Archive for the ‘Live’ Category

Arsenal 2 Fulham 1 – Na na na na na na…


Post match thoughts on Arsenal v Fulham.


Both of Samir Nasri’s goals were wonderfully taken; on each occasion his close control getting him past several players before providing a finish with either foot. I think part of Nasri’s ability to score such goals stems from his comfort shooting off either foot. It doesn’t limit his direction as he knows whichever route he’ll take, there will still be an opportunity to fire a shot on goal. Beyond Andrey Arshavin, there isn’t a player in the Arsenal squad as two footed. This versatility is a big factor in Nasri’s terrific start to the season.

He's run out of fingers to count his goals this season.

Arshavin himself also had a pretty good game, and has also had a pretty good season thus far. Yes he is a luxury and yes he often stands around but he makes things happen and is often a step ahead in terms what he’s trying to pull off. It might be prudent to play someone a bit more defensive in tough away games but at the same time he is more likely to produce something out of nothing.


Fulham played pretty well on the whole and with a little more ambition could even have won the game. The main tactic of trying to play in Kamara behind the defence didn’t work often (mainly due to Kamara’s tendency to mistime his runs and caught offside) but it did result in Fulham’s goal. I can’t complain that the game wasn’t stopped for Koscielny’s head injury, ultimately he hadn’t fallen to the ground and so it was difficult to know the full extent in the short space of a few seconds.

It was interesting that at 1-1 and with control of the ball in midfield, Fulham would often play it all the way back to Schwarzer in goal. Similarly they would spend an age over every throw and goal kick – it was clear that Mark Hughes considered a draw a good result, but that lack of ambition has seen him become the draw specialist in the Premier League.


I was impressed by Johan Djourou when he came on for Koscielny. He’s been good when he’s played this season but Wenger is obviously being cautious with regards to playing him every game. He was authoritative in the air and seems to have made a conscious change in terms of attacking the ball/player. Clichy and Sagna were also solid, the former having his best game in quite some time. Perhaps the fit again Kieran Gibbs has focussed the Frenchman’s mind somewhat.


The game was closer than it perhaps should have been but in part this was due to the poor performances of Arsenal’s midfield. Wilshere looked quite tired after playing against Wigan and faded as the game went on. Rosicky was fairly anonymous but neither were as bad as Alex Song who seems to have forgotten what his role is.

There were plenty of misplaced passes from him and his tendency to wander forward unnecessarily remains unabated. This often left the defence exposed both in terms of Fulham attacks but also as an option for them to pass to. He needs a few games where he curbs his attacking instincts, especially if you consider the upcoming games against Man Utd and Chelsea.

Just 72% completed.

The tension made for a better atmosphere in a way. For once Arsenal had got going early in the first half and produced a number of chances (and indeed the goal) which got the crowd going. But as Fulham came back into it, mistakes were made and calls were not received from ref Chris Foy, meaning there was considerable crowd noise generated. The crowd often feeds off the team but I think it works both ways.

I should mention Theo Walcott briefly too. He was only on for 15 minutes but it was one of those horrible games were nothing he did came off. The worst thing was that his job was to play off the last centre back/left back but he seemed unwilling to do that, and simply jogged around not wanting the receive the ball or to make any runs. With Van Persie returning and Nasri and Arshavin in such good form, it’s tricky to see where his starts will come from at the moment.



Live Report: Arsenal v Wigan Thoughts


A few thoughts on last night’s victory over Wigan…

The performance wasn’t a vintage one but this was partly down due to the awful conditions. Freezing temperatures, falling snow and swirling winds did not for flowing football make. The atmosphere was pretty good all things considered but there were certainly far fewer people then the advertised 59,525.

I’m sure many people felt that they’d rather sacrifice the tenner they paid instead of sitting in the cold for two hours. Indeed, the guy sitting next me bailed at half time, clearly thinking “Sod this, I’m freezing”.

Kick off

On the pitch there were a few impressive performances. Wilshere kept things ticking at a reasonable pace, hitting probing passes and telling people where he wanted them to run. Van Persie, the captain for the night, had some lovely touches including a couple of flicks that Vela should really have finished off. His set pieces were always hit at a threatening pace too.

Kieran Gibbs has been getting rave reviews whenever he’s played and this game was no different. Always comfortable in defence, he consistently overlapped Vela down the left wing. The crosses/cutbacks didn’t always pick someone out but as many others have said, Gael Clichy should be looking over his shoulder.


You could argue Vela, Walcott and Bendtner were disappointing, and I suppose they all had presentable chances to score (the latter of course did) – however it would be unfair to simply judge them by the scoresheet. Bendtner of course is still working his way to full fitness and as usual was often in the right place at the right time; his scoring touch will come.

Walcott didn’t really trouble Figueroa in the 1st half but found a little more joy in the second where he started to roam. Indeed his best effort came when cutting in from the left and curling a shot just wide.

Vela was the most interesting. He missed two glorious chances which he normally puts away but generally was always available as an outlet. He’s in the trickiest situation of those three, I just don’t see where he fits in long term.

Swirling snow.

I should mention Wigan’s performance which wasn’t especially bad but lacked a butting edge. Their early tactic was to hit balls out wide to the left where Victor Moses was situated – clearly they thought Eboue was not fully fit. However he went off with a dislocated shoulder towards the end of the 1st half and with that Wigan’s threat somewhat disappeared.

They had some half chances but these stemmed from sloppiness on Arsenal’s part rather than any real creativity. Perhaps I was most impressed with the fact that Caldwell, Alcaraz and Boselli all wore short sleeve shirts and no gloves. Hardcore!


Once the second goal had gone in the game somewhat petered out. A few chances were missed and everyone was willing the final whistle. Some mild entertainment was provided by a pitch invader who ran the length of the touchline to shake Wenger’s hand.

Clearly the cold had numbed the stewards’ reactions. This was proven a few minutes later when two more kids tried their luck. They were more interested in putting on a show and spent the next minute or so sliding around the Emirates pitch whilst players stood bewildered and stewards chased in vain.

