Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United

Chelsea Match Report

Bummer. Chelsea tied Manchester United 3-3 at home. The Red Devil Evans gave us the lead around the 35th minute of the first half, and shortly after the break Mata and David Luiz made it 3-nil. Two penalties ensued, one of which wrongfully so, and ManU’s Rooney converted both to bring it to 3-2 before Chicharito headed their equalizer in passed Cech late in the game.

All things considered, since we should have won if not for the erroneous officiating from The Red Devil Webb, I’m pleased with the result, mostly in that we did not lose. I would have preferred the win, and am upset that we didn’t, but in perspective it is better than a loss. The draw is somewhat forgivable due to the officiating.

We were missing many key players: Drogba; Kalou; Mikel; Ramires; Lampard; Terry; and Cole. ManU was missing Vidic and Nani, but we were clearly the side most impacted. Our chips were down, and, yet, we did not lose. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Cahill? Meh. He did okay. I felt Ivanovich covered him quite a bit. Sweet shot on goal in the last minute though.

Torres? Pull the trigger my friend! Don’t aim down the sight and then get nervous and second guess the shot. Pull the trigger! Sweet cross to Mata though.

Mata’s goal was awesome! Brilliant! What a “onedervolley” (one-time, wonderful volley)! And it came off of a sweet cross from Torres. Spanish sensation and ingenuity. Keep it up.

David Luiz’s goal was a bit lucky, and while he will get credit for this deflection off of Ferdinand while Sturridge won’t get credit for his cross-deflection off of Evans, glad to see that David Luiz is keeping up his killer strikes against ManU.

We sure did look poor in the first half, and, while we did come out strong in the second, it quickly dwindled and we made far too many mistakes, which did ultimately cost us the game. Frustrating. Oh well. We earned a point, and now it is time to move on to the next one.

Goals:

Bosingwa: 2
David Luiz: 2
Drogba: 6
Ivanovich: 1
Kalou: 3
Lampard: 11
Malouda: 1
Mata: 7
Meireles: 2
Sturridge: 10
Ramires: 8
Terry: 4
Torres: 4
Goals for: 62
Goals against: 36

What’s the biggest rivalry in football?

Tomorrow is the Milan derby. It got me thinking: what is the biggest rivalry in football?

I can think of three big rivalries:

  • A.C. Milan vs Inter Milan
  • Manchester City vs Manchester United
  • Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Which one is the biggest? Is there a different one that I missed?

Cast your vote and then defend yourself in the comments.

BPL’s Goals in Comparison with MLB and NFL

Americans don’t like soccer. The biggest complaint I hear is that it is boring. Why? Because goals aren’t scored enough. However, soccer is comparable to that of the MLB and NFL.

In 2011, America’s favorite past time, baseball, saw 2.85 runs per hour in each game in the MLB.

In 2010-2011, American football saw 2.10 touchdowns and field-goal conversions per hour in each game in the NFL.

In 2010-2011, the BPL in England averaged 1.87 goals per hour.

American’s like everything to be big, whether it is their big gulp soft drinks or their entertainment scorelines. Soccer games are only 90 minutes, while MLB and NFL games average at about 3 hours–twice as long as a soccer game. Now, each BPL game averaged 2.8 goals; compare that to the MLB of 4.28 runs per game and the NFL at 6.30 touchdowns and field-goal conversions per game. Because of America’s preference for extra large, spectators take the scoreline for granted. Yet, per hour, there is not much difference in scorelines. Yes, it is true that baseball and American football yield more scoring opportunities on average. But it isn’t that big of a difference when boiled down to a per-hour foundation. All three sports should expect to see 2 scoring opportunities, whether runs, touchdowns and field-goal conversions, or goals, each hour of play.

Out of curiosity, how do the top performers of each stack up to each other? The New York Yankees managed to earn 859 runs in 162 games last season, working out to be 5.30 runs per game. The New England Patriots earned a total of 518 points in 16 games, which is 32.38 points per game on average, equating to 4.63 touchdowns and field-goal conversions every game. Manchester United scored 78 goals across 38 games, or 2.05 goals per game. As I pointed out earlier, our common ground is per hour: the Yankees scored 1.77 runs per hour; the Patriots 1.53 touchdowns and field-goal conversions per hour; and the Red Devils 1.36 goals. The scoring is comparable across the boards.

To say that soccer is boring because there aren’t that many goals is a false statement. The scoring rate per hour is less than the likes of the MLB or NFL, but it is still comparable. People often neglect to consider that the soccer game is typically around 90 minutes, whereas baseball and football games are around 3 hours. Just saying.

Chelsea 1-3 Manchester United

See Chelsea’s page for more stats.

We lost this game 1-3. While the loss is the bottom line, this game was far from boring. Clearly the win was obtainable. In many respects, we should have won. Simply put, this game was intriguing because it was so queer. Rooney missed a penalty. Berbatov was denied a goal by Cole. Ramires had De Gea beat twice and neither time could he find the back of the net. Torres had an empty net and from about 10 yards out still managed to knock it wide of the goal. We had plenty of chances and several were as-good-as-done, yet, we could not knock the net. Manchester United’s first goal was a result of offsides that was not seen by the sideline referee. Nani scored a rocket. Rooney picked up some trash. Torres finally scored due to the game changing impact of Anelka’s thread. Yes, it was a good game to watch as it was entertaining, but it was frustrating for Blues fans, since we just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities.

As for the substitute choices, I would have liked to see Malouda on for Lampard rather than Anelka, but it ended up well as Anelka did thread Torres for his first goal of the season. Kulaku had very little impact on the game; Sturridge should have been replaced by Malouda. It would have been nice to see David Luiz in for Ivanovich, but it didn’t happen.

