Monday, February 26, 2007

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Its Carling Cup Finals 2007 and Chelsea take on a depleted Aresenal for what could be a possible 'quadruple' with the Champions League, FA Cup and Premiership for Chelsea. And for once, my head and heart were in no disagreement as to whom I supported :)

For Chelsea, John Terry was back and that ensured that Chelsea fielded a full-strength eleven against an Arsenal Team that surely missed the likes of Henry and Rosicky. But if one thought with the opening line ups that the young gunners were going to show nerves, it only took 8 minutes to cause panics in Chelsea camp when Peter Cech just about manages an extraordinary save and prevent the gunners going up one-nil, and these young gunners took just three minutes more to prove everyone wrong when Theo Walcott footed the ball past Peter Cech into the net. The scoreline read Aresnal 1. Chelsea 0.

Theo Walcott scores first for Arsenal.
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With the Gunners in lead and Chelsea apearing shell-shocked, all seemed lost for the blue jerseys this early in the game until the Ivory Coast striker, whom we know by the name Didier Drogba, romped home the equalizer. It's Chelsea 1. Arsenal 1. Ballack's superb cross and Drogba puts the ball in the net for his 27th goal in the season, taking advantage of the linesman's flag and one might still argue if the Off-side decision should have gone Asenal's way.

Diabe's attempt to clear the corner catches Terry right on the face.
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What followed was purely fascinating football. Action was thick and fast as Fabregas came inches close to taking Arsenal back in the lead just going wide off the post, and then Terry received a kick on the face and had to be carried off the field, neck in a brace just 15 minutes after the second half. That certainly brought concern on the faces of all Chelsea supporters. And when Lampard stuck the crossbar in the 76th minute, one seemed to wonder if the match would be decided in the stipulated 90 minutes, until Drogba did it again for Chelsea in the 83rd minute.

Drogba gives Chelsea lead in the 83rd minute.
Image Courtesy: BBC Sports

That Drogba's magical header endured that Chelsea were, for the first time in the match, leading the Gunners. Robben's fine cross was headed right past Alumnia to seal the Chelsea victory. 28 goals so far in the season and Drogba must be feeling like the King of the world. The Carling Cup 2007 was Chelsea's, another feather in Mourinho's cap. Arsenal might have lost but I'll have to say, they played some majestic football, whatever the scoreline read at the end.

And if one thought that was all one was to witness, the fireworks were not over yet. A mass brawl sparked off when Mikel and Toure got involved in a fight over a Mikel foul that forces the managers to rush to the field to pull off their players. Three red cards- Mikel, Toure and Adebayor were sent off and Chelsea were reduced to ten men to Arsenal's nine. An incident both managers condemned. Arsens Wenger had to say this on the incident: "You must always keep calm, no matter what happens. I regret the incident. That's not what we want, we want to play football." And I'll have to say, they played some majestic football, whatever the scoreline read at the end.

The only low point in what was a fascinating clash. This mass brawl resulted in three red cards.
Image Courtesy: BBC Sports

1 down. 3 to go. No one has ever done it before. This Chelsea team, however, has all that it takes to do it.

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