Friday, May 25, 2007

'Carpe Diem'

The title's in Latin and it basically means 'seize the moment'. You must be wondering why I'm on this topic. Well, because it's a lesson learned from the 06/07 season as well as the Champions League final.

Opportunities arise yet we failed to capitalise it. Shame. I agree on what most of you have been saying that the final itself is a reflection of Liverpool's league campaign where we time and again, failed to kill of games while we could and then let it slipped by.

21 points behind league leaders isn't a good sign and judging from Rafa's recent outburst, he himself know that we need to keep improving and the season that has just ended was a very disappointing one.

Have we been treading water this season? I think yes, to an extent.

Yet time is against us. It's been 19 long years since the last league title and many fans are growing impatient. Fans of my generations are yet to see the glory and therefore are more forgiving but for those who've been with the team through the 70s and 80s, they'll definitely feel the disappointments.

We have had 2 major cups in Rafa's 3 seasons in charge and to me, he has done a wonderful job thus far. With limited resources, he did his best it really made us believe.

But many of us will tend to agree with Rafa on the current situation that is we need to invest big money from now on and stop settling for the second or third best.

As I've mentioned in my post match review of the finals, I believe that the upcoming summer will be a make or break period for the club. It'll either take us to a new direction or another walk round the so called 'promise land'.

The American owner's arrival at the club signals a new era in Liverpool FC's glorious history yet what we really want to see is instant impact and how, together with Rafa, will steer this wayward ship in the right direction, or some might argue, to 'fine tune' it because we're on the right track.

Big money will be splashed on players and maybe, we do not need to settle for the Pennants or Josemis anymore.

With talks surround the likes of Eto'o, Villa and Torres, I urge you fans to drop the thinking that we're playing Football Manager and move your arse back on the ground where reality hits. We might attempt to get them but I personally feel they are out of our range.

According to reliable sources, the top 3 names in Rafa's 'wanted' list are Gabriel Milito from Real Zaragoza, Simao from Benfica and last but not least, Darren Bent from the recently relegated Charlton.

So you can see the difference between what we want and what Rafa thinks we really need. Afterall, he knows what the team needs best and also, the players that suit his style and shares the same ideology.

But leave the speculations alone, we're talking about seizing the moment. We need to act fast, like what Rafa previously said. We can no longer sit around and wait anymore. With Chelsea sniffing around for anyone who has the ability to kick a football and Barcelona using their charms to seduce players, Liverpool needs to act faster like how they got Lucas from Gremio despite several other Italian clubs in the queue.

Like the Champions League final where it looked as if Mr. Benitez has a remote control on his hands, we missed the glorious chances and missed the opportunities presented to us. Just off my head, I could think of ManYoo (home), Newcastle (Away) and Fulham(Away) where we did everything but finish the game off. And that is just a few of the examples.

So I'll have to agree with Rafa and I understand his frustration with the way things have been going. We can no longer tarry and thinks that players will have Liverpool as their first choice anymore.

Time has moved on and we 'board the train' fast. We've already made the first move by letting investors into the club, not it's time to begin the second phase of 'Rafalution'.

And hey, even ladies now takes the initiative to hook up with guys, so should we. Go out and be aggressive in the market. No time to be nice anymore. Roll on the summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

You Know What Makes Me Boil?

Not the defeat mind, I took it pretty well.

It's the attitude of UEFA and their corporate bigwigs. Of a 60,000 fully seated stadium, both teams were only given a meagre 17,000 tickets each and I didn't even bother to write a post on how absurd and ridiculous it is to give the rest to some guy in suit and tie who has never ever seen a football match.

Then they came out blasting our fans for all the troubles. Seriously, why do we have to carry all the blame and sh*t when things go wrong. Is it because of our troubled past (Hillsbrough, Heysel)? And why is 'Britain' the only problem?

Mind you, I'm not a British national, I'm an Asian. But I can't help but feel English football is being isolated and battered by UEFA.

