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Anorak | Pain In Spain

Pain In Spain

by | 24th, February 2005

‘BEFORE this week’s round of Champions’ League matches, English teams were among the best in the world.

Didier Drogba sees red

Then the whistles blew and the games kicked off.

Arsenal were flattered by a 3-1 scoreline in Bayern Munich’s favour, Chelsea were beaten in Barcelona and Manchester United went down at home 1-0 to AC Milan.

Only Liverpool managed a win – 3-1 over Bayer Leverkusen – but only the most blinkered Red would believe their club can go all the way without lashings of luck.

And luck is important, as Chelsea found out last night. First, as the Times says, the Blues were fortunate to earn a goal when Barca’s Juliano Belletti turned the ball into his own net.

Somewhere in the thermosphere up in Barca’s towering stadium the travelling Chelsea fans laughed, mocked and danced.

And then the luck turned against them. As the Telegraph says, having already been booked, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba made a risky lunge at the ball and bundled into Barca’s goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

That was yellow card number two. And in the numbers game, it meant Chelsea had ten men.

This, as the paper says, “gifted” Barcelona the initiative and they took it with glee, scoring two goals to win the tie 2-1.

Chelsea were unfortunate to lose Drogba; but not to lose the match – not if you believe the Sun’s statistical analysis.

In the course of the entire match, the Blues managed just two shots on goal, both of which were deemed to be off target. Over the same period, Barcelona had 11 shots on target, 13 shots off target and 11 shots blocked.

Statistics can lie, but even to the most questioning mind these numbers paint a pretty conclusive picture of events in the Nou Camp.

Meanwhile, in Old Trafford, Roy Carroll, United’s hapless goalkeeper, was proving to be true to his reputation and spilling a shot.

His clanger allowed Milan’s Hernan Crespo to feast on the pickings.

This time Carroll didn’t even bother pretending the other team hadn’t scored. He saw it. The net moved. It was a goal.

Just the thing when you’re busy negotiating a new contract…’



Posted: 24th, February 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink