Tuesday, September 02, 2008

sheikhs and the city

It was just another manic monday.

They had the whole summer to themselves, yet clubs seem to get kicks out of doing last-minute business on D-Day.

We knew all along that Berbatov would end up at OT, no matter what. The move finally materialised just 20 minutes from midnight.

After the chain-smokin Bulgarian hitman, the focus of the transfer rumour mill had been on Real crybaby Robinho.

Kenyan & Co. were so cocksure of turning him into a Blue that they even started selling his shirts.

Man, they had another thing comin!

Enter the Arabian Abramovich(es).

The Abu Dhabi Investment Group was just what the doctor had ordered for bankrupt Thaksin's woes and the new Man City owners didn't waste any time in testing the greed quotient of some of the top clubs in Europe.

Soon, David Villa, Mario Gomez, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Berbatov and Robinho were all wanted men.

Caught between the devil and the deep sea, Real were always the likeliest to blink first and soon enough, their squad was looking quite weak upfront but the coffers swelled with petro dollars... 61.6 million to be exact.

Ye can well imagine the real Abramovich's reaction!

With every big-money takeover, the Premier League is thankfully becoming a level-playing field. Chelsea ain't the only super-rich bully around anymore.

Gawd knows how this story's gonna pan out, but let's enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

talking movies

Considering the fact that i tend to watch more movies nowadays than footy matches, it's only fair that i spend some time talking about them as well.

No critical analyses. Just a line or two will do, i guess.

Here's a list of what i saw in the past couple of days...

Das Leben der Anderen (2006)
Lan: German
Dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Rating 9.5/10

To be honest, this tale just blew my mind away. The mood, music, acting, storyline and ending... everything is oh so perfect. This one has surely booked a permanent spot on my Top-10 list.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
Lan: English
Dir: Amy Heckerling
Rating 6/10

Disappointing. This flick owes its cult status to the tits of Phoebe Cates (whoa!) and Jennifer Jason Leigh more than anything else. Bubblegum affair.

Goodbye Lenin (2003)
Lan: German
Dir: Wolfgang Becker
Rating 7.5/10

My second East German experience in two days. Lovely story. Steady work overall, but never reaches the heights of Das Leben...

robinho and the curse of no 7

It's been a while, eh!?!

Well, a combination of laziness and busyness meant that i never had any time for this little pursuit of mine.

Gotta thank TheDropper for unwittingly reminding me of all the fun i used to have out here.

Rumour has it that Robinho is as good as a Blue boy now.

The last time i checked the Beeb and the Guard, nothing ain't official yet. But some websites are reporting that the official store is already minting money by selling Robinho shirts.

So, is he the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, as Big Phil sees it?

Well, he could be.

He didn't do anything spectacular at Real. Fifteen goals from 40 games last season is not a stat that sets yours pulses racing. But, it's a huge improvement from the previous season (8 from 40). Oh, that boy can dribble and do a stepover or two. Eat that, not-so-fat Ronaldo!

Robinho could well kick-start the Samba revolution into motion.

But if he's gonna slip into that dreaded No 7 jersey, then gawd save the Blues.

Remember Sheva, Mutu, Maniche, BOGARDE!

Somebody please retire that shirt!


Saturday, November 11, 2006

missing in action

Nov. 8 London Chelsea 4 (FL, AS, ME, DD) Aston Villa 0.
Nov. 5 London Tottenham 2 Chelsea 1 (CM).
Oct. 31 Barcelona Barcelona 2 Chelsea 2 (FL, DD).
Oct. 28 Sheffield Sheffield Utd 0 Chelsea 2 (FL, MB).
Oct. 25 Blackburn Blackburn 0 Chelsea 2 (JC, SK).
Oct. 21 London Chelsea 2 (AS, MB) Portsmouth 1.
Oct. 18 London Chelsea 1 (DD) Barcelona 0.
Oct. 14 Reading Reading 0 Chelsea 1 (OG).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

whispers work wonders

Sept. 30 London Chelsea 1 (DD) Aston Villa 1

As far as bogey teams are concerned, the Villans have been quite an awfully painful thorn on the Blue flesh. Luke Moore made a tidy 10K last season for being the first guy to breach our impressive defence after six teams failed to outfox it. In the away fixture, he piled on the misery by scoring the goal that derailed our title trip a lil bit.

And that was a Villa side coached by Everyuth David O’Leary, who was trying his best to send the boys back to the Cuckoo Cola championship or whatever they call it down there.

