In the big heavyweight clash, Chelsea landed the knockout punch against Manchester United to seize the initiative in this season’s title race.
Chelsea fully deserved their victory in my opinion. Yes, their second goal was incorrectly awarded after Drogba had strayed offside, however we were fortunate with the goal we scored as Macheda clearly used his arm to force the ball into the Chelsea goal.
Most will agree Chelsea dominated the first half – their ball retention was excellent keeping possession of the ball for long periods and at half time deserved their 1-0 lead. We were the better team in the second half but I felt our attacks were more huff and puff rather than the precision and control shown by Chelsea in the first half.
After a defeat I normally stay clear of any media, so I have yet to hear any reaction to our loss. I’m guessing the knives will be out for Dimitar Berbatov in the media and from our own fans. The usual rubbish of why did we spend £30 million and he isn’t United quality… Granted, Berbatov didn’t have his best game but we did not lose the game because of Berbatov, we lost due to a poor team performance – a number of players under-performed. Let’s see how Berbatov does for the remainder of the season before we write him off just yet…
I suppose there are a few that will question the starting line-up. With Chelsea missing their first choice full backs I was surprised not to see Nani start, he has been in good form recently and would have asked question of the Chelsea defence. When Nani eventually replaced Park he made a difference, he provided the cross from which we scored and the team looked a greater attacking threat.
We look a tired team at the moment. Fletcher and Evra have given their all this season but now look jaded and it is telling in their performances. Chelsea looked the fresher team unsurprisingly really as they had no midweek game and as a result dominated the all important midfield battle.
I’m sure there will have been plenty of knee-jerk reactions to the loss. There will be accusations of “this player or that player is not good enough” but we lost to the better team on the day and sometimes you just have to take on the chin, dust yourself down and come again. The defeat doesn’t necessarily worry me; how tired as a team we look is my main concern, the performance has left me less confident of victory against Bayern on Wednesday.
Chelsea and now firm favourites to win the title. Let’s hope for a few more twist and turns yet. In my preview blog I stated whichever team were victories would win the league, forget that I still fancy our chances or is that blind faith?
Can United still won the league?