“We won 5-1, we won 5-1, we won 5-1 at Wembley, we won 5-1, we won 5-1, we won 5-1 at Wembley”
Few could have predicted the events that unfolded yesterday, but that is football. If the previous match between the two London clubs was a dull and dreary affair, yesterday’s match was anything but. Six goals, missed chances and goal line clearances all make their way into today’s review.
The game might not be remembered for all the right reasons, many focused on the minority that marred the minute silence but as many have said previously they do not represent the majority and this is a football blog so I will focus my attention on the football.
It wasn’t like the game was destined to be such a free scoring encounter, the first forty minutes appeared to be cagey and few chances created, arguably the best falling to Tottenham after Scott Parker was allowed to run into the box but his effort at goal was tame and blocked. Whilst at the other hand Kalou slipped Mata in on a quick counter but he couldn’t control the ball well enough which was gathered by Cudicini. Van Der Vaart then had his effort cleared off the line by captain John Terry following a very well worked move. Adebayor then should’ve put Tottenham in the lead but he failed to make contact with Van Der Vaart’s cross and the ball looped off the post and to safety.
The game’s first moment of brilliance came on the 43rd minute, Lampard’s long ball was controlled by Drogba who turned Gallas with ease before unleashing a fearsome left foot strike past a helpless Carlo Cudicini. 1-0. The Ivorian’s goal was spectacular and drew comparisons with an effort against Liverpool some years back.
The goal just prior to half time appeared to have a significant effect on the second half, Chelsea seemed much the brighter and carried on their attacks. It wasn’t long before the second goal came, albeit in controversial fashion. Luiz’s header was blocked into Mata’s path whose shot was judged to have cleared the line to the dismay of the Tottenham players. Over the line? You decide.
The lead didn’t last long though, Scott Parker’s through ball set Adebayor through and after being brought down by Petr Cech in the penalty box, the ball rolled to Gareth Bale to tap in. 2-1. Just to clarify for those asking for Cech to be sent off, the red card offence would be the denial of a goalscoring opportunity not violent conduct or any other type of foul, Gareth Bale scoring after the foul negates issue. The worry for Chelsea was the fact David Luiz had to be stretchered off and is unlikely to feature against Barcelona midweek.
After deciding to change his formation to a more conventional 4-4-2, Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham fell to pieces. The space in behind the midfield was exposed even more and it became a field day for Juan Mata, his ball over the top put Ramires in a great position through on goal and the Brazilian cooly lifted the ball over Cudicini to make it 3-1.
The fourth came four minutes later in incredible style. Lampard’s free kick from all of 30yards out found it’s way into the back of the Tottenham net after swerving past Cudicini. The game was over and the Tottenham fans began to leave in their droves.
The scoreline became embarrassing when Mata again the creator courtesy of a ball over the top of the Tottenham back four this time allowed Malouda to slide the ball into the net past Cudicini. The former Chelsea keeper had shipped 5 goals but couldn’t be to blame for his side’s miserable performance.
Notes from the game:
When he wants to play it is evident that Didier Drogba is a force to be reckoned with, his performance earned him the Man of the Match award which quite frankly could’ve gone to a number of players. His goal was simply stunning and deserves the praise it was awarded, he also won the free kick from which Lampard scored. He will need to show that same hunger against Barcelona if Chelsea are to progress.
Is there ever going to be a game when Mata fails to impress, the shining light this season and he continued to do so yesterday. Scoring the controversial second before setting up two others, the architect behind Chelsea’s good work, his creativity can’t be emphasised enough, picking holes in the Tottenham defence with ease.
The pairing of Lampard and Mikel, possibly the best pairing in midfield that we have. Lampard was influential in the attacks and capped off his performance with that long range free kick, whilst Mikel was outstanding in keeping the tempo of the team going and preventing Tottenham’s attacks through the middle.
Defensively it was for the majority of the game a solid performance, Bosingwa found himself out of position on many occasions but handled the threat of Gareth Bale reasonably well. Whilst Ashley Cole prevented everything from his side. We got a chance to see all three centre backs and it is great to see all three playing at such a high level. John Terry was again brilliant and supported by great performances from David Luiz and Gary Cahill who both found themselves stopping Bale if he tried to come into the penalty box.
Is Roberto Di Matteo the man to take over full time? He’s certainly done his case no harm. He certainly has a bond with the FA Cup as a player and it appears to be the same as a manager.
The game might not be remembered in the media for a truly great performance by Chelsea but it is exactly what occurred. Tottenham will be upset over the award of the second goal but as Ledley King mentioned in his post match interview they conceded four others. The team were deserved winners and now play Liverpool in the FA Cup final, but first it is Barcelona in the Champions League and what better way to instil confidence than a 5-1 win over your rivals.