It was half a century ago that I remember watching a movie called 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' about visitors from outer space.
Well, At Old Trafford this weekend the mega rich boys from Stamford Bridge under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari were the visitors, and after a fairly even first half the Chelsea defence stood still after the break and Manchester United showed their class. Half a century ago Chelsea were nicknamed The Chelsea Pensioners after the nearby residency of former British servicemen, now retired, who live in subsidised housing nearby and go out in their splendid scarlet long coats and are welcomed at the Bridge as honoured guests.
Against the club known in that long ago era as 'The Busby Babes' after manager Matt Busby, the Blues were as slow as pensioners and failed to react on all three United goals. Actually there were really only a couple of things wrong with Chelsea-Attack and Defence!!! Well, midfield wasn't so good either!!. For those who thought the long haul flight to Japan for the World Club Cup Final would have slowed them down, they were wrong. United are now just 1 point behind Chelsea and 5 behind league leaders Liverpool with two games in hand over both rivals.
Ryan Giggs, at 35 years of age, and 17 years at Old Trafford, was in top form and deserved the standing ovation when substituted late in the second half and was the recipient of the 'Man of the Match' award. Three goals from Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov were enhanced by extreme hard work from Park Ji-Sung , Darren Fletcher and Gary Neville. In the stands were Internazionale coach Jose Mourino, the Special One, and former Ferguson assistant Carlos Quireoz, now in charge of Portugal. He was there to watch the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo who will today probably receive the World Player of the Year award at one of those FIFA Gala dinners in Zurich. Rather than a gala dinner, Chelsea face elimination from the F.A. Cup at Southend United in a 3rd round replay on Wednesday and being barbecued by The Shrimpers. The same evening United host Wigan in an EPL clash that could see them leapfrog Chelsea if they win.
If The Blues don't improve in the league this season, where they have only won once in the last five league outings, they will have to be content with trips to Wigan, Middlesborough and Portsmouth, next season while United jet to the likes of Barcelona, Milan, Munich and Amsterdam, as Aston Villa creep up on them for a European place.
These are frugal times at The Bridge. Owner Roman Abramovich was not at the Theatre of Dreams to witness the spanking. The club face a $50,000 fine for 5 cautions, they have already halved the players free home match ticket allowance from 8 to 4, they had fired lots of scouts and told the players they might have to pay for meals at their training ground. Shots on goal were 11-1 in the Reds favour and with Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez ranting about the special privileges given to Ferguson, Sir Alex's pep talk was done for him from Anfield. It must also be noted that after C. Ronaldo's lucky escape from his Ferrari in the tunnel under Manchester Airport's runway there were some nasty chants from Chelsea 'fans' . 'You should have died in the tunnel', and more.