I understand the fans’ frustration as I am deeply disappointed myself. I received several calls after the match yesterday. Most were from people who had more to say than a little about why Chelsea walked away with the right to return to Wembley for the final. I so wanted to get to that final. It really hurts.

I’ve taken a quick glance at what the blogs and the rest of the media are saying – nothing more than reading banners and headlines. I can’t be bothered to go through the myriad negative articles and posts that lie waiting.

The consensus seems to be asking for answers from Wenger. Some want to hear explanations about the starting lineup and others about the substitutions. I am in no mood to read them at the moment. Plus my head is still clouded with images of Malouda and Drogba celebrating two very avoidable goals. They took them well but they were gifts. Let’s be clear, the two Chelsea goals were not products of fine build ups or super strikes. We should have dealt with them.

The Malouda goal was made possible by Eboue’s choice to not close down the winger. An errant Theo cross was sent forward. Eboue ball watched, allowing Malouda to receive and control before shooting. It was an effort that should have been stopped at the near post. Fabianski will stop more difficult efforts than that. I am sure he is disappointed.

The Drogba goal was made possible by a high line that was breached. Our center-halves were made to look, frankly, like schoolboys and left Silvestre chasing our main bane, Didier Drogba. Fabianski will again be disappointed that he didn’t do better. I feel that he’s made the wrong decision to come that far off his line. It was a disastrous outcome, but he will learn from this. I feel his pain. It was a sad 24th birthday.

Overall, I understood the lineup – Song was our only remaining player who could slot in at CB so he had to start on the bench. Diaby was chosen over Arshavin in essence because we needed his height and the added presence in midfield to combat Ballack, Lampard, and Essien. With seven of Chelsea’s outfield players at six feet or taller, Diaby was a reasonable choice. As it turned out, not he or Denilson were able to provide enough touches for Cesc. We needed Cesc to be involved far more than he was. Robin and Theo worked hard but the goal aside they and Togo were largely ineffective as a consequence. Gibbs was our best player. Let that be our silver lining. It’s wonderful to see him do well in such a moment but it is scant consolation to be honest.

I don’t think it is unfair to state that we didn’t play to our potential. We were not able to manage midfield and made errors at the back. The pain from losing and the misdirected analyses that I had to endure from fans afterward were very difficult to take.

We let it slip away. That is most unsettling.


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