Chelsea 3-0 Valencia – as it happened
A jaunty win for the jaunty ginger
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 3-0 Valencia An easy win for Chelsea in the end, against a dreadful Valencia side who never quite showed up. Chelsea were remarkably solid in defence, and calm, efficient and clinical on the ball. The result was never truly in doubt from the second goal, and to top it all off, results elsewhere mean that they go through top of their group! What a funny old game football is sometimes, where the richest club can always breeze through in the end. I’m off now, enjoy the rest of your night. Bye.
92 min: I don’t know who won the proper Man of the Match, but I reckon it was probably Drogba, and deservedly so. Ramires, Meireles, and Ivanovic were also excellent. In other news – good god, Torres is looking worse every time you see him.
90 min: David Luiz is going to keep a clean sheet. Quite easily, too. That’s how ineffectual Valencia have been.
87 min: Yep, dull stuff all round. Valencia have decided to alleviate the boredom by occasionally kicking people, giving us more entertainment than they have done all game.
82 min: Malouda wants a shot too. He’s on, replacing the typically-excellent Juan Mata. It’s all fizzled out now, as you can imagine.
79 min: David Luiz hoofs the ball into the stands, eliciting enthusiastic admiration from our co-commentator, one G. Neville. “I love that”, opines the Mancunian. “You’re a defender, so just get rid of it. We should analyse that later.” This isn’t a joke – I think he may actually have been trying to score, from about 60 yards.
77 min: It’s all over, without a doubt. We’ve gotten to the part of the game where you bring your £50million strikers off the bench to have a run-out. Drogba is off, Torres is on.
75 min: GOAL! Chelsea 3-0 Valencia (Drogba) And that’s that! Valencia’s defence starts to collapse as they overreach themselves, and Mata slips Drogba clean through, whereupon he stabs it home. It’s all over – and much thanks to a wonderful performance from the Ivorian, who has looked like his vintage self this evening.
72 min: Goodness me! Chelsea put together another counter-attack, the visibly-tiring Drogba getting a second wind to bundle Victor Ruiz onto the turf, before he dithers over the one-on-one, putting his shot wide of the far post. Will it come back to haunt him – well, no, probably. But it’ll be funny if it does, you wouldn’t want to miss it. Stay watching.
70 min: Valencia still having just about the better of it at the moment, but Chelsea are hardly under siege. Nonetheless, 2-1 doesn’t look impossible, and that would make the remaining minutes very nervy indeed…
67 min: The impressive Romeu makes a fine tackle, but is unfortunate to see the referee bring out a yellow card in response.
66 min: Valencia have finally got their passing game together, as they work it cleverly through the Chelsea defence, but Soldado’s final ball isn’t read by Hernandez, who allows it to run behind him and out for a throw-in.
63 min: Meireles heads it into the Valencia half, and they pile the pressure back on. Now Chelsea are the ones in retreat – though it looks like they’ll be making some changes. Presumably in an effort to add some calm, it looks like Mikel will replace Ramires. Valencia also make change, bringing on Pablo Hernandez for Sofiane Feghouli.
61 min: Valencia have opted for the cross as their most likely weapon of scoring, and Cech has to tip one over from Barragan. The Spaniards then proceed to waste the resulting corner. It’s been a shockingly timid performance from them, but they’re just starting to show a bit of spirit now…AND HERE’S FEGHOULI! He arrives on the edge of the area and whacks one at the far corner, but Cech tips wide. Now Valencia have another corner.. wasted, again, but they somehow win another from it….
59 min: Mathieu whacks in a cross which finds Soldado close to goal, but he can’t quite bring it under his control and the opportunity evaporates. A non-chance, but the best chance of the game for Valencia, which says a lot.
55 min: I wanted to say this as soon as Chelsea scored their second, but there’s not a snowballs that Valencia are getting out of here with anything. Barragan whacks a high cross that’s so awful that his teammates don’t even bother running. Cech claims easily. Valencia have been really poor.
