FA Cup Final - Chelsea v Liverpool
In their last premier league outing it all began to catch up with Chelsea. Losing to Newcastle is not an embarrassing outcome, especially in a season that has seen them play some of the most effervescent football in the league.
Sumptuous football headed up by, first, Demba Ba the striker from nowhere who became an utter goal machine,then; by Papiss Cisse; the striker from nowhere who became an utter goal machine. Two great signings, and some phenomenal man management from Alan Pardew have catapulted Newcastle into Champions League contention.
So it all finally caught up to Chelsea against Newcastle this week. The run that saw them wallop Tottenham5-1, defeat Barcelona at home (remember they were the best team ever? Seems so long ago) draw with them at the Nou Camp, draw with Arsenal with a second string team and embarrass QPR with a 6-1 scoreline and a Fernando Torres hat-trick.
Chelsea were the in form team in English football, and the defeat to Newcastle may or may not have knocked them off their stride. It is not embarrassing losing to the Newcastle of 2012,even if Petr Chech did look a touch on the sheepish side after Cisse’s second wonder goal rocketed over his head.
Roberto Di Matteo’s men will have to pick themselves up and dust themselves off going into their second most important cup final of the season.
Chelsea face Liverpool for the honour to lift the most prestigious cup in domestic football; the FA Cup. And before the loss to Newcastle, Chelsea looked a certainty to stride into the final and easily win it. But perhaps their exhausting schedule is catching up finally.
Liverpool have been nothing short of disastrous in the league this year. For further evidence look no further than their latest debacle against Fulham. Yet another home loss to a team Liverpool fans see as far beneath them.
It was a poor loss, even if the team manager Kenny Dalglish selected was far from the strongest available. His eyes were on the biggest domestic prize. And the selection may come to look wise in hindsight if a refreshed Liverpool turn over a tired Chelsea.
With Chelsea’s form indisputably better than Liverpool’s, but with a, perhaps, tired squad, with focus, perhaps, more on the glittering prize of a Champions League trophy. A trophy which, ultimately, may be their only route back into the competition next year; Liverpool will be confident of their chances.
And with a Liverpool side seemingly unstoppable in domestic cup competitions. Though awful in the league; we are in store for a fascinating final that could go either way.
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