular fashion we faltered so badly with poor mid-season form that it effectively handed the title to United.  In other words only he who is a fool would already start drawing conclusions on how the season will end.  

So, whilst it is true that United, and also Citeh for that matter have made a good start to the season and may seem favourites in the eyes of the biased media, we will happily take the underdogs tag for this season's title race.  Ok, so far our start to the season hasn't been amazing, especially in comparison to last season's start, however, we have been getting the result and that's what matters.  Whilst United have been causing the media to get off on their large wins over the likes of mediocre opponents such as 5-0 against Bolton and a pathetic Arsenal side 8-2, we have been quietly grinding out our wins, with the exception of our opponing day draw at Stoke. At the end of the day, it is just getting the results that counts, and believe me we will improve as the season goes on as we are still finding out feet with a new look squad under AVB.  United on the other hand, may possibly run out of steam too early just as we did last year.  I think that whilst United are favourites, our squad definatley has the depth to challenge United and come Sunday at Old Trafford we are more than capable of getting a result.  AVB will ensure that the team are full of confidence ahead of the encounter and I have full faith that he will go all out to ensure we go for nothing but a win.  On Sunday we will see whether we come away with the 3 points or not, but one thing is for sure, we shouldn't fear them because we can definately match them and are capable.  A good start to the game will be key, and hopefully we will have that.



Kunal Sapat (Chelsea Boy @SW17ChelseaSG) 


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Welcome back Di Matteo!!

This morning Andre Villas Boas was officially unveiled as Chelsea's manager in a press conference, in which he also revealed his backroom staff.  The most notable addition to coaching staff is that of Roberto Di Matteo.  The former West Brom manager, a Chelsea legend will be returning to the club as AVB's assistant.  On hearing this news, I was quite pleased and I am sure that this will be the start of an exciting era for Chelsea. 

Di Matteo, spent a six year period playing in the blue shirt, before his early retirement due to injury in 2002 at the age of just 31.  He is most notably remembered from his playing career at Chelsea for his cup final goals.  As Chelsea supporters we can never forget his record breaking goal in just 43 seconds at the old Wembley in the 1997 FA Cup final, which helped us win our first trophy after many years.  Follwing on from that he also scored in the 1998 Coca-Cola Cup final (League cup) and scored the last ever cup final goal at the old wembley in the 2000 FA Cup final.  Unfortunately he had to retire early due to injury, but since then he has tried his hand at coaching and football management. 

Di Matteo started his managerial career at MK Dons, and after doing a decent job for them he was appointed West Brom's manager in 2009.  He led them to promotion to the premier league in just his first season in charge after finishing second place in the Championship.  However, he was sacked from as West Brom manager halfway through the 2010/2011 season, as the club were not happy with the performances.  However, in my view I think he did a very good job at West Brom by getting them promoted and by putting on decent performances in their first season back in the Premier League.  It is in my view that perhaps his sacking as West Brom manager was not justifiable.  However, what's done is done, and everything happens for a reason, and it is for this reason that we can welcome him back to Stamford Bridge!

In August 2010, when he returned to Stamford Bridge as West Brom's manager we would never have even imaged that he would reurn to work at Chelsea within a year.  At that time, we were still on top of the world after our double winning season and we wouldnt have even thought Carlo would be gone come what May, let alone Di Matteo returning as coach.  I believe that he will prove pivotal for success in the AVB era, and we can look forward to a promising season at Chelsea.  I for one was glad Di Matteo being given assistant role, rather than Emenalo being given that title.  However, I have a feeling Emenalo will still stay at the club under some capacity.  Additonaly, Steve Holland, the successful reserve team coach has been promoted to first team coach at Chelsea.

AVB has reinterated that it will not be a one man show, and it will be a group effort to bring success at Chelsea, and he is certianly right about that.  We have got the right people now in charge of the team, and I am certainly looking forward to the new season!