soccernet blog
August 6, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 08/06/2012

With Olympic fever consuming London as records tumble and gold flows across the nation, the start of the football season has approached with all the stealth of a Lockheed Bomber. There are just days to go until English football’s traditional curtain raiser, the FA Community Shield, yet talk has been at a premium with the advent of the Premier League currently flying under the radar.

July 16, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 07/16/2012

Due to the murky nature of the allegations and the sensitive nature of the case, this blog had hoped to steer clear of the recent John Terry trial. However, having monitored every element of the proceedings on a minute-by-minute basis and seen the extreme reactions to the not guilty verdict, an opinion had to be ventured.

July 11, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 07/11/2012

While the furore surrounding John Terry's date in court dominates the headlines, a notable admission from Roberto Di Matteo has caught this blog's eye.

July 4, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 07/04/2012

With Euro 2012 having finished the world's attention will once again switch to domestic matters. But before events in Poland and Ukraine fade into black and white, let's assess the impact that the Chelsea contingent made upon the tournament.

June 12, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 06/12/2012

After watching the first matches of the 2012 European Championships, one sentiment has echoed around press conferences and television studios with regard to the approach demanded from the underdogs in the tournament . It’s called ‘doing a Chelsea’.

June 5, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 06/05/2012

The last 15 years have seen Chelsea emerge from being a mid-table top flight team into a club renowned around the world. The last step on that path was taken when the European Cup was hoisted aloft by Frank Lampard and co on a heady night in Munich.

May 28, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 05/28/2012

Lifting the European Cup for the very first time should be a cause for unbounded joy and delirium. For Chelsea fans the 19th May 2012 was a date that evoked those very emotions yet in the days afterwards there was a tinge of sadness appended to this chapter in the club’s history - the departure of Didier Drogba.

May 21, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 05/21/2012

Chelsea - Champions of Europe. Sounds good doesn't it?

Yet although I saw it happen in Munich and then made it back to London for the parade on Sunday, it still seems so unreal. I've read countless articles and watched the match again and while I know it happened, there remains part of me that can't quite get my head round it.

May 16, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 05/16/2012

Manchester City may have won the Premier League title in the most dramatic manner since Michael Thomas stole the championship for Arsenal in the dying seconds at Anfield in 1989 and England manager Roy Hodgson might have selected an attacking player without a single league goal or assist this season in his Euro 2012 squad in the shape of Stewart Downing, but if you are a Chelsea fan there is only one thing that dominates your thoughts – the Champions League final.

May 12, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 05/12/2012

The recent double-header against Liverpool may have resulted in a 5-3 aggregate loss but there cannot be any doubt as to which was the happier team after the completion of the two matches.

May 4, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 05/04/2012

It seems quite strange that on the eve of English football’s showpiece event, all the talk is not about the FA Cup final but about the news that Chelsea FC have submitted an offer to buy and develop the site of the defunct Battersea Power Station. While that would seem to be the appropriate intro for me to preview events at Wembley, instead I am going to add my two pennies worth to the mix.

April 25, 2012
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.

April 22, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 04/22/2012

The last week of following Chelsea has been like stepping into a time machine. The resolve and resilience displayed in the matches against Barcelona and Arsenal has borne more than a passing resemblance to the character of those sides sent on to the field by Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink.

April 16, 2012
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?

April 10, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 04/10/2012

Another week of football, another week of contentious officiating.

The last seven days have seen the airwaves strain to the sounds of injustice and newspaper columns burst with condemnation for the men in black. But,to make a very pleasant change, Chelsea have largely been on the right side of the referee’s whistle.

April 2, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 04/02/2012

Chelsea's 4-2 win at Aston Villa on Saturday was very encouraging but its importance has been made all the more evident when set against the results of the rest of the teams chasing Champions League spots.

Tottenham's win against Swansea cemented their five point lead over the Blues while Newcastle's victory over hapless Liverpool ensured they remain hot on our heels. The reverse that Arsenal suffered at the hands of QPR means that they are now looking over their shoulder once again despite previously winning 6 on the bounce. In fact, now it seems that Chelsea's trip to the Emirates Stadium on 21st April could have added significance should the same pace be maintained by the four interested parties.

March 28, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 03/28/2012

Chelsea find themselves on the brink of yet another appearance in the semi-finals of the Champions League, something that was all but unthinkable after the disaster in Naples just over a month ago. The 1-0 win in Benfica is another step on the road to redemption for the squad and a reminder that the club are still a force to be reckoned with even if they do not instil quite the same fear in the opposition as previous vintages once did.

