Often Partisan

And Torres Still Hasn’t Scored

Here are my reflections on the Chelsea v Birmingham City game from last night. Please note that I watched this game on a dodgy internet feed rather than at the ground.

1) It wasn’t the worst result

When the second goal went in, I honestly believed we were in for a mauling. We’d had some possession but we had showed little to no penetration (barring Jerome’s excellent run and shot), and Chelsea were picking us off at will. To come out of the game only have lost by two goals, and having actually scored isn’t so bad. The players will know on the way back tonight that they could have maybe got another one and really pushed Chelsea, and that despite some heavy pressure they were’nt disgraced as such.

2) Derbyshire

I really felt for Matt when he blazed his one real chance wide; he’d come on and he’d shown a lot of willing, chasing balls and making runs; indeed, it was a spark of inventiveness from the on-loan forward that got us the penalty. I’ve been critical of Derbyshire in the past, but I try to be balanced and tonight I thought he looked a lot sharper than he has done previously. He’s certainly a bit short of confidence, but at least he’s a viable option off the bench.

3) Jerome

From one non-scoring striker to another; Jerome had another good game without troubling the scoresheet. Thing is, he was unlucky really not to score tonight – his run early on blew the Chelsea defence away, and Cech had to make a smart save to keep Jerome’s left foot rocket out. Yes, maybe Cameron should have laid it back for top-scorer Craig Gardner to have a dig instead of scuffing it later on in the half, but you cannot fault Jerome’s work-rate and his overall contribution. On another positive note, his control has continued to improve – shades of Carlos Costly at one point!

4) The Penalty

Whilst it wasn’t so pleasing to see Gardner and Larsson arguing over who should take the spot-kick, when Seb finally did take it it was out of the top drawer. Cech had guessed the right way, but you don’t save those penalties – hit with real venom into the top corner – and Blues actually perked up from the goal. I’m a believer that the 0 on the scoresheet is a huge thing; once a team has one the second is easier to score in the mind because you know the keeper has already been beaten once. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Blues given a penalty, especially when I’ve seen us not been given ones like that previously in the season. To give David Luiz credit too, he didn’t argue – he knew he had pulled down Derbyshire.

5) Aliaksandr Hleb

Our errant Barcelona loanee got the chance tonight to put his money where his mouth was, by being given a starting position. Did he take it? I have to admit, I’m not sure what to think about Hleb. He’s really good on the ball, and he does make some excellent passes, and the run for the chance early on was great.

But.

I thought he could have offered us a little more penetration; I’d like to have seen him take a dig once or twice. If it had gone miles wide, so be it – but if it had been on target, there is always a chance it could go in. Speculate to accumulate. It’s also noteworthy that once again, our Belarusian enigma couldn’t last the ninety.

So where do we go from here? Yes, we’ve dropped back below Sunderland – but the important thing is we haven’t done too much damage to our goal difference. We’re still five clear of relegation, and we’ve got one of our hardest remaining games out of the way. Blues need to pick themselves up now, and look to go to Anfield with the aim of nicking the points – we have been their bogey side in the past few years in the league – and maybe having reshuffled the deck once more. Onwards and upwards, it’s the only way.

Oh and Torres didn’t break his duck against Blues, as many confidently predicted. Wonder which long record we’ll not break next…

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One Response to “And Torres Still Hasn’t Scored”

  • Football says:

    Birmingham is certainly able to provide an upset on Anfield Road. Liverpool haven’t been very convincing and consistent this season. The Blues could get a good draw on their Saturday trip.


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