• FT

    Swansea

    0

    Liverpool

    0

  • FT

    Southampton

    2

    Newcastle

    0

  • FT

    Chelsea

    0

    Man City

    0

  • FT

    Tottenham

    3

    West Ham

    1

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE

Stamford Bridge, England

Attendance: 41792

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 0

FT

  •  

    James Tyler: Bye all! Let's spend the next few days forgetting that game happened!

  •  

    James Tyler: No -- Rog plays footy and I'm a car salesman.

  •  

    [Comment from Jake Nazar]
    So Rog is tall, lanky, and strong and does great things while James is small, stocky, has a bad wife, and sits on the bench?

  •  

    James Tyler: Thanks for joining us. Apologies if you were upset by the Benitez talk. It'll get easier.

  •  

    James Tyler: Alright, shutting down. Midweek Boot Rooms yet to be confirmed, but where there is Prem and Sir Ian Darke, we are not far behind.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Follow us on twitter

    @rogbennett (Yaya)

    @jamestylerespn (kolo)

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Jake -- I admire your faithful optimism.

  •  

    [Comment from Jake Nazar]
    Not bad. Back line looked rigid, composed, and strong. Good start. A loss would have been a big step back. At least something to build on. 3 points are possible in midweek against Fulham and next weekend against West Ham. Not bad Rafa.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm thinking Sheikh Mansour watched the Di Matteo chaos and realized he shouldn't do the same. At least not right this minute.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Diff between City and Chelsea -- City have a professional infrastructure in place between owners and manager. Chelsea no buffer. Just the oligarch and his yes men

  •  

    [Comment from Wren]
    Mancini's job safer than Rafa's? I dissent here; Mancini could be out if the owners are perturbed with the Champions League at all.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not convinced. So much room for City in wide positions today, albeit more on Ashley Cole's side, Omar.

  •  

    [Comment from Ian (LFC)]
    I often defend soccer to my fellow Americans. They love citing 0-0 draws, to which I counter that those are often full of amazing chances and tense moments. Matches like this really hurt my credibility. Hope they weren't watching.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Footballing truth: Money can allow you to collect miniature giraffes, but it can't buy you goals

  •  

    [Comment from Omar]
    What do you think of Azpilicueta?

  •  

    James Tyler: No, of course not. But there's conflict over Roman's choice of boss. What it means for the Blues. As the chants and the homemade signs showed, this crowd wished Di Matteo was still in the dugout. But he's not.

  •  

    [Comment from will]
    why would we be conflicted james? do you seriously think we want our team to lose, whoever the manager may be?

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    First scoreless league game between Chelsea & Man City since February 2005.

  •  

    [Comment from Czuch Norris]
    Great day for Manchester United.

  •  

    James Tyler: Fans will warm to him in time. After all, they have to. If LFC fans like me can support Dalglish and Hodgson, you Blues supporters can handle Benitez.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea fans will be conflicted, perhaps, but don't ignore the facts: a creditable draw against the defending league champ. Rafa's maiden voyage passes without calamity.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Anticipation beats the reality

  •  

    James Tyler: City won't care: a comfy point to keep it relevant near the top. Mancini's job much safer than Rafa's.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Brutal fare for the eyes. Rafa relieved though.

  •  

    James Tyler: Once again, off-field drama trumps on-field effort.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: FT: Chelsea 0, Man City 0

  •  

    [Comment from Scott]
    WHY ALWAYS ME!!?

  •  

    [Comment from Chris C]
    LOOOOOOOOOOOL! BALO!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: YELLOW CARD, MAN CITY: Balotelli charges at David Luiz, falls like he'd been sniper'd, ref gives a booking. Simulation of the highest order.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: balo played for that. sums up the game. simulation.

  •  

    James Tyler: My MOTM: Zabaleta. The only player to actually show much on either side of the ball.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Just a struggle

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    is this a defensive struggle or offensive struggle?

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea breaks, City clears, Cech comes 35 yards off his line to "clear" with Balotelli nearby. Again, these goalies have had little to do so it's understandable that they're anxious to create drama and excitement.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Best moment of the matchL synchronized standing up by Chelsea
    @sitisfit @MenInBlazers http://www.cadfael.tv/image/src/1353865178953.gif … Hazard and Oscar standing up in sync

  •  

    [Comment from sham]
    Chelsea's best performers: Cole, Ramires, Luiz. City's best: Zabaleta, Milner, Kompany. at least from my vantage point. not a god attacking player in the match

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City! Nastasic with a wide-open header, great effort but right at Cech. Wow.

  •  

    James Tyler: Another Man City corner... 2 added minutes. David Silva to bash it in.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea will believe it can do better, and rightly so. Llorente might be the only striker in worse form than Torres this season.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Dzeko off the bench right about now. 3 points in the bag...

  •  

    [Comment from max]
    would you consider llorente as a possible option for CFC? he wants to leave bilbao and he's a proven target man

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Chelsea-Man City a real 1970s battle in 2012 clothing.

  •  

    James Tyler: I know, right Campbell? And Luis Suarez has 10 Prem goals this season.

  •  

    James Tyler: 89th minute. YOUR TIME TO SHINE, FERNANDO.

  •  

    [Comment from Campbell]
    I've never seen so many overpriced, world-class strikers on the same pitch without any one of them creating a genuine chance in nearly 90 minutes. Astonishing.

  •  

    [Comment from CFC]
    Lewandowski, anyone?

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    Falcao will look good in blue.

  •  

    James Tyler: Ray, we work with what we're given. And Lord Abramovich has bestowed a rich bounty this week. Given that the game itself is utterly benign, there's much to talk about.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Torres is bad... it's that simple. They just CAN'T play him anymore if they want to win trophies! Sturridge is not much better, but still an improvement. They NEED a target man in January.

  •  

    James Tyler: Poor Torres.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Sounds about right Ray

  •  

    [Comment from Ray]
    This blog used to be worth keeping open during Chelsea matches, with some interesting dialogue and actual analysis of the game. Now it's just a Fernando-bashing with the occasional mentioning of the oligarch's billions and the stench of CFC fans.

  •  

    James Tyler: Balotelli's first real touch: losing possession at the top of the box as the wet ball skids off his expensive boot.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Swan Lake

  •  

    James Tyler: Granted, there's still five-plus minutes for a game-winner...

  •  

    [Comment from josh]
    West Ham fans singing "He's Andy Carroll, he scores when he wants.". Spurs fans counter with "He's Andy Carroll, he scores once a year."