UEFA's head of communications William Gaillard has blamed the behaviour of Liverpool fans for ticketing and disorder problems in the Champions League final against AC Milan.

"It was a suitable venue. It is the stadium where the 2004 European Championships were held and where all the games of the (Greek) national team are held.

"Unfortunately in Britain it is the behaviour. Liverpool fans are responsible for the problems before, during and after the game.

"(They were) trying to go over the barriers to get into the stadium without tickets, which is not the behaviour we can condone. It is very easy to say 'this is not a football stadium'.

"Milan supporters didn't face the same problems because they didn't behave the same way."

The ever-blameless UEFA absolving any faults and blames placed on them made the fans the scapegoat. Seriously, how could you blame fans who are desperately trying to witness their team's road to glory and who are you to deny them the right?

Sometimes, I feel that English football is constantly on a different wavelength with the rest of Europe. Just look at the refereeing decisions and you could jolly well work out why. What is permissible in England is not necessarily so in Europe.

Peter Crouch is never allowed to jump while shoulder charge or any little touches leads to foul and warnings. I don't even want to go in about how the game ended perhaps a minute earlier.

I do not condone violence on and off the pitch, that I'll have to make myself clear. But why push all the blames to the poor fans?

I feel the unjust. As long as those people are at the top level, English football will always be marginalised. Period.

Summer Clean Up Begins.....NOW!

Seriously, that was fast. One day after the defeat in Athens, ruthless Rafa is already wielding the axe and the first of the lot is none other than Mark Gonzalez.

As I've mentioned in my seasonal review, I thought he was too lightweight and never looked mentally up to the task. He looked intimidated at times and had a disappointing first season. But on the other hand, I thought he could've been given another season to prove his worth. After all, Rafa spent so much time waiting for him to recover from his injury and then his passport problems.

Whatever it is, the summer clean up starts now and he's the first and will certainly NOT be the last. Farewell Speedy and all the best. Thanks for getting us into the Champions League in the first place.

Kaka Is Co-Owned By Someone Else...

Surprise! Serie A player in co-owned shocker...

Well...Minister Silvio must be livid. He's owned by the man who walked on water, no wonder Liverpool stood no chance....

Inzaghi Double Breaks Liverpool Heart

Milan Finished Off Reds In Clinical Style

UEFA Champions League

AC Milan (ITA) 2 - 1 LIVERPOOL (Eng)


Milan - Inzaghi (45min, 82min);

LIV - Kuyt (89min);

As a Liverpool fan, I'm here to congratulate AC Milan in their triumph at Athens. I won't be bitter because I'm not feeling it at all and I must say well done and we've lost to a worthy opponent. I also mirror the views of both Benitez and Gerrard as both were magnanimous in defeat.

We lost to a better team and this time round, no turnarounds and no twist in the tale. It was settled within the 90 with Milan being in their clinical best. Through it all, class prevails and the experience of the players got them to the finish line.

Maybe the football gods decides to return some favour to this Milan side that was battered in Istanbul 2 years ago and now, it's honours even. There will finally be a full stop in all the revenge talks prior to the game and with Milan going on to lift their 7th European title, I for one thinks that there are a lot of positives that could be drawn from this game.

And like our spiritual song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone', suggests that as we walk through a storm, hold your head up high. I believe that even though they walked off the pitch as the losers, they certainly did enough to hold their heads up high through it all.

And although it seemed to be bitterly disappointing to lose at the final hurdle, I think we should be proud of the 11 players on the pitch as they gave their all and played well. But football, sometimes, defy logic, like it did 2 years ago.

Liverpool played well, stifled Milan yet was caught out by two mistakes which probably costs us the game. It was a difference in class and as well as experience yet both teams looked pretty equaled and it wasn't as one sided as it did 2 years ago.

Liverpool started off reasonable well with the fans in fine voice once again. Jermaine Pennant, the player who's making his Champions League final debut, was first to test AC Milan goalkeeper, Dida, from a tight angle. But the Brazilian keeper got down well.

