Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chelsea - Liverpool (first leg)

This season in the EPL Manchester United and Chelsea have been more or less consistent--Manchester just playing class football and having all sorts of things fall into place (though they've run into serious injury trouble at the moment), Chelsea acting like the total machine they are. The other two members of the big four, Arsenal and Liverpool, have been much less consistent, both producing amazing displays in league play as well as in competitions, but also putting up real messes. When Arsenal are off, it's frustrating, because it's a matter of seven beautiful one-touch passes in midfield that come to nothing due to passive attacking or incompetent finishing in the box--which is what can happen when your strikers slowly find their way onto the long-term injury list as the season progresses. But whereas Arsenal are frustrating when they're bad (a lot of sound & fury...), Liverpool are just boring.

I've certainly seen more boring games than today's Chelsea-Liverpool match-up, but when in contrast to Manchester's recent battles with the Italian teams (or even Liverpool's strong away wins at Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven in the CL), one comes away feeling depressed rather than invigorated. A Valencia-Liverpool tie just would have added more color to the proceedings.

Once again, I'm curious if a defense (i.e., AC Milan's) that doesn't know Drogba very well (Liverpool's does obviously, and they still had trouble with him) can cope with him, after his amazing season, on this highest level. Maybe we'll get a chance to see.


Anonymous said...

GO, Manchester United, GO! ;)
Greetings from Macedonia!

[ ]

Theo said...

This was a terrible game. Unfortunately I was watching at a friend's house so I couldn't switch off; had I been at home, I'd certainly have given up and put on a DVD long before half-time.

I know Liverpool's tactics have worked in the past against Chelsea, but they never looked remotely successful here. The only way to play against Chelsea is to shake them up. They come at you in a solid block, like a phalanx, so you have to be creative and open cracks in the wall; Benitez prefers to play them at their own game and take whatever chance presents itself - and maybe that'll work in the second leg, when Chelsea are a little more tired and Liverpool's players have been rested (obv. he's going to field a 'B' team against Portsmouth this weekend), but it takes a creative team like Man. U. or Arsenal to really offer hope against Mourinho's squad of cyborgs.

I'll be SO happy if a six-point gap opens up in the Premiership today. But I doubt it...

ZC said...

As I type this, there are mere minutes before the final whistles at the Manchester and Chelsea matches today. (I've kept a window open online for the Chelsea match, though it seems Man Utd is more dramatic.) UEFA-slot-hunting Bolton, who play a dirty, tactically sound game, are exactly the sort of team to keep Chelsea, or any other big team, at bay.

Will Chelsea go ahead in these final moments??? Let's hope not.

Dan Owen said...

The second game may well be dull for the neutral, but this Reds fan is a nervous gibbering mess in the second semi.

ZC said...

Dan, I hope you got yourself about six beers today! I went to a bar after work to watch the last extra time period and the PKs. It was a Liverpool bar and the atmosphere was electric.

Dan Owen said...

I definitely had a few beers, and immediately looked into the cost of flights to Athens (they're prohibitively expensive).

Here's looking forwards to another classic final like the last one we were in.