Spyin Kop: Chelsea (H)

Posted by Robotforaday on November 6, 2010, 07:27:32 PM

Liverpool v Chelsea - 4.00pm, 7 November 2010

Founded 1905
League Champions: 1955, 2005, 2006, 2010
FA Cup winners: 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010
League Cup winners: 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007
UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1971, 1998
UEFA Super Cup: 1998

Once upon a time, there was nothing of note in Chelsea other than some pensioners. Then came the fall of the communist regime in the USSR. Roman Abramovic, a successful doll maker, took the initative and diversified his portifolio, investing widely in pig farming, oil, gas, and pretty much everything. By 2003, he was one of the richest men in Russia, and found himself keen to invest in an English Premier League football team. He settled on one of the many football teams in London: Chelsea FC. These days, Chelsea are rather good. They won the double last season, and they've just had one of their best ever starts to a season. We're not in so good a way at the moment, having just had a rather bad start to the season. Still, we've got unexpected results against them before, and we've managed to string together a couple of wins. They, on the other hand, have been unlucky with injuries: Lampard, Benayoun and possibly Essien are out.

I visited the Unofficial Chelsea FC Forum The Shed End to find out how they were feeling ahead of the match. Was interesting to note that they have a little dig at us on the main page: "Did anyone notice that we are top and Liverpool are shit? Oh, you did, well no harm in reminding you." But by and large I was given a really good welcome on their forum, and got some really interesting responses. I'm very grateful for their hospitality. Thanks to Bobbywoodhogan, Tea Bar Boy, Mod (I'm assuming his role on the forum rather than a name), Hutch, Geezer, Bluebeard, Eggy McMuffin, The Moos, and Kalou Time for their answers. (Also thanks to Backbiter, who chimed in on the last question.)
Special thanks to Hutch, who also posted in the thread to pass on a message asking Chelsea fans "to stand silently by the Hillsborough Memorial and pay your respects to those who perished following the team, and game, they loved".

How have you found the season so far? I can't imagine you have too much cause for complaint.
Bobbywoodhogan: Its been pretty good, I was frustrated that we lost to City though simply because had we gone for it we would have won but we seemed content with a point, apart from us I think the standard in the Premier League has been poor to watch to be honest. Blackpool have been a highlight though and I am enjoying watching them. United have been interesting without playing well they are still unbeaten but that doesn't seem to be getting mentioned oddly. Arsenal are same old same old to me, Tottenham are playing better than I thought they would aswell and I'll admit I am a little worried about December when we play them because of how the fixtures fall. I think if we come through December with maximum points the title will be ours.

Hutch: None, apart from the City game. And that was more disappointment than anything. I felt we were well worth a point.

Geezer: Thoroughly enjoyed it partly because we've been winning most games of course but also because we've been playing a lot of good football

Bluebeard: Pretty good, we've been playing well most of the time, and grinding out results when we haven't been

Eggy McMuffin: I've been delighted with how we've been so far, with the changes in the summer, where we were focussing on getting the average age of our squad down, and the wage bill down too, I wasn't expecting a great season. I was expecting this to be a season of transition, and it probably still is that, but to keep the results flowing at the same time is a great sign for us. With McEachran showing he has the ability to be a bit special, this really does make it an amazing era to be a blue in.

The Moos: Top of the league and doing great in CL. Can't complain much. Sure, there have been games where we haven't been great, but we've mostly managed to win anyway, which is good. The losses against Newcastle and City are the only real downers this season....so far.

Kalou Time: So far so good, picked up more points from the fixtures this year than we did last. That is a huge plus.