Eventually Eboue got them to stop. It wasn’t particularly clever on their part but I do think it is an isolated incident unlikely to be repeated. The combination of freezing cold weather, bored kids and stewards who weren’t alert is not a particularly common one. After all the one near me was sharp enough to spot me swigging from a hip flask. Given the choice/ultimatum of confiscating it or drinking it all at once in the concourse, I chose the latter naturally.

Pitch invaders...

An intriguing night all in all, with the victory being the most important aspect. The news that Ipswich will be the semi-final opponents should provide a great opportunity to play at Wembley in February.



Arsenal v Birmingham Thoughts


For the second year running the weekend of my birthday featured a home match against Birmingham. As I made my way to the Emirates in an ever so slightly tender state, I hoped for a repeat of 2009/10’s result, a 3-1 victory with goals from van Persie, Diaby and Arshavin.

My fear however was that without Fabregas and post international break, Arsenal would struggle to break down a Birmingham side who would play 451 and come for a draw.

The first 30 minutes were very flat – the atmosphere was subdued with Birmingham fans making all of the noise. The ironic cheers when the Arsenal fans roused themselves to sing a chant said it all. Even the so-called singing section wasn’t up to much.

It didn’t help the action on the pitch was a bit lacklustre too. Plenty of possession for the home team but the forward line felt a little one paced while Diaby was his usual dallying self as the most forward of the midfield trio.

It took ‘two’ goals to liven things up; one disallowed for Arsenal and one against the run of play for Birmingham. From where we were sitting it was unclear why Squillaci’s header had been disallowed. Indeed it took me a good 30 seconds to realise, my brain not fully up to speed from the night before.

Twitter would tell me it was for offside but the decision was somewhat tight. Not long after a Birmingham player wasn’t closed down and hit a deep cross to the back post. There, 6’8″ Zigic lost Clichy and planted a bullet header back across goal. Fabianski needed a second to set himself and dive but it’s hard to blame him – it was a great header.

I was concerned at this stage given the lack of cutting edge thus far and the fact Birmingham are pretty solid defensively. The taunts from the away section were cutting. Something along the lines of “how shit must you be if we’re winning away” – indeed.

Thankfully things were soon evened up. Chamakh was played in and fouled by Scott Dann, at least it looked that way from where I was sitting at the opposite end of the stadium.

Replays I’d see later would suggest he was on his way down before contact was made but to be honest it looked worse in slow motion and we were the victims last season when Rooney did the same thing. Anyway, Nasri sent Foster the wrong way to make it 1-1 at HT.

The second half saw an immediate improvement. Chamakh, who was having an excellent game with plenty of intelligent runs and hold up play, was played in by Song and he rounded the keeper to slot home his fifth goal of the season.

Despite the lead there was still lack of chances being created from the improved running. This was mainly due to Diaby’s continual failure to release the ball early.

He didn’t have a bad game per se but you see the difference when someone like Cesc is playing in that position – he knows when to drive and run with the ball and when to play an early through ball instead. Time and time again Diaby would reach the box and not know what to do and the attack would break down.

Frustrating, but he was not entirely blameless – Arshavin had a very quiet game and offered little running off the ball and little creativity on it.

Bendtner came on and looked busy in his cameo – he will be a useful option in the coming weeks and months. Rosicky meanwhile had one or two decent efforts having replaced Arshavin. You just feel he needs a goal for his confidence, though it must be said his shooting is much more on target than at the start of the season.

The game started to fizzle out somewhat though there remained a slight tetchiness throughout with plenty of running arguments and niggly fouls. This culminated in Wilshere receiving a straight red card for a late foul on Zigic.

It was entirely unnecessary as it was by the halfway line near the touchline but let’s be honest it wasn’t that unexpected. He’s been flying into tackles all season long and it was only a matter of time before one was mis-timed and he was punished for it.

Though I didn’t see it, 7amkickoff informs me Wilshere had been on the receiving end from Zigic not long before so this was essentially retaliation. Wilshere still has that slight hot headedness about him and the sending off will no doubt teach him a few things. That aside he was one of the best players on the pitch yet again, constantly probing and keeping things ticking over.

All in all it was a decent victory, one of those where it was important you got three points despite missing a raft of first team players. I would have liked more goals on my birthday but I’ll take a win and the knowledge that Chelsea and Man Utd both dropped points.



Live Report – Arsenal vs Fulham 10/05/10


As I made my way to the Emirates yesterday for the final game of the season, I realised it had been over four full months since I had last seen Arsenal live. After a flurry of games from August till December, a combination of mid-season malaise as we stumbled in and out of the title race coupled with the usual difficulty of red members getting category A tickets meant my last match had been the Fabregas inspired victory over Aston Villa in late December.

As a side note I found it had been generally quite easy getting tickets this season, there’s certainly been more availability than in previous years. Even as a red member I could have gone to pretty much every home league game (bar maybe Man Utd/Chelsea) had funds and being online when they went on sale allowed it. Yet when it came to a match such as Barcelona, all the silver members who couldn’t be bothered for much of the season instantly came out of the woodwork.

walcott van persie


Anyway I digress. As with every game, I had bought a month ahead at which stage we had clawed our way back into the title race for a third time. What followed were defeats against Spurs and Wigan which meant this game soon had the look of a meaningless fixture about it. No matter, it would still be a decent game to watch and a win was likely given Fulham’s pressing Europa League final this Wednesday.

I arrived earlier than usual, my timings slightly misjudged and soon found my clothing not adequate enough for the unseasonally low temperature. Given the anticlimactic nature of the game, there were no end of season promos or gimmicks before the game; only Sol Campbell receiving his deserved player of the month award and some man getting a £4,000 watch for predicting the fastest goal at the Emirates this season.

As I settled into my nosebleed seat behind the goal (right in the middle but row 32 of 33 in the upper tier) the line-ups were announced. There was mild booing behind me for Fabianski and Silvestre which wasn’t too much of a surprise but it seemed like booing for booing’s sake. It was pleasing to see the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou fit again on the bench while our remaining fit first teamers picked themselves.

Arsenal were shooting towards me in the first half and started brightly, immediately setting up camp in Fulham’s half. Nasri was charged with keeping things ticking over and he ensured a good tempo, regularly beating a man before laying it off while Theo was causing problems for Shorey with his pace.

