Despair! Like the lilywhite dove flattened in a spring-loaded cage by the plotting Alfred Borden, Spurs fell quarry to some old-fashioned magic this weekend- and they were not alone. With some of the biggest names from the Planet’s Bestest League (and Liverpool) all labouring to overcome significantly modest opponents, you’ll be happy to learn that the F.A Cup is not a complete stiff yet. Huzzah!
Leeds deserved their win. Yes, the pitch might’ve looked as if Time Team had been in residence for the afternoon, but a few divots here and there doesn’t excuse defending like prats. Colin’s United took the chances when they fell and were only a curmudgeonly premature whistle away from scoring a third. Europa League it is, then?
Talking of all things premature (steady) Lewis Holtby was handed over from Schalke this week- and a whole three days before the window closes, too. I was beginning to think Levy was rather pushing his luck with the parsimonious low-balling of the German club. But, as it was pitched by the esteemed Longwell last week:
“Either they take what Levy’s willing to offer in the next week or so, or Holtby comes in the summer and they get nothing and like it.
The question is how much is fourth months’ of Holtby’s services worth to Schalke?”
About £1.5 million it would appear. Anyway, here he is with AVB and the shirt- he’s been given the number 23. And, if you’re into that sort of thing, here’s Alan Hutton being unveiled at Mallorca. How odd.
Canaries away tomorrow.
Good morning, thrill-seekers and high-rollers. I hope yesterday’s National made grotesquely rich swines of the lot of you.
Not a vintage seven days in the history of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, then. And that’s breaking it to you gently. A miserable stalemate at the Stadium of Light (far too much light for my bloody liking- it should’ve been played at the dead of night with the power cut at half-time) was followed promptly by defeat to Norfolk’s finest exponents of the world’s hottest yellow paste, in the words of Partridge.
Norwich, to their credit, had a simple enough game plan and as quick as the blood was sniffed out in our defensive backwaters, the gig was up. Ryan Nelsen, for all his burliness and thick-set features, does not an antidote for Grant Holt make. In fact I’m even not sure what he’s for.
Thank goodness for part-time rhyme-soldier, Clint Dempsey. More than just keep my Fantasy Football team afloat like a polystyrene raft, he spared us the ignominy of going into this evening’s tie with Bobby Di Matteo’s lot in the dust of their wake. League-wise, for now at least, it’s all still in our hands.
And so to the main event. We’re only in the bloody F.A Cup semi-final! If you’d so much as believe it.
While the best domestic cup up for grabs wasn’t flashing urgently on radar at the season’s start, the promise of watching the chaps in the sprawling cauldron of modernity that is Wembley stadium, has rather captured the attention. We’re but a two games away from bona-fide, tangible glory. Liverpool await in the final. Time to find some heroes.
Team news is a mixed bag of potatoes. Amongst all the healthy, eye-catching Maris Pipers there’s one giant rotten spud. That being the injury to Younes Kaboul. This, you imagine, is the type of game the Bull would’ve taken by the nether regions and body slammed into the bedrock. Now it’s over to two of Nelsen, Gallas and, fitness-permitting, King. Ropey.
My view is that we’ll just sneak it. With all the attacking know-how on both sides it’s likely to be a drab, low-scoring affair. In the current winds I’d settle for a Woodgate-esque face deflection in the dying minutes, if only for the prospect of seeing John Terry cry. Not very Tottenham, I know, but this is football and I’ve got bills to pay. The good lady reckons Scotty’s due a goal and I’m not going to argue. One-nil to the Spurs. COYS!
I sometimes do a Twitter.
So, Chesney Hawkes of Woolwich has said he’d quite like to see Spurs in the Europa League next season:
“I would not settle right now for fourth place. We are four points behind the other north London club – I am not going to say their name – and hopefully we can challenge them.
“Hopefully Chelsea can challenge them [Spurs] for fourth place and I would be really pleased to see them in the Europa League next season.
“That would be fantastic. Hopefully they will be looking at this result and are looking over their shoulders.”
Wow. So cutting. This, of course, isn’t the first time one of Wenger’s feisty bambinos has tried to hurt our feelings like that. Precious souls that we are. It was only last week that Emmanuel Frimpong was on Soccer AM, informing the sofa-bound public that Spurs play like girls. Jack Wilshere, too, is forever acting the spoon on the Twitter box.
Look, chaps. I get it. You all want to show the Arsenal fans that you love the club a squillion percent times infinity and those other North London lot (can’t possibly mention their name) are a complete bunch of rotters. It’s cute. Really cute. But also a bit embarrassing. Maybe leave the trash talking to the internet forums?
In the meanwhile, let’s have a nice evening of Cup football tonight, with no nasty surprises. Thankyouverymuch.
I’m not usually one to get my chuckle on at the expense of other’s misfortune; schadenfreude, on the whole, is a filthy mistress to being spending your time with. But I will make an exception in light of Arsenal’s lol-carnival at the San Siro last night. So much for Milan being a team of tired old dogs. And so much for Arséne’s cunning plan to take the game to the Rossoneri- rather than hope to bajeesus the opposition would be courteous enough to allow them a counter-attack or two. Like that silly, naïve Spurs team did last year. When Peter Crouch scored and, you know, they went through.