  •  

    James Tyler: Psychologists the world over are eager to study the Chelsea crowd at full-time. Should be a fascinating bundle of emotion, confusion and conflicted id.

  •  

    [Comment from Bluess]
    Tears in my eyes as i see Drogba sitting in the stands

  •  

    Roger Bennett: 5 sounds right for Kun. So many players games could be prefaced by "what has happened to X"

  •  

    James Tyler: 86th minute.

  •  

    James Tyler: Or rather: expensive striker off, equally expensive striker on.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR MAN CITY: Sergio Aguero off, Mario Balotelli on.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    what would you all rate aguero's performance today? id give it a 5 out of 10

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City: Torres lets the ball drift past him for Ashley Cole, steaming in from deep. The full-back unleashes a snorter of a shot from 25 yards. It fizzes over, taking a touch from Joe Hart on the way through. No corner given though. Weird, that.

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    Yaya chasing Mata is absolutely hilarious.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Joe Hart should have signalled corner. What has happened to the Corinthian ways?

  •  

    James Tyler: Nando in a nutshell. Battling hard, nothing to show for it. Like a woodsman trying to start a fire with a bit of plastic.

  •  

    James Tyler: Mata has a corner for Chelsea. Luiz can't reach it. Let's try again. Ivanovic reaches it but it's off-target. Torres crumples in the box under duress, ref looks the other way.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Nando

  •  

    [Comment from josh]
    And Carroll with a header. 3-1

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL -- Spurs 3, West Ham 1 -- Andy "Who?" Carroll scores a consolation

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I adore the War Rooms. Single bed for Churchill. His wife. Separate bed room. Sacrafice.

  •  

    James Tyler: I would imagine they glance at their pay checks and swiftly forget what they were upset about.

  •  

    [Comment from Tucker]
    How do some players deal with being unused reserves on top flight teams when they would rather be starting at a less talented club?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Man of the match? The Rain.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    I imagine the Boot Room to be like the War Rooms in London. Rog blogs from bed, Churchill-style.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea free kick is swung in by Mata, headed away without much difficulty.

  •  

    [Comment from Ian (LFC)]
    ESPN overreacts to the loads of early-season scoring with articles about the poor defending, the EPL overreacts by taking ALL THE SCORING AWAY FOREVER.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Balo. Magic.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    The full-time reaction at Stamford Bridge might well be dissertation-worthy. Can't wait.

  •  

    James Tyler: Promising Chelsea counter-attack brings Stamford Bridge to life. Then, the crowd is put out of its misery quickly as Moses' cross is overhit. Goal kick, City.

  •  

    James Tyler: Signed from the Bundesliga. A good attacking midfielder, one of many that Chelsea has on call.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Ten minutes to go. Root canal.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    who is marko marin? is he good?

  •  

    James Tyler: Lots of buttons. Some of them covered in stale beer.

  •  

    [Comment from Campbell]
    What is control center of the Boot Room like? I picture you guys blogging a nuclear-style war room.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rafa clearly doing some auditioning in the latter stages of this one. Evaluating his squad.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR CHELSEA: John Obi Mikel off, Oriol Romeu on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tevez has a tiny window through which to shoot. Narrow angle, too. And with a defender on him. Lumps it harmlessly into the crowd.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I adore him, So young, so inexperienced, but so smart and so able to endure the Premier League's physicality

  •  

    James Tyler: If anyone can wring the best from him, it might be a system manager like Rafa. Or he'll ruin the young lad. Either/or.

  •  

    James Tyler: He's so young! And he's still adjusting to the brutish maelstrom that is English football.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Oscar does not impress me. He has good moments but also several bad moments as well as games where he doesn't seem to show up at all.

  •  

    James Tyler: YELLOW CARD, MAN CITY: Alex Kolarov leaves his leg in on sub Victor Moses, eventually tripping the ex-Wigan man.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Good that Rafa's known for set piece defending as Chelsea have faced roughly 3,119 Man City corners today.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Dear America. We apologize for the substandard quality of this game of football. Love. The Boot Room

  •  

    James Tyler: They look more stodgy and stout, which was lacking under RDM, arguably. (Honestly, it all comes with caveats at this point).

  •  

    [Comment from M]
    Bright side so far: It seems that Chelsea has done a much better job at getting back so far.

  •  

    James Tyler: Silva's corner nearly falls kindly for Yaya Toure but it's hoofed down to Joe Hart before anything bad can happen.

  •  

    James Tyler: Milner then wins another corner. Corners galore. Nothing from any of them so far.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Poor Ricky Hatton. Having to look at this City performance through swollen bad boxer eyes

  •  

    James Tyler: David Silva to try this time. Cleared.

  •  

    James Tyler: ANOTHER City corner.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    I've turned the game off. Only watching Boot Room. Better this way.

  •  

    James Tyler: On it, the two teams become so fraught with nerves given what's at stake. A legion of wallflowers.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nate, this is the game where all the fun happens OFF the field.

  •  

    [Comment from Nate]
    this game is making it very easy to do work while i watch. who thought the "oil cashico" would have so little to offer?

  •  

    James Tyler: 73 minutes gone.

  •  

    [Comment from Czuch Norris]
    Money can also buy you Rafa Benitez.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: What is on Benitez's socks? @MilesKennefick @MenInBlazers pic.twitter.com/Y0TuL7Ki

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Tiny Giraffes.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    What can money buy you Rog?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Hazard. Premier League is onto him...

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Money cant buy you goals.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR MAN CITY: Edin Dzeko off, Carlos Tevez on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Zabaleta's flagged for offside down the right wing, trying to skip behind Ashley Cole.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hit deep but cleared.

  •  

    James Tyler: Milner's turn to fizz a deep cross into the box. Misses everyone. Dzeko tracks it down and keeps it in play, but Azpilicueta does well to prevent him surging into the box. Another City corner...

  •  

    James Tyler: Me too, Mcmohan. Almost as if they hope the ref will just forget.

  •  

    [Comment from Mcmohan]
    Love the way players try to run away when they are getting a card...

  •  

    James Tyler: Another City corner... Kolarov's outswinger headed away by Ashley Cole.

  •  

    [Comment from Scott]
    Torres hasn't won a header all game. David Silva is more dangerous in the air.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City: Ashley Cole steps in to block/clear a dangerous low cross into the six yard box.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Cole. again...

  •  

    James Tyler: ENTER THE TEVEZ.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    SPURS UPDATE: Defoe scores to make it 3-0 in the 64th minute!

