Date:Friday April 13 2007
It is always good to interact with out fellow site Editors on Vital Football, we here at Vital Blackburn are more than happy to do so.
This is what Merlin, the site editor of Vital Chelsea, had to say in response to the FA Cup Special questions put to him by Vital Blackburn ahead of the Semi Final meeting with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday:
You drew the short straw of the mighty Rovers, but from all your potential Semi Final opponents who did you MOST want to face and why?
It just had to be Watford. Come on admit it, you were hoping for them as well. Mind you after only narrowly scraping a 1-0 at Vicarage Road recently, I'm not so sure it would have been the easy option. The one's I wanted to avoid were Manchester United. I have this conspiracy theory that the FA want us and United to provide a glittering opening final for the first final at the new Wembley.
You've won the League Cup, right on Manure's coattails in the Premiership, have Liverpool in the Champions League Semi Final, any chance you'll let us win on Sunday? Come on, you know you want the others more LOL!
No chance! Let you lot win the only trophy that Mourinho has yet to win in English football. If he's going to be ousted form his position let's at least make sure he has a full set of English honours to take back to his Portuguese mansion.
Thought as much, spoil sport! So you are not willing to roll over and give us the victory, so do you think that we can beat you?
Off course you can, it's a game of football and anything can happen. Seriously, you'll have to play well to beat a team that is unbeaten since that disastrous day at Anfield when we had to play without a recognised centre half. We may even still be a little hung over from the events of Valencia. However, we do have a good record at Old Trafford, didn't we win the FA Cup there in 1970!
You've not really had the toughest of routes to the Semi Final with games against Macclesfield (Round 3), Nottingham Forest (Round 4), Norwich City (Round 5) & Tottenham Hotspur (Q-Final) but which match; before it started did you worry about the most?
All apart from Spurs! No seriously, the FA Cup can be a great leveller. It's a competition that is full of heartache as well as wonderful memories. Thankfully, Mourinho is intelligent enough to not under estimate anyone, he does his meticulous homework and gets results. Besides the relatively easy draw sort of made up for the horrendous Carling Cup draw we had - Newcastle, Blackburn and Aston Villa!
What has been the highlight for you so far in Chelsea's FA Cup run this season?
Without a doubt the win at White Tart Lane. Spurs were so sure they were going to knock us out and to score two fantastic goals to knock them out was superb.
Is there an FA Cup memory from this season you would rather forget?
Lol! Those first forty-five minutes at Stamford Bridge when Spurs raced into a 3-1 lead. I felt suicidal!
Has there been a moment in this seasons FA Cup when you've thought, "Yes, our name is on it?"
I'd suggest the moment Salomon Kalou netted our third against Spurs. To come back from 3-1 down and escape with a draw sort of convinced me that this could be our year. The trouble is I'd guess all four of the clubs left in have similar beliefs.
I like to think that most genuine football fans do see football with their own eyes and don't judge on previous goings on or what others think. We had a battle back in 2005 when Aaron Mokoena (accidentally) broke Arjan Robben's foot. We gained a HELL of a lot of stick for this and our tactics during that match, and picked up the "bully boys", "beat 'em up" etc. tags. At the time we were literally fighting for our lives so were VERY physical, we still can be but we've evolved. Do you think it is still fair that Rovers have this label?
No! Sadly labels stick. We're constantly told we're boring. Even when we scored the most goals in the premiership, during Mourinho's first season in charge, we were told we were boring. Well you find me a supporter anywhere who wouldn't rejoice at winning 1-0 thirty-eight games on the trot. As for that Mokoena challenge, it was bad and if I remember rightly he didn't even receive a yellow card. I can also remember John Terry having Paul Dickov by the throat at one stage. I guess it all started when Dickov followed through after Cech had saved the penalty. Hopefully, Sunday will see a great game of football.
Are there any Rovers player(s) that you think Chelsea need to be wary of on Sunday?
McCarthy has shown that he can cut it at this level and he could be dangerous if we give him room. Young Derbyshire, if selected, could be a handful and the shooting of that Scandinavian player (whose name escapes me) could be a danger.
Who will be our main threat (is there a player we shouldn't be worried about!) on Sunday? Who should Mokoena take out of the game early? Only joking. Sorry I couldn't resist!
The danger from us is likely to come from the usual sources. Drogba's power will cause problems but you'll need to be aware of Michael Essien. He'll be everywhere, covering every blade of grass. If Mokoena does play and gets anywhere near Joe Cole, who's had a wretched time with injury this year, he'll have me to answer to!
So, here we go, last but by no means least what is your match prediction for Sunday?
It'll be closer than a lot of people might think but don't be surprised if Chelsea steal it with yet another late goal. Therefore I'll go for 2-1!
Thanks again to Merlin for his honest and quality replies. To see the answers to his previous interview click here and look out for my answers to Merlin's questions on Vital Chelsea soon.
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Date:Friday April 13 2007
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