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Rangers 2 - 0 Chelsea


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ibrox.jpgRangers 2 - 0 ChelseaFriendly - 28 July - Ibrox - 15:00 kick-offA bloodied mouth was all Chelsea received after their journey to Ibrox, as they were gunned down by an impressive Rangers side 2-0. The result is the first time since January that José Mourinho's men have been outclassed by two goals and a first defeat in pre-season which leaves the Chelsea manager needing to weigh up his options ahead of the game in midweek away to Brondby.However, if anything positive is to be taken from the game, it is a return to fitness of Ashley Cole, with the England defender one of Chelsea's more prominent performers on the day with a series of fine runs and interceptions.Ibrox was a tide of Blue prior to the kick-off, and Chelsea fans exchanged scarves, shirts and banter with their Blues Brothers from across the border and both teams were well-welcomed by the capacity crowd.With nineteen seconds on the clock, Andrei Shevchenko shot wide after being played through by an ingenious Frank Lampard pass. However, the Ukrainian could not compose himself and his shot was well wide of the Rangers goal.Petr Cech did brilliantly at the other end to stop Kris Boyd, who was played through by former Everton defender David Weir. The ball bounced over the defensive partnership of John Terry and Tal Ben Haim, but the Czech goalkeeper did well to smother the ball.Despite the early tempo of the game, the direct play began to settle as the teams changed their tactics to more defence-minded strategies. Florent Malouda suffered numerous heavy tackles as his pace often left Rangers' defenders for dead, and was duly booked for getting his own back on the half-an-hour mark.Little in the form of goal-mouth action came throughout the last fifteen minutes of the half, although Didier Drogba and Malouda were showboating with tricks and flicks and entertaining both sets of fans.The French winger switched sides with Joe Cole, and to immediate effect. Linking brilliantly with Lassana Diarra and Drogba, he crossed majestically for the Ivorian, but the striker was put off by the approaching McGregor and headed wide.Malouda took matters into his own matters moments later. Turning from provider to finisher, he launched a powerful shot from range, but the ball was always heading wide even if McGregor in the Rangers goal saw the ball late and attempted to block.The first half ended as it had begun - with the game played at a pacey tempo but little in the way of real opportunities.For the second half - as per usual in pre-season - José Mourinho assessed his options and made a set of radical changes at the interval. Henrique Hilario made a return between the sticks replacing Petr Cech. At the back, Ben Haim moved to the left as Ricardo Carvalho was added to the defensive equation; Diarra the man substituted. The midfield retained its four players, although Sidwell and Lampard were joined by John Obi Mikel and Shaun Wright-Phillips; the young Englishman playing wide right. Up front, recent acquisition Claudio Pizarro got a run out alongside Drogba and Shevchenko.Rangers switched to a 4-5-1, with former Wigan striker Lee McCulloch on his own up front, supported by wide players DaMarcus Beasley, last season with Manchester City, and Nacho Novo. On the hour mark came possibly Chelsea's only highlight of the game - Ashley Cole stripped off and ready to come on. His return to fitness saw the withdrawal of Glen Johnson. Cole went to the left-back slot as Tal Ben Haim moved to the right flank.The young Slovakian striker Sebo got goal side of John Terry after an uncharacteristic slip by Chelsea's £135,000-a-week captain. The England skipper was wrong footed by a cunning pass by David Weir, formally of Everton, and gave the defender no choice but to bring down the player or let the player have a clear run on Hilario's goal. Terry conceded the foul, and accepted the yellow card and a caution from the referee.Chelsea were looking rusty, and the oil they required did not come in the form of John Obi Mikel. In space, the Nigerian looked to pass the ball to Ashley Cole on the left, but did not put enough pace on the ball and presented it to the energetic Novo, who sped forward. Novo squared to Sebo, but the inexperienced striker was put off by the approaching Hilario who stood tall as the shot went well wide.Moments later at the other end, Chelsea pressure was beginning to take its toll. With the ball inside the Rangers box for a prolonged period, Pizarro had a goal line effort cleared and Mikel's pile driver from distance was well snuffed-out by Carroll, a half-time substitute for Rangers. Chelsea were beginning to settle and take charge of the game.Novo and Sebo combined once more at the other end of the pitch, and would have gone ahead but for a brilliant challenge by the last-man, Ashley Cole.After seventy minutes, the ineffective Drogba was replaced by Scott Sinclair, who added flair and pace to the game. This meant Pizarro would lead the Chelsea frontline for the first of many times.Chris Burke came on for Rangers seconds later, and it was his mazy run that set up the first Rangers goal; somewhat against the run of play. Novo received the ball and struck home from 20 yards, his arrowed shot clipping the post as it went beyond the stretch of Hilario, who had had little to do.The Rangers fans celebrated like they had won the Champion's League - ironically, however, the Glaswegian team faces stiff opposition in their Second Qualifying Round tie. Lampard went close soon after, and Sebo was fouled in the box by Mikel, but a penalty was not given.Just 97 seconds later, Rangers were two to the good. Carvalho, not having one of his better days, was in the right place at the wrong time, as Sebo's shot from a tight angle was deflected off the Portuguese and into the goal. beyond Hilario's dive.A disappointing result, but results do not count - only fitness does, and Ashley Cole epitomized that with a good performance.
Photo Gallery

