Chelsea, Down a Man, Cannot Hold On


Chelsea and Manchester City faced off yesterday in the Community Shield match that always pits the English Premier League champion (Manchester City) against the FA Cup champion (Chelsea) for yet another piece of hardware.

Man City ended up on top with a score of 3-2 at full time. However, the game was not even that close. City had the run of play from whistle to whistle and Chelsea being down a man the entire second half made it worse.

For the first forty minutes the game was scoreless, but Manchester City had the most opportunities. Their goalkeeper could have picked dandelions while leaning against a post most of the time. Chelsea did not get an attempt at goal for twenty-five minutes. But like soccer goes, they scored off a great goal from Fernando Torres in the fortieth minute against the run of play. The soccer gods righted the mistake two minutes later when Branislav Ivanovic was red carded for a poorly executed slide tackle. In my opinion, the foul was not worthy of a red card, maybe a yellow card at most.

Regardless of what I think, the referee deemed that the foul was worth sending Ivanovic off the field and Chelsea had lost a player and all of its momentum. After that, it only took Man City eleven minutes to tie the game. Six minutes after tying the game they had taken the lead. Samir Nasri scored a vital third goal in the sixty-fifth minute for Man City because Chelsea would later add a second goal (against the run of play again).

Some may say that the red card cost Chelsea the game, but I think City would have came out on top either way. They dominated the Blues from start to finish and a couple lapses in focus turned into Chelsea goals. Though I think Chelsea still would have lost, I hate the fact that a team must play down a man after a red card. Hockey is the only other sport that I can think of where a team has a man advantage during the game. And that is only for a short period of time. Imagine a baseball team without a center fielder. Or a football game without a left tackle. It creates an almost insurmountable advantage for the team at full strength. Sure, kick the guy out of the game, but let the team waste a substitute and even the numbers up.  Soccer is a game of tradition overseas and I do not see them altering the rule books anytime soon. I am still curious to see  how they are going to introduce goal line technology.

Should a team play down a man when a red card is issued? Is Manchester City the best team in the Premier League? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.

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