Individual brilliance overshadows Blues teamwork

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2008, 12:00am

When the Professional Footballers' Association announced its team of the year a fortnight ago, the day after Chelsea had beaten Manchester United 2-1 to keep the title race at boiling point, there was a notable omission - not a single Chelsea player's name.

Perhaps that was a sign of the vagaries of the voting system and the timing of the awards, yet it still appeared strange that no Chelsea player was deemed the best in his position by his fellow professionals in a season when the team proved more durable than Arsenal and took United right to the wire.

United had three players in the team of the year - Cristiano Ronaldo, player of the year for the second successive year, and the central defensive partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. There is no doubt that this season they had the most decisive individual contributions among the title contenders.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are still built more on the team ethic established under Jose Mourinho, who often seemed distrustful of the more maverick talents in his squad, such as those of Joe Cole, Arjen Robben and Damien Duff.

So, in a final analysis, the title race for this year boiled down to a battle between United's individualism and Chelsea's collective will - with United's electrifying individuals making the difference in the end.

However, next week's Champions League final gives Chelsea another opportunity to prove that their team spirit is enough to stifle United's more creative elements.