Old Futbol Buffet–Ponytail, Dive, Ghost Goal, Dramatic Finish

As I’ve mentioned previously, I really haven’t been following the FA Cup. Watched United win a weird game against City before watching them crash against Liverpool and saw snippets of Spurs road to the semis, including the unsettling abandoned game against Bolton. However, due to the teams involved and my recent part in organizing watch parties at the local pub, I was excited about the Semi-Final lineup.

We had been building up towards the Merseyside Derby, which was the early game on Saturday. We have a strong Liverpool contingent so emotions and interest were running high, but I got a text late Friday night that our venue was in question. I made calls and confirmed that we could not get in, so I tried another site and that was a no go as well. So I went to bed and didn’t set the alarm. I followed the game on twitter and when the Toffees went up 1-0, I was like ok, here we go. But then Suarez equalized and then with minutes remaining, Andy Carroll saved King Kenny’s bacon again to put the Scousers in another cup final.

In talking to a Liverpool supporter that afternoon, I asked, What now for Andy Carroll? Do they, in my opinion, waste another year on him or move on? The two goals this week cannot turn the tide can they? Liverpool are a mess and I don’t think the big Englishman is any part of the answer, but what do I know?

Sunday saw Chelsea against Tottenham, with both teams fielding pretty strong line-ups. The first half was eye gougingly bad, with loose passes and sloppy play in general. The last ten minutes were fantastic as Spurs nearly scored twice before Drogba produced a filthy finish to give the Blues the lead. A controversial second goal early in the second half seemed to have finished the game but Adebayor sliced open Chelsea and was taken down. Instead of giving the PK and sending off Cech, Bale tapped in the loose ball.  Cue the talking points graphic.  Spurs were unable to seize the initiative and Chelsea then scored two more, one sublime and the other simply amazing. Malouda added a fifth and that was that. Instead of a potentially fun final of Everton and Tottenham, we get Liverpool against Chelsea. Ugh. Guess I’ll have to start drinking at 10am to get through that match.

Spooky feels that Spurs are underachieving and points to the moment Fabio resigned as the moment it all went wrong.  After Sunday’s performance, not sure that they can save what was going to be an amazing season.

Zonal Marking reviewed the changing shape of Chelsea this year from AVB’s pressing 4-3-3 to his revised 4-2-1-3 to Di Matteo’s 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1, using more disciplined, tactical players in the wide roles.  This clearly was on show in the game against Barca as Ramires played wide left to keep track of Alves and it his awareness that led to the goal as well.

As for the chase for league honors, United’s slip against Wigan opened the door a crack for City, who bravely kicked it in with 6-1 thrashing of Norwich, putting the pressure back on United at home to Villa. Young went down pretty easily, Rooney converted the spot kick and from there it was relatively smooth sailing for the Red Devils. Have to say that set piece defending needs to be addressed as that was Villa’s only way of scoring and they nearly did several times.

Scott at The Republik of Mancunia enjoyed the Red Devils response against Villa, highlighting Valencia’s performance on the day.  The end of his post is optimistic yet realistic: We look good for the title but I won’t be getting any “20″ banners out just yet.

Miguel Delaney wrote an interesting piece on Soccernet comparing first and second forms of each teams (Fulham most improved; Spurs in the worst form) while relating this year’s campaign to the dramatic seasons of 92-93, 95-96 and 2010-11.

There was tragedy in Italy over the weekend as Piermario Morosini died Saturday after suffering cardiac arrest during Livorno’s Serie B match at Pescara. The entire slate of games was postponed and put a damper on what has turned out to be an exciting finish for the scudetto and European places.

In Holland, a tight finish could be blown open if Ajax win their game in hand.

1

AjaxAmsterdam

 

29

61

2

AZAlkmaar

 

30

58

3

Feyenoord Rotterdam

 

30

58

4

Twente Enschede

 

30

57

5

PSVEindhoven

 

30

57

6

Heerenveen

 

30

57

Wrapped up the weekend with an indoor doubleheader. In the first game we played poorly and were down 4-2 with about 4 or 5 minutes to go, but we stepped up the intensity and ran out 5-4 winners. Love my team. The second game was a walk, especially the last 10 minutes or so when we literally walked. The outdoor season starts in two weeks and should be another fun season.

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  1. I missed both FA cup games but saw the Chelsea-Tottenham highlights (basically the entire second half). Plenty of controversy to be sure, but why in the world wasn’t Friedel starting? Are they resting him for the Champions League? Since when do GKs need rest? Not that he would have saved the day, but I did question that decision. What amazes me about this all is that Chelsea could potentially raise 2 trophies in a pretty abysmal season while Tottenham and Arsenal will merely get to play in the Champions League next year. And Tottenham is a big maybe. They look awful, and after the 5th goal the commentator mentioned that the score was not indicative of Tottenham’s season. Maybe not the first part, but this second half has been atrocious. Either way, Chelsea has played well at the right times, but I think their luck will run out against FCB.

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