Premier League Reviews: Round 11 Batch 2. Chelsea v Man City, Tottenham v Blackburn. Plus Quick Hitters

30 October 2007

Here we go with another set of match reviews. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Match One: Chelsea v Manchester City
Chelsea Starting 11: 1 Petr Cech, 33 Alex, 35 Juliano Belletti, 6 Ricardo Carvalho, 20 Paulo Ferreira, 10 Joe Cole, 5 Michael Essien, 8 Frank Lampard, 12 John Obi Mikel, 11 Didier Drogba, 21 Salomon Kalou. Bench: 23 Carlo Cudicini, 22 Tal Ben-Haim, 4 Claude Makelele, 14 Claudio Pizarro, 7 Andriy Shevchenko.
Manchester City Starting 11: 25 Joe Hart, 16 Vedran Corluka, 22 Richard Dunne, 24 Javier Garrido, 2 Micah Richards, 11 Blumer Elano, 21 Dietmar Hamann, 7 Stephen Ireland, 6 Michael Johnson, 15 Martin Petrov, 20 Georgios Samaras. Bench: 1 Andreas Isaksson, 3 Michael Ball, 4 Nedum Onuoha, 10 Roaldno Bianchi, 12 Darius Vassell.
First Half (Note feed I was doing this review from did not have the time on screen, just the scoreline, except on goals).
Manchester City Kickoff.
Stephen Ireland nearly collects on Elano ball in but the ball was too heavy for him. Cech still had to intervene. Essien clears the corner.
Joe Hart does well to deny Essien from getting a touch on the ball from point blank range off a Chelsea corner.
I would like to know what Frank Lampard was thinking when he was shooting knowing that Stephen Ireland was practically in the same area he was intending to go with the ball. In the end it looked like he was passing the ball out past the byline for a goal kick.
Right idea from Samaras after getting past Alex and Carvalho, however the volley never got high enough to make Cech do any serious work to make the save...which he made rather comfortably.
Minute 16: GOAL CHELSEA! Joe Cole starts the play and the ball finds it's way to Mikel then Lampard. Lampard bets Garrido and Richards to get out of position for the on running Essien who takes Lampard's through ball and onto the far post. Chelsea just broke City down with their passing and Essien had an easy finish putting the ball where Joe Hart had no chance. Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0.
Good idea from Kalou, but he never was in the right position to put a proper header on goal.
Decent save to Cech to deny Petrov going to the far post. The ball dipped before the upper ninety that gave Cech the ability to parry out for the corner. The second corner is wasted for an offside.
YELLOW CARD MICHAEL ESSIEN. Essien took was holding and then clipped Elano's ankle with a scissors kick. Referee had no choice. Chelsea spring the counter off the free kick, but Drogba too wide to go near post, and found side netting. Drogba should have held that up and not be so straightforward.
YELLOW CARDS: MICAH RICHARDS AND FRANK LAMPARD. Micah Richards meet Frank Lampard. A little hand waving between the two England internationals ensue and despite the fan protests to have Richards sent off, both Lampard and Richards are shown yellow cards. Richards steps on Lampard and that was right for the booking. Lampard loses his temper and his retaliation was also ripe for a booking.
Minute 31: GOAL CHELSEA! Chelsea pick apart Manchester City in a way City was picking teams apart. Alex dispossesses Elano and finds Kalou. Kalou finds Lampard down the wing who then finds Drogba running free. Richards and Garrido are caught out of position and that doesn't help Joe Hart. Drogba though needs a bit of skill in getting it through the five hole and in. Pin point counter from Chelsea. Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0.
Stephen Ireland has to do better than putting an unmarked shot a yard wide of the far post. Extremely poor effort.
YELLOW CARD: MICHAEL JOHNSON. Just got Obi Mikel late without making an attempt at playing the ball.
Well what can't be said about Chelsea in the first half. It at times looked like they were mocking the tactics Manchester City had used the first ten games of their campaign. The passing crisp, the challenges on Joe Hart a plenty, and just like last weekend, passed the ball around to pick City's defenders apart. Manchester City looked shocked that Chelsea were not only coming after them, but playing them at their own game. The biggest problem is the back is playing out of sort and the midfield is getting caught forward giving Chelsea's midfield all the space they need on the counter.
