Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By Bagga Wilks
The Manchester United vs Chelsea game produced interesting match-ups. Ashley Cole the Chelsea and England left-full back was beaten and turned around repeatedly by Valencia, Manchester United and Ecuador’s right mid-field player. It was similar to Bale of Tottenham running rings about Macion of Inter Milan and Brazilian’s right full back. Valencia only returned to action in January after suffering a broken ankle the previous season.
Chelsea’s central defenders did not match up well with Rooney and Hernandez. The latter scored in the first 30 seconds of what was virtually the play-off game for the English Premier League. Both Luiz and Terry were caught square. The newly acquired Luiz started so shaky that he was replaced by Alex at half time.
At half time trailing 2-0, the Chelsea coach, Ancelotti went to his bench and replaced Mikel with Ramires. Later, the $50 million Torres replaced Kalou. Lampard scored in the second half but was never was able to put his stamp on the game. Essien has become an inconsequential mid-field player. Terry is no longer a dominant central defender. Chelsea ended the season strong but the big question mark for next season is to what extent has the squad aged? Does the squad need tinkering or does it need massive rejuvenation?
The Chelsea team on Sunday was non-creative. Giants like Drogba no longer play big in big games. Chelsea lacks a playmaker. The management of the club spent money to strengthen the squad in January but Torres is still a deer in head lights and Luiz is still adapting to the E.P.L. which is different from the Portuguese League.
Sir Alex played the right cards. The strike force of Rooney, Hernandez, Giggs, Valencia and Park was too much for the men in Blue. Manchester United will win the E.P.L. and perhaps the Champions League. Barcelona will be a more formidable opponent than the aging Chelsea squad.
A.C. Milan also wrapped up a fine season in the Serie A. A.C. Milan’s coach, Allegri was masterful in his handling of the squad. He jettisoned Ronaldinho who was more fascinated with his club life at nights rather than his club life on the soccer field. They acquired Robinho and Ibrahimovic at the eleventh hour before the season got underway. Allegri eventually put together the right combination. The acquisition of the Van Bommel to play the defensive mid-field role was valuable. Nesta and Silva played like stalwarts all season. Goalkeeper Abotti was sensational between the sticks and right full back Abbati has come of age. The strike force of Pato, Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Boateng and Seedorf has produced championship diadems.
Arsenal again demonstrated its lack of quality in the defensive third. They are like a potent ground force army with no aerial attack, defensively or offensively. Arsenal attacks going across field. Manchester United attacks with pace, through balls and radar crosses. Arsenal has a beautiful also-ran squad. If Wenger stands pat, they will find themselves as an also-ran club in 2012.