Then the Reds started to dominate not in terms of possession but the control of the pitch as they defended high up top and was able to disrupt Milan from playing their free-flowing football.

Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano were both tenacious in their tackles and was matched up with Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini. Gerrard, being in that unfamiliar foward role, looked enthusiastic and fired up for the game as both him and Dirk Kuyt were constantly harassing the Milan defence.

Both teams then fired warning shots at each end as Riise fired a shot just over the bar while Brazilian maestro, Kaka, was able to work Pepe Reina from distance despite being closed down by Mascherano.

But as time wore on, Liverpool seemed to have gain the upper hand and the match was well in control by Rafa's men. They set up the game's tempo just right for their style of play while Milan were caught out a couple of times by that.

Sloppiness was something that struck me about Milan during the match as their passing were woeful at times while the defence had a torrid time clearing their lines as Liverpool forced them to a couple of errors.

But having shots after shots at goal with no result isn't the best confidence booster for a team that looked inferior on paper. Milan kept their cool as they soaked up pressure from Liverpool and unleashed their power at the right place, right time.

With the pre-match talk mostly on Kaka, Milan was able to bring on a special weapon in some sort to break down the stingy Liverpool defence, in an unorthodox way. The talk was about whether to start Pippo Inzaghi or Alberto Gilardino.

Ancelotti made the right choice in starting the veteran Italian striker as he finally broke the deadlock in Milan's second attempt on goal in the first 45. His experience was invaluable and the way he deflected in Pirlo's freekick showed the typical striker instinct and craftiness.

Known for his goal scoring records, Inzaghi's prowess in the 6 yard box is second to none and Pepe Reina was stranded as the ball hit the back of the net. Suspect of a handball but referee decides it is legit.

Liverpool were caught in a pretty similar situation like they did in Istanbul. But this time round, the deficit was smaller yet you feel that the pressure was very much on Liverpool. 3-0 down, nobody would give you a chance yet by being a goal down, there's still very much to play for.

Nobody will speculate as to whether the Milan players were celebrating in the dressing room this time but one thing's for sure and that is they had the confidence and plan to finish the game off in the Italian 'catenaccio' way.

Being in the position isn't unfamiliar for Liverpool as they've did that in recent years but this time round, no luck for the Reds. Kewell was threw on in place of Zenden but the Australian winger didn't seemed to have enough run out to cause Milan any trouble.

And perhaps Rafa Benitez took a little too long to put on a second striker to support Dirk Kuyt. Peter Crouch was introduced only in the 78th minute and there was little the lanky striker could do with the limited amount of time.

And just like how Milan struck in the first half, they once again pierced through the heart of Liverpool's defence surgically with Kaka weaving his magic and Inzaghi once again, showing his knack to confused defenders with his run and then calmly placed the ball under the body of Reina.

With Mascherano taken off before the goal, Rafa took the gamble but it backfired. Kaka was left alone and with all the time and space, was able to release Inzaghi. Game plan came undone and the player's head dropped.

But you'll always expect Liverpool to comeback stronger and they did once again.

Dirk Kuyt was able to head home his first Champions League goal this term and what a time to score it. Pennant's corner was deflected off Massimo Oddo's back and the Dutchman made no mistake with his header from the back post.

But it all seemed too little too late for the Reds as they failed to conjure up the magic that won them the cup 2 seasons ago. Milan very well knew that they couldn't afford to let Liverpool in once again and was able to hang on to the very last minute.

Controversies will be about the referee blowing the whistle even before the clock hits 3 minutes of added on time but it just wasn't meant to be for Liverpool. They might have used up all their luck in the match against Chelsea and perhaps, what comes around goes around.

And to the Liverpool fans:

Surely, disappointed we are to go all the way to the finals, defeating Chelsea and Barcelona on the way. But the display from the lads on the pitch suggest that there are much more to come from Rafa Benitez and his men.

