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Chelsea
Posted by Phil Lythell on 04/25/2012

In the hours that I have had to digest that glorious performance in Barcelona, I have been trying continually to make sense of what happened but I’m not sure that I can. The sheer scale of achievement against such seemingly insurmountable odds is breathtaking. And it was done by the team that I have followed for my entire life.

Never have I felt so honoured to be affiliated to Chelsea Football Club. You could roll Rorke's Drift and the Spartans at Thermopylae into one and still the ten heroes clad in white would merit comparison. Perhaps that is over-doing it a bit and maybe if I read that last statement back to myself when the dust settles on this season I will be a touch embarrassed to compare a football pitch to the battlefield. But right now that is exactly how it feels.

In a match overflowing with so much incident it is impossible to know where to start. Take Gary Cahill's injury and the introduction of the hitherto unreliable Jose Bosingwa; take Busquets' smart opener; take John Terry's moment of utter madness; take the swift incision of Andres Iniesta's goal; take Ramires' exquisite chip following Lampard's perfectly weighted through ball; take the penalty miss by the world's best player; take Lionel Messi then hitting the post; take Fernando Torres casting his demons aside in injury time. The match had turning point after turning point. The peaks and troughs of hope and despair were unlike anything I have witnessed in 30 years of watching football.

But if I thought I had experienced the full spectrum of emotions, spare a thought for those who will miss the final in Munich. Geoff Shreeves' merciless bursting of Branislav Ivanovic's happy bubble by informing him that his booking at Camp Nou triggered a suspension was horribly misjudged. The question might have been valid but perhaps better placed at the end of the interview rather than as the very first question. Watching Ivanovic's heart break live on television was one of the most gut-wrenching post-match interviews I have ever seen.

The loss of Ramires from the final is possibly even more distressing such was the Brazilian's impact on both legs of the semi-final. His tireless energy was exemplary as was his quite magnificent finish on the stroke of half time and, together with Drogba and the indefatigable Ashley Cole – has anyone ever seen two better performances from a left back than he has provided in the last seven days? – he encapsulated the desire and spirit of this reborn Chelsea team. Ramires will be sorely missed so Michael Essien will need to accelerate his return to form if he is to ably fill his shoes.

A special mention must also go to Raul Meireles, a player for whom I have previously found trouble hiding my disdain. However, I stand corrected. He has improved markedly since Roberto Di Matteo's installation in the managerial hotseat and his second half display yesterday was his best 45 minutes in a blue shirt. Patrolling just in front of the penalty area in tandem with Lampard, the pair hunted down Barcelona's advancing midfield and blunted the European champions' main area of attack. John Obi Mikel is another to flourish under the new regime and has transformed perceptions in a matter of weeks. Previously deemed to be one of those destined for the exit door this summer he now, aged just 25, looks to be an integral part of the club's future. He will have to maintain this level of performance of course but maybe, just maybe, he is about to fulfil his potential.

One player that has not attracted any plaudits is Terry. Only he will know what went through his head when he decided to send a message to Alexis Sanchez via a raised knee. Our captain trotted out the familiar refrain of those who have grossly overstepped the mark when he insisted that he was “not that type of player”. But in his case, he is correct which makes his actions all the more mystifying. His attempts to excuse himself were almost laughable but he has since apologised and I, for one, am prepared to forgive him. No player has given more to the Chelsea cause – perhaps in the entire history of the club – than John Terry. Remember he has been playing with broken ribs for the past few weeks and anyone who has suffered that injury will tell you quite how painful and hindering that can be. His punishment – which is fully deserved – is that he will watch events in Bavaria from the sidelines and that is punishment enough.

Among the plethora of outstanding displays, there was one that was not so obvious. One that has merited some attention but maybe not as much as it should. That of referee Cuneyt Cakir. There was understandable concern prior to kick off that such a huge match riven with history and sub-plot was handed to someone without previous experience of the Champions League knockout stages. Yet he controlled proceedings with the air of a veteran. He correctly called all the major decisions with the possible exception of the penalty but I confess that at the time it looked like a clear spot-kick to me. He had no choice but to send Terry from the field and he was wise both to Drogba's attempts at time-wasting and the futile attempts from Barcelona players to win cheap free-kicks.

