Sliding into the knockout stages.
Bane smash. Bane score goals. Bane power Chelsea into the last 16 of the Champions League.
A brace from Branislav Ivanovic highlighted our decisive 4-1 win over Spartak at Stamford Bridge. How appropriate was it then that the many faces of Ivanovic precede this post? Uncanny foresight from The CO.
I love Bane. So hot right now. That's three goals in two for the weathered Serbian. This to compliment his already teflon defensive game. Did I mention the man has quads the size of sequoias? Beast.
Ivanovic was alone on this day. No sir. Among those adding their own eye-catching performances were - in my humble opinion - Yuri Zhirkov, Nicolas Anelka, John Obi Mikel, Ramires (you read that correctly) and, yes, Didier Drogba. Drogba stumbled in and out of the peripheral for an hour or there abouts, as he has since returning from a virus, but seemingly fully Hulk'd out once he won a penalty, and subsequently scored our second. BOOM. Pillaging from thereon. The set-up for Bane's first? Scrumptious. Perfect time for the Mighty One to regain his rhythm, what with Anfield in four days.
Zhirkov continues to bring great balance to this current midfield deployment. Superb. Anelka provided something of a blinder for our opening goal. What a finisher this man is. The Frenchman, on the whole, was his usual self - effective, understated, excellent. Ramires, apart from some truly woeful finishing, was impressive in his first action for three games. Great range of passing. Also seems to be gradually adapting to the physical style. Huzzah. And, if I may, a kind word for Paulo. The man just continues to put in solid shifts when called upon. Well done.
As for the team performance - certainly the first half was less than enthralling, but nevermind that. The fact that this side continues to find ways to get results without extracting the utmost from within is kind of amazing. I'd wager that Wednesday represented the 10th, 11th game this season in which we have failed to break second gear. And we scored four, FOUR. Nutso. Conservation, particularly with our lack of depth, is a must. That said, here's to hoping we can turn it on when needed.
Three points. Top of Group F. Qualification ensured. A fine day to be sure. KTBFFH