Fulham 1 Chelsea 0

March 25, 2006

Chelsea, again, make it to the posts here at SS.co.uk. What is it that makes them so popular? The game with Fulham ended in disarray with William Gallas' sending off and the crowd invasion, but the match itself was full of incident worthy of discussion here.

There were dives, notably by Moritz Volz of Fulham (Artistic Impression 6/10), although to be fair had he not dived so artistically when fouled by Terry, the penalty would probably have been given. Why is it that a lot of players these days feel the necessity to add reverse pikes, somersaults and triple salchows when merely touched by an opponent? After all, there are no judges on the sidelines offering marks for artistic impression!
Then there was the comedy moment of the match when Drogba clearly used his hand when going on to score.
Everyone watching on TV could clearly see it. What is strange is that the Assistant Referee Paul Norman, who was standing maybe 50 metres away, also saw it… or did he?
In the interviews after the match, Mike Dean apparently "cleared up the confusion" by revealing he had been buzzed by Norman through the electronic tagging devices by which Premiership officials are linked up (this is interesting in itself!).
He said: "I went to speak to him voluntarily. It was not pressure from the Fulham players. Paul was convinced it was handball." Convinced? How could he be when his view was obscured by both defender and Drogba? That aside, the decision was correct and the referee was vindicated. What I found poor was Drogba's decision to complain, knowing full well that he had handled the ball, or maybe his view was obscured by his hairband?

Chelsea will face another FA inquiry after their players angrily surrounded the referee, Mike Dean, and his linesman regarding the decision to disallow Drogba's equaliser for handball (General Ref Hassling 7/10 for 7 Chelsea players and 9/10 for Drogba). It is obvious that Frank Lampard is incredulous about the decision, but what right has Drogba in pointing at the referee? Maybe he was telling Dean that he couldn't have seen him use his hand and, therefore, the goal should stand.
FulChe
Whinging Jose Mourinho claimed "It's a handball so it's not a goal and the decision is correct. What is not correct is the referee didn't see and allows the goal, the linesman didn't see but after pressure by Fulham they changed their decision."
Mourinho is still under the impression there are 2 sets of rules: one for Chelsea and the other for everyone else. This is just sour grapes.
There was an interesting comment from Referee Chief, Keith Hackett, who backed Dean and dismissed reports he had been pressured into changing his mind. He said "Pressure is when you've got a soldier walking down a street in Iraq likely to be killed at any moment by a bomb or a bullet – we are talking about a game of football here."
Wise words indeed, although the way Wright-Phillips went down in the Newcastle match (discussed below), you could be forgiven to believe there was a soldier in the crowd who shot him!Finally, the William Gallas incident.  The French defender was red-carded for horrifically stamping on the ankle of Heidar Helgusson, however, his petty behaviour in ripping off his gloves and throwing them to the floor in a clear sign of dissent and then goading the Fulham fans as he left the pitch with a bizarre thumbs-down gesture will lead to some form of punishment. What was he thinking, but more importantly what do the Fulham fans mean with their gestures? (answers on a post to strikersniper.co.uk!!)
Gallas
Well, another weekend is upon us, a chance for divers to impress us, referees to baffle us but most of all, footballers to entertain us.

What is it about Chelsea? Here at SS.co.uk we could easily have picked Wright-Phillips, Del Horno or Drogba to examine after this game. As it happens, we chose Drogba, but Del Horno’s first half dive resulted in a free kick from which Ricardo Carvalho should really have scored and Wright-Phillips 90th minute triple axel resulted in a wholly unjustified red card for Robbie Elliott. Joe Cole and Geremi were at it as well. Why? Chelsea are a good enough team to beat anyone without cheating (except maybe Fulham) (Oh, and Barcelona).

But Drogba, as ever, was the master. So it’s him we concentrate on.

Frequency 6/10: Didier appeared to have been drinking heavily before the game. He was utterly legless from early on and mysteriously tripped over things that weren’t there on regular occasions.
Artistic Impression 8/10: Drogba’s 74th minute dive when being challenged by… er… no-one reminded us that in his home continent of Africa, landmines are a daily danger for innocent victims. His left foot would have been blown off if there had really been a landmine on the pitch at Stamford Bridge. Which of course, there wasn’t.
Effect 2/10: A couple of worthless freekicks. Big wow. One of his dives was even totally ignored – how dare you, Mr Bennett?
General Ref Hassling 5/10: Never one to keep his opinions to himself, Drogba didn’t keep his opinions to himself during the game. His high point was being booked for protesting about Joe Cole being apparently hit by a laser beam and only getting a free kick, which Drogba saw from 50 metres away despite facing the other way, but still knew better than anyone else. Incidentally, investigators of the JFK assassination in Dallas in 1963 have been approached by DD, as he “saw exactly what happened”.
Niggle Factor 4/10: A poor showing from one of the most annoying players in the English game. Plenty whining, but precious little niggle – booted the ball away petulantly after being caught offside (again!) but got away with it because… er… hmm. Not sure.

Total 50 %
We expect better (or worse) from DD, but he takes his rightful place at the top of our Diveometer League:

  1. Didier Drogba (CHE) 50%
  2. No-one

And for clubs:

  1. Chelsea 50%
  2. No-one

The great thing about Liverpool is that although they are definitely one of the Big 4 of English football, they have (generally) resisted the evil plague of diving and bad sportsmanship which we at SS.co.uk would so like to see stamped out of the game. Chelsea have Drogba, ManYoo have Ronaldo, Arsenal have Reyes. Actually, Arsenal also have Pires too. And Bergkamp and Fabregas and Senderos. And.. well, anyway – this post is about today’s game, and Arsenal weren’t playing in it.

Referee Mike Riley kinda lost it in this one. The midfield battle between Bowyer and Hamann was a particular feature with Riley inconsistent with his use of the yellow card – especially in the 78th minute when Hamann kicked out at Bowyer for the 94th time and Mr Riley reached for the card, but then apparently changed his mind at the last moment, instead changing the action of grabbing his yellow card into a subtle arse scratch.
Yes, Boumsong deserved his red – for the foul, but also for the dreadful miskick that let Freaka Crouch in on goal, but this match was all about Djibril Cisse.

Booked for his celebration (he lifted his shirt over his head), and remember:

  • Removing a jersey is defined as removing the jersey over the head or covering the head with the jersey.
  • Getting Shirty

    Cisse then goaded the crowd at the Gallowgate end with some bizarre finger wiggling and excessive tongue usage – a kind of action only previously seen during an All-Black Haka. Also a yellow card offence, but Mike Riley declined to act. Why was that, Mike? 
    So, Mike Riley gets our first refs thumbs down. You were rubbish.
    And, Djibril Cisse gets our first players thumbs down. No need, mate – really.

    Meanwhile at Fulham, Chelsea remind the ref that the handball law doesn’t apply to Didier Drogba. Mark Pembridge (far left) has seen it all before. Check his expression. He could write for us. If he wasn’t Welsh, obviously.

    Drogba - a bit handy.