Another Capital One Cup night, consequates to nine more goals in the televised match on Sky. There’s somebody in charge of all the sponsorship deals at Capital One who must be feeling pretty damned smug with themselves right now!
Chelsea and Manchester United were the latest to entertain us on Sky and although it was never going to be easy to top the match between Reading and Arsenal on Tuesday, both sides came bloody close to doing so! Naturally, both sides were weakened, with Manchester United fielding an inexperienced pairing at centre-half in Michael Keane and Scott Wootton, naming an equally inexperienced bench, with Federico Macheda the oldest and most experienced at 21 years of age. With central defenders on short supply at Old Trafford and Arsenal to play on Saturday, it was no surprise to see Sir Alex Ferguson play Keane and Wootton, for any injury to one of Jonny Evans or Rio Ferdinand would have been a disaster ahead of Saturday. Aside from those two, Javier Hernandez started, as did Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Nani, Darren Fletcher, Rafael and Danny Welbeck. United were much changed from their usual first team, yes, but they were hardly short on quality.
As far as Chelsea’s starting XI was concerned, it was packed full of talent and experience. Petr Cech started in goal and Roberto Di Matteo named a strong back four consisting of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Ryan Bertrand. Elsewhere, Juan Mata, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses started. Again, lots of change from Chelsea, but they were able to flex the strength of their squad to a greater extent than Manchester United and on paper, looked the stronger of the two teams.
In spite of Chelsea having the stronger team on the pitch, Manchester United took the lead through Ryan Giggs, the Welshman capitalising on a mistake by Oriol Romeu in midfield to cooly slot past Cech with his left foot. It took Chelsea less than ten minutes to equalise, when Victor Moses was brought down in the area by Alex Buttner (Yes, his name is ALEX, Jamie Redknapp, NOT Jack!) to win a penalty. David Luiz stepped up to take the spot-kick, Anders Lindegaard guessed the right way but the power on Luiz’s strike was too much for Lindegaard to deal with from close range. Javier Hernandez then gave Manchester United the lead once more just before half time, put through on goal by Anderson and the Mexican made no mistake with his finish. 2-1 at half-time.
Why, may I ask, does Hernandez do that ‘burger’ celebration to taunt the Chelsea fans? I don’t get it and although yes, the fans who threw objects at Hernandez as he celebrated are idiots, there’s no escaping the fact that Hernandez himself is one for goading them. I hate it when players do that when they celebrate. They should keep their celebrations about the team, not themselves and they should certainly refrain from taunting opposition fans.
Shortly into the second half, Gary Cahill equalised for Chelsea with a header from Juan Mata’s corner and Nani was on head shortly afterwards to give United the lead once more, playing a one-two on the edge of Chelsea’s penalty area before dinking the ball over Cech and into the bottom corner. Lovely goal. 3-2 to Manchester United.
In the third minute of extra time, Chelsea wormed a penalty out of Wootton (bless his heart) with barely a second left to salvage a chance to get level. Eden Hazard, on as a substitute, made no mistakes with his finish, rolling the ball past a grounded Lindegaard from the penalty spot. It was a very cool finish from the Belgian considering what was at stake.
Then came extra-time where Chelsea took the lead for the first time in the match through Daniel Sturridge, making the best of another mistake from Wootton, who tried to send a header back to Lindegaard, selling the Dane short and Sturridge nipped in to round Lindegaard and roll home before he himself did a bad robot dance before taunting the Manchester United fans. Again, what an idiot.
With time nearly expired in the match, Ramires capitalised on a fantastic touch of skill to break into space, run the ball past Lindegaard and into the net as Chelsea caught United on the counter-attack. That goal made it 5-3 with a just a few minutes left and although Manchester United did pull back a goal through Ryan Giggs from the penalty spot, it was all in vain as there were only two minutes left on the clock, in which time Hazard nearly scored again when the Blues countered and the Belgian struck the post from 18 yards out.
We’ve been blessed with great goals, woeful defending and drama over the past two nights. I should also mention that Norwich City knocked out Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 and Liverpool were defeated by Swansea City 3-1. Shocks galore and League Two Bradford City face the prospect of entertaining Arsenal in the next round, whilst Chelsea have drawn Leeds.
Manchester United? They’ve drawn nobody, as they’re out.
See you tomorrow, that’s all from me today! I’ve got a Puppy to take to the vets for his injections and so on. Brilliant.