The atmosphere was average, with even the red action singing corner strangely subdued. The smattering of empty seats here and there didn’t help but it felt like what it was – a game which didn’t matter. There was the usual ‘stand up if you hate Tottenham’ before Fulham initiated a united ‘stand up if you hate Chelsea’.

arsenal fulham

We scored. Meh.

On the pitch the first goal soon came after a mistake by Mark Schwarzer. He tried to play it out, mis-controlled it allowing Arshavin to nick the ball. He went past the big Aussie and with Van Persie screaming for the ball to be laid off for an easy tap in decided instead to shoot from a tight angle. It went in off a defender and Arsenal had the lead. I don’t think Robin was best pleased at Arshavin’s greediness there and it seemed like he spent the rest of the half trying not to pass to him.

Van Persie soon got his goal, firing in from close range five minutes later after an initial good save by Schwarzer. Theo proceeded to miss a sitter, before setting up the third by drilling in a right-wing cross which went in off the unfortunate Baird. By this point attention was drifting, the game was won and people were curious to know the Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs scores.

There was some ironic cheering every time Fabianski made a catch (he had flapped at one early on) while I was entertained by a son quizzically asking his dad why people were cheering the Pole like that. “Because he’s not very good” came the reply.

Half time came and went; the ‘highlight’ being a bizarre race between Gunnersaurus and a giant Lucozade bottle. It was that  kind of day. Gunnersaurus won and I thought he perhaps should have raced Silvestre in the second half to make things interesting. The second period was particularly flat – Fulham weren’t trying and neither were Arsenal.

gunnersaurus lucozade

This would have been more interesting.

Substitutions started to break up the game. Silvestre went off injured and got the warm applause befitting his final appearance. Djourou was equally well received in his place, as much for his return from injury as being the man who takes Silvestre’s place next season.

Despite Gibbs warming up for most of the second half, he failed to get on the pitch. Carlos Vela did however and he added a nice fourth goal, chipping Schwarzer in a style reminiscent of his Carling Cup highs in 2008/09. It was his first league goal this season and it probably says a lot that it was in a match with no pressure. I do wonder what his future holds.

The game petered out and the fans were invited to stay for the players’ lap of ‘appreciation’. Not everyone bothered but there was warm applause as the rather sheepish looking players made their way round (though William Gallas was missing). It seemed to be a mutual feeling of players and fans thinking what might have been. Hopefully next season it will be a lap of honour…

fabregas arsenal

If anyone deserved a lap of honour he did.



Live Report – Arsenal vs Aston Villa 27/12/09


I was personally quite apprehensive going into the Christmas fixture against Aston Villa. They were unbeaten at the Emirates and possessed qualities which would no doubt cause Arsenal problems such as good crossing, organisation and pace on the break. With Fabregas doubtful I thought we would struggle a little. In the event my fears proved unfounded.

arsenal aston villa

Nervous excitement and a nice view from the upper tier.

Arsenal lined up in the now usual 4-3-3/4-5-1 with Eduardo Nasri and Arshavin as the front three and Diaby and Denilson in midfield with Song. In defence Armand Traore returned to offer some pace down the left flank. A bright opening saw Eduardo hit a tame shot (a passback really) straight at Brad Friedel when essentially one on one.

Vermaelen and Song were putting in some strong tackles that gained crowd approval while a few set pieces caused danger in the Aston Villa box (though none of the chances were clear-cut). Villa meanwhile looked to Agbonlahor to stretch the Arsenal defence through his pace and Heskey to challenge it with his strength. Almunia looked indecisive, and was constantly lumping it long to Arshavin which was pointless as Richard Dunne would win the header everytime.

Arsenal Aston Villa Fabregas

Two free kicks in two weeks? Not this time, but later.

Half-time saw the teams level at 0-0. An intriguing contest and an entertaining one, but one you felt had only a goal in it which was worrying given Villa’s result against Man Utd a few weeks back. The crowd was fairly subdued I thought and inklings of frustration were beginning to creep in as the misplaced pass count began to increase.

Denilson, though not playing badly, had once or twice failed to find the final pass and it was no surprise to see him come off for Fabregas on the hour. The impact was immediate. The pace of Arsenal’s play increased and balls began to find their way to Arshavin more often (he was often in space yet no one was giving him the ball).

Not long after Fabregas won himself a free kick, dusted himself down and curled a beauty into the top corner with Friedel flailing. The American’s positioning didn’t look set but I don’t think he would have saved it even if it was. With a 1-0 lead, the game opened up and was brought on to expose Villa on the break.

15 minutes later exactly that happened. Traore found Walcott on the right who went surging towards goal. Following him was Fabregas who was busting a gut (and a hamstring) to meet a through ball. Walcott’s pass was perfectly weighted and Cesc simply slotted past Friedel into the back of the net. His celebrations consisted of some stretching which was somewhat worrying, but this was tempered by the fact the game was won.

fabregas denilson arsenal aston villa

Denilson hadn't played badly but Fabregas offered much more attacking threat.

A huge cheer greeted his replacement by Ramsey. Fabregas had been the difference and this was our hardest game for a while so was perhaps worth the risk of his injury. A few minutes later, Diaby capped off a fine performance with a nice solo goal, as he just ran past the dejected Aston Villa midfield and curled it round Friedel from about 20 yards. He has been very good the past few games and you just wonder whether he can finally make his undoubted talent stick.

So a fantastic win coupled with probably our best half of the season. Aston Villa can count themselves slightly unlucky to come away with a 3-0 defeat but ultimately they didn’t have someone who could make the difference like Fabregas. Ashley Young was very quiet while Agbonlahor was marshalled well by Gallas and Vermaelen. Cesc looks like he’ll be out for a couple of weeks but with the next games against Portsmouth and Bolton he should hopefully not be missed too much.


Live Report – Arsenal v West Brom, Carling Cup 22/09/09


I don’t always bother doing reports of matches I’ve been to. Indeed looking through the archives, I’ve only done one up until now but Arsenal and I had a bit of a lover’s tiff in the second half of last season and I think I only went to the Youth Cup Final post Christmas. Anyway a new season means new beginnings and after opening my account for the season with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday, I again ventured down to the Emirates last night to see the second string and youth players take on West Brom in the Carling Cup.

