Chelsea's bold approach triumphs over tired Manchester United
Hats off to Chelsea manager
Let's hope Sir
Anyone would earn praise for taking it to the current champions on their own turf with such gusto, but Ancelotti showed particular courage in breaking his habit of formation fiddling with a slant toward the cautious. A team sheet showing the names of
But Ancelotti's plan -- to come straight out at United with "high-intensity, high-tempo" football -- worked almost perfectly. Chelsea forced tired United legs around the pitch to open up the kind of spaces that allowed Cole, fed in by the sprightly
Of course, Chelsea was helped by United, whose elderly midfield frequently gave the impression that even it had expected to be fielded differently. With
For Ferguson, however, the main talking point was the "poor, poor performance" of the match officials. He's absolutely right to question linesman
Ferguson could learn a thing or two from Wolves manager
The decision didn't go down too well with McCarthy, who had been enjoying watching his team defend stoutly to keep the Gunners at bay, but he knew better than to waste time and energy lambasting the officials in front of the waiting television crews.
"They've dominated the game, but to lose it in the last minute is bitterly disappointing," he said. "What I really feel bitter about is that I'm losing my skipper for three games and I shouldn't be. But, uh, hey ho."
The odds are fairly long on getting a hey-ho out of Sir Alex before the season's end.
Such is the climb from the English League Championship to the Premiership that the only thing Birmingham City was being tipped for at the start of the season was a tumble straight back down. But with 46 points, Birmingham is comfortably safe in ninth spot, and having tied visiting Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, they've banked six of those points at home in draws with the top-six clubs this season.
Every visitor from the top six has struggled to get the ball into the box from wide areas: Manchester City fared the worst with one successful cross in 26 attempts, with Chelsea managing only four in 26 and Manchester United eight in 32. The central pairing of
Birmingham can look narrow at times, without natural wingers and with
It's a shame for Birmingham that three of its remaining five matches are on the road, but the upcoming visits of Hull City and Burnley make for a promising end to the season in front of its fans.
Wolves may have been undone by a last-gasp header from Bendtner, but