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.
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