I’d like to sit here and make a factual statement, “The Bundesliga is more exciting to watch than the Premier League.” (ok, not all that factual but still a valid opinion) GOALS ON GOALS ON GOALS. Let’s run through a few to start continue to help facilitate your drooling stupor on this lovely Monday:
And you all thought domestic tournaments could not bring the same passion and excitement of continental ones.
Going down to ten men is kind of like forgetting your tie and left shoe on your wedding day. You look awkward, you’re unsure how to continue the current task, and by the time you’re done dancing your unshoed foot is so tired you will need a week’s rest before you think of walking off the couch to the refrigerator and back. Everton got a red card in the 56th minute yesterday. Typically, this would lead to 34 minutes of agonizing work for the ten men that are left on the pitch. Yesterday was different in that the ten men found a way back in the game an exceptional dribble from Kevin Mirallas who found a streaking Lukaku whom clumsily tapped the ball home to knot the game at one and send it to extra time. Extra time was more of the same. Everton held on and defended well and found themselves with chances on the counter. Again, Kevin Mirallas was involved in the go-ahead Toffee goal. Check out his free kick below:
We thought it was written in the stars that Everton would come away victorious but Carlton Cole, after just two minutes on the field, scored the equalizer in the 112th minute.
This locked the game and sent it to penalties.
Penalties are like flipping a coin. My sister could score on Gianluigi Buffon if he guessed the wrong way. They are a difficult end to a hard fought game. What surprised me about these pens was that Leighton Baines shot so late in Everton’s lineup. But that doesn’t matter.
Let me paint a picture for you: “You walk in the door after a slight trot from the car because you didn’t want to miss the opening kick. Your phone is ringing like crazy because your boss is wondering where you are but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you made it home in time to catch the start of the FA Cup tie you’ve been waiting weeks for.
You’ve been waiting so anxiously because Liverpool has made it quite clear that the only hope of a trophy this season is by making a run in this tournament. So life stops as the game begins. Captain Gerrard is in the mix as a strong Liverpool side is put out to take care of business away from home. The typical mishaps occur and you cringe as Skrtel and Sakho make a meal of things at the back. You smirk at the elegance of a more advanced Steven Gerrard brings to the game but you curl into the fetal position every time the ball comes near Ricky Lambert. Still, you watch on and just as the miraculous do, Gerrard wins a brave header and puts the Reds up early.
But then, as Liverpool have done this year, the foot comes off the gas a bit and Wimbledon find themselves capable of crossing the midfield line. Akinfenwa, the monstrous forward, pressures and fouls and bodies everyone. Eventually, your recently demoted Mignolet is bodied off a skyward ball and the first to react to the dropping diamond is none other than the strongest footballer in the world, Akinfenwa. You expect this it is not ultra cringe worthy but still you have trouble smiling for a while. You almost consider answering your phone and going back to work but you don’t. You tough it out.
Chances are traded both ways and it almost looks as if AFC Wimbledon might upset the mighty Reds. By now, your watching through your index and middle fingers and your dog is looking at you like you are an incredibly pathetic version of your normal self. This is true but warranted.
Finally and I mean finally, a free kick is given in a spot that any right-footed spot-kick mastermind would savor like the last piece of bacon on Christmas morning. You hope Gerrard takes it. You know he is leaving your club forever but you want more for him. So he steps up and again, as legends do, he places a shot that ripples the back of the net and sends Liverpool on its way to Bolton. You stand up and remove the pillow that you’ve been latched to since that equalizer and throw in the wash since you’ve sweated all over it. You finally take a moment and smile at what greatness you saw from the Liverpool legend. You pet your dog, you turn off the tv and you grab a pint. This is Liverpool and this is what I love. Better call the boss and make sure I can come to work tomorrow.”
This is the magic of the strongest man in the soccer world:
Not easy to deal with that but congratulations to Liverpool on finding a way through!
There were few Premier League matches this past weekend. Matches were postponed as clubs like Man U and Chelsea battled it out in the FA Cup.
There were two epic matches on Sunday: Tottenham v Liverpool in the Premier League and Manchester United v Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Let’s start with Tottenham v Liverpool.
A thrilling game to watch all around. Suarez started the scoring off with a lovely goal slotted past Lloris in the 21st minute. Jan Vertonghen equalized with a header right before halftime. He added his 2nd goal in the 53rd minute to give Tottenham the lead. Stewart Downing got a lucky bounce on a lobbed back pass and was able to blast it past Lloris to even the scoring once again. Suarez was then brought down in the box to earn a penalty which Gerrard finished to give Liverpool the come-from-behind victory over the Spurs.
