Dare anyone contest that conclusion after the past 24 hours? United find themselves in Cambridge and play listlessly to a 0-0 draw that gives the home side precisely what they wanted all along: an Old Trafford pay day. Southampton take the pitch at St. Mary’s with one of the best defensive records anywhere in Europe and promptly surrender three goals and the game to Crystal Palace. (No, it’s not Alan Pardew working miracles) Man City continue their walkabout with a 0-2 Etihad defeat to Middlesborough in which both goalkeepers shone until the City substitute and half the Sky Blue defense wilted for the winner and Boro could easily have scored three more. Chelsea make good on Mourinho’s pregame “disgrace if we lose” comments with an unthinkable 2-4 defeat at formerly impregnable Stamford Bridge (Sunderland and Bradford City. Wow. When Jose loses he loses big) to a League One side. And Spurs complete the madness by throwing away a lead late, though to be honest one wonders whether Michel Vorm understood the plan when he bolloxed up the winner and avoided a dreaded replay in two weeks.
And this all can be laid at the Football Association’s feet. An insane holiday period jammed with fixtures followed by two FA cup weekends under a replay structure that guarantees some sides play extra games and what do they expect? Spurs will have played eleven games in just a little more than 5 weeks by the time of their visit to the Hawthorns next weekend—if Schlupp hadn’t won it for the Foxes today, we would have been guaranteed four more out of five midweek games culminating with a trip to Florence. Poch decided to save his best for Sheffield and the League Cup semi-final. Spurs had ample chances to get a second goal and salt this away, but they were never dominant. This was the least of the four fish in the fryer—time to move on.
The pessimist will conclude that an uneven night in Yorkshire followed by another in the Midlands could effectively knock Spurs out of three competitions in just eight days time. I typed to a mate “Leicester will equalize” today and five seconds later they did, like Albert Brooks on Broadcast News telling Holly Hunter “It’s amazing– I say the words here and then I see them coming out of the TV seconds later”. Let’s beat the Blades and have Mourinho say it would be a disgrace for Chelsea to lose the final at Wembley. Karma might just be our friend.
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