Second Half
Joe Cole gives Salomon Kalou all the time he needs on the edge of the penalty area, but Kalou one times and makes it an extra point instead of a goal. Rushed that shot way too quickly.
Poor free kick from Petrov after Mikel concedes a free kick 22 from goal. Cech never moved as he knew it was always staying wide and high of the near post.
Minute 56: GOAL CHELSEA! Ferreira breaks from midfield and centers the ball. Drogba dummies the ball, but Kalou is challenged late. Lampard gets it and has his shot blocked by Hart, but Drogba is quickest to the ball, and shoots through shot is blocked by Hart and Drogba is there to grab the rebound and through the five hole central. The dummy by Drogba set this up as it put the central defense on Kalou. Since the challenge was made by the City defense, Lampard by default is onside. Drogba beats Corluka and Dunne to the rebound as the back four was a mess. Chelsea 3 Manchester City 0.
Minute 60: GOAL CHELSEA. Off the dispossession in the midfield. Drogba heads onto Cole who beats Richards and is in all alone with Hart. Joe Cole then from the edge of the penalty area knows Hart is unbalanced and just hits near post. Hart didn't have a prayer and Cole knew it when he hit it in on the near post. Again Chelsea cut City to shreads on the counter and where was the line...playing way too damn high. Chelsea 4 Manchester City 0.
Stephen Ireland comes off for Darius Vassell. Why in the hell is City going attack here when your four goals down and no prayer of coming back? Wouldn't you just wanna get out of Stamford Bridge only giving up 4 and trying to nic one of the counter?
Michael Ball on for Dietmar Hamann, now they go defensive.
Andriy Shevchenko on for Joe Cole. That's just what Manchester City want to see, another attacker...oh wait it's only the thirty million quid failure.
Shevchenko gets the ball in...and let's Dunne force him wide...and this has his shot blocked. Geez.
Roaldno Bianchi on for Elano. So let met get this straight City? Your going 5-2-3? That'll surely work?
Minute 75: GOAL CHELSEA! Salomon Kalou gets in behind Garrido who wasn't even paying attention. Mikel finds him and despite the angle, goes again between the five hole and in at the far post. This goal is solely on Garrido who simply has been asleep all game long. Chelsea 5 Manchester City 0.
Claudio Pizarro on, Didier Drogba off. Gets the standing obviation even despite the comments from last week. I guess you can say that is only yesterday's news.
Dunne does well to block Pizarro from getting to Kalou's cross. Shevchenko does have a gripe thought as upon replay, it showed he did keep the ball in play. Was a tight decision though.
Memo to Martin Tyler, please speak louder than the public address announcer. The fans at home don't need to know about how screwed supporters are leaving the ground trying to get onto the tube home.
Whoa, Cech got work? Bianchi chips one near post, but Cech doesn't have any problem to collect.
Minute 89: GOAL CHELSEA. Chelsera on the ball find Carvalho then Essien. Essien plays a little one-two with Pizarro before finding Shevchenko running unmarked between the back four Shevchenko takes Essien's pass before shooting towards central goal. Shevchenko just clinically gets in between Richards and Dunne and Hart never had a prayer. Can't believe honestly how easy that was for Shevchenko to score. Chelsea 6 (yes your read that right), Manchester City 0.
Final Analysis: It is better said now than after the first half, but Chelsea took Manchester City apart and did 80 percent of it by forcing Richards to cover for Garrido who was made to look an incompetent fool. Manchester City whenever they were on the ball played way too high a line and honestly had a keeper who forgot what it meant to close his legs. This was the first true whole Chelsea performance in a long long time. Manchester City looked totally outclassed and it sets up the first true watershed moment for them next weekend. They didn't make Cech work, didn't make the back four work, and were just way too soft. Sven has a tough task getting this team ready for next weekend, when their true character will be revealed.