53 min: The corner comes to nothing for Valencia, but Chelsea quickly break, and have Sturridge once again stretching the Spaniards’ defence on the right wing. Once again, he shoots when he should cross, hitting the goalkeeper from a very tight angle.
52 min: More probing from Valencia, at the end of which Costa tries his luck from range. It’s deflected behind for a corner.
50 min: Costa staggers towards the Chelsea goal with the ball, but Ramires stops him with ease. Valencia really need something very different if they’re to have a hope here, and there’s no sign that they’ve got it.
48 min: Nope, it’s Drogba who takes it, and he whacks it wide.
47 min: Another free-kick in a dangerous position for Chelsea, after Albelda chops down Sturridge. Luiz over it…
46 min: And, we’re off again.
Peep! HALF-TIME: Chelsea 2-0 Valencia. And as it stands, thanks to results elsewhere, they lead the group. I’ll be back shortly, don’t go anywhere, and send in some emails if you feel so inclined or want to HAVE YOUR SAY.
41 min: Mathieu really is a waste of space. Somebody that big and blonde shouldn’t be so ineffective. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s tamely surrendered possession, and he does so here, wasting a promising attack as, after Alba rolls the ball to him, he simply toe-pokes it into Ivanovic. I have no idea what he was doing. Watching that particular contest is like watching a man unenthusiastically bare-knuckle boxing with a brick wall.
39 min: STAT ATTACK! Valencia have completed and attempted more passes than Chelsea. Yet they’re getting humped. It’s as if these numbers mean nothing at all.
38 min: Best bit of play of the night so far from Valencia. Barragan ends up one-on-one with Mata, in the right-back position, and does him before floating in a cross which Ivanovic heads away for a corner. It comes to little – Chelsea clear, clear, and counter-attack again.
35 min: Based on the number of times Valencia have had the ball in Chelsea’s half, the untrained observer may think that they’re keeping up with Chelsea tonight. In reality, they haven’t gotten close to Cech’s goal, with every attack being ended prematurely by a bad touch, a poor pass, or a dribble into a defender, and hamstrung by a terrible lack of movement. Chelsea have been the opposite, though they’ve been aided by the fact that Valencia’s marking has been some of the most lacklustre you’ll ever see at this level. When Chelsea have the ball, it’s astonishing – every single one of their players is free as a bird, with the exception of Drogba, who typically appears to have about four or five Valencia players loitering impotently around him.
32 min: So, the verdict, then. Villas-Boas’ bravery in leaving Lampard out has been rewarded. Ramires’ dynamism, Drogba’s strength, and Meireles’ intelligent and efficient use of the ball has led to a speed of play which Valencia haven’t been able to cope with. I have seen the future, and it works, as someone once said. Not sure how it worked out for them, but it looks like it could for Chelsea. Well, as soon as they find a replacement for the ageing Drogba.
29 min: Chelsea are counter-attacking with ease and danger, largely thanks to the herculean efforts of a rejuvenated-looking Drogba, who is acting as a magnet for Valencia defenders and holding them all off with his power and control. They go close again, Meireles sending an effort from the edge of the area wide.
27 min: The Chelsea crowd are getting behind their team in the manner of an over-exuberant parent, oohing and aahing at every mildly effective bit of play. Sturridge picks up a Mata pass now, stretching the Valencia defence on the right-hand side. He has the Spaniard and Meireles in support, but this is Sturridge – obviously, he attempts to bamboozle the defender and then sends a low, hard shot straight at the keeper.
24 min: Still, Valencia continue to attack as though nothing’s happened. Their latest breaks down when Jordi Alba, a defender, is ruled offside – a sign of both their intent and their cavalier attitude that has cost them dearly so far.
