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What really won us the game at Stamford Bridge

Sid Thursday, April 14, 2011



As I look back at the 2-1 victory over Chelsea last night, so many great moments come to my mind, and for a game that had so much riding on it for Chelsea especially, I think they failed to really turn up. Yes, this was one of their better performances off late, but still they hardly threatened to cause us much trouble and we ended up finishing the match in comfort.


The game did start off with a few raised eye brows over Ancelotti’s decision to bench Drogba in favor of Fernando Torres. Already under pressure, it wouldn’t helped him much to hear that his replacement at Liverpool had already opened his account for them. Once the most feared striker’s in the league, Torres was a mere shadow of his former self. He hardly got into the game and it says a lot about his performance when his best moment of the game was a miscued shot!

Drogba’s introduction clearly made a difference to Chelsea’s attack, and though he did score for them, Ramires’s red card had already ended any hopes they had of doing the impossible! And our big game player, Park, scuttled Chelsea’s sudden hopes of a comeback within a minute of their equalizer.

Last week at Stamford Bridge, according to me we produced the perfect away performance, and this was an almost perfect home performance to get us through to the next round. Sir Alex outwitted Ancelotti again tactically, especially playing Giggsy in midfield was a move of pure genius as the Welsh legend went on to set up both the goals we scored on the night!

Everyone played well on the night, as I think no player had an off game, contributing towards the deserved win. Watching Rio battling on with a knock from the 9th minute of the game, and going onto play the entire 90 minutes, its watching performances like this that inspires the people around you too, how he completed the game is a miracle! Rio’s dedication was a perfect example of the kind of mentality Sir Alex encourages in the team and why we’re still on course for a treble!

Vidic was also solid as ever, ensuring Torres hardly got a sniff and eventually had to be subbed off at half time, so much for Vidic’s eternal tormentor! Patrice Evra and John O’Shea also put in good shifts at full back, going forward in attack whenever they could, O’Shea produced a brilliant pass that set Giggsy free in the Chelsea box, and he went to cross the ball for Chicharito to tap in.

Carrick had another blinder in midfield, as he continued to build on his brilliant performance against Chelsea in the 1st leg. While he might not have been as prolific with his passing this week, Carrick sat deep and marshaled the area in front of the defense, making crucial interceptions and tackles as he ensured that we weren’t over run in midfield by Chelsea.

Nani and Park also were excellent on the night, as they worked hard for the entire 90 minutes, taking part in almost every attacking move we had on the night, and Park completely deserved to score a goal. Nani gave Ivanovic a torrid time as every tackle the Serb attempted only seemed to succeed at getting to Nani’s legs, nowhere near the ball! Hernandez was another who had an excellent game; he showed great hunger to get on the ball every time he could and close down the Chelsea defense, his pace and quick movement was giving John Terry and Alex a nightmare as they had no clue what to do to stop the Mexican dynamite!

Well this article would be utter rubbish if I didn’t mention our 3 best players on the night, Giggsy, Rooney and Van der Sar.

Giggsy and Van der Sar have almost 40-45 years of football played between them, and yet they showed no signs of their age as they were instrumental in our victory!! Edwin with a brilliant tackle in the first half to deny Anelka  a great goal scoring chance, and then he went on to make several saves and ensure that Chelsea were restricted to the solitary goal.

 Giggsy might be 37 and might have lost some of his electric pace, but then the Welshman seems to have reinvented himself into a creative force in midfield, as he pulled ht strings in midfield and produced two great assists in the process. The way Giggsy is still playing it won’t be surprising to see him continue to play for a few more seasons’ at least!

Finally the Man of the Match for me has to be every opposition fan’s favorite villain, Wayne Rooney! A lot has been said and made of his reaction at Upton Park and the ban afterwards from the FA, but contrary to what many expected it seems to have just pushed Rooney’s game up a notch! Chelsea tried to learn from the 1st leg at Stamford Bridge and ensure that Rooney wasn’t given space or time with the ball, but then Rooney improvised with a display of passing that I’ve only seen Scholesy better! Some of the passes would have made even Scholesy proud. He was everywhere on the pitch, buzzing with energy, he never gave up and though he didn’t score a goal, his impact was very significant on the night, as any Chelsea player will testify!

From what i saw, more than one or two players playing well, everyone on the pitch was outstanding! Chelsea don't know what hit them, they were clearly missing the team spirit and discipline that has been the hallmark of Sir Alex's greatest team's and we're finally starting to see this in the current squad. Predicting that we’ll be playing Barca at Wembley in the finals is too early to say right now but the way we’re playing right now, a treble doesn’t really seem impossible!!

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