I hope you’re all coping with this blizzard sent from the North Pole better than I am, I have resorted to wearing gloves indoors to type this up. Man up I hear you say? Agreed. So if there are any grammar mistakes that I have left in, I do apologise.
So the first silverware of the season was won last Sunday. Two top sides, Arsenal and Manchester City, faced off in the League Cup final. The only issue with my description of the two was, there was only one top side on show. And it wasn’t Arsenal. Man City were well below their best on the day, who were unusually not being as sharp as we are used to seeing. Yet somehow Arsenal, were even worse. To quote Gary Neville, they were ‘spineless’.
Goalkeeper Ederson earned himself an assist after his route one ball up the pitch forced the German Chris Smalling, Shkodran Mustafi, in all sorts of bother. Pushing high up the pitch on his own to win the header, he got a slight touch from Aguero to which he lobbed David Ospina. That goal came in the 18th minute, and knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal because it looked as though they had already given up in a cup final. A couple more goals from the fit again Vincent Kompany and David Silva finished the scoring.
Us viewers had to wait quite some time after the game to hear from Arsene Wenger, presumably because he couldn’t unzip his coat. Thursday presented the Gunners with the chance to exert some of their anger at after losing a cup final with another game against the same opponents. And though they fared better in worse conditions and despite the best efforts from Arsenal fans to get the game called off due to the snow around the Emirates, they lost 3-0. Again.
On Wednesday in the FA Cup, that blood-curdling word ‘VAR’ was the catalyst for a mental FA Cup tie at Wembley between Spurs and Rochdale. Let’s quickly go through the timeline of events. Eric Lamela scores a clear goal for to make it 1-0. VAR somehow ruled it out. Spurs win a free kick. VAR overrules and gives a penalty instead. Son converts the penalty to make it 2-0. The referee then books him and rules it out before Rochdale score brilliantly for 1-1.
All of this caused six minutes of first half added time, due to the combined time it took for a VAR decision to be made. Supporters didn’t have a clue what was happening due to there being no screens to assist them, consequently the emotion of the game completely vanished. They didn’t even know whether to cheer a goal. However, it wasn’t the biggest shock of the night. Fernando Llorente scored not once, not twice, but THREE times. The game eventually ran away from the Dale, with 5-1 to Spurs ending up the final score.I don’t think anything else needs to be said about VAR that nobody has not already said anyway. It simply kills the game.
In the Nemanja Matic derby, Jesse Lingard came off the bench for Man United to score the winner to defeat Chelsea. It wasn’t the worst game of football I have ever seen, but there was no feeling of it being a big game despite a finish in the top four at stake. There was a telling lack of intensity throughout, and the silence at Old Trafford told the whole story. The week also marked the two year anniversary of THAT fall from Louis Van Gaal, something that Jose Mourinho could have done to liven this match.
The poor Swans suffered a hammering at Brighton to deny more fun but weird analogies from Carlos Carvalhal. At Bournemouth, Newcastle let a two goal lead slip and Liverpool’s dynamic forward trio were on fire again as they each got on the score sheet (along with Juventus bound Emre Can) to seal a 4-1 victory over the Hammers.
Have a good ‘un.