After a string of impressive performances against Premier League and Championship opposition in recent years, no one is surprised any more at how good some of the players coming through at Arsenal are. Indeed the tendency has been to hype them up like crazy when we should bear in mind they haven’t done anything, yet. However, much of the hype is justified and I think many of the players will actually make the grade at Arsenal unlike in the past where they’d end up being shipped off to a Championship team. All eyes were on Jack Wilshere last night but there were plenty of others to watch as well.

Arsenal started brightly with a couple of Senderos headers off target before West Brom gradually got into the game. Szczesny (I’m half Polish and I still have trouble writing that!) made a couple of smart low stops but on occasion looked suspect when trying to jump for a ball. Just like our other keepers then! Given that he’s only 19 I’ll let him off. Coquelin was quietly efficient in his passing whilst busy in his workrate but it was all pretty even really.

Then came the turning point late in the first half. Ex-Gunner Jerome Thomas tackled Wilshere but left a foot and elbow in as doing so. He offered an apology but Wilshere said something and then Thomas shoved his hand in Wilshere’s face. It was light but sensing the opportunity, the youngster made a bit of a meal of it and Thomas got sent off. It wasn’t violent but he can have no complaints. As I tweeted at the time, if you raise your arms you’re asking for trouble.

The real reason behind Thomas' reaction!

The real reason behind Thomas' reaction!

Anyway the numerical advantage only told in the second half once Carlos Vela came on for Giles Sunu. Receiving a rapturous reception on his return from injury, he immediately made an impact with his ability to draw the West Brom centre backs wide. The pace of the game increased with his sharp movement and passing and the space that playing against 10 men should have resulted in finally came about.

The first goal was a simple tap in by the brilliantly named Sanchez Watt (prefers it to Herschel which is his real first name!) and came after good work by Vela. He created space for himself on the edge of the box before shooting with enough power that Dean Kiely spilled it allowing Watt to slot home from three yards.

The second came soon after; Mark Randall attempting a chip from 25 yards that Vela himself would have been proud of. It hit the bar and then Leon Barnett attempted a mental chest back to the keeper (the ball was at knee height…). Obviously he screwed it up and Vela walked it into the net.

Wilshere and Vela take a corner. Sportboy T takes a crappy camera phone picture.

Wilshere and Vela take a corner. Sportboy T takes a crappy camera phone picture.

The rest of the game was played out without too much fuss and Arsenal find themselves in the fourth round. Overall I was impressed with Aaron Ramsey who has improved immensely and now looks too good for this level. Vela made the difference and again is pushing for first team action. Sanchez Watt was lively while the neat and tidy Coquelin could be one to watch giving the constant turnover of defensive midfielders at Arsenal.

The left flank of Gibbs and Traore were quiet in the first half but got into it in the second once the game was stretched. I’m still not quite sure what Traore’s long term role at the club is. I would suggest he focuses on becoming a true left winger. It was nice to see Senderos back and there was only one dodgy moment from him.

Szczesny made some good stops and look assured for 19. I read it was quite close between him and Mannone for the first team spot and have watched them both over the past few days I would be inclined to pick the Pole. Wilshere had some nice touches but was quiet overall. Sunu, Gilbert and Barazite did nothing of note.

I’d say on the whole it was a much more useful learning experience for the players then the 6-0 against Sheffield Utd at this stage last year even if it was less entertaining for myself. Credit to the West Brom fans who filled most of their allocation and had about five times as much support as Wigan did on Saturday (even sung a bit too).



Man Utd vs Everton Live Minute by Minute!


It’s the second FA Cup semi final between Man Utd and Everton today as we find out who wins the right to face Chelsea in the final in six weeks time. Everton will want to reach their first final of any description since 1995 while Fergie’s side look to get a step closer to a quintuple.



Everton’s recent record in the cup is pretty poor and this is the first time they’ve been beyond the quarter finals since 2002. United meanwhile have won the cup a record eleven times, but not since 2004, having lost against Arsenal in 2005 and Chelsea in 2007. Everton’s FA Cup win was against Man Utd of course, when Paul Rideout headed in from about four yards and Everton sneaked a 1-0 victory in 1995.

Everton were rubbish that year.

Everton were rubbish that year, coming 15th in the league.



Man Utd: Foster, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio Da Silva, Welbeck, Gibson, Anderson, Park, Tevez, Macheda.

Subs: Kuszczak, Neville, Evra, Berbatov, Nani, Scholes, Evans.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Neville, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha.
Subs: Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Vaughan, Jacobsen, Rodwell, Gosling.

Fergie picks just two of his first choice eleven with Rio and Vidic playing in defence. The rest of the team is filled with reserves and Carlos Tevez. Macheda gets his full debut after hitting two in two in the league coming off the bench. Rooney and Ronaldo are left in Manchester. The Da Silva twins both play meaning confusion for everyone. If G Nev comes on, he’ll join brother P Nev who captains the Toffees. The Everton team is pretty much full strength bar the injured Arteta. Saha decides he is fit enough to play, but I’ll bet any money he doesn’t complete the 90.

Mike Riley referees but the game isn’t at Old Trafford so maybe he won’t give Man Utd a penalty.

Groundsmen prepare Wembely for the big game.

Groundsmen prepare Wembely for the big game.


1 min: Everton kick off. Glorious day at Wembley.

3 mins: Screech Fellaini has won a couple of headers already. Vidic will have to be at his best today to keep him at bay.

5 mins: Macheda turns and shoots but it goes wide.

7 mins: The game is being played at a higher tempo than yesterday’s match between Arsenal and Chelsea. The relative freshness of both teams (neither effectively played midweek bar Vidic and Rio) should mean an entertaining game.

10 mins: Phil Neville breaks free down the right wing but he slips whilst shooting and his shot skews high and wide.

13 mins: Lovely interplay by United as Welbeck and Macheda thread a ball through to Tevez. He steps past a defender but is off balance thus his shot lacks power and trickles wide. Welbeck could have shot but was quite unselfish there. Everton will be concerned about the ease that chance was created with.

15 mins: Baines has time to cross from the left but it’s easily dealt with by Ferdinand.