Match Two: Tottenham v Blackburn Rovers

Tottenham Starting 11: 12 Radek Cerny, 2 Pascal Chimbonda, 20 Michael Dawson, 5 Younes Kaboul, 3 Young-Pyo Lee, 22 Tom Huddlestone, 25 Aaron Lennon, 15 Steed Malbranque, 4 Didier Zokora, 9 Dimitar Berbatov, 10 Robbie Keane. Bench: 27 Ben Alnwick, 7 Paul Stalteri, 6 Teemu Tainio, 23 Darren Bent, 18 Jermain Defoe.
Blackburn Rovers Starting 11: 1 Brad Friedel, 2 Andre Ooijer, 4 Christopher Samba, 3 Steven Warnock, 11 David Bentley, 19 David Dunn, 7 Brett Emerton, 5 Tugay, 8 Robbie Savage, 10 Benny McCarthy, 9 Roque Santa Cruz. Bench: 32 Jason Brown, 15 Aaron Mokoena, 6 Ryan Nelsen, 12 Morten Gamst Pedersen, 27 Matt Derbyshire.
First Half:
Minute 1: Tottenham kick off. Keane puts one right onto Brad Friedel who has no problem collecting.
Minute 3: Berbatov looks to take the volley, but it looked more high fly ball in the end and when he goes for the side volley, the Blackburn defense is set and block easily.
Minute 9: David Bentley, what kind of cross was that? It looked like something you would see in Rugby on a conversion after try.
Minute 10: Santa Cruz gets in deep, however Lee gets the challenge in before he can shoot. Then Bentley gets Lee to ground, turns and shoots way too soon. He had space to run into but simply failed to take advantage of the space provided when Lee was taken out of the equation.
Minute 17: So far while it's been an open game, it's been pretty much between the edge of both penalty areas.
Minute 18: Off Huddlestone's free kick, Lennon gets the deflection off Samba thinking he'll get a hand ball, but the ref slags that off rightfully so and Friedel collects.
Minute 20: Bentley does well to get the cross in, but Dunn fouls Chimbonda even though never got into the air.
Minute 21: Malbranque finds Lennon in behind Ooijer, but instead of going far post, goes near and Friedel blocks...
Minute 22: The ball goes out for a corner but after cleared, Robbie Keane forces Friedel into save number 2 and another corner...
Minute 23: That is cleared until McCarthy fouls Chimbonda for a free kick...that ends up in Friedel's arms. Wasted opportunities as they had 2 gifted chances.
Minute 24: David Dunn gets a make up call when Zokora is called for a cheeky foul, though it didn't look like one to me...
Minute 25: Bentley takes and what is up with all these free kicks being deflected off walls?
Minute 26: Andre Ooijer gives Berbatov a shoulder check, and Berbatov goes Arena Football and over the electronic advertising boards.
Minute 27: Brad Friedel does well to collect a cheeky little chip in that started to bend under the crossbar. He shouldn't have waited until late though to try and make a play.
Minute 34: Samba does a very good job covering Berbatov and forces him wide and his shot into the side netting.
Minute 39: Bentley does very well to force the ball off Lee for a Blackburn corner...wasted when they decide to shove in the box. This is not a Rugby maul.
Minute 41: Robbie Savage turns both his ankle and his knee on his challenge of Keane. That looked painful.
Minute 42: The free kick resulting is promptly wasted and sent back.
Minute 43: YELLOW CARD DAVID DUNN. Blatant hold.
Minute 45+1: Robbie Savage off, Aaron Mokoena on. Why not wait for the extra half a minute and making the sub to start the second half?
First Half Thoughts: Very open first half, but was spent between the penalty areas. Spurs had the best chances but Friedel did very well to keep them in the game. One sight for sore eyes though has to be the fact Tottenham blew countless set pieces. Blackburn looked good at the back and in the midfield keeping Spurs at bay, however Blackburn couldn't get the ball forward enough to look a threat. With Savage off the park, both sides should be able to open up the game more which is hopefully means getting quality chances inside the penalty area, something that was sorely lacking in the first half.
Second Half:
Minute 46: Blackburn kickoff.
Minute 48: PENALTY TO TOTTENHAM, YELLOW CARD TO STEVEN WARNOCK. Kaboul finds Keane who then finds Berbatov down the wing. Berbatov then gets behind Warnock and he has no choice but to challenge from behind holding him back. The referee has no choice but to give the penalty and a yellow card.
Minute 49: GOAL TOTTENHAM. Robbie Keane goes to his left and while Friedel guesses right, isn't tall enough to save. Well placed is all you can say. Tottenham 1 Blackburn Rovers 0.
Minute 53: Brad Friedel has to save Warnock again. Berbatov finds Lee on the run and Lee's shot is blocked out for a corner. The first corner goes out for corner number 2 and danger is averted when Friedel is fouled for a Blackburn free kick. Warnock is looking the shakiest at the back right now and the easiest to exploit.
Minute 59: Despite Blackburn having more of the possession since the goal, nothing of quality towards goal, as evident by Dunn's weak effort from 25 out.
Minute 60: Tugay off, Morten Gamst Pedersen on. Have to go for the goal and Pedersen can attack.
Minute 60: GOAL BLACKBURN ROVERS. This looks like only a quarter chance after Mokoena finds Bentley. Bentley is taken down but the ball finds McCarthy who then just picks the ball towards goal. Michael Dawson gets a boot to the ball which causes it to curl far post, off the far post, and in on the near post. Had Dawson not gotten a boot to that one, Cerny saves easily. McCarthy for once will be thankful he was marked the way he was. Tottenham 1 Blackburn Rovers 1.
