Thursday, January 30

Nil-nil to the Victorians!

Pre-match sign predicts Chelsea's shooting accuracy
Chelsea 0 West Ham 0

There’s a chorus of “Chim-chim-cherooo… We are those bastards in claret and blue!” echoing down Fulham Road as I make my way from Fulham Broadway tube through the Chelsea Village to the Shed away section, while Matt and Fraser have been in a pub that boasts almost as many fine ales as The Central.

The away fans amuse themselves with chants about John Terry’s mum. From the kick off the spirit looks good with the Irons’ defenders and midfielders willing to throw themselves at the ball, but still trying to pass it out of defence and break out through our wide players. West Ham force an early corner and Carroll chests the ball down only to slip on the skiddy surface as he tries to shoot.

Oscar, Hazard and and Willian look skilful in midfield and we receive a warning of what they can do as he skips inside to fire in a shot that Adrian tips onto the bar.

Tomkins gets in a good header from a rare West Ham corner that Cech tips round the post. The rest of the half is waves of Chelsea attacks but the defence is resolute. The pick of the defenders is probably the returning Joey O’Brien who gets in the way of everything, while Noble and Taylor do a fine shielding job. And Andy Carroll is defending brilliantly too, clearing countless balls whenever Chelsea get a set piece.

The obligatory bizarre West Ham injury happens when Diame tries to get a cross in but falls over the advertising hoarding, Mo has to be replaced by Jarvis.

The ref finds three minutes of added time for Chelsea to nearly score in. Chelsea win a corner and Adrian makes a good save with his feet to deflect Terry’s header. Then an Oscar shot is deflected into the path of Eto’o. He shoots but Adrian pulls off of another great one-handed save.

There’s no beer at half-time as notices all over the away end announce that all the Singha bars will be closed in case we get too lairy. “Oh East London is full of beer!” chant the fans in the concourse.

We nearly nick a goal early in the second half. Downing chases down a clearance on the left, skips round Cahill and gets in a good cross that Cech palms into the path of Andy Carroll. Only AC swivels and takes an air shot when if he’d connected it would surely have gone in. A sign that Carroll’s still rusty, but he’s given us a solid 64 minutes before being replaced by Carlton Cole.

We have a fine view of Jose Mourinho going mental on the touchline as O’Brien gets a yellow card for fouling Willian — presumably Joey apologised Smiths-style by saying “Willian, it was really nothing”.

“Sit down Mourinho!” chant the West Ham fans and then the more Anglo-Saxon “F**k off Mourinho!”

Then Big Sam has a touchline fit too. Mourinho has been in the ear of the Fourth Official all game and you do wonder if the Premier League might be better off employing nursery teachers rather than Fourth Officials, with the power to use the naughty step.

Big Fat Frankie Lampard warms up and is greeted with the usual abuse from the away end. Not sure if we should be winding him up as he’ll love to score one against us even more now. Still Chelsea sweep forward. Five minutes from time Hazard crosses from the left and substitute Demba Ba hits the post with a flick, though Adrian might have had it covered.

“We’re leaving it late to get a winner,” I suggest to Fraser. It starts to get really nerve-wracking now, but Collins and Tomkins are blocking everything.

“Chelsea’s a shithole I want to go home!” and “Jump up if you love West Ham!” chant the bouncing Hammers fans.

Carlton Cole chasing down there defenders shows the spirit in the side as we edge towards full-time. Hazard cuts in from the left and has a low shot smothered by the excellent Adrian. The ref awards a free kick, Adrian places the ball on the ground, but Eto’o, thinking it’s a goal kick and the ball is live, tries to sneak a crafty goal by rolling the ball into the net.

Joey O’Brien makes one last block and is carried off with a dislocated shoulder and is likely to miss the rest of the season. More bad news as he’s shown real character tonight.

There’s still time in the four minutes added on for Hazard to find Lampard ghosting into the box, but Adrian smothers his effort. The whistle blows and the cameras catch a satisfying roar of triumph from the cult keeper.

Never in doubt. After the game Mourinho displays more sour grapes than in a Somerset Levels vineyard. He claims that West Ham play “19th century football”, perhaps confused by James Tomkins’ sideburns and the fact that we used to have  Dickens in midfield.

Chelsea are one of the richest clubs in the world and have bought better players than West Ham. Is he really suggesting that defending resolutely and trying to catch them on the break should not be an option for a team in the bottom three? West Ham are £77million in debt and our record signing cost £15 million, which is less than Chelsea pay for a reserve. And Jose is ignoring the fact that his side settled for a draw at Man United earlier this season and are unlikely to attack at Manchester City.

Our Victorian contingent of Mr George, Mr Massey and Mr May perambulates to Earl’s Court in the rain, reflecting on a brilliant defensive performance of association football, berating the bad sportsmanship of Mr Mourinho, expressing disapproval at the hemlines of the ladies and agreeing that Chelsea is a s***hole, albeit a listed Georgian one. A great point that could prove vital at the end of the season.

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 9, Demel 7, Tomkins 8, Collins 8, O’Brien 8, Downing 7, Noble 7 Nolan 6 (Nocerino 5), Taylor 7, Diame 6 (Jarvis 6), Carroll 6 (Carlton Cole 6).


London Walks said...

Hi Pete, I hope all's well with you it's Adam here ex-of Midweek, etc. I'm editing the London Walks blog these days, The Daily Constitutional, and we linked to your Hammers blog last week on our London Spy (nice name!) column, Here's the link:

Hope all's well with you, all best

Pete May said...

Cheers Adam I'll look it up and good to hear from you! You'll never walk alone…