But other than those two key moments for Wright and his conversational tone with Johnson, the remainder of Wright’s co-commentary was sub-par. I lost count the number of times he said Gus. He spoke over the top of Johnson far too frequently. And his analysis became very repetitive particularly in describing how Chelsea’s Demba Ba needed to do a better job at holding up the ball to provide service to Lampard and Oscar.
In the second half after Juan Mata twisted his ankle when turning in the Manchester United penalty area, the play continued until referee Howard Webb called a free kick. With the brief stoppage in play, the broadcast showed a replay of Chelsea’s equalizing goal but Ian Wright said that Ashley Cole scored it when everyone knew and could see that it was Ramires.
Johnson, meanwhile, had his best first half of all his commentaries thus far. The American seemed more conscious about his commentating today. Throughout the game, he gave a slight pause before commentating on it, which made a big difference in what he was describing (instead of commentating everything precisely as it happened where he would often make mistakes or describe something with a lot of enthusiasm even as the ball sailed into the top row of the stadium).
However, just as Wright stumbled with his criticism of Chelsea supporters in the second half, Johnson came undone at times too, although not nearly as badly as Wright.
Johnson’s most embarrassing moment was when he asked Wright in the second half “Is [Michael Carrick] their new Roy Keane?” To ask that about a 31-year-old midfielder who’s been at Manchester United for eight years showed a complete lack of understanding of the player, as well as an incredibly poor reading of Carrick’s style of play compared to Keane.
Thankfully, Johnson saved some grace with two more excellent calls — this time for Chelsea’s first and second goals in the second half.
There are still aspects of Johnson’s commentary that are grating to the listener, particularly his turns of of phrase such as “curls it in the six,” “Man U,” “Cleverley trying to dump it in,” and “Wayne Rooney clips it up high.” None of these translate well to the game of soccer, and what is a clip anyway? Is he confusing it with chipping the ball?
Also, I’m not sure what target audience Johnson was trying to speak to when he had this to say after Shinji Kagawa was substituted and on came Danny Welbeck:
“Keep your eye on Welbeck. He’s very good in the air. Scored a brilliant header against Real Madrid in Spain. An away goal as those teams drew 1-1”
I don’t think there was anyone watching this game who was unfamiliar with Welbeck or what the striker provides.