“Spursy”. Definition: to lead supporters to believe that something amazing is about to happen, before finding new and original ways to completely bottle it. Or something like that. I don’t care how much Jermaine Jenas prattles on about how much of the ball Tottenham had at Wembley, it was never going to end well if you pick Son to play as a left wing back. Yes, Spurs played very well. Yes, Harry Kane and Dele Alli still look like the finest English players on show and yes, Eriksen’s assist made Glenn Hoddle look like a midfield clogger but the fact remains that Conte reckoned he could beat them even with his two best players on the bench. And he did. Frank Lampard could barely stop himself rubbing Jenas on the head and saying “Jermaine, old boy, what do you know about winning big games anyway?” Still, Tottenham will be delighted to see the back of Wembley for this season. At least they won’t have to be back there anytime soon. What’s that? All of next season? Oh dear. out of interest, what is the record for consecutive FA Cup semi-finals lost? And, if Harry Kane believed beating Chelsea at Wembley would be the perfect psychological blow in the Premier League chase, can we categorically say it is all over now please. Once again Spurs, once again. Well done.
To make matters even worse, Arsenal only went and beat City in the other semi. This three at the back thing Arsene has invented, it might just catch on your know. I presume Hector Bellerin was benched because of the most laughable haircut in the two squads, which is a tough award to win when Raheem Sterling plays for the opposition. The match had different qualities to its predecessor, City incredibly managing to lose it from a goal ahead. Well, it was nice to see Arsene win one last match at Wembley because he certainly won’t be winning the final.
Whilst all the FA Cup shenanigans were happening on Sunday afternoon, Liverpool and United set about trying to strengthen their Champions League cause whilst City and Arsenal were looking the other way. United’s answer to Zlatan’s “career threatening injury”? Wear silly warm up tops and pick Wayne Rooney. Whether the show of solidarity worked or not, towards Zlatan I mean, not Wayne, United won 2-0 having wisely hidden Wayne on the left hand side. This meant someone who can actually run went through the middle. I know Rooney did score, but he should get used to scoring against sides of Burnley’s level as he won’t see much more action against the elite teams around. Thursday’s Manchester Derby is the ultimate Champions League shoot-out now between two gun-slingers who aren’t exactly the best of friends.
I wonder how much money you would make a week if you stuck a fiver on a player to score against his former club? There was a sense of inevitability that Benteke equalised for Palace against Liverpool. Given Liverpool’s ability to do the unexpected, it was almost equally inevitable that the Belgian would also score the winner. Coutinho’s was a lovely free-kick, but on their own they don’t win much. If only Liverpool had a French international defender they could call upon. He was too busy celebrating the goals with the match winner.
A note to Stoke City’s manager Mark Hughes. Never, ever let anyone take a penalty if they are wearing boots that are different colours. Ever. Please. Swansea must have been on cloud nine to have got three points, only to have their bubble instantly burst when they learned the score at Hull. Watford, not exactly playing like a side that are keen to be managed by Mazzarri next season, were facing ten-man Hull following Niasse’s actual laugh-out-loud red card. But the club accused of being a joke when they appointed Marco Silva simply readjusted and got the job done, the icing on the cake being a Le Tissier-esque finish from Sam Clucas. Yeah, he’s English and playing well. Just the kind of thing Merse presumed would be impossible with Johnny Foreigner in charge.
Middlesbrough to Bournemouth is one hell of a road trip. Credit to the fans who travelled and will have had hope that the great escape was about to get underway. Sure, their dreams were truly extinguished after approximately 90 seconds, and then again after 20 minutes when Boro found themselves 2-0 and a man down. Gaston Ramirez isn’t up for the last couple of games then, judging by his ability to pick up two yellow cards in ten minutes. Steve Agnew must be tearing his hair out at the situation.
It’s a bumper week of Premier League football ahead, so keep your eyes on www.talesfromthetopflight.com for all the latest fun-poking.