The tears were starting to well up watching this game, and when the goal came, that didn't seem like it was going to come, or not get through Friediel at least, did come, it's what makes soccer a joy to watch. When pundits or agents complain about the lack of goals in soccer, or say things need to be changed to draw in the American fan, it's more a joke and discredit to them as pundits of anything at all.
The tears of joy came not because Tevez's header tied the game up in the dying minutes and Manchester United nearly ensured themselves the EPL title, but because of the way that both teams were fighting to the very end. Ever ball was battled for. Rooney hurt, fought on. Scholes fought on. Ferdinand dug out balls. Carrick kept switching the ball smartly. Good thing the San Jose Earthquakes game in the MLS is later tonight, there's enough of a gap between the games so I can watch it, otherwise, it'd be like listening to Beethoven and then Kenny G.
I was going to start this article off with Chelsea happy to send Brad Friedel a lifetime supply of whatever he wants, but his incessant attention to keep the ball of his own net ended with the double header by Scholes and then Tevez. Avram Grant will continue sputtering along in after game press conferences, a win by Blackburn might have drawn him out and had him change from a mute to a chatterbox. But The Blues titles hopes are now very thin, and oh how they must be celebrating in Manchester after today's match.
A few thoughts.
What a crucial signing Tevez was for Manchester United. He's scored a lot of important goals for United this year. The cross came in and Scholes redirect the ball on goal. Tevez, fighting for positioning right in front of goal, broke free and glanced the ball into the net. He proceed to grab the pacifer from somewhere, and celebrated by putting it into his mouth. The camera sung over to an Argentine flag waving in the stands.
Rooney, who rarely doesn't have a chance to score in games, doesn't seem to finish as sharply as he should. And again, Friedel did make marvelous saves on a few of his shots, but Rooney likes to shoot back to his left, rather than just place the ball right back where it came from--into the far right corner when he comes on to a ball. A shot that's easier to pass underneath the diving keeper than the ball cut back to the other side. A shot that I think is more difficult to save, although Friedel did save a shots to both his right and left.
Cristiano Ronaldo rifled a shot from a tough angle but the ball hit the post--Friedel may have gotten a touch on it.
Not sure where Owen Hargreves was, maybe saving him for the Barca match, but a player they might have regretted not playing had they tied the game. Oh yeah, where's Saha, still injured I'm guessing.
Two players with a connection to the MLS, Friedel and Nelson, won't feel the heat like the players over at Fulham, they both held the line strong for Blackburn. Manchester just kept coming and coming.
This game wasn't just about the EPL, it was about momentum and pressure, the momentum that United now having going into the match against Barcelona. Now not on the back foot, but confident that the EPL title is nearly theirs and they can now go chase for a European title. Whereas Arsenal last week were unable to build any momentum, losing a tough match to Liverpool in the Champions League and then another tough one to Manchester United, with a soft penalty kick turning the tide in the match, the ball glancing off the arm of Gallas.
Coaching: The apprentice and his mentor, well there's a few of them in the EPL, coaches who were former players for Manchester United and learned under Alex Ferguson, Mark Hughes, Roy Keane, Steve Bruce...
Great Goal: Do you know what a Shunsuke Nakamura is? It's not sushi or a delicious dessert, it's a goal like this for Celtic.