|Thank you Senor Mata!|
Roman Abramovich must surely feel that his decision to sack Andres Villas Boas was vindicated. The game billed as a chance for Boas to show that he belongs as a manager of a Champions League caliber team became merely a showcase to expose his and his side's weaknesses.
But to be fair, there is no doubt that Villas Boas and his side are extremely talented. They're always just qualifying for the Champions League. But qualification for it and challenging last year's champions are two very different things as shown by today's result.
Rather than vindicating Villas Boas, the game simply showed the quality of his former assistant coach turned head coach Roberto Di Mateo.
And arguing from the lesser to the greater, was the match not ultimately a showcase of the heart and determination of the new generation of Chelsea players? What could be more exciting than seeing Cahill open the scoring with a cracking shot from just inside the penalty area, followed by two excellent goals from Juan Mata, capped off with a Mata-to-Sturridge tap in?
And on top of all that they went down 2-1 early in the second half testing the determination and character of the Chelsea squad. The players should surely be credited for their self-belief and vigor in as the stared into the eyes of their first defeat of the season. I don't think they could hear anything but "When the Spurs go Marching In" after the rapid fire goals of the second half.
And then Mata to the rescue. He is certainly in a rich vein of form and he's proven himself to be a huge addition to the team. There is another guy on the team named Torres I believe? All kidding aside, it seems that the threat of Torres has opened up opportunities for other talented players. And with Torres and Mata playing on the Spanish national side together it would stand to reason that their playing relationship will only be strengthened. Perhaps one will make up for deficiencies in the other from time to time.
Not to be outdone on the offensive side, Peter Cech made several key saves to keep Chelsea in the contest. It seemed like everyone went to sleep for the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half except for Cech. My son is still confused by his helmet but I'm sure with Mark's love of the goalkeeper position he'll one day understand the meaning of Cech's rugby helmet. Friedel had a great game too but he had some problems. For Mata's first goal he didn't move. I think he was actually being "screened" by all of the defensive players in front of him who were unable to stop the ball but succeeded in keeping Brad from seeing it coming towards goal.
And how about Eden Hazard and Daniel Sturridge? Excellent, both of them. This is certainly an exciting year for Chelsea Football Club. From watching them (finally!) win the Champions League this spring to following the so far unbeaten Premier League campaign, I'm finding it hard to see why anyone would not expect Chelsea to win the Premier League this year.
|Ethan - Celebrating his 3rd Birthday (and also Chelsea winning the Champions League!)|
|Daddy and Ethan watch Chelsea finally win on penalties - Go Peter Cech!|