Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Liveblogging Birmingham vs Chelsea

21:39 And Chelsea win 2-0. Not  a great game. Not a great live blog. But I did it and so did they.

21:39 Arsenal win 3-0 but lose 4-0 on aggregate.

21:36 Into injury time.

21:35 Essien on for Mata - chiefly to wind the clock down

21:30 The crowd lifting Birmingham and they are having a spell of pressure. But Cahill and Luiz look secure at the back.

21:27 Birmingham miss their best chance. Mutch is through but lifts it over the bar.

21:22 Torres sets up Sturridge who falls over the ball in front of goal. There is a theory gaining support that Sturridge looks great until he gets a scoring chance.

21:21 Frank Lampard comes on from Ramires.

21:20 A rare threat from Birmingham but Cahill deals with it very neatly.

21:18 Chelsea now looking good now. First to every ball and sweeping forward in numbers. A bit more sharpness up front and we could score several more.

21:15 Mata penalty saved. And Birmingham scramble the rebound away.

21:15 Torres makes space for himself with a nice move and is then pulled down. Penalty awarded!

21:11 Still 3-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates, but who cares?

21:09 Nice play but then Mata lives it way over the bar. There are more goals for Chelsea here if they keep up the pressure and keep their heads.

21:07 And suddenly you fancy Chelsea to win the whole tournament.

21:06 2-0. Scorcher from  Meireles!

21:05 Sturridge comes on for Kalou. That should make Chelsea stronger

21:04 Almost a second for Mata and Chelsea.

21:00 Mata scores! 1-0 to Chelsea

20:57 Chelsea start the second half well and look more likely to score now. Birmingham can't keep the ball when they do get it.

20:51 Second half kicks off. The commentator is threatening us with extra time and penalties.

20:49 Out-of-form Chelsea striker scores great goal.

20:39 During the interval let's remember happier times...

Chelsea, Peter Osgood and Swinging London
Chelsea were London's glamour club at the time, attracting a host of celebrity supporters. People like the actor David Hemmings, the photographer Terry O'Neill and, on occasion, Hollywood stars like Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen, would regularly lunch at Alvaro's on the King's Road before making their way to Chelsea's ground, Stamford Bridge, to cheer on Osgood and company.
20:36 Ray Winstone is offering 8/1 on Torres to score.

20:34 0-0 at half time. Meet the new Chelsea, same as the old Chelsea - so far.

20:32 Torres turns brilliantly but then shoots wide.

20:31 This may not be the most exciting game being played this evening. Arsenal are currently leading AC Milan 3-0 (though they are still 4-3 behind on aggregate.

20:26 And then Birmingham do threaten and Cech has to tip a header over.

20:23 Birmingham have not threatened for a while now. A lot of aggression from Chelsea, but quality is still lacking.

20:20 There's ia bit more bite to Chelsea's play now.

20:15 Zigic booked for a challenge on Cahill. I think he was looking for someone to kick.

20:13 Cech has to make his first save - a Birmingham goal looks more likely than a Chelsea one at the moment.

20:07 Chelsea are committed but their passing is not sharp enough.

20:05 Chelsea fans chanting for Mourinho and against Benitez.

Then Ramirez bursts into the box but shoots over.

20:03 Zigic and Luiz tangle twice and Zigic ends up with blood on his face. As Norman St John Stevas would have said, it's a man's game.

19:59 In Birmingham are giving rather better than they get.

19:54 All very open so far and Birmingham giving as good as they get.

19:49 Great chance squandered as Mata does not pass to Kalou.

19:47 Birmingham kick off.

19:40 Banner in the crowd:

Play for the shirt, not your egos

19:37 The risotto is doing fine.

So Chelsea are now helmed by Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton. The management combination that made West Bromwich Albion the most feared side in West Bromwich.

19:32 While we are waiting for the kick off, here is another appeal to Jose Mourinho...

19:29 I am attempting to do this while cooking a risotto, which may be a bit tricky.

Anyway, chelseafc.com has the team news:

Chelsea will line-up in the following 4-3-3 formation:

1 Petr Cech (c)
2 Branislav Ivanovic
24 Gary Cahill
4 David Luiz
34 Ryan Bertrand
7 Ramires
12 John Mikel Obi
16 Raul Meireles
21 Salomon Kalou
9 Fernando Torres
10 Juan Mata

Subs: 40 Hilario, 26 John Terry, 5 Michael Essien, 8 Frank Lampard, 23 Daniel Sturridge, 11 Didier Drogba, 18 Romelu Lukaku.

Birmingham are expected to line up in the following 4-3-3 formation:

Doyle; Spector, Davies (c), Ibanez, N'Daw; Elliott, Mutch, Gomis; Rooney, Zigic, Redmond.

Subs: Myhill, Burke, Valles, Packwood, Jervis, Reilly, King.

19:25 Let us begin with an appeal to Jose Mourinho...

19:21 I have liveblogged a Chelsea game from the television once before. It was a cup replay at Southend which we eventually won comfortably. The game took place towards the end of Phil Scolari's reign and was chiefly notable for a serious injury to Joe Cole - one from which his Chelsea and England career never really recovered.

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