Chelsea’s four flops were transformed into the awesome foursome

The elderly took a clobbering in the recent Budget, but the Chelsea pensioners could be laughing all the way to the bank.

A few weeks ago, the old guard of Terry, Lampard, Cole and Drogba were written off as Andre Villas-Boas’ Blues lurched from one crisis to another.

But the four flops were transformed into the awesome foursome on Wednesday night as Chelsea somehow saw off the might of Barcelona at the Bridge to leave themselves two games away from Champions League glory.

“If anyone else says to me that being involved in a relegation scrap is more exciting than drifting along in mid-table, I might finally lose it.”

Just to rub salt in the wounds, Barca were denied the chance to visit Trafalgar Square after the game, when Health & Safety officials ruled they could not risk putting the Catalans amongst the pigeons.

On the pitch, Drogba did the damage with the only goal of the game as Fleet Street’s finest dusted off their ‘Drog Bite’/’Slick As A Drog’/’Life In The Old Drog Yet’ headlines.

And there were probably several hundred Chelsea fans in need of a hair of the Drog come Thursday lunchtime.

Their 34-year-old striker infuriated the Barca players with his theatrics, hitting the floor more times than a drunk on an ice rink to give his grateful team-mates a breather as the reigning champions threatened to engulf them.

Ashley Young has been hogging the headlines for all the wrong reasons this past fortnight and it was as if Drogba was putting the young pretender in his place with his take on the Crocodile Dundee knife gag – “That’s not a dive – this is a dive.”

While their frontman was doing his double rollover, Chelsea left the field feeling like they’d won the Lottery.

How Barcelona failed to get anything out of the game is a mystery that would have sent Sherlock Holmes’ pipe into meltdown.

Messi and co had 79% possession, 24 shots and twice hit the woodwork, while Petr Cech was the irresistible force defying the immoveable object.

It was a performance made all the more remarkable by the fact that three days earlier, Chelsea’s 30-somethings had put themselves through the wringer in a controversial FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The scoreline showed the Blues triumphed 5-1 , but all the talk was of the ghost goal awarded against Tottenham with the game finely poised at 1-0.

Mata’s goal aside, Chelsea were well worth their win.

TV replays clearly showed Juan Mata’s shot was hacked off the line by Ledley King but referee Martin Atkinson – weeks after not giving QPR’s goal that did cross the line – had other ideas.

Even Superman would have had trouble peering through the sea of bodies to the goal-line and if Atkinson ever offers to fill in my Spot the Ball coupon I’ll politely decline.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp later revealed: “He’s watched it now and says he feels worse than I do. I said ‘I don’t think so’.”

Tottenham girl Adele was in the crowd at Wembley and while she will have been upset at what she witnessed, at least she’ll have plenty of heart-wrenching material for her new album.

Next up for Spurs is a trip to Loftus Road, with the mood of QPR fans swinging more wildly than a Carlos Tevez goal celebration.

We beat Liverpool – we’re staying up! We lose to Sunderland – we’re going down. We beat Arsenal – we’re staying up! We lose to Man United – we’re going down. We beat Swansea – we’re definitely staying up! We lose to West Brom – we’re definitely going down.

It’s like a death row inmate being led to the electric chair, before earning a last-minute reprieve, then losing his appeal, being led back to the chair, winning a reprieve…

Eventually you get to the stage where you scream: “Just flick the @!&*@!* switch!”

To make matters worse, Wigan – Wigan! – keep winning. The team who a few weeks ago couldn’t score at an over-60s night are suddenly turning over Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal for fun.

I’ve got nothing against Wigan – in fact if I was a neutral I’d be rooting for them to survive.

But why, like a husband who arrives home from work with flowers from the garage on his anniversary, do they always leave it so late?

At least Wolves have had the decency to be crap all season.

And if anyone else says to me that being involved in a relegation scrap is more exciting than drifting along in mid-table, I might finally lose it.

I haven’t studied tables this much since I was doing primary school maths and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve done the BBC Predictor thing before it finally tells me QPR are staying up.

Beat Spurs, after Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan fail to take maximum points and the great escape is back on. Lose and our fate rests on lucky heather and rabbits’ feet.

So can we do it? My heart says yes. My head hurts.

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