Monday, February 26, 2007

Arsenal - Chelsea rivalry continues

Chelsea defeats Arsenal youth 2-1...to win the Carling Cup.

First I must admit I was not able to see the high lights, the game was not shown where I live, plus I was house hunting....fun. However from the reports and what high lights I could see it was a lively and exciting game to say the least and even had an old school NHL type bench clearing brawl!

From the reports it would appear that Arsenal, with a youth side, gave the senior millionaire prima donas from Chelsea all they could handle. However the outcome appears to have been just, both teams threatening but the more experience team on the pitch capitalizing when it needed to.

The Good: Theo scoring his first goal under the Arsenal colors could not have come at a better time, granted not the champions or even FA cup final, but still a final against the best English club of the past 2 years. The goal itself was a great example of Arsenal team work with some heady passing that sprung the teenager free for a coolly taken 1v1 against Cech. Hopefully this is another step in the development of the youngster, it has always been clear that his pace and talent were what made him a threat at every moment.

Arsenal youth - I am glad that Wenger stuck with the young players at Arsenal for this final, that is what got them there. Diaby appeared to be back from injury playing an instrumental role in the midfield (the accidental knocking out of Terry aside). Diaby will play an important role if Arsenal is to do anything in either the Champions League or FA cup, he will be needed to spell what should be a tiring midfield of Fabergas, Gilberto, Flamini et al. Aliadiere has finally demonstrated the talent that Wenger has seen in him...the player often limited by injury has received a real chance to shine and has taken that opportunity with fervor. The two young Frenchmen should continue to play important supporting roles for the Gunners this season and longer term.

The Bad: Arsenal had a real chance to grab some silverware but could not put away the Blues when they had the chance. Theo goal aside, Arsenal seem to have a real problem this season, and last putting away teams when they have the chance.

The Ugly: The match ending brawl comes to mind for this category...I think that was just the culmination of heated tempers that have been between the two sides since Mourinho has arrived in London. While the "Special Whiner" heaped praise on his North London rival after the match, his arrogant attitude continues to have its finger prints all over the club and players. The action that started the brawl was nothing out of the ordinary, but I think it is was bubbling under the surface for a while. I think this will make the May 5th match this much more interesting, while the title might no longer be in play I am sure there will be some scores to settle, in addition to having Cashley Cole returning to the Arsenal grounds.

The kick on Terry, while I cannot stand the England and Chelsea captain (mainly due to the apparent new found arrogance from the once reserved central midfielder...again I would equate that to playing for the Portuguese Man of Whine) was an ugly incident that marred the game. Diaby looking to clear a corner found Terry's face rather than the football, giving Terry a ticket to the local hospital.

An intense Carling Cup final, making this ugly step child of a trophy rather important this season. Now what if we had another Arsenal - Chelsea match in the FA Cup and a home - away match in the Champions League.....

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