FA Cup final today! In a competition and at a stadium where Chelsea have really made their name in the recent times. The mood should be buoyant in the Chelsea camp. The points being dropped in the premier league should not undermine a great late season surge by Chelsea.
It was quite clear that premier league was not really our priority and I must say it was a smart strategy in the larger scheme of things. We did not play our strongest eleven in the Arsenal game between the two games against Barcelona. In fact, we had used that game to try out some defensive methods and tactics in preparation for the colossal match at Camp Nou. Even the game against Newcastle was played with one eye on the FA Cup final. You can’t take anything away from Newcastle and those brilliant goals but Chelsea weren’t really on top gear. Liverpool, on the other hand, must be resting players ever since the semi finals. That’s how long they had nothing to play for.
This game is really important for both the clubs. That’s true for any cup final and any team but this one’s a bit special for both. For Liverpool, it turned out to be yet another season of disappointment. Even the talismanic presence of Dalglish is not helping them. He’s probably facing the sack. The league cup was a consolation. But if he wins the FA Cup too, that strengthens his position. With the rise of Man City and the re-emergence of Spurs and Newcastle, Liverpool are being dismissed to be being a mid-table team unless there’s a revolution. Two domestic trophies will only paper the cracks.
The Chelsea situation is not too different. Roberto di Matteo is not probably facing the sack but his tenure as a caretaker coach could come to an end. An FA Cup win is only going to make Chelsea stronger in confidence and will have the right mindset and momentum to take to Munich. Chelsea’s dependence on the senior and older players is well and truly back. I thought they had an easy life under Carlo. Under AVB, it was quite the opposite. Under RDM though, they have been back to their best and credit should also go to Roman who was supposed to have had a tough talk with the players at the time of AVB exit.
Both Chelsea and Liverpool need to do some rebuilding to do. Both are not keeping up with the landscape of football in England and in Europe. Both need to go back to the drawing board to counter the harsh realities. Today’s game is going to be a mouth-watering affair. I used to love the Chelsea vs Liverpool rivalry back in the days of Mourinho & Benitez. We used to play them way too oftend and those games were very intense and high on drama. I’m sure today’s game won’t be any different.
Chelsea should start as favourites. I predict Chelsea to win 2-1 by full time. Suarez to give the lead to Liverpool. Lampard to equalise and Drogba to grab the winner in the second half! As usual, I’ll be on Twitter doing my twitathon during the game. KTBFFH!