  •  

    James Tyler: YELLOW CARD, MAN CITY: Pablo Zabaleta.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lung-bursting run by Branislav Ivanovic into the attacking third. Plays it wide but not before Zabaleta has a reducer-esque slide into the Serb.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Fascinating on the break there. look again at Torres... did not want that ball to drop to his feet

  •  

    James Tyler: Milner and Zabaleta combine on the right but the Blues hold firm. Having been massacred from wide positions in the first half, the Blues have slowly congealed their defending.

  •  

    [Comment from YanksAreComing]
    Great run by Clint on that Bale goal..got the ball 35-40 yards out and came down the middle and fantastic little chip inbetween two defenders onto Bales foot who finished it

  •  

    James Tyler: More on Tottenham's second goal...

  •  

    James Tyler: Or he'll just buy Anfield and relocate?

  •  

    [Comment from Scott]
    Roman makes a note to introduce a new red alternate shirt next week.

  •  

    [Comment from Lake]
    We need a new Dempsey gif - just spotted winking out of a black eye after that goal.

  •  

    James Tyler: Half an hour remaining. Zabaleta's cross is destined for Aguero's forehead but Ivanovic intervenes.

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    If he was wearing Red, thats in the back of the net.

  •  

    [Comment from will]
    what a drab afternoon of football so far. animosity, sick chants, nervous tentative football. i preferred the 8-2s, 3-5s and 1-6s of last season.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nah. Torres doesn't pout. He glowers. Looks like a moody Calvin Klein model.

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    Torres almost broke the Boot Room there.

  •  

    [Comment from ronny]
    Would it be fair to compare Fernando to Anelka the way he pouts?

  •  

    James Tyler: Hazard scurries into the penalty area, elects to ignore Torres but can't shoot. Moments later, Torres has an open look from 15 yards, narrow angle, but fizzes wide. Upset with himself, but a flash of familiar self.

  •  

    [Comment from Chelsea FC]
    At risk of jinxing it... David Luiz has had a very smart match.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I Still got it. Still got it. Still got it

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    Bale goal, assisted by Dempsey.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Half an hour to go... football breaking out...

  •  

    James Tyler: That's GOAL -- Spurs 2, West Ham 0 -- Bale, 57"

  •  

    [Comment from josh]
    Dempsey off the bar! But h,e redeems himself with a beautiful scoop pass to Bale. 2-0 Spurs.

  •  

    James Tyler: Spurs update...

  •  

    James Tyler: Swung to the near post but nodded away by VIncent Kompany.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea's revving up now. Oscar wins a corner following neat build-up play on the left.

  •  

    [Comment from CARTMAN]
    What is more entertaining, Luiz headbanging or Joey Barton doing standup comedy ?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Goal coming

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City: Yaya Toure shoots sharply from range. Petr Cech sees it the whole way, blocks it, falls on loose ball. Easy.

  •  

    James Tyler: Promising two-on-one break following City's corner being cleared. Torres is clean through on goal and has support but the linesman flags him for handball. El Nino doesn't see it, play continues, etc. Devastating.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: OH DEAR, Torres.

  •  

    [Comment from Charlemagne]
    Haha Rog, that Abramovich wikipedia entry has already been changed. And it was done so quickly, there is no period at the end of the sentence. LOL.

  •  

    James Tyler: James Milner trickery eventually wins City a corner off John Obi Mikel.

  •  

    James Tyler: Expect he'll be replacing Edin Dzeko at some point...

  •  

    James Tyler: Carlos Tevez is warming up.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Chelsea: David Luiz heads the set piece well over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hazard does well to hold off Kompany in the left corner, eventually banging a cross in. Torres lurks but Kolarov does the safe thing, nodding it out for a corner.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeers for Yaya Toure as he can't find Aguero inside the box, ruining a promising City counterattack. Dear oh dear.

  •  

    James Tyler: Set piece swung in, cleared.

  •  

    James Tyler: Moments later, Kolarov vs. Torres again but this time the Spanish striker wins the free-kick.

  •  

    James Tyler: Torres fights manfully to get behind Kolarov and into the box. Holds up possession but his cross is blocked. Then, El Nino fouls Kolarov in a bid to get the ball back. Sad.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good run by Mata. Finds Hazard wide left, who works it back infield for Ramires. Fizzing drive by Ramires from 35 yards is narrowly over the bar.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Abramovich's wikipedia entry currently reads
    He is known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, an English Premier League football team and has a habit of wasting all his money on manager's compensation by firing them if they only score 5 goals in 7 games.

  •  

    James Tyler: Disgusting chants from the West Ham fans at White Hart Lane today. Chanting "Lazio" in full voice, a seedy reference to the Spurs supporter stabbed in Rome this past week.

  •  

    James Tyler: Kolarov boshes it to the near post but it's cleared. Milner then fouls Azpilicueta as the pair sprint for a loose ball.

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner to City.

  •  

    James Tyler: Silva and Dzeko can't combine on the edge of the box. Mancini won't be happy at the breakdown of each attack. Longer this game stays scoreless, the more if galvanizes a wounded Chelsea team.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: City starting to find a lot of Silva on the edge of the area. Always a signal of danger

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Chelsea. Good move down the right, Mata switches play to the left flank but the low cross is blocked behind. Corner swung to the near post but nodded clear by first defender.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Great ball from Cole. Great vision from Mata

  •  

    Roger Bennett: PXB

  •  

    James Tyler: Might well do, Rog. Phil Xavier Brown has a neat ring to it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lofted pass down the left flank intended for Milner is overhit. Throw for CFC.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Re Phil Brown JT. If he had three initials do you think Roman would hire him?

  •  

    James Tyler: Though that might be true of many top strikers.

  •  

    James Tyler: Much easier for him to change a game than dictate it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Guest: think it's also because of the nature of the games when he enters. Needing a goal, lots of crosses into the box, etc etc

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Jonathan Wilson once said he cant decide whether Dzeko is a brilliant player prone to terrible spells or a terrible player with moments of brilliance

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    Can someone explain why Dzeko only scores as a sub??

  •  

    James Tyler: Aguero can't elude David Luiz en route to a shot on goal. Brazilian beats Argentine.

  •  

    James Tyler: We're off again...

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Game's moving around him, sadly. Zabaleta and Silva sprinting from deep, little for him to tidy up in the six-yard box.

  •  

    [Comment from mark]
    Dzeko has been pretty invisible... Again

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Disappointing ad for the Premier League. The storyline ensures the world's eyeballs are on this game. The world's eyeballs will be struggling to stay awake.