March 22, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 03/22/2012

This season there has been one player who has divided opinion among Chelsea supporters more than any other. You will not be surprised to hear that the player in question is a striker but perhaps you might raise an eyebrow when you realise that I am not referring to someone who came to west London for a British record fee of £50m.

March 18, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 03/18/2012

I would like to apologise for the lack of posts since Wednesday’s epic 4-1 victory over Napoli but I have spent the last few days basking in the residual glow that such a night brings. I've seen more than a few re-runs of the match and it gets better and better with every viewing.

March 13, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 03/13/2012

Chelsea are used to entering the final quarter of the season with pressure and expectation laden upon their shoulders but this time it is of a different kind. The previous eight seasons have all seen the Blues fighting for the Premier League title and eyeing a maiden European Cup yet this time it is a top four finish and progress to the last eight of the Champions League – a mandatory requirement - that is preoccupying all those connected to the club.

March 7, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 03/07/2012

While it was definitely refreshing to witness a 2-0 win and an improved display over Birmingham City, it's hard to know what to take out of a victory against an injury-ravaged lower league team.

A poor playing surface ensured that the first half performance remained disjointed. Having spurned the chance to take an early lead when Juan Mata was unable to get the ball out from under his feet with Salomon Kalou standing in front of an empty net, that familiar uncertainty appeared to engulf the men in white once again until Ramires helped to drive Chelsea forward after the half hour mark. In a positive twist, the momentum was not relinquished until Mata saw a penalty saved for the second time in the tie to give the hosts a faint glimmer if hope with the score at 2-0.

March 4, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 03/04/2012

So Chelsea have fired Andre Villas-Boas causing Twitter to spontaneously combust while simultaneously tearing up the plans for the latest blog post I had just sat down to write.

Such considerations aside, the decision for the 34-year-old's removal comes as little surprise with Gareth McAuley's 82nd minute winner at The Hawthorns proving to be the last of several nails to be hammered into his coffin. A series of draws against lesser opposition, home defeats to title rivals, implausible team selection against Napoli and an ill-advised interview on Portuguese radio were all presented as evidence ahead of the latest execution at Stamford Bridge.

February 28, 2012
Posted by Phil Lythell on 02/28/2012

With Andre Villas-Boas reverting to the so-called 'old guard' to secure three points against Bolton on Saturday, the temptation to say 'I told you so' is utterly overwhelming. However, as this is my debut post as ESPNSoccernet's Chelsea blogger, perhaps I should first briefly state the opinions that I have been making on my personal blog - - and to any fellow supporters within earshot.

Andre Villas-Boas' team selection for the Champions League match at Napoli - as every sane observer, whether Blue or neutral, will agree - was eye-opening, to say the least, almost bordering on the suicidal.

February 27, 2012
Posted by Dom Raynor on 02/27/2012

ESPNsoccernet's Correspondents pages have provided opinionated football fans with the chance to publish articles to a massive global audience since the year 2000 and although that tradition continues unabated our ESPNsoccernet FC section continues to evolve.

During the 2009/10 season we expanded our exisiting fan-driven coverage of the Premier League to include some of Europe's biggest clubs and we are looking to recruit enthusiastic new talent for the 2011/12 campaign to help fill all our pages with fresh ideas.

ESPNsoccernet is always interested in hearing from energetic writers and we are looking for motivated people to boost the ranks of our team of Football Correspondents.

If you have an obsession for your club and want to share your passion and knowledge with million's of readers on your very own page on ESPNsoccernet then apply to be a Correspondent on the world's site for the world game.

Available now:

• Click here to apply for Barcelona

• Click here to apply for Chelsea

As part of ESPNsoccernet FC you will have your work published online on one of the world's leading football websites and gain experience in the field of football journalism - with a written reference available on request.

You must be able to write in English, to a good level, and convey your ideas and arguments in a cohesive way to fans from all over the globe.

So, if you want to volunteer to represent your club, or just make a name for yourself, click on the relevent link above and tell us what makes you a prime candidate for ESPNsoccernet FC - include your writing experience and methods used to gather information - and send us a 250-word (maximum, please) sample of your writing. It could be a match report, or, if your team aren't playing, a news story or opinion piece based on the latest news or your fantasy scoop.

As a Correspondent you will be required to tell ESPNsoccernet's readers what you made of each result, plus club rumours as well as keeping us up to date with team news, speculation and looking ahead to forthcoming fixtures.