21 mins: Foster makes a bit of a boo-boo. He tries to take a touch too many after a backpass and just manages to clear before the oncoming Saha after the first attempt hits the Frenchman. This new Wembley doesn’t seem to like reserve keepers. Just look at Fabianksi yesterday…

23 mins: United almost score at the other end. A cross comes in a Welbeck shoots. It deflects of Joleon Lescott and goes just the wrong side of the post. Lescott didn’t know too much about that.

27 mins: Rafael holds back Baines and gets booked for his trouble. Everton free kick in a good position just outside the box. How they’d like Arteta on the pitch right now.

28 mins: Rubbish free kick but a corner is won. Rubbish corner too and eventually the ball is mopped up by the Man Utd defence. Pienaar’s deliveries haven’t been too good thus far…

30 mins: It’s quite open so far but without any real chances being made.

32 mins: The team in red knock it about quite nicely and it’s laid off for Rafael (or Fabio? One of the two) to have a dig from 25 yards. Obviously possessing no power in his left foot, he instead dinks a chip into the box which results in nothing but an Everton free kick after some shirt tugging/pushing by Welbeck.

35 mins: Tevez booked for a foul on Pienaar

36 mins: Tevez pings one in from about 30 yards but it goes across goal. Anderson tries to win it but flies in two footed and a foul is given. Not really sure why he’s moaning to be honest. Clear free kick.

37 mins: Riley penalty watch – Pienaar is muscled off the ball by Rafael in the box. Everton appeal but it would have been very harsh I reckon. He was stronger, pure and simple.

40 mins: Welbeck, who is playing quite well dribbles inside. Tevez passes to Macheda who gives it back to Welbeck who had continued his run towards the box. The left foot shot is sliced high and wide. 

41 mins: Welbeck again get some space down the left. Tevez waits in the box but the resulting cross is terrible and goes straight out. The youngster is playing well but is constantly having to do stuff with his left foot, which is not his strongest.

43 mins: Some crowd shots as we head to half-time. Seems a bit restrained and quiet. I imagine a lot of people are very tired having had to make to journey to London from the north west. Not that much to cheer about either to be honest. 

45 mins: Macheda tried to play in Welbeck but the pass was overhit and Howard gathers.

Half-time: Goalless at the break. No real clear cut chances but the game is entertaining enough I suppose. United’s youngsters are playing quite well but this games needs a goal to liven things up. Everton have had a bit of joy down the left flank with Baines and Pienaar but the final balls need to improve if Fellaini is to use that afro to score. As usual, I plan to avoid the thoughts of Teddy Sheringham (seems to be a full time gig he has these days with ITV) and shall be making some tea instead.

Basically I'm a human cliche.

Basically I'm a human cliché.


46 mins: Man Utd kick off the second half.

49 mins: Vidic looks winded. That reminds me that I have to photoshop him for this week’s Guardian gallery.

50 mins: Fellaini handballs but only because Rio was holding him from behind and he couldn’t actually move his arm out of the way. Bit harsh. 

51 mins: Saha is barely running about at all. Not in a injured way, just in a unfit lazy way. He’s literally just standing around doing nothing. 88141 have come down from the north-west and from Surrey. Which is 38 more than came from N5 and SW6 yesterday…

53 mins: Much better atmosphere now. Cahill strikes a good shot at Foster who saves well. It was just about to bounce as it reached the Man Utd number two, who did well to palm it away.

56 mins: Both teams pushing forward a bit more now, and the crowd have responded in kind to the extra action. Still no clear cut chances though.

58 mins: Anderson “takes” a terrible free kick. He lined up, I blinked, the next thing I saw was it was an Everton goal kick. It must have been pretty poor. Like any good pro, he looks down at the pitch and shakes his head. I think it’s not the pitch that is to blame but his mediocrity.

60 mins: Fellaini awaits in the box for a free kick. Cleared easily again though.

62 mins: Fabio looks injured. 

63 mins: Park cuts inside and shoots outside of the post.

64 mins: Evra on for the injured Fabio. Typing the words Fabio injured always reminds me of when cover star of a thousand trashy romance novels Fabio, killed a bird whilst on a rollercoaster. Don’t ask me where I first heard about that, might have been Eurotrash or something.

That would make for a good cover.

That would make for a good cover.

67 mins: Darron ‘with an O’ Gibson hits a good shot but it’s too close to Howard to cause him any problems.

68 mins: Scholes on for Park. Welbeck tackled by Jagielka in the box. Looks a penalty but amazingly nothing given by Riley. Replays show he didn’t really get the ball but probably didn’t take enough of the man to warrant the penalty. Well that’s Riley’s excuse anyway. Did Moyes’ comments during the week have an effect? Fergie is absolutely fuming. It would have been given at Old Trafford. Fact.

70 mins: As predicted, Saha comes off. He’s been worse than useless. Anonymous all game. Jack Rodwell comes on to replace.

71 mins: Ironic cheers as a free kick is given against Vidic for a high boot.

74 mins: Everton corner. Fails to clear the first man. They’ve played ok but have really missed the expertise of Arteta at dead balls.

76 mins: Anderson strikes from a tight angle. Just over but not a bad effort.

77 mins: Really open now in the sense that it’s end to end but still no real opportunities. Not sure I can be dealing with 30 minutes of extra time.

79 mins: Man Utd are edging closer it seems. A bit of scramble in the box as Macheda and Welbeck both try and get a shot. Both fail.

83 mins: Welbeck runs at Hibbert before trying to curl one in from the edge of the box. Too high. Sportboy sigh.

84 mins: Fellaini gets his first yellow since February. Pretty impressive given his previous record of about 11 until then. Once again he was challenging for the ball whilst using his elbow. He caught Ferdinand in the face with his fist. Plenty more players have come off worse this season.

86 mins: Macheda mishits a volley. Goalless games do not make the Sportboy jolly.

87 mins: Berba warming up. Fellaini gets blown up for something or other (handball I think). Feels he is being persecuted. It’s a fair claim given he didn’t handball it.

89 mins: Everton corner. Pienaar actually puts in a half decent ball in but Rio prevents Joleon from doing anything with the header.