Apart from all the things that ultimately matter such as goals, red cards and penalty misses, there were also less obvious memories that gave the body a fuzzy glow. Tell me who amongst you didn't smile at Lampard showing Cesc Fabregas who was boss by following up an earlier tussle with a scything challenge to halt a Catalan counter-attack? The pair have previous and Frank was never going to back down against his former Arsenal adversary. Less bone-crunching and more heart-warming were the celebrations at the final whistle. Images of Cole on his knees while smiling to the heavens and Bosingwa's expression of delight mixed with disbelief will never fade but seared into the back of the mind is the footage of Drogba charging exultant from the bench to embrace Torres in the wake of the Spaniard's tie-sealing strike.

After 90 minutes of nerves being shredded, you could not have hoped for a more perfect ending but for all the ecstasy enjoyed by Chelsea it was hard not to be impressed by those clad in Barcelona colours, whether on the pitch or in the stands. After the match was put beyond doubt by Torres, the Camp Nou erupted in applause. How much of it was aimed at Chelsea's performance is unclear but it was an impressive display of loyalty to a Barca team that has given them so much pleasure over the last few years. The vanquished players were dignified in defeat, waiting to shake hands with the victors, and in the ensuing morass of interviews Pep Guardiola and his charges – with the notable exception of a certain former Gunner – were all magnanimous in their praise of Chelsea despite the crushing weight of disappointment on their shoulders.

But top level sport is ultimately about the winners and last night was a night not just to remember but to relive again and again. Whatever happens in Munich, 24th April 2012 will have a permanent place in the pantheon of great Chelsea moments and has a valid claim to be the greatest of them all.

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

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Comments

Posted by Anthony on 04/25/2012

EPIC!!!!!!

Posted by dagashini on 04/25/2012

Thank you..I love that

Posted by io on 04/25/2012

"Whatever happens in Munich .. "
NOOO, chelsea MUST win it!!!

Posted by Eyad Al-kobri on 04/25/2012

I dont know what to stay really. Chelsea all day everyday baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UCL Trophy here we come

Posted by Cedric on 04/26/2012

Got me in tears of joy with such dramatic win from CHELSEA!
Blues up up in the air...

Posted by 'dami on 04/26/2012

You've said it all.

Posted by John French on 04/26/2012

Phil, that was a great read. Rourke's drift sprang to my mind also. Ashley Cole's never say die as he competed for a ball down by the corner flag just as we had gone 2-0 down on the night was inspiring as was Drogba's "go out and fight" message to Torres when he came on. We lost four players and Bayern have lost three through bookings. It has crossed my mind that Yossi might actually be available via an appeal as the loan will have ended. Having said that the banned players might turn out to be a blessing in disguise as there are a bunch who will not have one eye on the final and hence will probably compete above the norm and inspire the others to do the same. Plus of course we get the other spur of a ongoing sense of injustice. I believe fourth and winning both cups is a real possibility. RDM can certainly rest Cole and Lampard a bit - Drogba too.

Bayern have three more games - the league has gone from them so there is nothing to play for in two of the matches as their position

Posted by John French on 04/26/2012

(post continued) cannot change thus there will be the danger they go off the boil. Then a week before the CL final they have the German cup whilst we have Blackburn at home who hopefully (I'm such a bad sport!) will have been relegated by then and will just roll over and die. I am praying for extra-time, high drama and a demoralizing defeat for Bayern in that match. I firmly believe that we are watching destiny unravel before our very eyes. If you are coming to the friendly in Philly drop me a line. I will be there with a friend and may be able to get us behind the scenes.

Posted by Manny on 04/26/2012

Great article! Torres with the dagger was my favorite moment!

Posted by aLVin9800 on 04/26/2012

Phil, a piece of great accolade that every Chelsea fan will agree with you but an ominous lack of recognition for Roberto Di Matteo. This is the missing piece of jigsaw puzzle.,

RDM is unsung hero of this Chelsea's revival and nothing can be taken away from him by motivating Chelsea players to believe in themselves and Chelsea don't need another Mourinho or Guardiola, he rightfully deserves the job. Apart from having good tactics, he builds harmony in Chelsea's dressing room. I think all Chelsea fans will be disappointed if he is not appointed. RDM has both Chelsea's blood and DNA.

