As a life-long Blue, who only began to truly cheer for the club after Roman’s petrodollars came in, I must admit it was painful watching Chelsea struggle to come to terms with the level of opposition Blackpool offered them throughout the 90 minutes.

The pre-game atmosphere was steeped in awkwardness as Blackpool captain Charlie Adam recalled how pleasantly surprised he was to receive a message of support from Frank Lampard; only to be crushed when he later received a naughty picture of Ashley Cole sent to his cell phone by Ashley Cole himself. Chelsea’s public relations office later confirmed, much to the relief of Adam, that the photo was only intended for Adam’s wife.

All that was soon forgotten as the Seasiders mocked the rapidly aging products of Stamford Bridge’s Milan lab, with some lazy football and shoulder-shrugs on display everytime the Blues scored. As Saloman Kalou wheeled away, having scored the first goal, he looked pleadingly at Blackpool captain Charlie Adam for approval. The young 24 year-old skipper merely yawned, and looked away.

Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v Blackpool , Premier League 19/09/2010 Charlie Adam of Blackpool in action  Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Charlie : Shaken, but not stirred

 

Attacking in waves
 
Striving even harder to impress their visitors, Chelsea’s golden oldies launched one attempt at goal after another past Blackpool custodian Gilks who seemed irritated by the incessant interruptions to his afternoon siesta. Chelsea were, of course, only following Carlo Ancelotti’s strategy of attacking in waves. Not because it was a very effective way of breaking down an opposition, but because next day’s newspapers could then have a field day coming up with puns like ‘Attacking the Seasiders in waves‘. This being just one of the many media-friendly strategies Chelsea FC have begun to execute in recent years.
When it became evident that Ian Holloway had specifically warned his team not to get carried away by Chelsea’s theatrics, Didier Drogba suffered a panic attack in the usual absence of any external stimuli. Lying on the ground, clutching his chest and gasping for air, Didier watched as every single soul in the crowd and on the field ignored him. To rid himself of his overpowering embarrassment at being ignored, he decided to add himself on the score-sheet by scoring a scorcher – a feat that was promptly applauded by the sound of crickets chirping.
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v Blackpool , Premier League 19/09/2010  Didier Drogba of Chelsea celebrates scoring the 3rd goal 3-0 Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Didier Drogba : Panic Attack
The ‘incompetent‘ half
 
At half-time, with attendances falling to the dangerously low level of 3 – an abandoned kid, a elderly gentleman who suffered a stroke and Frank Lampard – it was upto Carlo Ancelotti to revive the flagging support. The Italian acted decisively, taking off all the millionaire players, and bringing on the young poverty-stricken-but-not-for-long brigade. The game had to be held up for the substitutions, as a cranky Bruma took a lot of cajoling before he could be weaned off his daily bottle of milk.

By choosing to retain Mikel on the field, Carlo sent a strong signal that he would rather lose the game playing Mikel than have to endure sitting next to him on the bench. The game ended with honors even, and Chelsea holding on to register a 4-0 embarrassment.

The much-awaited tie against Citeh

Bookmakers immediately slashed the odds of Manchester City defeating Chelsea by a margin of half-a-dozen goals or more. Roberto Mancini will undeniably be pleased, at the forecasts, considering his career and life are in extreme danger of coming to a premature end. Mancini has been told by his club’s owners that anything short of a victory will result in his scarf turning into a noose. It is understood that Mancini has already been sending out feelers to Ancelotti, in the form of an exorbitantly high offer for goalkeeper Hilario as Joe Hart’s backup. For his part, Ancelotti has confirmed the offer is high enough to raise his eyebrows.