Cardiff City v Chelsea: Premier League – as it happened

Two late goals – the first of them offside and plenty – salvaged another lacklustre Chelsea performance and caused Neil Warnock intense consternation; his Cardiff team remain in serious danger of relegation

Right then – thanks all for your company and comments. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and join Rob Smyth for Liverpool v Spurs.

Seeing the equaliser again, the linesman was behind Willian, who took the corner – though he did himself no favours by jockeying along in the same direction.

It is my sad duty to report that Warnock is going to wait to give his interview until he’s calmed down. Thoughts and prayers with us all at this distressing time.

At full-time Warnock went and stood on the centre-circle, facing down the officials - eee, it were dead scary - then when they were good and ready, they strode off right past him as though Warnock were Brexit and the officials were the EU. I believe they call this a metaphor.

Cardiff played well today, and will be fairly upset with how things panned out: Chelsea’s equaliser was exceedingly offside and Rudiger could well have been sent off. Chelsea, meanwhile were and are rubbish, but perhaps that win will inspire to be less so. They stay sixth, a point behind Spurs and Man United, while Cardiff stay third bottom, five points behind Burnley, who they play next weekend. They’ve got a game in hand, but that’s against Man City, so if they don’t win at Turf Moor, they’re in significant trouble.

Full-time: Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea

Well that was a lot of fun in the end.

Warnock, not happy with referee Craig Pawson after the match.
Warnock, not happy with referee Craig Pawson after the match. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters


90+8 min The first half was nonsense, but the second has been terrific.

90+7 min Bennett goes over the wall and inside the near post, but can’t get the power to mither Kepa.

90+6 min Again, Morrison is yanked, this time by Giroud - it’s outside the box, but the ref still isn’t arsed - then Cardiff with a free-kick, 25 yards out, just right of tHe D...

90+5 min Sky have apologised for any words we might have seen Warnock mouth. I cannot wait for his press conference.

90+4 min Will it be three? Hazard sees Gunnarsson coming in the centre-circle, feinting left, back to his man, then twisting right and skating away. He sees Barkley chugging up alongside him, so rolls him in ... and Barkley skews a shot wide of the near post.

90+2 In all the fuss, I forgot to note that there’ll be seven minutes of added time.

GOAL! Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea (Loftus-Cheek, 90)

Sarri is a genius! Hazard holds up on the right edge of the box, lays back to Azpilicueta, and he finds Willian who swerves a cross to the back post ... where Loftus-Cheek is all over Peltier to smash home a header! I am not certain Neil Warnock respects the democratic will of the officials.

Loftus-Cheek heads home Chelsea’s second.
Loftus-Cheek heads home Chelsea’s second. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters
And celebrates.
And celebrates. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters


89 min Warnock is still waving like the air-traffic controller like Jimbo and Jet Set. He sends on Mendez-Laing, who looks like he’s got a coathanger down his top, for Niasse

86 min A long ball, and Zohore is in! Kepa charges out, Rudiger pulls Niasse down ... and the ref books him! On the touchline, Warnock is doing his absolute nut - it’s almost as if Brexit didn’t happen!

85 min Zohore replaces Niasse, then Ralls is booked for a foul on someone - I didn’t see who.

GOAL! Cardiff City 1-1 Chelsea (Azpilicueta, 84)

Oh Neil Warnock is going to love that! Alonso flicks on the corner at the near post and in the middle, Azpilicueta and Loftus-Cheek are about a fortnight offside, but Craig Paulson and the boyz don’t notice, so Azpilicueta heads home and there we go!

Azpilicueta scores the equaliser.
Azpilicueta scores the equaliser. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters


84 min Lovely from Hazard, nudging in to Kovacic who slides a return to the line; Hazard crosses low and Morrison does really well to get it behind without scoring an own-goal.

82 min “It’s one thing to protect young players,” emails Errol Thomas. “It’s another to hold them back when they’re clearly ready. Hudson-Odoi is in irrepressible form. Surely he’s exactly the player you’d call on when chasing a 1-0 deficit with all conventional measures proving futile. Hugely disheartening.”

I can see why he sent Giroud on - though not for Higuain. The problem was that Sarri had already expended a change getting his best player on the pitch, and another replacing a midfielder with a midfielder.

80 min Arter is replaced by Ralls.

