Monday, February 26, 2007

A million miles from home

But happy!

...Half past four in the morning and looking out over the harbour. A half finished glass of water sits on the table, tell-tale signs of another night of excess down under. The city out there is blissfully unaware of the result from Cardiff. But, it matters not a jot. It's the win that counts. Didier Drogba grabbed both goals as Chelsea came from behind to win a Carling Cup final that ended in ugly scenes at the Millennium Stadium. Junior Walcott had given The Arsenal a lead after showing Ricardo Carvalho forged ID...

Full match report to follow when I wake up...


However, the Blues equalised when The Drog beat the infamous The Arsenal offside trap to slot home an equaliser and then with six minutes to go he headed in a powerful winner. A crappy brawl erupted between the sides late on that led to dismissals for Mikel Jon Obi, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor. It was an amusing climax to an intriguing final and cruel luck (yeah right!) on Arsenal's young side, who allegedly dominated for large spells in the last League Cup final in Cardiff.

Arsenal's outfield players had an average age of less than 21 but they showed few nerves in producing some wonderful football before eventually running out of steam. And they fell victim to the clinical finishing of Drogba, who scored his 27th and 28th goals of the season to again deny Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a League Cup medal - which is a real shame!

The Blues had Petr Cech to thank in the 11th minute for a stunning save after Julio Baptista had drilled a shot through the legs of John Terry, who surprisingly overcame an ankle injury to play but ended the day in hospital. Chelsea failed to clear the resulting corner and Walcott exchanged passes with Abou Diaby and glided past Carvalho before keeping his cool to slot the ball past Cech.

The 17-year-old could not have chosen a more predictable time to score his first goal for the Gunners. Although the fact that he was actually allowed to play in a match sponsored by an Alcoholic beverage company, surely a blatant case of flouting the licencing laws, must have been a key factor in Lord Percy's half-hearted attempt to nobble him.

However, fear not stout hearted fellows! The Blues equalised in clinical fashion in the 20th minute. The Arsenal back line pushed up when Michael Ballack played a ball over the top for Drogba, who ran on to slip the ball under Manuel Almunia. It was a split decision given in favour of the attacking player but Wenger spent much of the opening half displaying his anger at a linesman's failure to flag. Well, lordy me! Arsene Wenger moaning again, whatever next.

Arsenal continued to run around a lot and apparently could have restored their lead just before half-time - but for a Lord Percy intervention to deny Jeremie Aliadiere. And the Gunners continued to look the more likely scorers after the break, or so the bloke from the BBC web site reckoned with Diaby denied by Cech and Fabregas shooting just the wrong side of the post.

The Blues lost skipper Terry midway through the half when he took a boot in the face from Diaby as he tried to finish off an Arjen Robben corner. Terry was knocked unconscious and the referee gave a goal-kick. Well, he is Chelsea you know. The brutal and clumsy assault fired up the boys (the things he does to get them going) and they finished strongly and Arsenal's young legs began to tire. All that aimless running around and pouting no doubt. Drogba had a shot saved by Almunia and Frank Lampard produced a dipping long-range shot that smacked against the bar.

In the 84th minute Robben's cross picked out Drogba and he headed past a stranded Almunia, having left the witless Senderos sprawling on the Millenium Stadium's turf for the umpteenth time. Sheva could have made the seven minutes of injury time more bearable but his drilled shot thundered back off the bar. The game ended in a bit of a tizz when Obi clashed with Toure and several players from each team, as well as both managers, got involved in an ugly scuffle. Referee Howard the Duck dished out three red cards to Toure, Adebayor and Obi as well as matching yellows to Fabregas and Super Frank. Over 11 minutes of added-on time was played before the final whistle was blown to hand the first major trophy of the season to Jose and the Boys. One down...

Chelsea: Cech, Diarra, Terry (Mikel 63), Carvalho, Bridge, Makelele (Robben 46), Lampard, Ballack, Essien, Shevchenko (Kalou 90), Drogba. Subs Not Used: Hilario, Ashley Cole.
Sent Off: Mikel (90).
Booked: Essien, Carvalho, Diarra, Lampard.
Goals: Drogba 20, 84.

Arsenal: Almunia, Hoyte, Toure, Senderos, Traore (Eboue 66), Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Diaby (Hleb 68), Aliadiere (Adebayor 80), Julio Baptista. Subs Not Used: Poom, Djourou.
Sent Off: Toure (90), Adebayor (90).
Booked: Denilson, Eboue, Fabregas.
Goals: Walcott 12.