20 min: GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Valencia (Ramires) - Goodness me, this is shocking from Victor Ruiz, and he’s given Chelsea a huge leg-up into the knockout stages now. Drogba holds the ball up well and tries to slip Ramires in – it’s far too close to the defender, who should deal with it easily, but Ramires turns on the afterburners and bursts around him to finish smartly. He was outpaced, but he had all the time in the world to get rid of it, and Chelsea are comfortable now.
18 min: Into the wall again, though this time it’s out for a corner. Mata takes it, Feghouli clears, but Chelsea quickly recycle possession and attack anew. Valencia look a bit lost here.
17 min: Another free-kick for Chelsea, though this time we’re not told how far out. I make it about 25 yards – despite being born in 1989, I still can’t think in metres.
16 min: Valencia steam down the left with Mathieu and the much-ballyhooed Jordi Alba, but Ivanovic puts a stop to their little game, and some calm Chelsea passing averts the danger, to the applause of the crowd.
14 min: Drogba has a blast from a free-kick, a whole 35 metres out, a graphic reliably tells us. Or it may have been 37m, I can’t remember exactly. Human error defeats technology once again. Anyway, he crashed it straight into the two-man wall, the useless git.
And in another spectacular twist, I’m now covering the game. Yes, me – Callum Hamilton. It’s all go tonight, eh! And the same can be said for this game, where Chelsea are all over Valencia so far. But their position is far from secure – one Valencia goal will still put them out (if it finishes 1-1. A score draw or Valencia win does for them. Basically, they just need to win now.)
13 min: No action to report. I’m passing you over to Callum now. He has a working laptop and screen. No more affairs.
11 min? : Daniel Harris asks, ‘What are you having for dinner?’ The answer is savoury duck, peas and mash.
9 min: Windows 7 was installed on this laptop I have now, and it is such a bad operating system it religiously shuts down my computer after 10 minutes the first time it’s switched on. Right now I’m watching a loading screen.
7 min: Cech calmly picks out a cross from the right, as my dinner burns.
5 min: Valencia hit the bar! I’m getting somewhere. Soon I’ll be able to tell you and everything.
3 min: Goal! Chelsea 1-0 Valencia (Drogba). Your goal as guess as mine.
First action of the match – the clock iffy: Meireles puts a shot well wide.
And now I found out these cunts aren’t doing the game. Found it!
As I frantically wind the cranks on the spare laptop – I don’t get fucking ITV in this flat – please feel free to email.
Slight change of plan. Netherton here. Apologies.
Our first email. “As David Luiz is playing, then we don’t need to discuss what will happen if it is a goalless draw,” says Ben Monk. Ho ho ho, what an amusing clown he is.
Here are your teams. The big news is that Frank Lampard has to make do with a place on the bench alongside Fernando Torres. I’m sure he’s taken the news well. It’s a huge statement of intent from Andre Villas-Boas; if Chelsea win, it will be the making of him. If they lose, the decision to bench Lampard – which looks like the right one from where I’m sitting – will be used to castigate him. On his tomb, it will read: ‘Here lies Andre Villas-Boas. He dropped Frank Lampard.’
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole; Romeu, Meireles, Ramires; Sturridge, Drogba, Mata.
Subs: Turnbull, Lampard, Torres, Mikel, Malouda, Ferreira, Kalou.
Valencia: Diego Alves; Barragan, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Jordi Alba; Feghouli, Tino Costa, Albelda, Mathieu, Jonas; Soldado.
Subs: Guaita, Topal, Aduriz, Piatti, Dealbert, Pablo, Parejo.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
Preamble? You can shove your preamble. I’ve not slept for a week and have only just got in from work, so it’s just as well we’re in for a very interesting evening of football, else I’d probably lose consciousness. Here’s your permutations. If Chelsea win, they go through. If it’s 0-0, they go through if Bayer Leverkusen don’t lose to Genk. If it’s a score draw or Valencia win, Chelsea are out. The problem for Chelsea? Valencia have only ever lost once in England, Chelsea are woefully out of form and David Luiz is playing. Valencia will score: just as well Chelsea have a £50m striker sitting on the bench.