XI Conclusions: Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (Agg. 5-4)

Chris Wright

15th, March 2012


By Chris Wright

“Hey Napoli, U mad brah?”

1. Regardless of his winning goal, Branislav Ivanovic had a shocker from a defensive standpoint. Positionally AWOL for long periods and repeatedly lapse and worryingly uninterested when closing down crosses.

2. In a similar vein, Ashley Cole is quickly becoming more of a liability than an asset when faced with pacey, tireless opponents. He is the member of the supposedly obsolete ‘Old Guard’ at Chelsea whose force is fading the most noticeably.

3. Speaking of the ‘Old Guard’, Lampard, Terry and Drogba showed exactly when and where their amassed experience and influence can still be a boon to the club. They’ll all need to be phased out over the next couple of seasons, but as far as isolated, one-off performances in grandstand matches are concerned, they all proved their talents and nous are still invaluable.

4. Had the jobsworth fourth official got his way and successfully forced Ezequiel Lavezzi into taking off his white boxer shorts for contravening UEFA bylaw 45; subsection 3.4.5(a), last night would have been the night we all collectively mourned the death of football.

5. Ramires is unlikely to get many mentions in the write-ups this morning, but his ultra-mobile tackling and closing down (especially in the first-half) was a joy to behold.

6. Feigning injury to ride out a Champions League second-leg? It’s a ‘f**king disgrace.’ Am I right Didier?

7. In all seriousness, Chelsea were given a relatively easy time of it as extra-time wicked away due to a combination of Napoli being utterly exhausted and the referee doling out a number of – how shall we put this? – charitable free-kicks to break up play. Things could, and probably should have been a lot more frantic.

8. The official line is that Fernando Torres has a ‘psychological problem’, but has anyone actually checked to see if he’s been the victim of a ‘Space Jam-esque’ talent heist? Seriously. There may be a little purple alien running rings around Michael Jordan somewhere with Nando’s long-lost penchant for an early pot-shot glowing inside a Spalding.

9. Granted he wasn’t really given many opportunities to flourish, but Marek Hamsik may just be the second most over-rated player in European football. First, of course, being Hulk.

10. Roberto Di Matteo put in a hell of shift on the touchline, skidding around like a newborn foal on an icy lake while trying to celebrate Terry’s opener in his Italian loafers and then nearly poleaxing several players, including Fernando Torres…

…while launching sneak attacks after the final whistle.

11. It would be remiss to mention that, speaking as a neutral entity, it really was a great game of football we were treated to. Lovely goals, end-to-end action, ridiculously high tempo for the first 105 minutes (Napoli’s work rate was phenomenal up until then) and the fairytale, come-from-behind result that we were all secretly yearning for.

Posted in Champions League, Chelsea, Featured, Opinion, Serie A, Top 10s & lists

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  1. Fletch says:

    other than pointless bureacracy i still dont understand the need for the different shorts/kecks rule.

    • Chris says:

      I think it’s because FIFA/UEFA go to great lengths to make sure the kits don’t clash before a game and presumably a flash of white spandex could undermine that completely.

  2. Scott says:

    The surprise poleaxing after the final whistle was a sight to see.

  3. Fletch says:

    @ Chris
    Ah, fair enough! Never really seemed much of an issue until fairly recently though.

  4. Al says:

    the socks being different colours is partly about aiding the ref when making calls on tackles, a load of jumbled up legs all wearing blue socks might make it difficult to establish whether Drogba dived or was kicked, no wait it wouldn’t be, he dived, always.

  5. Kacker says:

    You should really watch Napoli play more often, more of their play is dependant on how Hamsik and Lavezzi play than anyone else. When either is off colour it insantly shows in their game. Hamsik was off form yesterday, but he is a fantastic player and much of the reason Napoli are where they are.

    • Chris says:

      @Kacker: I’ve seen Hamsik play a few times over the past few years and he never seems like he’s on the same level as Cavani and Lavezzi, despite being constantly lumped in with them. I’ll admit he’s good for the odd nifty through-ball, nice touch or jinky stepover but when it comes to having any real influence on a game, it’s always been minimal whenever I’ve watched him.

  6. Alex says:

    Lolz, the boxer shorts rule is UEFA bylaw 45; subsection 3.7.13(c), not 45; subsection 3.4.5(a), what a gaffe…

  7. Eeny says:

    I’ve been saying for a long time that Torres needs a smack in the face to get going. Shame this was after the match.

  8. sleeba says:

    The most inspired part of the match was playing Bob Marley after 90mins.
    “Every Little Ting will be aright”
    The shame was the Facist salutes from Napoli fans.

  9. Susan Sarandon says:

    I usually find Chelsea a bit on the dull side to watch but I enjoyed that one. And I’ve never seen DrogbaR do anything like that before (This is one of my favourites http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNHOBdHyRfM )

  10. JP says:

    Napoli has the Coppa Italia Semis coming up, they are only 2 points adrift from 3rd spot in Serie A…although as an Azzurri fan I am saddened they exited the CL they still have a TON to play for!! Besides so many wrote them off the second group stages were drawn. FORZA NAPOLI!!

  11. scotspur says:

    12) 90 minutes of Gary nevilles voice will make your ears bleed. 120 minutes will make you batshit crazy

  12. Julio says:

    who the hell is Chris Wright. Clearly doesn’t know anything about football criticizing Hamsik because he only watches European teams play when they face English teams in the CL. How can you have this job and know nothing about football. Complete idiot.

  13. Josh says:

    You appear to be extremely angry over somebody’s opinion of who I would also call over-rated… Are you infact Marek Hamsik?

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