Losing to Tottenham last weekend was just unthinkable – the rivalry is such that a loss would have been completely unacceptable and what with the current table positions, we Chelsea supporters badly needed the victory. Tottenham fans too were desperate for the win – their season is beginning to implode and a win for them would have been at least a partial demonstration that perhaps they weren’t the chokers that they were increasingly being seen to be.
These thoughts obviously pre-occupied the majority of the supporters from both sides of London as the journey up to Wembley was a fairly civilised affair with little evidence of the poisonous atmosphere this fixture invariably produces every year.
I don’t think any Chelsea supporter could have predicted such a comprehensive rout – we can argue all night and all day whether the second was over the line or not – I’ve seen pictures that show it didn’t and pictures that show it did – but the other four I think we can all agree were well in.
“But it was at a pivotal stage in the match” I hear some of you whinge. What stage of the match isn’t pivotal? The point is that Tottenham had already spurned two absolutely gilt edged chances by then. In fact, in the whole match they only really had a ten minute spell where they looked to compete with us.
Drogba’s goal was the best of the lot – he is a big game player and he has once again reminded us that no matter how frustrating he can be, how moody, how petulant – that he can score goals when it matters and for that alone, I would keep him yet another season – he is a useful weapon to have in our armoury.
I was actually surprised to see him start last Saturday as I was convinced we would see Torres start and Drogba saved for this evening’s monumental clash – but Di Matteo has surprised us quite a few times with his team selections and seems to be getting it right more often than not. He is certainly staking his claim for the full time position – I am still unsure whether he is the right man for the job, but if he keeps on winning then you’ll get no argument from me.
Of course these next few days could completely change the perception of our season. The cup final will have lifted us from the ignominy of a disastrous (by our standards) campaign – but we’d need to win it really as being runners up counts for nothing. BUT should we beat Barcelona (somehow!) and beat Arsenal – then who could predict how this season would end.
I have been loving the bile coming out of Barcelona – the biggest most famous club in the world admitting that Chelsea get under their skin – that some of their players hate us – hate us more than they hate Real Madrid – little old Chelsea!
For all their glittering jewels, the Catalan super-club have been far too fond of the dark arts in recent years to be the world wide darlings of the ordinary football fan that they used to be. Their seemingly endless run of fortune in regards to refereeing decisions puts our couple of recent fortunate breaks well into perspective. The regular “fortune” that Barcelona enjoy just seems to be accepted without question from almost all involved – the most frustrating thing of course in all this is that Barcelona above any other club don’t really need a helping hand from anyone!
I just ask for two things tonight, that we play to the best of our ability and that there is no controversy which affects the result – is that really too much to ask?
Then fast on the heels of tonight comes the Arsenal game – which should we win would bring us within 4 points of Arsenal with a game in hand! Everything to play for!
Chelsea have a rare opportunity to over-haul the remnants of an indifferent season. I believe the much maligned “older players” hold the key as they have proved previously that they know what is needed and have the experience to pull it off. It’s building up to climax that none of us could have predicted with AVB still at the helm – and I am sure he must be keeping a keen eye on goings on at the Bridge and is probably more than a little reproachful at the renaissance since his departure.
Di Matteo will be hampered some by recent suspensions and injuries but he seems to be getting the best out of some of our more “average” players so I am still hopeful. We as supporters need to do our bit too and believe that the unlikely it possible and together who knows where this season will end. Come on Chelsea!