Many thought that after the madness that unfolded at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon the Capital One cup fixture between Chelsea and Manchester United only four days later would have been a low key affair played by two teams full of reserves. It was anything but.
United chose to give the younger members in the squad a run out but still fielded the likes of Luis Nani, Anderson and Ryan Giggs in what was an experienced midfield. Chelsea on the other hand only changed a handful of players from the side defeated at the weekend, but still opted to give minutes to the likes of Lucas Piazon, Victor Moses and Oriol Romeu.
After one of the most extraordinary results the night before at the Madejski Stadium, which saw Arsenal come from four down to win 7-5 after extra time against Reading, football fans everywhere could have been forgiven for assuming normality would be restored at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Amazingly the game was just as enthralling as Chelsea eventually ran out 5-4 winners after extra time. They too needed an equaliser with what was the last kick of the game and although they spent most of the match chasing, the boys in blue were that little bit stronger in the extra 30 minutes.
It was clear after an hour of the game with United leading 3-2 that Roberto Di Matteo and Chelsea were intent on dishing out a little revenge after the injustices they felt were dealt them on Sunday. While Ferguson named a rather inexperienced bench, Di Matteo called upon Oscar, Ramires and Eden Hazard as substitutes to help Chelsea re-assert themselves in the game and ultimately assist their progress to the last eight of the competition, where they will face Leeds United.
After the final whistle, in the post match interviews, Daniel Sturridge and man of the match Victor Moses were quick to point out that Chelsea wanted to give the fans something to cheer about after the experiences of the last week. Sturridge said: “It’s just about putting a smile on the fans’ faces again because I feel that they were disappointed after the weekend,” something Moses reiterated.
Although the aftershock of Sunday and the Mark Clattenburg saga is sure to rumble on, the players and fans will feel some closure on the matter after this win. Chelsea still sit top of the Premier League and it was important for reasons of confidence that the players stopped the run of defeats inflicted recently and move on from negative issues, while continuing with the fight for what are still five trophies up for grabs.
What was also shown on Wednesday is that this new look Chelsea possesses character. It was certainly a question asked of them before the game if such strength was in their possession to go with a flowing style and all round flair, and if knocking United out of the Capital One Cup is anything to go by then signs certainly point to the positive.
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