15 August, 2007

Giant Killings (sort of) and More Woe for Martin Cornelius Jol


More like normal-sized-person killings by midgets, but still, let’s not take anything away from those teams through to the second round of the Carling Cup. Now a lot of people may think this is somewhat of a darts trophy, and many Championship sides are more than happy to lose as early as possible to ‘concentrate on the league,’ but a win is a win. It also underlines my long-held belief that there really is very little difference in individual quality between the teams populating the three leagues outside of the Premier.
So here are the upsets, everything else went to form with the higher league team advancing:

Peterborough 2 – 1 Southampton
Leyton Orient 2 – 1 Queens Park Rangers
Morecombe 2 – 1 Preston North End
Bristol Rovers 1 – 1 Crystal Palace (Rovers won 4 – 1 on pens)
MK Dons 3 – 3 Ipswich Town (Dons won 5 – 3 on pens)
Rochdale 2 – 2 Stoke City (Rochdale won 4 – 2 on pens)

Big up to everyone involved at Peterborough, Orient, Morecombe, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons and Rochdale.

Also taking place last night was the first Premier League match of Gameweek 2 (check back tomorrow for full report) but since there is actually quite a bit to be said about it, I thought I would take the chance now to go into Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton in a little more depth. It also gives us the chance to post these incredible photos of Spurs’ pre-season campaign in Orlando where apparently Timmy Mallet was sick over half the squad.


Are 2 losses enough for a manager to be under-pressure? Well, when expectation was as high as it was at Spurs going into this season, I think so. I mean there’s no chance of them sacking Martin Jol anytime soon, but the resounding boos and half empty stadium that greeted the Spurs team after a convincing 1 – 3 defeat will certainly be enough to get everyone thinking.
In a cracking first half, played in appalling conditions, both teams were enterprising and energetic, with many chances at both ends. However, after conceding a third goal just before half time, Spurs came out after the break totally toothless and Everton never looked in trouble, creating chance after chance themselves. Particular praise must go to front four of Everton (A.J., newcomer Anichebe, Osman and the fantastically under-rated Arteta), attacking with great pace and intent even to final whistle.

Spurs though were frustrating as ever, with their four hyped strikers mis-firing once again in a performance that lacked confidence and composure. That huge price tag round Darren Bent’s neck must be starting to feel heavier and heavier with every game, as despite a bright start, he faded into insignificance before being replaced by Defoe on the hour. So where now for Spurs? Yes its still early days, but already there are murmurs of discontent around the Lane. Do they maybe have too many attacking options?

Finally, in other news Rangers scrapped through the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against a team that I can nowhere near pronounce let alone spell (to quote modern-day prophet Dave Lister, it sounds “like a footballer clearing his nose”) last night, with a last gasp winner from substitute (and owner of one of the best names ever) Nacho Novo.

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