Squads and RatingsChelsea (4-4-2): Cech (Hilario 45); Diarra (Carvalho 45), Ben-Haim, Terry ©, Johnson (A Cole 62); J Cole (Wright-Phillips 45), Sidwell, Lampard, Malouda (Mikel 45); Shevchenko (Pizarro 45), Drogba (Sinclair 70).Booked: Malouda, TerryRangers (4-4-2): McGregor (Carroll 45); Hutton (Murray 45), Weir (Webster 45), Cuellar, Papac (Broadfoot 45); McCulloch (Sebo 62), Brahim, Ferguson ©, Adam (Burke 81); Darcheville (Beasley 45), Boyd (Novo 45).Goals: Novo 84, Sebo 86Chelsea RatingsCech - 7 - Did what he does best when called into action.Hilario - 6 - Could do nothing about the two goals.Diarra - 6 - Was fairly impressive, good going forward but lax in defence at times.Ben Haim - 7 - A brilliant first-half performance, marred by poor displays on the flanks in the second period.Carvalho - 6 - Simply not his day, but looked assured with Terry.Terry - 6 - The skipper looked rusty after his toe injury.Johnson - 6 - Gave away possession once too often, but a par performance nonetheless.A. Cole - 8 - The brightest prospect of the day.Lampard - 7 - Played some excellent balls.Sidwell - 7 - Was solid wherever he was fielded.Wright-Phillips - 6 - After a handful of good appearances, Wright-Phillips showed only glimpses of quality.Mikel - 6 - A lazy performance, mainly due to lack of match fitness.Sinclair - 7 - Involved, made some excellent runs and his pace was a deciding factor.Shevchenko - 6 - Tried once again, but his touch seemed to let him down.Joe Cole - 5 - Quiet and lost the ball too many times.Malouda - 7 - Bundles of energy and not afraid to shoot - a quality performance.Drogba - 6 - Quiet and ineffective, despite the showboating.Pizarro - 6 - Fairly impressive game. Referee - 5/10 - Fair game.Chelsea - Stats - Rangers0 - Goals - 23 - Shots on Target - 49 - Shots off Target - 71 - Blocked Shots - 04 - Corners - 211 - Fouls - 132 - Offsides - 22 - Yellow Cards - 0 0 - Red Cards - 0 50% - Possession - 50% Star Manashley-cole.jpgAshley ColeViews of the Blues

Like I said before the result isn’t a problem too me. Rangers are about 2 or 3 weeks ahead of us in pre season. I expect Jose to make more changes for Brondby on Tuesday, Ashley should get his first start, as will Essien if he's fit and Mikel I think will start on Tuesday. We’re getting an idea on how we'll start at Wembley next Sunday. Ben Haim still looks suspect in defence, Johnson needs to work on his pace as Darcheville gave him all sorts of problems yesterday.Our Midfield needs more work done, especially the understanding between Sidwell, Lampard and Malouda. Their passes to Malouda was a bit below par yesterday but I’m sure they'll improve.Should Jose go 4-3-3 this season(which he will do) then Sheva will miss out on starts. He must work harder, this is his challenge to do so.
Very pissed off. First half we controlled the game, great movement, we looked really good and there seemed to be a huge difference in class between us and them but created absolute fuck all. Second half we were awful until about 15 mins to go (basically when Pizzaro came on). I know it’s only a friendly but I am pissed off in the extreme, I want to win, I’m probably a sore loser but so fucking what. Why don’t we create chances? What is best 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 considering at the moment nothing works going forward?SWP was crap out wide, Why doesn’t he ever go outside? he just keeps cutting in and losing the fucking ball. Mikel just jogs back without a care in the world just looking to give away cheap free kicks, like for their 1st goal, all Mikel wanted to do was foul the fucker instead of actually trying to get the ball or chase him back with intent, Great finish from Novo though. Thank fuck Ashley Cole is back because playing a central defender as a full back just does not work full stop. We were caught out twice 2 on 1 when first Sebo went through and bollocksed up his chance, then deja vu, this time Novo with the chance but this time Ashley Cole defended brilliantly to deflect his shot over. In the first half, Ben Haim was great, playing in the center, he looked pretty formidable, but playing on the left or the right he was very dodgy. Glen Johnson was crap on the Left, I just hope we get a settled partnership there next season because if we get more injuries to full backs, we are in trouble. Sidwell was pretty shit too, god help us when Essien goes to the African nations. On the bright side, Ashley Cole looked good when he came on for his first appearance. Diarra once again looked good at right back, Pizarro looked good even though he's gotta sort his runs out, he was caught offside too carelessly. Lampard created 1 or 2 chances but FFS FRANK SORT THAT LEFT FOOT OUT!!Just pissed off that we have been so non-attacking in all our games this pre-season, we have no cutting edge what-so-ever and it looks like as last season, goal scoring might be a bit of a problem. Decent game though, well done to Rangers. Maybe we'll get our revenge one day by bringing you back to our place. It’s so hard losing to a team who you may never get revenge on. I'm still waiting for fucking Monaco!
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