These positions are unpaid, but the Correspondents pages provide all you zealots with the opportunity to write about your club's journey through the season. Our readers can follow your rollercoaster ride of emotions through post-match euphoria and dejection, then debate all the bias that comes with football.

Follow ESPNsoccernetFC on Twitter

February 26, 2012
Posted by David Kyle on 02/26/2012

Loyal readers of this blog may have noticed that in the past few months my posts have been less and less frequent, sadly as the team is in transition and little has changed I feel that my voice has become the same.

• Click to apply to be our new Chelsea Correspondent

Some may decide that I have become one of the rats to jump the sinking ship, but in all honesty writing the same sort of feedback week-after-week has become tiresome for myself - and as with the team, this blog is in need of some freshening up of itself.

Thanks for your support! ©Getty Images
January 23, 2012
Posted by David Kyle on 01/23/2012

The last two league matches have been highly disappointing, which considering we have taken four points seems a bit ungrateful - but unless you are wearing your blue-tinted glasses you cannot disagree.

The Norwich match this weekend was the epitome of Chelsea in the past year and a half, little style with less substance. Overall disappointing.

WHERE ARE YA!!! ©Getty Images
December 19, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 12/19/2011

It seems unfair to complain after a run of three wins and a draw, especially as in that period we beat a resurgent Newcastle and the previously unbeaten leaders, Man City - but the draw at the weekend showed that there are still frailties to this team.

The appointment of AVB was supposed to herald a new era, but unfortunately it seems that the squad is still over reliant on the ageing players who have held us back from moving with the times.

Out with the new, in with the old. ©Reuters
December 7, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 12/07/2011

It's been some time reader friends! And at the start of the time things were looking pretty bleak, indifferent home form, a higher line than Rooney's forehead pre-op and a Champions' League campaign hanging by a thread. Ish.

The topsy-turvy world of football has once again set us back on the right path.

Thank You, But Not Goodbye... ©Getty Images
October 31, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 10/31/2011

How on earth do you start writing down your opinions on a match when you have just witnessed five (yes five) goals shipped at home for the first time in 22 years?

In my case, with a fantastic double entendre - no defence, get it? That pretty much summarises my feelings, and summarises that blood curdling showing on the weekend.

No defence for letting in so many goals, as well as having no defence for many an occasion against the most in form attacker in the league.

The Infamous Five ©Getty Images
October 17, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 10/17/2011

It has been a while, but thats what the depravity of an international break will do to you. Another weekend, and another win, were a comforting reminder that there is still life left in football, even if your international team are wholly uninspiring.

Even though the tie against Everton wasn't full of the best football, it once again showed that AVB is revolutionising the style of Chelsea Football Club.

No longer top Drog! ©Reuters Pictures
September 30, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 09/30/2011

Another end to, in hindsight, another good week.

Two points snatched at the last at the Mestalla, but the draw would've been one we accepted had it been offered before the game.

Added to the home win against Swansea, where Fernando Torres' Jekyll & Hyde act continued, and Chelsea showed strength to win their second game in a row with just 10 men.

Luiz, part of the new adaptable Blues ©Reuters Pictures
September 14, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 09/14/2011

The initial signs of a turn in the tide, and signals that AVB's regime is a brave new world are showing. Two tricky tests, one in the league against Sunderland and the other in the Champions' League against Leverkusen, are over and passed with full points.

And a bigger test awaits on Sunday.

Just one of our top quality XI's available to AVB ©Getty Images
September 2, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 09/02/2011

And there it is. The end of another frenetic (© AVB) transfer window, and Chelsea leave it Modric-less but plus Meireles. Not the outcome most of us hoped for, but also not with the disappointment a fruitless last day would have left in its wake.

Not to mention the small matter of Mata and another laboured victory.

Mata, great debut - more to come! © Getty Images
August 11, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 08/11/2011

Last season there was plenty to bemoan, it will take time to see if what went wrong last season can be changed by a new management team, and a not very new look team.

There is still time to flex our muscles in the transfer market, and in my opinion to truly compete feel that we need a couple of additions to the squad. If we get them then we can compete, if we don't then I foresee a far more difficult challenge.

AVB: Stronger Squad than last year, reinforcements accepted! ©Getty Images
July 28, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 07/28/2011

With big money transfers and talk of "the modern game" very little is made of the fact that there are players out there who cannot be classed as mercenaries.