78 min “We want Sarri out!” chant the Chelsea fans, and I’m not going to lie: I feel them. This is abject and pathetic, and a lot of that is his fault. He loves 4-3-3 more than anyone has ever loved anything - Romeo and Juliet they never felt this way I bet.


77 min I give up. I really do. With Chelsea needing a goal, Sarri sends on a striker - for a striker! Giroud replaces Higuain, and I’m pretty sure that whatever the result today, 4-3-3 will be the winner.

75 min Oh look! There’s Higuain! He’s here! Hello! He takes the ball outside the box, on its right corner, shlurries inside, and whacks a curler than Morrison does really well to get a head on - that was going close.

74 min Hazard sashays past Peltier and finds Willian in the box, who darts outside Morrison and drags a cross-shot just wide.

Hazard, challenged by Peltier.
Hazard, challenged by Peltier. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images


73 min Why doesn’t Sarri get another striker on? I believe they can be quite useful when a team is looking to score a goal.


71 min Time passes.

69 min That Allez Allez Allez song: do the supporters who introduce it to their club’s canon think “By jove I think I’ve got it! Wait til the lads hear this brainwave!”


68 min Barkley curls a ball into the box and Morrison slips, conceding a corner. Loftus-Cheek takes it short, goes for the return, and dearie me, he’s offside.

65 min Better from Chelsea, Higuain winning the ball on the edge of the box and bundling a pass to Loftus-Cheek. He’s ganting on a shot but Gunnarsson does enough to cramp him, and then when it breaks to Hazard, he opts to beat his man instead of hitting it and is crowded out.

Arter does just enough to put Hazard off.
Arter does just enough to put Hazard off. Photograph: Andrew Lewis/Frozen in Motion/REX/Shutterstock


64 min Loftus-Cheek replaces Jorginho. It is, of course, inconceivable that a formation change might help Chelsea because Sarri’s 4-3-3 in infallible and whenever things don’t work, it’s the players’ faults.

64 min Kovacic finds himself some space outside the box and wafts a shot over the bar.

62 min Camarasa drives a corner into the middle - that’s a nice little ploy - and a crowded Kepa comes and misses, but someone, I didn’t see who, gets in Morrison’s way.

62 min Jose Mourinho needs a job.

60 min Azpilicueta pulls back Niasse and is booked.

60 min Ruben Loftus-Cheek is warming up vigorously.

59 min Niasse finds Gunnarsson down the left but he doesn’t trust his pace so checks. Eventually the ball ends up with Hoilett, and he sends a curler wide - I’m not sure Hilda Ogden would appreciate such wastefulness.

58 min Hazard drops back to halfway to get the ball - perhaps he’s not so sure his mates will get it to him otherwise. But Chelsea have looked a little livelier since bringing on their best player - makes you think, really.

56 min Apparently the Chelsea fans are singing “Fuck Sarriball”. Strange, I thought they didn’t like it and now they want to make love to it. Football fans are so fickle.

Chelsea fans chant against Sarriball.
Chelsea fans chant against Sarriball. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


54 min Rudiger pulls Morrison’s arm in the box and again a penalty isn’t given. Chelsea then break and Arter boots Hazard; he’s booked. Free-kick Chelsea, 25 yards out, but well left. Willian’s free-kick is blocked.

53 min Can someone please confirm that Eden Hazard’s nickname is Kishon?

53 min On comes Eden Hazard; off goes Pedro.

52 min A football match appears to have broken out. Niasse drives at the Chelsea defence, beating Azpilicueta before heading for the traffic as if on purpose.

Niasse drives forward.
Niasse drives forward. Photograph: Gareth Everett/Huw Evans/REX/Shutterstock


51 min Pedro lifts a ball over to Willian but it’s slightly behind him, so that when he’s set, Peltier is there to block.

50 min Pound to a penny Warnock’s half-time team-talk consisted of the words “They’re expletive expletive, these.”

49 min Cardiff are on one! First, another long throw causes aggravation, then Camarasa goes down the right and his low cross has Kepa diving to remedy the situation.

48 min I’d swap Barkley and Kovacic if I was Sarri.

WHAT A GOAL! Cardiff City 1-0 Chelsea (Camarasa 46)

Gunnarsson hurls a throw - ho and hum - Luiz heads back to him - ho and hum. But then Gunnarsson lays back to Arter, just outside the box, and he turns a lovely cross into the box; Camarasa uses the pace to caress-turn a gorgeous volley past Kepa!

