Chelsea v Birmingham City – as it happened
A risible display from Chelsea, faced with an energetic but limited Birmingham City, ended in a stalemate as neither team were much good at football. Avram Grant out!. Image: Well Offside.
90 min + 3 min: The game ends, unhappily for Chelsea, and with a mixture of pleasure and regret for Birmingham, who were the better side. That’s full time.
90 + 2 min: Birmingham break, and David Luiz cleans out Mutch about fifteen yards over the halfway line, getting booked in the process. The ball is curled into Curtis Davies, but the header, luckily for Chelsea, is straight at Cech.
90 min + 1: Lampard, straight into the wall. The ball is lifted back into the box, and Ivanovic lifts it over the goalkeeper… and the goal. The linesman had also indicated for offside by then. There will be a couple of minutes of added time.
89 min: A central free kick for Chelsea, and a Meireles long ball results in a Chelsea free kick, just twenty or so yards out. ivanovic was the man fouled.
87 min: Oh no. Jervis threads a ball past three Chelsea defenders putting redmond in yards of space, through with just Cech to beat, He tries to curl it wide of the keeper, but it ends up rolling slowly into his arms. What a chance.
86 min: Ivanovic and Murphy clash in the box, getting a corner when they wanted a penalty. There wasn’t much in the challenge to convince the officials of their claims. Lampard’s corner comes to nothing as Cahill commits a foul in the box.
84 min: Dorgba outmuscles a Birmingham defender, his cross is aimed towards Lampard, but Davies puts it out for a corner. The corner drifts out to the right, and Redmond dispossess Sturridge to hoof clear.
83 min: Chris Burke is introduce for Elliott, and Lampard is on in place of Juan Mata. Please don’t score Frank please don’t score Frank.
82 min: Frank Lampard. Jacob Steinberg’s favourite playeris coming on, ignoring Villas Boas’ instructions.
80 min: Although Chelsea have improved in the second half, they aren’t actually much good. Birmingham will be disappointed not to get a replay, should Chelsea squeak through.
76 min: Regardless of whether they keep Villas Boas this summer, they really need to get rid of Terry and Lampard. It creates an excuse for all the other, less headstrong players to underperform with all their press leaks. Birmingham have a free kick, forty yards out. Mutch gets it past the wall, but despite it being on target, it’s low and runs out of steam.
74 min: Doyle’s limping, perhaps exploiting it to take more time than is necessary for a goal kick.
73 min: Sturridge temporarily bamboozles Murphy, but the defender is back to concede only a corner. Mata’s corner is flicked back by a defender to Meireles, whose shot deflects just over the goal.
70 min: Ramires with a brilliant pass to Mata, running towards the right touchline, and Mata does just as well to volley a cross back towards Ivanovic. He can’t get the ball on target though, and Birmingham survive. Adam Rooney is replaced by Jake Jervis. I hate slightly odd surname spellings. Its why I hate sensitive lover, Rob Smyth.
66 min: A lull now, as both sides alter their ambitions. Birmingham will just want to hang on, while Chelsea, and Villas Boas in particular, will want to go for the win now. Davies catches Drogba, who’s injured his right arm in the process. It’s an injury I’ve seen him claim before, I’m not sure if it’s a long standing problem for him. Anyone?
62 min: Goal! Chelsea 1-1 Birmingham City (Sturridge). Mata switches the ball wide to Ivanovic, who has had space down the right for the whole match. He clips in a great cross for Sturridge, in the middle of the box, unmarked, to turn the ball into the goal. That was a decent header, but a far better cross and pass. When I said Malouda was on earlier, by the way, I of course meant Kalou. I got the mohawks mixed up.
59 min: 14 minutes in, and a decent chance for Cheleaa. Mata cushions a ball with his left foot, brining it onto his right to volley from just inside the box. He hits it very, very well but it’s off target. Chelsea have taken 14 minutes to get to this point.
58 min: Mikel is off, and Malouda is back. Mikel, back from injury, has been poor today. Put Frank on and lets get this over with, shall we?
56 min: Oh! Dreadful from Chelsea. Sturridge fails to track Redmond o the edge of the box, as the pass is pulled back. He has plenty of space, but manages only to lean back and sky it. That was an excellent opportunity for Birmingham.
55 min: Cahill drags down a Birmingham player on the left, and earns a booking. The free kick is too the left, and about forty five yards out. It’s headed out by Cahill at the far post for a Birmingham corner, Mutch to take.
51 min: Luiz tackles Mutch as he attempted to spread play wide. Chelsea have such energy when going forward, willing to do so at pace. They’re not good enough to exploit the space they find, but Chelsea, attacking so ponderously, don’t have the space they should be good enough to exploit. Their pace is nullifying their biggest advantage, that of playing far faster than lesser players can handle.
