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Posted by Phil Lythell on 04/16/2012

Ok, be honest, how many of you thought Chelsea would emerge from Wembley with a 5-1 victory over Tottenham under their belt? After the nerve-filled drudgery of the recent stalemate between the two clubs in the Premier League there could not have been many who predicted that there would be six goals in Sunday’s encounter regardless of the frenetic nature of play that has traditionally characterised the FA Cup.

• Who Will Lead The Line Against Barcelona?

But the match was much more than just a victory for the Blue part of London. There was intrigue, controversy and even a moment of ugliness that will shape the memory of those who attended the match or watched on television.

The Moment of Silence

Disgracefully it was anything but. What should have been a time to reflect on the horrors of Hillsborough and to pay respects to the memory of Udinese player Piermario Morosini - who tragically died following a heart attack during a match against Pescara in Serie B on Saturday - instead became the platform for a few mindless idiots to shame the club and 99.9% of its supporters present by cutting through the vacuum with chants of ‘murderers’. Tasteless does not even begin to describe their actions and it is to the credit of the vast majority of those in Blue that they implored the perpetrators to cease emitting such bile.

I’m sure excuses will be given by some apologists laying claim to freedom of speech and high alcohol consumption will no doubt be cited as one of those though it cuts no ice with me. I’m all for singing gently mocking songs at the opposition and indulging in a bit of schadenfreude when the luck goes against your rivals but insulting the dead is so far over the line that it defies comprehension. Surely it is not too much to ask for club loyalties to put aside for a few seconds so that fans can show that they are human beings and not the Neanderthals that many outside the game convey us to be. Some may rail at the widespread proliferation of these minutes/moments of silence and the subsequent dilution of genuine sentiment and they may well have a point. However, that is an argument for another day and, for the sake of common decency, keeping your own counsel in such a situation has to be infinitely more preferable to the odious sounds heard prior to kick-off at Wembley. These ‘fans’ have embarrassed all of us who follow Chelsea and should be shunned without exception.

Chelsea’s “Phantom Goal”

On to the match itself and the major topic of discussion has undoubtedly been the decision to award Chelsea their second goal after a goal-line melee early in the second half. From my vantage point high in the upper tier of the stand on one side of the stadium it was hard to get a proper view. My first instinct was that it had not gone over the line but it was certainly close. I have since watched replays on television and seen photos of the incident and I have to say that I am pretty stunned at the scathing criticism that Martin Atkinson has received. I agree that there is nothing conclusive to say that a goal should have been given but to hear some of the observations of supposed neutrals you would think the ball had never left the centre circle.

For a start, there was only one TV camera that was pointed directly down the goal-line though unfortunately it was situated on the wrong side of the pitch to see a clear view of the incident. With no other camera providing a definitive verdict it seems extraordinary that so many people have been quick to categorically judge that it was not a goal especially when images such as this and this have become available today. Either way, Chelsea scored four other goals and displayed a cutting edge that Tottenham could only dream of thus rendering the debate obsolete.

  • Who Will Lead The Line Against Barcelona?

    Popular wisdom – guided by Roberto Di Matteo’s recent selection policy - has tended to agree that whoever played in the key midfield and attacking positions at Wembley was unlikely to be in the starting eleven for what is certain to be a demanding and exhausting encounter against Barcelona on Wednesday. However, events during the pummelling of Spurs will have given the manager food for thought. Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres have, by and large, been used in one-game rotations in recent weeks and with the Ivorian starting at Wembley it had been expected that the Spaniard would take the field against his compatriots. That assumption must surely be questioned right now after Drogba put in one of those commanding performances that only he is able to produce. Strong, powerful and clinical, he put opposite number Emmanuel Adebayor in the shade.

    Di Matteo may well have ear-marked Drogba for yesterday’s Wembley appearance and a starting berth against Arsenal next Saturday in the knowledge that he has a peerless strike rate both at the home of football (7 goals in 7 games) and against the Gunners (13 in 14 games) while unleashing a an unsullied Torres in the Champions League semi-final. While it is hard to argue with the Italian, who has made an exceptional start to his career in the Chelsea dugout, I can’t help feeling that the team will need the hold-up play of Drogba to ease the pressure on a defence that will be tested to the limit by Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and co. Having said that, wouldn’t it be just like football for Torres to really announce himself in a blue shirt with a match-winning display against Barcelona? Maybe that is asking too much but with the delirium of the 5-1 thrashing fresh in memory – not to mention that night against Napoli – the team have given us all a reason to dream.

