Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’

Monday Night Football: United v Chelsea Preview

by Karl Hofer

For a club that has dominated the domestic game in modern times, United’s home league record against Chelsea is far from impressive. In the modern Premier League era, United have won eight, drawn seven and lost six against the Blues.

It’s fairly common knowledge that Chelsea have the best record of any other team in the Premier League against United, but this is seen as something of a modern phenomenon. It is not.

If you look at what happened between the two clubs at Old Trafford before the Premier League, all the way back a quarter of a century to the 1966-67 season, you’ll see something quite extraordinary;

United wins: one. Draws: eight. Chelsea wins: eight.

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Dixon ended an eleven game goal drought with a brace

Perhaps the most painful for United of those eight defeats – and bear in mind one of those was a 4-0 as the newly crowned European Champions in 1968 – was Chelsea’s 2-1 win in April 1986. Despite Everton and Liverpool breaking away from the chasing pack, both clubs were still grimly hanging on in the title race. Neither side were in any kind of form going into this meeting. Chelsea were squandering away the games they had in hand on the leaders, having just been slapped 4-0 at home by fellow contenders West Ham and (even more disastrously) 6-0 away to neighbours QPR.

United meanwhile were starting to resemble that depressed drunk guy at a party, rambling to themselves in the corner with bottle in hand. Having seen a 10 point lead at Christmas dissolve into nothing, Ron Atkinson’s side knew their long wait for the title would continue for sure unless they won this one. This was make or break for both clubs.

After a goalless first half, Kerry Dixon beat the offside trap to score his first goal for four months. United then equalised through a Jesper Olsen penalty, big Doug Rougvie doing what he did best; this time sending Hughes crashing to the floor in the area. But Dixon had the final say in the dying moments to knock United out of the title race and send the many thousands of travelling fans into delirium and the home fans into despair. The future looked bright momentarily for John Neal’s team but Chelsea would subsequently win only one of their last seven games to finish in sixth spot.

United’s poor form continued through the beginning of the following season, and with the club languishing at the foot of the table in November manager Ron Atkinson was dismissed – with Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox taking over that same day.

Without question the greatest match between the sides was an 11 goal thriller at Stamford Bridge back in October 1954. Ted Drake had taken over Chelsea in 1952 and had been busy trying to rid them of their image, one that saw them as the butt of many a comedian’s jokes in the music-halls up and down the land. Out went the nickname ‘The Pensioners’, replaced with the more respectable ‘Blues’. Also dispatched was the affable septuagenarian on the clubs crest. This was a new Chelsea, one that Drake was instilling with a winning mentality.

To that end Drake drafted in solid defenders Peter Sillett and future England boss Ron Greenwood, plus striker Roy Bentley. As a consequence the team established itself in the top flight and were no longer involved in relegation battles, but nobody expected more than a safe mid-table position when the 1954-55 season came round.

The favourites for the title were reigning champions Wolverhampton Wanderers and Matt Busby’s upcoming Manchester United side.

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Dennis Viollet was a hat-trick hero

The game on October 16th was a glowing confirmation of the emergence of the attacking prowess of the ‘Busby’s Babes’. The visitors went 1-0 up with Dennis Viollet opening the scoring but a pair of unknown amateurs making their debuts returned fire as Seamus O’Connell equalized before the Thermos-flask seller Jim Lewis put the home side 2-1 up. Tommy Taylor and then Viollet put United back in front 2-3, a lead they held at half-time.

The same pair in the same order, Taylor and then Viollet (completing his hat-trick) seemed to have put Matt Busby’s side out of sight at 2-5 but then Ken Armstrong pulled one back for Chelsea. Jackie Blanchflower looked to have sealed the points when he made it 3-6, but cattle-farmer O’Connell then scored twice to record a famous debut hat-trick and set up a grandstand finish, but United’s shaky defence clung on for an extraordinary 5-6 triumph.

Chelsea lost their next two games – completing a run of six games without a win – to end October in 12th place, Wolves having taken over from United at the top. But then Drake’s Ducklings got their act together losing only four more games all season as they stormed up the table and, beating Wolves home and away, shocked the nation to win the title. Their last defeat of the season was at Old Trafford – but by then, the title, Chelsea’s first trophy in their 50 year history, had been won.

