Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Chelsea are Shite!
But don't take my word for it; read what The Guardian had to say about it. Hundreds of millions of pounds spent by Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho and they failed to produce a single corner kick in 90 minutes when they came in needing two goals. They wouldn't have scored a goal, if not for a sympathetic decision by Marcus Merk to earn a non-earned penalty with the last kick of the game. "Maybe this will shut up Jose. I'll give Chelsea a going-away present that they didn't come close to deserving." How does such an expensive team end up channeling their offense through John Terry when they need goals? How does Mourinho leave five defensive players on the pitch (four defenders plus Makelele) for the entire match? When he realized "Gee, maybe we need to score a couple," he sent on an attacking midfielder (Gudjonsson) and striker (Crespo)...for an attacking midfielder (Duff) and striker (Drogba). And with his last throw of the dice, he threw on a central defender (Huth) who has scored two goals in four years for the Blues. How the hell does a team with so much alleged attacking talent have so few ideas for attacking other than hoofing the ball long towards their giant central defenders? Is Barca so intimidating defensively? Hardly, although they did show some spine in these two matches that bode well for the next stages of their season. I should be thrilled with Barca getting revenge over the bullshit Chelsea team that knocked them out of the Champions League a year ago and I am somewhat, but I'm more filled with contempt for Chelsea's squandering of copious talent in an ugly fashion. How can no one in the Premiership beat this lot?
1. There are plenty of negatives of big firm life, but I was liking it today, specifically the fact that I can plan my own work schedule. Get into the office at seven, bill 6.5 hours, leave at 2:15, head to Brewhouse for the Barca match, and by four, I'm floating on a cloud of football exhilaration and Guinness.
2. Speaking of Brewhouse, there were very few Chelsea fans in the house, which was surprising for an English soccer bar. I guess the ex-pat community tend to have few bandwagoners. There are almost certainly an armada of Chelsea bandwagoners across the pond, but thankfully, they haven't made an appearance in the Durty South yet.
3. I've said it before, but Edmilson makes a serious difference for this Barca side. Chelsea managed no offense through the middle in two matches because of the screen that Edmilson provided for the defense. One other Barca shout-out: Rafa Marquez was a rock in defense and makes me feel OK that Puyol is going to miss the first leg of the quarters. Marquez was possibly the most valuable players for Barca over the two legs. (Ronaldinho was the man of the match today, even before he scored a great goal. It was nice to be reminded who the fulcrum of the side is.) I eagerly await the day when I can say the same for an American in the Champions League. Some day.
4. One wonders how the tie would have been different if Chelsea would have had a healthy William Gallas for both legs. He did a credible job against Messi before Leo went off with a hamstring injury. If he plays in the first leg, then Chelsea never has to go down to ten men as a result of Messi torturing their left back. Say that leg finishes 0-0 or 1-1; how does the second leg play out? Chelsea might lack any concept of how to attack and they are cruelly exposed when they have to score and can't rely on their opponents to be sucked forward to create space for their attacking midfielders, but they play defense awfully well. Gallas knows what he's doing in his own half. He doesn't have many ideas going forward, which makes Chelsea's insistence on playing five defensive players in the second half even more inexplicable. It's almost as if Mourinho is still pissed about Del Horno's red card and was resigned to losing thereafter.
5. If Benfica can take care of Liverpool tomorrow, then the two crap English sides with no offenses will be out of the Champions League and we can be spared the somnambulating experience of having to watch them on the Continent for another year.