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Author Topic: City book Cup final date with Wigan  (Read 458 times)

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Offline Prince james C. Inyogu

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Rafael Benitez knows he's leaving
but might like to stay. Roberto
Mancini would like to stay but
might be leaving. The Italian now
has by the far the better chance
of getting his wish. The FA Cup offered the surest
route to salvation. FA Cup finals
have not yielded a shock result
since 1988 when Wimbledon beat
Liverpool. With all due respect to
Wigan Athletic's outstanding achievement, the winner of
Sunday's second semi-final will
expect to beat the victor of
Saturday's first. Even if Wigan do
pull off the improbable, both
Premier League and FA Cup will be residing in Greater Manchester. Chelsea paid for 65 minutes of
flat football. Once they found a
route back they were denied by
loose finishing, and even looser
refereeing. Chris Foy is this
season's Tom Henning Ovrebo. Sergio Aguero should have been
dismissed and so might Vincent
Kompany for denying Fernando
Torres an equalising goalscoring
opportunity. "I think we played very well in the
first half and we have everything
under control," said Mancini.
"After the second we played as if
we had already won the game." City beginning fresher was
understandable in the light of six
of Chelsea's starters having lined
up for Thursday's Europa League
trip to Moscow and the eventual
victors might have been three clear by the time Chelsea's limbs
eventually loosened. City have spent much of the
season looking ponderously
predictable yet their
interchanges flowed where
Chelsea's did not. They possessed
far greater power in midfield and attack too. An early skirmish
between Eden Hazard and Yaya
Toure was hardly a fair fight.
Until Torres' arrival, Demba Ba
looked lonesome ahead of the
Belgian, Oscar and Juan Mata. Chelsea's first genuine attack did
not arrive until the 23rd minute,
when Oscar's poorly-hit shot from
a clearance had to be headed
clear by Vincent Kompany. It has long been a complaint
against Benitez-coached teams
that they begin games too slowly,
and here was a costly case in
point. Until their goal, Chelsea's
sole point of concerted pressure preceded City's opening goal. The habitual 16th minute of
applause for Roberto Di Matteo
was not observed but fans'
complaints about their current
manager can quickly return to
the surface. Benitez had spent all of the game on his feet but
scuttled to his seat in muttering
disappointment when Samir Nasri
scored. The Frenchman was
fortuitous enough to get a
second go after his initial reception of an Aguero pass but
his second touch was a fine finish. Manchester City fans sang
throughout for Mancini. A group
of fans who went 35 barren
years without silverware will
always remember the man who
won them this trophy in 2011, the Premier League in 2012 and
now looks set fair for a third
trophy in three seasons. Even if
Benitez wins the Europa League,
there will be no such chorus for
him in Amsterdam. Benitez has never asked to be
liked, but he is entitled to call for
better defending. Yaya Toure had
tanked through Chelsea's midfield
in the attack leading up to Nasri's
strike, and only Tevez got in the way of preventing James Milner
doubling the deficit. Toure should
have done so before half-time
after Milner's shot was parried by
Cech into the Ivorian's path. Nasri almost always plays better
when David Silva is not around,
and he took a much fuller role in
City's passing triangles from a
left-wing playmaking position. On
the opposite flank, Milner showed why his hard work is so
appreciated by his manager. Another maligned midfielder in
Gareth Barry provided City's
second. His chip left Aguero plenty
to do, but the Argentinian's
header back across goal was
superb. As it bounced down from the angle and into the net,
Benitez could be seen cursing
again. Behind him sat John Terry,
face a picture of bemused
disassociation. Frank Lampard's
shuttle run down the line suddenly got quicker. With Didier
Drogba now in Turkey via
Shanghai, Chelsea were suffering
from a distinct lack of Wembley
heroes from seasons past. At one
point, as Chelsea made a rare attack, Lampard could be seen
offering advice to his onfield
colleagues, a practice probably
not signed off by his manager. It
was Lampard's greatest
contribution. Terry and Lampard were not offered a singled kick,
the latter unused even as his
team needed a cool finisher. While the disgruntled pair
remained in orange-bibbed exile,
another substitute made an
instant impact. Torres' 65th
minute arrival for Mikel caused
confusion and Ba replicated his quarter-final finish against
Manchester United to pull Chelsea
into a game they should already
have lost. A team previously
second-best in all departments
had sudden momentum. Mata was robbed by City 'keeper Pantilimon
when preparing to pull the
trigger, and then Ba's effort was
clawed away. To paraphrase a
Benitez cliché, Chelsea were
creating chances and they were controlling the game. Those in a
lighter hue of blue were living in
fear of a deadly outbreak of
'City-itis'. "With Torres on the pitch you
could see a team with more
determination and confidence,"
said Benitez. Yet 'Typical City' means something
else now. The faint-hearted
strugglers of old have been
replaced by a group that fights
'to the end', as their fans sing.
And they had to, too, as Chelsea pushed them hard. Some took
that advice too literally. Aguero
was lucky to escape a red card
for a two-footed lunge on David
Luiz's rear end; Vincent Kompany
had his hands all over Torres as he boomed into the penalty area.
Foy ran back to the halfway line
with Torres retreading the steps
of outrage with which Michael
Ballack chased Ovrebo against
Barcelona in 2009. "I don't like to point out players,"
said Benitez, when asked about
Aguero's lunge. "The main one is
the penalty not given. These
decisions can make a difference." "I need glasses. I didn't see it,"
said an unconvincing and smiling
Mancini. "Sergio is a good guy," he
offered weakly. The outrage was Chelsea's. The
FA Cup looks more than likely to
be headed back to Manchester
City's trophy cabinet. And that
should keep Mancini at Eastlands.
-A True Friend Is Someone Who
Sees the Pain in Your Eyes While
Everyone Else Believes the Smile on
 your Face.

-You can't do Today's
Job with Yesterday's method and still


 

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