Tuesday, 3 December 2013

West Basle Hampton

Basle is a beautiful city and it was with this in mind that my brain thought perhaps something poetic could be written about the match out there. Instead, for the second time this season I left the stadium early on in the second half. Usually I am that football purist who scolds those who do not stay until the bitter end but the performance was so deplorable, the atmosphere so dire and the temperature so cold that I simply felt no desire to stay. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a bar with five minutes of the game left only to witness the opposition score while sipping my final beer.

The game against Southampton had a different tone to it. An odd 4.10pm kick-off but one that followed a lovely curry and chat with my father and some friends from Stockholm - AIK fans but here to watch what was set to be a good match. We sat down in our seats in the West Upper and as we approached kick-off I loudly said, “I have a good feeling about this game”. Then twenty seconds in we are losing 1-0 and yet again I wonder if my footballing knowledge is even lower than that of the average Arsenal fan.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. The Basle game reflected the balance of the game perfectly – we had no shots on target and deserved to lose. But there was something different about the game against Southampton. The performance in the first half – the drive and determination – was simply excellent despite only yielding one shot on target. Yes – even Torres resembled that man we want him to be. JT's header was sublime and it was good to see even Ba get on the scoresheet.

Much has been said about Essien and although the bison will always be a Chelsea legend it was odd to see him play against a side that has had so many results go their way this season. It was sad to see him substituted but the second half performance was even better and Southampton fell apart.

A mixed week for Chelsea. We have been a side that has had some luck and at Upton Park up until a silly back pass there was not much to choose between the teams. Let’s hope Mourinho galvanises the side because there is not much consistency and unlike at Basle airport there are not three different countries one can easily enter should one get stuck on choices.

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