Ivanovic has been solid at right back, and could have replaced captain John Terry, also suspended, in the middle. He also has a habit of
Drogba has a mixed record in finals this year. He scored the winner in the FA Cup final -- and has now scored in a record four finals -- but he missed a late penalty in the African Cup of Nations in January and his Ivory Coast team went on to lose in a shootout to Zambia. Drogba is Chelsea's biggest threat, and it will miss his power and goals when he's gone. As assistant coach Eddie Newton told the
For all the millions that Abramovich has spent on coaches --
To wit: Benfica captain Maxi Perreira was sent off early in the second half at Stamford Bridge, and a late chance to knock out Chelsea was then awarded to inexperienced substitute Nelson Oliveira, who missed. Barcelona also hit the post four times in its semifinal, while Lionel Messi missed his fourth penalty of the season.
Winning the final would mean that Chelsea goes straight to the group stage of next season's competition (fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur would be the unlucky side to forgo its place), but what would happen to Di Matteo? The Italian seems certain to step aside no matter what the result is, though -- following his success -- he can expect a decent job elsewhere. The newcomer will face many of the same challenges that Andre Villas-Boas struggled with: seeing off the old guard, reducing the power of the senior players and introducing a more attractive style of play.