Home > AC Milan, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Man Utd, Sport, Uefa Cup Final 2007 > Fa Cup Final. What a cracker.

Fa Cup Final. What a cracker.

      All jokes aside though, Chelsea and Manchester United played out a very poor game yesterday as Chelsea won 1-0 to bring the FA Cup back to Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately, the FA Cup has had a rough time of it when two ‘big’ teams make it to the final recently. Everyone remember that other cracker between Utd and Arsenal two years ago? How about when Michael Owen and Stephane Henchoz took on Arsenal single (or in Stephane’s case both..) handedly….? Poor games that are unfortunately the norm in football these days. Liverpool’s final against West Ham last year was enthralling, possibly because Wesh Ham were smart enough to realise that trying a game of defence Vs defence was never going to work against Liverpool’s stingey back four. Or possibly because Reina and Carragher combined to gift them a two goal lead. Depends which way you look at it. Liverpool’s final against AC Milan was enthralling simply because AC played superbly in the first half and then the gods took over. An incredible story to befit the Champions League Final stage.

Recently however, the football fan has been short changed by the big cup competitions in England and Europe. The Champions League final started brightly last year between Barcelona and Arsenal but regressed after the venerable gent that is Jens Lehman was red-carded. Porto’s win over Monaco and Ac Milan’s win over Juventus were poor games and failed to live long in the memory.

The UEFA Cup has, to be fair, served up a few crackers in recent years but the strength of the competition is scoffed at these days, even though this is a little unfair if truth be told. Porto’s win over Celtic by three goals to two in 2003 and Liverpool’s dramatic 5-4 win over Alaves in 2001 were enjoyable finals and Sevilla’s penalty win over Espanyol this year was another entertaining game and this proves the following point.

Money is such a huge factor in football today for all teams albeit for different reasons. Chelsea couldn’t afford to lose on Saturday. The players are paid too much, the fans are charged too much, the club it now too big to be content with the Carling Cup as its years haul. Man Utd are in a similar position. They couldn’t lose to Chelsea yesterday in a final watched by millions, with young kids deciding whose football shirt to buy next year. While Ronaldo will have ensured plenty of future Utd fans and millions in shirt sales this season through his performances, no-one was really sure if he was playing on Saturday. These occasions are no longer simply about the glory of winning, particularly when it comes to two huge teams playing one game for one trophy. Win bonuses will be paid to Chelsea while Utd’s directors will sit down and analyse a successful season that could have offered much more. While no-one expected Utd to win the title this year, no-one expected them to capitulate to Milan in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, and Utd certainly started yesterday’s game as favourites. So a successful season, tinged in disapointment for Utd. Chelsea though have got out of jail in a way that beating Millwall would not have had the same effect. Beating Man Utd was the only way for Mourinho to retain his swagger as he lifted six fingers to show the number of trophies he’s won in his three years at Chelsea, and yet Chelsea have surely regressed if anything this year. Ballack and Shevchenko were two of the worlds greatest players, brought in to secure the elusive Champions League and yet it is the likes of Dirk Kuyt and Javier Mascherano who will attempt to bring it back to Anfield on Wednesday for the second time in three years.

So a final between two unevenly matched teams can, it seems, bring greater rewards for the football fanatic. Teams who never believed they could get to the final tend to give it more of a shot, while the dominant teams tend to play cat and mouse with each other, waiting for a mistake or a piece of genius to decide a game and hoping that it occurs in their favour.

Here’s hoping Wednesday lives up to the occasion…..

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