Enter football’s version of the horse whisperer, the enigmatically animated Martin O’Neill (who’s next, John O’Shea!?!) and Villa was busy embarking on an unbeaten run that must have had many Gunners already busy biting their nails and thumbs.

Oh, for sure O’Neill and the boys came looking for a win at the Bridge. A forwardline comprising Moore, Angel and that guy whose name sounds like Adebayor was enough proof of Villa’s intent.

The guys and gals who switched on the telly a tad too late must have missed the opening goal. After that Midas crash course, whatever Drogba touches has been turning into goals. Inside three minutes, he was at it again after Robben curled in the mother of all deliveries. Learn from him, Lampsy.

Villa was rattled and how. The Blues played as if their lives depended on it and raided the Villa half in waves at an explosive pace. In fact, my heartbeat went up by a dozen notches throughout the match.

The hugely unsung Geremi was impressive as ever and it’s quite a travesty that the gaffer hides him in the fridge for so often. For all his time inside, there was never a rusty touch evident in his play. It’s about time Mourinho made him the regular right-back.

At the other flank, Tweedy’s hubby was anonymous as usual. Oh Bridgey, my heart bleeds for ye!

For all the tsunami imitation, the only casualty was Moore, who was stretchered off after a nasty knock. However, Villa had another hero waiting in the wings. Just before halftime, he duly headed in the equaliser after some sloppy defending. Ok, now we all know your name, Agbonlahor.

It was a similar story after the break, the only difference being that Sheva was increasingly looking desperate. The constant criticism seems to have cooked his brains and he drew himself deep into midfield and tried to orchestrate play. He even had a superb shot on goal, which was palmed away by the inspired Sorensen.

The irritated gaffer threw Kalou and SWP into the mix. Off went Geremi and Robben, who stormed into the tunnel with a furious face. Logically, A. Cole and Lamps could have made better sacrifices. Sigh.

SWP zigged here, zagged there and could have easily scored the second. Instead of passing, he decided to test the strength of the crossbar. In no time, he had another chance to make amends. He had all of the goal and Sorensen to aim at but made a hash of it by passing. For good measure, he mishit the pass in style. The nightmare continues.

Chances galore, godspeed pace, well-threaded passes, the game was blessed with everything but a second goal. The Villans could have well even nicked it, but for Maka’s comedy interception. That sure looked like a red to me.

And the whispers go on.

Friday, September 29, 2006

old drogs, new tricks

Sept. 27 Sofia Levski 1 Chelsea 3 (DD 3)

How many times have we secretly wished that if only we had the electric Eto'o instead of that donkey Drogba. Oh, just how many zillion times did we pray that Drogs would find his true calling in body-building and spare us those perennial gut-wrenching moments when he used to kick the ball at anything and everything but the goal.

And every screw-up was followed by that awful jaw-clenching grimace. Drogs surely must have sawed off half his teeth by now, i bet.

However, mr muscles has been slowly but surely making amends and this could well be season in which he finally eclipses Eto'o.

As the gaffer said the other day, visitng an East European team who's playing its first Champions League match at home can be quite tricky. But after 10 minutes of the game, the Blues were more concerned about the wet and utterly slippery pitch than the opposition.

The defenders and midfielders were looking like drunks and only the naivety of the hosts made sure that our slips never turned into mishaps.

Sheva only had a bloody face to show for all his efforts and Drogs gleefully continued to prosper at the former's expense. This two-man hitman strategy is working like a charm and at this rate, nobody's gonna care if Sheva finds the net or not.

Nine games, seven goals and a maiden Blue hat-trick to boot. We have all seen the power, commitment and hard work dished out by this African. Finally, Drogs is applying the much-needed finishing touch to his deadly repertoire.

Drogs dear, maybe you can make thy living in football after all.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

lucky lucky lampsy

Sept. 23 London Fulham 0 Chelsea 2 (FL 2)

Bashing Lampard has become some sorta past time of late and to be frank, it's not entirely without reason. He's a fine midfielder, no doubt about it. His fitness levels are legendary, prompting even Sir Alex Ferguson to label him a freak. But, he's no Stevie Me. Gerrard oozes talent, while Lamps soared to the dizzy heights with sheer commitment and hard work. And a huge slice of luck.

Confidence personified, Lamps started having a go from the edge of the box every now and then. The lucky deflected goal became a norm in his play so much that he ended up being Chelsea's top scorer for two years running (2005/06: 16, 2004/05: 13).