After the managerial changes you've made in the past few years, is Ancelotti for keeps? How do you guys think he compares to Mourinho, Hiddink, etc.? And, more importantly, do you think Abramovic will get bored of him?
Bobbywoodhogan: I love Carlo, when he first came I was skeptical I thought he was a disaster waiting to happen and he has already gone down in history bringing us the shield and the double in his first season. Jose's always gonna be my favourite that Chelsea team on 2004/05 is the best I've ever seen and one of the 3 best sides to ever win the EPL (Man Uts Treble season and Arsenal's unbeatables been the others). I loved Hiddink also and if Carlo left I would want Hiddink back

Tea Bar Boy: Win’s the double in his first year ? Can hardly be put in the will come good eventually folder ! Jose was the right man in the right place but and to me left at the right time , I have no doubt he will win the league in Spain this year to continue his incredible record I think he has not lost a home game for 6 seasons or something silly . He will end up at Man Utd which will be painful . Hiddink was great for us and I would have been happy if he stayed but Ancelotti has been very good to date . I do hope he stays , unfairly every Chelsea manager will have the burden of delivering the Champions league trophy and unless they do that will be seen by all and sundry as a failure

Mod: Since Jose, we seemed to have gone through a few to find the right one, which I now know is Carlo. Guus was great for us too and brought us back from a dodgy period and gained the dressing room and fans again after Avram and Scolari.

Hutch: No I don't think Abramovic will get bored, either with Ancelotti or with Chelsea FC. The evidence is there for all to see that he truly loves the club. You can say we should have kept Mourinho, but his track record is one of staying a couple of years here, a couple of years there. Scolari was a massive mistake.

Geezer: Carlo will be here for a while yet. As for Roman getting bored with him? Nobody, but nobody really knows what goes on in his mind because he's never opened up to the fanbase.

Bluebeard: I don't think Abramovic will get bored with him as long as he's successful. I'm not Ancelotti's greatest fan to be honest, I'd have preferred Hiddink to have stayed. The way Ancelotti's Milan threw away a three goal lead against your lot in the CL Final looked highly suspicious to me, but if it was all above board then what the hell was he up to?

Eggy McMuffin: I would certainly hope he is. Mourinho is a massively difficult person to replace, not just in terms of his ability, but his character and aura, too. Grant did well enough with Mourinho's team, and possibly deserved another season if I'm honest, it's just after Mourinho there was a huge vacuum of personality which Grant just could never fill. Scolari was a mistake, and although we started very well under him, it just fell apart in a big way. Hiddink brought us back from the brink. He was sensational in every way. He turned Malouda's entire Chelsea career around and brought the best out of pretty much everyone. You could ask for nothing more, especially from what was in effect a caretaker manager. Carlo though, what a man. Look at that left eyebrow, go on look. It has a mind of his own, truly the sign of a genius. He wanted to bring in his favoured 4-4-2 diamond, but was quick enough, and sensible enough to realise it wasn't working and change his plans. We now have a slightly odd asymmetric 4-3-3 system, which works wonders for us. His tactics are great, his substitutions are usually right, and he's bringing the youngsters through for us, which takes a massive amount of financial pressure off. He's exactly the manager we need now, and for the next few years. He's the type of manager who is here to set us up for the long term, and hopefully will be here to see it through.

The Moos: As long as we're doing well I can't see us kicking out Ancelotti. In his first season he gave us the double and we're started strong this season. Can't complain. He's done alot of good for us.
Because of that I can see him getting more time to fix things if things go wrong in the future. I hope he stays for a long time. But I must admit that my heart still belongs to Hiddink - even though he won less and only spent a few months here. Could say that if I love Hiddink then Ancelotti is my mistress.....I guess.

Kalou Time: Roman doesnt get bored of managers. Its press rubbish, just like when they said for years he would get bored of the club and leave etc. Ancellotti is here as long as he continues to challenge for trophies. Its a results business

Who are the Chelsea players that we should be looking out for on Sunday? Anybody who's particularly shone this season other than the usual big names?
Bobbywoodhogan: Ivanovic is in great form at the minute and Liverpool aren't the best from set pieces so I'd say he's the danger man. I'd say Drogba but we don't know which Drogba's gonna show up if he's up for it then beware. Anelka aswell seems to like scoring against Liverpool so he's one to watch.

Tea Bar Boy: Maloulda has been on top form and Mikel has played well. I hope you get a chance to see some of the kids we have on the bench, just so you can see we do have a youth team and some very talented young players starting to find there feet in the first team.

Mod: Ivanovic, Drogba of course and Malouda (if fit to play) oh and watch those free kicks from Alex.

