By Tony Attwood
Oh what fun. After such a miserable three results, smashing the Russian Oligarch XI 2-4 at the oil terminal was a wonderful victory. And the “There’s nobody here” song was a beautiful bonus. Even the complete cock up on the BBC Radio 4 news this morning in getting the score wrong and utterly failing to correct it, couldn’t take the shine off the moment.
Of course we are still not back in the “not a trophy” position of fourth, so derided by the anti-Wengerians, but a victory is always worth celebrating. At least by those who really support the team, rather than the media.
Here’s the table.
|7||West Ham United||33||15||7||11||52||43||9||52|
We are not likely to be overtaken by Manchester United, and also the so heavily hyped West Ham United seem to have blown themselves out, so it is just us and the Tiny Totts, fighting for fourth.
And yes of course we should have got this sorted out a couple of weeks ago instead of being beaten three in a row by teams further down the league, but it happened and we have finally responded.
The very old stadium at Chelsea, which should have been replaced long ago, has a capacity of 41,837 but the official attendance was just 32,249. Clearly, Chelsea fans have had enough of the Russian ownership – but that ongoing saga was hardly mentioned on TV. Although the broadcasters couldn’t hide the remorseless Arsenal chant of “There’s nobody here; just like the old days, there’s nobody here.”
Meanwhile, I wonder what the feeling is among Chelsea supporters. Shame at their taking of the Russian money perhaps – although in talking to Chelsea fans I’ve never felt that at all. Or is it shame now at the way the club has been rebuilt? Probably not.
Or maybe annoyance at the way that when the owner didn’t get everything his own way over the building of the new stadium, and just suddenly pulled the plug on the whole project? Especially when other clubs including Arsenal and even Tottenham have managed to get the new ground built.
In his post-match commentary, the manager spoke particularly about the way both teams kept changing their shape, and beyond doubt that made it even more exciting and interesting.
Paul Merson said after the game “advantage Arsenal”, but warned that no one expects anything for Manchester United which could be dangerous.
So we can take a quick peek at where we are now compared with this stage in recent years just to see if there has been any progress or whether we are constantly slipping backward…
So we have not yet recovered to the position achieved at this stage by Unai Emery ins 2018/19, when by this stage we had six points more than now, and a 15 goal better goal difference, but it is certainly an improvement over the last two seasons.
There is an interesting headline in the Telegraph this morning reading “Thomas Tuchel blames Chelsea pitch as angry Cesar Azpilicueta confronts own fans after Arsenal defeat”. Tuchel apparently said that the pitch was “awkward” and “difficult” for his players. He added that the pitch “is not in our favour and the ball bounces very, very awkwardly”. The implication is clearly that Chelsea suffer because they are a team of quality players who thrive on accurate passes while Arsenal just kick the ball, and hope for the best.
There was also a most interesting moment at the end when Azpilicueta went over to one spectator and confronted him at the end of the game. That was an unusual development although I wonder if it is being seen on other grounds.
However that was not the end of the matter for in an interview afterwards, the manager said of the confrontation, “I saw it. Honestly, I can also understand the fan.” I am not sure that does much for the psychology of the player nor relations between the manager and the rest of the team, but of course I am sure Tuchel knows what he’s up to. I’m not sure I do, but then that hardly matters.
Mikel Arteta spoke about Saka taking the penalty saying, “For him to have the courage to take the penalty, because I’m sure it was in the back of his mind, it took great character and courage.”
I think most of us would agree with that.
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