So it’s the morning after Chelsea’s greatest night ever, actually its evening now in Pakistan. This is how long it has taken for me to get my wits together to write this piece. So let me now finally list down some of my thoughts about the Champions League final.
Bayern threw it away
Even though I am a Chelsea fan, I have to say Bayern outplayed us; however they failed to take their chances. The reason why Chelsea won was because they took the chances that they got, however Bayern could have easily ensured that Chelsea never got those chances. I never talked about this before because I didn’t want to jinx it. However I have not really been impressed with Mario Gomez in the matches I have seen. Sure he has scored bucket loads of goals throughout the season but the few matches I have seen, he has missed good chances at important moments. Another significant stat I found out after the match was that Gomez in the league had predominantly scored goals in games against lesser opposition. While Gomez seems to be an excellent player, he has to improve on the bigger stage for me.
Resilience and determination can get you across the line
Chelsea have throughout this Champions League refused to die. On paper and technically they are not the best team in Europe, yet they are the Champions of Europe. How can this be? Well it’s because they showed extreme character and resilience to come back from the dead on numerous occasions. 3-1 down at Napoli, 2 goals down with a man sent off at Barcelona, a goal down late in Munich, 3-1 down in the penalty shootout are examples of the situation they found themselves in. Any team would have been forgiven for buckling under pressure but they didn’t do that and fought to live another day.
Possession is over valued
One thing I have realised in matches against Bayern Munich and Barcelona is that possession is overvalued. Yes the more possession you have the more chances you are likely to create but if you are not efficient in front of the goal it means nothing. While one can argue that Bayern Munich created the most chances, the more efficient team in front of the goal won in the end. Munich Managed 43 shots but only 7 were on goal, which is only around 16%. Of the 7 shots on goal they scored only once, so their efficiency comes out at around 14%. Now really is a shot efficiency of 14% good enough to win the Champions League final? Contrast this with Chelsea, only 9 shots but 3 on target which comes out at 33%. Then from the three shots on target they scored once, that again is an efficiency of 33%. Say what you like Chelsea were efficient and Bayern were wasteful.
Luck, what luck?
So since we won all I am hearing is Chelsea were lucky. I don’t buy it. Luck is when you score an offside goal and it stands, luck is when a referee awards you a nonexistent penalty, and luck is when you are given a goal when the ball didn’t cross the line. Luck is not when your opponents are wasteful. The point of football is putting the ball in the net, not registering the most possession, or taking the most shots or creating the most shots. Chelsea were only lucky in the penalty shootout because that is more of a lottery than anything else. But even putting all that down to luck would be disrespectful for Chelsea’s goal keeper Petr Cech. Cech faced 6 penalties and went the right way in all of them. Of those he saved 3 penalties, that shows he did his homework and he was ready for the penalties.
The Old Guard has seemed to revive themselves under Roberto Di Mateo. However still according to reports it seemed like Didier Drogba was all set to leave. If he does what a way to go by securing the Champions League trophy with his last kick as a Chelsea player. However owner Roman Abramovich will surely rethink the situation after the Champions League final. Drogba is already a legend at Chelsea, and even if he had not won it yesterday he would have remained a legend. He is already the king of the new Wembley. He has 9 goals in 9 cup finals, what else could you ask for? Surely he won’t be playing whole seasons now, but he is a good enough player to have in the squad.
Lampard has adapted well
Frank Lampard loved to make box to box runs, but he has finally realised that it is not possible anymore. So it’s a good thing to see that he has adapted to the situation and is happily playing a deeper role in the midfield now. This move will ensure that he extends his playing career and his experience is priceless to Chelsea
Wow what a penalty by Luiz
Wow is the only word that can describe the penalty by David Luiz. If he had missed it, it would have been curtains for Chelsea. But the Brazilian was having none of it. He took a run up more natural to a fast bowler in cricket and just smashed the ball into the top right corner. However I don’t think Juan Mata should be taking penalties, this is not the first time he has missed a crucial penalty. In case you missed the penalty shootout, check it out below.
The “Old Guard” and Roberto Di Mateo deserve a movie
I swear if I had the money to produce a film, this is the one I would produce. Can Hollywood writers come up with a better script? I doubt it. Written off for many years the old guard carries Chelsea to the pinnacle of club football. A new manager is brought in during the summers to usher the old guard out and bring about a revolution. The team becomes a bunch of unmotivated players and there seems to be fractures in the dressing room. Chelsea ensure progress to the knockout stages of the Champions league only in their final match against Valencia. Then they get drawn against Napoli, the team that knocked out Manchester City from the group stages, in the round of 16. Everyone and their mother say Chelsea won’t be able to cope. Most of the Old Guard is dropped and Chelsea lose 3-1 away.
The young manager is sacked and his assistant is made the new interim coach. The old guard is restored and they beat Napoli 4-1 at home to qualify for the next round where they face Benfica. Many predict that Chelsea will find it tough and will probably be knocked out. They do find it tough but still manage to progress. Then comes Barcelona, and again everyone is saying Chelsea has no chance. They produce a defensive master class at home and score from virtually the only chance they got. Then they go to the Camp Nou to play Barcelona at their home. They go 2 goals down and also lose their captain to a moment of stupidity. However a man down and 2 goals down they don’t crumble against the best attacking side in the world, but hit back and make it to the final.
In between all this they manage to lift the FA CUP. However they end 6th in the league and know that the only way they are playing the Champions League next season is if they win it. The old guard and Roberto Di Mateo also know that they might never again get a chance such as this to be the champions of Europe.
In the final they face the mighty Bayern Munich at their home. Before the match kicked off, Munich fans put up a banner saying our town, our stadium, our cup. So much for no home advantage in the UEFA Champions League final, but Chelsea don’t let it affect them. They go a goal down with 8 minutes left in normal time, they still hit back. They go 3-1 down in the penalty shootout, they still hit back. In the end they are the Champions of Europe. The old guard ensures that they won’t be brushed aside; they stick it back to all those pundits who said they were running on low fuel. If this isn’t the stuff of a movie then what is?
- Chelsea beats Bayern Munich on penalties in Champions League final (sports.nationalpost.com)
- BayernMunichvsChelseaResult (footballtransfer.blogspot.com)
- The Champions League final in pictures: 50 amazing images from Chelsea’s night of Euro glory (mirror.co.uk)
- Arjen Robben rues penalty miss that cost Bayern Munich against Chelsea (guardian.co.uk)
- Chelsea win UEFA Champions League title (soccerbyives.net)
- Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea: Blues’ Style to Thank for Improbable UEFA Final Win (bleacherreport.com)
- Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in penalty shootout (thenewstribune.com)