So the Champions League final is decided. For me the supreme irony of Wednesday night was Drogba’s face contorted in rage at complaining to the pitch camera that someone else is a cheat!
Chelsea should have had penalties three maybe, but not the “six or seven” Fat Frank suggested. Normally sympathy would be there but, when you see the likes of Drogba and Ballack behaving in the way they do you can’t help thinking that, because of Chelsea’s constant attempts to con referees through the years, it’s a just comeuppance? As for UEFA conspiracy theorists perhaps they should remember that Barca had a player sent off!
The other semi was more clear cut. Thanks NOT to Arsenal for lying down and allowing The Mancs to roger them so easily and so early meaning that, if he wanted to, Fergie could have rested players for Sunday’s Manchester derby. What of our chances now? Perhaps Arsenal will come to Old Trafford in the few weeks time intent of revenge? The supreme irony of this tie? Adebayer, who was anonymous in both games, complaining than his side, just off a 20 odd game unbeaten run having been KO’ed from two semi finals and in with a chance of third in the Premiership, have gone backwards! When things go “wrong” at The Emirates or Stamford Bridge it’s always the same idiots that seem to come to the surface?
Anyway we can’t moan at Arsenal for making our situation harder as clearly we are the architects of it for not being as ruthless in certain games as The Mancs were at The Emirates on Tuesday. Steven Gerrard said as much in the Guardian earlier this week.
“There have been too many draws at Anfield. It’s difficult sometimes when you come up against these teams who come to Anfield with virtually everyone behind the ball. No one comes to play attacking football because they know they’re going to be picked off and destroyed. We need to be more ruthless at home. There are points there that, if we’d taken, we’d be top.”
Points taken (or not in this case). I guess if we are to make the transition from potential runners up to Champions then we need to iron out this aspect, Anfield is not the only ground where teams come to defend? It’s frustrating as whilst we’ve underachieved against some teams we would be expected to beat, our record against the top four this season is excellent and a reverse of previous seasons. However despite this, Gerrard keeps the faith.
“I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that this team will win the Premier League. We’re so, so close to doing it this season. I believe we can still nick it. If we don’t and United close it out, then we’re going to have a right good go at it over the next three, four or five years and I believe we’re too good not to win it.”
Which brings us neatly to this weekend which I believe, could decide the Premiership. We play West Ham today while the Mancs entertain their beloved neighbours on Sunday. If the Mancs win then can we really see them dropping six points in their remaining fixtures against Wigan, Arsenal and Hull? In short something has to give. If it’s “as you are” then the Mancs will close in or we will take closer order? That is of course assuming we are victorious at Upton Park. This is by no means certain for West Ham, having looked a sorry outfit earlier in the season as financial clouds gathered, have rallied excellently under Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke and are in the running for a Europe.
Thanks to Joey Barton we will be without Xavi Alonso however, Mascherano, who also went off injured on Sunday, is fit as too is Fernando Torres. West Ham will present us with a tougher task than the very anemic Newcastle however, we are creating chances and with the Mancs playing the day after, should be eager to keep the pressure on. As Rafa said
“Our motivation is easy. We have to go and try to win. That message is very clear.”
Enough said. Prediction? Keeping it up with a 2-1 win.