Chelsea warned up for their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona on Wednesday by thrashing Spurs 5-1 at Wembley to book an FA Cup final date with Liverpool on 5 May. Amazingly, this will be the first time that these two sides have met at Wembley in an FA Cup final.
Some thoughts on the Spurs game:
Little surprised at some of Di Matteo’s selection decisions. Knowing Terry has injured ribs and Luiz has a leg injury I was surprised not to see Gary Cahill in the starting line-up. Drogba over Torres up-front says that Torres plays against Barcelona and that Drogba will play against Arsenal next weekend. Hard to argue with that.
Before the game there was to be a minute’s silence before the game in honour of the Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough 23 years ago. Unfortunately the tribute was called off after 25 seconds due to the behaviour of some Chelsea “fans”. Disgraceful is the only way to describe their shouting.
Onto the game. The big worry for Chelsea fans heading into the game was how Jose Bosingwa would cope with the speed of Bale. And for the most part I thought he did ok. For all Bale’s speed there was only one time that he ran passed Bosingwa and then put a dangerous cross into the box.
And that was when Terry blocked Van der Vaart’s header of the line in the first half. It is remarkable the number of times that Terry blocks shots on the line. My only question question is are the blocks due to great positional sense by the Chelsea captain or is he there because he got caught out and lost the man he was supposed to mark?
Drogba’s first goal was vintage Didier Drogba. Took a long ball, held of the Chelsea defender with his strength and fired in an unstoppable shot. Simply brilliant.
Three minutes into the second half and we had one of the turn turning points in the game. From a Chelea corner, Cudicini saved from a Luiz’s header but the ball stayed alive. As the cross came in, Terry took out three Spurs defenders and the ball ended up on Mata’s foot, and he shot into a crowd of bodies lying prostrate in the goal. The referee gave a goal although the ball never crossed the goal line. Horrible referring decision.
Seven minutes later we had the second turning points. Poor defending by Terry and Luiz allowed Adebayor to run in behind the Chelsea defence. He was brought down by Cech for what would surely have been a penalty and a red card had Bale not turned the loose ball in. If Bale had not been there to score, Cech was off and Chelsea would have been forced to play the last 20+ minutes with only 10-men. Not exactly the scenario Chelsea needed before facing Barcelona.
On the Spurs goal, Luiz pulled up limp and was carried off on a stretcher. He will be a big loss against Barcelona and his injury brings me back to Di Matteo’s decision to play him in the first place.
With a little less than 15 minutes left in the game, Chelsea killed of Spurs. It was another fine move, Lampard supplying Mata who played the ball forward to Ramires, onside but in behind King and Assou-Ekotto. The finish was coolness personified by the Brazilian, a little chip over Cudicini.
From then on it was party time as Spurs players threw in the towel. It was shocking to see experienced players like Gallas literally throw in the towel with 15 minutes to go. One advantage of having a strong dressing room is that that type of behaviour would not be allowed at Chelsea.
So Chelsea are through to another cup final, a win that might just allow Di Matteo to keep the job on a more permanent basis. Plus the win will fill the players with lots of confidence heading into Wednesday’s match.
Hopefully Chelsea can being the intensity on Wednesday that they showed Sunday as they will need it.
What did you think of the game and Chelsea’s performance?