Often Partisan

Defeated but not Humbled – Chelsea FA Cup Replay report

Here are my reflections on the FA Cup 5th round replay against Chelsea at St Andrews.

1) Defeated yes, humbled – no

I was worried that Blues were going to take a tanking at the hands of Chelsea, but it didn’t come to pass – partly because of Chelsea’s profligacy in front of goal but largely because of a resolute display by the Blues. But for a bit more luck and a bit more confidence Blues could have gone in at half time ahead; Zigic’s header being narrowly tipped over by Cech and one or two half-chances going begging after the Chelsea backline scrambled them away. I thought Blues faded a bit in the second half – especially after the first goal but the penalty save seemed to re-energise them. Chelsea fans can’t take much from this – their multi-million pound team pretty much scraped past a scratch Blues eleven.

2) Colin Doyle

He may have been beaten twice but Doyle is still king of the penalties. Generally, his play was good; decent handling, good kicking and bar one wobble he was fairly commanding in his area. Once again he psyched out a visiting penalty taker into shooting the way that Doyle wanted it to go; he really has got the art of saving pens down. I thought he maybe could have done a bit more to get to the first; however the second was absolutely unstoppable. It’s an uncertain future for Doyle in the summer with his contract running out but I hope that his performances this season will at least secure him a move somewhere else to play first team football.

3) Wade Elliott

I’ve been critical of the former Burnley man at times this season, but tonight he was top-drawer. He showed some good skills and vision, laying one ball back to Burke with a cheeky backheel and an absolutely glorious pass through to Mutch which should have resulted in the youngster bagging his first goal for the club. He’s definitely best off in the middle, as it gives him more freedom to make runs and passes in attacking areas. He wasn’t reticent in trying to get the ball back either and I suspect his distance covered stats to be really good; a big positive from the performance and maybe something else for Hughton to think about.

4) Nikola Zigic

As someone texted me to say, he’s an infuriating sod. Sometimes he looks so disinterested and out of it you wonder how the hell he’s in the team, and then he plays a couple of passes, has a good effort or even wraps his legs around two defenders to get the ball between them as he did early in the first half and you think – why doesn’t he do this more often? He was played to give us a nuisance up top, and I thought he did; both King and Elliott realised the best thing to do when the ball is coming towards him is to run on past Zigic, as Nikola knows exactly how to flick it on for a striker and King in particular was unlucky not to do better with his effort. However, I’d have taken Ziggy off with 20 to play and given Jervis a run; he looked tired and it would have been a good experience for the young striker.

5) Jordon Mutch

I think it’s become clear Mutch needs some time out of the team; he’s not been quite there the last few games and the low level of confidence he has can be summed up with the way he snatched at the one on one chance he had against Cech. Mutch had done well to make the run he did – the hard work had been done but all it needed was a little dink and he’d have been off the mark goalwise. He got caught in possession a few times and tried too hard to play killer balls when he’d have been better off keeping it simple. It’s not that he’s become a poor player, because he isn’t – it’s just that you can’t rely on a 20-year-old pro in his second full season at this level to play at the high level he was in January week in week out. An arm around him, a couple of games on the bench so he rediscovers his hunger and he’ll be the machine he was a few weeks ago.

So it’s down to the league now; thirteen “cup finals” to win to get us to the promised land of promotion. It’s not going to be easy; we’ve lost ground and we only have five home games left. Blues need to start picking up a series of wins and that has to start with a victory at the Ricoh.

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28 Responses to “Defeated but not Humbled – Chelsea FA Cup Replay report”

  • Mike says:

    Good piece. Elliott had a superb game, loads of smart movements to keep control of the ball. Zigic’s first half was as good as I’ve seen him play too, in terms of ball control and invention.

    A nitpick though – wasn’t the excellent pass to Mutch by Burke?

    • JohnR says:

      Yep, I thought it was Burke who made the pass for Mutch.