This is a massive missed opportunity for the Spurs to put a hold on the 3rd spot in the table. They have made the last 9 matches very interesting now, with glimpses of yet another collapse on the horizon. They have a tough road ahead with Swansea, Everton, Chelsea, then Man City after they play Fulham next weekend. Needless to say, they dropped some much needed points on Sunday and left the door open yet again for their North London rivals.
Now on to the other exciting match of the weekend which was Manchester United and Chelsea’s FA Cup match.
United kicked off the scoring with a beautiful header by Chicharito. Rooney’s 11th minute free kick somehow missed everything but David Luiz’s fro, which wasn’t enough to keep it out of the back of the net, which put United up 2-0. The 2nd half was all Chelsea however. Hazard was given way too much space just outside the box and curled in a ridiculous shot which left De Gea frozen on one knee as he watched it pass him into net. Nine minutes later Chelsea were level as Ramires slotted one past De Gea who got a finger to it. The Red Devils were lucky not to concede the game winner to Mata, but De Gea redeemed himself with a brilliant kick save to earn a highly anticipated replay match.
A side note from this match that is getting some discussion today is Rafa Benitez’s snubbed handshake by Alex Ferguson. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal was since it was before the match and not like Sir Alex was acting poorly following a match. It’s a huge rivalry match is a late stage cup round, you should show some distaste for the opposition. Another one of these ordeals the media just love to blow out of proportion.
Another FA Cup round down, another massive upset. Continuing on the theme of the FA Cup this season, a Premier League club falls victim to a lower-league club. The unexpected victim this time around – Arsenal. So how many other 2nd and 3rd tier squads knocked out a Premier League squad? Read below and I will be nice and keep count for you.
The first few rounds of the FA Cup produced huge upsets from low level competition. Newcastle started off the major upsets by losing to Championship League Brighton & Hove Albion…losing 2-0. (Big upset tally = 1) Brighton & Hove Albion would put up a fight against Arsenal in the following round and ended up with a respectable result by only losing 3-2. Then, a not as surprising result saw Sunderland lose to recently relegated Bolton 2-0. (Big upset tally = 2)
The next round began with another Premier League squad falling to a Championship League squad: Aston Villa falling to Millwall. (Big upset tally = 3) A rather shocking upset also occurred this round when Norwich fell to Luton Town (who?) 1-0. (Big upset tally = 4) Luton Town was just happy to be in the 4th round.
They probably burnt the town down after the Norwich victory.
Continuing the theme here, Milton Keynes Dons, a League One side, knocked off a rather disappointing QPR squad 4-2. (Big upset tally = 5)
Two of the largest upsets occurred on the same day. A mid-table Championship League Leeds United beat a resurgent Tottenham side 2-1. (Big upset tally = 6) The most impressive upset of the FA Cup, in my opinion, was when Liverpool fell to a bottom of League One table Oldham Athletic (once again, who?)
Ohhh THAT Oldham Athletic (said no one). (Big upset tally = 7)
That brings us to the most recent upset of the Cup – Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to recently relegated Blackburn Rovers 1-0. Blackburn was more than satisfied to pack the box on defense and let Arsenal hold all the possession they wanted. Without the creativity of Wilshere and Cazorla for 3/4 of the match, Arsenal lacked the creativity needed to breakdown a conservative defensive approach. Blackburn got a rather fortunate bounce on a Szczesny save that came right to Kazim-Richards and his mishit shot looped into the back of the net in slow motion. I am in complete agreement with Arseblog’s Murphey’s Law reference in that whatever could go wrong seems to have gone wrong for Arsenal this season. A Capital One Cup loss to Brentford is also up there for head scratchers this season for the Gunners. One wonders how Arsenal can respond in their toughest test of the season on Tuesday against Bayern in the Champions League clash (more on that tomorrow).
Final big upset tally = 8
Oldham Athletic continued their improbable run against Everton yesterday and earned a 2-2 draw and a replay, so the big upset tally is technically not final; however, Everton SHOULD come away with a victory at home in the replay. Today, Manchester City and Chelsea were able to hold the upset tally at 8 while they both convincingly beat their lower-tier foes 4-0.
It seems as though one of the Premier League giants will still come away with the FA Cup crown. Although, it’s been a fun ride for some of the most unexpected names in English football – not so much for some of the top level squads who were part of this intriguing trend.