  •  

    James Tyler: By a considerable distance, though that really doesn't mean much.

  •  

    [Comment from Kartavya]
    City been the better side in the first half?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Championship team will take a chance on him

  •  

    [Comment from Mark]
    Have we seen the last of Mark Hughes?

  •  

    James Tyler: Only thing we're missing now is a managerial return for PHIL "Gardening Leave" BROWN. Man is a wordsmith, a prophet and a magnetic entertainer.

  •  

    [Comment from josh]
    Who isn't glad 'Arry is back. The entertainment value of his interviews alone totally worth it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Half-Time Team Talk from Mancini: Keep doing what you're doing.
    Half-Time Team Talk from Benitez: Please do everything differently.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Of course he can. This is the season of Parity. And he has a great run of fixtures upcoming... points will flow. sadly.

  •  

    James Tyler: I think if anyone can handle it, Redknapp can. Famously did it in his first season at Tottenham, Mike. Think he will simplify things for a talented but misguided QPR squad. What's needed.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Torres ends first half with least touches on the field 13. 5 of 8 passes 62% pass completion rate.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike GFOP]
    Any chance 'Arry can bring QPR out of the bottom three or is the task too great?

  •  

    James Tyler: The usual suspects: somewhere else in MLS, China, Russia, Australia. Too early to even bother speculating.

  •  

    [Comment from josh]
    If not psg jt, where?

  •  

    James Tyler: Big game in Serie A later: Milan hosting Juventus.

  •  

    James Tyler: HT: Athletic Bilbao 1, Deportivo La Coruna 0

  •  

    James Tyler: I have! It's magnificent. I think Eric Lichaj's "Sons of Anarchy" handlebar effort is a worthy mention, also.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    Completely off-topic (as usual), but is there anyone in the PL whose Movember effort can compete with Peter Crouch? Have you seen that thing on his face?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Follow us on Twitter:

    @rogbennett (AVB)

    @jamestylerespn (The special one)

  •  

    [Comment from Daniel]
    City fan here, Roger. It's okay. Nice to see us look solid in defense so far.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    As a city fan I feel confident in our defense, but still unsure where the goal is going to come from...

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Song for half time. For Roman haters. The song i would love sung acapella at my funeral:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHylQRVN2Qs

  •  

    James Tyler: The Namibian Super League is making a massive bid for Beckham. Heard it here first. And probably for the only time. In all seriousness, I don't think PSG is his eventual landing spot.

  •  

    [Comment from Ian (LFC)]
    Where do you lot think Beckham will land?

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    Bring on Tevez

  •  

    James Tyler: Little tooth in attack yet but looking much more robust in midfield, is Chelsea.

  •  

    James Tyler: For all the surrealism at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea isn't a lost cause. Far from it, obviously.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: City fans... would love to know how you are feeling about this performance...

  •  

    James Tyler: So, what must either side do for the second half?

  •  

    James Tyler: FT: Southampton 2, Newcastle 0 -- Massive result for Mr. Atkins.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    And they've done it! Southampton on 11 points! They're a better side than Sunderland right now, I think.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Bootroom is a bitter place Ian. West Brom fans are still running through meadows naked

  •  

    [Comment from Ian (LFC)]
    WOW there is a LOT of bitterness going on in the bootroom from the fans. Spurs fans not getting enough attention, CFC fans upset about the Roman era. I assume City fans are quietly upset their billionaire owners haven't been mentioned in the same breath as Roman.

  •  

    James Tyler: As opposed to a striker who runs about without much purpose, missing chances and displaying zero confidence?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: No boos at half time though... Rafa winning 'em over

  •  

    James Tyler: Michael: don't you want a striker who offers "clean finishing when the ball finds him?"

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    Dzeko really offers nothing except clean finishing when the ball finds him. He has no pace and really isn't a threat unless someone else does all the work

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Odd first half. Subdued stuff. City not going for the jugular when it was offered. Tevez must be looking on and saying "Duffers" to himself in Spanish.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: HT: Chelsea 0, Man City 0. Weird game. A limp ripple of applause as the teams trudge off.

  •  

    James Tyler: Great question. I'm guessing the ref's mums.

  •  

    [Comment from maverick]
    Question: Who washes the referees kit? Do they have their own kit manager?

  •  

    James Tyler: Kindly check the title of the Bootroom.

  •  

    [Comment from Superspurs]
    Wow your not going to cover the goal... thanks Boot-room. Just keep talking Chelsea-City like there are no spurs fans here.

  •  

    James Tyler: Better for Chelsea. Dangerous cross whipped in from the left but cleared as Torres was lurking.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: In a way that just reminds me of watching Melanie Griffith acting

  •  

    [Comment from Vargo]
    Must say, Torres is throwing himself about.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Come on Nando. Give us a goal. Let us see you exalt...

  •  

    James Tyler: Torres wins a free kick in City territory.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Strong Fernando

  •  

    James Tyler: Thanks, Alex!

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    SPURS UPDATE 44' Goal! Jermain Defoe gives Tottenham a 1 - 0 lead in London.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: That lunge... reminiscent of the red he received last season. Trying hard. too hard.

  •  

    James Tyler: TORRES WATCH: Almost gets free behind the defense, skipping past Nastasic but meeting his match in Kompany. Comes in late on Barry in pursuit of the loose ball. Foul.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Oh Dear.

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner taken short and easily cleared by CFC.

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner for City. Juan Mata's confused, thought he was fouled.

  •  

    [Comment from zaphod]
    TORRES WATCH: He touched it! In the box.. then lost it

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm sure too. Which is precisely the point. You get what you wish for. In this case, Rafa Benitez. Only Roman told you you're wishing for it.

  •  

    [Comment from Jade]
    Are you serious James Tyler?? I am sure Chelsea supporters would rather have Abramovich than the previous ownership.

  •  

    James Tyler: Wasted chance for City as a point-blank header is right at Cech.

  •  

    [Comment from Chelsea FC]
    Yeah.. I support Roman.. Hes given us so much glory... Better than being brainwashed by wenger with an 8 year dry spell and mid table mediocrity.

  •  

    James Tyler: Silva does well to get inside Ivanovic on the left flank but he can't beat the second defender and get a cross in.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Milner unmarked at the back post there. Silva wisely does not waste a pass to him

  •  

    James Tyler: 41 minutes gone. A bizarrely muted fixture so far.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rain's chucking down at Stamford Bridge.