On the subject of glamorous fixtures, Tottenham travel to *quick look at Wikipedia* Broadhall Way this Sunday, for a 5thround F.A cup tie with mighty Stevenage. One-time thorns in the side of Wor Alan and Newcastle United in the late-nineties. Interesting facts about The Boro: they were the first team to win a competitive match at the new Wembley and amongst their number they have a midfielder called Stacy and another called John Mousinho. Who, presumably, is José Mourinho’s English equivalent.
The ‘Special’ One.
Not a fixture to be taken casually, of course. This is a team on the up that would like nothing more than to show up a bunch of fancy-dan London-types. That said, with J-Dizzle and Saha up top we should have sufficient firepower to see us through, while giving Adebayor a hard-earned breather. Chuck in a midfield of Kranjčar, Lennon, Livermore and Modric and a backline of Rose, Nelsen, Dawson and Kaboul and we really ought to be cooking on gas. But what say you? More power, captain?
Follow me on Twitter and I’ll let the hostages go.
Hello. A good a place to start as any, I suppose. You know where you are with hello. It’s comforting, familiar. In the same way it’s nice to know that a tiny part of every Arsenal fan’s soul must die when they see Theo Walcott in the number ‘14’ shirt each weekend, only to more often than not play like Lenny Henry rather than the garment’s most formidable inhabitant. For every soggy, wilted cross and shonked effort wide, they must be delighted to realise, that, every so often, one will deflect in off his face and he’ll celebrate like an utter pillock. Table tennis?
Jolly good. Well Friday night was a bit of a weird one, by the sounds of it. From what I’ve heard about the Watford encounter (and I keep using these non-committal terms because I was busy watching George Clooney act his ruddy socks off as a property lawyer who’s ‘sick of all this sh*t’ but actually really loves his family™, just in time for the award season) it sounds as if (there I go again) we were rather lucky to get out alive. In a figurative sense, of course, no-one’s suggesting our mortal bones were under any kind of threat. Hertfordshire’s not that kind of place.
At least, I should hope not as we’ve got to go back there in round five. Vanquishers of the mighty Notts County, Stevenage, stand between us and a quarter-final place. A team, if you’d believe it, who’ve never lost a home tie to Premiership opposition in the F.A Cup. The great big show-offs.
Meanwhile, the January transfer window closes itself for another year tomorrow. Yes, amazingly it’s been open all this time- just no-one’s had the decency to remind us. Barring a Van der Vaart-style eleventh-hour coup from within the offices of D. Levy, it looks set to be a quiet one. Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll have a lot to answer for. £85 million that couldn’t have been put to poorer use were it pulped and spread on toast- and it’s little wonder no bugger wants to spend.
Pray for mojo.
Follow me on Twitter and I’ll make all your dreams come true.*
*Quality of dreams may vary
Welcome, if you’ve managed to get this far. We’re having one or two server problems, you see. Hence why this page may’ve taken longer to load than an episode of Casualty. On a lighter note, I did find a Dairylea Dunker in the fridge last night, so it swings in round-a-bouts.
Watford dans la Cup, then. It’s quite a task these days to see the phrase cup magic written down and not mentally inscribe your own inverted commas; such has the stock fallen for the F.A’s premier knock-out competition in recent years. With the big club’s waning interest until the later rounds (seeing it instead as another breeding ground for those wet behind the ears or splintered about the buttock) coupled with the additional ‘prize’ of Europa League football for the winner- for some, it would appear, the road to Wembley is one paved with casual indifference as well as good intentions.
If you watched the farce at Craven Cottage last year you’ll know Spurs have been as guilty as anyone.
So, what about this time around? Have we mustered even just a little more interest? Too early say, I guess, but I do know that with the Oil Barons running themselves ashore in the last round and two of either United, Liverpool, Villa or Arsenal certain to go out this weekend, success at Wembley represents Tottenham’s best hope of hauling something into the trophy cabinet come May. So we possibly might want to give it a whirl. What’s the worst that could happen?
Oh, well. Yes. That would be quite terrible, actually.
Also, football on a Friday night? I’m not quite sure how I’m supposed to feel about that.
0-2 (Pavlyuchenko, Walker)
Afternoon. I think this in the business is what they call a round-up. But, seeing as I’m not exactly sure what this business is, or even if I’m in it, I’ll just go ahead and scatter-gun some nonsense at you and see if anything sticks.
Tottenham pull Cheltenham out of the old F.A Cup hat, then. A fine draw by all accounts. I guess we’ll just have to hope they’re not…at the races that day? Hmm? Races? Cheltenham? Any takers? Oh come on! Don’t roll your eyes at me. Right, well, that’s just about all my A material down the toilet like a soiled pair of under-crackers, why not let’s talk about Spurs’ latest flirtings with the absurdly good in what was a largely piss-easy win over Northern chancers, Bolton.
Another day and *yawn* another victory for the Hotspur point-amassing juggernaut. It’s all getting a bit silly now, if you ask me. What ever happened to the fun old days of running around like berks for ninety-minutes and getting done over by Wimbledon? Where’s José Dominguez, for example?
