Chelsea 5-1 Tottenham FA Cup Semifinal: 6 Things Learned from the Blues' Win
Chelsea are in their fourth FA Cup final in six years after handling Tottenham Hotspurs Sunday night with a scoreline of 5-1. Didier Drogba looked his former self, turning and unleashing the opening goal from outside the box.
Juan Mata would get on the scoreboard at the beginning of the second half in controversial fashion. But it ultimately proved to be worth little argument as the Blues were clearly more deserving of the victory. They have made the new Wembley their home in recent years and continued that night.
Chelsea got their tough stretch of games underway right with this win and will be looking to ride the momentum right into their Champions League showdown in the midweek with Barcelona.
Here are six things learned from the match.
There is no better way to describe the magnificent Ivorian legend than with that vague and made up adjective. Not only did he keep his title as the “master of Wembley,” scoring in his eighth straight game at England’s national stadium, but he did it in a purely Drogba way—a long ball is played to him in the air, he backs down overpowers his opponent, takes a touch to turn and rips the ball on goal.
Raw, pure and brilliant.
It was so vintage Chelsea and Didier that it made me feel like I was back in high school, watching the match at my parents house with my brothers nagging me to use the TV. Surreal and nostalgic, transcending the very notions of time and what it means to age.
Okay, so maybe this is perhaps a bit overblown. After all it was the best goal of his season, where in any year past, would have been just one of many. But I challenge you to tell me you did not jump off your couch and scream like a school girl who just won Justin Bieber tickets.
That’s what I thought.
Those Who Blame the Ref Are Looking at the Game the Wrong Way
Chelsea’s second goal was not a goal, and everyone knows it. But everyone only knows it because they had the benefit multiple replays, multiple angles and an excessive amount of information from a variety of sources.
But on first glance, the same one ref Martin Atkinson had, whether Juan Mata scored was probably more based on which team you were supporting.
I have never been a big proponent of pointing the finger at the official for your team’s shortcomings. Of course it never helps when calls like this one go against your side. But at the same time you should be able to play well enough to deserve the win without worrying about the official taking it away from you.
Chelsea may have gotten a break, but it was only because they forced Carlo Cudicini into two miraculous saves to earn the corner. It is not like Atkinson picked up the ball from open play and gave Chelsea the corner.
Besides it is also illogical to think that there is a preset destiny for this game. Does Tottenham respond with a goal if they are not down 2-0? No one knows.
If you really want to find someone to blame make it the FA, UEFA or even FIFA, the very organizations who claim to stand behind their officials, but make them vulnerable to criticism by remaining unreasonably obstinate to change.
David Luiz’s Injury Will Be Costly
We are not sure the extent of David Luiz’s injury yet, but the Brazilian came up limp after chasing down Adebayor, which led to Spurs’ first goal. He went down immediately, grabbing his hamstring, and it was not more than 30 seconds before Cech was already calling for a sub.
However, rarely do you see a player clutch his leg with such intent and then find himself ready to play and run against the best team in the world less than three days later.
The way Luiz has been playing these past few weeks has been nothing short of brilliant. Always a threat going forward, he seems to have finally turned the corner defending, rarely making the mental errors that frustrated many fans earlier in the season. He looked prime to be the man of the night this Wednesday.
We will hope for a speedy recovery, but the way it looked, Chelsea will be lucky to have him back by the end of the season.
Roberto Di Matteo: Man or FA Cup Master?
From his playing days at the Bridge, Di Matteo is best known for what he did in the games oldest contest. He helped the Blues to two FA Cups and was always a pivotal figure in every match. Today he made the case of that he can have as much influence on the sideline as well.
The lineup he put out there today was perfect. There is no way to argue with any of the moves he made as every single player he had go out on the pitch did their job to near perfection. Heck, it is the only way you can get a 4-1 win at this stage of the tournament against a rival team.
The tactics themselves were relatively simple: Go play. As much as the media and even some fans like to think that this team is a bunch of old washed-up hacks, they sure seem to use that experience wisely, stepping up in the biggest games to secure the results they need most. In this dense schedule you cannot expect 100 percent all out every time they play.
With an eye toward Wednesday’s showdown against Barcelona, Di Matteo made the perfect moves to get the results today. He is an FA Cup maestro, no doubt about it.
Chelsea Can Do Something Against Barcelona
I will be the first to concede that Tottenham is not Barcelona. But at the same time Chelsea certainly do not need to get a 5-1 win against them either. They way Chelsea played today and beat Tottenham is the same way you can expect them to go after Barca, with pure grit, strength and determination.
The style Tottenham plays is not much different than Barca, albeit to a much lower level, but this was also not a perfect night by Chelsea. Despite five goals, they still left a couple out there and the one goal Tottenham got was a gift given the injury to Luiz on the play.
It was a win that will not turn the bookies' favor toward the Blues, but should be enough to give the fans and players the confidence they need going into the showdown at Stamford Bridge.
I Am an Idiot
For those of you who read this article, you know what I mean. For those of you who didn’t, you will after you give it a once over.
The windbag that sportwriters/bloggers are is just summed up in these 800 words of purely entertainment-based garbage meant to make me seem like I have some crystal football giving me the ability to see into the future.
I am human and a poorly constructed one at that. Hopefully my humility buys me back some credit in my reader’s eyes.
What Did You Learn from the Great Win?
I think it would be safe to argue that this was one of the team's best games of the season. Chelsea were absolutely brilliant, taking advantage of that early goal and making Tottenham pay for every mistake they made. Rarely have we seen such clinical finishing from this side on the season.
So what did you learn from Chelsea's great win?
As always, please leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
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