Saturday, 29 September 2012

Arsenal 1 - 2 Chelsea: An Important Away Win

29-09-2012 22.35 GMT+8

EPL:  Abou Diaby - Fernando Torres, Arsenal v Chelsea

          I've always liked the London Derby of Arsenal vs Chelsea. The derby is exciting, but more to the football and not to the level of emotions like the Manchester Derby, Merseyside Derby, North London Derby, or apparently, West London Derby (Chelsea vs QPR). The rivalry sensed within these two teams are pretty much football approached. 

          And tonight, manager RDM once again made the perfect decision, and brought us another superb result to strengthen our position in the league with 16 points, four points ahead of Manchester United, who played Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. 3 points away in The Emirates, is a great, great result. The performance from the lads are convincing, defensively we were focused, and offensively we were quick too. A well deserved win.

          The team selection was not much of a surprise. Back five was as expected, however the tactical decision tonight is to play Ramires from midfield and play new boys Hazard & Oscar alongside Mata, all playing behind Torres. It was a spot-on selection by RDM. It was an open game, and we managed to utilize the pace and skill of our players to break down Arsenal's defense; although our goals both came from set pieces.

          On the earlier minutes of the first half, we were the better team, leading to a goal by Fernando Torres. A good swing in the free kick by Juan Mata, and a confused Koscielny allowed Torres the space to strike the ball to the back of the net. It was a great goal. However Arsenal started to rise and the game was very much open for the remaining of the half. Then Gervinho managed to equalize with a smashing attempt just before the interval. It was a fair result for the half.

          After the break, Arsenal actually started brighter, however in the counter-attack attempt by Chelsea, Fernando was brought down, earning us another free kick. This time it was another excellent swing by Juan Mata, but without finding a player, the ball curled in into the far side of the goal (possibly with a slight touch by Koscielny), but it was an excellent curl and such a great goal by Mata. After that, the tempo of the game slowed down a bit, at least until Arsenal felt more and more the urgency to quickly find an equalizer. For the remaining of the half, Arsenal had more chances and tried to break us down, but a good performance by our defense saw us hold on until the final whistle and earn us a great away win.

          Mata, earning the Man of the Match, really showed his classy skill as he always does. He is an outstanding player because he is nearly able to perform excellently, and consistently too. Torres was great tonight, earned the goal well too. Oscar and Hazard showed again what they can bring for the team. Mikel dictated the middle excellently. The back five was an experienced one, and the proved their worth with a focused and committed performance. Oh and by the way, I just saw the post-match interview, and when told that experts claimed that Mata, Hazard, and Oscar cannot play together (because it will be too open), Torres simply replied, "Who said that?" (Sums it up pretty much)

          Considering it was an away game at The Emirates, winning 2 - 1 is such a great result, as we earned our well deserved 3 points. The players linked up well today, every player are committed and focused, and so we strengthen our position in the league once again. Many expected that Chelsea are in transition, well we are, but we certainly didn't look like a team in transition seeing the performance of each individual and the ability to link up between these players. A great night and a great performance, and a great win too. Now we can turn our focus to the Champions League once again, as we prepare to go to Denmark where we will visit the Danish Champions in their home ground. Hopefully, we can bring this type of performance there, to win out first UCL game this campaign. #CFC


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Chelsea 6 - 0 Wolves: A Perfect Debut Night

26 September 2012 09.00 GMT+8

Juan Mata

          Many expected a win from Chelsea, but on a night with 3 debuts, and all summer signings  being part of the squad with so many young players, surely nobody expected such a perfect game, where we thrashed the visitors with an immense 6 - 0 scoreline. Apparently the positives aren't only that. All 6 goals came from 6 different goalscorers, meaning that we have the ability to score from wherever we want. And that tonight, the youngsters, the new signings showed amazing skill, ability, pace, and commitment. And they also showed that they can be integrated into the team, adding some extra dimension for the team.

          The squad was pretty much as expected, with new players Azpilicueta and Moses, and young players Piazon, Romeu, and Bertrand too. Playing alongside them are senior players, most with something to prove, like Torres, Cahill, even Ramires too.

          Nobody expected the players to be playing in one mind already. Early goals from Cahill and Bertrand surely is a wonderful start to a wonderful night. Quickly followed by another by Juan Mata, we coasted the first half looking like champions, creating chances after chances. It did look as if the goals would have kept on coming. The second half went even better as we did not stop for anything, an additional 3 goals, by Romeu, Torres, and Moses brings the fans some fashionable entertainment of the night.

          But tonight is simply the night of the debutants and young players. With an average age of 24.4 amongst the starting eleven, and 23.3 in the final quarter of an hour, it was a simply stunning night. I have particular praise to Azpilicueta, who performed every inch of a full back I always expected. So did Bertrand, the runs he made, and the link-up he got with Piazon. And then there's Piazon himself, who played as if he's played with this team for long now. Minding his 18 years age, he did simply marvelous and he played freely and wonderfully too.

          Several first team players did prove themselves. Mata performed as he always does, and he never seem to run out of ideas. Torres got a goal. Cahill got a goal, and was simply convincing in the back. And some other youngster deserve praise too. Romeu was excellent, and his penalty even more. Moses is simply amazing, he deserved the goal minding his performance for the night. Marin also showed what he is capable of, and linking up with Oscar, who also played well with a beautiful cross to set up Moses.

