Although this result was probably most beneficial for Chelsea, it could be big lift mentally for us in the grand scheme of things. The fact of the matter is, Man United, Chelsea and Barcelona all had the indian sign over us in recent times. 2008/09 was the last season where we overcame the utterly contemptible duo and the last time we beat Barca was, well, never. This season, we’ve corrected all 3 records.
To get a victory over United always means a lot. For me, they are our biggest rivals – I even hate them more than Spurs. The latter haven’t been a threat for 50 years and whereas Man United shirts are spotted on every street in the country, Spurs don’t have many more fans than the deluded bunch who occupy the Lane each fortnight.
As well as their “fans”, another hateful feature of the men from Surrey…erm, I mean Manchester, is their manager and the horrendous attitude of him and his players. Even after a game in which they escaped a blatant red card and penalty, he had the cheek to come out and say that they “don’t get the decisions in the big games”.
Anyway, enough about them. Lets get on to our boys and the fantastic job they did on Sunday afternoon. We absolutely dominated the first-half; Ramsey, Wilshere and Song were bossing the midfield immensely. It got to a point where you didn’t even notice Anderson and Carrick were playing, they were so overrun.
A few decent chances came our way but none more so than when Nemanja Vidic handled in the area to prevent a Van Persie header. To be completely honest, from where I was sitting it didn’t look like a handball and there was no great furore in the stands. However, Robin was fuming as he sprinted over to the linesman to voice his opinion.
After watching the highlights, it was a blatant handball. The linesman should have seen it with no problem whatsoever. He was bang in line with it and there were no players blocking his line of sight. It was certain to be a goal with RVP making a perfectly timed run and leap. Also lost in the controversy was a sublime ball in by Theo Walcott. Last season he was king of the terrible cross-come-shot but its obvious he has been working hard on the training pitch with his deliveries.
At half-time there was that all too familiar feeling. Dominate a game in terms of possession and chances but no end product, United’s 12th man does them proud again, they have one counter attack and score.
That was until the 56th minute when RVP bided his time in the area before setting up Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman slotted home for the first time since the horror injury and it was the sort of moment to put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye.
It was a beautifully taken goal by Rambo and it capped a performance where he ran the show. Him and Jack looked like a great partnership in the centre of midfield, it was fantastic to see the two British youngsters given a license to get forward and dictate the play. It looks like the beginning of a very special combination.
After suffering one of the worst tackles in history from the thug at Stoke last February, you can only imagine the pain and frustration Aaron went through in his rehabilitation. People forget that at the time, Rambo had broken into the team and was looking like the next big thing. He was even streets ahead of Wilshere.
Another positive sign yesterday was Arshavin. After coming on for the injured Nasri at half-time, the Russian was putting in sliding tackles left right and centre. And he won the ball EVERY time. I don’t think i can ever remember him putting in a sliding tackle, never mind so many in one half. He was determined and this is what we want to see on a regular basis. As Ive said in the past, I love Arshavin and believe even if he doesn’t put the effort in, his ability to score from nothing is something we lack.
As the game wore on, the away side got stronger and had a penalty claim of their own. Clichy raked the back of Owen’s thigh but after Vidic escaped in the first half, they cant really complain. Szczesny was imperious as we managed to hold on. Even Squillaci and Koscielney played well together, after Djourou went off with an ankle knock.
All in all, a great win but one that was tainted with regret and frustration. If we’d one just one more game previously, we would have been in with a great shout of the title. Its still possible mathematically, but looks unlikely that Man United will lose 2 games and Chelsea lose 1 before the end of the campaign.
The boss had this to say on the win:
Away from the pitch, I’m sure everyone has seen the new home shirt by now. The design was leaked a few weeks ago, but has now been officially announced and is available to pre-order. The shirt is nice and all, but I’m sure most people will agree that the training shirt (pictured) is what we really want to see. It looks brilliant, with a small sponsor logo and a collar. For the 125th anniversary, a traditional design such as this would have been much better.
On Thursday, I’ll be posting the follow-up to last weeks blog on changes to the team this summer. If you want to contribute to that, you still can by tweeting me the ins and outs you want to see this summer. Until then, take care,