FA Carling Premiership
Chelsea 1 - 0 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 0)
|« West Ham United||Arsenal »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Haaland, Woodgate, Radebe, Harte, Bowyer, Batty, McPhail (Hopkin 86), Kewell, Smith, Hasselbaink||Wetherall, Wijnhard, Halle, Robinson|
|Chelsea||De Goey, Ferrer, Desailly, Leboeuf, Le Saux, Petrescu, Wise, Morris (Goldbaek 66), Poyet, Zola (Forssell 89), Flo (Di Matteo 82)||Duberry, Hitchcock|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Radebe, Woodgate|
|Chelsea||Wise, Morris, Petrescu|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||0||?|
|Barjinder Singh||Those Bloody Yellow Shirts|
|John Barber||Mr Bridge Has Left The Stadium|
|Matt G||Chelsea Report|
|The Guardian||Poyet cashes Euro bond|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Poyet strikes to put Chelsea in top bracket|
|The Times||Poyet puts Chelsea among the elite|
|Express Sport||Poyet in to give Blues £20m Euro edge|
|The Independent||Chelsea reach European goal|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||??|
|BBC||Chelsea book Champions League spot|
|Soccernet||Chelsea 1 - 0 Leeds United|
|Carlingnet||Chelsea 1 - 0 Leeds United|
What it is about those damn yellow shirts that make us not play well. I can recall similar performances to last night as at Blackburn and Everton. Oh well perhaps the new away kit will bring a bit of luck with it.
10 of us took our seats in the Chelsea West stand. First thing that startled me was just how small the away fans allocation was; I think only Arsenal have a smaller away allocation. It was teeming down with rain and we were in the only stand in the entire stadium with no roof on it. I'll just bullet point the main highlights for me.
Actually, I believe it was one of those occasions, when we started out with an allocation of 3000 odd, and then Leeds decided they would only need half that number - our fault, not Chelsea's.
I don't envy you being on that open terrace, but you might not have enjoyed being in with the Leeds crowd last night, they were a pretty joyless lot. In theory, I should have been seated with LUSC London, but I didn't recognise many of the faces around me, and then a lot of them turned out to be enthusiastic "No Surrender" singers. It was all pretty antagonistic stuff from us: "...Takes it Up the Arse" when ever Le Sox was in the vacinity, Paedophile stuff for Rix, and "You're going to Win Fuck All" the rest of the time. It really should have been Cup Final atmosphere to inspire our boys to victory, instead mainly negative and sad.
The new Stamford Bridge really keeps the noise in - the Chelsea crowd get impressively loud when they want to. Once they've built the stand on Bar's side of the ground and signed up the Fratton Wall of Noise crew, they should be awesome.
The game: I was expecting a cavalier approach from us, and thought that Chelsea might still harbour some ambitions of the title, resulting in a free flowing, high-scoring game. It turned out, I think, that Chelsea were more concerned in hanging on to what they'd got, and were pretty cautious. Our team was more positive, making chances in the 1st half.
2nd half, we were still pretty positive, but Chelsea started to prove themselves a class act, especially in the last 20mins, when they kept posession for long periods, or kept us far enough away from their goal, that we could never threaten. I can't recall us making a chance in the 2nd half, and it was a huge relief when Jimmy finally took a pot-shot from distance - it made the second tier - but at least he had a crack at it - we didn't look likely to get any closer to their area than that.
The Olleryman needed to make some subsitutions to shake things up - I guess he didn't think he could change things around much. He only brought on Hopkin for MacPhail, and this did galvanise us to a higher tempo. Jimmy was having one of his sulky days, in my opinion, and could have done with being swapped for Clyde. Did anyone see Nigel Martyn giving Jimmy a bollocking, or was I misreading that scene.
The final whistle went, and we get a tannoy announcement that the game has had to be abandoned, and that we should leave the ground quickly and orderly. They were only testing their systems, but with this mind, you realise that there are still Stadium disasters waiting to happen. The area under the East Stand, and the Chelsea Village forecourt outside, was so packed with humanity that it took 10-15 minutes to shuffle back to the street - fires, bombs, rioting could kill hundreds here.
Also, on the way out, another announcement: "Attention. Attention. Mr.Bridge has left the stadium. Mr Bridge has left the stadium" - what was this, the BBC World Service broadcasting to the French underground, some coded message in a Cold War spy story? Maybe it was just, Ken Bates has gone home, let's relax and get the beers out.
Well I guess things couldn't stay as perfect as Saturday for long.
I planned to meet the rest of the listers in the pub, but thanks to someone driving into a bridge at Finsbury Park, my hour journey from work took nearer two. That just left me to enjoy a rush hour crush on the tube, which at least reminded why I decided to get a job out of London. Got to the ground and found that from my 23 quid seat in the back row, I couldn't actually see much. Still you have to look at this as a bargain given that it cost 25 quid for a seat in the front row (below pitch level if you sat down) last year. So I'll report on what I did see and maybe someone can fill in the gaps for the bits I missed (mainly when the ball was in the air, Or on the ground.)
It was a pretty niggly game from the start, lots of little flare-ups after tackles, but for once the ref (Winter) seemed in control, spotting the incidents and calming things down. We were competing well in midfield and winning our share of ball, but unfortunately seemed somewhat lethargic upfront.
Consequently most of the chances were Chelsea's, Zola missing the best one after Martyn had parried a shot and Martyn also making a couple of good saves. There was also one big goalmouth scramble which I'm not sure how we escaped. Our best chance was when McPhail slid in on the end of Jimmy's cross, but hit it straight at De Goey.
Second half was much the same, again Batty and Bowyer were disrupting their play and we had a lot of the ball in decent positions but never really did anything with it. Best chance was when Bowyer was put clean through but Le Saux (who put up with predictable moronic abuse in the 1st half) was quick enough to get back and tackle him. I don't remember Martyn having too much to do in the 2nd half, but after one nice little passing move, Alfie got sucked into midfield, leaving Le Saux with loads of time to cross right onto Poyet's head for the goal.
Things kind of fizzled out after that, we never really looked like equalizing.
Overall we played OK but were ineffective upfront, Kewell ran around a lot, but the Chelsea defenders always knew he wanted the ball on his left foot and hence kept him largely quiet. Smith tried hard as ever but against Desailly it was really no contest, and Jimmy seemed strangely reluctant to shoot when he had the ball. Chelsea never really got going either but were a bit better than us and probably deserved the win.
Scores - 8s for Martyn, Batty and Lucas, 6s for Alfie, Jimmy and Smith and 7 for the rest.
So 4th it is, we'd obviously have settled for that at the start of the season and especially after JG left. I wouldn't be too bothered if we lost Tuesday, but I think with DOL in charge the players will probably be well up for it and with Arsenal's current form, it could be a great game.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 06/05/1999.
Mission accomplished. This narrow victory took Chelsea into the Champions League last night and, if it was hardly as title winners as Gianluca Vialli would have hoped, it was no time to worry about such minor details.
As Manchester United have demonstrated this season, Premiership championships are hardly a prerequisite for European glory. And the celebrations began in earnest at Stamford Bridge after Gustavo Poyet's header had won an occasionally spiteful game and guaranteed Chelsea third place.
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