Chelsea is now in the final stretch and the players need belief and conviction that they can with both the Champions League and FA Cup. It is really immaterial who is available or not because of suspensions, as long as the team performs as a unit. In a game, they have to mutually compliment each others' strengths and help out in areas of weaknesses. Chelsea has the reserves to beat all odds!

Posted by J4343 on 04/26/2012

Bravo, what a perfect recap.

Posted by Sam on 04/26/2012

Great article and assessment. Chelsea were worthy winners and although an Arsenal supporter I loved every minute of Chelsea putting those arrogant Catalans in their place. Hopefully you can go on to beat a very good Bayern in Munich. It would be another miracle but who doesnt believe now!
The one sour note was Terry. I know you Chelsea supporters love him but to say this is out of character is a joke. The guy is s dirty as they come. I rememebr in the first leg when Puyol hurt his hand and was obviously saying something to Terry about it. Terry then reached out and grabbed Puyol's hand. Puyol obviously in pain withdrew his hand and had a shocked look on his face while Terry's had almost no emotion, he almost seemed sadistic.
That is the sort of person Terry is. I am sad to say it because he can be a great player but as a man he has no scruples, is cold calculating and dirty.
Also shame Ramires is out. He has been a titan over the two legs. I dont know if he can be replaced.

Posted by Sam, Jakarta on 04/26/2012

Interesting article.. But, may I suggest including the following?

Question: Who was TMOT..the man of the match?
Answer: Goal frame!

Posted by jeffery on 04/26/2012

chelsea will be trashed by newcastle.

Posted by Ehindola Olugbemiga on 04/26/2012

This is great article, well detailed. We are very excited here in Nigeria with the resilence, courage and strenght of Chelsea fc. Hopefully its time for them to lift the ECL trophy still believing its God that gives success. Bravo!

Posted by franke on 04/26/2012

torres made me shed tears of joy....that goal was extra-ordinary.should i say...magnificent

Posted by Ibrahim Wanger on 04/26/2012

Great article. Best part of the game was the anguish on Victor Valdes' face as Torres rounded him for the 'killer-goal'. All i can say is thank you God for giving so much strength to Chelsea. I pray You repeat it against Bayern. Amen.

Posted by Stephen Doucette on 04/26/2012

I am a die hard United fan, and couldnt help smiling to watch an english team down barca's boring style. I hate watching barca and their passing game, if I wanted to watch a passing practice I'd go to the pre-match warm up.

But you are wrong about Terry. He isnt just that type of player, he is that type of person. Anybody remember the Wayne Bridge incident? Yeah. He is a scum bag and deserves to miss the final. More so, he doesnt even deserve to call himself captain, for either club nor country.

He has shown time and again that he doesnt have the merits to be a captain. Your boy lampard would be a much better fit, or even cole or cech, who both could make a case for man of the match. Who threw themselves in for everything for the cause of the team...and oh yeah they didnt cheat on their wives with a colleagues girl. Burn in hell Terry.

As for Chelsea, bring it home to England!

Posted by Demola Ogundele on 04/26/2012

A good read from you all. Barca is a very good strong team. But Chelsea has always been a handful for them all through this decade. The Blues are worthy of the accolade. You did not single out Petr Cech though. Now what a pair of safe hands he has been since the rebirth of Chelsea under RDM. The memory of that night at Camp Nou will last me till next year's UCL. Bravo, Chelsea! Thank you Roman Abramovich.

Posted by Kamaal Abdul on 04/26/2012

AUCH!!! IS THIS A CHELSEA PAGE, BUT WHAT A RECAP!
DO THE SAME THING THE REDS PLS. WAITING.WAITING..WAITING...PLS.

Posted by Raza on 04/26/2012

I'm an Arsenal supporter, but I'll readily admit that there was something incredibly touching about Chelsea's victory; I couldn't help smiling when Torres scored. Down to 10 men, with several injuries, written off before the 1st leg, it was a truly astounding performance from the Blues *applause*. Chelsea fans have every right to be truly over the moon; my team's former wantaway captain's unfair remarks are indeed worthy of censure and ridicule.

