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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

When the Torres goal hit the back of the net, the man himself looked delighted, but that was nothing to the reaction of either the fans or his team mates. The rest of the blue boys were absolutely elated as they all piled on top of him by the corner flag – the relief by all was palpable. As for in the stands, I haven’t seen a goal celebrated like that for a very very long time – the ground just erupted. There was a moment just before he shot where the ground almost held its breath – and then absolute mayhem! At the final whistle the man in question made a very low key exit and after a short interview for the TV cameras declined to join Ancelotti in the post match press conference.
 
I can understand that; to make a big deal of this goal would be admitting that the issue of not scoring had become a big one and at the end of the day – what does one goal prove? We can guess that perhaps his drought could have been developing into a psychological block, but professional sportsmen think differently to many of us – I think it was more of a relief to the fans than anything else. There was a horrible moment when the floodlights flickered & the electronic advertising boards failed, where I thought that the game was going to be abandoned and so his goal would have become null and void – how unlucky would that have been?
 
The monsoon like weather slightly evened up what was a total mis-match in terms of form and talent, but West Ham were always going to lose this game – especially with Grant as manager (yes, I am STILL bitter). And whereas I would normally not take much pleasure from beating a side in such dire straits, beating a fellow London side is always a day for much celebration. Bragging rights apart, Hammers are gobby seemingly by nature and never tire of waxing lyrical about the “academy” although there has been little evidence of that for at least a decade.
 
Although the Torres goal took all the headlines, I was particularly pleased to see Lampard finally score against them at the Bridge. West Ham fans have always been particularly vile towards Frank and Saturday proved no exception and he made them pay the best way he could.
 
Speaking of Lampard, there has been a lot of talk lately that his best days are behind him and I can’t help that this is all a bit premature. He was out for a very long time, and as such it will have taken him a long time to get back to his exceptional best. Our extensive bad patch has made too many people call for a baby out with the bathwater type of cull. A decent rest with no world cup or European Championship, followed by a good pre-season will I’m sure restore Lampard’s pivotal role as the lynch-pin of the midfield. He will perhaps have to be used more sparingly in the next couple of years, but he has so much still to offer for us to make any rash decisions following only an average season by him.
 
That extended “bad moment” led to a lot of panic declarations as to who was too old, or not good enough, or not of the required talent – so drawn into the eye of the crisis were we, that we neglected to take stock of some facts. Those being that we had cut the team perhaps too closely to the bone in the closed season; that there had been some serious injuries to key players; that we were trying to integrate new players – both at the start of the season and again following the new year transfer window; that some of our players had simply hit a bad run of form – it happens!
 
After going through the pain and finally seeing light on the other side, it would be madness to perform major surgery on the team – a few tweaks yes – a bit more strength in depth which would include at least a couple of the youngsters who made the break through this year into the first team – all be it so briefly.
 
But let’s finish this season off with a bang before we get to bogged down in what will happen next, especially when Tottenham is the next fixture. A he game no matter what the league positions of either team but particularly when the result could influence who will be playing in which European competition next season.
 
It is still not clear whether Tottenham have over-achieved this season or whether they really are ready to join the current elite. In recent years this game hasn’t been the three point banker that it was for so long. Our one Achilles heel at the moment is pace – or more exactly, our lack of it which is the only thing that really worries me about this game. We have better players – more experienced players & our current form is second to none, and I hope that that will be enough.
 
There is still also a VERY outside chance that we could win the title so every point is particularly precious. I hope we at least take United to the wire – come on Chelsea!

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