Chelsea are not popular in Europe there is little respect of a team that the snobbish upper echelons of football in both England and Europe do not believe deserves to be rubbing shoulders with them.The evolution from 1994 - 2003 in which Chelsea came from mid-table mediocrity to Champions League contenders playing attractive but inconsistent football respected by all has been forgotten and replaced by the Abramovich era of disdain.

Bought the Premiership they say, a disgrace to football they say, too negative too arrogant, too English, not English enough the critics had made their decision and could not be placated.

This disdain has lasted for 5 years and does not appear to be stopping against this backdrop of events on Wednesday night.

Football is not an exact science, the team that plays the best football has the most chances or the better players does not always get the result they want or others say they deserve.

Barcelona fans and the so called ‘neutrals’ argue that in the first leg this occurred and that Chelsea represent everything that is wrong in football. They ignore that having a plan and sticking to it is what football is about not playing to the oppositions strengths. They ignore the Barcelona play acting the waving of imaginary cards and the poor attitude their entire team had throughout the game lambasting Chelsea’s negative tactics but not commenting on how well they were executed.

In the second leg Chelsea also had a plan again, sticking to it and for 90 minutes comfortably containing a Barcelona side whilst creating 3 or 4 great chances themselves.

Football however like life boils down to the small things, the rub of the green, a lucky bounce, a poor decision, a misplaced pass or a poor referee on Wednesday. Chelsea were a victim to the small things in football.

Firstly and less controversially in the second minute of injury time the ball is dribbling clear from a Barcelona cross and Essien just can’t stretch enough to divert the ball into touch and it falls to a Barcelona player and seconds later Iniesta is slamming the ball home from 25 yards. In a parallel dimension Essien stretches just an inch further and Chelsea hold on for two minutes and no one is talking about the referee.

The second small thing beyond the players control is the referee. Whilst I do not buy into conspiracy theories, no one can argue he had a good night and that his decision did not impact the game.

But what is done is done. As Chelsea fans we can jump and protest claim scream blue murder but nothing will change, UEFA will not change its mind. Defending the actions of Michael Ballack is like defending the indefensible in the era of so called ‘respect’ that should not happen no matter what the stakes; ironically the actions of a player whose attitude I do not like at the best of times, Drogba’s were more understandable.

He like the 41,000 fans in the ground and those watching on TV felt that Chelsea had been robbed, denied two cast iron penalties and two 50/50 penalties and he expressed that to anyone who would listen.

Every Chelsea fan feels so passionately they want to protest an argument eloquently put forward by Ben Clynshaw.

However, we do not have a time machine. Yes, we can complain, but what will that achieve? UEFA will not change it’s result and the already mud-like reputation that Chelsea have will be further tarnished. Actually scratch that last sentence; Chelsea are hated anyway. So scream, make your voice heard, but remember UEFA does not like the success of English teams — in particular the Russian owned team from SW6.

So are we just bitter or is there something more to the conspiracy theories?


Jonathan Harwood said...

The club’s disgraceful behaviour in last week’s semi-final against Barcelona must be punished with Uefa’s ultimate sanction

While Darren Fletcher and Eric Abidal will be aggrieved to have had their red cards upheld by Uefa yesterday, at least it showed some rational thinking going on at European football's ruling body, argues Richard Williams in the Guardian.

"If this season's endless disputes over refereeing decisions have taught football fans one lesson, it is that the officials' job is getting harder and that - with the single exception of goalline cameras - no amount of technology will make an acceptable difference to the business of ensuring the right decisions are made." Indeed to remove the ultimate authority of the officials by overturning their decisions with the benefit of this technology "would invite anarchy".

"Every television camera in London seemed to be in use at the Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge last week" and yet there is still reasonable doubt about whether either decision was a genuine red or not.

"Did the way Fletcher's foot tangle with Cesc Fabregas's legs constitute a foul? Did Abidal's leg brush against those of Nicolas Anelka? In each case, the referee had a couple of seconds to assess the evidence and to make his decision. And, significantly, on neither occasion could any amount of television evidence settle the argument," says Williams.

What didn't make either referee's night easier was the players' behaviour. The histrionics of Didier Drogba and his Chelsea teammates should be "sanctioned" by Uefa. "The withdrawal of Chelsea's invitation to next season's Champions League, taking tens of millions of pounds in revenue along with it, would soon persuade them to find a way of curbing their players' excesses, and others would follow their example."

In a conclusion that will make Williams few friends in SW6, he says: "If Chelsea's players and managerial staff are reluctant to abandon the exaggerated sense of grievance instilled and fostered by Jose Mourinho's regime, they will have to be taught a lesson."

Anonymous said...

"So scream, make your voice heard, but remember UEFA does not like the success of English teams — in particular the Russian owned team from SW6.

So are we just bitter or is there something more to the conspiracy theories?"

That's bullshit!

Anyway, Ballack and Drogba acted in an inappropriate way. That's all, they will get their punishment, I don't understand why Chelsea are being criticised like that, they made a mistake and they will get punishment from the UEFA, I don't think you know how someone can feel after they think they should have had 3 penalties, emotions were running high, it's no excuse to act the way they did but sometimes it seems like the media are saints, they are very virtuous and do not print over-the-top stories, they never exaggerate...

Shashi said...

I don't think the referee is to be blamed that much.
He thought that abidal tripped anelka, and he was the last defender so it should be red card. Even if you watch the replay, you would still be optimist that there was contact or not.
About the tackle on drogba in the penalty area, the defender clearly got the ball. No matter how much video evidence the referee should be given benefit of doubt.
The handball of Eto, his hands were protecting his face and the referee was right not to give the penalty (because else the ball would hit his face and be deflected anyway).
The pull of malouda just in the edge of the box, you could argue the pull started from outside the box and the player fell inside. If you see the video, you would give the ref the benefit of doubt.
The handball of Pique i think is the only wrong decision of the referee, but then the ball was not going anywhere to goal, the attacking player was not getting anywhere near the ball and there was not another chelsea player near to profit from the attack. So, the ref should be given benefit of doubt for ball to hand.

In essence, the referee is not at fault at all. He made honest decisions. In the other hand, Chelsea could have scored more goals themselves without depending on these penalty opportunities to score. so they have themselves to blame.

No other teams would act so savagely as chelsea. Chelsea are known to 'jump on the referee' and complain about every petty decisions against them. I dont think any other teams do that.

Chelsea should be banned from champions league for lack of respect!