Like many here, I have been very impressed by RDM's rotation, composure and tactics; and he deserves the permanent job surely; the fact that he has managed to put Chelsea in finals of FA and UCL, while keeping them in the hunt for 4th place (albeit with some woodwork luck) is truly managerial masterclass!

One final word for JT; the guy seriously has no class. I know he's a legend for Chelsea fans, and yes a great player, but also apparently racist, promiscuous, and violent. Does not deserve to be captain of what is a truly great team.

Posted by Adewale on 04/26/2012

Great read. Surely d entire team and d back room staff deserve praises. It was a grt collective battle well fought and won deservedly. About Terry, he obviously lost his head a fraction there, but really has he ever done that b4 in his career? Has he ever blatantly attacked any player on d field, he made a mistake he apologised we shld forget, forgive and move on. Rooney has done much worst stuff blatantly keeping opponents but was nevaer castigated. Terry has being what none has being for Chelsea. Pls he has his punishment and that Just and appropriate. Chelsea u have really made a season for urselves. Go blues and RDM for manager.

Posted by ChrisM23 on 04/26/2012

Fantastic read for sure. Loved every piece of it, particularly,"After 90 minutes of nerves being shredded....".....so true!!! I love this team and its passion, all true Chelsea fans and their passion. Let's back our team, let's send them positive vibes, and let's complete what we all hope will be our greatest season ever!!!

Posted by Robin Siwick on 04/26/2012

I love the win by the Blues and what a goal that was from Torres! Keep RDM permanently.

Posted by Barca fan on 04/26/2012

Ok, Chelsea won. That's all that matters, I know. A year from now nobody will remember the game - people will remember the score. So yes, as a Chelsea fan you can be proud of the RESULT. But how can you be proud of the TEAM?! How can you be proud of the football style they showed?! Sitting with 6 players on it's on 11-meter mark the entire game? Launching the balls to the stands any time a player could put his foot on the ball? Yes, Drogba is a great striker. But he's also the most pathetic actor ever seen on a football pitch. I mean the guy is built like a bulldog, and yet, in every single episode where any degree of physicality is involved, Drogba ends up on writhing "in pain" on the ground. Come on.... Disgusting. Congrats on the result, but there was nothing inspiring, let alone epic about it.

Posted by hamza on 04/26/2012

a very good article for a great match. i think almost every chelsea supporter will say that this match was one of the best in chelsea's recent history.... it was poetic , amazing and heartwarming at the same time... i hope we win the final to mark this as one of the best time in CFC's history

Posted by bjaeblues on 04/26/2012

A great recollection of a great night and What spirit Chelsea exhibited..I Was at a bar watching the game with Barcelona fans and they were ridiculing me but just picture me on a table shouting TORRESS CHELSEAAA!! over and over again to the top of my lungs...I was in tears not long after filled with emotion. I'm happy for Torres...and all the boys played their heart out. I believe and we're gonna bring it home in the final...

Posted by Berhan on 04/26/2012

There was nothing about that Chelsea performance that wasn't extraordinary. Just an amazing game to watch. I've watched the replay about 5 times already and I still get goosebumps watching the celebrations after Torres' goal. CHELSEA!

Posted by chukwuma on 04/27/2012

great article. i just want to answer @ barca fan, who singled out Drogba for criticism. while you accuse him of play acting while built as a bulldog, check the build of Sanchez and Sergio,equate it to their theatrics.... then write another comment. accept it dude, you were well and truelly beaten by a BETTER team and a BETTER coach.

Posted by Really Barcelona? on 04/27/2012

"But how can you be proud of the TEAM?! How can you be proud of the football style they showed?! Sitting with 6 players on it's on 11-meter mark the entire game? Launching the balls to the stands any time a player could put his foot on the ball? Yes, Drogba is a great striker. But he's also the most pathetic actor ever seen on a football pitch."