  •  

    [Comment from josh]
    Spurs update: bale hit the bar but an otherwise static performance from spurs. Which is what I've come to expect in the AVB era

  •  

    James Tyler: Indeed, Rog. Roman-esque revisionism. All those lads deserved to get fired. In Roman We Trust, etc.

  •  

    James Tyler: Yaya Toure implies the ball off Chelsea in midfield. Another City attack amounts to nothing.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Jake Nazar. Do you work for Chelsea. I find Chelsea fans desperate efforts to try and rationalize the Roman Regime really heartbreaking from a supporter perspective

  •  

    [Comment from Jake Nazar]
    Sure there have been nine managers sacked but look at it this way. Ranieri was a left over from a previous regime, Mourinho was stupid, Grant was always a stop-gap, Scolari was just mystified the whole time, Hiddink never was sacked, Ancelotti was stupid, AVB had lost the team, Di Matteo was stupid yes. In truth that's 3 unreasonable sacks.

  •  

    James Tyler: Free kick for Chelsea. 30-odd yards out, central. David Luiz rips it on target but right at Joe Hart.

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner's overhit, Gaz Barry then tries to volley it through the crowd but David Luiz clears.

  •  

    James Tyler: MOTM so far: Pablo Zabaleta.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City! Edin Dzeko sets Zabaleta up for a shot inside the box. Low ripping effort that Cech keeps out. City then wins a corner.

  •  

    James Tyler: One thing Roman's can't buy is true love. Or so I'm told.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I do and I dont

  •  

    [Comment from Sean G]
    Rog, would you care about chants when you have more money than everyone chanting combined?

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    they need to learn some russian chants

  •  

    James Tyler: Which is, nine managers in nine seasons, a veritable chasing-the-dragon approach to ownership.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Sheikh Mansour could conceivably do this at some point. When you wish for a mega-rich oil magnate to buy your club and purchase Lionel Messi before winning every trophy in sight, keep in mind the flip side of that arrangement.

  •  

    James Tyler: Of course he doesn't, Rog. He does what we wants. The negative side of having a rich owner with no-one to answer to but himself.

  •  

    James Tyler: It's 0-0. Gaz Bale's playing well. His marker, Joey O'Brien, has a yellow card.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Do you think Roman cares about the chants? Can't believe he does...

  •  

    [Comment from Ryan]
    Nothing to report from the Totteringham game?

  •  

    James Tyler: Hazard with a menacing run but he's curtailed at the edge of the City area. Blues slowly showing more threat now that all the Di Matteo/Rafa chants have canceled each other out.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea drops all 10 behind the ball when City's in possession. Mikel and Ramires both being a bit more disciplined than under the Roberto "Wild West" Di Matteo regime. Still, nowt to show for it.

  •  

    James Tyler: (publishes Alex's comment to pre-empt Fernando's 89th minute game-winning strike)

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Terrific ball by Oscar there. His creative intelligence is astounding for such a young bloke

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    We can quit it with the Torres watch. He isn't going to score, and we all know it.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    BOOT ROOM. Everyone, I think this is the boring game. The real excitement seems to be the suddenly lively Saints holding onto their lead at St. Mary's.

  •  

    James Tyler: Better move from Chelsea... until Juan Mata misreads Ashley Cole's wide run and passes it smoothly out for a goal kick.

  •  

    [Comment from David]
    Prediction...Torres embarrasses all the jokers and scores.

  •  

    James Tyler: City breaks quickly from the CFC corner but Milner's pass wide for Zabaleta is easily intercepted by David Luiz.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea corner brings Joe Hart off his line a long way, presumably as he's bored. He only just reaches it and punches clear. Not wise, that.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: True. Torres, Least touches in the game. About as practical as his head band

  •  

    James Tyler: TORRES WATCH: Oscar floats one into the right corner for Torres. It's deflected away from him.

  •  

    James Tyler: TORRES WATCH: He's just, sort of... there.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City: Aguero's shot is blocked/deflected by Azpilicueta.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Wonder what is going on in Nando's head. Poor bloke needed to be involved early. Threat State.

  •  

    James Tyler: 27 minutes gone. Chelsea yet to fashion a memorable assault. Meanwhile another flowing move up the middle for City ends with David Luiz doing just enough to divert the ball away from Aguero inside the box. Away side has been far better in the opening half-hour.

  •  

    James Tyler: Wasn't a knock on the fans, but a slight against Abramovich.

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    Jake was at Old Trafford yesterday supporting his other team

  •  

    James Tyler: Jake, Rog wasn't calling anyone plastic. He was merely echoing the thoughts of esteemed BBC broadcaster Danny Baker. Baker's point: Roman doesn't care about the fans. Else he might run things differently.

  •  

    [Comment from Jake Nazar]
    Rog call us as plastics, call us fakes, we love our team, we will support our team to the day we die. Blue is our blood. Say what you will, we will stand by our club through thick and thin and we will stand buy our players.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea's being utterly abused on the flanks. Milner, Kolarov and Barry work a neat move down the left as Cesar Azpilicueta locates his GPS. Milner's through-ball for Kolarov takes a touch from Azpi but no corner given.

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    Joe Hart's first touch. 24th minute.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lovely ball by Ramires for Ashley Cole on the overlap wide left, but Zabaleta -- who's perennially underrated, I'd wager -- superbly cuts it out.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Atmosphere at Chelsea-Man City underscores that it's probably a fun day to be a Man United fan.

  •  

    [Comment from Will]
    I'd say there are a few "fans" out there that will be happy with whatever the results may be since their two favorite teams are playing. haha

  •  

    Roger Bennett: ?@prodnose
    Chelsea fans. You HAVE no voice. That is the price you paid to be what you are now. You are season tickets. Program sales. Product. Face it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Can I do a negative percent?

  •  

    [Comment from Vargo]
    Chances of Chelsea buying Lucas from Liverpool in January?

  •  

    James Tyler: 22 minutes gone. Weirdest game I've seen in a while. Fans doing their own thing, players bemused, new manager a bit rattled.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: No. Not at all. it could. but could just as easily blow over. fans: memory of goldfish

  •  

    [Comment from Ryan]
    So this is the moment that will be recorded in history when CFC began to implode?

  •  

    James Tyler: Roman could buy anyone he wanted, within reason. Mikel/Ramires aren't up to snuff.

  •  

    [Comment from Bryan Colorado]
    What defensive midfielders are out there in the jan transfer window? Do you think Chelsea will be looking to buy?

