Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, September 18, 2008



By Osama Rahman

The coming of Brazilian star Robinho to Manchester City not only showed the club's renewed ambitions but also the fact that financial clout takes you a long way. Chelsea fans were left humiliated because the player they wanted was stolen from right under their noses, and to add further insult to injury, Chelsea had already released Robinho Shirts. Well, such a coup from Manchester City enraged Chelsea fans and September 13th was the date these fans waited for, to seek revenge and hand out humiliation. But with a head to head record in 12 matches showed, Manchester City scoring 2 goals compared to Chelsea's 25, Chelsea were confident, even with the absence of Essien and Ballack.

Even before the starting whistle, all eyes were on Robinho, who walked in and went up to embrace Scolari, as a sign of respect. The match started to much uproar as City fans made as much noise as possible, spurring their team on. The fanfare, the cheering and the magic of Robinho all combined perfectly to hand the former Real Madrid 'reject/bait' his dream start, as he scored from a free-kick within the first 15 minutes. The free quick was quite superb and made us regret not paying more to get him, but it was helped by a deflection. The decision to award the free-kick was dubious itself, as there was hardly any contact on Jo. The match went on and Chelsea scored soon enough, thanks to horrendous defending by City, as Lampard's corner into the box bounced off Joe Cole, onto Carvalho's legs, who thrashed it at the back of the net. The defensive problems of City were glaring and it was obvious that Hamman didn't have the legs to cope up with Chelsea's fast flowing football.

So 2 goals in the first fifteen minutes surely set the mood. Then there was more entertainment, as both sides tried to open the defensive lines, with Anelka getting a lot of chances. 3 more chances of headers fell to Malouda, 2 in the 2nd half and out of those 3 times, Malouda found himself unmarked twice, but failed to make the most of it.

The second half belonged to Chelsea, as they continually prodded City's defense, with Lampard and Malouda exchanging some deft passes for the former to go through and score another. Chelsea once more scored, with twenty minutes to spare, as Joe Cole's quick through pass found Anelka, who calmly drove it passed Hart. The drama didn't end there, as John Terry was shown a straight red for a cynical challenge on Jo. The red card was Riley's worst decision, having already disallowed Anelka a clear penalty. Firstly, John Terry stopped Jo, in a foul-play manner, but he wasn't the last line of defense. Carvalho was in front of Jo and Belleti was just a few yards away. On the same day, Vidic had done something similar and got a deserving yellow card, which John Terry should've been given.

With Riley's seeming incompetence and City's flailing ambitions, Chelsea sealed a 3-1 victory, going atop the table. However, their next match against Manchester United is a tricky one, as without John Terry, the tie will be a bit more difficult. However, Chelsea proved money cant buy class, but a shrewd business mind might. Bosingwa, Carvalho and an impressive Shaun Wright-Phillips were the best on this day. On a last note, A Manchester City fan held a sign 'We are considerably richer than you' and at the end of the match. I thought, 'So? We are considerably more talented than you.' And that's a fact.


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