Chelsea V Inter: A Footballing Travesty

Three weeks ago I wrote, Inter do to Chelsea, what the Blues do to us! I could easily repeat the headline for this game as well. That would be pointless though, what’s the use of repeating the obvious.

I do have a few other observations and it’s better to run through them. Before I do that, let me preface this article with the fact that I’m truly delighted Chelsea have been dumped out of the Champions League and this article is not an attempt to defend a Russian billionaire’s plaything.

The first stand out issue in the game was the referee. In this article I had discussed why UEFA refereeing needs an overhaul. Last night’s game was just another example of the rotten quality of European referees.

Even if we leave aside the two blatant penalty decisions, there were far too many inconsistencies in Herr Stark’s decision making. The Inter strike force was way to willing to go down to ground at every little contact and the official was only too happy to oblige. On the other end, even Rugby tackles didn’t merit a whistle. Ultimately, Drogba was sent off for a stamp on a man who shouldn’t have been on the pitch at that time if his repeated, cynical fouls had been duly punished.

It does make me wonder whether the referee had specific instructions from UEFA (we cannot put it beyond Platini), or was it his personal vendetta against Chelsea, or was he bribed by Inter/UEFA/Bookies. I could have put his performance down to ineptitude if it had been consistent, but the glaring differences raise serious questions that very few will actually ask.

The second major problem I had with the game was the success of the Dark Lord of Anti-Football. If you believe in winning at all costs or that ends justify means, you can appreciate Mourinho. On the contrary, if you have any sense of right and wrong, and love for football, then you just cannot stand the sight of the Special Dark One.

I am sure Mourinho is an extremely intelligent man and a master tactician. He was clearly aware that set-pieces offer the biggest threat to his otherwise solid defence. I also have a feeling he knew his team will get away with the Rugby tackles.

Either he’s figured out how incompetent UEFA ref’s are or he had insider knowledge and assurances. Maybe a bit of both. There is no way he could have asked his players to tackle that way if he hadn’t been sure. After all, Chelsea are a team whose defence is based on his training. If the Blues had scored from a penalty, there was no way this Inter team would have found a way back into the game.

The last major issue I had with this game was the post match comments and analysis. I cringe every single time I see the vast majority of writers analyse the game based on the result. Yes, Chelsea appeared to be toothless. But Inter weren’t enthralling the audience either. Some long punts from Sneijder don’t make the Italians a brilliant counter attacking team. And just because the team sheet had three people who are supposed to be strikers doesn’t mean it was an attacking line up.

For large parts Inter played deep in their own half and the likes of Eto’o and Pandev rarely got out of their half. You don’t need tactical genius when you put 10 men behind the ball and hope a long ball finds one of your forwards. It helps when one of your long ball merchants has brilliant hoofing technique and the forwards have decent pace and experience.

In the end I’m not really concerned about Inter or Chelsea. I’m concerned about football. Two top clubs produced a borefest, the referee’s integrity and/or competence raises serious questions, and the commentators/critics miss the point altogether with their result worshipping analysis. If this isn’t a footballing travesty, what is!?

22 Responses to Chelsea V Inter: A Footballing Travesty

  1. munala says:

    desi; uve said it all.

  2. Bongo says:

    Chelsea were out muscled by Inter last night, that as we know is Chelsea’s game. They weren’t clear cut penalties in favour of Chelsea, no moreso than hesselinks penalty against us. Drogba played to fall down in the first half and the ref was having none of it, I personally think it’s justice, serial divers should get denied a penalty based on their reputation every now and again.

    You can p**s and moan all day about the ref’s decisions about Inter playing a boring ten man defence but it worked, so what if it wasn’t pretty to watch it go the job done. We need less English teams in the CL because they seem to be the only ones able to knock us in recent seasons.

    • critic says:

      r u inter fan? u idiot u miss the point desi is saying – if this happened to chelsea it can happen to arsenal and in general to any english club….

