April 21, 2005

EPL season almost over - three weeks early.: Today's scoreless draw between the top two teams, Chelsea and Arsenal, leaves Chelsea 11 points in the lead moving into this weekend. Two London derbies may decide it. A win for Chelsea vs Fulham (likely) this Saturday, and anything less than a win for Arsenal vs Tottenham (hmm...) on Monday, will give Chelsea their first ever EPL title.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 12:37 AM - 21 comments

This will also suck for Liverpool's Champs League prospects, because Chelsea can field second-stringers for the next EPL gameweek, and save the big guns for the CL semi-final 2nd leg (if they haven't already trashed the Pool by then).

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:40 AM on April 21, 2005

The relegation dog-fight is hotting up nicely now, with Norwich, Palace, Southampton and the Baggies all within 2 points of each other, it's a real scrap down there to stay in the premiership. Congratulations to Chelsea, who've surely won the league now. Claude Makelele is a genius.

posted by BigCalm at 03:45 AM on April 21, 2005

First ever EPL title? I despair at the lack of any sense of history here. Chelsea won the league in 1955 and so this is in fact their first 'title' in 50 years. History didn't begin in 1993, you know.

posted by owlhouse at 04:47 AM on April 21, 2005

No, for Chelsea it began in 2003.

posted by JJ at 07:08 AM on April 21, 2005

Chelsea over Fulham? Likely. Tottenham drawing or winning with Arsenal? Not so much. Season will be prolonged another week. Chelsea will win it for the first time since the 50's and bully for them. Their supporters deserve it, even though Russian mob money bought and paid for it. Saints are going down down down.

posted by trox at 08:00 AM on April 21, 2005

SNAP. Good one, JJ At least Everton won yesterday.

posted by scully at 08:09 AM on April 21, 2005

JJ wins the thread.

posted by afx237vi at 08:17 AM on April 21, 2005

Abramovich update - $14.7 b net worth. BC, why do you consider Makelele a genius? Is it because of his defensive abilities? "...(he) make(s) the game fluent and simple. He does the cleaning work.." Or his recent decision to skip international play? Or is it just his record.

posted by garfield at 08:48 AM on April 21, 2005

Makelele: He won't amaze you with his flair, or passing ability, or leadership. But, (I think I'm quoting Mark Lawrenson here, sorry) he's probably the most disciplined defensive midfielder in the world. Yes, he does the simple things so well, always covers, always in the right place at the right time. Even Mourinho wants to make him Chelsea's player of the season, despite Lampard and Terry grabbing the headlines. Look at Chelsea when he's not involved and they concede far more goals, and score less (e.g. Birmingham about 3 weeks ago). Oh and his record speaks for itself in his absence - what have Real Madrid won, despite their millions and galacticos, since he left?

posted by BigCalm at 09:38 AM on April 21, 2005

owlhouse, I said EPL because I didn't want to track back through history and talk about the former (real, actual) "Division 1" that eventually became the EPL. "First title in 50 years" was mentioned in the article so no need to rehash it. And JJ, thanks. ;-)

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:57 AM on April 21, 2005

hypocrisy of the highest order

posted by garfield at 03:10 PM on April 21, 2005

Garfield, that link makes a point which ties well with something I was thnking about watching the game last night (which for a 0-0 result was excellent viewing). Not only are Chelsea not full of 'galacticos', they're a very young squad too: Johnson, Cech, Cole, Tiago, Terry, Bridge, Huth, Robben and Forsell are all under 25, with Lampard, Duff, Geremi, Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Ferrera and Carvalho just a year or two older.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:46 PM on April 21, 2005

Good thing Chelsea FC isn't the Edmonton Oilers, to mix league metaphors.

posted by garfield at 03:53 PM on April 21, 2005

Chelsea's player of the season for me is Petr Cech. When they signed him (from where?!) I was like, "wtf are they doing?! Cudicini is brilliant!" But he has been outstanding. In all the times I've seen Chelsea this year (and they're on Sky Sports almost every frickin' week) I don't think I've seen him make one single error. He's a great shot-stopper, has a commanding presence in the area, and most of all he can catch the bloody ball, as opposed to a lot of the other keepers who merely flap at it. Behind every great team, there's always an even greater goalkeeper. Take note Arsenal and Man U.

posted by afx237vi at 04:27 PM on April 21, 2005

God i hate Roman "The Criminal" Abramovich!!

posted by StarFucker at 07:34 PM on April 21, 2005

Chelsea what a joke they are going to win the EPL buy having a bigger check book than the others.... thats just stupid i was upset when the Gunners won with about 8 internationals and no youth league players of thier own. As much as I hate to say it, it was good to see the Devils win it a few years ago with players like Becks, Giggs, Neville's and Scholes cos these players came in at the bottom level Manchester worked with them to make them a strong team, yes they added in other players but the strength of the core were Manchester Youth boys. Chelsea got a fat wallet and went out and got whoevet they needed to win any club could that...even my saints if they had 100 billion dollars could by a team that could win thats easy..... joke the EPL needs to do something about this the good get better and bad get shat on.

posted by bballcoachreid at 08:58 PM on April 21, 2005

But CoachReid, Chelsea didn't just buy the big names, they used the money very smartly. As afx points out, who'd heard of Cech before this year, 21 years old and knocks Cudicini off the field? Got to give them a bit of credit.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:27 PM on April 21, 2005

For what it's worth, I think Chelsea get more stick than they deserve for having a "bought" team - it's not like their main rivals haven't got plenty of cash and plenty of very good players who, unless I missed something, don't play for them out fo the goodness of their hearts. It's one thing to bring a bunch of good players together - quite another to get them to bond and play as a team (as has been proved time and again by the likes of the US basketball team, the Barbaians rugby team and countless films like The Mighty Ducks and A league fo Their Own etc.). Chelsea have played brilliantly this season and done some very basic things very well. Anyone accusing them of succeeding by the cheque book alone isn't being fair - if you're one nil down with ten minutes to go, no amount of money will buy you an equaliser. Fair enough, cash can buy you a player more likely to get that equaliser, but you've got to spot those players, get them to your club and then fit them into your team.

posted by JJ at 04:32 AM on April 22, 2005

I'm more or less with you on that one JJ - too many times in other sports have I seen the rich not win by virtue of being stupid. Chelsea has spent its millions wisely.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:13 AM on April 22, 2005

And as much as it may pain me to say it, Mourinho has done a masterful job of keeping his talent happy and playing well together.

posted by trox at 08:33 AM on April 22, 2005

speaking of happy and playing well, will Abramovich's ability and willingness to sign away talent, and the corresponding rumor mill, negatively impact the team's young and talented core? All this speculation surronding Cole, Rio, Gerrard, etc. can't be good for the players those three would supposedly replace from starting.

posted by garfield at 08:45 AM on April 22, 2005

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