          Every players seem to be able to link up with each other marvelously, and each individual put in massive contribution and commitment. It was a different looking Chelsea than it was last year. It certainly looked the team we are aiming to build, with less physicality and more tricks and skills, being more like Barcelona in a way. And it is all these young players that did that, so we can expect great things from them in the future, and expect a great prospect ahead of Chelsea. The team tonight, certainly looks to be a preview of what Chelsea will be in the future. With all these players just playing together, and being capable of winning 6 - 0, I can't imagine how they will play in a few years time. RDM surely couldn't have expected for a better game. Heck, neither can any of us! It was surely a perfect, perfect performance, perfect debuts for the boys, and I certainly want to see more of these in the upcoming games. #CFC


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Chelsea 2 - 2 Juventus: A Good Game

20 September 2012 04.40 GMT+8

          It was not a great start in the UEFA Champions League, but it was a good game overall. We fought against a tough opponent in the first match, and although we played at home, and we could have won it, it was a great game and a fair result in the end. Oscar made it 2 - 0 with two first half strikes on his UCL debut, however Juventus cancelled out both goals on either side of the interval.

          There was only one change in the squad compared to the one that played QPR. That change perhaps being the most significant one, as debutant Oscar scored both goals for Chelsea, one a very spectacular one indeed.

          I didn't manage to watch most of the first half, however I noticed the goals from the highlights. The game was pretty much even, and according to statistics Juventus had more possession. But by statistics too, Chelsea had more shots on target. Oscar opened the scoring with a shot deflected by an opponent player, before getting his second goal 2 minutes later, a wonder goal of pure class. A swift turn and a skillful curve shot by the young Brazilian. It was just class. However in the 38th minute Juventus managed to pull one back with a goal by Vidal.

          The second half was not as intense as I expected it to be, but the tightness of the scoreline was just as expected, just not what I hoped. It was a very tight game in the second half, with both sides taking turns in attacking and defending. Until the 80th minute when Juventus equalised by a goal from Quagliarella. It doesn't feel good at all, especially when the blame goes to a sloppy mistake by the defense. Nevertheless, overall it was a good match, and we have to take positives we can, and fix our mistakes.

          Oscar was just spectacular tonight, and he certainly showed what he is capable of. And when Juan Mata came on, he linked up well with Hazard with a string of one-two passes. This is my other favorite moment besides Oscar's second goal. Just looking at Mata & Hazard linking up well and exchanging passes is just so gratifying. Some individual efforts are to be commended today. However some did not perform well, and collectively we could have improved more.

          At half-time my friend (a fan of Juve) told me that their team have always made comebacks and have not lost for 42 matches up till today, and I thought that maybe we can break that streak. But, oh well. Today's game was good, and although the result could have been better, there are positives to take, and we just have to improve for the next game!! #CFC


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Chelsea 1 - 4 Atletico Madrid: Second Silverware Lost

Saturday, 01-09-2012 04.41 GMT+8

Radamel Falcao, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea

          Our second chance of silverware for the season...gone. And not in a fashionable or spectacular way, but in an embarrassing 1 - 4 scoreline to Atletico Madrid. It was not a night to remember for all associated with Chelsea. We may have hoped that the QPR game comes closer so we can quickly bounce back, but well, a defeat is a defeat, and we have to face the truth, accept losses, learn from it, move on, improve.

          The squad that started is as strong as it can be, in the absence of JT. And I thought we have a good chance in this. However, the first half, was horrendous. I can't imagine a worse start than this game. In just 6 minutes, we concede a goal, after several scares too (smart flick by Falcao). And then, when I thought we can pull another comeback with us pushing on, the opposition smartly implies their counter attack and managed to score another one (this time, an excellent chip by Falcao). I began to lose confidence as the game grows, with our defence continuously harassed, with low defensive organisation. Then it seemed like game over when the 3rd one went in. And again, by Falcao.

          The second half was better, however it was not worth the title 'European Champions'. I watched the second half, with nearly no emotions. Not knowing what to expect and what to hope for. When the fourth goal went in, I was like, "Okay". It is seemingly embarrassing for a European Champion to concede 4 goals with nearly no fightback at all. I was so downed. We had a consolation goal in the 75th minute by Gary Cahill. Although it seemed useless, it felt better though. The game ended 1 - 4 in favour of the opposition.

          I was so downed, I was so speechless, I can't even think of what had just happened. But by the end of the game, I started to realize. We weren't able to fight of tricky Spanish sides like this one. If you observe, their goals all came, nearly by trickery and counter attacks. These fast-paced counters, and tricky and skillful players are just the typical spanish side, who we always have a hard time of playing against.

          The difference of this match, with the one against Barca, is that in the latter, besides us having much more luck, we played with more physicality, and honestly, we parked the bus too. With this new squad, we can't play that type of play, we have no bus to park, we only got a van. So we had to play the attacking play. However, our offensive play isn't as great as the Spanish sides' game, and with that, and our defence seemingly less organised, they keep mounting smart, fast counter-attacks, which proved to hit the net several times, dooming us to a defeat once again.

          We have to play the Spanish sides with much more physicality, however we don't have much of those left in our squad. Even our goal tonight was with what physicality we have, namely our defenders. However, I believe that the offensive play we have, is enough to unsettle premier league teams' defenses, as they rarely play these type of games. So I have enough reason to believe that we can win the BPL, however retaining the UCL will be another story entirely.

It was not a great night at all. Congratulations to Atletico for being the better team all night. We had to bounce back, and since this is only our second chance of silverware, we have many many more chance to win ahead of us. Next game is against QPR, but it is quite a long wait to that game. So for now, we can only wait, accept defeat, learn from it, improve, win the next game, win the league! #CFC