  3. Amit Gajakosh says:

    I beg to differ from your point of view in the aforementioned article. From what I saw, during the first half you could say that inter and chelsea balanced out each other. But, as far as second half goes it belonged to inter out an out. They literally tamed chelsea. Attack after attack, as malito, eto and Sneijder were constantly bombarding the chelsea third…and the play from sneijder was just outstanding…

    As far as the referring goes although it was questionable on some occasions, but overall it was even stevens. After all chelsea should have known that it was not the EPL that were playing in…it was the CL…

    in any case i m just happy that chel$ki is out…keeping my fingers crossed for an easy draw now in quarters…keep da faith!! go gooners!!

  4. george says:

    “Dark lord of anti football” now thats so apt and funny

  5. Aniruddh says:

    Anti-football par excellence, you could see Mourihno’s personality trickling through that inter side but as you point out he is astute enough to know that such tackles could have easily been a red and as you put it even I don’t see why he would have his team play in that fashion unless he had assurances. Inter though don’t bother me at all as I feel they may not be able to cope with the passing that our team shows and Wenger also has added incentive of exacting revenge. all said what we also saw was a team that showed lot of commitment that can only come as a result of a very motivational manager but he has maybe used his anti-football trump card and now the same thing going unpunished may not go unnoticed.
    p.s- thank heavens we did not go for Pandev

    • desigunner says:

      I feel confident that we can beat Inter. Of course, if they can get away with Rugby tackles again then no one is safe.

      Inter did play a solid defensive game and put in some brilliant tackles and blocks. I think we can learn from that.

      Mourinho does have some positives, his spirit and will to win is one such.

  6. deephenry says:


    • desigunner says:

      I was not trying to analyze the game at all. If you notice this isn’t like a match review or anything.

      Sneijder has a lot of talent and he did well, especially in a 20 min period in the second half. The point there was that what Sneijder did didn’t make it brilliant tactics by Mourinho.

      A lot of reports claim that this result was down to Mourinho’s tactical genius. I’m just trying to show a counter view.

  7. Jibzi says:

    Inter deserved to win yesterday, even though it was a tightly contested affair with few chances. Inter did what they had to do and did it very well.

    I think people keep going on about Chelski’s bad luck in the SF last year but in my view, they had 2 legitimate penalty shouts, while Barca had a stonewall penalty shout turned down at the Nou Camp (Henry) and had a player wrongly sent off in the 2nd Leg (Abidal I think), so in my view that evened itself out. But it was Drogba’s antics that when he went to ground, he made a meal out of it and the 4th official had to add on more injury time than usual, enough for Iniesta to strike the winner.

    With regards to the ‘rugby tackling’, yes it certainly was, but seriously then there has to be consistency, because it happens all the time in top flight football (OK maybe not to that extreme). Its funny as well that one of Chelski’s players, Ricardo Carvalho, is a master at grabbing shirts, tugging, etc and gets away with it time and time again if you happen to watch him carefully.

    Nevertheless, just so pleased that they are out.

    • desigunner says:

      He He, Carvalho is another Mourinho protege! Little wonder then that he too is a master of dirty tricks.

  8. Hong_gunner says:

    This game was always bound to be a physical battle. One team in the post-Mourinho era, one very much so right now. And with the 1st leg as it happened, Inter were to be predicted to sit deep, invite chelsea, and see if they can sneak a goal. With Sniedjer the only real creative player in the line-up, we could agree Inter were justified. Nevertheless, the game had one different dimension. Italian teams, renowned for their sit-deep-hit-on-the-counter tactics, surprisingly varied their gameplay in periods, and thats what stiffled chelsea a bit. Ancelotti will have been upset after being defeated in both the legs, and his real determination will be on show against bolton on satday/sunday. If chelsea stumble, Ancelotti will admit that Chelsea without Essien is a waste. And thats what they are when it comes to real limitation in their game-play. Chelsea is nothing but sheer power, and physical power can always be undone.

  9. Hong_gunner says:

    Bolton/blackburn, whoever. Im not so 100% sure about them. Who do wolves play next? Im so sure either. What has that got to do with only reading results, as you pointed out? Or are you talking some strange English we can’t understand? Or is that the maximum point of arguement you can make relating to football?

