After a long and arduous campaign for both teams, the FA Cup final is finally upon us!
Steeped in history, this is a final that both teams desperately want to win. Chelsea have been rampant in the run-in to the end of the Premiership season, whereas Portsmouth have been defiant in the face of their inevitable relegation. There’s more than just silverware to play for too, as there’s more than a few subplots at play here.
Portsmouth are helmed by ex-Chelsea manager Avram Grant, the manager who guided them their infamous Champions League Final against Manchester United, and has shown that he’s far from just playing a part at Pompey, he’s shown resilience and dedication that has seen the club retain it’s dignity – on the field, at least.
Chelsea, are however, in no mood to play against plucky underdogs come the big games, as aptly demonstrated at Wigan on the final day of the Premiership. They have proven on many matches this season, that if a side aren’t up to playing against them – they will be utterly ruthless, and at times, downright embarrassing to their opponents.
Chelsea went into the final wearing their new Home Strip for the first time competitively. The adidas-designed wonder features a figure-hugging TechFit design, that enhances blood flow to the muscles for optimum performance.
Another feature of the new Chelsea Home shirt is the long-awaited return of red to the design. Growing up in the 90’s I was always fond of the splash of red of Chelsea jersey’s, and to bring it back in honour of the Chelsea Pensioners is a wonderful move by adidas and the club itself.
Portsmouth played in a Kappa shirt for their final game of the season. In case you’ve missed some of the saga of Portsmouth’s shirts – here’s an update. Pompey signed a 5 year deal with Kappa just before the FA Cup semi-final, and arranged that the would play the game in a special Kappa kit, then resume the normal season in their Canterbury strips.
However, against all odds, Portsmouth beat Tottenham in the Semis – so despite finishing the season in Canterbury kits, they agreed to play the FA Cup Final in their new Kappa kits! Phew!
The final piece of new equipment news going into the final is the ball both teams used!
Umbro are releasing a new signature ball in time for the FA Cup final, the Neo Pro.
As you can see, the ball has been especially printed with the names of both clubs and the date which one more name will be etched into the historic trophy.
That’s not all that the printing of the ball has going for it, Umbro say they’ll be producing the ball in bright colours with asymmetrical patterns, to allow players to track the Neo Pro’s flight and judge it’s spin more easily.
Design performance features on the new Neo inlude:
– ' Laser cutting providing greater grip when the ball is caught and optimum flight performance
– ' 14 panel construction
– ' Larger panels give the ball a clean strike zone for boot interaction
– ' Quicker shape retention and increase the overall speed of the ball
Onto the boots used – there were two very special debuts – both made by Ivory Coast internationals!
Firstly, Salomn Kalou gave an English Soil Debut to the much-touted adidas f50 adiZero – however, he might be keen to make a switch to another pair after a disastrous miss in the first half!
Secondly, Portsmouth’s Aruna Dindane gave the Puma v1.10 Tricks a lively debut. Despite not giving the best of performances, Dindane caused the Chelsea Back four a few problems with his positioning and pace – but frustrated his teammates by not gambling on the opportunities provided for him.
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how much is the ball??? It looks nice, I might pick it up if it is cheap