We're 95 minutes into the FA Cup Final without a goal to show for our watching efforts. I can count the good chances on one hand. Most of the danger has been created from solo efforts from Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba for Chelsea and Wayne Rooney for United. There's been some decent wing play from the teams, but they're too timid to commit players to the box as target men and none of the fullbacks have made any effort to overlap and increase the danger. Cristiano Ronaldo, who was being touted by his manager as a mix of Maradona's dribbling, Ronaldinho's passing, David Platt's heading, Steven Gerrard's shooting, and Sean Casey's personality, has been anonymous. I'm bored right now as we head towards penalties.
These teams have played close to 300 minutes against one another this year with one goal for each side to show for their efforts. I had fun mocking Chelsea and Liverpool for their shit on a stick football, but Manchester United isn't a whole lot better. Their games against Roma and Milan were great entertainment, but this is the second straight FA Cup Final they've played that has been bereft of goals. Look at the lineup fielded by Sir Alex if you need confirmation. His wingbacks were Gabriel Heinze and Wes Brown, the latter of whom is a central defender who was never going to give United anything valuable going forward. Patrice Evra, United's best attacking wingback, is sitting on the bench.
Oh goodness, Ryan Giggs. How did you miss that chance?
The Man of the Match for me has been Paul Scholes. The only offense that United has created have been from precise long balls from Scholes. Mourinho must be eying Scholes covetously, imagining what his gutless, route one attack would look like with Scholes hoisting balls towards Drogba.
Where's that smug announcer who proclaimed in the closing stages of the Arsenal-Chelsea match that the EPL is the most exciting league in the world? Thand G-d this isn't the Champions League Final.
And we have our goal! Didier Drogba gets what must be the winner, and I have to admit that it was a quality goal. John Obi Mikel (irony alert!) started the move and Drogba played a great one-two to get Drogba the chance to nick the ball past van der Sar. That was some great one-touch football from a squad that isn't noted for it. See what you're capable of, Chelsea? Why do you always wait until the death to play properly? The unfortunate irony is that the goal might save Jose Mourinho's job, which means that Abramovich won't be bringing in a manger who will encourage his side to do more than grind out 1-0 results, someone other than the Portuguese George Graham.