Anyway it looks like we’re persisting with this ‘win every game’ routine so I guess we’ll just have to get used to it.
I read somewhere that Kyle Walker had a 100% pass rate this weekend; 44 successful passes of which something like 19 were key and 10 long balls. Now I’m no fancy pants mathematician (seriously, I’m not) but that strikes me as an awfully good return. Have you seen the boy run, too? Mercy.
Cahill’s sending off was a fairly ludicrous decision but I don’t think it’s flippant to suggest that it would’ve made little difference to the final result. On the contrary- in many ways his ejection probably helped keep the scoreline down; in that their reduced numbers forced Bolton into a buttocks-to-the-wall siege for the remaining minutes. Or as they called it: I sure hope Jussi Jääskeläinen keeps this up. In his brief cameo, poor Gary was run to absolute tatters and his teammates didn’t fair much better afterward.
I watched an episode of Masterchef a few months back in which a rather flustered ladywoman was placed firmly in the cack- cooking, as she was, for some prickly restaurant critics. With the pressure on, her work-station was a culinary graveyard of things either melting, not setting, or on fire. A right bloody mess. Anyway, in the final couple of minutes or so- with things very much still ‘buggered’- she went about cutting a sizeable wedge out of one of her fingers. Accidental I’m sure, but it did save her from having to serve up a plate of pig swill for the uncompromising foodsters. Not sure why I mentioned that, really.
I’m going to see what’s in the fridge.
**Winner of the ‘Let’s Kick Blatter Out of Football’ t-shirt by Philosophy Football is a Mr. Ollie Milton. Well done to you, sir.**
Follow me on Twitter. I promise I’ll say something interesting real soon
No sucker wants to talk to us. Let alone sign. I feel a rejection complex coming on. We’re the football equivalent of a cold caller who rings up just on the stroke of teatime to give you the hard sell on some new health insurance. Just as you’ve tucked a fork into the grey matter on your plate that looks only slightly more appealing than what the cat’s eating- or what he’s about to leave on the carpet- and it’s Keith from the front desk wanting to chat about upgrading your life choices. Is this a good time?, he says. Click. In the hunt for a new centre-forward, it seems, we’re being given one heck of a cold shoulder.
Suarez chooses Liverpool; Rossi, Fabiano and Forlan all happy enough in Spain. Even the Biker Grove Baggio is being priced out the market by the shakers on Tyneside. Anything over twenty million is silly money for me; particularly for someone who appears just as likely to dish out a knuckle supper as he is to score a late winner. Nothing against the canny lad. The hard truth is that options/time are/is running thin. And, if Chelsea get anywhere close to recruiting Fernando Torres in the next few days, the true extent of these mind-bogglingly obvious shortcomings will become all too clear. I’ll put my cards on the table here: the Drogba/Torres combo scares the sh*t out of me. More alarming, though, is the idea that Peter Crouch can play as a lone striker for the rest of the season.
This way, surely, surely madness lies.
Anyway, chin up. Craven Cottage this afternoon and some F.A cup shenanigan by the river. I’ll wager that a few forgotten faces will be on parade today. An exercise for some of blowing away a few cobwebs; for others a chance to remind any perspective buyers what they might look like. Similar to an actor putting a headshot of themselves at the front of a résumé. People like to know what they’re getting, you see. Perhaps a last outing for Robert Keane before heading East, then? If he hasn’t already. I do lose track.
**Winner of the Caption Competition in the previous post is SimonP who wins a Danny Blanchflower ‘The Game Is About Glory’ t-shirt. Courtesy of Philosophy Football. Get in touch, Simon**
For those of you tuning in on Internet Explorer vision today, welcome back. For the rest of you, well, I can only send my condolences that you weren’t around to see this website on its arse for two days. Flapping around like a half-dead sea bass on the deck of a boat. We’ve fixed it now. And when I say we, I of course mean someone else.
Talking of things on the mend: it’s the F.A Cup this weekend. I don’t know about you but the pang of last year’s premature tumble out of the competition is still mighty raw. Dawson’s slip, KPB doing the dirty on us; you may as well kicked my heart of my ribcage and urinated on it. And now it all starts again with Charlton at The Lane. I never used to mind The Addicks. Mostly- and call me fickle- because at one point during Premier League yesteryear they had a back-four which read from left to right: Young, Fish, Costa, Fortune.
Which is not so much a line-up, as just good advice.
I bet they do cost a fortune.
Anyway, Football Focus can do one with their F.A Magic claptrap- I want them disposed of like a fingerprint-clad gun.
On a similar note, that ballbag Hansen annoyed me on MOTD in midweek. So Assou-Ekotto wasn’t exactly redefining the art of left-backing against Everton- heck, at times it looked as if he was having trouble remembering to which sport he was partaking- but to flat out deny his worth is a bit short-sighted to say the least. Maybe if he prised his mouth away from Alan Shearer’s groin once in a while and actually did his homework, he might realise that BAE’s been dynamite this season- for the most part. As for he can’t go forward either, well, I’m at a loss. Three words, Alan. Paul-effing-Konchesky.