    You can read more of Phil's opinions at or on Twitter @PhilLythell

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  • Comments

    Posted by Tony on 04/16/2012

    "Chelsea scored four other goals and displayed a cutting edge that Tottenham could only dream of thus rendering the debate obsolete"

    Typical biased one sided crap. Had Tottenham had the slightest bit of luck in the first 77 minutes, you would not be bleating,

    Luiz pulled Lennon back by the waist, Penalty, Not given.
    Van Der Vart, headed straight at Terry. Should have scored,
    Czech should have been sent off for bringing down Adebayor,
    Mikel should of been sent off for kicking Parker.
    Not to mention hitting the post at 0-0.
    Cheque book Chelski could have been 2 down before "THAT" goal, and ended up with 8 men.

    Those are widely reported facts. Not biased tosh like you posted.

    900 million pounds of Romans money. Your still nothing but a small club that won the lottery.

    Posted by madcaplaughs on 04/16/2012

    No, there is no angle which shows the ball as over the line. This is because it did not go over the line. The referee (subsequently) and the players (including Chelsea players) have said that the ball did not go over the line, so please accept that they probably are in a better position to know than you!

    Posted by wale azeez on 04/16/2012

    Torres can take the place of kalou in the front three.

    Posted by Daniel on 04/17/2012

    Tony, read your comment again then have a long hard think about who is really being biased here. Cech was not sent off because he did not PREVENT a goal-scoring opportunity. If Bale had used that pea-sized brain of his and let the ball run, then Cech would have been sent off with a penalty given. Instead he scored the goal meaning a goal scoring opportunity was not prevented. And it is not our fault if Tottenham are incapable of finishing their chances.

    Posted by aLVin9800 on 04/17/2012

    RDM will play the 4231 formation and this can definitely feature both Drogba and Torres with the latter playing on the right and Mata taking the left.

    Although, both of them didn't start together but in some substitutions, it was proven that both can complement each other, as evident in the recent winner against Wigan.

    Drogba is strong and holding center possession is critical, therefore he must start. Torres appears to be comfortable playing right, with his pace he can set up for others to score. This is also good for his confidence, if he continues to enjoy his football.

    The midfield of Lampard, Ramires and Mikel was superb against Spurs and if they can reproduce this form, it may win possession against skillful Barca

    The defence is Terry, Cahill, Cole, Ivanovic and Cech, who needs to have a 'A' game. Cech can be vulnerable as demonstrated that Chelsea didn't deserve to lose in some games.

    An upset is on the card if Chelsea continues to believe in themselves. Best of luck!

    Posted by tommy on 04/17/2012

    Although it was widely reported does'nt make it a fact Tony boy.. that can be biased crap too... go cry to Arry you loser..

    Posted by Sean on 04/17/2012

    Tony, you mad bro?

    Posted by Khoo Kyaw San on 04/17/2012

    What the hell makes the farca fans think that Farca is invincible?? Oh how disgusting Farca will behave again tomorrow night at Chelsea with their theatrical players, diving, tossing on the ground as if to die immediately, and crying, particularly, Daniel Alves and Busquets. The so-called best team behaves the worst. Shame on them!!
    Time for such a theatrical team to fall.

    Posted by briggs Eduwu from Nigeria on 04/17/2012

    kudos to Chelsea team because they did make us proud here in Nigeria. We hope this similar display is put up against a 'self-proclaiming almighty barça'. We hope for unbiased officiating from referees but the most of all is for barça to take up the challenge and play good football, not diving and tossing theirselves all over the pitch at the slightest of challenges. They should play convincingly enough to defend the title of being the best team in the world. I know and believe my Chelsea team for upstaging suprises, i see the fall of FC Barcelona. And for all who hate progress, backbiters, player haters and chelsea fc haters, we at Chelsea don't give a damn at your opinions because they suck, silly and as ugly as you are, LOSERS!

    Up Chelsea! Keep the blue flag flying like i do.

    Posted by Nitaant on 04/17/2012

    yo tony, r u tripping bro?? luiz tugged at lennon and he dint dive and played on (doubt it would've been a penalty regardless) no question of a penalty...terry displayed brilliant positional sense to be where he was and avoid an otherwise sure goal....daniel provided an apt response for the penalty and cech's sending off... and chelsea's been one of the best english teams in the past decade, not a small club by any standard, ie proved by the fact that theyve won 3 premier league titles, couple of fa cups and have been consistent performers in the Champions league (and exceptionally unlucky to not have won 1 yet)...

    toally agree with aLVin9800 on the formation, except that essien should play instead of mikel..

