April 27, 2012
April 26, 2012
THE MATCH AGAINST Barcelona at Camp Nou in the semifinals of the Champions League was Roberto di Matteo’s 15th game in charge of Chelsea. With 10 wins, 4 draws and 1 loss, the Blues sit 6th in the league and has reached the FA Cup and Champions League finals. This is as good of a time as any to recap and look at Chelsea’s goals scored statistics in these 15 games – from Birmingham (A) to Barcelona (A). How many goals were scored? Who scored them? And who provided the assists? Let’s look at the numbers… after the jump.
April 25, 2012
WITH 45 MINUTES gone in the second leg against Barcelona -- two goals down and the captain sent off --, Chelsea looked like they were out of the tie. But Ramires put Chelsea back on the driving seat with a goal just before halftime. Everyone was stunned.
After defending with every man behind the ball for the majority of the time, the goal came out of nowhere. Ramires made a lung-busting run from deep in his own half to get on the end of a Frank Lampard through-ball and chipped the ball over Victor Valdes. The goal crafted by energy and imagination. Analysis after the jump.
GEOFF SHREEVES OF Sky Sports reminds Branislav Ivanovic who had gave his all on the pitch to put Chelsea in the Champions League final about the suspension that will leave the Serbian out of the team in Munich in the post match interview. Couldn't he have waited awhile? Let the guy celebrate for God's sake!
Carefree, wherever you may be...
April 24, 2012
CHELSEA FACE A crucial game against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League today. A favorable result will take the team one step closer to making a memorable end to the season that had a rather underwhelming start and a frustrating middle. Chelsea has a goal advantage while Barcelona will have the whole stadium behind them -- nicely set up for a classic match.
Ahead of this tasty game, I dip into another classic Champions League meeting between these two teams back in 2005 -- Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona. Chelsea lost the first leg at Camp Nou 2-1 but overturned the tie at home, winning 5-4 in aggregate. Even though the Blues needed a 76th minute John Terry header to settle the tie, the game opened with quick early goals from Gudjohnsen, Lampard and Duff. Three goals to the good within 19 minutes. All of them were counter-attacking goals. We will look at the first Chelsea goal scored by Gudjohnsen at the 8th minute. Retro Analysis after the jump.
April 22, 2012
THE CHELSEA YOUNGSTERS put 4 goals past Blackburn in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final and took a firm grip on the trophy. The team was a little bit nervy in the beginning and keeper Jamal Blackman had to make some excellent saves to keep the young Blues in the game. After the home side took the lead through a header from captain Chalobah, Chelsea got into their attacking grove and finished off the Rovers in impressive style. Here are some goal snapshots from the game.
April 21, 2012
|Mike Hewitt/Getty Images|
SOLID DEFENSIVE DISPLAYS combined with some underwhelming attacks from both sides make this goalless draw between Arsenal and Chelsea a fair result. A point is not great for either side, especially Chelsea who are still in 6th place, but the away team will be the happier of the two considering the timing of this game – coming between two important Champions League matches against Barcelona. Match analysis after the jump.
April 20, 2012
CHELSEA TAKES ON Arsenal on Saturday, only three days after beating Barcelona. The Gunners were recently beaten by Wigan but they have been up for the big games -- winning games against the likes of Tottenham, Newcastle United and Manchester City at the Emirates. Chelsea has been doing great in the cup competitions but have dropped points against City and Spurs in the league. In other words, the odds do not look great for the Blues.
Meanwhile, Newcastle and Tottenham -- Chelsea's closest rivals for the fourth place at this point (they are two points ahead) -- are playing against Stoke (H) and QPR (A) respectively. So even if the things went Chelsea's way against Arsenal, their chances of regaining the 4th place this weekend is pretty slim.
Anyhow, I've come across some good reads that can tell us how Arsenal and their main striker have been doing lately. Links and comments after the jump!
April 19, 2012
THE NUMBER OF articles written about the Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona game is astounding. I guess it's not that surprising since this is, after all, the semifinals of the Champions League. And more importantly, when a team many consider THE best in the world has been beaten -- not through cheating and dirty tactics but through hard work and disciplined performance --, it definitely makes waves. Here are some articles that I think are worth reading.
CHELSEA'S 1-0 VICTORY over Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals is a direct result of an effective counter-attacking tactics. The Blues formed two defensive lines consisting of 9 players to absorb Barcelona’s constant attacks and waited for opportunities to take advantage on the breaks. The Drogba goal in many ways was the fruit of this tactical labor. Analysis of the goal after the jump.
