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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Everton Move On As Chelsea Implode

Written by on February 19, 2011 | 21 Comments »
Posted in Chelsea, Everton

Anyone who walked in as the Chelsea/Everton replay moved into extra time can be safe in the knowledge that they caught the best part.

Up to them it was insipid stuff. Everton had the better of the first half although their edge in midfield never translated into very few clear cut chances.

Jermaine Beckford had little support in attack and Tim Cahill was surprisingly subdued.

Nonetheless Everton dodged a bullet when referee Phil Dowd chose to wave off a penalty claim after Everton keeper Tim Howard brought down Ramires. To pour salt in the wound Ramires was booked for diving.

Essien for Mikel at half time gave Chelsea more possession in midfield and a more solid platform to build from.

The width that Everton were getting on both sides of the field was largely negated and Chelsea started to dominate the play and much of the last half hour was played in the Everton half.

Chelsea’s second half push never produced any goals in a game that looked as if only one would be needed to decide it.

When David Moyes replaced Leon Osman with Johnny Heitinga, Marouane Fellaini was pushed forward to support Anichebe who had come on for Beckford in the final ten minutes of normal time.

The game continued to be under Chelsea’s control in the extra time with Anelka on for Malouda. Baines had the Chelsea substitute to occupy him and that restricted his forward runs.

When Frank Lampard scored in extra time after an Anelka cross from the Everton left (a notorious weak link) the game looked over but then Chelsea unravelled.

A silly free kick given away by Ivanovic with only a minute or so left gave Baines the chance to curl the free kick beyond a statuesque Petr Cech (did he really think that Baines was going to hit the free kick anywhere else but the top left hand corner of the Chelsea goal?) and so to penalties.

When know that the team opting to shoot first has close to a 60/40 chance to win a shoot out. But nevertheless Chelsea once again conspired to throw it away. With Baines missing on Everton’s first attempt and trailing 2-1 after two “rounds” things looked rosy for Chelsea. But……….

There is something to be said for choosing players who show a certain degree of cool-headiness under pressure but there is also a fine-line between that and not seeming to give a crap – something that Anelka seems to specialize in.

Another short run up from Anelka and another miss …..or more accurately another save by the keeper.

Arteta’s successful penalty right after Anelka’s miss was key and although Essien took a very good penalty Heitinga more than matched it with possibly the best penalty of the ten that were taken.

I would have bet money on Cole going to Howard’s left but he went the other way……way, way, way the other way.

Philip Neville is not the most technically adept of players but he has always shown a great deal of mental strength and Moyes correctly kept him in reserve for the last penalty the one that was to be the winner.

The FA Cup may have been the third of Chelsea’s priorities but being knocked out does increase the pressure on manager Carlo Ancelotti. Chelsea are “dormie” 12 with Manchester United in the Premier League (although they have to play each other twice) and so it comes down to the Champions League.

Ancelotti seems to have lost an ability to approach the game in a clear-headed manner and changes to both formation, personnel and tactics are happening with much greater frequency.

He needs to coax a gigantic effort out of Chelsea if he is to deliver the trophy with big ears to his club’s owner. At the moment Chelsea’s looks like a team that is not only out of gas but one whose engine is close to seizing up.

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21 responses to “Everton Move On As Chelsea Implode”

  1. Derek Taylor says:

    If they can’t beat Copenhagen, then I will finally begin to believe/accept the calls for Ancelotti’s head. This season has been one big YEEESH, with a side of UGH and two BLECHS to top it off.

  2. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Word is that if Chelsea don’t finish top 4 and get a UCL spot that The Eyebrow will step down. And if he doesn’t really impress in this year’s UCL (win maybe … but they simply don’t have the horses for that) that he will be fired. And he won the domestic double last year. Chelsea is becoming England’s Real Madrid wrt expectations.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    1) It is disingenuous to compare Chelsea to Real Madrid. Chelsea have no creative central playmaker (let alone any creative depth) while Madrid have the likes of Kaka, Leon and Benzema in the bench!

    2) Delap’s throws and Carew’s head are a match made in heaven.

    3) Castellammare’s Quagliarela contra Cagliari.
    REPEAT 3X FAST.

  4. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    SL,

    You may wish investing in an English comprehension class. I was not comparing the two sides on the field what so ever. I was comparing the two clubs with respect to the lofty expectations placed upon the clubs and managers. Ancelotti won the domestic double last year and may get the sack in the not too distant future if he doesn’t win the UCL. While Real Madrid are renowned for sacking managers after they have won their domestic leagues without winning the UCL and/or entertaining the unwashed masses sufficiently.

    Is English your second or third language? Do yourself a favour and invest in that class posthaste.

