The hype surrounding the Champions League final is showing no signs of abating. You can pretty much find a quote from any Manchester United or Chelsea player by trawling the internet, while both managers have obviously got plenty to say on the Moscow showdown. However, the same thing happened ahead of the 2007 FA Cup final, before all talk amounted to nothing as the two teams played out a disappointing 0-0 draw.
Although a Didier Drogba winner in extra-time prevented the match from going to a penalty shoot-out (as had been the case when United lost to Arsenal in 2005), it was a spectacle that was instantly forgettable. Both teams seemed too afraid of losing to form any sort of meaningful attack and, while the Wembley pitch was cut to ribbons (as might be the case in Russia this evening), it shouldn’t have stopped the best teams in the land getting stuck into one another.
The signs aren’t good for the majority of us who want goals tonight. Manchester United drew 0-0 with Barcelona in the first-leg of their semi-final and squeaked it 1-0 in the return. Although there were more goals when Chelsea beat Liverpool over the two legs, the Blues will be all-too aware of the Red Devils’ ability to protect a lead once they go ahead, especially with the likes of Anderson, Hargreaves and Carrick at their disposal to protect the defence.
An early goal might be the only way that we see a fast, attacking game of football this evening. The team that will have conceded would need to come out of their shell and press their opponents. Otherwise, the only drama will be when the referee blows at the end of 120 minutes of play to indicate that spot-kicks will determine who wins tonight’s match.