On June 14th 2001 for a not insignificant, at that time, £11m was spent on the signing of Frank Lampard.

August 19th 2011 will mark the 10th year that Lampard has played in Chelsea blue, so why aren't the press hailing this loyalty? Probably because of his wages, Chelsea fans though will believe he is worth every penny.

10 years on, still celebrating (albeit rehearsed) ©Chelsea FC
June 21, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 06/21/2011

At the time of writing Andre Villas-Boas has just handed in his notice to Porto. Whether the treble-winning coach is coming to Chelsea isn't fully clear, however all the signs indicate that the 33-year-old upstart will be the next man at the helm of the poisoned chalice.

I will be honest, I know little of Villas-Boas, just like little was known of Mourinho before he joined (aside from a touchline celebration at Old Trafford and subsequent Champions' League triumph), but his imminent appointment is a promising sign.

Let's hope Mourinho remains in his shadow ©Empics Sport
May 15, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 05/15/2011

After several capitulations by those around us, we were in the bizarre position of fighting for the league with 3 games to play. Unfortunately 36 seconds into that game we were put back in our place, and the fact that we were not going to be champions - after numerous pronouncements of that case anyway - was finally confirmed.

On Sunday, against Newcastle was a chance to sign at least the home leg of the season off with a bang, however a disjointed performance saw it culminate in more of a fizzle.

Drogba. Time to let go? ©Getty Images
May 3, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 05/03/2011

It has been a while I know, and in the fickle world of football how much has changed since that gloomy Champions' League match in Manchester.

The first point that must be made from that hugely disappointing night is that Chelsea have certainly restored their pride in the last few weeks.

April 11, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 04/11/2011

The anticipation for the Champions League second leg against Manchester United has been building since the referee blew the full-time whistle last week, by the time of the same whistle on Tuesday night our season could be over - or could it just be beginning?

Passion is all I ask. And a win...
©Getty Images

January 18, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 01/18/2011

As Yazz once famously sang, the only way is up.

After weeks of downtrodden postings and hiding from the world media, we are finally - hopefully - on the rise again.

Blackburn, not the most worthy opponents of course, could well have been the recovery we needed, the players may well have some belief back.

Looking Up, Thanks to Frank's Return! ©AP
January 10, 2011
Posted by David Kyle on 01/10/2011

The heading of this piece shows how hard times have become in the past two odd months as a Chelsea fan.

Firstly nobody is sure now that we are capable of reviving our previous form - I'm pretty hopeful we can, and secondly I have resorted to one of the most overused cliches of FA Cup history to try and imply that the FA Cup will see us through our woes.

He's back! ©Reuters Pictures
December 31, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 12/31/2010

It's been a while! But unfortunately little has changed.

Discussions of a blip have been dispelled by Chelsea continuing to perform below par.

The match against Bolton was a frustrating one, but at least we started to show signs of confidence - something severely lacking in the performances of the last couple of months.

Lampard Not The Only One Celebrating His Return! ©AP Photos
November 29, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 11/29/2010

It's difficult to find many positives at this current time as a Chelsea fan.

This is undoubtedly our lowest period for a fair few years, something that was bound to happen, but something maybe we shouldn't be so surprised at?

For Ancelotti to be taking the full flak of this is heresy in my opinion, 11 dropped points in our last 5 games is not far from disastrous but the players must stand up and take the blame.

Players surely to blame for dark moment. ©Getty Images
November 9, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 11/09/2010

I touched upon it last week, and unfortunately there was a sense of foreboding before the match on Sunday that it just wouldn't go our way.

It's difficult to criticise the team too much as it wasn't a dreadful all round performance, it was simply a case of a very poor first half putting the game out of our reach.

Still, there aren't exactly a plethora of positives to take from a match we didn't deserve to win. The beauty of this Chelsea team though is the ability to dust themselves off from disappointment and start where they left off - with two home games this week we do need to take the full six points to reiterate our desire to win back-to-back Premier League titles.

Ramires - Not Yet The Full Brazilian ©Reuters Pictures
November 1, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 11/01/2010

Not a lot of praise is being heaped on Chelsea after our win this weekend, and in all truthfulness it wasn’t an astonishing performance, but maybe it deserves more credit than has been dished out.

Most vitally is that we still have that 5-point lead on our closest challengers, with United and Arsenal both overcoming difficult tests.

