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Chelsea 2-1 Zilina - Ignore the media - Job Done!.

I can imagine writing this match report now at just before 0100 on Wednesday that the press and the media will state that Chelsea had a lu...

Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina (2-1) Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Didier Drogba (Chelsea) urges his team on after equaliser Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


I can imagine writing this match report now at just before 0100 on Wednesday that the press and the media will state that Chelsea had a lucky escape against Zilina last night and won by the skin of their teeth with literally minutes to go. Be prepared to read more doom and gloom about Chelsea this morning.

The fact remains (which will be completely ignored by the press) that Carlo knew that Chelsea needed a single point from the last two games to be confirmed as group winners. That's why he chose the kids last night and with a little added help here and there they did the job no problem.


Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina (2-1) Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Florent Malouda (Chelsea) celebrates winning goal Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Let's be realistic here, I had predicted that Chelsea would win by a cricket score and based on our performance for the last 65 minutes of the game Chelsea could have so easily had done so provided they were more ruthless in front of goal. It was very much a la Birmingham all over again last night but this time when we needed them most, we took our chances.

I cannot emphasise enough who was on the pitch for Chelsea last night before we get all carried away and critical of our side. Yes Zilina produced the best passing move we have seen from them in two games to open Chelsea up and score their goal which took us all by surprise and yes Chelsea took a while to settle down and get into their stride but what else do you expect with so many players being brought into the side to gain vital experience.

To me anyway it looked like Josh let his man go and got caught ball watching for their goal. Added to that some sloppy passes during the game straight to the opposition and we could sit here and be critical of the boy but we have to remember he is just 17. For the most part, his passing was great, he got stuck into tackles and was keen to come and get possession of the ball. The Mikel simple give and go was what he looked like he had been asked to play and he played it well last night.

Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina (2-1) Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Florent Malouda (Chelsea) celebrates winning goal with Patrick van AAnholt Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Van Aanholt impressed me the most. After a slowish start he was up and down that left hand side like Ashley Cole and nearer got his just deserts with a shot that cannoned of the post and away from danger. He became a real threat as the game went on and proved that Chelsea have a natural successor in the wings to Cole when he decides to stop playing.

Bruma, let's face it, didn't have a lot to do. When he did he looked a little nervy to begin with, but settled down and played well.

Kakuta, gradually found his feet as the first half went on and I can imagine would have been disappointed to come off at half time but we can't argue with the decision to bring on Kalou at half time.

Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina (2-1) Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Dean Sturridge (Chelsea) celebrates equakiser Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Danny Sturridge played well. Still too greedy at times and he will learn to pick and choose his moments, but you can tell he just wants to impress. Took his goal well and tested the keeper with a curling effort in the first half that had the keeper scramble across his line to palm the ball clear. He is definitely a talent, just maybe in time will learn to be more aware of his position and the players around him.

Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina (2-1) Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Ross Turnbull (Chelsea) saves from Jozef Piacek (MSK Zilina) Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Ross Turnbull did well too. He came and gathered every cross he had to deal with, had no chance really with the goal, made a save at his near post in the first half and dealt comfortably with any long range efforts anywhere near on target.

As I say, after a slow start of Chelsea playing slow, European passing football from side to side keeping possession we never really looked like creating much. We went a goal down and the goal gave us a kick up the backside and within minutes we started to play better, create openings and put their defence under pressure.

Malouda should have scored a header after some good work from Drogba at the byline beating two defenders and crossing the ball into the Frenchman to just connect with force to head the ball home. Instead under pressure Malouda never caught the ball well enough and it was a comfortable save for the keeper.

Chelsea had turned the screw and began to dominate possession in Zilina's half of the pitch and forced a series of corners that unfortunately, we couldn't capitalise on.

Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Dean Sturridge (Chelsea) goes wide with this athletic effort Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


Danny Sturridge had another notable chance to score as a cross played into the box was controlled on his foot, then his thigh, flicked up into the air and then scissor kicked by Sturridge just over the bar from 10 yards out.

With Chelsea now playing the way they were and Zilina being forced back towards their own goal for the remaining period of the half, you could feel a goal coming.

Second half the change was made, Kalou on for Kakuta. Straight away Zilina looked to settle for being camped back in the own half and on the edge of their 18 yard box. Kalou was busy straight away running at defenders. McEachran was popping the ball about side to side and until Drogba's feet and you felt that sooner rather than later Chelsea will score.

You have to say looking back Kalou's ball into the box was a nothing ball really, a deflection of the first defenders boot took the ball passed the nearest defender to Sturridge at the back post, he reacted to it like a flash and as their keeper came out to close him down, stabbed it goal wards, between the keepers legs as he made a half hearted challenge and the ball found it's way into the net.

Stamford Bridge Chelsea v MSK Zilina Champions League Group F 23/11/2010 Didier Drogba (Chelsea) Mario Pecalka (MSK Zilina) Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom


It was no more than Chelsea deserved, we were back on level terms and had the point we needed. For the next 25 minutes or so Chelsea created chance after chance but once again either shot wide, headed over or pulled the ball back square into the box behind our forwards who had made runs in towards goal. Didier Drogba forced the keeper to touch a free kick onto the post at full stretch to deny him once more as Foster had done at the weekend.

Ramires was onto a half clearance like a flash and hit shot from 25 yards with the outside of his right foot that curled just wide of the post, everyone thought it was in and if he had scored we would still be talking about it this morning.

As I have mentioned before Van Aanholt smacked a shot from 20 yards like a rocket against the far post and the ball bounced clear. It simply looked as thought the luck with was Zilina and we would have to settle for the point we needed which being honest at the time would have been hard on Chelsea.

Zilina put their big substitute on up front on his own and they began to give Chelsea something to think about towards the latter stages of the second half but never really forced Turnbull into any kind of notable save.

Then another change for Chelsea, Anelka on for Sturridge and Anelka a few minutes afterwards had a hand in our winner. Anelka's floated ball into Drogba in the box was headed down to the six yard box onto the run of Malouda and with the keeper routed to his goal-line, Malouda flicked the ball on the volley into the net to make it 2-1 Chelsea, three points and five wins out of five in the group. Chelsea were confirmed as group winners.

In summary, the kids did ok. People will not look back in a few months time and think of the game and how it panned out, the record books will state we won our fifth game in a row and qualified as group winners.

So ignore all the press doom and gloom and comments like I mentioned at the beginning of this report. Let's focus on the fact that we needed just a point and with major names missing from our side, did more than what was needed and got the win. JOB DONE!.

KTBFFH.


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