So, Spurs are planning to release a 2017 version of “We’re on our way to Wembley” which includes the new lyrics “Which of course means we found a way to lose, red ones, green ones, white ones, we even lose to Blues…”
What is it with Tottenham’s insistence on redefining the term ‘Spursy’ at every opportunity? Despite Jermaine Jenas’ opinion that they played Chelsea off the park, Spurs lost. That cunning Conte plan of scoring more goals than the opposition worked yet again.
As Alan Shearer eloquently put it: “Possession doesn’t win games.” Correct, Alan, and may I see football management’s loss is punditry’s gain with that level of analysis. Frank Lampard did his best not to laugh at Jenas, ruffle his hair and say, “what do you know about winning big matches anyway,” as he at least tried to be impartial for all of five minutes, which was almost as long as it took Lloris to put Tottenham on the back foot.
Sure, Kane and Alli were brilliant yet again and there has not been a Tottenham pass as classy as Eriksen’s since Hoddle was in his heyday, but the fact is Spurs played well enough to win at Wembley and didn’t. Again. Well, at least they are not back there anytime soon, right? How’s that psychological blow looking now, Harry?
To make matters worse, Arsenal only went and beat City. Hands up if you saw Wenger line up with three at the back, looked at City’s front line and thought, “time to get some popcorn, this could be fun!” I certainly did. Credit to Wenger, though, this tactical invention of his might just catch on.
Arsenal in the FA Cup final lines up so many potential narratives. Pretend for a moment that Arsenal win it, go on, just for a laugh. Wenger becomes the manager who has won the cup the most times. Do Arsenal get rid? Does he bow out as a champion? Does he use the trophy to get another two years? Alright, alright, Chelsea will batter them so the whole thought process becomes redundant, but hey. Getting to the final and then losing shows that Arsenal can even do being Spursy better than Spurs.
Whilst all that cup football was going on, there was the small matter of Man United and Liverpool trying to turn the Champions League screw when City and Arsenal weren’t looking. United managed to turn it the right way, Jose having little option other than to pick Wayne Rooney since Zlatan passed away. At least, I presume, that’s what those ridiculous warm-shirts were for.
Jose might have had to pick him, but he was sensible enough to say “Wayne, just hang around on the left and keep out of the way, will you?” Rooney did that successfully, only breaking rank to score a goal. Get used to scoring against teams like Burnley and Stoke, Wazza, because that’s what it looks like for you between now and your pension.
Liverpool didn’t just turn the screw the other way, they took it out, looked at it, deliberated which way it needed to be turned, agreed on the correct way, then managed to still turn it the wrong way.
Who had money on Benteke scoring at Anfield? You’d have been wise to have backed it. Beating teams like Arsenal and Liverpool means that Big Sam’s ego is due to be seen in all its glory again very soon. Palace must be safe, which means that’s another big tick for playing a big lad up top and relying on set-pieces.
Liverpool are a curious team. There’s not a great deal between them and Bournemouth for the most consistently inconsistent side of the season. Fair play to Mamdou Sakho, though. That celebration against your actual bosses was delightfully shameless. Especially when it was with someone else Klopp bombed out for little reason.
What did we learn from Swansea beating Stoke? Firstly, never ever let a player with boots in differing colours take a penalty. Secondly, Swansea need to start winning when Hull lose, rather than winning when Hull win. That is a far better potential recipe for not getting relegated. Imagine how gutted Clement must have been to learn that 10-man Hull had beaten a Watford side clearly not interested in having Mazzarri as their manager next season. Sam Clucas, though? What a goal, and he’s English. At least that’s some good Hull news for Paul Merson.
All I really picked up from watching Bournemouth’s thrashing of Middlesbrough was that Gaston Ramirez clearly has plans for the rest of the season that don’t involve helping Steve Agnew win at least one match before being relegated and fired. It’s a long way to Bournemouth from Tyneside, and it feels even longer when you are 2-0 down and have ten men after twenty minutes.
Poor Agnew, if he wasn’t bald already…