I just want to point out two things:
a.) The fact is that the 'park-the-bus' game plan works exceptionally well against Barcelona, they are unable to deal with a stray long ball (Torres' Goal) and cannot adapt to beat a 10 man team? Not to even mention Messi's miss.

b.) Complaining about Drogba 'acting' is hilarious coming from a Barca supporter. Dani Alves is probably the biggest play actor ever (Pepe red card... zero contact) Further more the way you worded it proves that Barcelona supporters place emphasis on diving and winning penalties. "Pathetic actor" proves that point.

Posted by Butel Gilbert on 04/27/2012

True,it does look like chelsea have the reputation to consider...march on the blues,there is nothing that can stop you know.

Posted by Qrespo on 04/27/2012

Phil. You forgot to give Petr Cech individual credit in both legs of the semi finals for his many crucial saves.I thought the comeback against Napoli was great,outstanding,unbelievable.....but this performance against Barcelona...out of this world!!!!
Well done CHELSEA FC

Posted by Dominic chuks on 04/27/2012

Thank god for he made it for us, up chelsea we are the no 1 .

Posted by MUFCMAD on 04/27/2012

Life-long Man.Utd. supporter but I have to say I've never been prouder of a TEAM performance than what I witnessed in this game.

Absolutely fantastic....well done Chelsea FC.

Posted by zyte on 04/27/2012

blues al d way.barca has their tititaka,and we hav our parkn bus style.wat matters is dat at de end of d game,parkn bus beat tititaka.but stil i pay tribute 2 messi,d guys talent cant b matched.blues al d way.

Posted by BluBop on 04/27/2012

After watching the match again and scrutinizing the details I have come to one conclusion. Alexis Sánchez is aflopping pussy and a marginal, at best, football player. Absolutely Terry desreved a red card but Alexis spent almost as much time on the ground writhing in fake agony as he did playing. Check out Mikel's booking in the 31st minute. He barely touches him and Alexis completes a full 360 degree spin and then rolls on the ground for several seconds grabbing his leg in fake agony. The worst part is that the ref bought it. People say Chelsea's defensive stand isn't good football. WHat about blatant flopping? Even on Terry's red card it took him a second to realize he should fall down and pretend to be hurt. What a pussy.

Posted by zack on 04/27/2012

I am United fan,but love lampard,to me he is TMOM..he created both goals at stamford bridge & the Camp Nou to Ramires ..its a crucial goal that make chelsea where it is now...best of luck in the Final...at least Chelsea will put EPL recognition as the best league in the world

Posted by Jim T on 04/27/2012

I entirely disagree with the view of Miereles and unless this player is moved into the attack, I desperately hope he moves on in the summer. He gave his all for the entire game, but he is too much of a liability in big games and doesn't have enough influence in games where the possesion is more even. He was arguably responsible for the first goal of this match and completely at fault of giving the ball away for the second. All that after giving the ball away several times within the opening 20-30 minutes. Paired with his poor display in the first leg against Napoli and relative anonimity all season, I'd like to see him go. I hold Kalou and Malouda in the same regard, I am amazed Kalou is getting so much playing time. While I thank all of these players for their time at the club, these are the players that must move on in the summer. Drogba, Lampard, Cole, Terry? They still have something to give and I would leave it up to the players and club to decide if they stay. KTBFFH!!

Posted by Susie on 04/27/2012

Congratulations, Phil!

I finally got a chance to see your match after I'd landed in Madrid on Wednesday. It gave me hope that we could do the same!

And we did. Very much looking forward to facing your boys in our stadium on the 19th.

Auf gehts, Bayern!

Posted by valentine on 04/27/2012

it was an emotional moment wen d exit of barcelona was sealed by d fantastic goal of torress,. What a great dai in d history of cfc. To d barca fans who always seem to moan with endless xcuses abt d reason for their failure.. Chelsea read u like a book as if it was a final exam, and we excelled. We are nt normally like dat on d pitch, bt we had to, under dat circumstance which eventually did pay off. Barca sucks..

Posted by wally on 04/28/2012

read all the comments.arsenal supporter.hope chelsea fall on their faces.bayern all the way.reason:john terry,racist bastard,dirty player all the way.ashley cole,bigger jerk.has no class.left arsenal,wrote book,trash arsenal.all the way bayern.chelsea luck is out.no way in hell are they gonna beat bayern.luck is out.

