2011/12: FA Cup Final – Liverpool v Chelsea

It’s difficult to know what to make of the game on Saturday. As I sat watching the action at Wembley at home, my head said ‘yes, it’s the FA Cup Final’, but my heart said ‘it’s just another game’. The sheer volume of live football and the fact that I simply tuned in just 10 minutes before kick-off, meant there was nothing ‘special’ about watching the game. Where has the magic gone? Are those memories of Cup Finals past clouded by nostalgia? My take on the reasons for this are detailed in my other pieces about the Final, but as the game started, I was distinctly underwhelmed by the whole occasion.

Of the action. Well, Liverpool gave a damn fine impression of a dormouse for an hour, as Chelsea rarely seemed to need to get out of first gear. However, that was still enough to give the Londoners a 2-0 lead early in the second half. Ramires fired Chelsea ahead on 11 minutes, as Pepe Reina gambled on the path of the shot and was made to look silly as he watched the ball beat him at the post. On 52 minutes the Blues doubled their advantage as Didier Drogba scored a record breaking fourth FA Cup Final goal, squeezing a shot across Reina. Kenny Dalglish responded by bringing on Andy Carroll on 55 minutes and at last Liverpool woke from their slumber. The ex-Newcastle striker finished powerfully on 64 minutes and suddenly there was some urgency in the game. The last half hour definitely belonged to the Reds, but for all their possession, they only created one real chance of note. With 82 minutes on the clock, Carroll headed goal-ward, however Chelsea custodian Cech produced a stunning save, clawing the ball up onto the crossbar and out. Liverpool claimed a goal, but it wasn’t given, with television replays showing the whole ball had not crossed the line. Time-added on came and went and Chelsea had claimed victory. Gabriel Clarke tried manfully to breath some life into the post-match interviews in asking the protagonists about whether it was a goal or not, and was greeted by the expected responses according to whether the player was Red or Blue. And before the confetti had even chance to settle on the Wembley turf, the commentary team was busy telling the viewers about the upcoming Champions League Final.

Whilst ITV was quick to try and pack away this seasons Cup Final, I then remembered that first FA Cup tie for me at Hemsworth back in August last year. Funny how football throws up some little coincidences. It was 2-1 that day too, but I know which I enjoyed more…

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Posted May 5, 2012 by Editor in category "Football Features

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