    Posted by rose on 04/17/2012

    hello..everybody...pls,i would advise as a neutral here,4 chelsea not 2 put too much into dis match....they should not use the performance against tottenham 2 judge barcelona...remember how bad manutd played in europe?against the likes of benfica & basel..yet they are top of the english league with tells u something, thatthe european nights should never be compared 2 matches played btw teams(of the same league) who know each other very well....4 me! i want 2 see how tactical DI MATTEO CAN GET! i want 2 know if he is the one making the big decisions or the players....& MIND U BE U GO SHOUTING....DIS ISN'T BENFICA & NAPOLI..DIS IS BARCA!(leave any sentiment apart when u are looking at dis game so you won't get hurt)....u are playing against a team that if u give much space they will hurt..not just about messi..pple seems 2 be forgetting about SANCHEZ,he is a very good player& very strong.if PEP GOES 4 MESSI,PEDRO,SANCHEZ.I THINK CHELSEA WILL HAVE PROBLEM,WITH KEEPING UP..

    Posted by Alex on 04/17/2012

    I wonder if Jorge Jesus decided to take up the pseudonym "Tony" just to bitch and moan about Chelsea continuing to win games. Barca face a real challenge, as Chelsea will not roll over. I hope the officiating isn't nearly as bad as the last time we played them. Go Blues!!

    Posted by Vikram on 04/18/2012

    Funny, how after 3 consecutive matches where "luck" (read officials) favored Chelsea, you guys are talking about officials not being bad for the match.
    And as for diving, do you want a whole movie length reel of Drogba, Robben, and even Lampard diving?
    Chelsea is a good team, but don't start this entire Mourinho-speak. You guys have had as much luck and as many divers as any other team.
    I am an FCB fan and I can't claim to be happy with Busq or Alves for diving, but at the same time I don't think Chelsea fans can claim to be saints. I think both teams are equal offenders, and let's leave it at that.
    And as for that red card for Cech, I don't think there is any law that says that if the goal is scored, the last man will not be sent off. The officials could have sent Cech off. If the referee plays an advantage, it doesn't mean he can't come back and punish the offender.

    Posted by Nick on 04/18/2012

    Chelsea should play Barcelona on a man on man tactic. Every Chelsea player should mark an opponent. Danny Alves, Pique are sometimes caught ball-watching and Chelsea should take advantage of that.

    Posted by Kyle on 04/18/2012

    No one can be happy about their team diving, but it remains that players still love to dive. I honestly believe what Wenger said a little bit ago would be the best thing to implement next season. A 3 game ban for diving, it sure as f*** would stamp it out of the game, and would see more players brilliantly break tackles in the way that Messi does, he CAN go to the ground if he wants, but he can also stay on his feet no matter what you are throwing at him, and to see Ronaldo, Alves, Young, Drogba, Di Maria all do this, it would be AMAZING. As for a man to man tactic, that really wouldnt do that well, FCB would spread the pitch super wide if so that, and create easy chances in the middle, if only 1 player is marking Messi, Iniesta, or etc, they are going to run over the opponent. This post is from a Neutral POV

    Posted by Carlos Slim on 04/19/2012

    Well folks, for all your expert advice CHELSEA has given you a blueprint for beating the suppossedly insurmountable mountain that is Barca. Who says we cannot do it again aye? UP BLUES

    Posted by Oyedele matthew on 04/20/2012

    As for me,all I know is that God has done and He will still do again @ Camp Nou.Keep the Chelse's flag flying as I do.The Blues.

    Posted by Jon on 04/22/2012

    Where is the blog concerning the Barcelona game? I would like to hear your thoughts before the second leg at the Nou camp.

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    Phil Lythell Phil Lythell is a Chelsea season ticket holder and lifelong Blues supporter stretching back to the sepia-tinted days of Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin. Author of Chelsea-centric blog, Phil has spent his entire life living within a 20 minute walk of Stamford Bridge which has cost him a fortune but has also kept him from those interminable queues outside Fulham Broadway Station giving him more time in the pub to discuss the latest glorious/calamitous/insipid match.

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