Friday, May 18, 2007

FA Cup Final

Tomorrow morning (7am pacific, PPV), Chelsea and Man United play the FA Cup final. Just a few weeks ago, it looked like we were headed for a trio of classic Chelsea/Man U. matches -- the second-to-last match of the Premiership season, which could have been a decider; the FA Cup final; and, most importantly, the Champions League final in Athens.

Instead, we'll have an injury-weakened Chelsea (no Carvalho, Shevchenko, or Ballack), seeking their only chance at a trophy (unless you count the Carling Cup), against a full-strength Man United looking to complete the English double.

The Premiership "decider" turned out to be a meaningless 0-0 bore, with Manchester United already in possession of the league title. Both teams are out of the Champions League despite making it to the final four. Liverpool took Chelsea out in one semi-final, AC Milan took Man U. out in the other, setting up a rematch of last year's final.

So it's down to the FA Cup. Chelsea's defense, anchored by Carvalho and Essien, is normally amazing -- they allowed only 24 goals in 38 league matches, the lowest number of any team. But without Carvalho they will be really vulnerable to Man U.'s deep attack (Rooney, Ronaldo, Saha, Scholes and Solskjaer have a combined 52 goals).

If Didier Drogba comes to play, Chelsea has a shot. He's one of the most amazing strikers I have ever seen. Incredibly strong and athletic. His 20-goal highlight reel for the 2006/7 Premiership season is off the hook -- he can score insane, impossible goals. They'll have the London crowd at Wembley. I'm predicting they go down 2-1, but I'll still be watching.

UPDATE: Chelsea 1, Manchester United 0 (Drogba 116'). Well, I was happily wrong about the result. Got the Chelsea goal-scorer, though. A great volleyed one-two with Lampard, and Drogba was through for a balletic tap-in, his 33rd goal of the season across all competitions. Just as the match seemed inevitably headed for the dreaded penalty shoot-out, Chelsea pulls a rabbit out of the hat to win it.


wolfteam hacks said...

I guess they weren't completely without quality outside Europe after all, huh?

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