Ivanovic. The Right Choice At Right Back. ©A.P. Photos
October 6, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 10/06/2010

What a way to silence the doubters. Eight days after dropping 3 points against Man City we are back in the swing of it and professionally picking up full honours against our London rivals Arsenal. After a raft of many positives to take against the Gooners, we shall start with my old adversary Mikel.

Wonder goal. Wonderful Result. ©AP Photos
September 10, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 09/10/2010

Although we head to the east of the capital with a 100% record thus far, we are facing opposition who are currently sitting very wounded at the bottom of the league.

Whilst the odds are stacked heavily against an upset, Premier League history states that this won’t be a stroll at Upton Park.

No Frank Tomorrow :(
©Getty Images

September 2, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 09/02/2010

Many of you will have read reports in the press today that, shock & horror, Chelsea only have 19 players in their squad.

Well.... 19 players over the age of 21.

How the devil will we cope?

What do you mean I have nobody to pass to!?!
©AP Photo

August 1, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 08/01/2010

Chelsea fell to a second successive friendly defeat on Friday, not particularly scary news considering the team who lost to Ajax was mostly young and today's defeated team consisted of players playing their first game since the World Cup.

The worrying part is that to retain the title we surely need to strengthen in certain parts where we we're perhaps lacking last season - added to the fact that our ageing squad is yet another year older.

Fernando Hw Mch 2 Join CFC? ©AP-Photos

The release of a few players and signing of Yossi Benayoun is surely not enough to compete for another year - although we do undeniably have some interesting talent coming through the ranks, many aren't ready for the travails of a full Premier League season just yet.

So what do we need?

June 11, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 06/11/2010

In what is currently turning out to be the most boring transfer window since transfer windows began, Chelsea finally gave the press some good hard facts to write about with the exits of Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and least surprisingly Juliano Belleti.

Transfer windows are always a difficult time when saying goodbye to the players who after years of service will be plying their trade elsewhere, but the sentiment this time round must be one signalling change.

May 14, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 05/14/2010

Here we go, Here we go, Here we go.

Everybody loves a cup final weekend, it's tough to believe that it's now 13 years since a collective of blue strolled back down Wembley way after witnessing Wise going up to lift the FA Cup.

Since then we've been fairly regular visitors to the famous national stadium, old and new, and here is a potted history.

Ron Harris Proudly Presents Chelsea's First FA Cup Win ©Mirror Football
May 10, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 05/10/2010

And it's back. Already within ten minutes of being crowned I struggled through a throng of Chelsea faithful declaring to the Fulham Road that is why indeed we are champions.

On three occasions we have knocked seven goals past the bewildered defences of Aston Villa, Stoke and Sunderland and to win the trophy by topping that with a spectacular 8 past Wigan on Sunday was the icing on the cake.

Surely now I will no longer be reading comments from opposing fans declaring that referee's decisions were the reasons we won the title. Or are 103 goals still not proof enough?

A picture supposedly says 1000 words, this says 103 goals! ©PA Photos
May 4, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 05/04/2010

You may have read articles from both Lampard and Cech in the aftermath of the 2-0 victory against Liverpool where they have both stated we deserve the title this season, sentiments echoed from my blog last week.

Petr Cech maintained that this was down to the fact that we have taken all 18 points from the "big four" games this season - a feat achieved only by Chelsea in Premier League history.

Of course this is a major factor in Premier League success, but I think there are several more reasons why we are on our way to our fourth top flight title.

The Best Sports Photo Ever? ©Reuters Pictures
April 8, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 04/08/2010

Oh reader, you didn't really think we could get to the penultimate stages of the FA Cup without a semi joke thrown in the mix did you?

This weekend sees us play our 9th Semi-Final in 16 years, and for those of you who have only just started supporting Chelsea/weren't old enough to remember/are very forgetful, here is a recap of the joy/agony these matches have supplied.

Hiddink - what a legend! ©Futbol Name
March 30, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 03/30/2010

Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of Chelsea!

This time one week ago the blog resembled a collective of virtual sighing and mud slinging at the deficiencies of our ageing team of Chelsea Pensioners.

And today, well surely we are worthy of a different atmosphere after a 12-1 aggregate over two potentially tricky encounters.

Both of which were enhanced by the scoring prowess of our, now, third highest ever scorer - Frank Lampard.

151 Not Out ©Getty Images
March 16, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 03/16/2010

Tonight see's us facing a do-or-die match up against The Special One's Inter Milan team, so how on earth do we overturn the 2-1 deficit from our first leg?