49 min: Ivanovic angles another long ball to Dorgba, who can’t bring it under control. It goes out for a goal kick, and Drogba makes a point of putting the ball on the spot for the keeper who was taking his time. The referee needlessly gets involved. What’s wrong with hurrying the game up?
48 min: A long ball floated in towards Drogba. He can’t get to it, the keeper diving at his feet, but it demonstrates that he’s far more effective chasing those kinds of balls, as he shrugs off a defender along the way, than Torres.
46 min: David Murphy is fouled on the left hand side of the Birmingham half, and they’ve started timewasting already as Doyle ambles forward to take.
45 min: Didier Drogba is on to a cheer from Stamford Bridge. Torres is off. That’s harsh on Torres who did little wrong with little service suited to him. But, I suppose, you either change the rest of the team or change the striker.
You can find the goal at 101 Great Goals.
45 min + 1: Ibanez crunches into Mata fairly, stopping his run towards goal. That’s half time. And boos.
45 min: Ivanovic crosses low, and Torres sticks out a boot, flicking it up accidentally towards the oncoming Mata, who gets a decent header on target, but one that Doyle gets behind without fuss. There’s a minute left. Of the half, not Torres’ and Villas Boas’ careers.
43 min: Mikel floats a ball towards Torres’ head. It’s bizarre. Why wouldn’t they pass to feet for him? Are they really that thick? Don’t ansewr that. If Birmingham had any competence about them they’d be cofident going into the second half. Another long ball to Torres.
41 min: Mikel now shoots from distance. It was only a few yards wide, but it was dragged rather than hit cleanly, and it was from about forty yards. It was an indictment more than a shot, I suppose.
39 min: So close. Torres heads down a long ball for Sturridge, who loops a left foot volley just a couple of yards wide. Sturridge appears to be playing more centrally in the last few minutes. and he is doing more for the Chelsea attack than the rest of the team combined.
37 min: Torres drops deep, and gets a free kick for Chelsea after he’s seen to from behind by Spector. The ball is clipped forward in the direction of David Luiz in the box, yet it’s headed away. Chelsea continue to attack, with more crosses, and yet more crosses away. Finally, Sturridge sends in a curling cross for Ivanovic at the back post, but he stretches just short of the ball.
36 min: More loose play from Chelsea. Murphy threads the ball through to Redmond, who easily outpaces Ivaovic. His shot is low and well struck, but Cech gets down quickly to stop the shot easily. Chelsea have been woeful.
35 min: David Luis does well to get it on target, and Doyle tips it over. Meireles’s cross is headed away, and the Portuguese’s next cross to Sturridge comes to nothing.
33 min: Birmingham are so much more energetic that they must have been quaffing taurine all morning. Chelsea must have been quaffing heroin. Jordan Mutch earns a yellow card coming in from behind after David Luizgallops forward. Chelsea have a free kick, about thirty yards from goal, to the left of the D.
31 min: The game is incredibly scrappy, Chelsea struggling to pass competently over any distance at all. It is really poor stuff, made even worse by the crushing inevitability of Frank Lampard’s equaliser and winner. Birmingham attack, the ball spread left for Murphy to cross into Ramires’ shins.
28 min: Ibanez and Sturridge go for a chipped ball into the box, and Sturridge throws himself to the ground. Not impressive stuff.
26 min: A Rooney-Redmond one-two threatens a dangerous cross, but he’s dispossessed at the corner. Chelsea break through Sturrdge, and his low cross is met by a sliding Torres, but he’s blocked by Curtis Davies.
25 min: That penalty from Mata, on the replay, was almost toss. It wasn’t hit firmly enough, nor was it dead into the corner. Have we learned nothing from the African Cup of Nations? Except that Arsenal players have no guts.
23 min: Missed! Mata blasts it low to Doyle’s right, but the keeper is able to get to it and push it onto the post. What a waste by Mata.
21 min: Penalty! Ramires tripped as he runs away from goal by Elliott.
20 min: Goal! Chelsea 0-1 Birmingham City (Murphy). Whipped into the near post, and it’s flicked on along the six yard box. An overhead kick misses everything, but the ball somehow is allowed to find Murphy at the back post, who cuts a left full volley past Cech. Oh. Chelsea.
19 min: Birmingham are sitting deep, but Chelsea can’t pass to save their life. It’s not Birmingham who are stopping Chelsea from scoring, let’s put it that way. Redmond wins another corner, Mutch takes.