As Liverpool enters a new era under Tom Hicks and George Gillett, I personally feel excited about the upcoming summer as Liverpool will dig deep into the pockets for new players as Rafa continue to look to improve the squad, with resources this time round.

It might all be a blessing in disguise for the Reds as only in defeat, we might see our own downfall and weaknesses and hopefully, Rafa acknowledges this and it might prove to be a monumental moment for the club.

Chin up lads, there are much more to come and disappointments being part and parcel of life, we look to move on and away from the pain. Well done, and we'll bounce back!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Champions League Final Preview

UEFA Champions League Final

AC Milan (ITA)

There isn't a final more finely poised than this one. After months and months of cup competition, elimination, heart breaks and jubilation, it comes down to this very night in Athens, where rivalries renew and the thirst for glory and hunger for success comes face to face.

The two teams are none other than the protagonists of the 'Greatest European Final, Ever TM'. It's style against substance, beauty against pragmatism. The difference between the sides are pretty obvious before the match even started.

Milan draped in their fine designer's suit and tie, representing their the classy and stylish side hailing from Milan, the capital of fashion. On the pitch, they are no difference from it. Free flowing, fluid football.

Liverpool, clad in their Adidas tracksuits, speaks volume about their down to earth style. Hailing from the Merseyside where blue collared workers rule, success is all about nit and grit. It comes with a price of being labeled ugly yet it was the only way to survive.

The clash of style on and off the pitch certainly means this final will be a spectacle for both fans and neutrals alike. The aging yet experienced Milan side will take on the up and rising Liverpool with 11 European Cups in between the two. It does represents the level of pedigree in Europe from the two giants.

Questions will be asked but all answers will be provided on the pitch tonight. Whether Kaka will run riot or will Gerrard be stifled by Gattuso, it doesn't matter now. When the man in black blows the whistle, we'll be kept at the edge of our seats and answers shall be revealed.

The nightmares of the final 2 years ago surely still haunts the Milan team day and night. Flashes of the 'cursed 6 minutes' and the penalty miss by Shevchenko has left a deep cut in the Milan giant.

Is it time to exorcised the ghost of Istanbul?

Milan will certainly want to do it but at the same time, they have to keep their heads cool. They can't afford to go out there with revenge solely on their minds. They've been talking to the press about how it won't be a matter of vengeance yet you could smell it in the air, they would want to kill off Liverpool as quickly as possible.

With the 5th European Cup back home in such style, Liverpool will have the psychological edge over Milan as the face off. With the ability to escape the hands of defeat on so many occasions, they'll certainly feel confident going into this game without the ghost of past finals haunting them.

It'll be a final where the team who are more composed and controlled will take home the crown. If Milan decides to let the spirit of vengeance in, it'll be a difficult task for them.

Yet football isn't that easy. With all the psychological edge, it isn't enough to win you the game.

The style of Milan might be too hot to handle for Liverpool. The way they steamrolled past their English rivals, ManYoo, was a sight to behold and with so many experienced professionals and match winners in the squad, Milan certainly have the advantage over Liverpool in terms of player quality.

We've discussed about the threat coming from Kaka, who is top of the scoring charts as well as the likes of Clarence Seedorf, who is searching for his 4th European winner title and also Pippo Inzaghi. With Nesta and Maldini holding the rear, they certainly are a good mix of both experience and class.

But despite being inferior to Milan on paper, Liverpool does know how to handle the big guns through tactical ingenuity from boss, Rafa Benitez, and of course the work ethics of the team. When Milan preaches individual match winners, Liverpool focus on togetherness as a team and playing as a compact unit.

They've seen off the likes of Barcelona in the knockout round and then the newfound rivals, Chelsea from London. Both are gargantuans of European football yet Liverpool survived and made it all the way to Athens.

Revenge was also the key in the semi final where Chelsea tried to bury the ghost of 2005 where Liverpool beat them at the same stage yet all the talk was void and Liverpool showed character to overcome.