The Busby Babes would have to wait to make their mark on English football’s roll of honour.

The Odds

Odds

If you fancy a repeat of that scoreline then you’ll no doubt be delighted to hear that William Hill are offering a handsome 500-1 on it. Realistically the game is set to be a much tighter affair, there’s a lot at stake and it’s very early in the season. Both teams have new managers and neither will want to concede any ground so early on in the race for the title. So Bobby’s Bets recommends a draw at 11/5.

You can also get 8/1 on Wayne Rooney to open the scoring, although with Mourinho rumoured to be lining up a third bid for the unsettled striker we can’t be 100% sure if he’ll be in red or blue on the day.

Bobby’s Bet of the Day: 10/1 for Frank Lampard to continue his good start to the season by scoring the opening goal.

Lampard: Flavour Of The Old School

By Rob Shepherd.

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Frank smashes in his freekick against Hull

A new season but Frank Lampard was straight back in the old routine scoring a goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 opening day win over Hull. And to think earlier this year Chelsea had been prepared to let him walk out the door and end his career in the USA.

Having surpassed Bobby Tamblings’s record of 202 goals for the Blues last season Lampard hit his 204th with a stunning Ronaldoesque 35 yard free kick and that just a few minutes after having a penalty saved.

It obviously enthused Jose Mourinho that Chelsea will get back into the old routine they established when he was manager last time around and win the title as they did in the first season of that previous reign.

Back to the future ?

That is the Chelsea’s plan and why one of the first things Mourinho did before agreeing to come back to the club was to persuade Lampard to stay on for another season.

It can be revealed by BOBBY that having not been offered a suitable deal by the club at the turn of the year Lampard was on the verge of an agreement to take him to the MSL, with LA Galaxy.

But in March, when the deal to bring Mourinho back to Chelsea from Real Madrid was in an advanced stage, Jose still wanted to iron out a few issues. One of which was to offer Lampard the sort of one year deal that would make him stay.

A source close to Lampard told me recently: “Frank was all set to go to the States with Galaxy but then he got a text message from Jose telling him he was on the way back and urging him to stay. Jose wanted his experience and his goals. He worked hard on him and Frank couldn’t resist.”

The traditional man management skills Mourinho learned from the late Bobby Robson are one of his greatest assets. It’s how he gets key players on side and straight away Chelsea hit the ground running with Lampard back in the groove, old school routine even you might say.

If ever a contemporary player is a throwback to a previous era then Lampard surely is, especially in the sense he is more like an old fashioned inside forward (a ‘number 10’ or ‘number 8’) than what has become the more restricted role of most conventional central midfielders.

Perhaps that is partly due to the fact he inherits a strong DNA from his father Frank who was a West Ham legend in the seventies and eighties; he plays with a more thoughtful less rushed style of that era and his attitude and respect towards the spirit of the soccer reflects his understanding of the game’s history.

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When he was first coming through the ranks at West Ham he was referred to as Frank junior, because at the time his dad was still THE Frank and also assistant manager (and brother in law) to Harry Redknapp. Now of course young Frank is now plain Frank, while the old man is known as Frank senior.

It is incredible now to reflect not long after he emerged into the West Ham first team following a short spell on loan to Swansea, he became the subject of an increasing barrage of criticism from short-sighted West Ham supporters.

Essentially the allegation was that Lampard was only in the team because of nepotism.

An exchange at a fans forum where Redknapp had to defend Lampard’s ability (Harry is young Frank’s uncle) now looks plain ridiculous and exposes those West Ham fans who branded him ‘Fat Frank’ as, well, thick. (click on the below link)

Since his £11 million move to Chelsea in 2001 Lampard, still in fine physical shape at 35, has become an all-time Chelsea legend, one of Premier League ‘Platinum’ and is just two short of 100 England caps.

Not bad for a kid who couldn’t play.

For the record: Matt Holland did bounce back with Ipswich and Charlton, playing for the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 World Cup. Scott Canham drifted on from Brentford, played for Orient then did a tour of non-league clubs ending up at Thurrock. He is now manager of Aveley who play in the Isthmian League.

