I wouldn’t flatter myself by even imagining I’m the only Chelsea supporter who feels like their heart’s been ripped out right now, but maybe I’ll be the only one owning up to another emotion following last night’s game – shame, that I didn’t give the players enough credit going into it. It’s been a long time since I’ve cried like a baby after a game but after kidding myself all season that I just don’t feel the same about Chelsea anymore, my reaction when Anelka (with failure written all over his face before he’d even placed the ball) had his penalty saved, proved me wrong.
Glossing over the game, I don’t even want to go into the first half. We might’ve been all square at half time, but we were getting well and truly battered out there. Essien just couldn’t get hold of Ronaldo, Maka totally lost the plot, and Grant – well he stood and said nothing. Not that I’m going to look at him to blame anyway, after all it’s not like he did anything – or is that my point? Ronaldo’s goal wasn’t much of a surprise, our defence was all over the place anyway and we’d been inviting it all night. But relief just isn’t a big enough word to describe how I felt when Lampard equalised with a little help from a deflection or two.
On to the second half and that’s where we really did ourselves proud. After a really lacklustre first half, we roughed Utd up a bit and clearly they didn’t like it up ‘em as they started swinging the odd handbag at each other. If we ever had a chance to take it, that was it. Not that we didn’t have any chances, my heart leapt into my glass when we hit the bar and the post – maybe on another night they’d have gone in, who knows?
As soon as it went to penalties though, it was always game over. For a big keeper, Cech just isn’t any good at these shootouts. Why we don’t use Cudicini for them I really don’t know. Having said that, we did better than I expected and when Ronaldo missed it was just too good to be true. And yeah, as it turned out, it was too good to be true. I’m sure Terry’s devastated today but maybe if Drogba hadn’t let himself and every Chelsea fan down earlier, JT wouldn’t have been in that position in the first place? I for one hope Drogba never gets the Chelsea shirt on his back again after that because he doesn’t deserve our support. If any other player risked getting himself sent off at a time like that it would defy belief but with Drogba’s attitude this season, it was par for the course as he summed up his total lack of commitment in one fell slap.
Anyway, I digress. So, back to the penalties and I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised, not to mention wetting myself, that we were actually scoring them. Considering our previous history with these, anyone that stepped up needed more than bottle, so fair play to them. But Anelka had ‘miss’ written all over his face, whilst Van Der Sar looked almost as wide as the goal, with his hands looking comic book huge (anyone else think his gloves were four sizes too big?) And the rest as they say, is history – not that we’ve got one of course!
Overall, the officiating was rubbish – not that I should be surprised the ref wouldn’t know a corner kick if it bit him on the arse – but the game itself was a lot more watchable than anticipated and a pretty good advert for the PL.
We took the ‘best ever’ Utd side to the last game of the season in the league and to penalities in the Champions League final, not too shoddy for a team who supposedly can’t play football. So today, amongst the pain and the hangover, there’s the pride I fought way too hard to ignore this season.