Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chelsea Labor To Unimpressive Draw

Didier DrogbaFrom the moment Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea a 2-0 advantage in Denmark, we all knew the tie was done and dusted. However, what we didn't know, was that the second leg would etch itself into the history books, as one of the most tedious matches in Champions League history.

The first half was, arguably, dominated by a FC Copenhagen side that looked much more confident on the ball than the team that succumbed to defeat last time out. Doubtless helped by the resumption of the Danish league season, Chelsea's opponents looked dangerous on occasions, and had N'Doye's free kick been hit just two or three inches more to the right, the reigning Premier League champions could have been in for a most uncomfortable of evenings.

As the first half slowly blurred into the second period, Chelsea improved in their build up play, but it was the final shot which was lacking. Time and time again, Anelka was given an a clear opening inside the area, but time and time again he dallied on the ball, with the predictable result of a sloppy giveaway. However, it is  perhaps it is harsh simply to point out Anelka, the whole Chelsea team struggled with their finishing, especially Didier Drogba, who blazed miles over the bar on one or two occasions.

Luckily for Chelsea, or this game might have panned out much differently, FC Copenhagen weren't much better at shooting, and their seemed to be a certain magnetism pulling N'Doye's shots into Stamford Bridge's top tier. This magnetism was a common affliction of the Danish team, as Bolanos' crosses always seemed to end up in Petr Cech's arms, like North meeting South.

With the second half drifting into the realms of extreme boredom, the Stamford Bridge crowd were given a much needed lift when star signing Fernando Torres came on for the last twenty minutes in the place of the sickeningly bad Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman had starred in the first leg, but could Torres star in the second?

Unfortunately, the answer was a resounding no, with Carlo Ancelotti's fifty million pound signing failing to impress yet again in a quiet display. Torres' goal shortage is starting to turn into a drought, and if he doesn't find the net soon, Chelsea fans will begin to lose patience.

To be fair to this match, the last few minutes were slightly more exciting the annual, All England Paint Drying Competition, and on the stroke of full time substitute Michael Essien went close with a shot from long range, having been set up by a clever Torres flick.

The reaction of the Stamford Bridge crowd at the final whistle summed up what had been a subdued evening for all involved, but Chelsea did do the job, and with considerably less stress than either Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur, though of course the other two English representatives in the Quarter Finals faced much tougher opponents.

Chelsea will look forward to Friday's Quarter Final draw with some degree of excitement, seeing as the Champions League remains their last realistic chance at silverware, but Ancelotti will know that his side will have to improve if they are to edge out the likes of Inter Milan and Barcelona, to become champions of Europe.

One man who would value a win at Wembley in two months time is newly reinstated England captain John Terry, a player who will be forever cursed with memories of a rainy night in Moscow, three years ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment