Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chelsea crash in Catalonia; hands off Wenger!

In a disappointing game in the Nou Camp, Chelsea's post-Abramovich dreams of Champions League success ended yet again. For a team who needed to score twice to go through, they were abhorrently defensive. It seems, against the highest of opposition, who didn't even really go into second gear, Chelsea's long-ball, packed midfield game was finally exposed. While Joe Cole at least seemed to be present and pushing for the win, sometimes even sparkling with invention, too many Chelsea players just didn't put in a performance. John Terry was ruthlessly mugged for Ronaldinho's superbly taken goal. Lampard, aside from stepping up for the last-kick-of the-game penalty, might well have not turned up. I suspect he may have been rushed back from injury. I know Chelsea are capable of knocking quite a few goals past teams using their 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation, but tonight having Drogba ploughing a lonely furrow up front smacked of desperation, and an inability to change an essentially defensive system to one that could have got goals.
Barca were the better team over two legs, regardless of refereeing decisions. For Mourinhio to state that the best team didn't win was at best wishful thinking, and, at worst, hubristic, ungentlemenly, and unbecoming of a manger of his position. But then what did you really expect him to say - winners don't like losing.

In other European matches... Rangers put in a gutsy performance in Villareal, drawing 1-1 after leading, which knocked them out on away goals. Juve scraped through against Bremen, a last minute goalkeeping mistake costing Werder the game. Without wanting to get too much ahead of myself, imagine Paddy coming back in the next round. It would be intense.

Provided the electricity in my house is fully back on tomorrow, I'll do a pre-Real post tomorrow. Needless to say: I'm still worried. This game is far from over - an early goal from Real and its more than game-on. We need to score, and then run the midfield again. Come on Arsenal!

A worrying piece in the times today/tomorrow also knocked me off kilter a bit. Can't see it happening myself - I do worry a lot though.

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