Posted by sting on 04/28/2012

All d way BLUE!!, we d Nigeria Chelsea fans were dumbfounded by this great performance by our super ten players and d inspiring work of our interim manager RDM who we awaits his call as a manager after d season.
Indeed chelsea players suprised us. And 4 Bacelona 'some days are like that'. WIN IT ALL BLUES!!! YIIIIAAAHH!

Posted by iyke on 04/28/2012

life has tot us all that the only constant tin in life is change,i always knew that Barcelona superiority would not last 4 ever,every situation has an end so kudos 2 Chelsea fantastic game from Barcelona but d Chelsea 10 fought like titans and deserved d win,rdm knows his team and worked wit d strength of d team and it yielded d required result he wanted i really don't need a Guadiola,a Mourinho could interest me but apart from the special one i think rdm deserves a go at managing Chelsea he is of d Chelsea blood,and he understands d team he has presently i don't know about d future but i think he has an edge over any other coach maybe except d special one,blue for life,blue in and out

Posted by Authority on 04/28/2012

please am begging abramovich to sign guardiola into chelsea,or he will kill chelsea football career,RMD is a good one or he can go for Mourinho,any thing apart from this will amount to chelseas failure.THE BLUES SAYS NO TO GUARDIOLA!!!!!!!!!!!.

Posted by Bonjay on 04/28/2012

It wasn't an easy match for the 2 teams...Sincerely,Barca is a great club,they play good football but something is still missing in the team.They need to cultivate the habit of playing 1-2 in front of the net of their opponent,when they need to fire a serious shot.I think that was what caused them defeat ...I am so much proud of my Team Chelsea, We played a very good football that day and i was so glad about it ....Up Chelsea and i wish all the Chelsea fans success .We own the cup and we are bringing it home ...

Posted by Lapjay on 04/28/2012

i am so glad to see chelsea win.

but for the final i would like to give some opinion.

for RDM, I think chelsea defend can handle bayern's attack anyway, no matter we have 4 players suspend

so for the final, the match winning point is surprise

the surprise to fans and opponent in barc game is R7 play at left wing in 1st and right back on 2nd match,

the key point is within 3 touch to able to shoot in penalty area. (that's what i have said to my friend before the 2 matches)

here for RDM, i would mention again, make surprise for Bayern, surprise can be anyone on any position.

bayern weakness is defending, Drogba, i don't think they can handle. very sure.

bayern can dominate in many matches because their midfield seem strong and comparely strong in their league and champion leauge

chelsea midfield in 3 men, i think the strongest in the world, but let show that we are weaker, let them dominate and finally they will pay for that

i am sure chelsea will win

Posted by Maicha Moses on 04/28/2012

God's time is d best, this is our time and of course the best time 4 chelsea to finally lift d holy grail to d glory of God Almighty. My message to FCB is this 'Those who neglect history always fall into misery' since 1992 no team have defendend dat title and its still lingering. Viva bluz, viva RDM. Wel done phil. Nice article.

Posted by FlyingBlues on 04/28/2012

BarcaFan.. Let me remind you one thing, 3 seasons back on Stamford Bridge, Pique played VolleyBall in the penalty area and I bet you wont even remember the incident and there are many more like that(Check the link just for you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5x0iM0oQps). You should not blame others when you have the best actor in Sergio Busquets in the game. Please give me a break.. if you dont like parking the Bus, leave ball possession. Do not try to dictate the game rules and regulation.

Posted by kristos on 04/29/2012

ok gentleman,is Chelsea's luck gonna run dry soon ? It's about time,how much longer they can ride their luck,,incredible piece of history was written ,incredible team with no talent and no quality,the gods were smiling on these boys in blue since Napoli's game,,just not sure how Napoli let this tie slip away from them,a much better team than Chelsea,,that tie should be over after 45 min in London,napoli wasted handfull of chances and that cost them dearly,now let's talk about Barcelona,a team way superior than Blues,looked like Barcelona did not want to go to final,even Drogba was not flooping all over the field with his big frame and looking through his fingers,but I must admit Barca went out in style,no controversy,no rolling on the field(Busquets and Pedro),,without a doubt this team is still the best in the world,Bayern is going to win the final quite easily,they are extremely happy to play Chelsea not Barca giants,Franky,Schweine and Robben will have the good time in Munich

Posted by Cedric on 04/29/2012

Great article Phil..... Truly feel ur emotion even after a few days.... All they need is to win it now to make this an unforgettable season.

