With yesterday’s barnstorming 8-0 victory over Wigan ensuring Chelsea a one point victory in the 09/10 Barclays Premier League, football fans now turn their attention to the forthcoming 2010 FA Cup Final, which takes place at Wembley, 3pm this Saturday, 15th may 2010, between Chelsea and Portsmouth.
The two Barclays Premier League teams could not have had more opposite seasons: Chelsea, having lifted the Premiership on Sunday go into the FA Cup Final looking for a remarkable Double. Portsmouth, on the other hand, go in staring financial ruin full in the face: they are relegated bottom of the league, and owe more than £130 million to their creditors.
Despite all this, as Portsmouth have proved in knocking out several big guns en route to this weekend’s final, football is played on a pitch, for 90 minutes, not in the board room.
Chelsea are perhaps the biggest of guns, however, and, having just won English football’s biggest prize, they have serious momentum. In their two league meetings this season, Chelsea won 2-1 at home, and by an impressive 5-0 away from home. Didier Drogba, is fit and fresh for the 2010 FA Cup Final, and will be looking to add more goals in his Premier League Golden Boot year, and Chelsea have an ability to score from all over the pitch, particularly via English midfielder Frank Lampard, who has once again scored 20+ this term.
If there is hope for Portsmouth, it is in the goals. David James has oft proved Portsmouth’s saviour in the past, and so, though more often than not faced with an uphill struggle, it has proved this season. James is a hugely experienced goalkeeper who is capable of making world class saves. He will need to make several on Saturday if Portsmouth are to get any sort of result from their FA Cup Final.
Pompey’s main problem this season has been scoring goals. Despite long periods of possession, and occassionally dominating matches, they have failed to score on countless occasions. The fact that only Piquionne (11) and Dindane (10) have reached (barely) goal tallies into double figures tells its own story. Lampard and Drogba have, between them, scored more than the entire Portsmouth team.
All of which makes a clean sheet an absolute imperative for Portsmouth on Saturday. An early Chelsea goal would surely knock the stuffing out of Portsmouth’s players, and stuffing could be the word of the day if that happens.
Chelsea travel the short distance to Wembley knowing that any sort of performance will secure them a magnificent double.
Still, for all the omens and form evaluations, you’ve got to be in it to win it. FA Cup Finals can surprise and delight. Portsmouth will take their place on Saturday hoping for an out-of-this-world performance from David James; a hitherto unseen freedom in midfield; and at least one goal from their beleaguered attacking players.
You know, it just might happen, and that’s the Joy of the Cup.