    • jango says:

      ‘and his real determination will be on show against bolton on satday/sunday’………

      ‘Bolton/blackburn, whoever. Im not so 100% sure about them’….

      lol mate i support chelsea and i make a point of knowing who united and arsenal play, they are our title rivals- you always keep an eye on the teams around you and seeing as arsenal have played bolton/blackburn for years you should know about them!

      lol and once again lol

  10. simon bailey says:

    As glad as i am that chelsea are out, it has to be said that the refereeing was a disgrace. as i was supporting inter last night, i loved all the decisions he made. i cant remember a single 50/50 decision that went chelseas way. just before dogboy rod on yer mans ankle the fellow he trod on rolled right over him.

    we have to be lucky with the refs we get, we dont want this one or the one we had away at porto.

    as for facing inter, i say bring it on. we know maureens tactics about stifling the wing backs so arsene will cope no probs.

  11. Wilsheres Dad says:

    I think that Inter out played Chelsea at their own game. What surprises me is that they wern’t expecting it and had no plan b.
    Rudd Hullit (sp?) had an interesting post match comment that Italian teams in particular were usually very well drilled in sly on & off the ball tactics blind side of the ref in order to wind opposing players up…I think they see it as gamesmanship..the same as diving.
    Re rugby tackles, holding & shirt pulling …It’s amusing that Chelsea would feel so agrieved…Terry is a master in this area.

    • desigunner says:

      Good point about plan B, even I was wondering what went wrong. In some ways it reminds me of how we look impotent against Chelsea or United in the recent past. I guess when a team is really strong and committed in defence it’s not easy and even when you change tactics it doesn’t help.

      Chelsea did change the formation and did try a couple of impact substitutes but it just wasn’t going for them. By the hour mark they knew the ref won’t give them anything either and that’s when they lost their own defensive focus.

      Chelsea should have known about the Rugby tackles, after all Mourinho has trained the likes of Carvalho and Terry and made them masters.

  12. Nischit says:

    Desi, I totally get where you’re coming from. First off, I didn’t watch the match. I am kinda short on spare time, so I only end up watching extended highlights of non-arsenal matches usually. Hence, I cannot comment on the referee, the dirty play, or debate whether the match was interesting. Your last paragraph is what got me interested. I’m guessing not many people are truly worried about football. Because if they were, more people would be focusing on about these issues, and instead of who John Terry banged(lol, covers both his recent misdemeanors), and whether Walcott is the country’s biggest hope or disappointment. While the latter topic isn’t as pointless as the former, it still is interesting to note that not many people seem to understand the root of the problem. Not many people understand that it is even a problem. Anti-Football, Corruption, Cheating etc have become an accepted part of the game. While It is the responsibility of the writers/”pundits” to bring these up, they’d rather focus on articles that would get hits and say things that appease the opinion of the majority. There are so many things wrong with the beautiful game right now, and I wonder if the problems are not so much with the football but the mentality of the people in it. It says a lot that one of the most “successful” and heralded coaches of our time is he who must not be named, the dark lord of anti-football.
    It seems like nobody thinks that football is a sport that is meant to entertain ( and no, seeing a team win is not equivalent to entertainment ), and encourage the ideals of integrity, honesty, and sportsmanship. Instead, it seems to be about winning at all costs, gamesmanship and cheating the referee at every opportunity.
    So it heartens me to see a blog that constantly points out these issues and points the pen in the right direction. Your blog is excellent and I live off it.

    • desigunner says:

      My thinking is influenced a lot by what Arsene says. That is the reason I focus on issues closer to football – the game, and not the personalities involved. I guess it’s closer to my nature as well, I’m not a very celeb/gossip oriented person but more matter of fact type.

      One reason I enjoy writing is because a lot of Arsenal fans appreciate this as well. I went to some Chelsea blogs last night to see the reaction and was quite disappointed.

  13. roachcity says:

    Just wondering if big brother (italian prime minister) gave Ancelotti an order he can’t refuse.

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