Posted by kamza on 04/29/2012

i was happiest.....how could the ref award a penalty for just touching one's back barca deserved that...forza milan..forza chelsea

Posted by femi on 04/29/2012

i love chelsea, my blood is blue, so i will 4eva b blue.... The battle is still 1/2 way won, my joy will b full whn i watch chelsea lift d trophy @ alienz arena cm may 19th... On Terry's red card, ds man has helped d team in both thick and thin moments, he loves d club which made him not 2 compromise his stand whn m. City came 4 him wt dr mouth watering offer, he is committed 2 d club which he dispalyed in d 1st leg of d semi-final match whn puyol was trying 2 distract him wt his hand dat was surpose 2 b taken 2 d authopedics, he risks his life for d club @ present by playing-on with a broken rib, and he has also apologised 4 his wrong did...... He deserves 2 b forgiven.... And lets hope 4 d best in our finals (FAC and UCL).... Blue 4 a life time..

Posted by Nick on 04/29/2012

To those who criticize Chelsea for their defensive methodology against Barca, go fly a kite. Oh, boo hoo, Chelsea don't play the way I want them to play so my club can win. Boo hoo. Wahhhhhhhh! Seriously, these people are ridiculous. Chelsea knew that a stout, defensively-minded approach was their only prayer. Good on RDM and the club for exposing Barca's glaring weakness--they can't win playing anything but a wide open game. Maybe if they bought a few players over 5 feet tall, they could swing in crosses and corners, but no, they have the Xavis and Messis of the world. On that note, with Pep leaving Barca, I'd love to see him bring Messi to Chels'.

Posted by ojclassic on 04/30/2012

All I can say it was a brilliant team spirit and brevity from the chelsea players to battle out in such a scintillating encounter against a formidable well marshaled barcelona side. Truly it was an incredible night full of passion and believe from the ten warriors dressed in white, they stuck to they tactic and it payed off dividends to the fullest credit to the entire chelsea team and all the other supporters wherever you are across the globe. Whoever saying we parked the bus might not be wrong but not many teams have succeeded from that against barcelona who more than ever encounter with many teams who just but a few never arrive with ultra defending mentallity so bravo chelsea......go all the way to lift the trophy and wind up a remarkable year in our champions league history as we embrace the glory in munich against all odds. Credit to RDM for rejuvinating the team spirit and elavating our belief as fans which a while ago under the stewardship of AVB was in turmoil.MOUorRDMperiod

Posted by czaree on 04/30/2012

The only worrying thing, is, hopefully the Chelsea team do not fall flat on their faces at the crunch times. They have overcome QPR and Newcastle won't be a big test either. Liverpool in the FA Cup is the first big test and then Liverpool again at Anfield to keep the fight for fourth alive.They would be in a good frame of mind if they overcome these for the biggest test at Bayern. That's no easy task. Imagine playing away against Man United or other top opponents it is not easy to get a win. I hope they practise their penalty kicks.

Posted by ken torres on 04/30/2012

God made every thing for us.we did not pay kobo,played kobo and scored kobo.lets thank God for He made ll for us

Posted by Phil Lythell on 05/01/2012

Thanks for all your comments, hugely appreciated as always. Keep them coming!

I agree that more praise could have been written about Cech and RDM in particular but wanted to focus on some unsung heroes like Mikel and Meireles.

To Barca Fan - I totally disagree. Everybody will remember the game as well as the reult in a years time just like they remember Inter Milan's display in 2010.

To Kristos - you may be right about Napoli and Barca but, as Guardiola conceded, the game is about putting the ball in the net and against both teams Chelsea did it more often, no away goals needed.

Now bring on Bayern!

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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 ShoutyandSpitty.com, 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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