So tonight we played Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final, and you’ll never guess what? No, you won’t guess, it was such a surprise – we beat them 1-0. At Stamford Bridge. For the first time in 9 years (according to the BBC). Only a Manchester United fan can understand how big that is. We never get any sort of luck at Stamford Bridge – that’s not me being a sore loser (which I am, sometimes), that’s Chelsea getting a penalty that was never a penalty about two weeks ago.
Did we play well? You bloody well bet we did. We were very tight defensively, which is what served us well tonight I think. We had Rio back and he played for the full 94 minutes, which is a huge boost as we have some massive games coming up. As long as we play this right and don’t overwork him quickly, I think he could help us progress next week and against City in the FA Cup a week Saturday. There’s nothing like having your preferred defensive line-up fully fit, seriously.
Rooney scored our goal (who else, after the week he’s had?) after a perfectly weighted pass from Carrick found Giggs. Giggs’ first touch was sublime and he rolled it to Rooney to slot into Cech’s net. It was wonderful stuff, and fully deserved. We didn’t have many other shots, but we probably could have scored again as we were quick on the counter-attack with Hernandez up front and Valencia and Park on the wings. Chelsea pushed us hard at times, particularly on the stroke of half-time when Torres and Lampard nearly scored and during the final 10 minutes. And sure, maybe Chelsea should have had a penalty, but like Rio said, it’s swings and roundabouts. They had their penalty in the Premier League the other week, and I didn’t hear the Chelsea players come out then and say it wasn’t a penalty. Don’t get me wrong, if that happened to United I’d be furious. But it didn’t, so I don’t care.
We did well tonight. Playing Chelsea is always tough but everyone put in stellar performances tonight. Carrick, in particular, was superb and seems to be getting back to the Carrick of a few seasons ago. Giggs keeps rolling back the years – I’m sure he’s getting younger. And our defence was rock solid. Penalty aside. Rafael went off injured and Valencia filled in at rightback. He was stunning, I didn’t know the lad could defend so well, but he did superbly. I am so happy with our performance tonight. I fully expected a draw or for us to lose so a win and a clean sheet is immense. We’ve done the hard part, now we need to keep it tight at home in a week and perhaps score 1. Or 2. Or 5. To make it safe. I live for safe.
I don’t have much to say on the Rooney incident at the weekend. Yes, he was wrong to swear, but to charge him and ban him for (potentially) 2 games? That’s absurd. It’s totally ridiculous. That means, surely, that any player who swears on a football pitch and a camera or referee catches it, they’ll be banned for 2 games? Nuts. He apologised. I’m sorry but it’s wrong on so many levels. We’ll find out tomorrow how many games he’ll be banned for. The FA need their heads inspecting.