Roberto Di Matteo has transformed Chelsea since taking over as club manager.
Chelsea won their fourth FA Cup in six years, giving Roberto Di Matteo his first piece of silverware as the Blues’ interim manager with a big 2-1 win over Liverpool at Wembley. Here are the six key men from the game, and why they were so important.
Petr Cech, GK, Chelsea
The keeper made the biggest play of the game, slapping Andy Carroll’s header onto the bar — and out of his goal. It was a fantastic piece of goalkeeping that saved the game for the Blues and broke what had been a withering half-hour of pressure from the Reds. Cech was adamant after the game the ball had not crossed the line — and TV replays showed he was correct.
Roberto Di Matteo, manager, Chelsea
The Chelsea manager got all the tactics right yet again, exploiting Liverpool’s lethargic midfield and running Drogba right down the gut at a defense that simply could not contain him. Not only has he restored pride and belief into this London side, he’s given them a trophy. He also joined a very select group of men to win the FA Cup as a player and manager today. So, if there’s a reason that “interim” tag still hangs off his neck, we’re not sure what it is.
Didier Drogba, F, Chelsea
Impossible to deal with up top again today, the big striker also scored the game winner when he exploited Martin Skrtel to fire home low past Pepe Reina. It was a lovely goal, the type that Drogba has made habit of. Fact is, Drogba also made history today, becoming the first man to score four goals in four FA Cup finals.
Kenny Dalglish, manager, Liverpool
Once again, the manager got it all wrong for the Reds. His side looked like they were playing in cement, and his failure to make changes until late has to be addressed. He got nothing out of Stewart Downing or Jordan Henderson, and he had no plan to contain Chelsea’s runners. Drogba’s goal showed his tactical failures: acres of space for Frank Lampard to cross into, and careless defense for the big man to exploit. Is Dalglish really the answer here?
Andy Carroll, F, Liverpool
The much-maligned $50m man was the spark for Liverpool’s late revival, and there will be serious questions asked about why he did not start this game in the first place. With him on the field, Luis Suarez looked dangerous, Liverpool looked capable of going through the gears, and his goal breathed life into his team. Some might argue he never should have given Cech a chance to save his header...but this is a game of inches.
Pepe Reina, GK, Liverpool
Liverpool’s keeper had a miserable afternoon: he should have saved Ramires’ opener. While he got little help from Daniel Agger or Skrtel, he simply doesn’t look like the player he once was. Unable to control matters in his box, he looks like a man just praying for the end of the season.