Since Arsene Wenger and Avram Grant don’t give a shit about the Carling Cup, STT was planning to take the same stance throughout the season. However, since we’ve reached the sharp end of the tournament, we thought we’d give this week’s action a quick once-over to prepare you for the most underwhelming of all finals on February 24th.
I guess silverware’s silverware, and I wouldn’t mind if my particular club was to win it again, but does it really matter to anyone? I’m sure all concerned would be just as happy if Premier League teams didn’t enter altogether, thus giving some lower leagues clubs the chance to play at Wembley and raise a cup…not to mention the thrill of getting to meet some inbred third-cousin of Prince Charles, or whoever the hell presents the thing these days…
Tottenham Hotspur 5 – 1 Arsenal (6 – 1 on aggregate)
Savour the moment Spurs fans because it doesn’t get a lot better than this. Following a tight and competitive 1st leg a fortnight ago, the white half of North London really turned it on Tuesday night, blowing the Gunners off the field in 90 blistering minutes of attacking football. Their intention was clear from the opening minutes, with the superb Jermaine Jenas firing Spurs ahead just 3 minutes into the tie. From then on, the crowd was electric and you could tell Arsenal didn’t fancy it. The so-called young guns were supplemented with many 1st team players, but still Spurs were first to every ball and carved out chance after chance, while Nikolas Bendtner’s own goal sent them into half-time 2 – 0 up.
Tottenham kept the pace just as frantic for the whole 90 minutes and never wavered, even when substitute Adebayor bagged a second half glimmer of hope for Arsenal. If anything the score actually flatters the Gunners, who can now concentrate on the league, with Berbatov hitting the post and Defoe wasting a virtually open goal late on. On the night, Keane, Jenas and Lennon were all sublime, but the whole team deserves credit for a monumental victory.
Extra kudos too for Defoe and two others ‘accidently’ spraying champagne all over world’s-most-bitter-Frenchman Arsene Wenger while he was conducting his post-match interview. Sad-face though to Togo striker Adebayor for clashing with Bendtner on the field; to quote Bendtner’s dad Thomas, “It's sad that (Adebayor) doesn't take his head with him onto the field.” Word.
Everton 0 – 1 Chelsea (1 – 3 on aggregate)
With all neutrals praying for another upset after Tuesday’s heroics, last night’s second leg at Goodison Park was a fairly drab affair with Chelsea predictably advancing to the final to defend their crown. Everton were full of bluster, and came close on several occasions, but were ultimately undone by a superb goal by Joe Cole. The returning Florent Malouda picked the ball up on the halfway line then found Cole about 20 yards out with a beautiful raking crossfield pass which Cole controlled on a dime under pressure from Lescott, and hammered past the stranded Howard. See it for yourself here:
See you in a month’s time then for 2008’s first visit to Wembley. My money’s on Chelsea, although a Spurs win could be on the cards if then capture even half the form they showed this week…