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Thibaut Courtois stands tall to
23.05.2018, 03:16
Beitrag: #1
Thibaut Courtois stands tall to
Antonio Conte Justin Abdelkader Jersey remained in a state of agitation. The Chelsea manager had seen Eden Hazard put his team in charge of the FA Cup final with a first-half penalty but he did not celebrate. Instead, he continued to chew the ear of the fourth official, Lee Mason. Conte wanted a red card to be shown to the Manchester United defender Phil Jones, for what he felt had been a last-man foul on Hazard.
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It seemed to sum up what has been a slog of a season for Conte – even at the good moments, he could have gripes. It has had the feel of one long argument between him and the club and there was the unmistakable end-of-era impression for him at Wembley.
It was Conte’s swansong, the last game before his release or escape. How else could it be billed, given what has gone before? The key question was whether he could rise above the background noise to draw a performance from his players? The answer was yes. Just about.
It was far from vintage and if Hazard was the match-winner who looked a class apart, particularly during the first-half, it was an occasion when Conte was more indebted to his match-savers.
Conte’s decision to start with his first-choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, rather than Willy Caballero – who had featured in every previous round of the competition – Jermaine Gresham Jersey was a declaration of intent and it yielded a dividend in the shape of three vital second-half saves. In front of Courtois, Antonio Rüdiger and Gary Cahill were immense while N’Golo Kanté was simply N’Golo Kanté.
It was not pretty and José Mourinho sniped about Chelsea’s gameplan – high balls fired up to http://www.officialjetsfootballproshop.c...RSE+JERSEY Olivier Giroud with Hazard foraging for the scraps – being predictable. Mourinho did not see any irony to his comment. But Chelsea did play with a defensive conviction and Conte will doubtless argue that they made their own luck, which was most pronounced when Paul Pogba blew a gilt-edged late header.
There was a symmetry to Chelsea’s season of angst finishing here because it was in last season’s cup final that the faultlines had started to show. Back then, Conte’s team had failed to turn up against Arsenal and, in a game that saw Victor Moses sent off, they were well beaten.
Diego Costa said afterwards that he only wanted to leave Chelsea for Atlético Madrid, not a team in China and since then the flashpoints have been numerous. There was Conte’s infamous text to Costa; the sale of Nemanja Matic to United; the recruitment issues; the deep freeze with David Luiz and other players. When Conte agreed to a new contract, it did not contain an extension.
The Italian’s future has been a saga and in victory here he continued to posture, to send messages to the board. Back me or sack me was the subtext. It has long looked plain that the club are not inclined to do the former. But Conte could also luxuriate in a triumph that he felt spoke volumes for the mentality that he has instilled.
It was always likely to be tight and what Conte wanted was for Hazard to unlock United. His formation was designed to create the platform for his talisman. Playing off Giroud, Hazard was absolved of defensive responsibility and encouraged to roam left and right.
Conte’s wish was that Justin Abdelkader USA Jersey Hazard could be isolated against Jones. It happened twice in the first half and, having worked David de Gea at his near post, Hazard made his mark. His balance and acceleration exposed Jones and when he made it into the area, the alarm bells sounded. Jones’s covering tackle was grimace‑inducing. Hazard’s conversion was nerveless.,106785
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Thibaut Courtois stands tall to - xiaolan - 23.05.2018 03:16

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