All posts by Adam Morton

Chelsea reach semi-final

Chelsea 2-0 PSG

The special one has masterminded another special European night. Starting on the wrong side of a 3-1 deficit, Mourinho’s men secured a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba.

Unfortunately, in terms of entertainment, this match, bar the goals and the odd chance, offered little for the neutral. Chelsea were set up just as Mourinho would have wanted, in an imposing 4-2-3-1 formation that was cautious yet calculating.

For their part Paris Saint Germain, missing star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic,  played right into the Special One’s hands, keeping their shape with their focus placed on not conceding rather than scoring that vital away goal.

‘Les Parisians’ only real chance in the first half saw Ezequiel Lavezzi put the ball in the back of the net only to see this ‘goal’ ruled out as he had moved a fraction offside.

Chelsea lacklustre first half was embodied in the performance of Eden Hazard, undoubtedly Chelsea’s player of the season so far, he was slow to every ball and was subbed inside the first thirty minutes with a calf strain.

Whilst many inside Stamford Bridge might have been cursing their luck as they saw the Belgian maestro leave the field, it was his replacement Andre Schurrle who gave them reason to hope.

His 31st minute goal came from a throw in as David Luiz flicked the ball on and it was met by Schurrle who rifled into the net. Chelsea could have grabbed their second by half time but Gary Cahill scuffed his shot.

The second half began in much the same fashion with PSG happy to attempt to hold what they had, even when Chelsea hit the crossbar twice in the space of two minutes through, Oscar and Schurrle.

However in the 71st minute PSG looked like they would finally score as Edison Cavani delightfully chested down Yohan Cabaye’s lofted ball, only to fail to keep his shot on target.

The visitors would rue this miss in the 86th minute as Chelsea found their vital second goal. It came, rather fortuitously, via the forgotten man Demba Ba, who poked the deflected ball into the net.

The goal forced PSG to attack but unlike last week a late goal was not forthcoming, with Petr Cech saving well from Marquinhos’ effort as the Blues ensured they advanced to Friday’s draw for the semi-finals.

 

This Changes Everything

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Dir: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Staring: Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansen, Samuel, L. Jackson, Robert Redford. Cert: 12A. Run Time: 136 minutes.

“The price of freedom is high… and it’s a price I’m willing to pay. You told me not to trust anyone and this is how it ends: Everything goes!” Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers tells Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and he wasn’t wrong.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier invites audiences back into the billion dollar franchise that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however unlike it’s other ‘Phase 2’ cohorts, Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, this movie has a very substantial link to 2012’s ‘Marvel’s Avengers Assemble‘.

With the constant bombardment of superhero movies following largely the same format, complicated sci-fi mumbo jumbo plot that the lead character must save us from, it was refreshing to see Cap 2 change things slightly as the movie took the tone of a political thriller.

The high tech first world security council, SHIELD, developed throughout Cap’s numerous predecessors, yet strangely absent from Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, is central to the plot.

The enemy here is from within, which means no-one is to be trusted, and who better for a lead role in this type of plot than a whiter than white patriot Steve Rogers, however Cap isn’t the most complex of characters, so it was good to see Scarlett Johansen’s Black Widow with her murky past take on a fuller role in this movie.

The villain of the piece, The Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan is surprisingly disappointing, his identity reveal came as no surprise and  the character feels as if he has been merely introduced, rather than actually dealt with, in this instalment.

Of course, the key strength of these Marvel movies is the way they tie into each other, they all feel part of the wider universe, and with this in mind, this movies climax, will have major repercussions for future instalments and for green lighting these risky decisions Marvel President, Kevin Feige deserves credit.