Sunday, 5 February 2012

When is a draw not a draw?

OK let's all breathe and calm the hell down for a minute.

BEWARE: The next paragraph begins with a sentence containing brackets within brackets. A bit like Inception in Sport blog terms.

Today I watched (well not watched, tentatively followed via BBC Sport (how bad is their new website?!) from behind my girlfriends's sofa) Chelsea against Manchester United. And I still have no idea what happened. Let me break it down in typically hilarious/poorly detailed fashion.

The first half was pretty terrible. United had a lot of possession and Chelsea looked like a mid-table side (how true that is depends on your definition of mid-table). Despite their marginal superiority, United didn't really create any chances, but did cause Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas's perfectly conditioned hair to stand on end when Danny Welbeck was obstructed by Chelsea debutant Gary Cahill. Was it a foul? Would Cahill have been sent off? The answer is of course: no-one really cares. Despite being second-best for much of the first half, Chelsea went in to half-time with the lead when Daniel Sturridge's trickery helped him fire in a cross which the hapless/hopeless Jonny Evans could only divert in to his own net.

Although United were behind at the break, Sir Alex Ferguson would have been happy with his sides performance and must have felt that an equaliser and perhaps a winner could still be in the offing for his side. As it happened, Chelsea extended their lead faster than Villas-Boas can get out a sentence. Fernando Torres - I'll try not to slate him, but it is so easy - sent over a great cross which Juan Mata coerced into the net, in a not too dissimilar way to how Michael Douglas probably proposed to Catherine Zeta Jones (not necessarily true). If a 2-0 lead was giving their luck a push, Chelsea shoved it over a cliff moments later when defender (not necessarily true) David Luiz's header was deflected in by Rio Ferdinand to put the hosts 3-0 up. Chelsea fans - mostly via my Facebook news feed - rejoiced and I made the bold decision to stop following the game. The fact United salvaged a draw is thus entirely down to me.

When most teams go three-nil down, they decide that damage limitation is the way to go. They may sit back and defend, whilst hoping for a free-kick and/or a rebound and be delighted with a narrow defeat. However, Manchester United are not Manchester City...I mean most teams.

When most teams find themselves in a crisis, they turn on themselves or throw money at the situation. United decided to throw strikers at theirs. Having gone for broke, United attacked...and attacked...and attacked, a bit like Rocky would, or the big bad wolf in "Three Little Pigs". Courtesy of two debatable but understandable penalty awards, the visitors found themselves just a goal behind, and when Mexican striker Javier Hernandez (his name isn't actually Chicharito, if I wanted "sex-god" or worse, "little-pea" on the back of my shirt, I'd be ridiculed) headed home a deserved equaliser, Stamford Bridge reacted like it had been given a glancing blow to the testicles. In many ways, they had. Not literally. That would be ridiculous.

OK, that's the match. All done. I hope you don't have any questions because I am a) very biased and b) very tired.

To go back to the title of this blog, when is a draw not a draw? Well, in the perpetual competition for Premier League glory and Champions League qualification - which is starting to look like that cycling race where the cyclists kind of look at each other in that sexy, suggestive way - today is when a draw is not a draw. How Chelsea recover from the loss of two points will be crucial as to where they finish this season. As for United, despite falling behind neighbours City again, getting out of West London (which is now in flames after Torres did some kind of clumsy metaphor which I can't be bothered to come up with) with a point will be nothing short of a blessed relief.

I hope you enjoyed this piece as much as I despised following this match. Until next time people!


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