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Champions League Draw: A United Perspective


Yesterday, TheChelseaBlog looked at why our quarter-final draw provoked a bit of anxiety. United don’t seem quite as bothered but then, having come away with the trophy in our last Champions League meeting, that’s no real surprise.

How will it pan out though? Well, I had a chat with Scott The Red from the Republik Of Mancunia to get his thoughts:

STR: So, we found out yesterday that United and Chelsea would be meeting in the quarter-finals of the European Cup. What was your reaction when you heard about the draw any why?
CD: My reaction was ‘fuck it’, mainly because I’m still having nightmares from 2008 and any additional trauma could do permanent psychological damage.  I’m guessing though, since you’re United and you’ll ‘do what you want’, you’re feeling a lot more positive about it?

STR: We do what we want when Atkinson isn’t the referee, so obviously I’m more positive than I have been than our last couple of trips to Stamford Bridge. Honestly though, after Barcelona, Chelsea was probably the team I wanted least. All English ties are more psychologically draining for the players and defeat would certainly have more impact on our title campaign than say a defeat against Inter Milan or Real Madrid. Over two legs, particularly having the second leg at home, I do fancy United. How do you think Terry reacted and how do you expect him to react to the draw?
CD: You mean we can’t have Atkinson? Bugger! I imagine Terry initially thought along pretty much the same lines as me but knowing the Chelsea captain he’ll keep those sentiments to himself and publicly play the ‘revenge’ card.  As for the game itself, I have a horrible feeling it’ll become a bit of a personal crusade on Terry’s behalf, which could cost us dearly.  What about you though, I mean obviously United aren’t quite as obsessed with the CL since they know what it feels like to win it, so can you see it being more about the grudges than the games themselves?

STR: If the game becomes all about him from a Chelsea perspective, it could be very dangerous for your lot. Remember the first game at Old Trafford after Moscow? We cheered his name as it was read on the team sheet and sang Viva John Terry all game. We won 3-0 and it was the easiest victory over Chelsea I can remember. Was that just a bad day for Chelsea or was that a psychological battle being lost? Obviously time has gone by and the dust has settled but I can’t imagine he likes seeing pictures of himself as blubbering mess all over the place again. Ability wise, the players seem to cancel each other out. It’ll be about who wants it more and who has the bottle to go out and get it. I don’t think it’ll be about grudges though. It’ll be about getting Sir Alex winning his third European Cup, which probably comes across as fairly greedy to a Chelsea fan. Do you think this is your year? England’s “golden generation” blew their chances but do you wonder this “golden generation” at Chelsea, with the likes of Terry, Lampard and Drogba are running out of time to get Chelsea their first European Cup?
CD: Fortunately you don’t seem to get easy games against us anymore, so yes, clearly Moscow fucked him up a bit which is what worries me about this game.  Obviously it’s an opportunity for the images that did the rounds then to be dragged out again and even Sky seem to be playing the footage on a loop again already. Will that mess him up again or maybe inspire us? For me it depends on Ancelotti, who’s also won the European Cup a couple of times by the way.  He won’t see this game in the same way as the players, so maybe he’ll be able to rein all that personal shit in and get them to focus. Do I think it’s our year though? If I’m honest, no I don’t. I just don’t think we have enough this season.  Do you think you could add a third then, because to do that there’s bigger and better than Chelsea to contend with. For me, United don’t have the same sort of strength they had during those campaigns but maybe you’ll argue that?

STR: Ancelotti has spoken already about how revenge is an unhealthy motivator and I’m sure he’ll do all he can to stop the game becoming personal. He knows how it feels to win this as a player and a manager so obviously has the right experience. We shouldn’t forget the last time he won it he did it Liverpool style, by bowing out of the title race, resting players in the league, then playing his best team for Europe (as we found out the hard way in the semi-finals that year). I’d agree with you, it’s not Chelsea’s year. Yesterday I’d have said we had no chance of winning the European Cup, today I’m more hopeful, but still not at all convinced. Our team isn’t good enough. But any draw which sees you avoid Barca until the final is a good one. Our strengths are the experience of the players, with most of them having won it once, some of them winning twice, and the fact some key players, like Valencia and Park, are returning from months out so won’t be knackered. And if the league table is to be trusted, we’re the best team in England. Our midfield is an issue though. I guess you fancy your chances in the centre of the park?
CD: I’m not sure why you’d think that. Maybe because your mid-field is the weakest it’s been in years? Not wanting to write us off completely but have you watched our midfield much this season? Someone’s removed both Essien and Lampard and replaced them with waxwork imposters for a start. Considering this newfound confidence of yours seems to come directly from drawing us though and you’re slightly less confident in your own midfield, where can you see the battles being won?

STR: On the wings. Nani against Bosingwa and Valencia against Cole is pretty tasty. Rooney got enough room against your defenders to score the opening goal a few weeks ago. I’m obviously pleased that Luiz won’t be around too. I would say may the best team win… but I couldn’t care less who’s better, as long as we win!
CD: You think we’d play Bosingwa rather than Ivanovic? I’m not so sure. I’m sure your loyal servant will miss Luiz’s presence though, they seemed so close in their last meeting. You’re right though, I’m not sure which of our remaining CD’s would be quite as tight on him.

I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Atkinson! 🙂



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


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