Camarasa scores the opener for Cardiff.
Camarasa scores the opener for Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Camarasa celebrates.
Camarasa celebrates. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters


46 min We “go” again.

Right then.

“Give Chelsea a break,” requests JR in Illinois. “Did you ever consider that maybe their teams supply of water and sporty drinks got spiked with a psychedelic laced barbiturate? That would explain both their torpor as well as why they keep trying to pass to invisible teammates. Of course another possibility is that they have contracted folie à plusieurs. Eh, that’s all I’ve got.”

Half-time esotera from Ian Copestake: “If Thomas Carlyle was around to follow the MBM (a big Ecclefechan fan by all accounts with a soft spot for Clachnacuddin FC) he would be happy to see ‘dreck’ doing the rounds. His character, Teufelsdreck from his 1836 hit Sartor Resartus saw him struggle with hitting his deadlines (for the serialised version): ‘I am struggling forward with Dreck, sick enough, but not in bad heart. I think the world will nowise be enraptured with this (medicinal) Devil’s Dung; that the critical republic will cackle vituperatively or perhaps maintain total silence.’”

Dreck needs to be said with a rolled r, so it’s almost - but not quite - “dleck”.


Chelsea need to change something – hey lack pace, power, ideas, moxie, zest, strategy, joy, enterprise, energy, passion, wit, invention and imagination. They’ve been ok otherwise, though. Cardiff, meanwhile, are puffing and huffing but don’t really know how to score. The second half should be a jazzer.

Half-time: Cardiff City 0-0 Chelsea

It’s been every bit as good as you think.

45+1 min “Relatable words,” emails Paul Fitzgerald. “Or as the lads at home in Ireland say: Rot.”

I don’t mind rot, relatively speaking. I think this is now in shtuss territory.

45 min There’ll be one added minute.

44 min Arter rolls Hoilett in down the left and his first time cross is for Niasse at the near post. But it’s slightly behind him, and Luiz is right in front of him, so all he can do is contort into the header the flies wide and plenty.

42 min “This is dire,” begins Lee Madden. “If Sarri was brought in to give Chelsea an identity and philosophy that worked for the team, then he has failed in his job. This team look one dimensional and directionless, typified by multiple aimless passes in this game. It’s clear to me that, as a Chelsea fan, there must be a change, either in the manager or by way of a significant overhaul of the squad. Credit to Cardiff though - they’re hard working, tactically solid and look dangerous on the counter.”

Yes, it is. The problem with managers who insist on playing a certain way is that if they don’t have the players to do it, they’re diddled. I’m not sure how Chelsea expected things to go given the lack of funds to resolve things, but Sarri’s refusal to adapt, be bold and impart any zest speaks very badly of him.

40 min Willian makes ground down the left and crosses; a quick deflection earns a corner. And what, some invention! Swear down! Willian punches a low pass into Pedro, at the near edge of the box running towards him; he then punches the return across the box to Alonso, who lunges with his right foot and inepts wide.

39 min “There’s a Dutch word, zwak,” tweets Serge Nuffler. “It means: weak, pathetic. Chelsea are zwak. Root.”

Maybe the orange socks are a sly tribute.

38 min Willian bends over the wall and just wide of the near post. That was a decent effort - hell, it was an effort, and for that we are all grateful.

Willian curls in his free-kick.
Willian curls in his free-kick. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


37 min Willian cuts in off the left and as he nears the D, Peltier trips him. Free-kick, 25 yards out, just right of centre.

36 min Chelsea try to inject some pace, and Luiz flips a ball into the box for Barkley, but he can only backhead it to no one.

34 min “I learned the German word ‘schwach’ by watching the Bundesliga when I first moved to Germany,” emails David Hindle. “It was really grim in the early 2000s. Unimaginably awful at times. Mostly due to missing hundreds of “sitters” in ways so creative, you wondered how they did it. But that was the era of Benny Lauth, Colin Benjamin and co. And the endless parade of perpetually recycled managers - a bit like German tv which only has the same 10 or 20 actors available for anything it puts out. And when Carsten Jancker was considered top class for a season. You’ve got it comparatively easy, believe me.”

Carsten is an absolute belter of a name.

32 min Cardiff win a corner down the right and Murphy takes it; Luiz half-clears the initial delivery while Alonso fouls Morrison - like Gunnarsson’s tug on Luiz, that’s a penalty - then Camarasa clumps a shot from distance straight at Kepa.

