The minute I saw the Manchester derby score I had a horrible feeling that events were not going to unfold exactly how I had hoped Sunday afternoon – we never seem to take advantage when the reds slip – and boy , did they slip! But even I, the harbinger of doom, could not have predicted an afternoon of such complete madness.
Chelsea are not a dirty team – look at the fair play league last season if you need statistical proof – but it’s simply not the way we play. And, with Drogba’s tackle aside, it was not a dirty game.
Foy lost control of that game early on and then proceeded to maraud around the pitch like a stubborn spoilt toddler, meting out his perception of adjudication with as much impartiality as a religious zealot. Never one for cerebral spontaneous outbursts – my exact words of wisdom posted on Twitter were – “I hope Foy gets rogered senseless by a pack of wild dogs” – I stand by that.
Let’s go through the major decisions – Luiz shove for the penalty – yes it was a shove, yes it was in the penalty box, however, but there was a definitive delay between the shove and the dramatic tumble. But then Luiz should have known better – love the guy but he has one huge gaff in him a game and I’m not sure AVB will put up with that.
Bosigwa red card – never. Looked to me at the time (and since watching it again) – that the players simply came together – both pulling each other’s shirts.
I can’t argue with the Drogba red card – typical striker’s challenge – late, almost two footed and belligerent.
I could have lived with the flurry of yellows if Foy was being equally hard on both teams but he evidently wasn’t – perhaps if one of Abramovich’s companies sponsored the referees association we would be afforded some leniency. I wonder who does sponsor them – let me just go check – oh – Tune Group – run by Tony Fernandez….
Do I sound bitter? Yes – well good, because I am bitter. I know that given our recent years in the sun I should be more gracious in defeat to a club so much lower on the evolutionary scale than we are but I hate injustice. Most of us go to football with the trust that every game is played on a level playing field and when you see displays such as Foys you realise that just isn’t the case and he will have no one to answer to.
I imagine that AVB will face a disciplinary for his comments – don’t care – it needed to be said.
However, and it is a big however, as much as Foy had an unquestionable inappropriate involvement in the game, the team should also look at themselves in terms of performance and their culpability in allowing QPR to get a foothold in the game. Chelsea allowed QPR to dictate the style of play and then got bogged down in their at it and up ‘em in yer face football. Few in black (I hate us playing in black – it’s unlucky) covered themselves in glory.
So we have covered the bad – how about the good – i.e. that second half display. It was one of those displays where you remember why you fell in love with the game. The kind of display that has you roaring on the sidelines until your lungs burn. Those nine men fought like lions and you were hard pushed to see the numbers disadvantage as they covered every blade of grass. QPR were simply not going to score again as the defence were as defiant as the forward line were focussed. Terry & Lampard again led by example – their hearts on their sleeves and pure blue steel running through those veins. Ivanovic, Mikel and Luiz too were involved in every area of the pitch and rather than lose focus from the continuing number of decisions going against us – they grew in stature every time and threw themselves at the opposition with a voracity which was awe inspiring to watch.
We had the chances not only to equalise but then to go on and win the game but the gods were just not with us that day – but those of us in the crowd knew we had witnessed a pivotal change in the mindset of that team.
The thing is now somehow to keep that spirit fresh in their minds – to unleash it on command – to not start the games complacent and ponderous. This is particularly important now.
We are already six points behind City and should Spurs win their game in hand they will be equal on points. We have Arsenal next and by their sudden climb up the table it is evident that the reports on their demise had once again been exaggerated. We need to put before them the Chelsea we witnessed in the second half in the terms of attitude – the personnel choices will be interesting. Will AVB punish Luiz as he punished Kalou? Who will get the nod up front? Then there is the Bosingwa or Ivanovic choice? Ramires back in if fit? It’s not going to be an easy team to pick.
Whoever pulls on the blue shirt I hope they give it their all and whoever pulls on the black shirt, I hope they are noted for being inconspicuous. Come on Chelsea!