Chelsea welcomed Newcastle United to the Bridge with quite a lot of imperative side stories attached to the encounter between sides gunning for a finish in Champions League places.
Though the Blues are in the Champions League final; where a win over ‘hosts’ Bayern Munich will secure a place in next season’s competition regardless of their league position at season’s end, a win last night would put them a point off 4th place and two off third.
But interim manager Roberto di Matteo had an eye and a bit of the other on this weekend’s cup final against Loserpool as evident with the line-up devoid of Lampard, Juan Mata and the Drog from start.
Admittedly though, Chelsea’s line-up was strong enough with Fernando Torres apparently off the hook regarding whatever kept his scoring boots from him along with Mikel, the midield -eses among others.
As for Newcastle, they came into this encounter off of a thumping from my club of April Wigan. And with Manchester City visiting on Sunday, their performance at the Bridge would largely if we should look forward to a City romp or a thrilling affair.
Papiss Demba Cisse hit a drill past Cech just under 20 minutes and let Kompany and company know what to expect on Sunday. And if they missed that memo, the Senegalese bargain made sure they got the message with a speculative, moment of ‘what the sporting fuck did he just do??’ four minutes into the dozen minutes of stoppage time given.
Alan Pardew’s celebration(s) almost summed it up. Coupled with the goal against Swansea, Cisse in my opinion will get the goal of the season award… apologies to my captain vantastic, you get second place here.
So, with Newcastle coming away 2-0 winners, it’s a three-way fight for two Champions League places in the league along with Arsenal (66points) and the Sillywhites (65points) that is ahead of the Magpies on goal difference.
Here’s the juicy twist though, Chelsea on 61 points isn’t mathematically out of it from the league point of view with two games to play. But last night’s loss makes the date at Munich even more crucial for them and for the three ahead of them.
I’ve always loved Mario Gomez and his crew!
Last night’s result also set up what I hope will be an engrossing encounter between Newcastle and Man. City. I did tweet that City would win the derby but not the league and anything other than a win for City on Sunday would likely vindicate that tweet.
Other Side Stories
Cisse’s brace made it 13 in a dozen for the Senegal international, a record goal return equal with Kevin Phillips and Micky Quinn (BBC).
You have to feel a bit sorry for Demba Ba then, who was denied a goal by Cech’s bar last night to extend his goal drought past the thousand minute mark. Demba’s become a Fernando :(.
Meanwhile, we’ve witnessed a number of scary moments this season and one would’ve thought Mikel Obi had loosened the screws holding Tiote’s head last night.
So the 12 minutes of stoppage time wasn’t a ‘PDP’ move to let Chelsea back in the game (if you didn’t watch the match), though John Terry did see a goal bound effort cleared off the line just before Cisse’s fantasy strike.
While hoping Tiote’s all good, the Sillywhites were kind enough to push Bolton deeper into the relegation water with a 4-1 win at the Reebok… not minding how it’d go with Muamba’s heart.
Either way it was good seeing Muamba in the stadium, his first time in public since his heart stopped while playing same opponent couple months ago.
Over at Firenze though, hearts raged in the 2-2 draw between Fiorentina and Novara. By the end of the night, Delio Rossi had been relieved of his job as Fiorentina manager.
For a neutral, it may have been comical when the incident occured after 30 minutes of the match. With Novara 2-0 up, Rossi substituted Adem Ljajic.
The Serbian, bemused by the sub, applauded his manager’s decision. Rossi was not so pleased by this and menacingly confronted the player down the tunnel.
While it was wrong of Rossi to outrightly lose his cool, I feel the Fiorentina president should have imposed a heavy fine on the manager and player for the confrontation.
Sacking Rossi is a bit heavy handed, especially in light of the Violas sadly precarious place on the Serie A table at 15th position. Que sera…
Have a pleasant day.