Monday, February 26, 2007

Chelsea win Carling Cup, but Arsenal score moral victory.

Forget about the brawl at the end of this game, those who go on too much about that are in danger of missing something very important which happened at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, and yes we all know Drogba once again pulled Chelsea out of the **** with his brace of goals to secure the fizzy pop cup AKA the Carling Cup - Arsenal cannot handle the big Ivorian striker, it is as simple as that.

What I for one will remember more than anything from this game was the way Arsenal's young players took apart Chelsea for the first 20 minutes or so, the Gunners were so much on top it was unbelievable, Jose Mourinho and his side were rattled and looked totally lost and out of it, in boxing parlance they weren't on the ropes, they were flat out on the canvas waiting for the towel to be chucked in, then Drogba stepped in to save the Blues.

Sure it's true that no one remembers the losers in cup finals when looking back through the record books, but given Arsenal's almost total domination of Chelsea for large chunks of this game, the future looks very bright for Arsenal, and less convincing for Chelsea. If you can take a moral victory from defeat then make no mistake Arsene Wenger's side did just that. Mourinho's side had at times been given a football lesson which they will not forget. All things being equal it would be brave man who backs Chelsea when these sides meet again in May in the league.

The thing is, the Western London side have never really entertained in the same manner that United and Arsenal have at times, Chelsea's game is all about organisation and power, while the Red Devils and the Gunners have more fluid midfields and in United's case more width down the flanks.

For my money Chelsea have gone backwards this season, selling Duff was a mistake or should I say not replacing him with a better player was a big mistake. Robben isn't used often enough and while Chelsea do have world class midfield players, it's a case of too many bandmasters in the centre.

Mourinho may have won more trophies of late, but he's never been credited as a manager who produces attacking teams which entertain, out of Ferguson, Wenger and Mourinho, Jose is the pragmatist of the trio.

Mourinho and Chelsea's domination of the Premiership looks to be on the wane, even as a United fan I have to say that it was nice to see some young players teaching Chelsea's fancy dans a thing or two.

Wenger doesn't get the credit he deserves for the way he puts sides together, I personally do not like the man, nor the fact that there's barely any British players in his squad, but football isn't a popularity contest and Wenger looks as though he's building another excellent side from the Gunners perspective.

United maybe on top for now, but a lot will depend on the Reds retaining Ronaldo's services for next season in terms of our chances of fighting for the title again, though it is true that United may have more goal scorers than any other side in the top flight at present, but we do rely too much on Ronaldo at times, in contrast Wenger no longer relies on Henry, if United do lose Ronaldo that will be the challenge for Ferguson next season, to find a way of compensating the loss of a brilliant young star. Wenger looks to have cover in all departments, so with grudging respect I have to say the Frenchman is doing a fine job.

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