Football: Champions League Final – Three Reflections

Some thoughts and reflections on tonight’s Champions League final, in Moscow.

1: There is something undignified about victory secured via a penalty shoot-out. The winners chase after their goal-keeper, whilst the losers are left alone with their dejection. It’s unseemly and not in keeping with the spirit of the game.

The two teams have finished on level terms after extra-time. Therefore, for one team to become so hyper after winning on penalties, overlooks the truth, that neither side has been good enough to win outright.

2: The United psychology to highlight Didier Drogba’s fondness for diving, worked in their favour. In fact, Drogba’s slap on Vidic, and subsequent red-card, may well have cost Chelsea the trophy.

It was Vidic, of course, who brought Drogba’s ‘play-acting’ to everyone’s attention, a few days before the final. The ‘Drogba strategy’ backfired for Rafael Benitez, yet worked perfectly for Sir Alex Ferguson. Had the United manager made the ‘play-acting’ accusation, not Vidic, would Drogba’s mindset, motivation and focus have been different?

3: When Nicolas Anelka ambled up, to take the seventh penalty, the writing was on the wall for Chelsea. Why would a player as good as Anelka, be taking the seventh penalty? It suggested, that he was low on confidence.

When Anelka signed for Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers, he looked ripe for bagfuls of goals. But, the fact that he has not yet integrated successfully into the Chelsea team, may well have had a detrimental effect on his confidence.

Posted in Football Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.