Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.
Nov 022012

“I hate to lose more than I love to win.”———-Jimmy Connors

224075hp2 The Kids Are All Right!

“When he was good…”

Chelsea 5 -4 Manchester United
Wednesday night I needed oxygen and cold shots. It’s been a wild wild week thus far and there’s still Saturday’s match against the Arse coming up! Now let me see. Thus far. Two brilliant games against the royal blues of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The one we ought to have lost, we won because of bad officiating and a lot of luck. The one we definitely deserved to win we lost because of mistakes made out of simple exhaustion and a complex act of stupidity by a single hubris-ridden player. Either way, both were brilliant, breathtaking spectaculars which showcased the beautiful game at its spectacular best and mediocre worst.

Having thrown all their expensive toys out of their gold-plated perambulator on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday accompanied by much rhetorical hysteria about racist corrupt referees, Chelsea did not care too much about the refereeing that went against Manchester United’s favour on the part of Lee Mason on Wednesday. To their credit, Chelsea were brave, worthy warrior opponents, behind three times, stumbling into extra time with the gracious gift from United of a 94th-minute penalty before, finally, nicking a spot in the Carling Cup quarterfinals by the odd goal out of nine.

In all fairness to the referee, Lee Mason was under a microscope from the get-go. He yellow-carded nine players and Eden Hazard’s penalty spared him what was clearly going to be a vicious post-mortem after, minutes before, a Juan Mata pass clearly hit Michael Keane, United’s 19-year-old center half, on his arm. Worse than the pressure on Mason was the stress piled upon Keane and his partner, Scott Wootton, 21, which saw each deteriorate out of a state of sheer exhaustion as the game passed into extra time. Nevertheless, despite what most of the pundits and bloggers have to say about how Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to play two raw and inexperienced center-halves killed the team, they both acquitted themselves respectably until their tired bodies gave out. Wootton, 21, gave away the penalty Hazard converted when he tripped over Ramires in his own box in the 94th minute. The same player then gave Sturridge the chance to put Chelsea ahead for the first time when he failed to get enough on his header back to the goalkeeper, Anders Lindegaard. These are the cruel facts. I, for one, have been hollering for the Gaffer to play the kids repeatedly simply because both Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand are clearly both mentally and physically exhausted. Nevertheless, over the whole of a physical no-quarter type duel of the titans, Wootton and Keane played well.

Football is a cruel game. All things considered, Chelsea did not ‘deserve’ to win, just as United had not ‘deserved’ to win in the P.L. on Sunday. In both matches both teams were achingly guilty of dreadful defending. What made the difference this time, in spite of Mr. Mason, was the fine art of substitution practiced by Roberto Di Matteo. Clearly, the Chelsea manager, who, by bringing on his three marquee midfield players, Hazard, Ramires and Oscar, has affected their fitness levels for this coming weekend’s match against. Swansea City. It was a throw of the dice, to be sure, but Chelsea’s psychological need for a victory far outweighed the Gaffer’s need to keep his best squaddies fit for Saturday’s Arsenal visit.

Things went well for both sides as they cautiously probed at each other early on. Then, 22 minutes in, goalie Petr Cech stumbled as he made a short goal kick to Oriol Romeu. The Romanian expatriate out of the Barcelona academy panicked, lost the ball to Anderson and stood frozen as Giggs picked up the ball and casually fired home to make it 1-0.

Eight minutes later, the game was back on a knife-edge again as David Luíz’s penalty barely beat Anders Lindegaard who guessed right but was a second too late after rookie left back Alexander Büttner’s ill-advised tripping of a fast driving Victor Moses. This was a sad mistake on the young Dutch left back’s part because Moses was barely in control of the ball and most likely would not have scored. For the rest of the half the game went entertainingly back and forth until two minutes before half time. Why David Luiz decided to start a dribble out of his own box no one knows. At any rate, Rafael was there to pick his pocket and chip to Anderson. Ando, playing his best game since the 8-2 humiliation of Arsenal at Old Trafford a year ago, put in an exquisite pass to the spring-heeled Javíer Hernandez who fired home on the diagonal to make it 2-1.

After an excellent first half, both managers must have ranted up a dressing room storm about defensive lapses, but with so many youth players representing their clubs, sloppiness was surely to be expected. Chelsea brought on Ramires and Hazard at the break and Ferguson could clearly see that Di Matteo was in it to win it. Making a rare appearance, Daniel Sturridge missed three beautiful chances before a fantastic Juan Mata corner found Gary Cahill in the 52nd minute. Rafael was there behind the line inside the goal mouth to head it away, but Mason had no doubt that the ball crossed the goal line and the game was tied again.

Chelsea dominated for the next few minutes but then United struck again. Wing substitute Nani slipped inside, dummied two defenders, did quick give-and-goes to Hernandez and Anderson, before getting the ball back and chipping over a diving Cech. It was a beautiful goal and reminded fans as to just how good the Cape Verdean can be.

Now with Büttner much troubled by Hazard, Ferguson took him out, moved Darren Fletcher to right back and Rafael to the left flank. This was when things began to fall apart. With Fletcher still not fully fit and Wootton and Keane often unsure of their positioning, Rafael tried too hard to be everywhere. As the clock ticked down all Manchester United had to do was hold the ball. Why Nani chose to act cocky against the Belgian flash Eden Hazard is beyond all common sense. Hazard stripped Nani clean and took off before feeding Ramires. A goal bound Ramires was then clearly tripped up by a desperate Scott Wootton and Hazard fired home the penalty to tie it 3-3 and drag the game into extra time.

Exhausted now and worn to a frazzle, neither side seemed to pay much mind to defense. And eight minutes in, Sturridge, who had squandered at least a half-dozed gilt-edged opportunities, took advantage of a soft, patty-cake header from a stumbling Wootton, casually walking the ball around Lindegaard to give Chelsea their first lead. of the match at 5-3. Hazard then set up Ramires with another lightning run to make it 5-3.

Seconds later Giggs made it 5-4 . It was yet another another penalty after Chicharito was brought down by César Azpilicueta. With seconds to go, Sturridge clearly tripped Giggs off the ball as he sprinted in the box in a run that defied his looming 39th year and 121 minutes. The referee Lee Mason and his crew clearly missed it, but it’s fair to say that everyone was running on empty at this point.

I shall refrain from talking about Mark Clattenburg and the first game from now on until all the facts are in. As I write, Sir Alex Ferguson has been angrily savaging Nani for his act of selfishness in losing the ball to Eden Hazard in the 94th minutes with, literally, fractions of a second left on the referee’s watch. Such public vilification of one of his own players is rare for the wily old Scot. Despite scoring rather a tasty goal, Nani, as in a crucial losing game against Liverpool three seasons back, went AWOL at the wrong moment. It’s a cliché to say “ There’s no ‘I’ in team!” but Nani has crossed the line one time too many this time. Let’s hope we don’t sell him too cheaply!

155063325 The Kids Are All Right!

“Oh Nani! Nani! Nani!”

Ivor Irwin

 Leave a Reply



Refresh Image


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>