Carling Cup Final
Chelsea 2 - 1 Arsenal
In a match which saw the two Premiership giants came to blow, the youthful exuberance of Arsenal was unable to hold out the guile, craftiness and experience of the Chelsea side. A double from Ivorian, Didier Drogba, was enough to settle the game which extended beyond 90 minutes after several stoppages including the sickening John Terry injury which saw him getting a boot to his head and needed to be stretched off.
Arsene Wenger kept his promises by sending out his young guns as a reward for them getting the Gunners into the final. Although the side consists of mostly under-23 players, there are still many familiar faces in the side and cannot be underestimated.
But in the opening exchanges, it looked like the Chelsea side were complacent and underestimated what the young guns were capable of. The Blues looked disjointed and were unable to string passes together while the longer it took, the more confident Arsenal became.
And to many's surprise, Arsenal took the lead through Theo Walcott. His deft touch took him away from Ricardo Carvalho and John Terry before lifting it over Cech for his first ever goal for Arsenal. What a way to open the record!
It looked like the Chelsea players were disinterested and seemed like going through the motions. There was no spark of brilliance from any of the multi million superstars and they're too predictable when it comes to attacking. Kolo Toure and Philippe Senderos were able to deal with them easily.
But when Plan A doesn't work, Jose Mourinho didn't hesitate to change and send out Arjen Robben to life his side and give them a little more options on the flank as well as some pace to their attacks.
It was a bold move, as Jose had to take off Claude Makelele, the work horse of the team. But we all know the Portugese never take a second look to make an important change that was the turning point of the match.
But ultimately, it was Drogba's clincal finishing that won the game. In the 20th minute, he latched onto Ballack's through ball and although replays showed that he's in an offside position, he was given the benefit of doubt and who could stop an on form striker like him from smashing the ball past the hapless Manuel Almunia.
But Chelsea had to toiled on until the last 10 minutes before finding the winning goal when Robben's intricate cross was well met by Drogba's head and once again, Almunia had totally no chance.
Although there was the incident which promptly made referee Howard Webb hand out 3 red cards and 2 yellow, it should never overshadow the fact that it has been a fantastic match with good football played. The quality of football was brilliant at times and both teams showed their intent on winning the game.
Arsenal looked a little hard done by after all the good work in the game were cancelled out by a brilliant Didier Drogba but they should be proud of themselves. They didn't looked nervy at all or not even out of place at the Millenium Cardiff Stadium, where previously, many mega stars set their foot on it.
Cesc Fabregas looked really class while Theo Walcott silenced his critics with a well taken goal.
Chelsea spent all their millions on the players but at the end of the day, it was their experience and guile that won them the cup and Jose will most definitely be pleased with the 2nd League Cup in 3 years.