Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hold Your Head Up, John

I'll start by stating the obvious: that was in no way boring. And now, some very quick recap thoughts:

1. I have really mixed feelings about Ronaldo. I don't think he answered any questions about whether or not he has what it takes to be an all-time legend. On the one hand, he scored in a massive game, but it was a fairly easy (albeit pretty) header as Michael Essien forgot his marking duties. On the other hand, he missed the biggest penalty of his life, and despite early success against Essien, was kept pretty quiet once Joe Cole began tracking back to help.

2. This loss is really hard on Chelsea. From the moment Lampard scored, they proceeded to dominate the match, with United finding only one real chance (which we'll get to in a second). I've had a secret belief all season that they were the better team, and though they lost, this match may have gone more towards confirming it than refuting it.

3. John Terry will have nightmares for the rest of his life about that penalty. And truth be told, I feel really bad for the guy. The pitch, always spotty, turned horrible when the rain started coming down, and he slipped, which could have happened to anyone. Making it worse, though, is that he will take this loss on himself when he was the only reason the game had gone that far. He came back from a painful shoulder dislocation suffered only ten days ago, and played a fantastic match. His goal-line clearance of Giggs' scuffed shot was the stuff of legend. So hold your head up, John.

4. Didier Drogba is a petulant child. He is fantastic at putting the ball in the net, but he needs to go. Immediately. And to Italy.

5. Wes Brown may actually be my man of the match. Didn't think that would happen.


Jake said...

stunning shootout, the ronaldo miss wasn't too much of a surprise, he gets a little too cocky with penalties (he's had 2 or 3 misses on the season) tough luck for JT, but Van DerSar completely and outerly psyched out Anelka, it was inexplicable it happenned so fast, but van der sar points to his top left corner, anelka points to the same spot (his right0 well and then runs right up to strike, maybe its a french thing but everyone else in the stadium knew immediately (including the keeper) he was going to the left, and there you have it,

Jim said...

It's true... Ronaldo missing wasn't a surprise. He needs to stop that stutter step because a) it's borderline illegal, b) it annoys the hell out of goalkeepers and c) it doesn't seem to help at all.

Van der Sar definitely had Anelka in his pocket from the moment he stepped up. Even the announcers noted that Anelka didn't look happy to be sent up there. Le Sulk has always been a good player, but not a great one; pressure and the limelight don't suit him. And he proved it yet again.

Also, in retrospect, Brown did a good job on that right side, but I'd like to amend my Man of the Match to Tevez. Aside from Ronaldo's header, he was the most persistent offensive threat, worked tirelessly, and buried that opening penalty to set the tone. (And if Chelsea had won, I'd have given it to Lampard in a heartbeat. He's really done wonders for his legacy in the past few games.)

Ben said...

Cristi missing was obvi from the time they flashed him after Carrick's shot, as Juan mentioned. We looked at each other and were like, he's going to miss.

Everyone knew Anelka was owned.

That sucks for Terry, but as Ted decided, Terry is Mike Vanderjagt.

Chelsea thoroughly outplayed Man U in that second half, and it's always a shame when it comes down to PKs. But truth be told, I dont give a crap which team won, so I guess it's better that way.

Makes you wonder how the game would've been different it the rain started earlier. OR, if the game wasn't played until 2 in the morning in Moscow.

Either way, it was exciting, which is all you can ask for.

Jim said...

It's true... for us, exciting was the best we could hope for. Now, let's look forward to another all-English final next year: Arsenal vs. Liverpool.