    • almajir says:

      I could have sworn it was Elliott, but I accept I could be wrong having written my report without benefit of replay or anything.

  • BowThai says:

    Well CH did it again and supprised a few with his selection.He certainly knows how to use his entire squad.It was just a bit too much for us.Im not unhappy about the outcome(although i was screaming at my Blues player from my hospital,post op bed here in Phuket,which had a team of nurses running into my room at 3-30 am wondering what the hell was happening!) Only a Blues supporter i informed them,shouting at a computer screen!.As you say for the first time since the seasons start we can actually concentrate on the business of the leauge and only the leauge.Im sure that CH will now pick what he thinks is his best side most of the remaining games,that can only be good for us-heres to a great run in.KRO

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Tired, missing key players and up against a team with a new manager…. to hear Chelski talk they’ve just beaten ManUre at Wembley…. positives to be drawn? We know what we need to do, at last we can focus on promotion, never give up, KRO.

  • Alboy says:

    The lads performed well and showed the passion and determination that CH is promoting throughout the squad. Elliot deserved his Man of the Match and Ziggy showed guts despite getting kicked up hill and down dale for the first 20mins. When the draw came out the bag against Chelsea we all thought we would get thrashed but a big thanks to CH and the team for showing the Golden boys of the premiership that the small heath passion lives on and perhaps they should take a leaf out of our book. KRO

  • mitchell says:

    A very good performance last night, they showed a lot of spirit and some decent passing football.

    As for the extra 5k on the gate last night – look forward to seeing you for the next 5 home games – no excuses! ( if you can ask the other missing 5k as well please as I’m sure 5 full houses will give us 15 points)

    KRO

  • DoctorD says:

    Agree with all the comments. By the way Almajir, without wanting to be pedantic regarding Ziggy being “disinterested”, that word means “neutral” or “having no view/prejudice on a matter”. “Uninterested” on the other hand means “not interested”, which I think is what you meant. But yeah, he’s an infuriating sod.

    • JohnR says:

      I thought Zigic had his best 45 minutes in a Blues shirt in the first half, second half not as effective but there was still some nice link up play with King when he came on.

      He needs to do this in the Championship now.

  • AR says:

    I can’t believe the crowd was only 21,000 odd. Where would we fit 7,000 odd more?

  • John says:

    A good performance from a makeshift Blues team. With some more “first teamers” returning for the remaining league games, I look forward to another day at Wembley,for the play off final. Only one gripe about last night, the poor attendance once again. It’s no use people complaining about the Board and the supposed “financial problems” ,it’s the lack of supporters in the ground, that’s the main problem. No one will want to buy out Carson Yeung,when they see, that we have a small crowds,even for game against a premiership team and a chance of going into the F.A.Cup quarter final. Come on you stay aways,get down St.Andrews and support your team,before it’s too late ! KRO

  • Sheldon man says:

    The whole team worked hard, but as so often this season (except January of course) we lacked the quality in the and around the opposition box. I am a big fan of Redmond and haven’t quite worked out whether he was underused last night or just outplayed. I suspect the latter as his performance was similar at Stamford Bridge. Its strange that most of us were slagging off Keith Fahey a few weeks ago, but I think we actually miss him when he is not there. However Jordan Mutch has taken over as the current target. Once again he clearly has talent and will develop, but too often he is caught in possession or tries over-elaborate passing. Last night, and I think against Forest, he lost the ball in his own half, both times leading to goals against. Added to his missed one-on-one, I think you are right that he needs a break from the starting line up.

    • NooBloo says:

      Chelsea threw 2 men on Redmond every time he got the ball so they effectively cancelled out any real productivity from him but he still tried very hard and looked comfortable on the ball.

