A pal of mine, down at my local pub, The Grumpy Troll, noticed my Chelsea cap yesterday and congratulated me and Chelsea for winning. He was referring to the Club World Cup in Tokyo over the weekend of course, and had the well-intentioned, but misguided notion that Chelsea had won. It almost broke my heart to tell him that Chelsea LOST the focking thing. Almost.
I think the casual fan, people here in the States that are aware soccer exists but don’t follow it with regularity, and know that passionate fans such as myself dwell amongst them, have a fairly positive view of Chelsea, and seem to assume that because they’re the reigning Champions of Europe, that they are also the reigning Champions of everything else as well. So I understand where my pal’s thoughtful misguidance was coming from. He knows I’m a big Chelsea fan and wanted to say something nice.
The time difference between Mount Horeb, Wisconsin and Yokohama, Japan made viewing the match live almost impossible, The match teed off at 4:30AM CST and I’m here to tell you right now that there was no way I was going to be up at that hour. However, 5:30AM was a bit more reasonable. So with the match a 0-0 draw early in the 2nd half, I was able to bunker down at my computer with a cup of coffee and tune in, and….and….watch Guerrero boatraced our backline for a ridiculously easy goal. Watch our attack become unraveled, unfocused, and unaccomplished. Fairplay to Corinthians’ goalie Cássio Ramos, but Torres missed a sitter that will bring out all the naysayers. He also had goal disallowed for offsides ((he was barely offside, and if it were Corinthians and not Chelsea doing the scoring I’m guessing that the goal would have stood)).
None of this excuses the diminutive quality of our play. We were the favourites to win it all. And I’m thinking that quite few of our lads believed that we had won it by showing up at the Nissan Stadium. Our Brazilian lads didn’t feel that way, but I think the rest of our lads had that notion swirling somewhere in the back of their minds. Show up today, get congratulated and go home. Instead, it was congratulations for nothing.
I mentioned recently that all bets were off on Chelsea’s recent resurgence until we see how they handle the next rough patch that comes their way. They hit that rough patch in Yokohama at the 69th minute mark on Sunday, and how the handled that didn’t look very convincing. This afternoon’s League Cup tilt with The Damned United ((that’s Leeds United—a/k/a Norwich City’s feeder club—for my pals keeping score at The Grumpy Troll)) will either clear the air, or add more fuel to the Rafa Heretic Burning and Snake-roast Fire.
So, THANKS PAL, for reminding me of this little trainwreck of a match. I know you meant well, and just to show you I’m a good sport, I’ll buy you a beer at the Grumpy the next time I see you. Mine, of course, will be an Amnesia Baltic Porter, for sometimes it’s simply better to forget.