Well what a god-awful day Sunday was to be a Spurs supporter. I know the big fella is meant to be resting after a long six day week, but he......
Well what a god-awful day Sunday was to be a Spurs supporter. I know the big fella is meant to be resting after a long six day week, but he could have at least 'created' a referee that had eyes that could focus past the end of his nose, more on that later. As the result stands Spurs 1 - 5 Chelsea, it looks like a rout but how it could have been otherwise if a few little things occurred differently.
Onto the game itself and its 'incidents'. The first half was a cagey affair with Chelsea getting into their stride quicker and controlling much of the possession. Although the opening sparing battles were mainly won by Chelsea, there were not many real guilt edge chances, with Spurs playing a 4 - 5 - 1 formation, crowding out Chelsea's attacking six. The longer the first half went on the more Spurs managed to maintain possession and claw their way back into the game. This led to two very good chances for Spurs and the best of the match so far, and on another day could have quite easily hit the back of the net. The first was when a high ball was played in from Chelsea's right-back area to Van Der Vaart who managed to head the ball on towards Lennon behind him standing at the back post. Lennon then controlled and composed himself and clipped the ball back inside for Van Der Vaart to have a second bite of the cherry from six yards, unfortunately the man who always seems to be there was yet again there. A certain Mr Terry cleared the ball off the line with his knee, and to be honest I'm surprised it wasn't an arm but to his credit it was a very good block (that actually hurts me to say that).
The second chance once again fell to Rafa but it was a little further out than his last attempt. He picked the ball up just inside the Chelsea half on the right side and viciously whipped a left footed cross come through ball over the top of the Chelsea defence hoping his desired target Adebayor could connect and steer it home. Well as a ball it was perfect, Adebayor unfortunately proceeded to miss the ball helping even more to confuse Cech in the Chelsea goal. The ball flew past the stranded Cech and hit the far post and bounced out, and for some reason this season this seems to be the way our luck has been going.
That luck was not going to change and two minutes before half time after dominating a lot of the play we were hit by a bullet. A long hopeful ball from a Chelsea defender to Didier Drogba, with his back to goal. Also Willy Gallas for company and a very difficult route to goal, Drogba turned on to his 'weaker' left foot and half volleyed a supersonic like shot into the top left hand corner past the helpless Cudicini. It was just like the Man Utd game at the Lane earlier in the season again, dominate and then go in at the break one down.
Into the second half we went and one of the most heart breaking 45 minutes of football I have ever had the displeasure of watching, so I'll try and keep this as short as possible. It took only four minutes for the second half to spring into life, when Chelsea grabbed a hugely controversial second with Martin Atkinson failing to spot a John Terry foul on both Cudicini and King and the ball failing to cross the line from Juan Mata’s shot. I simply could not believe what I was seeing as the pictures coming back from the TV quite clearly showed the ball nowhere near crossing the line. If the referee isn't 100% certain it was a goal, then no goal should begiven. Hold a gun to his head and ask whether he was 100% certain it was a goal, and I bet you would get a different answer. In a world where technology helps us do so much including many sports, why oh why is football so far behind and getting these costly decisions wrong in every game it seems.
Six minutes later Spurs got back into it as Adebayor ran through, was felled by Cech allowing Gareth Bale to tap into an empty net. With many puzzled why Cech was still on the pitch even though Bale had scored. We continued to chase the game because of the massive refereeing error. When that happens that generally means the opposition find it easier to play through you but that wasn't the case. Well until Harry waved his magic tactics wand and decided to take our best player off (Rafa) and put on Defoe and change the formation to the infamous 4 - 4 - 2. Regular readers will know I am not a fan of this formation and with thirteen minutes to go Chelsea regained their two goal advantage as Ramires ran through and dinked it past Cudicini. The formation change had meant there wasn't the extra midfielder stopping Chelsea cut through us and from then on it was downhill. Minutes later it was 4 - 1 as Frank Lampard knocked in a long range free-kick.
I must be honest; I for the first time ever turned off the television before the end of the game. The point at which I gave up hope and my sanity was when Lampard's long free kick hit the back of the net and he and his goons ran off celebrating. I simply could not take watching another ten minutes of pain by choice, the smiles on the Chelsea players and fans made me feel sick so I left the scene quickly. I therefore was lucky enough to miss Chelsea's fifth and final goal scored by Malouda in the 90th minute.
In my preview for this match there were two things I didn't want to see in the game, well the Gods are obviously having a laugh at my expense because totally the opposite unfortunately came true. Firstly I wanted to see a fair match, fairly won by the better team and not a game decided by a monumental error by the officials. So that's number one checked off the list, and the second thing was the disastrous 4 - 4 - 2 formation, which kills everything good about our play. Van Der Vaart off, Defoe on and back to the 4 - 4 - 2 and that is when it properly started going wrong and all hope was lost. So that is number two checked off the list. Next year I really don't want Spurs to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League and hope Arsenal win the league by a mile (let's hope the Gods are listening again).
The fans were absolutely outstanding in the Spurs end and could be heard loud and clear on the television even in the 90th minute or so I've heard when we were 5 - 1 down. The same can be said about the majority of the Chelsea fans in the stadium. Before the game there was a minutes silence for the anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy and also in memory of the Livorno player Piermario Morosini who died while playing in a Serie B game on the Saturday. However there was a minority within the Chelsea support who could not respect this and proceeded to boo and cheer throughout. There is a time when things matter more than football and they embarrassed themselves and should be ashamed of their behaviour, simply unacceptable.
So the FA Cup semi-final voodoo goes on, we still haven't made that final step into the show piece occasion since beating our arch rivals Arsenal, last century in 1991 with that Gazza goal. Let’s hope we don't have to wait until the next century until we see Spurs grace the greatest cup competition in the world and it’s final.