April 17, 2012
JUAN MATA'S GOAL in the FA Cup semifinals against Tottenham was one of the major talking points of the game. The same old did-it-or-did-it-not-cross-the-line discussion. Lost under all this crap about the legitimacy of his goal is the fact that Mata curved Tottenham defense wide open with two well-executed passes that led to two Chelsea goals by Ramires and Malouda. Let's take a quick look.
April 16, 2012
THERE ARE A lot of crap on the internet. But here are a few articles that I think are worth reading.
Chelsea's change in defensive system under Roberto di Matteo by Michael Cox: Under this very descriptive title, Michael Cox tells us how Chelsea's defensive organization has changed since di Matteo became the interim manager. The main point of the post is that while AVB demands his wide players, in either 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, to press high up against the opposition, RDM prefers a more withdrawn approach as his wingers, like Kalou and Ramires, tracking back to form two banks of four in front of the keeper. So, AVB's 4-2-3-1 looks like a 4-2-1-3 without the ball while RDM's 4-2-3-1 looks like a 4-4-1-1. In the current format, the wingers need to do a lot more defensive work, which explains why Mata is played behind the striker and Kalou/Ramires is preferred over Sturridge on the wings.
Ramires' raw energy makes him Chelsea's upwardly mobilemaster by Michael Cox: Ramires is not a typical Brazilian player -- with tricks and flicks. He is a box-to-box midfielder who can also play on the wings due to his raw energy. Cox examines Ramires' place in the Brazilian set up and in Chelsea's game plan.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 5 by @TTTFootball: A very solid match analysis piece. Discusses how Spurs and Chelsea used their wingers differently (i.e. narrow vs wide). Midfield battles are explained and formation changes are noted.
Carefree, wherever you may be...
"ROBBIE HAS BEEN brilliant, he took over a team that was looking like going out of the Champions League, struggling in the league. He loves the club, he has brought confidence into the dressing room, spoke to all the players and you can see the response he has got. He deserves full credit, and I can't speak highly enough of him."
~ Frank Lampard (April 2012)
Carefree, wherever you may be...
April 13, 2012
WITH HIS PENALTY goal against Fulham, Frank Lamaprd became the first midfielder to score 150 goals in the Premier League. This is an extraordinary feat by a midfielder -- the closest contender is Ryan Giggs with 112 goals.
Now Lampard is the 5th in the overall top scorer chart behind Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Thierry Henry and Robbie Fowler -- a forward running midfielder alongside THE most lethal strikers Premier League has ever seen. He has set the standard very high for any attacking midfielder in the league and he could raise it even higher still. In this post, we will look at some statistics on the 150 goals he has scored in the league.
April 12, 2012
"IF I HAD ONE WISH I would give my sister eyesight. It has been my wish since I was a little boy." -- Roberto di Matteo
I read this in the May issue of FourFourTwo and it broke my heart. It reminds us of all the important things in our lives other than football.
Carefree, wherever you may be...
April 11, 2012
April 10, 2012
A LATE GOAL from Clint Dempsey delivered a huge blow to Chelsea's top-four inspirations as the Blues dropped two vital points in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. The away side took the lead before half-time through a Frank Lampard penalty -- the midfielder's 150th Premier League goal. However, Dempsey's header deflected off of Cahill and found the back of the net at the 82th minute. It was a fair result for a pretty even game.
April 9, 2012
April 6, 2012
SINCE DI MATTEO became the interim manager, Chelsea has played nine games within a 29-day period, leaving very little time to reflect on many aspects of the team's performance in the post-AVB era. This is my attempt to take a close look at the statistics concerning the goals scored in the last 9 games, from the Birmingham (away) game to the Benfica (home) game. How many goals were scored? Who scored them? Who provided the assists? These are some of the questions we will find the answers to... after the jump.
April 4, 2012
April 3, 2012
CHELSEA SCORED FOUR goals against Aston Villa but I found the opening goal by Daniel Sturridge most interesting. The build-up to the goal was filled with twists and turns like a dramatic play. There was the initial attempt, which of course failed (as a rule, the good guy never wins on their first try. EVER!). Then, a fortunate second chance presented itself, setting the stage for redemption. Some characters were quiet heroes while others got the glory without quite deserving it. Let's take a close look at how the plot unfolded.
April 2, 2012
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DAVID LUIZ CREATED the very first chance against Villa when he slipped a great through ball into the path of Torres. With only Given to beat, the Spaniard forced a good block from the Villa keeper. An early goal denied.
The main man in this attacking move obviously was Luiz -- a center-back who can pass like a creative midfielder. Torres should also get some credit for his smart run off of the defenders' shoulders, although it would have been great if he did better with the chance (i.e. score). While re-watching the replays though, the movements of Mikel, who didn't even touch the ball in this build-up play, really caught my eye. Basically, his movements off the ball during this play highlights part of what the Nigerian brings to the team. Let's take a look.