It is clear to see from the first leg those three long weeks ago that Jose has his Inter team lined up very similarly to the Chelsea team he took to back-to-back Premier League titles, so it is essential to exploit the very few weaknesses we possessed back in the day

March 11, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 03/11/2010

What a quiet week and a bit it's been in Chelsea-ville!

Part of me is hoping that one of our player's is outed as having an affair with Jose Mourinho's missus - if not just to psych out the special one for next week's tantalising second leg against Inter - probably the tie of the competition so far.

News this week is all of Joe Cole's impending exit, Anelka and Ballack signing new deals and Cech making his return to replace Hilarious earlier than expected and Captain fantastic John Terry thanking us, the loyal fans.

Of course we also have the upcoming match against the West Ham, of course managed by former Messiah Gianfranco Zola!

March 1, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 03/01/2010

What a horrible week it has been for the Blues.

Starting with the defeat in Milan after a terrific team performance, compounded with the horror show that was the 4-2 defeat to Man City on home territory.

Seventeen years ago I was a fresh faced youngster attending, I think, my third ever Chelsea match against Manchester City. The last time we ever lost to City at home in fact, and yes you guessed it - we ended up losing 4-2.

Football is a funny old game indeed.

City have now taken 6 points from us this season, and with all melodrama aside, swept us off our feet in what is possibly one of the worst second half performances in a home game in my memory.

Not So Hilario-us ©AP Photos
February 24, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 02/24/2010

One point ahead in the league, with a game in hand, and facing our old hero on Wednesday night in the form of Inter's Jose Mourinho. These are exciting times.

This is what football is all about, it's in the script as they so often say.

Mourinho has impeccable form at home in all competitions (hasn't lost one in eight years in either the league or the domestic cup) and Inter's form in Italy isn't great, with only one win in nine on Italian soil.

Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho ©Getty Images
February 19, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 02/19/2010

Oh dear reader, it's been a very quiet week as far as Chelsea go. Even tabloid stories of our players' raunchy exploits have only adorned the front page of this nations' fine papers two or three times this week!

I'm even finding it particularly hard not to re-iterate the importance of every game, a boring phrase I'm getting sick of writing - yet will no doubt apply for every match for the remainder of the season.

February 15, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 02/15/2010

After a particularly disappointing week where we not only lost ground in the title race, but lost a key player to our challenge, we really need to use this week to take advantage.

Whilst we have a free midweek Man United will be flying to Milan for the first of their, hopefully tricky, two legs against the rossoneri.

This weekend also sees us go to Wolves, whereas United will be travelling to Goodison Park to play Everton, who of course last week took all three against us, begrudgingly said, deservedly.

So this is our week to take a grip on the league, no more faltering. If Man United win by one, then we need to win by three. We need to rally together and stop stalling when United lose points – as they well could on Saturday.

February 3, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 02/03/2010

Last night saw us drop two points to a side placed 18 league positions below us, but let’s be honest – it isn’t the end of the world.

The obvious conclusion to be made is that these dropped points make the tie against Arsenal on Sunday all the more important, but in reality three points has always been the only satisfactory outcome in five days’ time.

It isn’t ideal that we were firing blanks on a day when we could have opened up a four point lead on Man. Utd., but they are yet to falter this year – unfortunately neither are they likely to do so this weekend against Pompey.

You can’t help but think had this tie hadn’t been called off in early January the outcome may very well have been in our favour.

So why should we be cheerful?

February 1, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 02/01/2010

We are forever hearing of footballers and their need to do the talking on the pitch - and for Chelsea and their captain there was no time better than this weekend to take this advice

Fortunately for Chelsea fans alike we can be thankful that our reliable (in footballing terms) Captain rose to the challenge, and Frank Lampard’s late corner, and earned us a vital three points at an equally vital time in the race for the title.

What people need to do is step back, take a breath, and realise that football is one world and the private life of a multi-millionaire twenty-something is completely different.

January 29, 2010
Posted by David Kyle on 01/29/2010

Hello to all and thanks for reading what is hopefully the first of many blog postings in my tenure as Chelsea correspondent for ESPN Soccernet!

I was about to launch into a rant on how saddening it is to see the talents of Eidur Gudjohnsen wasted - first on the sidelines at Barcelona (albeit successful on trophy terms), relegated to the talent barren wasteland of Ligue 1, and now reduced to a loan spell at perennial underachievers/over spenders, Tottenham.

