I’m still not sold on this Manchester United team. They’re just not that good. Still, in sports, and especially soccer, some things defy statistics and even appearance. Rio Ferdinand was playing on one leg for 90 minutes. Chelsea couldn’t find a way to get round him? To score through him? They had their moments in their first half, but those moments passed, and then came Javier Hernandez’ goal from Ryan Giggs’ wonderful pass. Then came a red card. Drogba’s goal was answered so fast by another Giggs build up (Park goal) that Chelsea didn’t have a minute of building up their hope again.
Yes, above all else, shined the wonderful Mr. Giggs. At 37, Giggs is still doing it. On a fairly boring and unimaginative Manchester United side, en route to their 19th league title, pretty much by default. But we’re here talking Champions League, Ryan Giggs and tonight’s game.
Chelsea’s season had some life breathed into it after their 2-1 win over United in the league. Depression and the usual manager rumors began after the 1-0 loss at the Bridge last week. Tonight was the last chance of getting something worthy of any attention this season. Not just for the club. So many individuals had something on the line tonight. Ancelotti, Fernando Torres, just for starters. The 5o million bricks on his legs and back are just getting heavier. Ancelotti’s future in West London? Foggier, pessimistic kind of looking.
Back to United. Again, not brilliant. Never brilliant. Still, Wayne Rooney is coming. Not his dominant and consistent self like last season, but he’s getting there. His decision making is great again. Maybe behind the striker, without the pressure of an entire nation on his back to score. With injuries, scandals and whatever slowly fading away, he’s back to his best. But above all is Ryan Giggs.
His evolution into what he is now from the pacey winger of before is incredible. His passing and ability to always create the chance at crunch time, to always stroll into the open space, his wisdom. Incredible. It doesn’t come out every game, especially not when the game turns too agressive. That’s where Chelsea failed tonight. Where they succeeded in the league win. The game wasn’t physical enough in the middle of the pitch. They got too many bookings on cheap fouls. They got a tad screwed with the sending off, but that wasn’t what ruined their match. No killer instinct, not rising to the occasion, not playing smart, that’s what doomed their season.
United still have a game at the Emirates not to lose, but I find it hard to believe that even if Arsenal beat them they’ll lose the title. A treble is in sight, and Ferguson won’t let his bloodhounds drop the scent. I’m sure Roman Abramovich’s name will come up a lot in the coming weeks about what he’ll do with his team. Another reason as to why United are advancing to their fourth Champions League Semi Final in five season at the expense of Chelsea.