Walking away from this game, there is hope. We know we can beat Manchester United. They are not insurmountable. Also, Torres finally scored. It was a well-taken goal. While he played well in the midweek Champions League match, he played even better after scoring this goal in today’s game. He was even more peppy and lively. It is a shame that he would miss the open goal, but everything he did leading up to that failed strike was wonderful. I believe he has “rebooted” and is now on the up and up.

Hopefully Drogba will have “rebooted” post his Norwich knockout, so that, between Mata, Torres, Anelka, Sturridge, Kulaku, and Drogba, our front line will be a force to be reckoned with moving forward in all competitions.

Goals:

  • Anelka: 1
  • Bosingwa: 1
  • David Luiz: 1
  • Lampard: 1
  • Malouda: 1
  • Mata: 2
  • Sturridge: 1
  • Terry: 1
  • Torres: 1
  • Goals for: 10
  • Goals against: 6

Chelsea 1-2 Manchester United

Game stats and more for Chelsea vs Manchester United, Champions League, Quarterfinals, 2nd Leg, 4/12/11, from Live Soccer TV

For the first five minutes, Chelsea seemed a bit disoriented. Suddenly, around the 7th minute, they pulled themselves together and started linking some passes together, allowing Ramires to make his way into the box, but nothing came of it. The first 15 minutes were contained such a dualism throughout. Both Lampard and Anelka had a couple of prime opportunities, Anelka having the closest to a goal albeit off frame. Around the 25th minute Chicharito scored a goal but it was ruled offside. Around the 29th minute, Anelka had an opportunity to move towards the goal but was no match for Van Der Sar’s defensive skills outside the box. Later in the first half, Chicharito put the ball in the back of the net at the 43rd minute. Aggregate score is 2-nil against Chelsea. Two goals necessary to go into extra time; three to win it outright. And the first half finished this way. Torres still ineffective throughout.

Would the Blues get at least a pair in the second half? Would Drogba come on for Torres?

Drogba came on for Torres in the start of the second half. Things were getting interesting when Ancelotti decided to take off our leading scorer, Anelka, subbing on Kalou in the 60th minute. I don’t much understand this decision. I would have subbed Kalou on for Ramires, since he has a goal scoring prowess while Ramires does not. Drogba was proving to be influential, but Chelsea just couldn’t get it in. Ramires got a second yellow in the 69th minute, and now the Blues are down to 10 men, still needing two goals. Had Ramires been subbed off as I had previously mentioned, this unfortunate red card would not have occurred. All or nothing, Chelsea needs to press on. Drogba consistently was getting into the box, but again no goals were coming from his efforts. And then, in the 76th minute, Essien set up Drogba who controlled the ball with his chest and put the ball in the back of the net. Game on. One minute later, however, Park scored a second goal for Manchester United. Aggregate 3-1 against Chelsea. And Chelsea could not score another. Game ends 2-1, sending Manchester United on.

Chelsea looked good this game. But they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, which were bountiful. Shame. The Blues will need to undergo some restructuring next in preparation for next season. Hopefully we will retain a spot in the Champion’s League for next year, and, once Torres finds his form, assuming we construct our formation around him, I believe we can win it. Until then, here is to hoping we keep our spot.

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United

Chelsea started this important game rather poorly. Multiple goal opportunities without any results. A few mistakes in the back left the pesky Rooney wide open to place a goal. Before halftime Lampard nearly pulled one back had it not been for Evra. After the break we just couldn’t produce. The same poor passing from the first half carried over into the second. Crossing did not improve. Effort was evidently lacking. But Drogba was working hard. And then, inexplicably, Drogba was taken out, being replaced by Anelka. I don’t understand this substitution. Drogba was working and and creating chances, but Torres had been most unsuccessful. Nearing the end of the match, there were just too many things that were off. First touch. Dribbling. Pace. Striking. Placement. This performance was uncharacteristically Chelsea. Given the rest of this season, it’s not unbelievable, however disappointing and maddening. Never mind the penalty kick that should have been with Ramires. The rest of the performance was simply bad. Hope is not lost: if we win by 2 while at Old Trafford, we can advance, which is not impossible. What is sad in this situation is that Chelsea’s home record against ManU is over. Bummer.

Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City

Here was an exciting game. Chelsea was fun to watch even though they didn’t score many goals. Torres was looking brilliant. I think Torres with Kalou is a good pairing up front. I think Torres is finally beginning to get comfortable and is finally finding his form in Chelsea blue. David Luiz continued his strong form in the back and netting a goal up front. Ramires obtained his first goal for Chelsea in injury time during the second half, clinching the W. Notably, this game marks Cech’s 13th clean sheet according to the commentators. Three points well earned, and though we won’t gain on Manchester United, it is good that we kept the momentum going. Well done, Blues!

Champions League Quarterfinals

UEFA has drawn the matchups for both the quarter and semifinals.

Quarter-final draw (5/6 and 12/13 April)
Real Madrid CF (ESP) v Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG)
Chelsea FC (ENG) v Manchester United FC (ENG)
FC Barcelona (ESP) v FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) v FC Schalke 04 (GER)

Semi-final draw (26/27 April and 3/4 May)
1: Inter/Schalke v Chelsea /Manchester United
2: Madrid/Tottenham v Barcelona/Shakhtar. (sicChampions League draw blog – UEFA.com)

So, Chelsea square off against Manchester United. Awesome. About as Awesome as Inter vs Bayern. Inter squares off with Schalke. And Real Madrid go up against Tottenham. I’m not familiar with Schalke. But I am with Tottenham, so Real Madrid have their work cut out for them, and both Real Madrid and Chelsea’s games should be very entertaining. What about Inter vs. Schalke? Will that be a good match up?