For the first five minutes, Chelsea seemed a bit disoriented. Suddenly, around the 7th minute, they pulled themselves together and started linking some passes together, allowing Ramires to make his way into the box, but nothing came of it. The first 15 minutes were contained such a dualism throughout. Both Lampard and Anelka had a couple of prime opportunities, Anelka having the closest to a goal albeit off frame. Around the 25th minute Chicharito scored a goal but it was ruled offside. Around the 29th minute, Anelka had an opportunity to move towards the goal but was no match for Van Der Sar’s defensive skills outside the box. Later in the first half, Chicharito put the ball in the back of the net at the 43rd minute. Aggregate score is 2-nil against Chelsea. Two goals necessary to go into extra time; three to win it outright. And the first half finished this way. Torres still ineffective throughout.
Would the Blues get at least a pair in the second half? Would Drogba come on for Torres?
Drogba came on for Torres in the start of the second half. Things were getting interesting when Ancelotti decided to take off our leading scorer, Anelka, subbing on Kalou in the 60th minute. I don’t much understand this decision. I would have subbed Kalou on for Ramires, since he has a goal scoring prowess while Ramires does not. Drogba was proving to be influential, but Chelsea just couldn’t get it in. Ramires got a second yellow in the 69th minute, and now the Blues are down to 10 men, still needing two goals. Had Ramires been subbed off as I had previously mentioned, this unfortunate red card would not have occurred. All or nothing, Chelsea needs to press on. Drogba consistently was getting into the box, but again no goals were coming from his efforts. And then, in the 76th minute, Essien set up Drogba who controlled the ball with his chest and put the ball in the back of the net. Game on. One minute later, however, Park scored a second goal for Manchester United. Aggregate 3-1 against Chelsea. And Chelsea could not score another. Game ends 2-1, sending Manchester United on.
Chelsea looked good this game. But they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, which were bountiful. Shame. The Blues will need to undergo some restructuring next in preparation for next season. Hopefully we will retain a spot in the Champion’s League for next year, and, once Torres finds his form, assuming we construct our formation around him, I believe we can win it. Until then, here is to hoping we keep our spot.