Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Liveblogging: Southend Utd vs Chelsea

First it was called off. Then it was back on. Or so the BBC said.

Chelsea's replay at Rootes Hall is live on ITV this evening, so I thought I would try a Liberal England first: liveblogging.

Because this game matters to Chelsea.

The team has problems. The only width comes from the full backs, but their incursions upfield can leave the centre backs exposed. The impenetrable defence of the Mourinho years is a distant memory.

The midfield is growing old together - Essien's reputation grows the longer he is out.

Up front we have two world class strikers. But if Drogba is picked Anelka sulks. And if Anelka is picked Drogba sulks.

And if they are both picked they both sulk.

What I know about Southend Untited:

  1. When I was little they had a player called Billy Best
  2. Chelsea legend David Webb used to manage them
  3. er
  4. That's about it
The Guardian liveblogger must be lost in the fog.

The BBC website says that Radio Five Live says that the fog is coming down again.

They also have the Chelsea team:

Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, A Cole, Ballack, Mikel, Lampard, J Cole, Anelka, Kalou.

Scolari was supposed to be leaving out any players he did not giving him their best. Unless Carvalho is dropped rather than injured there are no surprises here at all.

Mind you, he has dropped Deco. Drogba we knew about already.

The Southend team:

Mildenhall, Sankofa, Clarke, Barrett, Herd, Grant, Christophe, Moussa, Stanislas, Barnard, Revell. Subs: Francis, Walker, Freedman, Betsy, Joyce, O'Keefe.

And Carvalho is among the Chelsea subs. So maybe it is a snub from Big Phil.

The ITV theme music is "Abide With Me". Appropriate for a Chelsea fan.

And it doesn't look that foggy in Southend.

The game has kicked off.

A great run by Ashley Cole. Who wants their team's full backs to defend?

20:18Now Joe Cole breaks into the box. He chooses to shoot rather than square it for Anelka. I hope he does not sulk.

Nat King Cole heads over.

All Chelsea so far.

Alex tries a back pass from halfway and gives a corner away. Southend lick their lips.

Chelsea 0 Southend 1

The corner is cleared for another and Adam Barrett heads Southend in front.

Chelsea appeal for a penalty, but it's not handball. Well, you have to try something.

Then Mikel shoots wide.

Anelka heads wide. He should have got it closer.

The Guardian liveblog has woken up on a different page.

Southed goal under siege. But Chelsea lack the killer punch.

Bosingwa, the Chelsea right back, has a great left foot too. How many English full backs are two-fotted?

We still can't score though.

Peter Kenyon looks sick. So there is a bright side.

Southend are defending with 11 men and ceding the ball to Chelsea. So far we have lacked the class to cut through them.

Southend break, the referee plays advantage and Cech has to make a great save to prevent a second goal.

There are two balls on the pitch. An exciting new tactic by the Brazilian genius?

It's back to one ball, we get a corner but can't score.

Chelsea 1 Southend Utd 1

Confusion in the Southend defence. Ballack shoots. He scores.

And it's half time.

Objectively, Chelsea should score several more in the second half. But...

Just before the Chelsea equaliser went in I was looking at the subs to how Scolari can change things. They are:

Cudicini, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Di Santo, Belletti, Mancienne, Stoch.

That's three defenders, including two centre backs. Very odd, given that you don't want to change your centre backs if you can possibly avoid it.

Mind you, Andy Townsend blamed Alex for the Southend goal.

The second half has kicked off and Chelsea have made a change. Mikel is off and Beletti is on. One of his 40-yard screamers would be handy.

A succession of Chelsea corners and a penalty shout, but no second goal.

Cech comes out, fails to get the ball, but great defending from Alex saves him.

Southend are having more of the play in the second half. Perhaps equalising was the wrong idea? Anyway, Chelsea survive another corner.

Southend Utd 1 Chelsea 2

Joe Cole and Kalou combine to score a lovely goal. What were you worrying about? Put the kettle on.

And Joe Cole almost scores another (though Frank Lampard thinks he should have passed to him).

Former Chelsea player Anthony Grant fouls Joe Cole. He stays down.

Now he's up.

Chelsea remain on top, but you sense they are one set piece away from disaster.

One chap from Southend has been replaced by another chap from Southend.

Joe Cole is down again and now he has gone off.

Franco Di Santo comes on.

Southend Utd 1 Chelsea 3

Apparently Anelka is still on the pitch. In fact he has scored with a nicely placed shot inside the post.

Big Phil looks happy.

Chelsea take their 15th (count 'em) corner.

Southend bring on someone called Betsy.

Betsy falls over.

Southend Utd 1 Chelsea 4

Frank Lampard! And it wasn't even deflected.

And that's full time.

Chelsea won - as they should have. But they won with overlapping full backs and by passing the ball through a tiring opposition midfield. And they conceded a goal at a corner, so I doubt much has been learnt.

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