However this new dawn needs a positive spin, not a trip down memory lane (lest we never forget that overhead kick against Leeds).

We need to not worry what’s happening down in the doldrums of Europa League contention and be aware that there is a great change upon us.

January 17, 2010
Posted by ESPNsoccernet Staff on 01/17/2010

Ghana captain Michael Essien has been taken to hospital after suffering a suspected knee injury in training at the African Nations Cup finals.

The Chelsea star, who was prevented from starting Friday's 3-1 defeat against Ivory Coast by a hamstring problem, hobbled off the team bus following a training session on Sunday and was sent for medical tests.

"He was taken to a local hospital for a scan and we'll get the results back on Monday," Ghana's team press officer Randy Abbey said on Sunday. "We will then have a clearer idea of whether he can play."

January 4, 2010

With Didier Drogba (amongst others) heading off to the African Cup of Nations, its just as well that we have some quality strikers to fall back on. Daniel Sturridge proved on Sunday that he has the quality to take over where Didier Drogba left off.

With the games that are coming up over the next few weeks, Sturridge will have the chance to prove that not only does he have the pace and finishing prowess to compete with the best, but he also has the power to challenge the burly Premier League centre-backs.

December 15, 2009

The title race is back on! OK, so it was only a few days ago that Carlo Ancelotti was stating that Chelsea had it in the bag (well, that we had been the best side this season, and would continue to be), but with this weeks' topsy-turvy action, it seems that the Premiership will go down to the wire. It's not going to be as easy as we thought!

November 25, 2009

It looks like we'll be playing someone else in the Quarter Finals / Semis of the Champions League this year - our usual rivals Liverpool have been knocked out! Whilst we're all set to challenge in teh Prem and CL, spare a thought for the poor scousers, left with no money, no new stadium, and no trophies! Or just laugh at them! Anyone fancy going to Liverpool's end-of-season party? Ha ha!

November 4, 2009

It isn't only me who's saying it (Carlo and a whole host of other media pundits are saying it too) but isn't Didier Drogba's recent form AMAZING?!

October 15, 2009

I know we're all supposed to get behind the England team, and JT and Frank are even on show and key players, but there is nothing more boring that the international break!

September 29, 2009

Unusually, Charles Dickens seems to sum up Chelsea pretty well at the moment - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Whilst it might seem all doom and gloom in the immediate aftermath of the Wigan defeat, it's obviously as rosy as it has ever been post-Jose, and we have plenty of reasons to be cheerful. That's what my girlfriend told me on Saturday night in an attempt to drag me out of my usual Chelsea losing sulks, and I think, for once, she's right!

It isn't the end of the world to lose to a Wigan side that play good football, especially away from home. The ref didn't do us any favours (and neither did Rodallega, who reacted to what was the slightest of touches as if it had been a full bone-crunching tackle), but even when we were down to 10 men I thought we were unlucky not to equalise - we had a number of chances which, if they had fallen to the right man (Drogba normally!) would have been tucked away.

September 17, 2009

On Wednesday our beloved Commercial Director Peter Kenyon quit. Whilst I never particularly liked or trusted Kenyon as a person (least of all when he led the team up and wore a losers medal with pride at the Champs League Final in Moscow), but you can't help but think that he will be a massive loss to the club.

Obviously having come from Manchester United he had the big ideas that come from being at one of the biggest clubs in the world. The fact that we are up there now as one of the biggest and best is testament to the amount of work he has done.

September 14, 2009

I don't know - I go away on holiday and manage to miss all the big stories on Chelsea! God knows how we'll are from the ban on transfers, but just look at how well we've started - almost makes you remember the last time we started the season unbeaten...!

August 20, 2009

It might well be a sheer piece of fluke that Carlo's tried-and-tested diamond midfield works for us, and he might be lucky with his squad selection, but you can't deny how effective it has been so far. I can honestly say we don't look like getting beaten any time soon - Ancelotti has found Chelsea out!

August 13, 2009

Its just under two days until kick off, and whilst we may have had a taste of football through the Engladn team's travails and the Confederations Cup, nothing quite beats watching Chelsea! (Even if it is Hull!) What are you most looking forward too?

July 29, 2009

John Terry has finally decided to stay - thank goodness! It may have taken him a while to reach the decision (and lets face it, who wouldn't be interested in getting their wages tripled?) but he's made the right decision in the end.

