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Friday, May 29, 2009

Chelsea vs Everton Preview, Live Score: FA Cup Final 2009

English premier league 2008-09 season has already finished with Manchester United winning the third consecutive domestic league title. Now, there is only one match left to end the 2008-09 season of English football and that is the FA Cup Final 2009 between Everton and Chelsea. Chelsea finished third and Everton finished fifth in the league, even though the difference between the two teams was of 20 points. On the other hand, Chelsea did not lose to Everton since 2000 and Everton manager David Moyes failed to win over Chelsea, having tried 20 times so far. Anyway, none of these statistics seems to have any impact on Saturday’s (30 May) FA Cup Final 2009 at the Wembley stadium, London.

Match: Chelsea vs Everton; FA Cup Final 2009;

Date: 30 May 2009, Saturday

Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England

Kick off: 15:00 BST (British Standard Time)

Live TV: ITV Television Channel

In their bid to farewell their inspirational manager Guus Hiddink with a trophy, Chelsea is now gearing up to lift the FA Cup 2009 title in what would also help the Blues avoid second successive season without a silverware. Since joining Stamford Bridge in January 2009 on a short term deal, Hiddink, who is also in charge of Russian national football team, has helped Chelsea to reach the Champions league semi final, finish 3rd in the league and reach the FA Cup final. Overall, Hiddink’s performance was pretty much satisfactory, and given his excellent working relationship with the players, Chelsea players are keen to hand him a winning farewell. Under Hiddink, Chelsea won 16 out of 22 games including the only premier league defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

If Guus Hiddink is the man who can inspire his players to give their best on the field, then Everton manager David Moyes is the man who knows it very well how to win games despite having several restrictions. With limited resources, Moyes could successfully lead Everton to finish in the top five in premier league, and thus, ensuring qualification to European Cup and reach the FA Cup 2009 final. I think, the encounter between Chelsea and Everton is also a showdown between two of Europe’s best managers.

Everton won the FA Cup last time in 1995 and Barry Horne was one of the proud members of that Everton time. He recently expressed his delight at the performance of Everton this season. I am quoting the former Wales captain from BBC:

"And the successes they have had have come despite crippling injuries right down the spine of the team - long-term injuries to Yakubu, Arteta and latterly Jagielka, who has been a fantastic player for Everton.

"At times David has barely been able to put a bench together, but against this backdrop they have once again qualified for Europe, reached the FA Cup final and, for those who are willing to either look or care, played some very attractive football. It has been a fantastic season when examined in that context."

When it comes to injury, the two teams have contrasting feeling ahead of the FA Cup final match. Everton is going to miss some of their key players like midfield general Mikel Arteta, who has been in his way to become a legend of the Toffees, and defender Phil Jagielka, who became the player of the round at the FA Cup semi final, through injuries. Everton will also be without their key striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni who has not recovered from his long term injury.

On the other hand, Chelsea does not have any new injury woe. Rather, key midfielder Frank Lampard has shaken off his knee injury and is ready to feature against Everton at Wembley. Naturally, it would boost up Chelsea’s midfield strength if Lampard plays the final match. Brazilian defender Alex has also reportedly recovered from his injury and is all set to catch the trip to Wembley. That means, Chelsea has a number of options in central midfield position in the presence of Alex, Ricardo Carvalho and Juliano Belletti and Branislav Ivanovic. However, Hiddink has indicated that he might put Carvalho along with John Terry at the heart of their midfield. José Bosingwa and Ashley Cole will be deployed in the right and left wings respectively.

In the center of the midfield, there are two quality players in Mikel John Obi and Michael Ballack, while Florent Malouda will be deployed in the left wing position. There are two creative attack minded players in Michael Essien and Frank Lampard. I think, Chelsea would play Essien in right wing and Lampard in an attacking midfielder’s role just behind two strikers: Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. With 19 premier league goals, Anelka has been the leading scorer of 2008-09 season. The French international is also among leading the top scorers of FA Cup this season with 4 goals and another goal in the tournament final would earn him the single highest scorer of FA Cup this season.

However, there is no doubt, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba has been in excellent form recently and he is expected to be show another match winning performance for the Blues. Here, it is noteworthy that, Drogba scored the winning goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup 2007 final, the last time Chelsea won the FA Cup title. In an recently interview, Drogba said that winning the FA Cup title would be more important than just reaching the final. Here, I am quoting some lines from that interview:

A few weeks ago, we were battling on three fronts (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) and today, we only have one chance left to win a title. It's a great opportunity. It's fantastic to be in the final but it's even more important to win it. It's even more important after all the efforts we made since January and we just have to deliver the final stroke to win the trophy.

But we are going to face a side (Everton) who may be even more motivated than us because it's not been a long time since we last won the Cup (2007). This final will be even more difficult than the one against Manchester United two years ago [in which Drogba scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.]

Though Everton is missing a number of players through injury, they have some match winners like Tim Cahill and Phil Neville. In the back, Everton have two good centre backs in Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott, alongside Leighton Baines in the left back. There are a number of options for the right back position including Tony Hibbert, Lars Jacobsen and Dan Gosling. In the midfield, Everton has creative midfielder like Australian star Cahill and former Manchester United player Neville who will be playing as a holding midfielder. There are some other quality midfielders in the presence of Steven Pienaar, defensive-minded Jack Rodwell and winger Leon Osman. Moyes is left with three key forwards: experienced Louis Saha, Marouane Fellaini, who has been in an excellent form since joining the club this season, and young Jose Baxter. However, there is no doubt, Tim Cahill will have a big part to play in their attacking line up.

Online Live Score and Updates

Here, I am giving websites from where you can get the live score and updates of the match:

Live Score

Goalzz

Live Football Scores

Goal.com

Footie Scorez

Overall, Chelsea seems to be a bit ahead of Everton in terms of strength, but I would not be surprised if Everton ends up winning the FA Cup title after 14 years, given their confidence booster victory over Manchester United in the semi final. In fact, both the previous two meetings of the two clubs in premier league this season ended up in goalless draws. I just hope that the players of both sides will live up to the expectation and that is what needed to experience a classic final tomorrow.

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