Quite a game, and not a result I expected. It is so difficult to get any kind of result away to Chelsea, let alone a win. A win with a clean sheet as well.
It was an excellent all-round performance, even more impressive considering how exhausted the team must be getting at this stage of the season. Ferdinand was immense at the back upon his return, frustrating Drogba and a hapless Torres who is barely looking worth five million not fifty, more likely to attempt a poor dive than score. Also helping was Van Der Sar, with an impressive save from the Spaniard in the second half.
Carrick bossed the midfield, an increasingly rare occurence, and Giggs continues to surprise with his pace. It was Rooney’s show up front, and it was a truly slick combination of those three players that created the goal, one of the best of the season.
It seems the game matched a lot of the pattern of their previous league encounter, but the defensive tactics worked this time for United. The poor selection of Ancelotti might have helped, as did a sympathetic referee, who aside from botching a major penalty call in the final minutes, seemed more favourable to United over the course of the game, at least in terms of 50:50 challenges.
The result is ours, along with our first victory over Chelsea in a while. It comes at a strange time for Rooney, the victim of an over-zealous FA, who seem terrified at the prospect of a professional footballer cursing. The return leg will be interesting. Chelsea will have to go all out of course, so United will be pressed, but that will mean gaps at the back for Rooney and Hernandez to exploit. I think we can take it.
That being said, prospects beyond this point, for either team, are fairly bleak. The three other semi-finalist, all shoe-ins at this point, are banging in the goals left right and centre and I can’t see and English team holding the trophy in May.