What a finish. What an absolute cracker of a match, especially at the end. Ivanovic with the 93rd minute winner. Incredible match. I can’t put it into words!
What We Learned :
1. Ramires on the wing – useless
2. Fernando Torres – his turning point?
3. Ivanovic came up big
4. Mata struggled without Hazard
5. Lack of proper wingers made us narrow
1. Ramires on the wing – useless:
Ramires was horrendous today. No other way to put it. Made a ridiculous amount of fouls while being caught offside on several occasions. Ramires might have been a gem last season on the wing, but as proved throughout this season, he’s not a winger.
Another less than convincing performance after Saturday’s foolish dismissal against Aston Villa. Didn’t offer Azpilicueta much protection and his touch let him down too often going forward. His pace was a constant threat to a high Benfica line though. (Goal.com)
To be honest though, I have no idea where Ramires actually belongs. He’s too skinny and inconsistent as a holding midfielder, is useless on the wing, not even space for him as an attacking midfielder, either. Where ever he plays, I just hope it’s not on the wing because that performance speaks for itself.
2. Fernando Torres – his turning point?:
Never thought anyone who say this, including myself, but this match and this season, as a whole, might just be what gets Torres going again. Another goal in yet another final and the first player to lift the World Cup, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and EURO Championship. A record breaking night for Torres, for sure.
Relatively anonymous until he pounced on a high ball from Cech, held off Luisao, rounded Artur and slid in the opener. Seemed to fancy it thereafter, but his decision-making and execution was still baffling at times. (Goal.com)
Torres seemed to be the only one that was trying and cared in the offensive half for a good portion of the match. Torres wanted that trophy and he wanted that goal. His performance was incredible, considering how boring and lacklustre we were for the majority of the match. This match might be the match that changes every thing for Torres, but it could also be just another match in which Torres has scored in. I think it’s his turning point.
3. Ivanovic came up big:
Ivanovic dududu Ivanovic dududu Ivanovic dudududududu Chelsea’s number 2! Ivanovic has been quite horrendous since January, despite his incredible and prolific start to the season. However, today, he was one of our best, if not the best player.
There were occasional reminders of his technical limitations, but he defended stoutly in the face of what at times resembled a siege. Came up trumps with a priceless, towering header in injury time to win it. (Goal.com)
Brana had a strong performance. I was really impressed with how he handled himself against a versatile Benfica striker. He wasn’t caught out like he was vs. Basel nor was he positioned poorly as he was vs. Swansea. He kept a cool and composed head for a majority of the match and knew what was at stake. His header was absolutely brilliant. The ball (and Brana) held in the air for several seconds as everyone stood still and waited anxiously to see whether or not it was going in. The reaction when it did – priceless.
4. Mata struggled without Hazard:
Mata is a game-changer, don’t get me wrong, but today was definitely not his day and compared to his season, it was a sub-par performance.
I was very interested to see Mata play without Hazard, especially after their play-making relationship was just starting to blossom. It was definitely a sight that you didn’t want to see as Mata struggled and was missing that cutting edge of his. Whether or not he was having a bad day, I’m not sure, but Hazard’s absence played a huge role in his sub-par performance.
Not at his brilliant best. Seemed to struggle with the pitch and missed having Hazard to link up with, but still played the odd dangerous pass. Put in the corner for the winner. (Goal.com)
Juan Mata has, nonetheless, been our best player this season. He deserves to win Chelsea POTY, for sure. However, today, it wasn’t the Mata we’re used to. His passing wasn’t the best and he didn’t have anyone to link up with as Oscar proved incapable of emulating Hazard and Ramires was absolutely horrendous. Despite all that, he still managed to rack up his 31st assist of the season, which is a quite incredible statistic. Not a great performance and for some Chelsea fans, it’s a worrying sign that he was that poor, but I think there’s nothing to worry about. The lack of Hazard made it a lot harder for him to do what he usually does, so rest assured, it’s going to be alright.
5. Lack of proper wingers made us narrow:
This was something that was quite evident throughout the match. Hazard and Moses did not start (Hazard hurt, Moses wasn’t preferred) and instead it was Oscar and Ramires on the wings, which does not work at all. Ramires, as I said earlier, was just piss poor. Oscar couldn’t emulate Hazard and didn’t provide a good performance, which we had come to expect of him due to his great form as of late. Since they aren’t proper wingers, Oscar and Ramires began to drift inside too much or stick themselves in the corner and contribute nothing. They had their moments, but they never provided the true game play of a winger, which had it’s tolls on the defense and double pivot as they tried to correct Oscar and Ramires’ mistakes. This nearly proved suicidal for us as Benfica pressed forward and the “wingers” provided little to no assistance to the defensive cause. However, it doesn’t matter now that we’ve won and that it’s over with, but when we run into this problem next time… Moses and Marin would be better options on the wing.
Other Points :
1. EUROPA LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!
2. Thanks, Rafa! (I actually mean that and you should too)
3. Lampard and Terry lift trophy together (lovely sight).
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions and/or comments, feel free to post them in the comment section below. You can also contact me via Twitter (username below) and I will do my absolute best to get back to you.