Milan's road to Athens wasn't easy as well, with Bayern Munich and ManYoo in the way. They showed that they have the ability to bounce back as well as they trailed both the first leg before finishing it off in the second.

I shall not go into the personal battles about how Mascherano will eat Kaka alive or Gattuso will break Gerrard's heart/leg as all we can do now is speculate. We have absolutely no idea what Rafa or Carlo have in mind for their team selections. Will Kewell be given the chance to start? Will Gilardino or Inzaghi lead the Milan strikeforce? Nobody knows, just yet.

As for predictions, it is a heart against head prediction here. As a die-hard Reds fan, I would LOVE Gerrard to once again, lift the 6th European trophy in memories of the 30th anniversary of our first ever European triumph.

But then again, my head is having a different opinion. I look back at World Cup 2006 and we saw how Italy overcame all the odds to win the prestigious world title. Back home, there were troubles with match fixing scandals and bribing but as they are the descendants of the Roman Empire, they came back strongly.

Just like what Milan might do this time. They weren't supposed to be in the competition this season. Yet they managed to go all the way to the finals, only to meet their old foe, their nemesis. With so much at stake, I fear a backlash from the Milanistas.

I'm sorry guys, I sincerely hope I'm proven wrong. But I just don't have a good feeling about this.

Prediction: Milan 1-0 Liverpool. It'll be a close game with the midfield congested. But it all just takes a moment of brilliance from a player to break the deadlock and I see Milan doing it.

Whatever it is, come on Reds. PROVE ME WRONG.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Here We Go Again...


"There's only one word to describe what Gerrard says about our so-called celebrations - b******s!" - Regarding his book depicting Milan celebrating in the dressing room after leading 3-0 at half time.


Gattuso fumed: "If Gerrard says I am a kitten then I must be an ugly, bearded kitten.

And then went on to say....

"But I will not respond to these provocations. Gerrard's a great player and my only answer to him will be on the pitch.

Be ready for the big showdown tomorrow. The debate championship awaits.

Oh hang on, why are they talking so much? Let the football do the talking. Period.

Post Season Team Review Part II

So, here we are, part deux of the team seasonal review. Note that this isn't a daily thing so no, tomorrow won't be the review for strikers! I need some time to gather thoughts and also busy with school work so do understand! :)

7. Harry Kewell

Missed the whole term through injury, nothing much to comment about except he finally made his appearance in the final two games of the season and made some impact.

Nice to see him back without his ugly ponytail and he looked pretty trim and fit! And if he regains his form back in his Leeds days, he can still be an extremely good player. Here's hoping....

Grade: Ungraded

8. Steven Gerrard

After scoring 20 odd goals last season, he didn't seemed to have the same scoring boots on this season and half of it, which is 11.

But yet, nobody can doubt his ability at the top level and his contributions to the team is more than just goals but also his assist and leadership on the pitch.

He is still capable of match winners and still able to drag Liverpool out if there's a need to. Although Rafa's key here is to make us less reliant on the skipper, he is certainly a special player yet is able to work to Rafa's ideology.

Being stuck out on the right win is something he doesn't like as he's mentioned in his autobiography but he did it for the good cause of the team and he still is formidable whether he's in his favourite central midfield position or even out on the flanks.

Although he didn't perform as well as last term, he still did pretty well and thoroughly deserve the reward of the new contract.

Grade: A- (Nominee for TRC's Player of the Year)

10. Luis Garcia

Only when we lost him to injury then we began to notice how important this little man is to the club.

Always frustrating yet always managed to conjure up magical moments, Little Luis has been missed since his injury, which ruled him out of the second half of the season.

Despite only 11 starts, he managed 3 goals and 4 assists, which are good returns from him. His creativity was sorely missed and his ability to play between the lines means we've lost a very intricate player.

Most notable contributions will have to be the goal he scored at White Hart Lane, which helped us defeated Tottenham while also stringing a few passes and assist for Peter Crouch against West Ham on the Kop End's 100th birthday.

