Monday, February 25, 2008

Carling Cup Final

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
I was kind of ambivalent about this game; much as I detest Chelsea, I can't really warm to Spurs either. I'm not sure exactly what it is about them. But for some reason I often want to smack Robbie Keane in the face. Despite all that, it was a decent enough game to watch, in my vaguely hungover state on Sunday morning. Plus I find that John Terry crying always makes me feel better.

Spurs were marginally the better team in the first half, but it was Chelsea who went into halftime with the lead from a Didier Drogba free kick that Paul Robinson just stood and watched. (Actually, that's not true: Robinson did move, but in the opposite direction from where the ball was going.) In the second half, Tottenham came out strongly and pulled a goal back with Dimitar Berbatov's penalty after a handball in the box by Wayne Bridge -- plus, of course, the obligatory John Terry ranting at the referee in process.

Into extra time, then, and Spurs earned the win with a bit of luck, as Petr Cech's attempted punch at a free kick ricocheted off Jonathan Woodgate's head and into the net. They still had to make it through almost half an hour of play, and Chelsea threw everything they had at Tottenham for the last 10 minutes or so, but that was really the first time in the game that they'd looked like they cared about winning, and Spurs managed to hold on.

Juande Ramos definitely won the tactical battle over Avram Grant. Chelsea's 4-3-3 formation was ill-thought-out, with Nicolas Anelka awkwardly shoehorned in on the left wing (it should've been Joe Cole there instead, or Anelka up front with Drogba in a 4-4-2), and Grant's substitutions were ineffective. Ramos, in contrast, used his substitutes to change the shape of the team and take control of the game, switching from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 as Spurs chased the winning goal, and then changing to five at the back as they desperately clung to their lead.

Chelsea, unsurprisingly, were very sore losers, bitching about the penalty decision, when the referee chose to blow the final whistle and, for all I know, the fact that they had to wear blue socks instead of white. I would just like to thank Tottenham for making sure that there's no chance of Chelsea claiming the quadruple this year. And did I mention John Terry crying?


Aslan said...

The carling cup has become more interesting than the F.A Cup this is a fact. Even with all the minnows making it to the latter stages, you cant beat the exitment that was the carling cup final. It had everything. Here are more reasons why the f.a cup is losing its romance.

Biplob Kishore Deb said...

It was a solid performance by Tottenham Hotspur. Ramos has proved his worth as a coach. I think, Chelsea did not have the luck, but it does not mean the Tottenham’s performance was less impressive. They played more as a team what provides them an edge. Chelsea was expected to show imperious performance as almost all of their players had been back from injury before the match. I think, Tottenham Hotspur has some more success ahead of them under Ramos.

Anonymous said...

Tottenham has become my second favorite team this year. They work hard, play good football, want to win and play as a TEAM. I was delighted they won and the joy on their faces at the final whistle was just awesome.