Geezer: No one player in particular to watch for because the team have been playing as a group. I think we have around thirteen players who have scored for us so far this season and we've only played 15 games or so.

The Moos: Malouda has been great so far. Not sure if he'll play against you though. So instead I think I'll mention Mikel who has been brilliant all season. Doesn't get much of the headlines, but is a vital part of the team. Deserves more recognition.

Kalou Time: Mikel. While he is branded a sideways 5 yard passer he has dominated in midfield all season. He will continue to be overlooked by pundits and rival fans but his contribution has been vital

Any poor players this season? Anyone you'd like to get shot of?
Bobbywoodhogan: I'd like us to sign a new keeper to back Cech up as I don't rate Hilario or Turnbull. I do worry about the fact our players are getting older and we do have to find someone to replace Drogba at somepoint Lukaku would be a nice addition in the summer, As for getting shut of I wouldn't say anyone to be honest but I do believe Borini won't make it here.

Tea Bar Boy: Nope everyone who has been asked to play for the first team has done a good job

Mod: Not really, Turnbull in exchange for a better back-up keeper if anything.

Geezer: None but we really need to keep Cech fit. Lose him and we've got a problem

Bluebeard: Paulo Ferreira, not just this season but for the last three seasons. Other than that I'm happy enough, especially as Deco has f*cked off

What kind of style are you likely to play against us? Attacking, defensive? Any idea of the possible formation or lineup?
Bobbywoodhogan: It depends on whose available if Essien is out with this toe problem I think we'll be less attacking personally but we shall see. Depends on how we show up on the day

Tea Bar Boy: Cautious I would think, can see it being a tight game with midfield being where it will be won or lost

Hutch: Depends on the as yet unknown injury situation.

Geezer: We'll play whatever style is needed to win. The first goal will be crucial - if it's us we'll play it tight and look to catch you on the break and vice versa to be honest

Eggy McMuffin: I think we're going to have solid look to the central midfield, and rely on our front three to provide the threat. Mikel, Essien and Ramires giving a solid look in the middle, Zhirkov, Anelka/Kalou and Drogba as the front three.

The Moos: It'll be 4-3-3 and I would be very surprised (and very disappointed) if we played very defensively. We have been slow starters in quite a few games, but in the end we will attack.  Line-up will be: Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, JT, Cole; Essien/Ramires, Mikel, Zhirkov; Anelka, Drogba, Malouda/Kalou

Kalou Time: 4-3-3. I think we will try to control the game early on. Attacking football. The line up will contain the usual suspects

Which Liverpool players do you rate? Anybody you think likely to cause you problems on Sunday?
Bobbywoodhogan: Gerrard and Torres are the key men, Torres worries me because of his good record against us so I think he's the danger man. I also rate Reina very highly and if you do go 1-0 up he could be key to you keeping that lead

Mod: Torres, but we do have a good habit of shutting out key men.

Geezer: I don't think Reina gets anywhere near the credit he deserves. St Stevie and Torres are the other obvious two choices but there's one other player who has always caused us problems and that is Dirk Kuyt - I'm hoping he's still injured?

Bluebeard: None.

The Moos: Gerrard and Torres. Those two are the stars of Liverpool and the ones who can single-handedly win games for you.
Torres might not look to be at his best at the moment, but in a game like this he can pop up anywhere and score a goal. Big players turn on their magic in big games.
I also want to mention Kuyt. He might not be the best player in the world, but he works really hard and through that hard work he can cause problems.

Kalou Time: Torres, Gerrard & Kuyt. If essien is deemed fit i will expect less of a threat from Gerrard. Kuyt and torres tend to cause us problems. Kuyt at the backpost has the jump on ashley every time while torres pace and quick feet is a tricky one to handle

Over the summer, we got Joe Cole off you (currently injured and likely to miss the match) and you got Benayoun of us (who's got a long term injury apparently). Who did better in that deal?
Bobbywoodhogan: to be honest did anyone, Benayoun is injured and we haven't been able to see what he's about and Joe Cole is not working at Liverpool although I think the manager could slightly be at fault for that. Time will tell with this but neither Cole or Benayoun are getting any younger

Tea Bar Boy: Not really a fair question until they both have 10 games under there belt injury and suspension free . I was sorry to see Joe go and bear no malice good luck to him , My only note of caution would be I do feel he thinks he is a better player than he is.

