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Manchester United Vs Chelsea (1st Leg)

mce_markerComing off a great Rooney Hat-Trick weekend Manchester United must start as favorites to win this game. The rivalry between the 2 clubs has grown year upon year, Chelsea will be striving to over turn their defeat in the 2008 final where United won the match 6–5 on penalties. However this time around  there is no Ronaldo, but what United do have is Rooney, who was a injury fear following the previous game, but he is eligible to start. While United have Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernández, Nani and rock solid center backs in Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand who makes his return to the team, Chelsea also have a very strong team with Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard leading the squad and John Terry to keep them strong at the back but due to previous appearances David Luiz isn’t available.

This shaped up to be a truly terrific game of football with all the hype, Manchester United currently leading the Premier League and Chelsea desperately chasing them, each time will be looking to turn the over side over.

With all the speculation did the match live up to the standards we were expecting?…

Line Ups

Manchester United
Keeper – Edwin van der Sar
Defenders –  Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidić, Patrice Evra
Midfielders – Michael Carrick, Park Ji-Sung,  Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs
Strikers – Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernández

Subs – Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov, Tomasz Kuszczak, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Nani, Darron Gibson

Chelsea
Keeper – Petr Čech
Defenders – José Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanović, John Terry, Ashley Cole
Midfielders – Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Yuri Zhirkov
Strikers – Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba

Subs – Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun, Paulo Ferreira, Ross Turnbull, Salomon Kalou, John Obi Mikel

First Half

The game began more like a Premier League game then Champions League Semi-Final, but that was to be expected. Hard tackles right from the off with Rooney been hit hard and late, couple of shots from Chelsea, both teams seem to be wanting to go forward, Chelsea more in control though, but their recent performances summed up by a terrible sky high shot from Drogba. Toress had a small chance within the first 10 minutes but nothing came of it, he does seem to be fitting into the team more though, and Chelsea are been quite productive especially down the right hand side attacking Evra. Ferdinand gets the slightest of touches on Drogba’s face accidently and Drogba like the big drama queen he is, goes to the floor and is made to leave the field, as he was seemed to be injured. Valencia makes a god cross to Park, good chance couldn’t of been 1 up here. Park then gets another good strike in due to a poor clearance from a corner. Cole blocks a pass from Valencia and gets the ball to Torress who finds Lampard to Ramires and Drogba very nearly gets a brilliant goal with a wonderful powerful strike, but Van Der Sar matches the shot with a great save. Poor clearance from a corner allows Manchester United to come straight at Chelsea, the balls gets to the left, Giggs passes it across goal and GOAL!!!  Rooney taps it in to the bottom right corner, Cech had no chance. United seemed to be in control but Chelsea began coming forward in numbers and Torres controlled a cross from Zhirkov perfectly but couldn’t manage to finish it. For the next 5 minutes it was all Chelsea, constant pressure in the United box. Some nice passing play between Drogba, Lampard and Torres, with Toress managing to get into the box but stumbles and ends up on the floor. Zhirkov is then given a yellow card for high feet on Hernandez, he was going for the ball but made contact with Hernandez. The last 10 minutes saw each team putting alot of pressure on their opponents, but nothing came of it, but Chelsea came extremely close with Toress hitting the woodwork, the half finished with Chelsea having what seemed to be target practise. Manchester United were lucky to finish ahead, but over all did deserve it as overall United have been the better side.

Second Half

The match soon got back to the pace from where the first half finished. No sooner the match had got back underway Drogba collides with Rafael and Rafael stays down and appears to be hurt, the medical team are called to see if he is fit to continue and is helped off the pitch but he is good enough to continue and joins the game again. Evra makes a defensive mistake which allows Drogba to get the ball and he puts in a great cross to Ramires who just misses with a header. Rafael goes down again and is lifted off the pitch he’s injured, and is replaced with Nani; Valencia is then pushed back into right back.  Chelsea put on alot of pressure but United are the ones who score again, only to be disallowed for offside. Chelsea continued the pressure for the next 10 minutes to no avail. at this point United just don’t seem hungry to get a goal, they’re been very passive and just letting the game play out as they’re 1-0 up with an away goal this is understandable but that can all change. United are playing as if they’re 3-0 up just sitting back and letting Chelsea come at them, I guess when you’re a club like United you can do these things and get away with it.  We have another yellow card for Essien, he received this for a sliding challenge from the back into Carrick. Manchester United really started to take control around the 63 minutes mark, nearly scored 3 on the counter attack, excellent spell for the Red Devils. We then saw a double change for Chelsea as Malouda and Anelka came on to replace Drogba and Zhirkov, This was suprising, but Toress has seemed to be a bit brighter then Drogba. Vidic picks up a yellow card for a body check on Malouda. We then see Torres flick it on to Anelka but the Frenchman’s touch is heavy. Bosingwa gets it and sends in a great cross for Torress with a brilliant weighted header that the big Dutchman has to palm away, great save from Van Der Sar! Berbatov then makes an apperance and Hernandez is the player to make way for the bulgarian, Chelsea also make a change, as Mikel is brought on for Bosingwa. Van Der Sar then receives an un needed booking for time wasting, however he actually has a groin strain so he put the ball down for Vidic to come take the goal kick, poor decision in my opinion. The final 10 minutes ended as expected lots of pressure, both teams trying to gain a goal but nothing comes of all the efforts, the game comes to a close with a penalty protest from Chelsea who felt Evra had slided across and illegally stopped Ramires, but the referee just waves away the protest but upon seeing the replays, Evra did put his leg across obstructing Ramires, another poor decision from the referee. The final point of the game is Torres is given a yellow card for a dive, and Smalling comes on to waste the final moments. Game Over.

I found this a very enjoyable game with the better team gaining the victory, some cards were given, but it wasn’t a badly fought game, we had some poor decisions from the referee but on the most part he did a good job, Chelsea piled on the pressure for alot of the game but Manchester United are prepared to just sit back and let the opposition come at them, as they have the players and talent to claw a game back if needed. I found the game did feel more like a Premier League match, but just with a hell of alot more at stake, I personally think Chelsea should of brought on Anelka earlier and really pushed forward with more penetration, the second leg should make for a brilliant game as Chelsea must go all out attack, but I can not see United getting beat, I’m not sure they will go on to win the competition as Real Madrid and Barcelona, will be a brilliant final!

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Reviewed by Mowa on 07 April 2011

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