Where to start…Iâ€™m writing this on Monday morning, so Iâ€™ve now seen the TV confirmation of unnaceptable standards of pitch and referee. But I donâ€™t really want to harp on about those things: the evidence is there for all to see. So itâ€™s best that I stick with the emotions that I had immediately after the game, as I sat in a monstrous traffic jam, going nowhere fast (a bit like our season maybe!).
Those emotions were that Spurs simply played poorly, and given that we were favourites and had to make the game happen, we therefore deserved nothing out of it. As my mate put it, Pompey played their role as underdogs better than we played as favourites. Iâ€™ve seen the statistics of the match as well now. We had more than 30 attempts at goal â€“ thatâ€™s one every four minutes, with extra time. I was surprised by that, because I never really felt we looked likely to score a goal. When we did of course, the long hand of the law extended unnecessarily.
When we beat Portsmouth 2-0 in the league a couple of weeks ago, there was sympathy for their plight. Iâ€™m finding it a little less easy to be so charitable right now, given the Pompey fans reactions to our manager (heâ€™s a professional football manager, we paid Â£5 million for his services, get over it), and some of our players. Even Niko Kranjcar, whoâ€™s surely blameless in this whole thing, and who seemed almost apologetic when he scored against them two weeks ago, refusing to celebrate he said, out of respect for the Pompey fans…even he was booed when he came on as a second half substitute. Thereâ€™s respect for you Niko.
As a club, we get plenty of disrespect from Portsmouth (and a lot of others!), so they can have a little back this time. No football match involving Portsmouth FC has been just a football match this season, itâ€™s been a pretty ridiculous soap opera; and for that reason good riddance to them as they prepare to plough their trade in the Championship next season.
Well, what about us. Not much really. The fans expected; too much in fact, as they sat glumly watching and listening to Pompey run through their one-song repertoire over and over. More noise required, people. This new Wembley doesnâ€™t help, but it all seemed a bit too corporate. As for the team, we were happy to see Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Vedran Corluka back. Defoe was judged fit enough to start in place of Pavlyuchenko.
There was no spark though, in the face of Pompeyâ€™s hold then thrust tactics. Defoe was ineffectual, roundly booed every time he touched the ball. Crouch was game, but limited. Modric only rarely sparkled. At half time, there was more to say about the pitch. At times it was like watching a bunch of amateur ice skaters out there, so treacherous did the footing appear to be. I made the point then that it was lucky that none of the slip ups had caused a goal, which of course eventually happened in extra time when Dawson lost his footing just as he was to about to clear the ball, leaving Piquionne with a simple tap in. Imagine that happening in a World Cup Final â€“ thereâ€™d be wars.
The disallowed goal (ludicrous) and the penalty right at the end (when Palacios got the ball) just added to the general feeling that the Big Man Upstairs had it in for us from the start. Weâ€™re apparently devastated by this defeat. Iâ€™m just as bothered with the fact that everyone who plays against Man City at the moment seems to want to roll over and have their belly tickled.
Arsenal next, then Chelsea, then Man U. Itâ€™s going to be a really good month.
Star man: Pompeyâ€™s Ricardo Rocha was given man of the match by the stadium announcer, and who am I to disagreeÂ Â
Best moment: It would have to be the pre-match beers in the glorious sunshine. Nothing from kick off onwards could remotely be described as good!
Tactics: A few guys were back from injury, but still no Lennon, leaving Bentley to play on the right. Defoe came back to partner Crouch in place of Pavlyuchenko. Tough call.
Opposition fans: Theyâ€™ve got one song, which they sing briefly every 10 minutes and they think that makes them wonderful. Didnâ€™t even sell all their tickets.
By Andy Knaggs
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