It’s fair to say there was a rollercoaster of emotions on Tuesday night. Highs and lows. Laughs and sobs. Feeling physically sick and wanting it to stop. Those kind of emotions. The sentimentally and significance of the game fused together for a kind of gut-wrenching euphoria in the end. It was a special game, one of the all time greats in the Champions League, but one that ultimately left us fans feeling a bit of a wreck.
It seems that we have barely had the time to filter through the bundles of excitement and incident in that match. Even the list of goal scorers that flashed up during play filled up the screen like a page of teletext. But no sooner has that match ended than another, even bigger, one awaits. We can only hope blood pressure levels return to normality before kick-off, much like hoping a helium balloon comes down as it escapes your grasp.
We have to hope the players don’t feel as drained as the fans. The next game couldn’t be much bigger and the players need to be switched on from the first whistle, not the halftime klaxon. The spirit of the comeback was outstanding, the effort commendable and the play incisive at times. If they can carry on that mentality and confidence then they’ll be only one winner. The other side of the coin is, of course, that they start as they did on Tuesday and produce as bad and lethargic performance as we’ve witnessed all season. We can’t afford to give away head starts and have to prove we’ve got the footballing prowess to blow a confident Wenger side out of the water. Chelsea have waited a long time to defeat Arsenal in the cup and to do so at Wembley, to get to the final, will take another special night of football.
It’s funny how the semi-finalists have geared up to the cup games this week. Man U grabbed a dour one nil win, Arsenal cruised past Villarreal and Chelsea, only Chelsea, had to do things the hard way. There’s been an air of general panic in the Bolton and Liverpool games, like something out of Dad’s Army. The schoolboy art of defending has meant we’ve conceded goals far too easily and completely out of character from Hiddink’s previously tight ship. Starting on Saturday the defending, from the front of the team to the back, most be sharper. We need to hussle Arsenal off their stride and impose our own game. Terry will be back to marshal the troops and with his added defensive stability it should allow us to get the key, form players such as Lampard and Drogba, making decisive contributions at the other end.
It promises to be another enthralling game at Wembley and one that can make an amazing week of football at Chelsea into a historic one.