Mod: I don't think either of us ended up great in those transfers. Certainly judging on this season so far. I would have guessed Joe might gain an injury for this one, was really hoping to see him go against Alex and JT. Bet he bottles the Bridge visit too.

Hutch: If it wasn't for Benayoun's injury, then I think we'd have had much the better of it. Joe Cole endlessly flatters to decieve.

Geezer: Far too early to tell due to unfortunate circumstances. I for one was pleased when I heard Yossi had joined us and he looked to be settling in well until his unfortunate injury. Joey blows hot or cold but tends to blow cold far more often than hot.

Bluebeard: Not sure about Benayoun, but I was extremely happy to see Joe Cole leave Chelsea. He spends far too much time trying little tricks rather than helping his team.

Kalou Time: We did. While he unfortunately picked up a long term injury, Yossi will return and provide us with more than Joe could have. He is past his prime but it would appear neither his agent or himself knew this hence the crazy wage demands and shown the exit.

How much are you likely to miss Lampard? Does having him out of the lineup change much?
Bobbywoodhogan: Him missing is massive, he is key to our midfield, he retains possession for us and picks out the best passes in my opinion but we have to move on one day and we aren't a one man team plus the squad has done well without him but this could be a game that we really miss him in i.e. City away

Tea Bar Boy: Not as much as we feared but a fully fit Frank would be the first name on the team sheet week in week out

Hutch: Not as much as we would a couple of years ago.

Geezer: Going by our results we really haven't missed him at all. Of course losing a player of such quality is always a wrench but the squad is good enough to cope with such a loss especially now the youngsters have reached the level they have (especially Josh McEachran)

Bluebeard: Lampard is obviously world class, but having said that we ain't doing too badly without him at the moment

Eggy McMuffin: I don't think it'll be much of a difference, we'll just be a slightly more conservative side with Mikel, Essien and Ramires as the central three. The creativity will have to come from the front three, but against the better sides that is no bad thing. It makes us less likely to concede and allows the front three more freedom to catch you on the break.

Kalou Time: Yes, we create very little through the middle of the park now. With yossi also injured it means out midfield trio will consist of Mikel, Essien, Ramires/Zhirkov. None of them are play makers that can cut defenses open with passing. Yuri also vacates the middle of the park and floats out left, which leaves Malouda to wander off and pop up in unexpected positions.

It's been 7 years since Abramovich arrived in English football. What are you guys thoughts on him? What do you think of him as an owner, and what do you think of his impact on the English game?
Bobbywoodhogan: Can't help but love him look what he's done for our club he took us from the nearly men to the top dogs. I think his days of huge spending are over though but you can't blame him after all its his money.

Tea Bar Boy: Well wouldn’t you have had him instead of Hicks and Gillette I doubt the majority of fans would turn him away from the boardroom if he came knocking and would love to have him as owner . I am just glad Daniel Levy at Rottenham never returned his calls !! We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for him . We were on the verge of going out of business and whilst other investors were waiting for us to go tits up and then getting the club on the cheap he put his money where his mouth is. He has made mistakes no doubt (Sheva , Scolari) but got more right than wrong. Check out the pictures below of him watching the Blackburn game in a pub in New York with Chelsea fans, think this answers all your questions of a bored, non chelsea fan owner

Mod: He hasn't impacted on the English game at all if you ask me. Possibly paving the way for rich blokes to think about buying a club. That's always happened to an extent, just Roman had a little bit more than most. Roman is a great owner and over the last few years has shown, you don't need to spend the early big money we had to get trophies to a club.

Hutch: Far more positive than certain people would have you believe. He's invested his own money, in the first couple of seasons paying well over the odds (one price for Chelsea, another for anyone else) and much of that money stayed in the game. As I wrote above, it's obvious he loves the club. From the word go, people have been saying we'll be up sh*t creek when he gets bored, which from where we stand, looks EXTREMELY unlikely. He doesn't give interviews, however, and it's this silence that fuels media speculation.