  5. Soccerlogical says:

    I think the only one who has lofty expectations at Chelsea this season is Abramovich. All the while disturbing the team’s rhythm by sacking Wilkins and spending 50M on a struggling striker (which may affect Drogba and Anelka in a negatice way), when they really need a trequartista or winger.

    Madrid fans, media and execs on the other hand all expect silverware this season, as they should due to the talent and squad depth.

    You think the fans believe that an experienced coach like Carlo insisted on spending 50M on a struggling striker which may “”affect” Anelka or Drogba while not addressing the problem of lack of central creativity or even a winger?

  6. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Madrid fans and execs expect silerware every year. And you’re right about Roman. Those were all of Roman’s decisions and he is the only real executive there. A one man board. But his expectations are akin to Madrid’s hierarchy’s expectations. And both are going through managers like a person with a cold goes through tissues. I like to say that Madrid is the place where managers go to die.

    And it’s interesting how both teams’ boards mettle in the daily football operation also.

  7. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    No open thread for the Sunday games Bobby? I guess this one will do.

    Celtic 3 Rangers 0. Hooper bags two. Celtic are starting to own Rangers recently and the balance in the universe is returning.

    Has anyone noticed Mancini only uses one keeper all the time? What does Given have to do to even get a Cup game? And how about the lack of fans at Eastlands? I know it’s just a Cup game but your neighbours pretty much filled a stadium yesterday that is twice your size and against non league opposition. Poor showing by City fans.

    Poor Woy Hodgson. Losses two points at the death. His voodoo is following him to the Hawthornes it seems. Glad I slept through a prime game between the Ws of welegation.

  8. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    Allegri has no choice but to start Pato at White Hart Lane. The goals keep coming; great game winner today (although not defended very well.)

    Assou-Ekotto is the weakness in the Tottenham starting 11 in my opinion, and Milan need to let Pato run at the right back all game long. He has the pace, the moves, and the finishing prowess to exploit the Spurs back line. The Seedorf start in Leg 1 was both surprising and ineffective. I guess Allegri was searching for good squad balance by throwing an experienced European Cup winner out there, but at this point in his career Clarence is no longer on the level of a talented team like Spurs.

  9. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    Do you think Abramovich would be happy with a 5th place finish and a Champions League Trophy? I think he would. Ancelotti is the king of domestic let downs, while excelling in Europe. He is also the perfect manager for the Russian, because he has loads of experience at winning games in Europe while having little control over personnel and a critical, overbearing boss from his time at Milan.

    FA CUP DRAW JUST IN: Man Utd will welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford if they can find their way out of the Orient.

  10. ttred says:

    TVN,

    WBA was the team to equalize at the death so it was a point gained rather than two lost. I think Hogson has found a club whose lower expectations are more suited to his talents.

  11. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    TTRED,

    Sorry. I stand corrected. I do tend to mix up my welegation Ws at times. WBA and Hodgson needed a late goal from Vela (a Gunner loanee of all things, small world).

    Arsenal seem to get the diificult draw again. First Barça and now away to ManU (if they pass the Orient test). Wouldn’t mind beating Old Red Nose in his barn with us have a full strength squad. I’m just a little dubious at how many penalties awarded against us we will have to overcome?

  12. ttred says:

    TVN

    Well you have an extra game if you want that match up as Orient scored in injury time. In the relegation battle Wolves’ goal was scored by a loanee as well. If our loanee’s were healthy I would have a lot more confidence after the garbage we played against Crawley.

  13. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Well, Old Red Nose will have to wait. Yet another replay against League One (3rd tier) opposition. The Gunners never do things the easy way.

    Mama mia!

  14. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    TTRED,

    Good luck at your upcoming extended road trip (@Marseille, @Wigan, @Chelsea, @Liverfool). Very curious to see how your finely tuned team is going to get through that. I’ll be paying close attention as I think I can hear the old points gurgler rumbling up. Might well be the beginning of a Red Devil implosion …

  15. ttred says:

    TVN,

    Sounds like wishful thinking. lol. We’ll see @ the end who’s on top.

  16. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Or a Red Nose explosion …

  17. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    Just sat down to start watching Napoli-Catania. Interesting to see Napoli starting Mascara against the team he was captaining just a few months ago. Hope to see Catania’s Maxi Lopez do well. I’ve enjoyed watching his career, from River Plate star to Barcelona reject, then revitalizing his career in Brazil, and now flourishing in Serie A.

  18. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    Well I wanted to see Mascara and Lopez, but I guess the match preview was wrong…neither starting.

  19. Susan says:

    Two missed penalties is considered an implosion these days? Wow, harsh.

    So what do you consider a 1-nil win over a conference side or a draw with a League One side?

  20. I think most people would consider it as still being in the FA Cup.

  21. Susan says:

    Touché

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