I can’t remember two more gripping 0-0s as we had on Sunday… Manchester United v Liverpool and Man City v Chelsea in the Carabao Cup Final.
It was great to see and feel Old Trafford as it was a few years ago. The whole stadium getting behind their side, working their way back into the game after Liverpool appeared to be in control.
Given the early injuries and substitutions Solskjaer had to make, United did well to adjust and make a proper game of it.
Despite scrappy periods and very little goalmouth action, I guess the gravity of the game kept it simmering just below boiling point.
In the end, a fair result and a point each, which the home side will probably be happier with.
City will have been pleased with their main rivals dropping points and the result will have added an extra boost ahead of kickoff at Wembley.
Of course, like all Chelsea fans, I wasn’t expecting a result, after being murdered at the Etihad two weeks ago, the best we could have hoped for was to avert a repeat.
But as always, knowing the schizophrenic nature of the Blues, there’s always the hope that on a big day, the team will show up.
As it turned out, a brilliant performance from Chelsea. Keeping City out for 120 minutes is virtually impossible given their ability, with the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva completely shut out, it really was a solid and organised backline display.
City looked much like Chelsea over the last few months: lots of possession, tip-tapping across the middle of the park with little created.
To be fair, it was an excellent tactical display from Maurizio Sarri, great game management.
After an hour, Chelsea pushed higher up the pitch and started to dictate. It’s not the end of the world losing the Carabao Cup, especially after a great display against a great side.
What was very troubling, however, was the scenes created by Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
I’ve never witnessed anything like it in all my years watching football. He went down twice in the space of five minutes.
Once from an injury and then crippled with cramp, needed a few minutes of physio stretch work to get him standing.
All of this with minutes left on the clock before penalties.
Sarri made the call to switch him, which, given the impending shootout, seemed like the right thing to do.
Willy Caballero (No.2 keeper) warmed up, stripped down and stood by the side of the pitch ready to come on.
Kepa, of course not wanting to miss his chance of glory, refused to come off!
Huh? Sarri was left helpless, ranting and visibly shaken. Kepa stayed on, made a penalty save, fluffed another and the rest is history.
Was this the brutal exposing of a manager that has completely lost the dressing room? I think it was.
You had to feel sorry for Sarri, he looked broken. Who knows what went on behind closed doors after the game?
Either way, there’ll be little time to mope around as Spurs visit the Bridge tomorrow night in a must-win-to-keep-my-job fixture for the boss, and a must-win-to-keep-Top4-chances-alive for the club. It’s one of a few big games tomorrow.
A couple of tricky ones as United go to Palace (never an easy one midweek) and Liverpool host a rampant Watford.
Another must-win game tomorrow night happens at Southampton. The Cottagers have to beat the team above them if they are to stand any chance of staying up.
On that note, I’m not gonna stay up much longer, get to bed, wake up in the morning and pretend football doesn’t exist.
Yeah, I know, it’s only the Carabao Cup, but putting one on City (as we almost did) would have done us the world of good… and just to end off on a side note to all the doomsday artists who’ve been sending me all types of k**.
Chelsea will appeal the transfer ban, meaning the next window will stay open. It’s not the end of the world.
It’s just life as a Chelsea fan. Couple of big seasons falls apart, Russian steps in, sack, hire, spend and the roundabout keeps turning! Hate it.