It’s FA Cup quarter final weekend, except for at the Emirates tomorrow where it will be FA Cup fifth round weekend. Today we see Championship mid-tablers Coventry take on Premier League big boys Chelsea at the Ricoh Arena. Chelsea are strong favourites but were humbled by Barnsley at this stage last season. Coventry are now managed by Chris Coleman and his pondering face.
The art of looking thoughtful
Today’s studio guests are Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce and Graeme ‘Robbie Fowler thinks I’m gay‘ Le Saux. Not really sure why they’ve wheeled in Pearce, he only played for Coventry for a couple of years. You associate him with Forest more than anyone else. Coventry of course are famous for their 1987 win over Spurs in the FA Cup Final. Chelsea are most famous for, erm, no scrap that they don’t have any history.
Coventry: Westwood, Wright, Dann, Turner, Hall, Henderson, Gunnarsson, Doyle, Eastwood, Best, Morrison.
Subs: Marshall, Ward, Beuzelin, Osbourne, McPake, Simpson, Thornton.
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Terry, Alex, Bosingwa, Lampard, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Drogba, Kalou.
Subs: Hilario, Essien, Carvalho, Di Santo, Quaresma, Belletti, Mancienne.
Ashley Cole sobers enough up to play for Chelsea, and they field pretty much a full strength side despite having a big game away against Juve on Tuesday night. Michael Essien is on the bench for the first time since being injured in August, goodness knows Chelsea have missed him this season. I won’t pretend to know all of Coventry’s players but Clinton Morrison can be a decent striker on his day and apparently the midfielder Gunnarsson is well thought of and has good delivery from the wings. Freddie Eastwood isn’t bad either. This is the first time Coventry have sold out their new stadium since moving in three years ago.
1 min: Coventry kick off.
2 mins: Drogba holds up the ball on the edge of the box, turns Turner (hehe) and fires a left shot just past the far post. Coventry will be hoping that doesn’t happen too often. This is the kind of game in which Drogba could terrorise defenders. That was a good chance.
4 mins: Ashley Cole boozed up booed, brilliant.
6 mins: Eastwood fires just wide but the whistle went as Doyle hustles Lampard unfairly.
7 mins: Ballack shoots over. All his goals this season have come in the cup.
8 mins: Bosingwa runs towards the box and then aimlessly shoots from a ridiculous angle. Unsurprisingly it goes well wide.
9 mins: Cole booed some more. I wonder if he still has a hangover.
10 mins: Malouda has styled his hair like Jon Obi Mikel. It looks interesting…
A hungover dog which is in no way representative of Cole.
13 mins: You can always tell when there isn’t much going on in the game when the camera starts cutting to the crowd. We focus on Abramovich who has his usual smug but glum look. He’s wearing a nice looking jacket for once. When you consider how much money he has and that his girlfriend Dasha Zukhova is a model/designer/editor/curator and whatever else she feels like doing, his dress sense when not in a suit is appalling.
15 mins: GOAL! Coventry 0-1 Chelsea! Drogba scores out of nothing. The ball is played back to Dann in defence but he dilly dallies on the ball and Drogba dispossesses him and runs towards goal. He’s slightly wide as he takes it past the keepr but finds the net with no trouble. Poor by Coventry but a great finish.
17 mins: Coventry have responded pretty well to going a goal down. They cross a couple of balls in but they are easily dealt with.
20 mins: Coventry playing a dangerous game as Drogba is caught just offside from a through ball by Ballack. Dann and Turner not having the best of games at the back.
24 mins: Leon Best who is wearing a comedy face mask runs at the Chelsea defence. He cuts into the box but then skies his shot. I have the Coventry website open and they are also doing minute by minute updates. They reckon it was just over. It wasn’t.
27 mins: Chelsea in control, just passing it around. I’m sure they don’t want to expend too much energy before Tuesday.
29 mins: Alex bundles into Leon Best and Coventry win a free kick near the Chelsea box. Henderson plays it in but it part cross, part curling shot. It drifts just wide having failed to curl enough.
32 mins: Stuff is kind of happening but kind of not. I’m finding this game a little boring.
33 mins: Kalou runs down the right and lays it to Mikel who scuffs his shot having got the ball stuck between his legs. It then gets knocked about a bit more before Malouda wastes it.
35 mins: Cole fouled about 35 yards out. Chelsea free kick taken by Lampard and it’s a good effort. He takes it Ronaldo style by striking through it so it goes up and under rather than curling. Westwood tips it over. I wonder if him and Eastwood have turf wars on the Coventry training ground.
Gang wars, sort of.
