Arsenal Beaten As Chelsea Progress To FA Cup Final and Retain UWCC Title
Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC) saw another defence today as champions Chelsea took on Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Chelsea were going into this match on the back of an epic 4-4 draw with Liverpool, a result which saw them progress to the Champions League semi-finals. They knew that a win was vital in their pursuit of an unlikely treble, but they were up against in-form opposition.
Arsenal were unbeaten in seven matches, and had also progressed to the Champions League semi-final in midweek, albeit in much more comfortable fashion than Chelsea had managed.
They were also gunning for a highly unlikely treble, although most fans have given up on the Premier League by now. The belief that they could secure a cup double, however, was still fairly strong.
It will be the team in blue that will return to Wembley for the final, however, as Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners, ensuring Guus Hiddink will be in a final during his short stint at the club.
Arsenal looked the more dangerous in the opening stages, with the pace of Theo Walcott in particular causing problems for the Chelsea defence.
It was Chelsea who had the first clear chances though. Didier Drogba saw his shot cleared away by Kieran Gibbs after Lukasz Fabianski had charged out of his penalty area, only to be beaten to the ball by the big Ivorian.
Gibbs was instrumental at the other end of the field just minutes later as well, as his cross found Walcott at the back post, whose shot deflected off Ashley Cole's hand and into the back of the net.
Florent Malouda, who had looked like a new player in the past few weeks, came close to equalising soon after, but his shot skimmed narrowly wide of the post with Fabianski beaten.
Malouda wouldn't have to wait long for a goal, though. Frank Lampard's pass found him in space, and he took the ball down, cut inside Emmanuel Eboue and beat Fabianski at his near post to make it 1-1.
Before the half was out, Chelsea came within inches of taking the lead, this time through Nicolas Anelka. His strike was too good for Fabianski, but just clipped the right-hand post.
A relatively poor second half provided little in the way of clear-cut chances, with Arsenal stronger defensively but lacking any firepower up-front, Emmanuel Adebayor in particular almost anonymous throughout.
Just as the match looked destined for extra-time, however, Lampard provided another assist, this time playing Drogba through, who rounded Fabianski after the Arsenal 'keeper had once again come charging out of his area, before tucking the ball into the back of the net, and booking an FA Cup final place for Chelsea for the second time in three years.
More importantly, however, it ensured that they kept hold of their coveted Unofficial World Club Championships crown.
Drogba's strike was his fifth UWCC goal, becoming only the fourth player to hit that milestone.
It was the second time Arsenal have challenged for the UWCC title, and both times they have been unsuccessful, only managing a 0-0 draw with West Ham first time round.
It was also only the second time a UWCC title match had been played at a neutral ground, and the first Wembley win in UWCC history!
Of the 48 voters in the poll, 60.4 per cent said that Arsenal wouldn't be able to beat Chelsea and claim the UWCC title so well done to everyone who got it right!
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea (Chelsea become new champions)
Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal
(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)
Chelsea's next title defence comes on Wednesday as they host fellow FA Cup semi-finalists Everton in the Premier League. Can Everton become the best team in the world?!
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