Coming soon to BobbyFC: Frank Talking with Frank Lampard Snr and Frank Lampard Jr.

The Big Match: Chelsea v Manchester City
FA Cup Semi Final, Wembley

The striking image of George Best clad in a Manchester City shirt on the front page of Bobby may seem strange. To some heresy even. But had Best been around now even Manchester United’s greatest ever pin up would have been tempted by the lure of the riches Manchester City can now offer.

Certainly City’s Abu Dhabi owners, the Mansour family, would have made Best their number one target.  Would Best have taken the Sheiks silver? Well, Wayne Rooney almost did last year and let’s just see what happens this summer on that front. And it should be remembered that by the early Seventies Best had started to grow tired of, as he saw it, propping up an ageing and ailing United side which was in steady decline since winning the European Cup in 1968. A move and a huge pay hike could well have suited Georgie Boy.

Indeed in the early Seventies it was suggested to Best that a move to Chelsea, with a team garnished with flamboyant kindred spirits such as Peter Osgood, Alan Hudson and Charlie Cook, would suit him on and off the pitch. It didn’t materialise then but could well have done now given Roman Abramovich’s resources, although Best would soon end up living just off London’s trendy King Road, a free kick away from Stamford Bridge, after eventually being kicked out by United.

It’s a case of what-might-have-been for Best and City or Chelsea then, had the pound note power of English football been as it is now with both club’s finances underwritten by overseas billionaire owners, because at the start of the Seventies both clubs were on what should have been the start of a sustained era of success.

City had emerged from United’s shadow by winning the League title in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969 then the European Cup winners’ Cup in 1970 inspired by their three Musketeers in Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee. Chelsea were on the rise too having won the 1970 FA Cup and playing in a style that was a football version of the Rolling Stones.

So when the two teams were drawn together in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in January of ‘71 a classic clash was anticipated. As it turned out City trashed Chelsea 3-0 at a rain swept and mud caked Stamford Bridge with the brilliant Bell (Steve Gerard is the closest modern day equivalent) scoring twice and Ian Bowyer, who would later go on to achieve great success with Nottingham Forest, scoring the other.

Chelsea v Manchester City – FA Cup 4th Round – 0-3 – Jan 23 1971

City though would lose at home to Arsenal in the next round, The Gunners going on beat Liverpool 2-1 in the final then clinch the Double two days later when they beat Tottenham.

Chelsea recovered from that blow and ended the season by lifting the Cup Winners Cup beating Real Madrid 2-1 in a replay in Athens. And within a couple of years both clubs, like Best himself, would go into sharp decline.

That City win at The Bridge is the last time the two clubs have met in the FA Cup ( there are only two previous encounters), a competition which in recent seasons Chelsea have turned into their own with four wins in the past six years. More incredibly, excluding penalty shoot-out defeats Chelsea are unbeaten in 29 FA cup ties which is an all time competition record. Given those statistics and the manner of their Sixth Round win of over Manchester United, Chelsea look in the mood to salvage another chaotic season in the FA Cup.

But for City, having surrendered the title to United, the Cup which they won two years ago for the first time since 1969 to kick start this new era, is vital too. It’s unfair on Wigan and Millwall but the clash between City and Chelsea actually feels like the final.

So how does Bobby’s Bets see it…?

Latest odds: Chelsea  11/8    Man City  12/5   Draw  3/1

Bobby’s Bets of the day:

Carlos Tevez to score first: 11/2

Yaya Toure to be named Man of the Match: 10/1

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Did You Know…

– Manchester City are yet to concede a goal in the 2013 FA Cup.

– The Blues have won each of their last eight FA Cup matches played at Wembley.

 

Previous FA Cup meetings:

Jan 1971   4th round    Chelsea 0-3 City

Jan 1948   4th round    City 2-0 Chelsea (aet)

Feb 1915  3rd round    City 0-1 Chelsea

FA Cup wins

Chelsea 7 Man City 5

Punters Poser: In that 1971 FA Cup clash why did both Chelsea and City wear their away strips?

Check out our Facebook page for the answer.