Grade: B-

11. Mark Gonzalez

The winger which went through all sorts of problem before finding himself at the John Lennon airport, he certainly hasn't lit up the Premiership like was expected to.

Due to a major injury and some work permit problems, he was left at the Real Sociedad for the 05/06 season before being declared a Liverpool player.

This term, he has been one of the more disappointing component to our season as he huffed and puffed his way through while clearly intimidated by the physical side of English football.

Known as 'Speedy Gonzalez', he wasn't able to show forth his greatest asset while he wasn't able to use his powerful left foot as well as he did back in Spain. Despite all that, he still managed to score a good freekick against Fulham and also ensured Liverpool's entry into the Champions League after he scored a late winner against Maccabi Haifa after replacing Steven Gerrard.

Still needs to work on the physical side of the game while improve on his movement and technique. Afterall, it's still his first season at the club and let's not jump to conclusion and call him a flop.

Grade: C-

14. Xabi Alonso

The Spanish playmaker has had a pretty average season and might have been affected by the World Cup last summer.

We can speculate all we want but he hasn't been at his best for quite a while and him being a playmaker with only one assists to his name is pretty disappointing. In the 05/06 season, he's had 7 assists.

Despite that, his class was never in doubt and he has adapted to the English game well. In his first season, he was being bullied off the ball at times and looked physically not up to it but we're now seeing the tenacious side of Xabi.

Now, with Mascherano and Lucas challenging his central midfield spot, he has to step up and improve and we all know what he's capable of. His passing might not be at it's best at times this season but I'm sure with a good rest this summer, he'll bounce back next season.

Grade: B-

16. Jermaine Pennant

When we signed him from Birmingham for 6.7million, many doubted that he's the one we should sign and perhaps, not good enough for a club like Liverpool. But with limited resources, we pay for the quality and Rafa certainly thinks he has something to offer.

Maybe he's right after all. This lad has something to offer and has proved some of us wrong in some ways. Although earlier in his Liverpool career, he looked like a fish out of the water and didn't have the best of times but gradually, he stepped up and finished the season with reasonable results.

The goal he scored against Chelsea speaks volume about Pennant's ability and being the most expensive teenager back then when Arsene Wenger signed him from Notts County, he was meant to be special but perhaps his attitude and focus wasn't there and he went astray.

With 6 assists to his name this term, it has to be said he does offer something to the team. He can be as frustrating as Luis Garcia at times in terms of holding possession and his passing but when he has the belief in him, he is capable of great things.

Whether he'll still play an integral part in Liverpool is still unknown at the moment but he has certainly proved his doubters wrong. His first season here might not be spectacular or eye-catching but he does just enough.

Grade: B-

20. Javier Mascherano

Arrived on the very last day of the winter transfer window, the Argentinian proved to be a shrewd signing from Rafa and whether it's a permanent deal or not, nobody really knows.

But I can't imagine what if we failed to sign Javier back then. He has been terrific for us since he joined and played a major role in Liverpool's push for Europe and also did well in the league.

Being wasted at West Ham earlier this season, he somehow lost his way and was left in the cold by the Hammers. Despite not playing for 2 whole months, Rafa decides to go ahead and gamble. It paid off handsomely indeed.

Not really known for his scoring prowess, the tenacity and the maturity of the Argentinian midfielder is things that he offer, and just to name a few only. As a defensive midfielder, he breaks up numerous plays, tackled hard and is able to read the game very well.

He could probably win the best player award if it all started on January but with so many midfielders vying for a place in the squad, he knows he still has a lot to do and continue to improve as a player. (Another task for him would also be to convince Tevez on joining Liverpool!)

Grade: B+

22. Momo Sissoko

It might be a little harsh but the Malian certainly had a torrid time at Liverpool this season. He hasn't been able to stamp a place in the first eleven and his injury didn't help.

With rumours that his eyes are still not 100% recovered from the horrible injury last year, he has been in and out of the team regularly. And also with the arrival of Mascherano and then Lucas Levia this summer, his place in the team looked more threatened than ever.

