What a mental game aye? If I were one of those ITV cliché clowns I would declare that a ‘great advert for the premier league’. But I’m not, because I have a distinct lack of genitals on my head.
It was always going to be a tough game for Chelsea given the brilliant form that United had begun the season with, but also due to the immense pressure of the Manchester double bearing down on the London club. Chelsea have started the season well but their recognition has been drowned out by Rooney, Aguero and friends scoring like it’s going out of fashion.
Playing well but going into the game with 11 goals scored less than United meant that to have any chance of leaving with points the Chelsea defense had to be solid. It was not. Chelsea started with a very attacking midfield; Ramires and Lampard with Meireles in a holding role in front of the back four. With this array of attacking talent in midfield the blues had no problem producing chances, especially considering the attack-mindedness of the accompanying Mata and Sturridge.
This meant there wasn’t room for goal-shy midfield perennial John Obi Mikel (or whatever order his names go in), with Meireles taking his place. I’ve always thought the newly mohicaned portugese midfielder as quite an attacking mid, often being deployed for Liverpool (under Dalglish) just behind the forwards. I don’t think it was the right call considering the four-pronged goal machine United deployed.
Meireles’ lack of defensive acumen didn’t have to be costly though, so long as the Chelsea back four could handle the constant pressing and movement of Wazza, Chicharito, Young and Nani. They could not. Surprisingly Cole and less surprisingly Bosingwa had awful games, with a least one of them at fault for all three goals, the first of which didn’t take long.
Smalling dispatched an unmarked header from Young’s excellent delivery after Bosingwa had given away a free kick, I have to say it was a bit against the run of play after Chelsea began well in attack.
The Blues responded well with Torres creating a golden opportunity for Ramires to tuck away however it didn’t quite come together, and semi werewolf David de Gea spread himself well to deny. All under the watchful eye of Schmeichel. Chelsea continued to enjoy good chances up the field until Nani urinated on their parade with an incredible strike, highlighting the importance of Mikel’s missing role.
Eight minutes later and it was looking like Chelsea would be leaving with a spanking, after a combination of a great run from ‘future England captian’ (Jamie Redknapp) Phil Jones met some poor defending and a dash of luck.
Chelsea would have left that half bitterly disappointed with the unjust (more on this in a minute) scoreline. Villas-Boas gambled on more attack and took Lampard off for the horribly underrated Nicolas ‘Le Sulk’ Anelka. It paid off immediately as Anelka fed an exceptional pass to Torres who produced a smart chip against old Althletico teammate de Gea.
Chelsea continued to attack well when the combined lack of defensive ability of Meireles and Bosingwa gifted United a crossbar pang and a penalty. I’m not blaming the man in black too much as I had to paw over the footage at the speed of a Dean Windass run, but I conclude that Jose Bosingwa makes contact with the ball before he takes Nani and it was a really decent challenge. Rooney balanced the karma by doing ‘a Beckham’ cira 2003.
Next came Torres rolling back the years with a great jinky run ending in a sliced half volley that he couldn’t be expected to get his foot over. Cole then decided that the ‘Little Green Pea’ could do with being a few inches shorter and attempted to remove a section of his shin. Despite the confused roars of Mancs everywhere a penalty shouldn’t have been technically issued as the ball was out of play (Chitcarito’s shot) when the mauling happened. Ca$hley should have been having an early shower however.
Next came the ‘incident’. Now I don’t want to go overboard but I think it is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. Evans is floundered by El Nino once again, the Spaniard performing a ying-yang of exquisite control and vomit inducing finishing to produce quite possibly the biggest set of striker’s blue balls on record. It was the first time since his World Cup injury that I felt truly sorry for him.
All in all the best team won. Oh wait, no they didn’t.
United played well, their attack besting Chelsea’s defense, and their defense not being as rubbish as that of their opponents. But was the result deserved? Hell no. Chelsea began the game flying, looking certain to secure a goal through high-flyers Danny Sturridge or Juan Mata. Then United scored. Illegally. Twice. Illegalier.
Both Smalling and Nani’s goals were offside. You try and tell me then that under all that pressure from the blue’s attack that Jones would’ve made anything like the run that led to the third at 0-0. No sir he would not. Now United would have scored, no doubt about that. They could just field Rooney at the minute and they would score. But Chelsea coming out into the second half after creating chances at 0-0? That is a completely different game.
Chelsea played well, having something like 21 attempts at goal which is no mean feat at the Theater of Dreams, and didn’t deserve to lose to a team that for all their current brilliance had some weak links in Anderson and Evans. They contained the rampant Rooney, who wasn’t at his best, well and Ramires in particular had a great game.
Plus, It could have been an incredible result even accepting the illegitimate goals had it been 2008 for a certain Spanish Striker.