It was a little under twelve months ago that Antonio Conte almost won the first Cup (i.e. knockout competition) of his management career, as Chelsea met Arsenal at Wembley for the 2017 FA Cup trophy. But in a preview of the following season, it was an off-day for Chelsea, who were outfought and out-hustled by an under-strength Arsenal side.
Alexis Sánchez opened the scoring within the first five minutes but the thing that many remember most from the game is Victor Moses getting sent off for two yellow cards, the second of which was correctly awarded for a dive. Although Chelsea managed to find an equalizer courtesy of the one and only Diego Costa — the one player who looked fully up to the task that day — we could not avoid defeat as Aaron Ramsey took advantage of a lapse in concentration (again, a preview of the following season), with an immediate reply that proved to be the winning goal.
While we had the solace of the league title, it was still far from a good moment, both collectively and in terms of individual performances. It certainly haunted Moses himself for some time. Not many get a chance for immediate redemption, so he’s looking to take full advantage of this opportunity.
“It played on my mind a little bit but it’s happened. I can’t rewind it back now. It’s just something that happens in football but you’ve got to move on.”
“It’s definitely the worst feeling I’ve experienced in my career. I want to be on the pitch to help my team-mates and it’s not nice.”
“But we’re back in another final and I’m looking forward to it.”
Neither United nor Chelsea have had ideal seasons. Although Mourinho ended the year in second, United were far from convincing (outside of the ridiculous David de Gea in goal) despite massive investment and were eliminated by Sevilla from the Champions League at the same stage as Chelsea were, in the Round of 16.
As for the Blues, we are all well aware of our predicaments. Europa League beckons, as does a new face in the dugout with the final probably marking Antonio Conte’s last game as head coach at Chelsea
That said, given the performance at Newcastle last weekend, maybe all we should be hoping for is that the players actually show up and play like they want to win.
“Every single one of us has got to stay focused, do what the manager asks of us to do on the pitch and try to win.”
”It’s always a tough game whenever we play United. They’ve got quality players and so have we.”
“The most important thing is to stay concentrated and make sure we win it.”
-Victor Moses; source: FourFourTwo