Rafa’s Most Important Game
Two games in twenty-four hours is part and part for the European Champions. By the time Chelsea step out onto the Stamford Bridge turf on bank holiday Monday, it will be the Blues’ 55th game of the season, with many more to come.
The comeback at Old Trafford showed some of the old fighting spirit that had appeared to die under Rafael Benitez, but one does wonder – why does it usually come to this? Both goals in the first half in Manchester were avoidable, and although we could have snatched it late in the day through the inspired Juan Mata, we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.
Our last chance for domestic silverware this campaign, and to defend the trophy we won at Wembley under Roberto di Matteo in May.
It is interesting to notice that the FA cup has found its way to SW6 more often then anywhere in the last decade. Even in the adverse seasons such 2007, after the Scolari saga which then gave Ray Wilkins a chance to try his hand in the cup (beating Watford 3-1) – the Blues’ have still managed to bring the FA cup home. Last year as well, after what looked a dead and buried season in January, ended with us beating Liverpool at Wembley – the expected Drogba goal, the Petr Cech save …
So there is reason to be optimistic! We haven’t been outplayed by United this campaign, either. Despite all the hoo harr surrounding Sir Alex’s boys going for our highest points tally in a season, the fickle van Persie fan boy’s are; out of Europe and out of the League Cup thanks to that ping-pong match at the Bridge in October. What the media tipped as a ‘monumental season’ in Manchester, now looks somewhat drab. Did Mancini’s men even put up a fight in retaining the league?
As expected, United have the benefit of an early kick of on Saturday and a few extra hours to recoup. Expect a tired game after international duty last week that could burst into life at any point.
Keep the Blue flag flying high.