Sometime around Luna's birth, lady luck seems to have deserted Lamps and an utterly forgettable World Cup followed a strange and silent end to the season. Lamps just couldn't buy a goal for love or money. Not even from the spot.

The short trip across the road to Craven Cottage always promised to be a tricky one, but with Robben back on the left flank, many (including me) expected Sheva to shine.

However, it was Lamps who ended up profiting from Ballack's absence.

Apart from Robben's screamer that rattled the crossbar, Chelsea looked clueless. Michael Brown sure must have watched the Sissokko tapes. He was a constant menace, pushing and shoving and being a veritable pain in the ass. Expect more such stuff in the future.

It took the introduction of Kalou to inject some pace and a penalty was the reward.

Lamps made no mistake this time and the new-found confidence propelled him to score another. It won't win any goal of the week contest, but would still mean a lot to him.

Guess, lady luck's buried the hatchet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

never mind the ballacks

Sheva might finally find his feet thanks to one German’s moment of madness.

Liverpool’s Momo Sissoko was hailed by some as the nouveau Patrick Vieira, but he’s busy proving them wrong by giving the utterly lovable Robbie Savage a run for his money.

After winding up half the Chelsea lineup in double quick time and winning a yellow for his trouble, Sissy was living dangerously. He tripped Lamps clumsily and immediately looked at the ref with guilty eyes. Comrade Riley, well aware that tinkersenor Benitez was twice his size, sighed and showed mercy.

Ballack gave Momo a taste of his own medicine and was soon seen walking off to enjoy an early shower and probably beer.

It wasn’t too surprising to note that the club didn’t bother to approach the FA with an appeal to cut short Ballack’s punishment. Maybe the three-match suspension was just what Mourinho was secretly praying for.

With Essien in the form of his life, Lamps too big a bone in the Blue spine to be dislocated and Ballack too big a star to be dropped, the gaffer was forced to accommodate too many central midfielders inside a telephone booth.

With Ballack out of the way for the time being, he can finally give Sheva and the fans something to sing and cheer about.

The 4-3-3 formation has served us so well in recent times and there is no real reason to ditch it for diamonds and pearls. The so-called diamond formation against Liverpool was narrower than your average alley and posed no trouble at all for the Pool defence.

No wonder, Cech was forced to hoof the ball towards Drogba all the time and even the Ivorian was kinda getting bored with the ping pong game.

Elsewhere, the clueless Sheva was busy preparing his apology letter for Tiger Woods.

Now that Robben’s up and running again, the midfield looks set to bring our starved strikers more into play. It’s time the team rolled the ball forward rather than test its gravity all the time. Sheva badly needs one good game and Robben might just do the trick.

Go ahead Sheva, invite Tiger again. This time, there won’t be any need for apologies.

sweet revenge

Sept. 16 London Chelsea 1 (DD) Liverpool 0

Oh! What a painful thriller. At this rate, weak-hearted Blue fans, beware. Watching Chelsea can be quite a threat to thy blood-pumping system.

I expected Robben to start, but the gaffer kept faith with the lineup that did the business against Bremen.

Evidently, our midfield lacked any kind of cohesion and the Reds were doing all the running and threatening. Blonde boy Kuyt could have easily given them the lead. Bless the crossbar. Bet Cech must have planted a kiss on it afterwards.

And against the run of play, Lamps shrugged off his awful luck and form to direct a pinpoint cross from the right flank. Drogba, with his ass facing Carragher and beyond him, the goal, chested the ball with élan, swiveled in style and unleashed a left-footed volley so stunningly pretty that even Pepe Reina was rooted to the spot.

After the break, Ballack fell victim to Momo Sissoko’s antics and saw red. The Reds attacked with renewed vigour and it was virtually one-way traffic. I was busy biting my nails, with a constant prayer in my lips.

Gerrard, Kuyt, Crouch all had excellent chances to win the game but it just wasn’t their evening. The Blue defence did its job well, with Carvalho making some superlative tackles. The cannibal showed his first signs of coming undone and was soon replaced by Ferreira, who was excellent. Robben had a cameo as well and almost won a penalty.

Well, the guy up there must have thought that Drogba’s wonder goal was too good to be wasted on a losing cause or even a drawn one. In the end, three more points in the bag.

Mourinho knew it was close call. No wonder, he was acting way too mild, shaking everybody’s hands and was busy calling a spade a spade at the post-match briefing.

He needs to bring back 4-3-3 soon. Otherwise lady luck just might call his bluff.