FA Cup winners again! I said it would be 2-1, didn't I?! If only I'd put a bet on it...
A solid, classy (if not magical), performance from Chelsea saw them past Everton this afternoon at Wembley. Saha gave us all a heart attack after 25 seconds (destroying Di Matteo's record in the process), but a superior performance from the Blues - aside from one or two five minute spells from the toffees - saw us through eventually.
Drogba equalised after twenty minutes with his first meaningful touch (he improved dramatically in the second 45), a powerful header following a pinpoint cross from Malouda, who was impressive throughout. Lampard scored the winner with a trademark shot from twenty-odd yards on 72 minutes. Probably slight question marks over Tim Howard's inability to keep the winning shot out having reached it, but certainly no complaints from all in the Chelsea end.
It could have been more, too. Anelka nearly crafted an exquisite lob following a great exchange from Cole and Lampard, and Malouda's dipping shot from thirty yards struck the underside of the bar before crossing the line, but somehow neither the referee nor linesman managed to see it. I'm sure I'll feel compelled to write more about that later...
It is fitting that Lampard's goal proved to not only be the winner, but also the team's last of the season and his 20th. Lampard was exceptional today - the one player in the midfield who consistently looked to play the more dynamic pass and take individual responsibility for prizing Everton open . Mikel's distribution seems to be improving game on game and he expertly anchored the midfield, and the left-side duo of Malouda and Cole weren't far off being the best players on the pitch. Essien toiled, and we would have liked to have seen more from him on the ball, and ideally Bosingwa will improve next season.
But it was by no means our best display of the season, but it was comfortable enough and in the end Everton didn't carry too much of a threat. In fact, 3-1 might have better represented the play. All in all though, it was the best possible way to see Guus' off - hats off to John Terry and Ray Wilkins who, during the post-match celebrations - made sure the Dutchman took the credit he deserved.
All in all, a great day out and a much-deserved trophy for the team. Well done JT, Guus and the boys.
Bridgeviews' player ratings: Cech - 6; Cole - 8; Alex - 7; Terry - 7; Bosingwa - 5; Mikel - 8; Lampard - 9; Essien - 6; Malouda - 9; Drogba - 7; Anelka - 7
Subs: Ballack - 6
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