91 mins: Everton free kick in a good position. Baines swings it in high and deep. Fellaini challenges Foster but a foul is given. Thought it was a fair challenge I think.

Full time: Goalless at the end of 90 minutes. Extra time looming. Arse. Pretty even, Man Utd could/should have had a penalty, but there has been very little action in the box. Why do I always pick the dull games which go to extra time?

Fergie shows his feelings on the game. Plus forgets to trim those nostrl hairs.

Fergie shows his feelings on the game. Plus forgets to trim those nostril hairs.



91 mins: Berbatov comes on for Macheda. Everton kick off the first period of extra time.

92 mins: I always feel if I’m to sit through 120 minutes of a dull neutral game then the least I should get is a penalty shoot out for my efforts. None of this 118th minute winner business.

93 mins: Scholes booked. Cahill fires a good shot on goal from a very tight angle in the box. Foster saves with his foot.

95 mins: Scholes is playing some nice balls forward in midfield. Though just as I say that he gives the ball away.

96 mins: Everton play it down the left. The ball comes to Fellaini in the box who chests, turns and shoots. It’s blocked though.

97 mins: Welbeck offside from a through ball. Tight but right.

99 mins: United play it forward and Berbatov has it in the box. He has time to lay it back to the onrushing Welbeck but the youngster completely misses it. Air shot.

102 mins: Fellaini coming off. James Vaughan coming on. Thought Moyes would have kept him on and taken off Osman maybe but that would be too positive a change for his liking.

104 mins: Everton corner.

105 mins: Dealt with. At the other end Tevez fires a tame shot at Howard.

Halftime: Fifteen minutes till penalties. 

106 mins: Man Utd kick off. Fourteen minutes till penalties.

107 mins: Oooh, what a poor miss. Baines crosses it in, Vaughan has an age to pick his spot but scuffs it with his left foot. It deflects off Vidic meaning Cahill can’t tap it in. No corner given though. That was a terrible miss. He had time for a touch if he wanted but hit it first time and wasted it.

109 mins: Eleven minutes till penalties.

110 mins: Cahill booked for clipping Vidic and then moaning about the foul that was given. Silly.

111 mins: Skip.

112 mins: To.

113 mins: The. 

114 mins: End.

117 mins: A couple of corners for Man Utd amount to nothing.

119 mins: Foster tries to clear but his kick is charged down by Vaughan. He then rushes out out to try and deal with it but fouls an Everton player out wide. The resulting free kick is inches from Cahill’s head.

Full time in extra time: So I get what I asked for and this will be decided by a penalty shoot out. Man Utd have already won a penalty shoot out at Wembley this season, following Foster and his iPod antics against Spurs. They did lose their last FA Cup shootout though against Arsenal in the 2005 final. Most of United’s penalty takers will be at home.  Everton’s most recent shootout was a loss against Fiorentina last season.

Penalty shoot out (Everton score first):

0-0: Cahill takes the first penalty and misses with a blast high and wide. 

0-0: Berbatov misses! Lazy, lazy penalty. He just rolls it to Howard’s right. Keeper easily saves. Shocking.

1-0: Baines scores! Power high down the middle.

1-0: Rio Ferdinand misses! Howard saves. Sort of in the corner but not enough. Nice height to save.

2-0: Phil Neville scores! Sends Foster the wrong way, great penalty.

2-1: Vidic scores! Just. He checks Ronaldo style and rolls it just inside the post.

3-1: Vaughan scores! Giant steps and places it in the corner. Foster can’t quite get there.

3-2: Anderson scores! He keeps it alive. Sends Howard the wrong way, calmly placing it the left corner.

4-2: Jagielka sends Everton to Wembley! Oh wait, they’re already there. But you know what I mean. He puts a great penalty low in the corner and sends Everton to the FA Cup final! Nice moment for him as he missed the key spot kick against Fiorentina last season.


So Everton win through 4-2 on penalties. It was perhaps the most likely way for them to win but all in all it was a pretty even game. Fergie will be vindicated that he played his youngsters given it went to extra time and beyond. Have to wonder why Vidic and Rio were taking penalties even if the former scored. Scholes and Tevez were nowhere to be seen (though presumably one of those would have taken the fifth) while the youngsters like Welbeck didn’t seem to fancy it. In any case, there were some pretty poor kicks. The quintuple dream ends and United are left to concentrate on the league and Europe which is what Fergie wanted all along.



Coventry vs Chelsea Live Minute by Minute!


It’s FA Cup quarter final weekend, except for at the Emirates tomorrow where it will be FA Cup fifth round weekend. Today we see Championship mid-tablers Coventry take on Premier League big boys Chelsea at the Ricoh Arena. Chelsea are strong favourites but were humbled by Barnsley at this stage last season. Coventry are now managed by Chris Coleman and his pondering face.

The art of looking thoughtful

The art of looking thoughtful


Pre amble

Today’s studio guests are Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce and Graeme ‘Robbie Fowler thinks I’m gay‘ Le Saux. Not really sure why they’ve wheeled in Pearce, he only played for  Coventry for a couple of years. You associate him with Forest more than anyone else. Coventry of course are famous for their 1987 win over Spurs in the FA Cup Final. Chelsea are most famous for, erm, no scrap that they don’t have any history.



Coventry: Westwood, Wright, Dann, Turner, Hall, Henderson, Gunnarsson, Doyle, Eastwood, Best, Morrison. 

Subs: Marshall, Ward, Beuzelin, Osbourne, McPake, Simpson, Thornton.

Chelsea: Cech, Cole, Terry, Alex, Bosingwa, Lampard, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Drogba, Kalou.

Subs: Hilario, Essien, Carvalho, Di Santo, Quaresma, Belletti, Mancienne.


Ashley Cole sobers enough up to play for Chelsea, and they field pretty much a full strength side despite having a big game away against Juve on Tuesday night. Michael Essien is on the bench for the first time since being injured in August, goodness knows Chelsea have missed him this season. I won’t pretend to know all of Coventry’s players but Clinton Morrison can be a decent striker on his day and apparently the midfielder Gunnarsson is well thought of and has good delivery from the wings. Freddie Eastwood isn’t bad either. This is the first time Coventry have sold out their new stadium since moving in three years ago.