      The real blues star last night was Gomis. He never stopped running and working all night, I thought he was superb from start to finish considering he was up against a multi million midfield in Chelsea

  • Tmsblues says:

    Good performance last night but what about the itv bias ! All through the commentary it was about a Chelsea story ! Would they do it for Roberto was their pride restored was Terry’s remarkable recovery down to his club commitment or the fact the manager had gone ? It was far from a great Chelsea performance, we played well against them and limited their multi million pound team to just a few shots on target and in the first half we actually edged possession. Last Chelsea visit it was backs to the wall in a game we won with one on target versus their record prem shots total of around 30 I reckon.?

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    I find it hard to be critical of any of our team being outwitted when up against a bunch of individuals who lets face it have superior skill. So Mutch got caught in possession a few times but he also was involved in most of what was good by Blues last night. He is 20 and will in my view become a top notch player. Collectively we made a bit of a hash of clearing our lines for the first goal but all over the pitch i just saw a bunch of guys who gave it their all and kept going for the whole 90 minutes. Credit to Doyle and Spector who at the start of the season looked hopeless but who over the course of a season have grown in confidence and now look assured professionals. Next 2 away games away at Cov and Leicester are massive games for us now.

  • Redders says:

    Don’t think we were ever going to win the cup so not a bad thing to bow out!! 47 games is a hell of a lot with at least 13 more to come. I gave up adding up the transfer fees that chelsea paid for their starting 11 after 7 players and reached £175m!!!

  • mitchell says:

    Tmsblues – apparently ITV’S coverage was shocking. The programme started at 1930, 13 minutes on Chelsea, followed by an interview with CH along the lines of “tell us your views on AVB, Chelsea, Chelsea’s history – by the way who do you manage again”?

    • NooBloo says:

      CH will not in the least be worried by that at all. if the media are channelling all of their questions on the woes of Chelsea, that means they are not highlighting the financial woes of B/ham which leaves Chris more time to concentrate on the football as opposed to warding off awkward questions about our financial plight.

    • tmsblues says:

      Yeah my dad said that he didn’t even see our list of subs on TV before the game. I think he’s right as they didn’t have time for this minor matter which highlighted our shortage of players and makeshift team, whilst they were doing such a key story on Chelsea !

  • roskoe says:

    I agree with Almajir and most of the posters on here that Elliot had a great game and that Mutch needs a rest. Am i the only one who thought Spector was immense last night? Good touches, good passing, always seemed to make the right decision on the ball and worked non stop all night. My man of the match. I do think that Rooney looked a touch out of his depth and was pretty ineffectual. Bring on the Cov on saturday, with Townsend and Husseklep available i feel we should get back to winning ways at the Ricoh.

    KRO

  • Dirty Bertie says:

    We played well above our pay grade and Chelsea to theirs, just.

  • james says:

    Ch is totally doing an astonishing job despiute this defeat we must look ahead for the future and let this game be an motivation to beat coventry and middlesborough in the coming weeks

  • Bluehobba says:

    A great performance from the Blues again last night. Wasn’t Torres woeful again. Wouldn’t swap him for any of ours . £50m what a waste of money. Roll on Saturday at the Ricoh, and hopefully give them a good hiding KRO. Don’t forget its an early kick off!!

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Great performance from the patched up side. Not sure what ndaw was doing at LB I would’ve preferred him in middle with Spector at LB and maybe Burke at RB. Ramirez gave ndaw a hard time all game. Zigic was awesome first half after the kick to the head he looked like the terminator Lol. Lucky for Chelsea they’ve faced us twice with weakened sides if we had our proper defense I think we would’ve beaten them. Now let’s concentrate on the league and going up.

  • andy says:

    Its time to go on another run and cement a place in the top 6. After two very disappointing results at home recently, nothing but a win at a packed Ricoh Arena, will do on saturday.

  • bluenose08 says:

    Just goes to show how much effort the players put in as 3 names have been mentioned for man of the match elliot,spector and gomez for me it was gomez all the running he did box to box. Agree with what has been said on here mutch needs a rest and give ziggy a kick in the head more often he responds to it! Lets hope we get a fully fit back four for saturday. kro


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