Saturday, February 13, 2010

FA Cup Dream over: Chelsea 4-1 City

So the FA Cup dream is over for another year. Thoughts of a giant killing vanished inside 3 minutes as Drogba beat the offside trap to slot past the helpless Marshall.

The day had started well, though early with a 6:30am wake up, and by 7:30am we were on the M4 heading for the Smoke along with 5,800 other Cardiff City Supporters. We parked at Hounslow and caught the tube in, a fairly painless experience and by 10:45 were in the ground for the ungodly early 12pm kickoff.

The City away support as usual was magnificent, singing their hearts out, though most of the songs were perhaps a bit on the "fruity" side, and predictably many of them aimed at Chelsea's absent captain John Terry. Frank Lampard also got some "Jack" stick courtesy of a short spell he had out our mates down the M4 many years ago .

Many of the City faithful were surprised though relieved to see Jay Bothroyd in the starting 11, and perhaps even more surprised to see Rae's name there too, thinking Jones would want to save him for Tuesday's big clash with the Baggies. However, Jones thinking was probably he needed to risk the fitness of Rae to support young Wildig and provide some experience to what would otherwise have been a very inexperienced central midfield.

Chelsea I think showed a great deal of respect for City with the side they put out, including Carvalho, Jo Cole, Lampard, Ballack, Mikel and Drogba, and bringing on Kalou and Malouda as subs. That's a pretty impressive line up - over £105m worth of talent. How City could do with some of that!

Drogba's early strike aside, the rest of the first half was pretty even, and the Bluebirds faithful erupted on 34 minutes when Chopra glanced home a pinpoint Burke cross. I'd have taken 1-1 at half time any day, and during the break, there was talk of holding on for a draw and bringing the Blues back to CCS.

Inevitably, it wasn't to be. In the second half Chelsea brought on Kalou for Cole, and stepped up the pace. City held out for 6 minutes before Ballack tipped home after a great move, and then Chelsea heaped further misery on City with goals from Sturridge (69) and a fantastic Malouda header (86).

so it wasn't to be, but City did themselves proud I thought. You could see the difference in class. Chelsea had more composure on the ball, their anticipation was better, and they were at least half a yard quicker. City tended to panic in defence, and kick the ball away conceding possession rather than holding on to the ball. That's not to say they were poor. They are an injury ravaged side, and they gave it their all today, but sadly it wasn't enough to beat a side on top of their game, and on top of the Premiership.

It's back to league business on Tuesday with a home match against second placed West Brom. Another big match for City. They must now forget today, and focus on a promotion push. It's going to be hard.

C'Mon City!

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