After two of the greatest football teams in the world clashed last week an stuttered to a boring nil-nil, I must confess that my hopes weren’t high for last night’s second leg of Chelsea vs Barcelona. However, having watched Barca destroy Real Madrid at the weekend, I confess I was hoping for some attacking flair and Chelsea being humbled in front of their own fans.
It turned out to be a controversial affair that ended with Didier Drogba swearing on live television and a roly-poly Norwegian referee being smuggled out of the country like a paedophile at The Old Bailey.
Michael Essien scored Chelsea’s goal after nine minutes with a one-in-a-thousand left-footed volley into the top corner – a goal that deserved to win any game, making the next hour and a half all the more amusing.
Throughout the game, Barcelona had the majority of possession but couldn’t get near the goal as Chelsea soaked it up and played on the break. Much to the dismay of their supporters and players, Chelsea had a total of four penalty appeals turned down by the ref and, just on the law of averages, at least one of those ought to have been given. But they weren’t.
In the 92nd minute, Andres Iniesta hit one of those rising shots that looks like it would kill a spectator if it goes wide. It tore into the top corner leaving Michael Ballack thumping the ground with his fist, and Didier Drogba, by now back on the bench in an apoplectic rage.
I missed a lot of the scenes after the final whistle, which featured Drogba almost tearing his clothes in horror at the injustice, because I was bent double with mirth. As a relative neutral, I have to say that the prospect of Manchester United playing Barcelona is a much more appealing final than yet another meeting with Chelsea.
As in previous rounds, I found my mind wandering during the action, and started assessing the Chelsea squad by haircut. I have had my suspicions about Drogba for a while now, but every time I see him, it becomes more and more apparent that the man is quite plainly going bald. He has it long at the back and wears that headband, but it does him no favours.
After he scored, I noticed exactly the same thing about Michael Essien – he has thick lustrous locks covering the rearmost 60-70% of his bonce, but there’s no mistaking that self-same receding hairline.
Surely this is a role for Ray Wilkins – brought in during the Scolari regime to instil some good old fashioned British grit and determination, he needs to pull these fancy-dan foreign boys aside and tell them to shave it all off. He is living proof that looking like Uncle Fester need not be an impediment to an international football career.
Looks like Nicolas Anelka got the tap on the shoulder some years ago.
While we’re on the subject, what on earth has Florent Malouda done to his hair? He has his hair braided (which sounds like agony to me), and then drawn into a point at the back, where there’s a little hair stem that makes him look like he has a freshly plucked piece of fruit on his shoulders.
We used to have a guinea pig before the boy was born who had hair growing in every different direction possible. The poor little sod looked like someone had dragged him backwards through a brush, covered him in glue, thrown a pile of straw at him, and then dried him off with an industrial strength fan. John Terry, ladies and gentlemen.
Petr Cech has got the right idea with his skull cap – designed specifically to match his big girl’s blouse. For all we know, he could look like Manuel Almunia under there.
Incidentally, there is a lot of hot air at the moment about whether or not Manuel Almunia should be allowed to play for England. Despite being 100% Spanish, he has now lived in Britain for long enough to claim citizenship, whereupon he will be entitled to play for any of the home nations (I would pick Northern Ireland just to annoy Capello). Although this is within the rules, there is much hand-wringing about whether we should allow a Spaniard to wear the three lions.
But this is totally missing the point – the real debate should be whether or not we want the England shirt to be worn by a 32 year old man who thinks it is appropriate to bleach his hair.