  •  

    James Tyler: David Silva and Zabaleta work well together. Zabaleta, in acres of space on the right, floats in a teasing cross but Silva heads it over the bar.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @JamesDallESPN Should have seen it. NEVER was in red ink and underlined. Like a child's art project.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jan, it's like Etihad Stadium there. Man City fans must be confused that no-one is booing them.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Nobody can Jan. This is a surreal sight. But if Chelsea score... it will blow over within minutes

  •  

    [Comment from Jan in Cardiff]
    To be honest, I'm a bit amazed at what you're reporting. I expected a little bit of dissent about Benitez from some Chelsea fans, but not as much as you seem to say there is.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Man City: Milner, of all people, niftily dances into the box but rockets a shot well wide from 20 yards. Ashley Cole was on hand to distract him.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: True... TMPL. You cheer for High Performance Polyster

  •  

    James Tyler: Yes. But then Roman would promptly fire him.

  •  

    [Comment from Andy]
    IF Chelsea win the league (that's a big "if"), would Benitez be accepted by the fans ?

  •  

    [Comment from TwistyMaze LittlePassage]
    We cheer for laundry, that's it.

  •  

    [Comment from Eric]
    We cheer for the old days when you supported a team...not a few star players

  •  

    James Tyler: Aguero and Dzeko combine in the box, the latter knocking it down for the forner, but the Argentine can't get his shot off.

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    The Di Matteo appreciation minute is here. Rafa must be thrilled

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Fan sign: "In Rafa we will NEVER trust. FACT."

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Modern football. The gap between owners and fans ever wider. Makes you wonder what you are cheering for sometimes.

  •  

    James Tyler: Fan sign: "In Rafa we will NEVER trust. FACT."

  •  

    James Tyler: It's a 4-2-3-1. Granted, Rafa's been in charge for about 45 minutes so has hardly been able to change everything.

  •  

    [Comment from zaphod]
    I missed the start, did rafa change the formation at all? Looks like the same XI

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL -- Southampton 2, Newcastle United 0 -- Gaston Ramirez, 60"

  •  

    James Tyler: 16 minutes gone.

  •  

    James Tyler: Whoomp there it is.

  •  

    [Comment from Scott]
    RAFA OUT!

  •  

    James Tyler: Kolarov takes it, ball's cleared to Yaya at the top of the box but Hazard interrupts the Ivorian, who promptly fouls the young Belgian.

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner for City. Dangerous cross but Luiz/Ivanovic conspire to lump it out.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: City finding a lot of freedom on both flanks

  •  

    James Tyler: They are indeed not quality enough to play holding midfield in this team, Chelsea FC. Thank you for pointing that out about yourself.

  •  

    [Comment from Peter]
    Chelsea's passing has been as solid today as Rafa's belly

  •  

    [Comment from Chelsea FC]
    God Mikel is awful.. Chelsea lack the link up play between Ramires and Mikel. They can't get the ball to the attacking players.

  •  

    James Tyler: Promising Chelsea move! Ends when Torres loses control of it at the top of the box. Thus ends TORRES WATCH.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    In a resounding victory for small sample sizes, #CFC under Benitez looks exactly like #CFC under Di Matteo.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hazard shoved to the turf by Toure. Free kick for Chelsea.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Subtle Yaya

  •  

    James Tyler: ^ Comment of the Day so far.

  •  

    [Comment from canyonhawk]
    Is Torres the interim striker?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Torres. 3 touches Fewest for chelsea... only Hart has less

  •  

    [Comment from Jake Nazar]
    Re: Rog. We raise our voices far more than Arsenal. "We're the European Champions, we know who we are

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    Torres Watch: Came within 2 yards of the ball that time, can feel a big miss coming soon

  •  

    James Tyler: David Silva angles a cross to the far post, intending to find Zabaleta's run. Good defending by Luiz, I think, to clear.

  •  

    James Tyler: Oscar flicks on a header from a long ball, Torres gives chase but Nastasic comfortably mops up.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Brilliant: @henrywinter
    #mcfc fans serenading Benitez with "you're getting sacked in the morning''

  •  

    James Tyler: TORRES WATCH: Oscar's right-flank cross came within five feet of reaching him in the penalty area. It didn't though. He jogs back out of the box.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: It is called the Chelsea fans actually singing... and the funny thing is, the first time you will ever hear them raise their voices is to lambast their own manager and owner

  •  

    [Comment from Andrew W]
    What is being sung at the bridge right now? I don't recognize it

  •  

    James Tyler: And he's Spanish. And he has a predilection for scribbling notes on napkins.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: @Jason. There is a site called Google...

  •  

    James Tyler: That's really it. Doesn't exactly cut a dashing figure in a suit. More limo driver/waiter than high-flying executive.

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    Have you ever seen him, Jason?

  •  

    James Tyler: Not touching that. All you, Rog.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: JT?

  •  

    [Comment from Jason]
    Why do Chelsea call Rafa the "Fat Spanish Waiter"?

  •  

    James Tyler: Cole tries to play Hazard in down the left flank but Zabaleta reads it. City back in possession.

  •  

    James Tyler: TORRES WATCH: Hasn't really touched the ball yet.

  •  

    James Tyler: Milner and Kolarov combine on the left side of the Chelsea box but Ramires cuts it out. Still, all Man City early on, running at the Blues with pace and purpose.

  •  

    James Tyler: First six minutes of Rafa's tenure an unmitigated success.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Yes. Minutes applause before the game... for Sexton. Great gent. I went to college with his son. Terrific right sided midfielder. I tucked right behind him at right back.

  •  

    James Tyler: I stand corrected. Thank you.

  •  

    [Comment from Chelsea FC]
    Yes there was a tribute....

  •  

    James Tyler: Not that I can tell, Will. No. Sad news though.

  •  

    [Comment from will]
    hey guys, were there any tributes to ex chelsea and united manager dave sexton, who died today, at the bridge before the match??#

  •  

    James Tyler: Kolarov swings it in, Chelsea clears.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for City: lovely move by Aguero and Zabaleta following Luiz' silly giveaway. Good tackle by Ashley Cole to prevent the City right back shooting from close range. City corner...

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Mutiny at the Bridge apparently... fans shouting "one Di Matteo."

  •  

    James Tyler: After some magic spray and encouragement from the physio, Ramires looks to be fine to resume.

  •  

    James Tyler: Do not meddle with Gaz Baz. There's a killer lurking under his utterly boring facade.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    With 16 points from 13 games, Liverpool is off to its worst league start since...two seasons ago.

  •  

    James Tyler: City with the early attacking and Ramires is already banged up. Took a charge from Gaz Baz as the pair lunged for a 50/50 ball.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I think Chelsea are going to win. Ivanovic will score. Though I would LOVE Torres to net...