31 min “More dreck than schvach,” emails David Goldstone. “For the uninitiated, a definition: Worthless, distasteful, or nonsensical material: “the dreck that generally passes for the modern sitcom” (David Carr). 2. Rubbish; trash. [German, dirt, trash, andYiddish drek, excrement, both from Middle High German drec, dung, filth, from Old High German; see sker- in Indo-European roots.]”

Drek is an excellent insult for a person, too.

29 min Vast quantities of nothing.

27 min “It must be similar to Schrödinger’s cat,” emails Adam Kline-Schoder. “If Kovacic was named in the starting lineup, if you never look at the television he can be both on the pitch and not on the pitch at the same time. The only logical conclusion, then, since (I imagine) you’re looking at the television, is that Kovacic does not exist and is just a concept waiting to be personified as a footballer in some future life. Or parallel universe. In other news, I was planning on holding off on doing my taxes until after this match, but I’m starting to change my mind because doing taxes may actually be more interesting.”

This is interesting as I was wondering if, perhaps, he is a concept waiting to be footballed as a personification.

26 min Murphy skates down the side of Jorginho, who rectifies the situation with a double-handed yank. He’s booked and Camarasa’s free-kick drifts over the goalline. Of course it does.

25 min This is pure effluence.

24 min “There’s a German word, schwach,” tweets Lindan. “It means: weak, pathetic. Chelsea are schwach.”


22 min “There’s a relaxed contrast between the Cardiff blue v Chelsea light blue kits which brings back happy memories of Subbuteo games, emails Duncan Edwards. “Those played between two unpopular teams left by the time grandma did her Christmas shopping. I’m digging Chelsea’s socks though!”

I think of Andy Myers and Eddie Newton when I see this kit, and agree the socks are decent. I can’t abide calling the top graphite, though.

20 min What is Chelsea’s plan here? They’re just so slow. But here they come in midfield, Barkley and the person who might be Kovacic combining. Bennett, who looks like he should be crying on X Factor at judge’s houses, sticks out a thigh to trip him, but the ref allows play to on and the move pietros out.

Bennett clashes with Kovacic.
Bennett clashes with Kovacic. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images


18 min There’s a Yiddish word, shvach. It means: weak, pathetic, (a place or gathering that is) lacking in activity. Chelsea are shvach.

16 min Anyone for philosophy? Here goes: does Matteo Kovacic exist and if so, how do we know and what does he do?

15 min Chelsea knock it about their own half. As soon as they get out of it, Cardiff press, so they go backwards again.

13 min Cardiff retaliate, Murphy swerving inside a befuddled Alonso on the right of the box. He’s a proper sight of goal here and opens his body to seek the far corner before looking for pace not placement; the ball zooms half a foot wide.

11 min Lovely from Pedro, taking the ball off Willian 25 yards out and fooling Morrison with a shimmy, thereby creating space to wipe his foot across the ball; he unleashes a rasper that’s far too good for Etheridge but clips the top of the bar. Luckily, Harry Kane wasn’t sitting on it.

Pedro shoots.
Pedro shoots. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock


11 min Higuain almost takes a throw.

10 min Neither side will mind what’s been a quiet start. Cardiff haven’t let Chelsea find a rhythm, while Chelsea haven’t let Cardiff wind it up.

8 min Cardiff sling a free-kick towards Morrison, but Chelsea are wise to the ruse and are doubling-up on him with Rudiger and Azpilicueta. They see the ball away.

7 min Looking at this Chelsea side, it’s not at all easy to plot a route for them. Whether Sarri stays or goes, and whoever the next manager is, they have very few players good enough to carry a title challenge - likewise Arsenal while we’re on that tip.

6 min Nice from Murphy, isolating Luiz out wide and stretching past him, but Azpilicueta is on-hand to boot clear.

6 min Arter has lightly twisted an ankle. He grimaces and contemplates treatment, but looks fine.

4 min The corner comes to nowt, but a replay shows us Gunnarsson yanking Rudiger to the ground. There are going to be so many penalties when VAR turns up next season.

3 min Chelsea knock it around pleasantly enough, Luiz conducting and moving into midfield with the ball. Eventually, Barkley barges forward from centre-circle to right edge of the box where, from a tight angle, he does well to drive a drive into Ecuele Manga, winning a corner.

