Chelsea unveils 3rd kit
Chelsea trained in Miami for the first time yesterday evening in preparation for their final U.S. preseason game against A.C. Milan Saturday night. The Blues will undoubtedly be antsy for a win after tying Paris St. Germain in New York and losing to the MLS All-Stars in Philadelphia. Should be a fun one against A.C. Milan.
Yesterday Chelsea unveiled the all-important (not really) “third” kit – an interesting yellow and black number inspired either by Tron or 80s big-hair metal band Stryper. I’m not sure which…
I’m not a big fan of this 3rd kit, though there are far worse jerseys to be featured in the Premier League this season (for proof check out this and especially this). Chelsea has also had worse 3rd kits in the past, although I liked last season’s 3rd (which has sentimental value as the kit worn in that historic win at Barcelona to reach the Champions League final). Generally, I prefer jerseys that aren’t too busy, and this new kit has a little too much going on for my taste (particularly those ab-highlighting lines). But the 3rd is usually just a cameo jersey, so we probably won’t see it very often.
As a side note, Chelsea wore their new away kit for the first time against the MLS All-Stars the other night and I thought it worked well. The previously bashed sash on the jersey didn’t bother me that much.
Some Blues-related news I’ve seen today includes Benayoun possibly being loaned to Fulham, and Marseille possibly selling defender Cesar Azpilicueta to Chelsea. I like Benayoun, but at 32-years-old, I don’t expect Chelsea will keep him this season. Fulham would probably be a good gig for Benayoun. As for Azpilicueta, I don’t remember much about him from watching Marseille in the Champions League last season, but I welcome the signing of another defender.
What do you think of Chelsea’s new 3rd kit?
Blues wrap up EPL season with win, now focused on Champions League Final
Another Premier League season came to a rousing close on Sunday. Though I can’t stand either of the Manchester teams, I was glad to see Man City snatch the title from Man U at the last second. It was the lesser of two evils I suppose.
On the relegation side of things, I was disappointed to see Bolton go down instead of QPR. I don’t like QPR – too many thugs. I do like Bolton coach Owen Coyle though and never expected them to be relegated this season.
As for Chelsea, their 2-1 win over Blackburn on Sunday was devoid of any suspense since Chelsea had completely tanked against Liverpool the previous Wednesday (losing 4-1). It was quite a bizarre defeat on the heels of beating Liverpool just three days earlier in the FA Cup Final! It was such a frustrating loss, I couldn’t bear to blog about it until now.
I’m not sure how Chelsea was so bad in the Liverpool loss, particularly since it was their last chance to possibly salvage a top four finish and ensure Champions League play next season. I really wanted to see them have that insurance just in case things go poorly in the Champions League Final in Munich this Saturday. Now there is added pressure because if they don’t beat Bayern Munich in the Final, Chelsea will suffer a yearlong Champions League drought. Not cool.
Chelsea previewed their new kit Sunday against Blackburn (see below). I like the classy, simple design. I was iffy about the gold lettering/stripes at first, but I think it’s going to work.
Conspicuously missing from the club’s ad campaign for the new Adidas kit is Didier Drogba. I hope his absence doesn’t mean he already has a foot out the door. If he does, everyone is keeping their lips impressively sealed.
When Di Matteo put Drogba in the game in the second half against Blackburn, the moment, and the crowd’s reaction, had a farewell vibe to it. Drogba has always been one of my favorite Chelsea players. I really hope he has a huge Champions League Final that will help motivate him to stay with Chelsea a couple more seasons.
This week is all about Champions League Final prep for Chelsea. Cahill and Luiz apparently trained with the team today, so hopefully they’ll be fit by Saturday. With all of Chelsea’s injuries and suspensions, I’m not feeling particularly confident at the moment. I’ll have to remind myself for the rest of the week that they got past Barcelona, so anything’s possible on Saturday, right?
What do you think of the new Chelsea kit? Do you think Drogba will be at Chelsea next season? Feel free to weigh in below…
Newcastle dashes Chelsea’s Champions League hopes for next season
It’s been such a great month for Chelsea that it almost seems ungrateful to complain about their 2-0 loss to Newcastle Wednesday. But I was pretty mad about it after watching the game last night.
Winning has a way of spoiling fans. We very quickly come to expect it every single match, even though winning every time is rarely realistic. It’s been a dismal season for the Blues overall, which is why this great run under Di Matteo has been so fun. No one saw it coming. And it just kept going and going before it apparently peaked with the Blues’ gutsy elimination of Barcelona from the Champions League.
The fact that defeating Barcelona was so fun made Wednesday’s loss to Newcastle all the more jarring. Against Newcastle, Chelsea resembled the Villas-Boas era Blues: some decent and sometimes fancy possession with absolutely nothing to show for it. To be fair to Chelsea, they were scored on by two of the awesomest goals of the entire Premier League season (both by Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse). But it was still upsetting that the team that shut down Barcelona for 180 minutes got beat twice by the same guy (and couldn’t muster any goals themselves)!
Losing to Newcastle is depressing because the match was Chelsea’s last hope for insuring a Champions League spot for next season. There’s still a sliver of hope of course – they’ll qualify for the next UCL season if they win this season’s UCL final against Bayern on May 19. But that’s just the thing – I’m not feeling confident that Chelsea will able to beat Bayern in Munich. I’m afraid the Barcelona semifinal was the high point of Chelsea’s season. I hope I’m wrong. I don’t know about other Blues fans, but my heart is set on the Champions League title. Yes, the FA Cup Final is Saturday and it would be great to win it, but for me it’s all about the Champions League Final.
