Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Battle of the Champions...

I had a dream a few weeks ago. It was 0-0 at The Bridge, approaching full time, when Blues got a corner. Larsson took it from the right and Roger Johnson rose majestically (as majestically as old-fashioned centre halves can) and connected with the ball, beating his marker and sending a bullet header past Petr Cech. He ran off in celebration and Blues clung on to do the double over Chelsea, and Johnson got a goal against the club he supported as a boy.

So before the game yesterday I put a bet on Roger Johnson as the last goalscorer at 40/1 to see if my dream would come true.

Well on three minutes it wasn't looking exactly like my dream as we went 1-0 behind courtesy of Malouda; after a brilliant pass from Terry found Ferreira and as equally good a cross from him made the finish for Malouda easy.
As memories of the 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford came flooding back it seemed like it would be a very long night for Blues and the 700 odd fans who had travelled down to watch them. But surprisingly for some, Blues received a bit of a wake up call and kept quite a lot of possession of the ball, but unfortunately not taking their chances. Jerome was looking especially lively as he has done in the past few games, this time having to play on his own in a 451 formation. At least we dispelled the myth for some that we weren't a passing side (ahem, Mr. Hleb).

After 26 minutes there was another set back as Kalou, who wasn't closed down quick enough, fired Chelsea into a 2-0 lead. It seemed a long way back from here for the battling Blues now.

Early on in the second half Roger Johnson had a chance to make my £123 dream come true but his header from a corner went just wide. Sensing a reply from Blues, the home side were in search of a third to completely kill the game off, and thanks to Florent Malouda some questionable defending, (why was no one marking Malouda and why was Ridgewell behind him and ducking when Malouda rose for the header?!) the current Premier League and FA Cup Champions put the game firmly beyond the reach of the Carling Cup holders.

A consolation goal for the away side came in the form of a penalty. Substitute Matt Derbyshire made a run into the box but was tackled by Luiz, and a penalty was awarded (our second in the Premier League this season, - I feel spoiled!!) Gardner and Larsson had a bit of a lovers tiff about who took it, whilst I was waiting for Roger Johnson to come storming into the penalty area, give 'the Jiranek stare of death' at the squabbling pair and take the penalty himself. Alas, it wasn't to be; Larsson won the battle, scored quite possibly the best penalty you will see this season - powerful and into the top corner - and gave Gardner a little hug.

Going down after three minutes at Chelsea and losing 3-1 is nothing to be ashamed of at all, and for what it's worth I thought the team did well. The goals conceded could have been avoided, but with a make-shift defence you could argue and say it could have been worse. At least it wasn't a must win game!

If the game taught me anything, it's that you should never bet because of something you dreamt about: that's three pounds I will never see again. Could have been worse; I could have bet a tenner!

Full Time: Chelsea 3-1 Birmingham City

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