Barkley on the attack.
Barkley on the attack. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images


2 min Etheridge looks long off the ground, but David Luiz stands strong against Niasse.

1 min Off we go. For those watching in black and white, Cardiff are in blue and Chelsea are in graphite and tangerine.

There’s not a huge amount of noise in the ground at the moment. Cardiff need to get that sorted, because their team need the kind of atmosphere that gets things going.

Here they come!

Both teams line up in front of the No room for racism sign.
Both teams line up in front of the No room for racism sign. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


The players are tunnelled...

It’s just kicked off at full-time in the Old Firm game - the kinds of scenes that absolutely NO ONE wants to see - and Scotty Broon is laughing hard, you’ll be surprised to learn. Niall McVeigh has the latest on that.

Neil Warnock offers some words in Yarkshire. From what I can translate, he says that any points off the better teams are a bonus and 17.4 million people can’t be wrong.

Sol Bamba hopes Cardiff win. More news as I get it.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is such a measured and articulate speaker. Sky have just shown a VT of him with Eden Hazard in which he spoke about the importance of staying calm when racially abused and diplomatically deadbatted questions about his lack of sensible opportunity.

The problem for Cardiff, as it has been all season, will be scoring goals. It’s hard to rely on scrappiness, but they’ll probably have to.

Cardiff will fancy themselves today, I reckon, but the pair of games that follows Man City on Wednesday will be key for them. They’ve got Burnley away, then Brighton away, then after a trip to Anfield, Fulham away and Palace home. That is about as kind as a run-in can be.

Talking of Barkley, what level of player can he be? It became fashionable to rag him for a bit, and perhaps he should be better than he is by now, but his ability to run with the ball and his strength on it isn’t something that should be cursorily discarded. He might need more coaching than most - the question is whether he’ll find a manager able to give it him.

As for Cardiff, my guess is that they’ll look to target Chelsea’s full-backs. Alonso isn’t really a defender, while Azpilicueta is probably past his best now and more comfortable on the right of three. No doubt they’ll also look to get “in and around” Jorginho, but Barkley looks to me like the one they’ll need to stop.

I suppose there might be wisdom in Sarri’s approach: Hazard, Kante and Hudson-Odoi would be an unwelcome prospect for a tiring team. But Cardiff might be settled into the game by then, and Chelsea could really use some momentum.

Chelsea have a game against Brighton in midweek, but Sarri’s selection looks a lot like he’s relying on the Europa League. I daresay he’s not expecting to be at Stamford Bridge next season, and a pot will be there forever; Champions League qualification will not.

Cardiff are unchanged from their last game; Chelsea are not. Maurizio Sarri’s latest confection excludes Kante and Hazard who played internationals. Er, ok then. This gives us the rare joy of both Barkley and Kovacic in midfield though, no doubt, Sarri will still find a way of replacing one with the other; such is genius. Also left out is Callum Hudson-Odoi, because he’s lacking form and confidence after excelling on his England debut; Sarri says he wasn’t impressed with his first 20 minutes, which I’m sure will inspire him to greater heights.


Teams are here!

Cardiff City (a continental 4-3-3): Etheridge; Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Bennett; Arter, Gunnarsson, Camarasa; Hoilett, Niasse, Murphy J. Subs: Murphy B, Ralls, Zohore, Decordova-Reid, Bacuna, Mendez-Laing, Harris.

Chelsea (a rudimentary 4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley; Willian, Higuain, Pedro. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud.



Cardiff could go down and keep Neil Warnock as manager; Chelsea could finish third in the league, win the Europa League, and bin Maurizio Sarri as manager. Admittedly one of these things is more likely than the other, but the essential element remains: it’s an hilarious, venerable pastime.

Expectations are relative, of course, but that tells us more than this. It reminds us that, though we’re regularly informed that it’s a “results business”, the reality is that it’s a “hope business”. Whatever happens from here, Cardiff have gone through the season on a buzz and fighting to stay up, while Chelsea have spent it on a zzzz and fighting to stay awake; therein lies the difference.

All of which makes it hard to predict what might happen today. If Chelsea play to their potential they’ll win, except they almost definitely won’t, so they might not. In which case if Cardiff can keep Eden Hazard quiet, they’ve a fair chance of getting something out of this.

Kick-off: 2pm BST