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Lucky Undies Michael.

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    I notice Rafa has nothing on his clothes that says Chelsea on it. Still a few hard feelings?

  •  

    James Tyler: As soon as City scores, if City scores first.

  •  

    [Comment from Ryan]
    Any guesses on how far into the game we are before the CFC fans start to boo Rafa?

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from ESPNFC via Twitter]
    #FCBootroom double header continues LIVE with Chelsea vs. Man City @JamesTylerESPN @rogbennett tinyurl.com/d2f7y8f

  •  

    James Tyler: We're off!

  •  

    James Tyler: Rafa a bit Hodgson-ian in his adherence to shape. But it works, in the right context of course.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rog, I reckon he will expect his holding midfielders to do exactly that. Chelsea's kitchen sink approach in attack creates all the problems for the defense, and they clearly can't handle it. This will be a side of careful balance, if Rafa can shape it. Build steady, don't lose shape.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Mancini looks psyched to meet a man in an even more crazy context that he is... chuckle chuckle

  •  

    James Tyler: LINEUPS AGAIN:
    CFC -- Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Torres.

    CITY -- Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov, Silva, Yaya, Barry, Milner, Aguero, Dzeko.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Going to be interesting watching Ramires today and the role Benitez gives him. You know the Chunky Spaniard well JT. How do you expect he will have Chelsea playing differently?

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Chelsea-Man City starting now on FSC. Man City has one win in its last 14 league games at Stamford Bridge.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rafa must be wondering what fever dream became reality.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Oh dear. RT @iainmacintosh: "One Di Matteo!" sing the Chelsea fans. Loudly.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @Marcotti To be fair, Vinny ate the other one in the tunnel. #Monster

  •  

    James Tyler: It was... rubbish?

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Stamford Bridge crowd greets Rafa/CFC as warmly as tennis fans cheer an average rally.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Muted is the word JT

  •  

    James Tyler: Out come the teams, and Stamford Bridge greets its team with warm, but respectful applause.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm not touching that, TMLP. I know some lovely, old-school CFC fans. I bet most Blues fans of the new school are just disconsolate that their owner is permanently restless.

  •  

    [Comment from TwistyMaze LittlePassage]
    James - could you describe the typical Chelsea fan? I get the sense that it's a combination of a Yankees fan, a Goldman Sachs trader, someone who vacations in Ibiza, and a 12-year-old (take whatever meaning you wish from that...)

  •  

    James Tyler: He's the only man who can satisfy his own requirements/definitions of success.

  •  

    James Tyler: Be Roman Abramovich.

  •  

    [Comment from Andrew]
    does anyone wonder what a chelsea manager would have to do to not be in the hot seat

  •  

    James Tyler: We'll keep up with the scores but unless Rafa Benitez takes over at White Hart Lane also, we're sticking with the madness at Stamford Bridge.

  •  

    [Comment from Salvatore]
    Is there going to be any Spurs love in here, or will it be all City-Chelsea?

  •  

    James Tyler: They have been doing the mundane stuff champions do: scoop up points despite playing so-so footy. Europe excepted, of course. If I'm Roberto, I make sure my job is safe and then I throw CL Matchday 6 to avoid the mess of a Europa League schedule.

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    Is anyone else impressed that Man City are top of the table despite never playing well? Seems like they could run away with this down the stretch, especially with no Champions League to worry about.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rog, I didn't think First-Team was hyphenated. I bet the typist is also getting sacked in the morning...

  •  

    James Tyler: Chelsea has redefined the very word "interim." It's now a permanent state of mind.

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    aren't Chelsea managers always "Interim"?

  •  

    James Tyler: WITH A WIN: Chelsea can vault over mighty West Brom into third place. Man City can skip back into first place.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: ?@henrywinter
    #cfc spell it out on the team-sheet

     

  •  

    James Tyler: Or he's in a bathtub somewhere, surrounding by candles, listening to Carly Simon.

  •  

    James Tyler: Gardening.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I wonder what Roberto Di Matteo is doing today

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Maybe it's not. Maybe the new Torres is the Manchurian Striker. Before he was sold, LFC slipped a control chip in his neck to render him useless.

  •  

    [Comment from Jay Jay Okocha]
    That video was incredible. I can't believe it's the same player.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I know... seeing Torres scoring for fun seems almost surreal after seeing him struggle for the past two seasons. There was once a confident young man in that stressed out frame...

  •  

    James Tyler: You know what I meant. Abbott and Costello. One with verve, the other by the book. Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in Dragnet. That better?

  •  

    [Comment from Michael GFOP]
    As a Liverpool fan, I shed a few tears during that video

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Tyler. Leave Starsky and Hutch out of it. which one was drab? a ridiculous statement. Michael Glaser is the reason I live in America. And David Soul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY8APrYU2Gs

  •  

    James Tyler: Cesar Azpilicueta has been a bit hit-miss since joining Chelsea. And will Rafa regret that bench? Only Victor Moses and Marko Marin who aren't allergic to crossing the half-way line. Talk about putting all your eggs in a Torres-shaped basket.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tell you what, LFC might take him for $10.

  •  

    [Comment from TwistyMaze LittlePassage]
    How about Torres back to LFC? (Seriously, Torres or Sturridge??) Combine Torres with Xabi Alonso's impending return and things are looking good for perpetual Europa League dominance!

  •  

    James Tyler: Absolutely no way. You never re-marry your ex-wife. Mourinho at Chelsea is in the books, done and dusted.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Premier League teams often get a new manager bounce as the players strive to impress... Chelsea could benefit from that today. I do think the midfield battle is going to be fascinating. The small and tall, Silva and Yaya doing battle with the Chelsea 3...

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    Rafa is merely keeping the seat warm for Mourinho. With a bigger bum he will be more effective at that than either AVB or RDM.

  •  

    James Tyler: What does Mancini and City need to do? Think a lot hinges on that Barry/Yaya axis. The most misfit of midfield pairings. A bombastic dynamo alongside a drab short-passing expert. Like Starsky and Hutch.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rog, what are your keys to today? Besides TORRES, RAFA, etc.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Whether it can be done or not... i dont know. but pressure on his fragile shoulders immense today

  •  

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Vargo. i wrote a bit about that here
    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/espnfcunited/id/1894?cc=5901

  •  

    [Comment from Vargo]
    Roger, it's clear from that video that Torres was a predatory and instinctive finisher, something he's completely lost. How does one get that back?