Who do you think will win Saturday’s FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool?
Chelsea dismantles QPR 6-1
It was so fun to watch a non-stressful Chelsea game today. It’s been some time since Blues fans have been able to kick back and enjoy a Chelsea goal fest. It was a welcome respite after the ultra tense Champions League semifinal matches against Barcelona the past two weeks.
I was expecting a tense match against QPR since they’re fighting to stave off relegation and with Chelsea coming off the emotional high of knocking out Barcelona last Tuesday. But credit to Di Matteo for focusing the squad on the task at hand – a loss today would’ve probably ended Chelsea’s bid for fourth place in the Premier League (and thus a Champions League berth for next season).
Daniel Sturridge began the scoring onslaught just 45 seconds into the match. John Terry added a header goal off a corner kick a few minutes later, then Fernando Torres added two more – all before the 25th minute! Torres scored another goal in the second half to complete his first hat trick as a Chelsea player (Malouda scored the team’s sixth goal).
Torres’ finishing was so much sharper against QPR, I wonder if his climactic goal at Barcelona last week finally got him over the mental hurdle that has hampered him since joining Chelsea. He certainly looked a lot more relaxed and confident today. If he can finish the season looking this strong, I’ll have to recant my post from a few weeks back listing him among those players Chelsea should consider transferring this summer!
Chelsea’s possession and attack hasn’t looked this good in a very long time. The team’s amazing transformation under Di Matteo is apparently for real. With Chelsea’s emphatic win over QPR and Newcastle’s surprising loss to Wigan, the Blues are now only one point out of fourth place (behind Tottenham and Newcastle who are tied with 62 points). Newcastle visits Chelsea on Wednesday in what will be another must-win clash for the Blues in their bid to keep Champions League hopes alive for next season. No rest for the weary!
What do you think – has Torres fully recovered his old form?
Chelsea – with 10 men – beat Barcelona to advance to Champions League Final
I’m too giddy to write anything very coherent so I’m just going to spill some random thoughts on Chelsea’s remarkable, against-all-odds defeat of the defending Champions League champs. I really didn’t think the Blues would have a more dramatic victory this season than the one over Napoli at Stamford Bridge to reach the Champions League quarterfinals. Fortunately, I was wrong, as today’s team effort has to be one of the most dramatic wins in the club’s history.
The first half was pretty disastrous for Chelsea. Once Barcelona went up 2-0, the match had vibes of a rout. A few minutes before Barcelona’s second goal there was the bizarre red card for John Terry. Bizarre not so much because he didn’t deserve it – he probably did, though a yellow card would’ve sufficed given the heft of the game – but because it was such a remarkably dumb thing to do. Particularly dumb coming from the team captain! I just don’t get how he could weather the first game with such diligence and poise only to throw everything away by kneeing Sanchez in the back. It’s still unbelievable. Now Terry will have to watch the Final from the stands.
After the disappointment of the Terry ejection, the Ramires goal was a surreal lifeline for Chelsea. Once again, Lampard hit Ramires with a terrific pass, then Ramires calmly chipped the keeper for the crucial away goal. Beautiful goal, and the timing couldn’t have been better for keeping Chelsea’s hopes alive for the second half.
Gary Cahill had to leave the game early on when he tweaked his hammy. Frankly, I thought Chelsea was defensively doomed when Bosingwa jogged on as Cahill’s replacement. Ironically, two of the Chelsea players I recently wrote should be transferred this summer were on the pitch by the end of the match: Kalou and Torres. At first (after coming on late in the second half), Kalou and Torres were up to their regular shenanigans – passing the ball to the other team and not taking advantage of the precious few scoring opportunities (Kalou squandered one chance that baffled the commentators).
But then, in the 90th minute, redemption for Fernando Torres. He got on the end of a long clearance from Ivanovic, very coolly sidestepped Barcelona’s keeper Valdes, and slid in the goal that sealed Chelsea’s trip to the Final in Munich. Earlier in the game it had crossed my mind how sweet it would be if Torres could get a heroic goal after the critically panned season he (and fans) have endured. Amazingly, it actually happened.
If possible, this match was even more nerve fraying than the first leg at Stamford Bridge. Almost the entire second half took place in front of Chelsea’s goal. I just don’t get how this could be the same Chelsea team that floundered against so many lesser Premier League opponents this year. How has Di Matteo been able to create such a cohesive unit? The Blues’ defensive discipline was remarkable and Petr Cech had one of the best games of his career.
The downside of today’s win is that it felt like the Champions League Final. It was such an epic effort by Chelsea that I fear the actual Final next month may seem a bit anticlimactic. Another downer is the number of key Chelsea players who will miss the Final due to yellow card accumulation: Ivanovic, Ramires, Meireles, and of course Terry. UEFA needs to respect fans and allow the best players to play in the Final by clearing the card slate after the semifinals.
What a night for Chelsea fans! This unexpected Champions League run goes a long way toward redeeming this season’s travails. I don’t know which opponent I’d prefer for Chelsea in the Final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. For now, I don’t really care. I’m just going to enjoy the fact that Chelsea somehow has a ticket to Munich!
Thoughts on Chelsea’s Champions League shocker? Feel free to share below…