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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Respect? Not at Stamford Bridge. Four wins on the bounce should be enough to cheer any manager up, but Luis Felipe Scolari still found reason to storm down the tunnel after his side's 2-0 win over Middlesbrough. It was assistant manager Ray Wilkins who was left to shake hands with the opposition as his boss scarpered, an unsavoury end to a unsavoury night of football.

"He didn't shake hands with any of us," confirmed Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate afterwards. "It was a strange reaction, but I suppose that was his prerogative."

Scolari was still fuming after a clash with Malcolm Crosby, Southgate's assistant, which erupted just before half-time. The Chelsea boss had leapt off his seat in the dug-out waving an imaginary card in reaction to the already-booked Mohamed Shawkey's handball. Crosby shouted something across the technical areas and Steve Bennett, the fourth official, was soon in action trying to calm everybody down.

"There were words between Scolari and my assistant," admitted Southgate. "He wanted to get one of my players booked and we were not happy about that."

Leaving aside Scolari's unsporting behaviour, it is worth pointing out that a handball is not a mandatory yellow card as most people seem to think. There's nothing in the rules about it and, according to former referee Graham Poll, officials are advised only to give yellow cards if the handball breaks up an attacking move or creates an advantage. Shawkey's handball was in the centre of the pitch and did nothing to sway the game. Scolari was wrong and his behaviour was appalling, especially when he tried to get at Crosby in the tunnel at half-time. Not that any of the assembled journalists were given the chance to quiz the Brazilian about it. I've been at three of Chelsea's last four matches and Ray Wilkins has taken every press conference.

"Have you had your job description changed, Ray?" scowled one journalist before the Chelsea number two had even sat down. Wilkins, an affable chap usually, shot him a withering look. It wasn't long before he was firing them out across the room as the press pack, out of frustration that they couldn't quiz Scolari, turned on him instead.

"It's an emotional game," said Wilkins in defence of his manager. "Passions do run high. They ran high on their bench, they ran high on ours."

Was the club upholding the intentions of the Respect Campaign? We never found out because Wilkins zipped off on a tangent, pointing out that Frank Lampard is called a fat you-know-what at every away game. Quite true, but not entirely relevant.

"Come on lads, there was a lot of football played out there as well," said an increasingly gruff Wilkins.

Here's the football in a nutshell. In the second half, Stewart Downing inexplicably attempted to keep a ball in play by hooking it off the touchline. The ball looped over his head and fell at Didier Drogba's feet. The big Ivorian couldn't believe his luck and hurtled off towards the goal before dragging his shot so far wide that it went out for a throw-in. It was awful. A long, drawn-out yawn of a game where Chelsea finally overcame the ambitionless 4-5-1 of a doomed Middlesbrough outfit, played out in perpetual drizzle. Given that Scolari himself couldn't even be bothered to turn up for the press conference, is it any that wonder no-one wanted to talk about the football?


There were many contenders, but Salomon Kalou takes the biscuit for running onto Ross Turnbull's parried save and tripping himself up as the ball ran past him. It was a miss so bad that even the Chelsea fans were laughing at him. A new low for this odd, little player.


Making the 'handcuff' signal to celebrate a goal is fine if you're paying tribute to a political prisoner. Making it for your mate when the police have had the temerity to ask him not to drink and drive is not so cool. If Salomon Kalou is guilty of the former, he should be ashamed of himself.


There wasn't much to be impressed with in the Middlesbrough line-up, but the performance of Adam Johnson on the right-wing was very interesting. The youngster is quick, technically adept, assertive and comfortable on either foot. He'll be at Arsenal in a heartbeat if Boro go down.


The punters can join the queue behind the fans who paid money to watch this rubbish. They should have the right to rant first. Middlesbrough came with absolutely no intention of trying to win the game, changing their tactics only when it was too late to turn the game around.


Middlesbrough's new signing Marlon King was completely obliterated by Alex. The big Brazilian defender picked him up and tucked him away in his pocket, releasing him only when Gareth Southgate put him out of his misery by substituting him after an hour. Excellent defending.


Match Stats

Crowd - 40,280
Yellow Cards - Riggott, Shawkey (Middlesbrough)
Red Cards - None
Chelsea -
Petr Cech 7, Ashley Cole 6, Frank Lampard 7, John Obi Mikel 7, Michael Ballack 7, Florent Malouda 6 (Didier Drogba 6, 45th), Jose Bosingwa 7, Salomon Kalou 7 (Deco 6, 82nd), John Terry 7, Alex 8, Nicolas Anelka 7 (Miroslav Stoch, 88th)
Middlesbrough -
Ross Turnbull 6, Gary O'Neil 6, Chris Riggott 7, Emanuel Pogatetz 6, Mohamed Shawkey 6 (Sanli Tuncay 6, 64th), Marlon King 5 (Alfonso Alves 6, 64th), Stewart Downing 6, Matthew Bates 6, Adam Johnson 7, Tony McMahon 7, David Wheater 7
does anyone remember seeing after the Southend/Chelsea game at Roots Hall, on the highlights, at the end of the game, Scolari shook his finger at and had words with Brushy?
Weird how West Ham have gotten really good now they've pinched Clarke from Chelsea, and in turn how Chelsea have gone to the dogs?

The underrated secret to their success?
Weird how West Ham have gotten really good now they've pinched Clarke from Chelsea, and in turn how Chelsea have gone to the dogs?

The underrated secret to their success?

By "gone to the dogs" you mean that they've just climbed to second place in the Premiership, are safely through to the 5th round of the FA Cup and the knockout stages of the Champions League, right?
By "gone to the dogs" you mean that they've just climbed to second place in the Premiership, are safely through to the 5th round of the FA Cup and the knockout stages of the Champions League, right?

Well yeah, they're not doing bad. But they played poorly against us over the two legs, were lucky that Middlesborough were so ineffective yesterday (1 shot is all they managed) and haven't been tested in the Champions League properly yet.

They've lost all their confidence at home, the defense looks confused, the midfield looks tired and the forwards aren't getting much joy.

They're so far off of Man U...