Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chelsea gets stung in extra time, must watch another final from home

One of the things that makes tournament soccer so great is the how quickly you can have a reversal of fortune. The Blues had their date set with their perpetual foes from the EPL in the finals of the Champions League but saw everything slip away almost 3 minutes into EXTRA time. FC Barcelona snatched a remarkable UEFA Champions League semi-final win through Andrés Iniesta's goal three minutes into added time to earn a showdown with Manchester United FC in Rome on May 27. Chelsea FC thought they had done enough to earn a repeat of last season's final as they defended Michael Essien's breathtaking ninth-minute strike with great resilience only for Essien to then err in failing to clear his lines in the dying moments. Lionel Messi squared to Iniesta and he cut his shot skilfully away from Petr Čech to give the 2006 champions – playing with ten men after Eric Abidal's second-half dismissal – victory on away goals and the chance to reclaim their crown, although they will have to do it without the suspended Abidal and Daniel Alves. Since “the special one left, Chelsea has not been able to close the deal and their frustration is beginning to show in their mannerisms off the pitch. Arguing the refs, looking for calls when the issue would have been a moot point if they “manned up” and played some D for four minutes of extra time after holding them scoreless for over 180 minutes of game time. The truth is that the Blues are quickly becoming the best second place finisher in Europe, but without the intestinal fortitude to finish. Does Chelsea need to make a fundamental change in order to return to their old glory? Let us know here and in the World Soccer Chat rooms.



Premier League Table - May 11 2009
Team............P.......W.......D.......L.......GD......Pts
Man United......35......26......5.......4.......42......83
Liverpool.......36......23......11......2.......46......80
Chelsea.........36......23......8.......5.......41......77
Arsenal.........36......19......11......6.......28......68
Aston Villa.....36......16......10......10......5.......58

Liverpool finishes the year without any hardware
End the end it wasn't the amount of losses on the pitch for Liverpool as they had half as many as the side that will hoist the trophy Manchester United, but when the Reds look back on the EPL 09 campaign surely it will the points that they let slip away in the course of totaling 11 draws. Two of those converted to victories would have made the difference between adding some hardware to the storied cupboard and dusting an empty space for six months. Most of all, adding some distance between themselves and the afore mentioned Man U at the top of the all time table 19-17, rather that sharing the honor with the Red Devils at 18. Man U now need just four points from their remaining three fixtures to claim their 11th Premier League crown, and third in succession, to match the achievements of their bitter Anfield foes, whose own wait for top-flight glory is now almost certain to extend into a 20th year. Perhaps too content with sitting on leads throughout the season or adding some much needed defenders could bridge that gap next season. What changes do you think Liverpool needs to make to stem the tide? Let us know here and in the World Soccer chat rooms.

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