Geezer: Love him to bits. He hasn't had the credit he deserves from the game in general either because he pumped a lot of money into the game in his first couple of years. The likes of West Ham probably would have gone under had we not bought the players we did from them.

Bluebeard: He attends as many games as he can, and seems as enthusiastic about the club now as he did when he first took over - long may it last!

Eggy McMuffin: Roman is probably the best owner any fan could hope for... he had a well thought out plan from the start. He knew how much he'd spend at the start to get us to the top. Once we got there, he had us set up with a top quality infrastructure, youth, wages under control now, the ingredients for long term stability. He isn't an owner who takes decisions lightly it seems, and pays to have the right advisers around him. He's all we could ask, hope, or dream of. As far as his impact on the English game, he really hasn't changed that much. Many complain that he raised prices and that may be there, but prices were always rising anyway. He may have given other billionaires the idea to try what he did so well, but that's about it. People kept on moaning about it ruining football, but in my (probably biased) view at least, he did it in the right way.

Kalou Time: Great man, great owner. He made some mistakes and has learned from them. While he didnt set the best example with huge transfer fees and wages, he has since shown clubs must work within budgets and invest in the youth academy which is producing good players for us now

Do you have any particular memory of a previous meeting between our clubs?
Bobbywoodhogan:Many good and bad but a few of the great times:
The 4-2 victory in the FA cup in 97 coming back from 2-0 down
4-0 at the Bridge in 2001, in my opinion Cudicini's finest game for us
2-2 on 2001 (I think) at Anfield was pretty good aswell an exciting game
2-1 at Anfield with Hasselbaink scoring the winner, this was the first hame of the new regime and was a statement
4-1 at Anfield in 2005, alot had been said by Liverpool about how they had the measure of us and we showed them they hadn't
3-2 at the Bridge in the semis in 2008, getting to the final over Liverpool was massive and although we went on the lose the final the pure joy I felt that night was immense
4-4 at the Bridge, in 2009, unbelievable game really probably the best between the two clubs in terms of entertainment
2-0 at Anfield last season, I knew them we were gonna win the title not an amazing game but when Lampard put that second in I was overjoyed
Bad results would be losing our unbeaten run to you, the champions league semi with the dodgy goal, getting hammered in 96 and 97 at Anfield and the FA Cup semi in 2006

Tea Bar Boy: Yep and mostly happy. Your not know as yellow sheet city for nothing, the tons of fake tan usually visible the next morning for the lucky ones

Mod: 4-1 at Anfield. Who let the Drog out!

Hutch: Several. Recently the Champions League epics,many more frome years gone by. One season we played you 4 times (League Cup away and FA Cup home), with honours even. We lost both away games 2-0 and the home games 4-2 in the Cup and 3-1 in the League.

Geezer: Clive Walker's screamer past Ray Clemence when we won 4-2 at the Bridge back in the seventies (I was there when we were sh*t)

Bluebeard: Hmmm, let me see...
69/70 - beating Liverpool 2-1 at the Bridge in the last game of the season, Peter Osgood scoring both goals
73/74? - Peter Bonetti saving a Keegan penalty in front of the Kop
77/78 - beating Liverpool 4-2 in the FA Cup at the Bridge, Clive Walker scoring twice.
77/78 - beating Liverpool 3-1 in the league a couple of months after the cup game to prove it wasn't a fluke
81/82 - beating Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup at the Bridge while we were in the 2nd Division, with that footballing legend Peter Rhoades-Brown scoring 
90/91 - beating Liverpool 4-2 in the last game of the season
91/92 - beating Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield, with a cracking goal from Vinnie Jones, our first victory there since gawd knows when
The more recent ones have already been covered

The Moos: That crazy game in the Champions League. We had 2-0 from the first leg I think and I remember that one here on theshedend was really cocky and started talking about who we would face next. Many told him off because we still had one game to play and 2-0 could easy turn into 2-3 or something. Besides, we didn't want to jinx us. Then the game started and after like 20 minutes Liverpool had 2-0. I remember feeling very nervous then.
But in the 2nd half Drogba gave us hope and then Alex stepped up and scored an amazing free kick to make it 2-2.
Lampard then gave us the lead, but you didn't give up and made it 3-3 and then took the lead. Finally Lampard scored his second and it ended 4-4. A very entertaining game. Another game I remember - well I remember the final score and how happy I was, but I can't remember anything else from it - was when we won 4-1 at Anfield.

