Saturday, February 27, 2010

Craig Bellamy Inspired Manchester City Run Riot In 4-2 Win Over Suicidal Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

A Craig Bellamy inspired Manchester City team ran riot against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge today as Roberto Mancini's men hammered the nine men Blues 4-1. Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan had shown that the Blues were beatable midweek, but City just ripped them apart...

The Pensioners contributed to their own downfall as much as City's good play, making school boy errors that were beyond belief, as well as two players getting sent off for the most ridiculous of challenges.

The first half was a pretty turgid affair with Chelsea dominating play and Henrique Hilario was little more than a spectator in the error ridden half.

It could be summed up perfectly by Didier Drogba rising to meet a deep cross from the left. He missed the ball but managed to clash heads with Pablo Zabaleta before striking the terrified Micah Richards under the chin with a knee, leaving all three players on the ground in a heap.

Frank Lampard's contribution was negligible before he ran onto Joe Cole's perfectly weighted pass to fire home and give the Blues a deserved lead.

Despite the poor game on show, Chelsea's dominance had to show at some stage. The lack of ambition and deep lying defence of City gave all the impetus to the Blues and the goal came as no surprise.

Mere minutes later and City were unbelievably level. The goal was a real shocker and Carlo Ancellotti will be fuming as to how easy his Chelsea team made it for Tevez to score.

Chelsea were on the attack, Joe Cole's shot was weak and was deflected out to Lampard who was beaten to the ball by Richards who hoofed the ball clear. Under no pressure what-so-ever, Jon Obi-Mikel decided to head the ball back to his 'keeper from the halfway line...

John Terry then made an absolute mess of his clearance as Carlo Tevez raced onto the ball. He then scuffed his shot that seemed to throw Hilario off as the ball bobbled slowly into the net.

It was a terrible sequence of errors culminating in Petr Cech's awful mistake. The great Czech is badly missed and if this is an example of Hilario, the next four weeks could make for dismal viewing for Chelsea fans.

All of a sudden Manchester City were in the game and they almost took the lead on the stroke of halftime after Jolean Lescott's header glided just wide of the far post.

In the space of four minutes the game had flip flopped and Chelsea were now the ones hanging on. Changes had to be made at half time. John Terry was having another nightmare, while Florent Malouda was anonymous.

The second half kicked off without either manager making a change and it was City who took the game to their title challenging hosts.

John Terry receiving a yellow card for tripping Adam Johnson while the ex-Middlesbrough man was in full flight.

The interviews for Fabio Capello's England team were progressing well for Gareth Barry who was beginning to get on top of the poor Lampard and it was his beautiful ball down the left that released Craig Bellamy for City's second goal.

The Welsh flyer flew onto the ball like a bat out of hell while Jon Obi-Mikel strangely chose to run beside him rather than make a challenge. Bellamy made it into the box past the young Nigerian and scored after another dreadful positioning error by the 'keeper.

Chelsea were rattled and had no answers to City's penetration or pace so they decided to try and kick their way back into the game. A flurry of yellow cards followed before Carlo Tevez and John Terry clashed in the corner following a through ball.

It was a sign that teh usually calm Terry was completely off his game and that Tevez had managed to get under his skin.

Every time Terry had the ball the energetic Argentinian was at his heels and when Tevez was in possession, his low centre of gravity was causing the England and Chelsea captain all sorts of problems.

Frustration began to seep into every Chelsea player and they challenged the referee on every decision and made a whole series of niggling tackles.

Sensing that the game was there for the taking, Mancini made a change and brought Shawn Wright-Phillips on to further expose Malouda at left full. Moments later, Michael Ballack picked up his first yellow card of the day after screaming at the referee following his decision to give City a kick out. It was gross unprofessionalism from the German captain who seemed to have let the occasion get to him.

By this stage Ancellotti had managed to see that his team were having a bad day at the office and he made a couple of substitutions in an effort to turn the tide back to his team.

To no avail, a rampant Gareth Barry raced into the box and was upended by Juliano Belletti in a dreadfully mistimed challenge, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the penalty and send the ex-Barcelona player off.

Tevez stepped up and smashed the ball home, leaving Chelsea with an insurmountable mountain to climb at 3-1.

Wayne Bridge then made way for Roque Santa Cruz, the ex-Chelsea player was cheered off by every City fan and a few Chelsea fans and it is somewhat disappointing that so many of the home teams fans chose to boo him as his left the field of play.

Insult was added to injury when Michael Ballack picked up his marching orders after an absolutely ridiculous challenge. Knowing he was on a yellow card, all the German international had to do was jockey the ball, instead he launched himself into a challenge he was never going to win. A deserved red card, and a big let down for his team.

City then added a fourth as Wright-Phillips found the rampant Bellamy unmarked in the box and the Welsh striker stroked the ball home to make it 4-1.

Frank Lampard did manage to find the net through a penalty to reduce the deficit but it was litlle more than a consolation goal.

All talk of Mancini facing a dressing room uprising will be put to bed this week, but the Italian's job still rides on City finishing fourth.

For Chelsea this game is a watershed moment. Carlo Ancellotti will be forced to call a team meeting on Monday and certain players could be forced to face a few home truths.

Since all the affair scandal hit the newspapers John Terry's form has been abysmal, and the Blues captain is one of the worst offenders in this current downward slide.

Yuri Zhirkov needs to be fast tracked off the treatment table and Alex now deserves a chance at centre half more than ever. There is nothing that can be done about Cech's injury so Ancellotti will have to make do with Hilario over the next month. But the odds of winning all three trophies have lengthened considerably.

The invention of Deco and the resistance of Essien are both badly missed, and it is a damning statistic, that only Lampard has really contributed anything from midfield this season.

Luckily for Ancellotti and Chelsea they have no Premier League match next weekend and certain players could be rested or dropped to give them the symbolic kick in the behind they need.

The Blues season is now threatening to implode, and it has very little to do with matters on the pitch.

The first real test of Carlo Ancellotti's Chelsea career.