The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Not since the squirming, slippery ancestors of the creatures who would one day be football agents first hauled themselves out of the sea have Chelsea lost a match at Stamford Bridge. Not until today, when Liverpool took advantage of a random deflection in the box to sneak out of London with a 1-0 win.
It wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t even semidramatic. Had there not been a record older than the invention of cuneiform writing by the early Sumerians on the line—also the small matter of first place in the Premier League table—you might have been tempted to take a look at what Harry Redknapp was doing at White Hart Lane (winning, so far, courtesy of Pavlyuchenko). The live report of the match would look like this:
10min Xabi Alonso’s speculative shot dings off Bosingwa at the last second, taking it in the opposite direction of Peter Čech’s routine dive. 1-0 to the Club That Have Won Considerably More Than You.
11-90min Liverpool defend with a commitment to inertia that would please Barack Obama, José Mourinho, and Isaac Newton in roughly equal amounts.
But there it is. Phil Scolari now has a worse home record at Chelsea than Avram Grant…and he always will. It’ll be portrayed as Liverpool throwing down the title gauntlet, and maybe that’s what they did. They didn’t look all that impressive. But taken in a general sense, the road to the championship runs right through José Bosingwa’s shoulder, and if luck has decided to be with Liverpool this season, Chelsea’s home record won’t be the only ancient precedent to be overturned between now and the end of May.
by Brian Phillips · October 26, 2008