Chelsea won the Carling Cup 2-1 in Cardiff in a match that had everything - three good goals, a mass brawl (followed by three sendings off) and an astonishing 11 minutes of added time. Both their goals came from the on-fire Didier Drogba after Theo Walcott had given us an early lead - the youngest ever scorer in a League Cup Final and his first goal for Arsenal - with a quality finish after a neat one-two with Diaby (who also had a great game before having to go off injured) on the edge of the box :
Arsenal were rampant for the first twenty minutes of each half but Petr Cech kept Chelsea in the match with fine saves from, amongst others, Baptista and Diaby. If we'd been two up going in at half time it could well have been a rather different story. But 'ifs' (and indeed, 'buts') don't win trophies and as our youngsters visibly faded towards the end, Chelsea were that bit more experienced. The fracas was a bit unseemly but even Fat Frank had to admit that it just showed how much both sides wanted to win.
Unfortunately, we now lose Touré and Adebayor (unless we can appeal his card for mistaken identity - stand up, Mr Eboué) for three matches at exactly the wrong time. FA Cup replay aside, the run-in to the end of the season is hotting up and we need to be thinking of leapfrogging Liverpool into third place with our two games in hand. Bah.
Anyway, I'm hugely proud of the 'Young Guns'; some of the fluid passing, movement and interplay was awesome to behold and for a team of so-called kids they made the Premiership champions look positively pedestrian for lengthy periods of the match. The future's bright, the future's red & white :)
(And I'm also genuinely glad that John Terry seems to have recovered - Abou Diaby looked visibly shaken after the accidental boot -> face incident. Foot high, head low? Immaterial as long as he's OK; nobody wants to see players seriously injured like that, especially in what was one of the most open and enjoyable cup finals for a very long time.)