Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chelsea and Liverpool fail to impress on a night of missed chances..

Chelsea were somewhat surprisingly held 1-1 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night in their Group B Champions League tie with Rosenborg. Sans Drogba, Chelsea are not the same team, that much is clear, despite Shevchenko scoring a very good goal against the Norwegian's the Ukrainian striker does not pose the same threat as Chelsea's Ivory Coast star.

However, despite the scoreline Chelsea should have won this game by some margin, only the thickness of a post denied Malouda twice who was extremely unlucky on the night in front of goal. The Frenchman wasn't the only one who failed to register, as the home team somehow managed to squander a number of gilt-edged chances.

Poor result aside there was some plus points, none more so than Joe Cole who was once again outstanding for the home team in his new central role just behind Shevchenko.

Cole pulls the blues strings in the same way that an on-form Paul Scholes does for United. The Red Devils will need to marshal Joe Cole this coming Sunday when the two sides meet at Old Trafford.

After the game, Jose Mourinho who is forever the drama queen, went overboard about the Blues inability to convert chances. But the Portuguese manager knows only too well that the time to worry is when you're not creating them - and clearly that is not the case with Chelsea.

Mourinho hinted that Drogba will not be fit for the United game this weekend. Personally, I think Jose isn't telling the truth here and I for one will be amazed if Chelsea are not at full strength when they pitch up at Old Trafford for the season's biggest game so far.

While Chelsea should have been tanking Rosenborg, that certainly wasn't the case with Liverpool, who showed nothing like their early season league form against what can only be described as a very average looking Porto side in another game that ended up 1-1. Nonetheless, Liverpool should easily qualify from group A, as should Chelsea and Arsenal in groups B and H respectively.

United have a tough group for sure, with Roma currently lying top of Serie A and Sporting Lisbon have an excellent recent record against English clubs. Dynamo Kiev are currently third in the Ukrainian league and will no doubt pose a few problems for United who have an appalling recent away record in the Champions League.

Rangers and Celtic will have a real fight on their hands to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. Celtic currently lie bottom of their group after being spanked 2-0 by Shakhtar Donetsk.

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