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|FA Cup Final Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool: Five key observations as the Blues triumph at Wembley|
Tactics, work-rate and bravery see Chelsea lift the FA Cup to the despair of of Liverpool fans. SoccerAnchor's Aaron Watts gives you his five observations of the game.
Simple things too slow: Liverpool struggled to work the ball into attacking areas, especially in the first half. This was in no small part down to the ineptitude of Jordan Henderson and Jay Spearing especially to move the ball quickly in deeper midfield area. They seemed to struggle when it came to getting the ball under control and laying it off to an opponent with any speed and due to this Liverpool’s build up play was ponderous.
Chelsea’s outlet: Throughout the majority of the game Roberto Di Matteo’s side keep their passing short, crisp and along the floor. However on the odd occasion when Liverpool managed to pen them in they had a great outlet in Didier Drogba. Whilst playing long areal balls in to your 6ft 3” centre forward is hardly a tactical master stroke it only works effectively if you managed to get players in and around your forward to compete for the second balls and in Kalou, Lampard and Mata Chelsea had players who were extremely willing to do that. This offered The Blues to opportunity get themselves 60 yards further up the pitch and turn defence into attack very quickly indeed.
Ramires the complete modern winger: One major change Roberto Di Matteo has made since taking the managerial hot seat from AVB is to deploy Ramires, who is most recognised as a central midfielder, as one of his wide men in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Many sides who operate with this system find themselves exposed in wide areas when the opposition managed to isolate their full-backs. Chelsea don’t seem to have this problem and this surely has to have something to do with the work-rate of their wide players, Ramires especially. The Brazilian offer much more than just good defensive cover mind and in recent weeks he has chipped in with some key goals and assists, most notably against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final
Bravery prevails: The braver and dare I say better side lifted the trophy this evening at Wembley. The Chelsea players took the initiative early on in the game and were not afraid to take the ball in tight areas in order to retain possession. In contrast the Liverpool’s players seemed tentative and scared of making a mistake. This lead to Chelsea dominating possession especially for the first hour of the game and by the time the Merseyside club decided to throw caution to the wind it was invariably too little too late.
Carroll's introduction: Andy Carroll has often been ridiculed for his poor form following his mega money move from Newcastle last summer. After Chelsea’s second goal this afternoon Kenny Dalglish decided it was time to try and inject some life into his lacklustre Liverpool side and Carroll was the man he turned to. Carroll wasted no time in making his presence felt on the Wembley stage and just ten minutes after his introduction he capitalised on a Bosingwa error and after turning John Terry inside out dispatched the ball into the roof of Petr Cech’s net. From here on in the whole dynamic of the game changed all of my aforementioned points are well void for the last 25 minutes of the game. The England centre-forward came oh so close to equalising for Liverpool but was denied partly by a fantastic save from Cech and partly by a brilliant yet controversial decision from the linesman.