Some days are just good days
When Gabriel Agbonlahor headed in an 85th minute winner against the Blues, I celebrated wildly as you do when you know you`ve probably just seen the winning goal in a local derby. However, my favourite win this season was away to Liverpool, because as much as I love a derby win I love a victory over any of the 'Sky 4` even more.
We`re now two for two.
What was probably most pleasing about the victory was that Chelsea played well. Generally, if any of the top 4 don`t play well then there is always a danger that they could lose the game, but if they play well they normally win; Chelsea were good yesterday.
Thankfully, there was one area where they didn`t perform and that was defending set-pieces. Just after the half hour mark, Frank Lampard heading on an Ashley Young corner into the path of Richard Dunne, although that wasn`t the only generosity from Chelsea as Dunne was left to run into space by Carvalho. Early in the second half, four Chelsea defenders in the region of James Collins decided to go walkabouts while Collins stepped forward and powered home the winning goal.
Another pleasing aspect of this was this happened after a less than pleasing start. For one thing, the ref was ill! Steve Bennett had to pull out and the game was delayed for a few minutes. Incidentally, his replacement (Kevin Friend) was pretty poor but I suppose it was a difficult position to be in. His worst decision came ten minutes in, when Boswinga pulled down Gabby in the penalty area and everyone in the ground apart from the officials could see it was a penalty.
Five minutes later matters got worse, as Didier Drogba`s long range shot bounced over Brad Friedel and into the net. Friedel will be the first to admit he should have dealt with it better, but it did take a wicked bounce right in front of him and it was pretty much just one of those things. Over the course of the game, Friedel made a couple of good saves including clawing away a lovely chip from Deco not long after the opening goal.
The match was a thoroughly entertaining affair. Chelsea played very well, and so we had to be good to win - which we were. Both sides had chances, with Drogba and Anelka both going close for the visitors, and John Carew in particular had a good chance to put the game beyond Chelsea.
Much like the game at Villa Park last season, the winners couldn`t have moaned had the game ended up a draw but thankfully, as Chelsea did last season in their 1-0 win, we held on for a splendid 2-1 victory against the team that many fancy will win the league this season. If they don`t sort out their set-piece defending, then the trophy could be heading back to Old Trafford once more.
Finally, I would like to make one last mention on the ref; why didn`t he book Anelka for his challenge on MON? ;o)
Friedel - 6
Cuellar - 7
Dunne - 8
Collins - 8
Warnock - 7
Milner - 8
Sidwell - 7
Petrov - 8
A Young - 7
Agbonlahor - 7
Carew - 7