Minute 62: YELLOW CARD TOM HUDDLESTONE. Bentley is taken to ground with a lunging leg and the referee has to book that when he's looking straight at it.
Minute 66: That it, I'm declaring Brad Friedel man of the match. Berbatov again forces Friedel to parry another chance over the crossbar to earn a corner that Blackburn eventually clear. Upon seeing the replay, Berbatov should have and has to put that ball from wince Friedel was coming.
Minute 70:
YELLOW CARD BENNI MCCARTHY. During open play, takes out Huddlestone with a shoulder to chest challenge never wanting the ball. The ref plays on correctly and shows it a few seconds later.
Minute 72: Two bits of good defending. Lennon springs a break after McCarthy passes right off the foot of the defender marking and then Lennon is unable to find Keane unmarked when his pass goes off a Blackburn defender.
Minute 74: Friedel beats Berbatov to the cross in from Lennon...
Minute 75: Then Friedel has to save his central defense when Keane was in all alone with the through ball. Friedel slides and makes the save.
Minute 76: Steed Malbranque off, Darren Bent on. Looks like both sides are going for a second now. May as well considering how open this game has been.
Minute 78: For the first time in the match, Friedel was caught on the line and Ooijer saves the keeper by clearing it out for a corner. Off the corner, the ball is cleared but Spurs get a free kick off a McCarthy hand ball. In the end, it's Tom Huddlestone who wastes it when he puts a ball into the penalty area with the weight of a pass from beyond the midfield line. Naturally that means it's out for a goal kick.
Minute 80: SHOVE FEST~! After Pedersen is taken down with a studs to leg tackle on Dawson, players get in a little pushing spell.
Minute 82:
YELLOW CARD MORTEN GAMST PEDERSEN, ROQUE SANTRA CRUZ AND DIDIER ZOKORA. Pedersen naturally for the challenge and then Cruz and Zokora for starting the little shoving match.
Minute 84: Matt Derbyshire on, David Dunn off. Blackburn looking more 4-2-4 now.
Minute 86: Free kick to Blackburn in a promising spot about 30 out. Well so much for promise as that looked American field goal than attempt on goal. Well over the crossbar.
Minute 89: Jermain Defoe on, Dimitar Berbatov off. Wrong move this late in the game considering they have been in a defensive shell without thinking about attacking.
Minute 90+2:
YELLOW CARD YOUNG-PYO LEE. Lee was fixing to be blown by from Derbyshire and just shoulder checks him...
Minute 90+3: GOAL BLACKBURN ROVERS: Off the free kick, the cross in finds it's way to Christopher Samba who from 20 yards out blasts one past Cerny at the far post. Pedersen wins the cross, Cruz sets Samba up and Samba does the rest. Pathetic defending as all Spurs had to do is just kick the ball out of the penalty area. Tottenham 1 Blackburn Rovers 2.
Minute 90+4:
YELLOW CARD JERMAIN DEFOE. Frustration challenged with malice and that was just stupid.
Final Analysis: How stupid and dumb can Tottenham be? The final ten minutes they let Blackburn bully them around after responding well to the Blackburn equalizer and it bites them in the rear end because of their one major fault this summer, they just can't get the ball away. Tottenham better have about 30 million available in January so they can get some help in the back, that's where they need all their help. Blackburn have to be commended for not getting down after giving up a bad penalty. Brad Friedel saved this team on five separate occasions and has to be the man of the match. Mark Hughes made the right substitutions to give his team the much needed spark they had to have. Blackburn also have to be commended for not doing what Tottenham did the final ten minutes of the game. This game was a microcosm of exactly why Blackburn are fifth and why Tottenham are still in relegation hell. Ramos has one hell of a rebuilding job to do if anything to instill some confidence in the back line.

Quick hitters on the other games.
Bolton 1 Aston Villa 1: Bolton leave the Sammy Lee era and go back to the same cynical football we all came to know and love under Sam Allardyce. Bolton still don't have any other scoring option beside Anelka and with a back four that still look disheveled, it doesn't look good. Villa still can't break the curse of playing away from Villa Park, and they have to do that or they will only slide down the table.
Derby County 0 Everton 2: Derby County are starting to remind me of Watford from last season. They will work hard, but the quality just isn't there. Everton were able to do the business only allowing Derby County 1 shot on goal. Everton coming off a UEFA Cup win midweek must have been happy they were playing a team they only had to do minimal work against.
Reading 2 Newcastle United 1: Newcastle United won't be coming close to competing for Europe until they can learn to win games like this. It doesn't help that you let Reading take this game to you. One thing I think we're learning about Newcastle right now is that when their midfield is having an average day, they just can't get the ball forward to Owen and Martins. Reading are doing an adequate job at home, see Aston Villa about their performances on the road.

If your wondering where Liverpool v Arsenal is, I will be back tomorrow night to give my full 90 minutes review on this game (knock on wood with pictures). Until then, all feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Let the debate begin~!~!


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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