It's only half time for me and Manchester United is leading 1-0, with the away goal advantage against Chelsea.
People are now saying that this is going to be THE Cup Final of the season for Chelsea. They will be extremely motivated for this match.
Will Chelsea win BECAUSE this is their CUP FINAL and they will be extremely motivated?
I don't buy that argument. It's almost the end of the season. Since when did Manchester United not play a match as if it was a Cup Final for them? Since when was Manchester United not motivated in a Champions League Quarter Final? I for one reckons that Manchester United will be just as motivated.
Chelsea reckons they were hard done by the non penalty calls against United. They will be extremely motivated. Get it right. Torres dived both occasions. It was a pathetic sight for me. And the Evra decision? I initially thought it was a penalty too but after the video replays and the photo clips ( here ), if a foul was to be called, it should have been a free kick because it happened outside the box. Of course, in a match, the referee would not have the photo clips and the video replay and yes, I have seen penalty given for such incidents. In a sense, perhaps United got lucky. However, who got luckier the past 7 years at Stamford Bridge? Who had the 'fair' calls given to them?
It's only a goal deficit. Maybe luck would be with Chelsea this time!
Luck! That's one massive word and I for one strongly believes that LUCK does play its part in matches. Well United had zero luck when playing against Chelsea away the last 7 seasons. With last week's 1-0 victory, perhaps luck could be on our side!
Torres. It has been 648 minutes and he's due for one. He did have his chances and he was very close to score against United, if not for Van der Sar pulling that brilliant stop to deny him.
I do agree strongly that skills and class are of permanent value. They do not fade away and I also believe very strongly that form is only temporary. However, to be on form, you need to be confident and sadly for now, Torres is simply lacking in confidence. His body language says it all. Perhaps he and Chelsea needs that stroke of luck.
Needless to say that is possible.
But I do believe that in football you need to 'create' your own luck.
Right now, that's a massive question mark for me.
Can Carlo Ancelotti get the best of Chelsea tonight?
I think he's lost. This is probably not his team of choice. The club bought the players of their liking for him. Did Carlo really wanted Ray Wilkins out? Did Carlo really want Ramires? Did Carlo really wanted Torres?
Not that Ramires is a bad player but I never thought he was a Chelsea player and neither did I thought he was wanted by Ancelotti.
Did Ancelotti really wanted Torres? Ok Drogba was out for a while with sickness and Chelsea was a striker short. However, by signing Torres, Chelsea put a massive 50 million pounds poser for Carlo. It was disruptive. How could Ancelloti not play Torres? How could Ancelloti not try to reshape the team according to Torres and sadly, Carlo has not found a solution to this problem.
Clearly, a combination of Kalou, Drogba and Anelka was Chelsea most lethal strike combination. When the three played, Chelsea had power, pace and finesse.
But how could Ancelloti not play Torres?
And not helping Lampard is not the same Frank Lampard this season.
And Malouda is clearly not the same player after his French World Cup diabolical.
And clearly Chelsea is missing Ricardo Carvalho. I felt he should have stayed for Chelsea sake but Ricardo wanted to play for Jose.
But this United is not unbeatable and they are a much weaker Manchester United team compared to previous years. Surely Chelsea still stand a chance.
No doubt. The ball is round. I won't dare say that Chelsea have zero chance since in a match, anything can and will happen.
But is this United team really poor?
Rio is so important for United. With him out, the back four is weaker. This I agree but if Rio plays, United would be a much stronger team.
And then there's the Wayne Rooney issue.
Without a doubt, Rooney would be crucial and I think the current combination of Hernandez and Rooney is so exciting. Seriously I do. I for one believes this strike pair will bring much success for Man United in the coming seasons. Both players play for each other and that it's a rarity. I watched the first leg match again. I initially thought Hernandez did not have his best performance but on second viewing, I noticed and realised how much problems he gave Chelsea that night. The opening goal. Carrick's crossfield pass was brilliant. The touch by Giggsy and how Giggsy split the entire Chelsea defence was important too. But the simple dummy, how Hernandez laid the ball for Rooney was most important. Many strikers would not have done what Hernandez did.
And then there's Toni Valencia.
Gosh, he's being really good since his return and Sir Alex seems to have made up his mind that Valencia is his right winger.
Chelsea away form is impresive!
Some stats. Chelsea just lost 1 of their last 8 matches and sadly the one that they had lost is their match against United lasted week! And Chelsea has been unbeaten in their last 7 away matches played. And with Citeh being beaten by Liverpool 3-0, Chelsea is now third!
But United form at home is perhaps more impressive. They have won their last 12 matches played at Old Trafford. They have won 15 out of 16 home matches this season and they have kept clean sheets in 4 out their last 5 matches played at home.
I think Chelsea would go into the match too eager and too desperate. Yes, they will be extremely motivated but this Chelsea team is not gelling as a team. I doubt it will change overnight. And because of their eagerness, I think they might be suspect for letting in an early goal. Yes, I think United could score early and when that happens, Chelsea would be pushing more forward. Furthermore, I reckon Sir Alex would be stressing the importance for United to score an early goal too! Oh yeah, I reckon this could be a thrilling high scoring match!