Have any of you been to Anfield, and do you have any memories (positive or negative) of the place?
Tea Bar Boy: Yes although it is a very dated ground now and can see why you want to move. Have to say the majority of fans around the ground are much better than the cyber / keyboard warriors you seem to have in bucketfuls

Mod: When I was younger and was sh*tting myself. I'd take that as pretty negative.

Hutch: Not since the '70s and back then it was a hairy place to get caught on your own. Also another time I went to Goodison with Arsenal in the Cup. That day Liverpool were also playing at home. After the game both sets of fans joined up against Arsenal, forming an "escort" most of the way back to Lime Street. Times change, eh?

Geezer: Been there a couple of times. Queued up for ages to get in to pay my respects to the Hillsboro victims and to hand over the donation from my workplace.

Bluebeard: Went there in the 70's/80's a few times, hated the place. Cowardly scousers using Stanley knives to carve up innocent fans, and even nicking their clothes and shoes. When it came down to a straight fight between mobs though, the scousers didn't want to know. Don't know what the place is like now, but I doubt it's improved much.

The Moos: No, haven't been to Anfield. Wouldn't mind going there though. Maybe next season...if you're still here then ;)

Any good songs that we're likely to hear from your fans? Will you be bringing your plastic flags?
Tea Bar Boy: We will be bringing plastic flags , fans and songs of course . Hope we don’t get lost on the way to the ground like the 4,000 you had missing last night

Mod: No plastic flags no, the true fans will be up there. Though we could bring up the Premiership Trophy to show you if you want!

Hutch: Poor old Liverpool FC. Can't even afford to give their fans flags. Aston Villa can manage it.

Geezer: There will plenty of the usual i.e. Have you ever seen Gerrard win the league etc. Plus there might be a couple of new ones but I won't spoil the surprise. As for those plastic flags, I'm delighted the club have stopped doing that now though many others are following suit i.e. Arsenal (5 years and you've won f**k all, 5 years.....)

Bluebeard: Plenty of anti-Scouse songs compiled from over the years. Nice dig about the flags, I'll admit we've got a lot of plastic fans these days, but then so have all successful clubs in the Premiership, yourselves included.

Kalou Time: Im predicting a Kalou goal so i expect the "He crossed the ball from the left, it landed right on riise's head" to sing loud.

Care to predict the score?
Bobbywoodhogan: I'm gonna say 2-1 to us if Ess plays

Tea Bar Boy: 2-1 to us

Mod: You are going to be all out for this one for sure so its going to be hard to call. Either a Chelsea win or a draw.

Bluebeard: Difficult to call, but I'll go for 3-0 Chelsea

The Moos: It'll be a tough game. Chelsea wins - 2-1

Kalou Time: 0-2 Drogba & Kalou

And finally, did that ball cross the line?
Bobbywoodhogan: ha ha well did it I don't think it did but to be honest Cech could have been off and you could have had a penna so I won't complain (anymore :) )

Tea Bar Boy: No. But the Ref gave it and we had 80 mins to score didn’t so went out, end of.

Mod: Course it did, there is a good Sky analysis video that proved it. Please don't let us remember that again.

Geezer: Doesn't matter now. It's consigned to Liverpool 'istory

Bluebeard: Course it did, ya c*nt! :)

The Moos: My brain has blocked out that incident.

Kalou Time: If the ball had continued to travel at the same speed continuously from that moment until now, it still wouldn't have crossed the line yet.

Backbiter: Irrelevant. The ref's real howler came seconds before:

Baros had already been booked and should have had a second yellow for that dangerous foot-up. We always get shafted by refs in CL semis.

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