Sunday, October 15, 2006

Two defeats - one thrashing and one hard fought

Blackwell sacked and Carver takes over as caretaker manager. In his first game Leeds took 3 points off Birmingham. Since then two very poor performances have seen Leeds lose 4-2 to West Brom with 10 men and yesterday they lost 4-0 to Stoke. Yet again a penalty was missed and Carver is beginning to find out just how tough this job can be.

He was quoted after the game as follows "I know what my ambitions are but I have to be quite honest and say possibly this ends my chance of getting the manager's job full-time. The result doesn't help my cause but I will take it on the chin. It was a dreadful day and my first apology is to the fans because we had built their hopes up."

Hearsay on the message boards indicates the players are still unhappy and speculation is that Butler is at the heart of the problems. Whoever or whatever is the cause of the problems Carver now has nothing to lose if he wants to have any chance of securing the job on a permanent basis and should act to drop whoever the troublemakers are for the game against Leicester on Tuesday night. If things don't change he will lose his job anyway

And so the Madejski Stadium for a blood and thunder encounter between Reading and Chelsea. After this game (and the 1-1 draw with Manchester United) no team in the Premiership will be in any doubt as to Readings grit and determination to battle for each and every point this season. Yes Chelsea have millions and millions worth of talent at their disposal but Reading matched them throughout the game despite Chelseas clearly superior possession.

The game had everything. Petr Cech departed in the opening minute after colliding with Hunt. Mourinho later all but accused Hunt of hitting Cech deliberately but in my opinion (and that of several national newspapers) both players were entitled to go for the ball. Chelsea scored via an own goal from a deflected free kick that should never have been given by Mike Riley. The referee had a poor game in my opinion with Chelsea diving and bullying their way to a lot of the decisions which went their way. Two players were dismissed Mikel and Bikey (both probably a bit unlucky) and apparently both teams had a member of their coaching staff (Dillon for Reading and Rui Faria for Chelsea) sent to the stands in a fracas towards the end of the match. Cudicini was also knocked out about two minutes before the end of what turned out to be a 102 minute game.

The Chelsea players and fans were deservedly abused by the Reading fans with taunts of "Divers, Divers" but doubtless they will be happy with their three points. Anyone else visiting the Madejski Stadium this season and hoping for an easy ride will now be aware they will not get one.

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