Post script.
JT is fine in fact he was back at the stadium soon after the match having checked out of hospital. Flash was last heard of giving it large to all the Gooners and funnily enough the Arsenal fans I know seem all to have their mobiles switched off.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Things I have learned in Australia (1)

Fag breaks are Smoko's
- A slang term used on building sites in Australia, meaning a morning-tea break, or a smoke break.
"we'll knock off at 11 for smoko"
"grab us some pies for smoko"

Chavs are Bogun's
- Australian person, usually caucasian,of uncouth and lower class background,residing on the edge of civilisation. Characteristics of a bogun include,proudly sporting a mullet hair cut,extremely small shorts,a grease stained t-shirt underneath a flanelette shirt of some description.A bogun's natural habitat is any suburb of Australia with low property values,in a house that generally has 2 or 3 cars up on bricks in the front yard with no wheels or missing vital mechanical parts.One of the cars must be a ute(utility vehicle).Boguns are genrally spotted with a stubbie(screw top beer bottle) or bong (pot smoking paraphernalia) in hand.

Dustmen are Garbo's
- Originally Greta Louisa Gustafsson, born in 1905 and perished in 1990. Swedish-born American actress who was known for her preferring to be isolated.Also known for her performances in such films as Queen Christina (1933) and Camille (1937).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Keep that bloody noise down

The world's largest ocean liner the Queen Mary 2 has departed Sydney, capping off a brief but historic visit to the harbour city. The $1 billion grand lady of the sea made her maiden visit to Sydney on Tuesday, arriving through the heads at 5.45am before docking at the Garden Island naval base. All of which was very nice, but did they have to make so much noise? As the QM2 came through the heads, it was accompanied but a flotilla of about 100 small ships and a small squadron of news helicopters. Lovely! Ideal in fact after a late night.

It was too tall, at 23 storeys high, to sail under the Harbour Bridge and too long to berth at the International Terminal at Circular Quay. At 7pm Tuesday, the liner was joined by her smaller sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2, the two greeting each other with the sound of their foghorns as the QE2 sailed past on her way to Circular Quay.

Where as luck would have it I was due to have share the best part of a bottle or two of crispy white with my Finnish friend. The locals response to the arrival was very refreshing. Full of awe and innocence that the worlds two most famous cruise ships had deigned to pop in to see Sydney. Up close the QE2 looked a bit rusty but I'm sure it is perfectly sea-worthy (remember where you read it first). Apparently there was a huge firework display but we missed that as the QE2 had blocked out the sky. However, I did get to share in the battle for a taxi home afterwards. So, I do feel as though I was a part of the whole historic experience.

That's Sydney for you. A little bit of history every day!

Go to this link to see a video

Sunday, February 11, 2007

If only we'd had a bit more of a challenge (part 2) or On days like this I wish I was going in to work tomorrow

International Triangular Series
Australia: 152-8 ( 27.0 overs )
England: 246-8 ( 50.0 overs )
England beat Australia by 34 runs (D/L)
Rain stopped play

England won their first major overseas one-day tournament since 1997 as they beat Australia by 34 runs in the second match of the finals series in Sydney. Paul Collingwood hit 70 in England's 246-8 before Liam Plunkett took three wickets in Australia's top order. Three weather interruptions - and the regular loss of wickets - meant Australia's target was adjusted twice. They ultimately needed 211 from 33 overs and finished on 152-8 from 27, before rain ended play completely. Collingwood, who came into this match after back-to-back centuries, was named man of the finals series after another vital innings.

It was the first time in 14 years that Australia had lost in the finals of their home one-day series - and the first time England have won this particular tournament since 1986-87, when they also clinched the Ashes.

I can't wait until tomorrow. Postmen, shop assistants, school children etc.... Are they going to cop some stick!

Friday, February 09, 2007

If only we'd had a bit more of a challenge (part 1)

International Triangular Series
Australia: 252 ( 48.3 overs )
England: 253-6 ( 49.3 overs )
England beat Australia by 4 wickets

Friday, February 02, 2007

We won, we bloody won...

England completed their first victory over Australia since the 2005 Ashes after Ed Joyce's century in Sydney. Joyce, dropped twice, made 107 from 142 balls to help better by 66 England's previous best of the one-day series. Chasing 293, Australia were bowled out for 200 in 38.5 overs, with Andrew Symonds having retired hurt on 39. Matthew Hayden was top-scorer with 51. Liam Plunkett (3-24) and Sajid Mahmood (2-38) both struck in the first eight balls to cut the hosts to 4-2.

It was the fourth-heaviest defeat inflicted by England on Australia in a one-day match.

And I was there! Can't help but think that if I'd only come out in November!

Thursday, February 01, 2007