Liverpool guaranteed advancement into the knockout stages with a Steven Gerrard twenty-second minute strike while Chelsea have to win against Cluj on matchday six to guarantee Champions League survival after Diawara’s workrate the whole match was rewarded with an eighty-third minute header to give Bordeaux a deserved 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
I’ll start with Liverpool first. Marseille were simply asking for trouble. Their back four were more than willing to give up possession cheaply and in all honesty, it’s surprising that Liverpool didn’t score more than one. However when you don’t create any chances, you aren’t going to score. For all the dominance Liverpool had in the first half, to end the game on six shots with only four on target isn’t going to make your evening a comfortable one.
Marseille in the second half weren’t much better than the first. Their first legit change of the game came after the hour mark, and it turned out to be their only legit chance of the game. Had Helton been able to get a hold of the ball into the penalty area thirteen minutes from time, the result is probably different. Liverpool though were really ineffective and that’s despite the fact Bonnart came very close to giving up a penalty for his challenge on Dossena in the sixty-eighth.
The injuries to Fernando Torres and Fabio Aurelio don’t help matters either. Torres third hamstring injury of the season makes me wonder if he has been cursed with the injury bug…the one that never goes away. A player of his talent needs his legs the most and one has to worry if the reoccurrence of the same injuries will begin to take their toll.
Bordeaux have to be disgusted with the fact that despite being on the front foot for eighty of the ninety minutes, they were unable to beat Chelsea at home. For all the dominance Chelsea have on the road in the Premier League, their Champions League form on the road has been downright disgusting. Cluj should have won in matchday 2 in Romania, Roma thrashed Chelsea in matchday four. On Wednesday, Chelsea appeared to not even bother showing up.
Bordeaux though were unable to take advantage of their ascendancy and were forced to rely on long distance shots, something Petr Cech had no trouble with. Chelsea’s goal you could argue was a bit of a fluke. Lampard just flicking onto Anelka who caught Bordeaux pushing forward. When the keeper fell to the ground, it was pretty much automatic. The only other chance Chelsea created was twenty minutes later when Frank Lampard forced Valverde into a semi-difficult save.
Bordeaux deserved their equalizer, however Chelsea should be the most ashamed of how it happened. For no one to even bother attempting to jump on the corner kick is a downright embarrassment, for John Terry to lose his marker so quickly a joke.
As to Frank Lampard’s sending off, only an idiot attempts the same tackle twice…the second time knowing he was on a yellow card.
Chelsea still have plenty of work to do. Right now they aren’t guaranteed Champions League football come the new year. Beating Cluj at home is the only way they can. Even then, they will have to hope Bordeaux beat or draw Roma just to get the top spot. For a group that looked to be pretty straight forward when the draw was announced, Group A has all of a sudden become must see TV on matchday six.
Before I go, a major thanks goes out to the EPL Talk family for the number of condolences I have received since Saturday night. While I have been mentally preparing for a long time to see my dad go, being there when he went is something I have been unable to get out of my mind. I’ve been pretty numb since Saturday and trying to get back to something that resembles normalcy is going to be one of the most difficult things in my life to do.
My dad was in pain for most of the last year of life, but he wouldn’t let it stop him from doing the best he could to make sure his kids were happy. He never understood how I could be such a big sports guy, all he knew was that it gave me the most enjoyment…so he made an attempt to follow along with me. One story before I go. About 2 and a half years ago, I was out in the living room sharing a beer with my old man while an MLS game was on. The whole time he was going ‘I’d never pay 2 cents to see the best game played in the world’. I finally looked at him and went ‘what about one cent’…his response ‘I’d get back to ya’.
Sadly he never did get back to me on that one.