|photo by brightroyalty||via PhotoRee|
*We here at farlieonfootie have decided we want to live in world in which all refereeing decisions are correct, and only deserved goals are awarded. Unfortunately, those two circumstances would negate the "hard earned" three points Chelsea picked up at the Bridge on Saturday, in which the only real labor was coming from Sky TV announcers as they tried ponderously to think of excuses why Chelsea still deserve to be in the title race. And absolutely no one at the FA was up in arms at all, due to Spurs' sudden crumbling into "also ran" status, and the organization's desire to see Chelsea fight on 'til the final week.
Herewith, the "unofficial" write up from Saturday's game:
Season Over and Blues in Disarray
Saturday, April 30 / Stamford Bridge / London England
Spurs hung on for an uncomfortable 1-nil victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, effectively ending the Blues' hope of retaining their Premiership title. This, despite Chelsea still having to travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United next week, with the London-based club now having almost nothing at stake and reduced to playing solely for pride.
Befitting a final scoreline showcasing the thinnest of margins, the match was not without its controversial moments. Linesman Mike Cairns incorrectly signaled for a goal on a Frank Lampard shot which Spurs' 'keeper Huerelho Gomes hideously mishandled, the ball skidding through the Brazilian's legs and onto the goal line. But not over it, as Referee Andre Marriner correctly deduced from his angle, and the initial goal ruling was quickly and correctly overturned, despite Chelsea's heated protests to the contrary. Skipper John Terry, belying his usual even temperament, managed to pick up a yellow card for dissent in arguing the incident with Marriner.
Terry was later ejected from the game when, in the 88th minute, Marriner once again managed to get his angle spot on, correctly adjudging Solomon Kalou to be in an offside position just before the Ivorian tapped in what he and the home crowd thought to be a last-gasp equalizer. Terry's vehement protest earned him a trip to the shower only five minutes before the rest of his teammates joined him to wash their season away.
Joining Terry in the locker room afterward, a chastened Frank Lampard pleaded for calm from the Chelsea faithful:
"I know this year's team has not gotten the breaks we've been accustomed to receiving in the past," said Lampard, his eyes moistening. "Video replay may be good for football, but it hasn't been kind to Chelsea FC this season, disallowing many decisions that went our way over the years. And the fans may not like it, but the referees and the FA have also had an impact. They've been remarkably consistent in administering the rules, even when it comes to Chelsea players. And that's resulted in more fines, fouls and cards on the guys in Blue. Even Sky TV seems to be against us this season, acting despite their naked self-interest in keeping us in the race as long as possible. We're going to have to adapt our ways if we want to get back to the top. Either that, or Mr. Abramovitch will have to dramatically increase his bribes."There was joy afterward in the visitors' locker room, as Spurs pulled back to within a point of Manchester City in the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot. PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale expresed relief as he reflected on his team's uneven performance:
"Look, it's obvious we were a bit fortunate today. Rafa and I completely disappeared for long stretches of the match, and with the exception of Luka we really struggled in midfield. You can bet the people who voted for me as PFA Player of the Year are disappointed; they'd never vote for me based on my current form, and the price for my summertime transfer must be dropping faster than West Ham! But even when we DID manage to get the ball close, all we had were Pav and Defoe up front, and you don't have to be a genius to know how useless those two have been all season. And Huerelho had another howler back there. It actually makes you want to laugh he's so bad, but he's all we've got."With the domestic title race all but wrapped up with four games left, Sir Alex can now turn his squad's attention to the Champions League. It's been another banner year for the Scot, winning the league yet again despite fielding a team composed primarily of bit players and over-the-hill performers.
So while Chelsea are left singing the Blues, the red half of Manchester begins the countdown to title number 19.
This is farlieonfootie for May 1.