Chelsea see off Aston Villa again to seal another FA Cup final place
Chelsea are still on course for a first Double. An often soporific FA Cup semi-final ended with Carlo Ancelotti’s team setting up a date with Spurs Authentic Prada Messenger Bag For Sale or Portsmouth, who clash here tomorrow, in May’s showpiece. By then this team will hope to have bagged the Premier League title, and be halfway to immortality in their west London manor.
Didier Drogba was preferred ahead of Nicolas Anelka, after the Ivory Biggest Prada Outlet In Italy Coast striker had started on Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shop Online the bench for last week’s 2-1 victory at Manchester United. Drogba, surely nonplussed by that decision, had entered proceedings at Old Trafford as a second-half substitute and scored Chelsea’s winner.
This afternoon was much the same. „The FA Cup is really special to us and when I have the chance I will try to score,“ the 32-year-old said of a second-half strike, which took his Wembley tally to five replica prada handbags, including one against Arsenal in the corresponding fixture last season, plus the winner against United in the 2007 final.
„I had two chances before and I was a bit unlucky, the first one was a great block from [Stephen] Warnock and the third chance maybe was the one that was least expected, Are Prada Mens Shoes Good but that’s the goal.
„I always say I’m lucky; it’s an honour for me to be here and to play in a stadium like this one.“
Fortune arrives for those who go searching, and it was Drogba alone who created the opportunity from which he claimed the 32nd goal of an outstanding season, flashing down the left and causing James Ap Lei Chau Prada Factory Outlet Collins to dive in, before his shot at Brad Friedel went for a corner.
It was the turn now of Collins’s defensive partner, Richard Dunne, to commit a howler. Florent Malouda’s delivery from the left landed plum on the Irishman’s head, but his weak clearance found a lurking John Terry. The former England captain’s response was a pass-shot hybrid, which found the unmarked Drogba. From six yards he was not going to miss and he duly steered a left-foot strike low into the corner of the net.
Before the goal that killed Villa, though, it had been Martin O’Neill’s team who started the tie far more convincingly. Gabriel Agbonlahor had begun festivities Authentic Prada Bags For Cheap with a surge through midfield that worried Terry before the ball fell to Ashley Young who forced a corner.
Chelsea managed their opening threat on nine minutes. But, after a corner was won courtesy of Malouda’s work down the left Alex could only head the Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Official Website ball out for a goal-kick.
Villa’s 7-1 drubbing at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago had begun with a Frank Lampard strike on 15 minutes so they were content to Black Prada Bag With Gold move beyond that mark still level here. In fact, before the quarter-hour had passed, it was O’Neill’s team who might have taken the lead from two chances.
James Milner was first up with a low, skidding effort that narrowly passed Petr Cech’s right post. Then Agbonlahor appeared to be kneed to the turf inside Chelsea’s area by Mikel John Obi. Howard Webb stared for a moment before, to O’Neill’s fury, turning away.
If the referee had seen Agbonlahor clutching Mikel’s jersey then he might have taken that in mitigation, though a counter-argument says that players hugging each other in this area of the pitch is commonplace stuff.
Since that 7-1 defeat much has been made by O’Neill and his players of Terry’s remarks that Villa tend to fade late on in games. From a distance, though, this seemed fair comment from Chelsea’s captain and there was a sense here that Wembley’s wide yards would again test Villa’s stamina.
Yet as the half-hour passed it was Chelsea who, if not sluggish exactly, were struggling to wrest the play from Villa, though this may have been the unfolding of precisely the pattern Terry had described, with Chelsea hoping to emerge stronger as the game wore on.
The closing minutes of the first half offered an initial hint of this. Not for the first time, Drogba was Chelsea’s threat. With players beginning to slip on the notorious Wembley turf (this was the second try-out of a 10th relaying in three years) Dunne went down in his area when hoping to stop the striker Authentic Prada Vitello Daino unloading from Malouda’s cross.
It was Warnock who managed to get a fine block in and moments later Drogba performed a flip-and-collect over a Villa player’s head that was playground stuff. And, when Dunne had a niggle at the same player, it was Drogba’s toe-poke of a free-kick that was blasted at Villa’s wall.
Despite the strong finish to the period, though, Ancelotti was not content with how his players had, for large periods, been dominated by Villa. This caused the Italian to Baby Prada Shoes Uk show his displeasure by sending his players out early for the restart and telling three substitutes C Anelka, Michael Ballack and Salomon Kalou C to spend the first 10 minutes warming up.
Yet they and the manager had to witness further spluttering from Chelsea, with the aimless ball from Joe Cole that went straight for a goal-kick instead of on to Drogba’s head emblematic of their performance. At this point Villa still seemed favourites. After 62 minutes another Agbonlahor run preceded a shot that demanded a Cech save. Ancelotti, wanting to force events, had seen enough. Off went Cole and on came Kalou.
Now came Drogba’s moment and while Terry later seemed fortunate to receive only a yellow card for clobbering Milner’s knee, Mr Chelsea’s analysis of Villa’s tendency to fade was proved correct. Late strikes from Malouda, meeting a precise Ballack cross on the half-volley, and Lampard, teed up in the area by Malouda and Anelka, provided the confirmation.
Terry’s team now switch back to the league and Bolton on Tuesday. They can smell glory.