Chelsea FC will face Manchester United in the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League as they seek claim their first Champions League title.
In a repeat of the enthralling 2008 Final that saw Chelsea hearts shatter after Manchester United ran out winners in a tense shootout. The pulsating fixture ended 1-1 on the night after Frank Lampard had pulled a goal back from Cristiano Ronaldo’s first half header. Didier Drogba hit the post late on before being red carded for a slap on Nemenja Vidic. John Terry had the chance to seal the victory for Chelsea after Ronaldo missed his spot kick in the shootout, Terry however slipped and United went on to claim the trophy. Chelsea will feel that now is the time to take revenge for the supposed injustices of 3 years ago.
The ghosts of that night have haunted Chelsea fans and players alike ever since and the subsequent painful exits at the hands of FC Barcelona and Jose Mourinho’s Internazionale have only added further poignancy to the memories.
Drogba, Terry and the remaining old guard from that final will be focused intently on making amends for the cruel twists of fate that conspired against them in the Luzhniki Stadium. A return to that arena during this campaign in a 2-0 victory over Spartak Moscow was the first part of the rebuilding process that will come full circle next month.
In Nyon, Switzerland today fate once again bought together the Blues with their fierce rivals, with Chelsea having emerged victorious from their recent encounters and with the Red Devils undergoing something of an injury crisis, Carlo Ancelotti’s side will feel that this fixture is there for the taking.
The first leg of the tie will be at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday April 6th with the return leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday April 12th. The winner of this tie will go on to face the winner of the quarter final between Internazionale and Schalke 04 in the semi final.
With a Champions League final at Wembley the ultimate destination, the minds of everyone related to Chelsea will be transfixed on nothing but this fixture until the final whistle has blown.
For Chelsea then, this match is a chance to lay old ghosts to rest, to become the first London side to win the European cup, to conclude what seems to be a never ending saga for the club since the beginning of Abramovich’s reign, the chance to be crowned Champions League winners.