4o mins: I can already sense that the most interesting aspect of this game will end up being Michael Essien’s second half substitute appearance.
41 mins: Kalou looks for a free kick as he tackled outside the box but nothing is given. Replays suggest he was unlucky, the defender scything him down somewhat.
44 mins: Coventry survive a sustained bit of Chelsea pressure, with several players running at them from various positions. No one can really produce the bit of skill for the breakthrough and eventually the Sky Blues clear their lines.
Half time: The half comes to a close with Chelsea in control. They have their goal and are dominating possession by just passing it around at ease. Every so often someone decides to run at Coventry and it’s only a final ball away from being 2 or 3-0.
I had been hoping Graeme Le Saux would just be providing analysis with Pearce but I’ve had to listen to his co-commentary all game. Maybe that’s why I’m finding it so boring. I haven’t heard him since he announced he was quitting the BBC before the last World Cup. I wish he had stayed retired per se.
Meanwhile, despite Chelsea’s dominance they are only one up so Coventry still have a chance.
46 mins: Chelsea kick off the second half. They have taken off one infuriating winger who can’t cross in Kalou and brought on another infuriating winger who can cross but has the consistency of really horrible hot chocolate that has been made with water instead of milk, in Ricardo Quaresma.
It's fair to say he's inconsistent...
50 mins: Time ticks by some more, Chelsea still in control.
54 mins: Coventry win another free kick in a good position but yet again the delivery is woeful. It sails harmlessly over. It’s clear that set pieces are Coventry’s best hope of getting back into this but at the moment they have been unable to produce a single telling ball. I think Henderson should stop taking their free kicks. Maybe on Football Manager Chris Coleman saw he had a low set piece rating but persisted because Henderson somehow had lots of assists anyway. I would suggest he finds a player with 15+.
59 mins: Wright bundles into Malouda who is still on the pitch for some reason. When I say bundle I mean leaps three feet in the air and charges into his back. Escapes a yellow impressively. Beuzelin comes on for Doyle.
61 mins: Coventry Henderson wastes another free kick.
64 mins: Essien about to come on for Chelsea. I think had he been fit, Scolari would probably still be in a job.
65 mins: Mikel off, Essien on.
66 mins: Terry goes on a run into the Coventry half but then remembers he lacks skill and pace and doesn’t know what to do. He tries to knock it past someone, loses it and then attempts to take out the offending opponent.
67 mins: Coventry’s long throws are causing more problems then their set pieces right know. Gunnarsson chucks it in, Cech flaps and misses but Coventry can’t get a decent shot away. They then win a second throw on the opposite side of the pitch and again the ball almost breaks to Morrison and Best but neither could quite turn and shoot. Chelsea need a second goal to kill this off.
71 mins: A clash of heads between Alex and Drogba. The earth moved, both come off temporarily. Chelsea have to defend a throw with nine men.
72 mins: GOAL! Coventry 0-2 Chelsea! And defend it they do. A super lightning break. Quaresma runs down the right, crosses into the box and Alex all people has run 50 yards to finish with aplomb with his left foot. Both him and Drogba had just come back on, and both were part of the four on one break. Great cross, great finish, great goal. That would be that I would think.
77 mins: Slightly bizarre moment. Chelsea player fouled and the free kick gets taken quickly. Lampard has it and while Coventry wait for the whistle he runs to goal and sets aim from 25 yards. He scuffs it badly and a low shot goes wide. It would have stood though.
79 mins: Fat Frank is through on goal again but can’t lift over the oncoming keeper.
80 mins: Drogba comes off and is replaced by youngster Franco Di Santo.
82 mins: Coventry’s best chance. Morrison is through on goal and Alex lunges in on him. Morrison stays on his feet instead of going down and thus can’t get his shot away. Cech smothers, Morrison complains. It’s hard to say as didn’t go down but that would have been a penalty had Morrison made more of it.
85 mins: Here’s a shock for you. St Mirren have knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup. That’s St Mirren who hadn’t beaten Celtic in 19 years and lost 7-0 to them just last week. Ex Coventry manager Gordon Strachan will not be a happy bunny.
This man got Coventry relegated.
88 mins: There has been some bits of excitement in the last few minutes but none that I feel were particularly worthy of writing about.
90 mins: Drogba given man of the match. About right I’d say, he gave the Coventry defence all sorts of problems in his 80 minutes on the field.
Full time: Coventry 0-2 Chelsea. A comfortable win for Chelsea in the end. Coventry had their spells of pressure but couldn’t turn it into real chances for Morrison and Best. Class prevailed with Drogba scoring a great early goal and the decider coming on the break after Chelsea had introduced Quaresma to stretch the Coventry defence.