18 min: Here’s Callum Hamilton: ‘It’s incredible Birmingham will probably nick 2nd. They simply don’t have any good players.’ Not true. Stephen Carr is world class. Nathan Redmond can do tricks. What more do you want?
16 min: Gomis is sold short, the ball is spread to Sturridge on the right, whose cross is brought down well at the back post, with a neat turn but he can only put the ball out before shooting. That was Chelsea’s best chance so far.
15 min: Bertrand turns into Rooney, but manages to keep possession, just. Chelsea are happy to keep possession at the back, until another mistake from Bertrand sees Luiz’s pass go into touch.
12 min: Chelsea attack down the right through Daniel Sturridge, but Murphy gets across to tackle him, putting it out for a throw in near the corner. Stephen Carr has knacked himself, and is replaced by Jonathan Sector, the conqueror of Manchester United. In the Carling Cup. Carr injured himsef in a challenge with Bertrand a moment ago. Birmingham labour to clear the ball to Rooney down the right channel, and he did well to hold the ball up.
11 min: Gary Cahill slides in on Redmond, to give away a corner. It’s clipped to the near post, but Luiz heads the ball against Murphy, and Chelsea are lucky to have a goal kick.
10 min: Ivanovic drives from the right into the centre of the box, lays the ball off to Sturridge, who skirts round the edge of the box, but for a lae lunge dispossessing him. A goal kick for Birmingham.
9 min: I have to say I think you’d get more out of a spoon interviewing Alex Ferguson that from DJ Spoony.
7 min: Ramires beats Gomis in the left full back position. He skips round him, and ends up running it into touch. Frank Lampard, to my knowledge, hasn’t called the papers to complain about his lack of game time so far. Big man.
5 min: Ramires slides in from behind on Fahey on the Birmingham left touchline, but doesn’t get booked. It’s a free kick, launched forward from the Birmingham half by the keeper.
2 min: Here’s John Reid: ‘And I thought John Ter was the biggest cee at Chlsea. I must have been wrong.’ You weren’t wrong, John Terry is clearly a Tory too. I imagine they have similar attitudes to immigration, Terry and the more combative wing of the Tory party. Lampard is, as we all know, a complete hypocrite when it comes to immigration. He complains there are too many immigrants, but uses them to do building work on his house. Hypocrite and xenophobe in one quick movement. Still nothing in the fitba. Chelsea have their first serious attack, Torres and Mata linking up, spreading play right, but Ivanovic’s cross is far too high for Torres in the box.
1 min: Off we go, pals. Gary Cahill gets his first few touches. There’s nothing interesting happening yet, but football is inherently dull.
I’m watching this on a massive split-screen. The glamour is almost impossible to describe. That’s how I roll.
Here’s Andi Thomas, soon to leave us to permanently write for proper places, I imagine: ‘“As a footballer I don’t want to get involved with the campaigning thing but I am a Tory and I really like David Cameron.”‘ Scum. Sub-human scum.
The teams are in the tunnel, faffing. There’s no kerfuffle, mind. Two boring teams two boring things. Oh look, Fernando Torres. I wonder if he’ll score. Then’ll be back.
Does anyone actually respect the opinion of Frank Lampard? Why?
Team news, and we can all be pleased the excellent Juan Mata is starting:
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel, Meireles; Sturridge, Torres, Mata.
Subs: Hilario, Bosingwa, Essien, Lampard, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda
Birmingham: Doyle; Carr, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy;Redmond, Mutch, Fahey, Gomis, Elliott; Rooney
Subs: Butland, Caldwell, Spector, Burke, Reilly, Asante, Jervis
Preamble. Good afternoon. It might be the fact that I’ve had four days off the sauce, but I’m quite looking forward to the game today.
Chelsea will play without the Premier League pressure, but are unlikely to go balls out with their team selection as they take on Napoli in a few days’ time. I think it’s Napoli, I have paid only cursory attention to football for the last six years, and I haven’t taken the trouble to look. What does that mean for the other people who can’t get work where I can? Well, it means they’re not as good as me despite my massive, massive flaws. Depending on the players and style they go with, this could be a slog or a carefree afternoon of joy. I’ll hope for the latter, and know otherwise.
Birmingham have Nathan Redmond, who has disappointed me when I’ve ever watched him, and as I know he cares deeply about my opinion of him, I’m sure he’ll be distraught. Neat footwork, no brain, but with a decent manager – and I’m not sure Chris Houghton is much more than that – he has potential. If they raise their game they could give a potentially weakened and unambitious Chelsea a scare, but if they play to their average level they should be swept aside with the minimum of fuss.
Team news when I get it. Or when I can be bothered to paste it in.