As a midfield destroyer like Mascherano himself, his ability to harass attackers and making crucial intervention is still an important asset. But technically he still needs to improve a whole lot. When it comes to passing the ball, he still looked unsure and not composed enough. Often a time, he managed to tackle the ball only for him to surrender it back to the opponents.

But nobody should doubt his potential and the possibilities he bring to the team. His performance against Barcelona was probably one to savor while still in search of his first goal for the club.

Grade: C+

32. Bolo Zenden

The Dutchman arrived at Liverpool on a free transfer and was supposed to be just a squad player but as the season wore on and injury was a bit of a problem down the left, he stepped up and did it pretty well.

Honestly, I'm not a keen admirer of him as I thought he's not good enough in many areas such as technical ability or his lack of pace. But he has fit in well and Rafa has mentioned before that what Zenden offer on the pitch is not only the football but also his ability to encourage team mates, leadership and also some experience.

He too, suffered injury setbacks and just when he was supposed to hit form, he was out again and yet, he returned and repaid Rafa his faith in him. His future at Liverpool is still in doubt as Rafa will undoubtedly splash big money this summer but he has been a good team player for us this term.

Grade: C+

Alright, so here ends part 2 of the review. If there are ratings or things you would like to point out, just drop me a mail or even a comment below. Cheers.

Look Who's In Athens!

At first I thought it was Tiger Woods....but why is Tiger Woods there with Milan? On a closer look...

Oh, it's Ronaldo! Look how much he slimmed down. Definitely in a good shape,

and he can't play on Wednesday, thank God!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Blues Triump In Forgettable Final

It was supposed to be a grand opening and a curtain raiser to the newly built Wembley stadium. After years of waiting and investing 800 million GBP in it, it was finally unveiled just in time for the biggest and oldest cup competition in England, the FA Cup finals.

It looked like money well spent, it was sophisticated and magnificent albeit complains about the price of the beverages over there that led on to a 'boycott' which didn't seemed to work. And what a fitting way to have the two best teams in England 'deflowering' the new Wembley.

Well, it was supposed to be but to be honest, it wasn't a spectacle at all.

Beneath the shades of the sophisticated and modern looking stadium was a display of dire, insipid and over-cautious football. How ironic is it to hold the first FA Cup final at the new stadium only for it to be renounced as yet another forgettable one?

Chelsea once again triumph in the domestic cup front with a double after bagging the League Cup earlier this season. Although the quality of the match was lamentable, nobody could say much about the quality of the match winning goal from Didier Drogba.

It was an expected stalemate all the way to the 90th minute mark and the over cautious approach from both side means the chances were few and far between.

But when the 'Top Drog' strikes forth, not even ManYoo, whom majority of the players were nominees for the PFA Team of the Year, could stop him from grabbing the 33rd goal of the season.

It was incisive, precise and deadly. Drogba picked out Obi Mikel's pass, laid it off first time to Lampard, whom volleyed the ball skillfully back into the path of Drogba. Already shrugged away his man marker, Drogba waited for the right moment before firing past Van der Sar.

With the match locked at goalless and neither teams looking superior, it usually takes a moment of brilliance to decide the tie and this time round, it was Drogba the match winner, as always. One would have to wonder how could Chelsea cope without him and with the African Cup of Nations next season, who can they replace him with?

With the focus very much on Chelsea for the past week and also for the wrong reasons, pressure was mounting and very much on Jose Mourinho's men. Despite further strengthening to their squad last summer when they included Ballack and Shevchenko into their roster, they weren't up to their usual standards and the FA Cup is perhaps, a saving grace for Mourinho.

Once again, neither side deserves to win it and perhaps if it was a boxing game, United could've won on points as they looked more threatening and willing to come out of their shell but Chelsea took the game by the scruff of the neck and finish off the game just at the right time.

Mourinho's dog might have gotten him into all sorts of trouble but it's his top Drog that might have bought more time for him.