April 26, 2012
Chelsea defender, Gary Cahill, has said that he is ‘praying’ that the hamstring injury that forced him off in the Blues’ Champions League draw at Barcelona, on Tuesday, won’t keep him out of the final, in May.
The England international was substituted after just 12 minutes, following an awkward tumble in the opening stages. It has since been confirmed that he has injured his hamstring.
Roberto Di Matteo’s defensive options are already limited, ahead of the final, after both John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic picked-up suspensions in the Nou Camp. If fit, Cahill will be guaranteed to start in the final.
“I’m hoping it’s not as bad as we first thought”, he told Sky Sports News. “I just felt a pop in my hamstring. I just pray the scan is all right.”
Chelsea went into the match as severe underdogs in the betting odds; after scraping a 1-0 victory over Barcelona in the first-leg, it was expected that the Catalan side would play them off the park in the return leg.
Like in the game at Stamford Bridge, the Blues chose to frustrate Pep Guardiola’s men by sitting deep and hitting them on the counter-attack. Despite Terry’s early dismissal, Chelsea stuck to their guns, and ground out a 2-2 draw to seal a place in the final in Munich.
Cahill has praised his side’s performance and admits that he was amazed by how well they defended as a unit. “The lads were absolutely outstanding; the way they stuck together and ground out the result”, he said. “It was amazing. Phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.”
April 24, 2012
Roberto Mancini insists that his Manchester City side are still massive underdogs to win the title, despite cutting the gap at the top to just three points, with their win at Wolves, on Sunday.
The Citizens went into the weekend five points behind their city rivals, Manchester United, but, with the Red Devils surprisingly drawing 4-4 at home to Everton, Mancini’s men are now once again in touching distance of the top.
The two meet at the Etihad, next Monday, in a game that could decide the title, and with City currently possessing a better goal difference, victory would make them clear favourites to win their first championship since 1968.
However, Mancini still believes their rivals are in pole position, even if they beat them on Monday, and says he would be surprised if his side won the league.
“Only one team can win this title”, he said. “I’ve never bet in my life, but if you were to ask, I would say put your money on United, 100 per cent.” Take advantage of the odds on United, with online sports betting.
“I don’t have a message for Sir Alex. If I did it would only be ‘Congratulations for your season and for this title!’”
City led the title race for much of the season, but have fallen away in the last few months, while United have built their momentum, and appear to have once again peaked at the perfect moment.
Mancini believes his team’s slide has been down to their lack of experience, and says United’s familiarity with the pressure of the title race will help see them through.
“I don’t think they have pressure because they are used to it every year. For us, it is different, because it is the first time. At the moment, we don’t have any pressure, because we are not expected to win”, he added.