Demba Ba’s moment of magic eased Chelsea into the semi-final of the FA Cup. This season Chelsea failed to challenge Manchester United down the stretch for the EPL title. The defending champions for the UEFA Champion League were knocked out quite early and to salvage what’s left of the season, Chelsea can win the FA cup and are still competing in the Europa Cup, not to mention finishing in the top four to play Championship soccer in 2013 to 2014.
Sir Alex Ferguson pulled out all stops to get an equalizer once Manchester found themselves down a goal from early in the second half. He inserted Van Persie for Cleverly, Giggs for Nani and subsequently Young for Welbeck. But those astute substitutions precipitated chances but no end product. Van Persie has been off-stride as the season comes to a close and Giggs who can still produce magical moments, was unmagical against Chelsea on April Fool’s Day.
Chelsea were beaten by Southampton over the weekend in a League game as Rafael Benitez, the besieged Chelsea manager, rested most of his starters and against the lowly regarded Southampton looked second best. With the starters somewhat rested, Chelsea played like the talented team that they are. Hazard, Mata and Oscar looked dangerous at times but Smalling and Ferdinand held them at bay.
In his Chelsea career, Demba Ba started at full throttle but the injury to his nose slowed his progress. Against Manchester United in a big game, the former Newcastle striker showed his class by scoring a glorious goal from an adroit pass from Juan Mata.
Chelsea’s dilemma is what do you do with a $50 million striker whose value has dropped as precipitously as the stock market in 2008? Muddying the waters is Lukaku, a Chelsea striker on loan to West Brom who has made great strides in his development as a big league striker.
Roman Abramovic has some important decisions to make at the end of the season. Rumors are that Jose Mourinho, presently the manager at Real Madrid, is destined to return to Stanford Bridge. Abramovic will also have to seek new acquisitions as Ashley Cole does not seem to be his energetic old self and Bertrand, the understudy, is not really a threat going forward. Nonetheless, Chelsea has a surplus of diamonds in the rough and should bounce back as a rival for the EPL title in the 2013-2014 season.