1 min: Coventry kick off.

2 mins: Drogba holds up the ball on the edge of the box, turns Turner (hehe) and fires a left shot just past the far post. Coventry will be hoping that doesn’t happen too often. This is the kind of game in which Drogba could terrorise defenders. That was a good chance.

4 mins: Ashley Cole boozed up booed, brilliant. 

6 mins: Eastwood fires just wide but the whistle went as Doyle hustles Lampard unfairly.

7 mins: Ballack shoots over. All his goals this season have come in the cup.

8 mins: Bosingwa runs towards the box and then aimlessly shoots from a ridiculous angle. Unsurprisingly it goes well wide.

9 mins: Cole booed some more. I wonder if he still has a hangover.

10 mins: Malouda has styled his hair like Jon Obi Mikel. It looks interesting…

A hungover dog which is in now way representative of Cole.

A hungover dog which is in no way representative of Cole.

13 mins: You can always tell when there isn’t much going on in the game when the camera starts cutting to the crowd. We focus on Abramovich who has his usual smug but glum look. He’s wearing a nice looking jacket for once. When you consider how much money he has and that his girlfriend Dasha Zukhova is a model/designer/editor/curator and whatever else she feels like doing, his dress sense when not in a suit is appalling.

15 mins: GOAL! Coventry 0-1 Chelsea! Drogba scores out of nothing. The ball is played back to Dann in defence but he dilly dallies on the ball and Drogba dispossesses him and runs towards goal. He’s slightly wide as he takes it past the keepr but finds the net with no trouble. Poor by Coventry but a great finish.

17 mins: Coventry have responded pretty well to going a goal down. They cross a couple of balls in but they are easily dealt with.

20 mins: Coventry playing a dangerous game as Drogba is caught just offside from a through ball by Ballack. Dann and Turner not having the best of games at the back.

24 mins: Leon Best who is wearing a comedy face mask runs at the Chelsea defence. He cuts into the box but then skies his shot. I have the Coventry website open and they are also doing minute by minute updates. They reckon it was just over. It wasn’t.

27 mins: Chelsea in control, just passing it around. I’m sure they don’t want to expend too much energy before Tuesday.

29 mins: Alex bundles into Leon Best and Coventry win a free kick near the Chelsea box. Henderson plays it in but it part cross, part curling shot. It drifts just wide having failed to curl enough.

32 mins: Stuff is kind of happening but kind of not. I’m finding this game a little boring.

33 mins: Kalou runs down the right and lays it to Mikel who scuffs his shot having got the ball stuck between his legs. It then gets knocked about a bit more before Malouda wastes it.

35 mins: Cole fouled about 35 yards out. Chelsea free kick taken by Lampard and it’s a good effort. He takes it Ronaldo style by striking through it so it goes up and under rather than curling. Westwood tips it over. I wonder if him and Eastwood have turf wars on the Coventry training ground. 

Gang wars, sort of.

Gang wars, sort of.

4o mins: I can already sense that the most interesting aspect of this game will end up being Michael Essien’s second half substitute appearance.

41 mins: Kalou looks for a free kick as he tackled outside the box but nothing is given. Replays suggest he was unlucky, the defender scything him down somewhat.

44 mins: Coventry survive a sustained bit of Chelsea pressure, with several players running at them from various positions. No one can really produce the bit of skill for the breakthrough and eventually the Sky Blues clear their lines.

Half time: The half comes to a close with Chelsea in control. They have their goal and are dominating possession by just passing it around at ease. Every so often someone decides to run at Coventry and it’s only a final ball away from being 2 or 3-0.

I had been hoping Graeme Le Saux would just be providing analysis with Pearce but I’ve had to listen to his co-commentary all game. Maybe that’s why I’m finding it so boring. I haven’t heard him since he announced he was quitting the BBC before the last World Cup. I wish he had stayed retired per se.

Meanwhile, despite Chelsea’s dominance they are only one up so Coventry still have a chance.


46 mins: Chelsea kick off the second half. They have taken off one infuriating winger who can’t cross in Kalou and brought on another infuriating winger who can cross but has the consistency of really horrible hot chocolate that has been made with water instead of milk, in Ricardo Quaresma.

It's fair to say he's inconsistent...

It's fair to say he's inconsistent...

50 mins: Time ticks by some more, Chelsea still in control.

54 mins: Coventry win another free kick in a good position but yet again the delivery is woeful. It sails harmlessly over. It’s clear that set pieces are Coventry’s best hope of getting back into this but at the moment they have been unable to produce a single telling ball. I think Henderson should stop taking their free kicks. Maybe on Football Manager Chris Coleman saw he had a low set piece rating but persisted because Henderson somehow had lots of assists anyway. I would suggest he finds a player with 15+.

59 mins: Wright bundles into Malouda who is still on the pitch for some reason. When I say bundle I mean leaps three feet in the air and charges into his back. Escapes a yellow impressively. Beuzelin comes on for Doyle.

61 mins: Coventry Henderson wastes another free kick. 

64 mins: Essien about to come on for Chelsea. I think had he been fit, Scolari would probably still be in a job. 

65 mins: Mikel off, Essien on.

66 mins: Terry goes on a run into the Coventry half but then remembers he lacks skill and pace and doesn’t know what to do. He tries to knock it past someone, loses it and then attempts to take out the offending opponent.

67 mins: Coventry’s long throws are causing more problems then their set pieces right know. Gunnarsson chucks it in, Cech flaps and misses but Coventry can’t get a decent shot away. They then win a second throw on the opposite side of the pitch and again the ball almost breaks to Morrison and Best but neither could quite turn and shoot. Chelsea need a second goal to kill this off.

71 mins: A clash of heads between Alex and Drogba. The earth moved, both come off temporarily. Chelsea have to defend a throw with nine men.

72 mins: GOAL! Coventry 0-2 Chelsea! And defend it they do. A super lightning break. Quaresma runs down the right, crosses into the box and Alex all people has run 50 yards to finish with aplomb with his left foot. Both him and Drogba had just come back on, and both were part of the four on one break. Great cross, great finish, great goal. That would be that I would think.

