Although the result was hardly unexpected – Chelsea are, perhaps, the best team in the Premiership this season, something I’ve been saying since the summer – it was still disappointing. Perhaps it was the way it happened, on a free kick that shouldn’t have been given and with Drogba pulling Peanut Head down in the box. But John Terry headed it home for the only goal in a 1-0 final.
That isn’t to say that United didn’t have any chances. More than once, Wayne Rooney should have scored while Ricardo Carvalho made a spectacular play to get in front of Darren Fletcher’s screamer. Luck and referee decisions aside, Chelsea outplayed United. Simple as that. I will not complain about a just result (despite the fact that the free kick should not have been awarded, perhaps the soccer gods were making things even, karmically speaking, for Jonny Evans’ kick to Drogba’s chest in the box a few minutes earlier. Evans should have been tossed for that. Of course, Martin Atkinson had a bad day overall, methinks).
That makes two bad results in a row for United in the Premiership and 3 losses in total. In and of themselves, the losses aren’t a huge deal but taken together… well, it’s getting awfully close to a big deal. I don’t think any team can win the Premiership with more than 5 losses. So that means United have to put on a good run of form and shore up the back line. Evans and Peanut Head can play against Burnley or other lower sides but Vidić needs a partner for the big games (and he needs to get healthy, but I digress) as Rio Ferdinand is toast. So it’s up to Sir Alex to be proactive, to fix the clearly apparent problems (another thing that would help is not playing Rooney alone up top; he doesn’t do well like that no matter how much you wish he will).
United have been very up and down lately and I can’t put my finger on why. The easy way out is injuries. The harder answer to face is that Antonio Valencia, Nani, and Anderson are all overmatched at the moment. I am having serious doubts that either Nani or Anderson will develop as expected. But here’s were Sir Alex earns his money. That’s right: I’m calling out one of the better managers in the game. He needs to earn his keep by getting the team on form PDQ. I think it will happen but I don’t know when. Consider me worried.