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FA Cup Final recap: An historic day at Wembley

What a day. What a day.

Now, on to more pressing matters then. Who will we field against ourselves come August in the Community Shield?


A lone goal, from The Mighty Drogs, of course, secured the first ever league and FA Cup Double for our Chelsea Football Club. It had to be Drogba. The much-maligned, much-adored, much better than you Ivorian capped his finest season in a Chelsea shirt with a goal of supreme quality. It was his 37th goal of the term; his sixth in seven games at the Arch.

Yes, this man - this beast - is the Wembley assassin.

His goal, after 59 minutes, concluded a whirlwind span in which Juliano Belletti, on for the injured Michael Ballack, marked his Chelsea swan song with another one of those bonehead decisions that have defined his final year at the club (remember Manchester City?). Aruna Dindane, who obviously has pace but is a bit hot and cold in front of goal, drifted past the aging Brazilian and Belletti, instead of allowing the obvious to play out - and by obvious, I mean a ballooned strike into the stands - lunged in recklessly and sent the Ivorian flailing. Easy call for Mike Foy.

One of these men should not be smiling.

Fortunately for Belletti, Kevin Prince-Boateng stepped up to take the penalty. Boateng, whose ludicrous challenge (can you say red-card offense?) on Ballack had forced the German captain off, potentially for the World Cup and beyond, received his just deserts when his spot kick trickled weakly down the middle allowing for a fairly comfortable save, with his legs, by Cech.

Three minutes later, Chelsea were awarded a free kick, won by Drogba from the excellent Aaron Mokoena. Our Drogs saw an opening, from just outside the angle of the penalty area, and exploited it. His trademark side-footer curled away from goal, clipping the inside of the far post and in past David James, also excellent for Pompey.

It had to hit the woodwork, of course. You see, we clattered seemingly every piece of that blasted contraption during the opening 45 minutes. First Lampard, then Kalou with a nominee for, as the Guardian put it, "Wembley miss of the century." Our Brave John Terry was next to experience the wrath, his header from deep pelting the crossbar. Drogba followed with two dings, the first of which was of the extraordinary variety. James played a role in denying Drogba's 30-plus yard roaring free kick, but the bar - and the goal line - were cast in starring roles as well.

Pompey may have been outclassed in that first half, but they weren't without a chance. Petr Cech offered a brilliant reaction save from Frédéric Piquionne's stab goalward of a Boateng cross. The underdogs were of a better quality than us in the opening stages of the second half. Carlo agreed.

"The match was not under control at the start of the second half," King Carlo said, conceding that Portsmouth's penalty could have altered the outcome. "That was a key moment, it would not have been easy for us if Portsmouth had scored at that point. The first half was strange, I don't think I have ever seen a team hit the post and bar so often without scoring. I wasn't worried, though a goal against us might have made a difference."

But they missed. And we didn't. Well, not until the end.

Super Frank Lampard could have eased nerves late on by converting a penalty but, as if he is prepping for another World Cup heartache, placed his strike wide of the post. It mattered little to the endgame, though, and a historic outing was confirmed only a few minutes later.

That's going to be some parade, eh comrades?

Sidenote: Play up Pompey and all, but what's with the roughhouse tactics? Michael Brown, Boateng, The Wardrobe, these guys were out to tax. Not that Chelsea is immune to physical play, but that was bananas. Coy was soft, too.

'Avin' a well-deserved frolic

Player Ratings ---
No abacus needed. In good old-fashioned numbers this week. Huzzah.

Cech 8
A penalty save? That's right bitches.

Bane 7.5
Half-fit. Still ridiculously potent, a model of consistency this term. Not one, but two 1-2s on the edge of the area with Kalou right? Wow.

Alex 6
Above average? Supreme aerially, but struggled with the pace of Dindane and the like.

Showed no signs of the pseudo foot injury heard 'round Britain. Unlucky not to have scored.

A. Cole 7
Six FA Cup winners medals for the finest left fullback in the world, a record. Provider on Kalou's new nightmare. Also had a key deflection if I remember correctly.

Ballack 6
Threw himself about until his premature exit. *Anxiously awaits news on extent of injury*

Malouda 6.5
Good movement from our player of the season. Obviously not fully comfortably in this role, but grew in threat as the game progressed.

Super Frank 7
Involved, as you would expect. Unlucky with his stupendous swerver in the opening stages. Missed a penalty, though. Shocking.

Anelka 7.5
Excellent, I thought. His movement, as always, was impeccable. Readily available. Industrious.

Kalou 5
Poor Salomon. Just as he was beginning to sway the masses. I doubt we will ever see a miss like that again.

Drogba 8 (MOTM)
The difference. Ravaged the post three times - not counting his boxing match - the third ultimately resulting in an historic Double.

Belletti 4
Not exactly what he had in mind for a send-off.

Joe Cole 6
See above. Will he be back at the club?

Final thought: And so another season has concluded. Seriously? It feels like we're still in August. Too bad. 2009-10 has brought with it much glory. A Premier League title. An FA Cup. Goals. An appealing coach. A fresh style of play. More goals. It truly has been a season to cherish. And I do mean cherish. Who knows how long this is going to last. Remember the past - and enjoy the present. KTBFFH

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