  •  

    James Tyler: For what it's worth, I think Chelsea does win today. Fernando Torres hat-trick, a Spaniard possessed.

  •  

    James Tyler: Of course he can. Whether he will or not is the eternal question.

  •  

    [Comment from Matt]
    Can Rafa Benetiz win in his first game in charge?

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Roman has bought players to accommodate/placate Fernando Torres, and now he's bought a brand-new manager. A+ treatment.

  •  

    James Tyler: Sorry -- there is other action outside of Stamford Bridge today. But it only involves the likes of Newcastle and Spurs. No-one cares much for them.

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL IN ANOTHER GAME -- Southampton 1, Newcastle 0 - Adam Lallana.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    So, what does Rafa Benitez whisper to Fernando Torres, then?

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh, how you besmirch City's best striker. Arguably speaking.

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    Dzeko getting the start today. I just can't see him beating fresh defenders with his limited ball skills. He's much more effective off the bench.

  •  

    James Tyler: I won't share the story here, but an English tabloid has an absolutely superb yarn about Kolo Toure today. Truly marvelous. Key words: car salesman.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUBS:
    CFC: Turnbull, Ferreira, Cahill, Bertrand, Romeu, Marin, Moses
    MCFC: Pantilimon, Maicon, Nasri, Javi Garcia, Kolo Toure, Tevez, Balotelli.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: WATCH THIS... it is reall. no special effects.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZzTyli77IE&feature=related

  •  

    James Tyler: MAN CITY (4-4-2): Hart -- Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov -- Silva, Yaya Toure, Barry, Milner -- Aguero, Dzeko.

  •  

    James Tyler: CHELSEA: (4-2-3-1): Cech -- Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cole -- Ramires, Mikel -- Mata, Oscar, Hazard -- Torres.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I cannot remember being this excited for a game of football in a long, long time. What a pyschodrama. Can Benitez tighten up the back four? Can he cajole happy thoughts/happy places out of Nando T.? Can Manchester City slap the grey clouds that have dogged them in Europe and retain their lead? Mancini Benitez? Madness

  •  

    James Tyler: So, Rafa's maiden Blues voyage... let's get the lineups in.

  •  

    [Comment from Jan in Cardiff]
    JT, the guy has also been with the club since February or March. So he's had a bit of time around the organization to know what to do with the players.

  •  

    James Tyler: Better: he blogs. Some fun chalkboards at rafabenitez.com

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    is Benitez really a Waiter when he's not managing?

  •  

    James Tyler: Think the Chelsea hot seat is always red-hot, or merely kept at a steady simmer? Medium heat?

  •  

    [Comment from Todd]
    18 months??!? If Benitez doesn't win today, he's on the hot seat.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm still asleep, Guest. Was sleepy-taka personified. I was also waiting to see Steven Gerrard make an appearance. Waited 91 minutes.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    JT. thoughts on liverpool game earlier? draw a good result?

  •  

    [Comment from OliverKayTimes via Twitter]
    Abramovich's ideal manager: winning every match 4-0; expansive football; subservient; respectful of a hierarchy that insists it knows best

  •  

    James Tyler: Anything's possible. With that in mind, what do we think is possible today?

  •  

    James Tyler: Well, Rog, you saw that a lad was hired to manage in Azerbaijan at age 21 with a resume that consisted entirely of playing unhealthy amounts of Football Manager....

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I love that he is a premier league manager after two years as a blogger. gives hope to all those of you who have a Tumblr right? you too could soon be managing a Premier League team.

  •  

    James Tyler: I think they had a sleepover last night. Built a pillow fort, roasted s'mores over the stove. Watched scary movies.

  •  

    [Comment from Raza_88]
    Do we also get to see how much time Rafa has been able to spend with Torres??

  •  

    James Tyler: Key to his survival: whispering sweet Iberian nothings in Fernando Torres' ear in a bid to make El Nino relevant again. No easy feat.

  •  

    James Tyler: "THE ENEMY."

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh, absolutely Rog. I have a soft spot for Rafa that is hard to explain. He was a good man for us, yet now he's the enemy.

  •  

    James Tyler: With Di Matteo gone and the mercurial, napkin-scribbling tactician installed for at least 18 months (if he's lucky), we'll get to see if his two-year hiatus from the game has energized or neutered him.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Emotions will run high for you today JT. Your old beloved boss. Like Pavlov's Dog, you going to be cheering for Chelsea today just a little bit right? (slobber slobber)

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Today, it must be a different song entirely as the goateed ex-LFC manager is now their latest interim gaffer.

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh, the tunes Chelsea fans used to sing about Benitez.

  •  

    James Tyler: "Fat Spanish waiter... he's just a fat Spanish waiter..."

 
COMPLETE TEAM CLOSE X
Goal Shot Video
  •  
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • Chelsea

  • 6(1)

  • 24

  • 10

  • 42%

    58%

  • Manchester City

  • 9(5)

  • 31

  • 17

Chelsea

Line-up
POS No Name

G

1 Petr Cech

D

2 Branislav Ivanovic

D

3 Ashley Cole

D

4 David Luiz

D

28 César Azpilicueta

M

7 Ramires

M

10 Juan Mata

M

12 John Mikel Obi
M
6 Oriol Romeu

M

17 Eden Hazard
M
13 Victor Moses

F

9 Fernando Torres

F

11 Oscar
 
Substitutes
POS No Name
G 22 Ross Turnbull
D 19 Paulo Ferreira
D 24 Gary Cahill
D 34 Ryan Bertrand
M 6 Oriol Romeu
M 13 Victor Moses
M 21 Marko Marin

Manchester City

Line-up
POS No Name

G

1 Joe Hart

D

4 Vincent Kompany

D

5 Pablo Zabaleta

D

13 Aleksandar Kolarov

D

33 Matija Nastasic

M

7 James Milner

M

18 Gareth Barry

M

21 David Silva

M

42 Yaya Touré

F

10 Edin Dzeko
F
32 Carlos Tevez

F

16 Sergio Agüero
F
45 Mario Balotelli
 
Substitutes
POS No Name
G 30 Costel Pantilimon
D 3 Maicon
D 28 Kolo Touré
M 8 Samir Nasri
M 14 Javi Garcia
F 32 Carlos Tevez
F 45 Mario Balotelli

Match Stats

  • Chelsea
  • Manchester City
6(1) Shots (on goal) 9(5)
10 Fouls 17
6 Corner kicks 11
3 Offsides 1
42% Time of Possession 58%
0 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
5 Saves 1