June 1, 2009

Carlo Ancelotti has been CONFIRMED as the new manager of Chelsea! And I think that's fantastic news! We are getting a talented and motivated coach who has experience of working at the highest level - having won two Champions League titles as a player and a further two as manager - which should set us up to finally, win the Champions League next season!

Ancelotti was the only real candidate for the role. Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten have both done reasonably well with the Dutch national side, but neither has convinced enough to be regarded as one of the best in Europe. Jose has just signed a brand new contract at Inter, and Hiddink refused to drop back from his Russian responsibilities. Ancelotti, alongside fellow Italian Marcello Lippi, is perhaps one of the most astute and gifted coaches around, and the only one who was readily available and open to a fresh challenge.

Yes! The FA Cup is in the bag. Lets be honest, you lot have been telling me off for the last month, saying that I had been taking it for granted that we'd beat Everton. It's going to sound childish, but I was SO right!

Everton are a hard-working side, but lack any of the cutting edge that teams at the top need - Saha was alright, but can't be relied upon to run his legs off for a full season, whilst their other strikers have had seemingly similar seasons.

May 26, 2009

Arsenal have been playing with 'babies' all season - and winning plaudits for the attractive and attacking games they played in the Carling Cup. Manchester United put out practically a whole team of teenagers on Sunday, and still managed to beat a relegation-battling Hull side. Where are our next generation?

May 20, 2009

It's now become the biggest game of our season - The FA Cup Final. Yes it won't feel like its been the most successful season ever, but at least we keep Wenger and Benitez out of the trophy tables for another year (how many years is that Arsenal fans?!) The biggest game of the season needs our strongest team (even though I reckon our kids could beat Everton to be honest!) - who gets your vote?

May 18, 2009

It was a fitting farewell to a man who has won the hearts and minds of thousands and millions of Chelsea fans across the globe. The win was conclusive in the fact that Guus Hiddink has managed to rebuild a team from the ashes, and given us a new sense of confidence in our players and their abilities. If only he could stay on...

May 10, 2009

A crushing and convincing victory over Arsenal has secured our third-place spot in the Premier League. It was a good performance and helped the lads put Wednesday's disaster out of their minds. With the season practically over, its time to start looking to the future - with a new manager needed to claw back United's 12 point advantage for next year - but who takes over?

May 7, 2009

This is an absolute JOKE! Chelsea fans across the world are still in shock after being screwed by Drogba's reputation, a clown of a referee and probably UEFA. FOUR penalty appeals! FOUR, but not one given! It wasn't that we didn't play well, it wasn't that we messed up our tactics, it wasn't that we had the wrong players on - we're not going to the Champions League Final because of one man, and his awful decisions.

April 29, 2009

After we came away with a stunning draw in the Nou Camp, holding the great Barcelona for the full 90 minutes and stopping them from scoring for the first time this season, the Barcelona boys aren't happy!

Toure, Iniesta and even Guardiola have been calling for more bookings and sendings-off - even calling the referee "deplorable". What a bunch of cry-babies!

April 28, 2009

This is it - the time of the season we've all been waiting for! It gives me goose-bumps just thinking about it! Hopefully this time tomorrow I'll still have a smile on my face, as we build up to the biggest game of the season so far, against Barcelona! Come on you Blues!

April 23, 2009

A disappointing draw on Wednesday night against a hard-working Everton side sees us slip off the pace in the Premier League, and Super Guus has rightly written us off from winning the Premier League - with Man United looking like they're going to win their third successive trophy. Still, there are some positives to be taken from all of this...

April 19, 2009

With Chelsea's squad set to be tested badly over the next few weeks, I'll take now as an opportunity to detail where I think our squad is good, and where it needs strengthening. Love to hear your thoughts.

Obviously the goalkeepers are looking reasonable - Petr Cech is World Class, and Hilario seems capable when he has been called into action. Our youth team keeper Rhys Taylor has yet to be given his chance, but from what I hear he is a dependable third-choice.

Yes, I know I really shouldn't be celebrating this just yet, but with Manchester United crashing out of the FA Cup to Everton, the trophy is practically in our hands - and deservedly so!

Our squad looks in good form, especially after punishing Arsenal in the dying minutes of our own semi final, with Dider Drogba sticking the knife in once more, it seems that our name is on the trophy.

April 17, 2009

Its a great time to start a new job as Chelsea correspondent for ESPN Soccernet! Chelsea have overcome their fiercest rivals (in the Champions League at least) and we're on our way to Wembley. Wish me luck as I try to bring you the inside-track on 'Chelsea, Chelsea'!

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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