Chelsea and their date with destiny – do you believe in fate?

Posted on May 19, 2012


In the end, it came down as ITV’s Football Commentator Clyde Tyldesley put it, to ‘’the footballing world turning the axis on its head’’; amongst various other tawdry throwaway remarks we had to endure for 120 minutes. Plus penalties. That is unless you were ‘fortunate’ enough to watch on Sky Sports. ‘‘Germans don’t lose on penalties’’ touchline reporter Gabriel Clarke earmarked to Ashley Cole post-match, caught up in blue hysteria. ‘’They do now.’’ Cole replied with the look of a man feeling vindicated and walked off into the night.

It could so easily have been the other way around. How could it not? Bayern Munich had been profligate throughout the night, taking one touch too many to the point of almost trying to dribble the ball into the Chelsea net. How many chances did they want exactly anyhow? But up steps the Roberto Di Matteo – sacked by West Bromwich Albion last year – to instil some sort of electrical surge and a gang mentality into a squad that isn’t sure what’s going on earlier in the year. There’d be nothing to lose. He’s a legend after all. Just carry them over the line and make sure they’re top four in May. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as far as everything else went.

Then there’s that old chestnut of Germans winning with efficiency and not ever being written off. The English tonight in many ways were more German in aesthetic, belief and getting the job done  than the Bavarians. Vice versa with Bayern – creating many chances with not a huge amount of luck and for the most part wasteful in front of goal. And a parked bus. And losing on penalties. Thought I should point that out again.

With the renewed and reimproved Fernando Torres coming on with Munich opening the scoring via Thomas Muller with seven minutes of normal time to play, it felt like there was nothing more to give from an ailing side looking for something, anything. But trying to explain the way the match turned out in Chelsea winning, despite having their backs to the wall for the majority of the match – and for most of the Europe campaign for that matter – is like explaining convincingly how the space-time continuum in the universe works via the medium of Sam Faiers from TOWIE. But to Chelsea fans, it would appear that tonight, and in cup finals, fate is Didier Drogba’s middle name. This is one time statistics glare and glow in neon lights.

But fate’s a funny thing. If something’s meant for you, destined that you can’t escape from the absolutely inevitable, then it’s surely yours. As far as the football season has gone this season, that rulebook can be discarded completely. Just ask Roberto Mancini. But in a general sense, if you have a feeling in your waters and you do turn out to be right, how can that be explained to us cynics?

Whether it’s written in the stars or God playing His part in what he wills to be a crowned winner of the Champions League – again, depending on your spiritual or religious belief – it’s as though something or other had a part to play since the football season began. Or in Chelsea’s case since AVB was told to clear his desk.

It depends on your belief system too. Do you believe in a higher power? An afterlife? That you’ll come back reincarnated as an heir to the emperor of Japan? That with enough gumption and self-belief, you can get to the top of your profession? Chelsea had done so tonight with the odds heavily stacked against them. Being an underdog is a card so very tilted in favour of English teams anyway in recent years. Through gritted teeth and a begrudging through my red-tinted glasses (I’m a Man United fan), they bloody well deserved it. Beating Barcelona and Napoli the way they did might’ve been seen as a fluke by the tribal instincts of the colours we represent, but there was nothing jammy about them being European champions tonight.

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