77 mins: Slightly bizarre moment. Chelsea player fouled and the free kick gets taken quickly. Lampard has it and while Coventry wait for the whistle he runs to goal and sets aim from 25 yards. He scuffs it badly and a low shot goes wide. It would have stood though.

79 mins: Fat Frank is through on goal again but can’t lift over the oncoming keeper.

80 mins: Drogba comes off and is replaced by youngster Franco Di Santo.

82 mins: Coventry’s best chance. Morrison is through on goal and Alex lunges in on him. Morrison stays on his feet instead of going down and thus can’t get his shot away. Cech smothers, Morrison complains. It’s hard to say as didn’t go down but that would have been a penalty had Morrison made more of it.

85 mins: Here’s a shock for you. St Mirren have knocked Celtic out of the Scottish Cup. That’s St Mirren who hadn’t beaten Celtic in 19 years and lost 7-0 to them just last week. Ex Coventry manager Gordon Strachan will not be a happy bunny.

This man got Coventry relegated.

This man got Coventry relegated.

88 mins: There has been some bits of excitement in the last few minutes but none that I feel were particularly worthy of writing about.

90 mins: Drogba given man of the match. About right I’d say, he gave the Coventry defence all sorts of problems in his 80 minutes on the field.

Full time: Coventry 0-2 Chelsea. A comfortable win for Chelsea in the end. Coventry had their spells of pressure but couldn’t turn it into real chances for Morrison and Best. Class prevailed with Drogba scoring a great early goal and the decider coming on the break after Chelsea had introduced Quaresma to stretch the Coventry defence.



Shakhtar Donetsk vs Tottenham Live Minute by Minute!


Live UEFA Cup action as Ukraine’s finest take on London’s finest, north London’s finest, N17’s finest (just about).


Spurs play a weakened side as they try to get knocked out so they can concentrate on surviving in the Premier League. Harry’s been moaning (as usual) about having six matches in seventeen days. The price of success hey? We are only at the last 32 stage here. The winners get to play Aston Villa or CSKA Moscow.


Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna, Chigrinsky, Ischenko, Rat, Jadson, Fernandinho, Lewandowski, Willian, Ilsinho, Gladkyy.
Subs: Khudzamov, Fedetskiy, Shevchuk, Duljaj, Seleznyov, Luiz Adriano, Chyzhov.

Spurs: Gomes, Gunter, Huddlestone, Dawson, Chimbonda, Jenas, Zokora, Parrett, Bentley, Giovani, Campbell.
Subs: Jansson, Gilberto, Smith, Bostock, Mason, Obika, Bent.


Bent is on the bench and Dean Parrett makes his full debut. Keane was signed too late to play. Croatia star Dario Srna plays for Shakhtar.

Kevin Ratcliffe (who has never played for Spurs) and Tony Jones provide the commentary for Channel 5. Their budget must be pretty low. Either that or no one good could be bothered to travel to the Ukraine. Everything about this match screams low budget and can’t be arsed. The analysis (we have Colin Murray anchoring), the kick off time, the teams, this minute by minute… 

Spurs have a pre match huddle – “Come on boys let’s just stay like this so we keep warm.”

Spurs huddle, (San Antonio) Spurs huddle, Spurs' Huddle(stone)

Spurs huddle, (San Antonio) Spurs huddle, Spurs' Huddle(stone)


1 min: Spurs kick off.

2 mins: Lots of strange lines on the pitch, some kind of protection from the -7 degree temperature.

5 mins: The ball flicks off Parrett in the box. A snap shot from Jadson goes wide.

7 mins: Nothing really happening so far. Shakhtar have quite a cool orange shirt.

Day glow

Day glow

8 mins: Jenas stick out his leg on Fernandinho and gives away a free kick.

9 mins: Srna hits it straight in the wall.

10 mins: A deep crossfield ball finds Rat-a-tat-tat, whose first time volley flashes wide.

12 mins: Bentley. Cross. Overhit. I may need a keyboard shortcut for that sentence I think.

15 mins: Chimbonda fouls Fernandinhho. The free kick comes in and causes some confusion. Suspicions of a Parrett handball.

18 mins: Spurs have a decent spell of possession.

19 mins: This leads to Bentley finding some space. Cross. Dealt with easily. I don’t really understand why he’s regressed so much this season. Perhaps he should spend less time kicking footballs off rooftops and more time practising his crossing.

21 mins: Shakhtar completely in control here.

26 mins: Gladkyy wastes a great chance. A deep cross comes in and he chests it down whilst going past Chimbonda at the same time. He then fluffs his lines completely slicing away from goal when standing on the edge of the six yard box.

27 mins: Another great chance. A low cross from the right byline flashes across the face of the goal but no Donetsk player can get their foot to it to poke it in.

31 mins: I’ve just noticed Chimbonda is wearing 97 on his shirt! I know squads are big these days but seriously.

Yep, that's 97.

Yep, that's 97.

32 mins: Giovanni has Tottenham’s first attempt of the game. A close one too! He’s on the left hand side of the box almost by the byline and decides to shoot at goal despite having no angle. His curling effort clips the outside of the post. The keeper was struggling.

34 mins: Ilsinho carries the ball forward, waits an age and shoots at Dawson.

40 mins: Bentley lines up a free kick. Straight at the keeper. Rat gets booked for encroaching so Ratface Bentley gets another shot at passing it straight to Pyatov.

41 mins: Bentley takes it again. He surpasses himself and hit it straight at the wall. So predictable.

43 mins: Rat hits a decent shot but Gomes saves comfortably.

44 mins: Ping pong football in the Spurs box but it’s eventually cleared.

Half time: The ref blows his whistle right on 45 mins. He must want his half time cuppa. Or maybe something stronger. I may go the same way as the ref, it’s been that sort of scrappy game.

Shakhtar have dominated really bar one Giovanni shot for Spurs. Bentley has been justifying his reputation as second choice Tottenham right winger. Stanley Victor Collymore is providing some good analysis (as is Pat Nevin), it’s just a shame Colin Murray is making stupid points. 


46 mins: Shakhtar kick off the second half.

48 mins: A great chance for Shakhtar. William has time in the box. He controls and shoots across goal with his let foot but Ilsinho can’t quite get to it and it goes wide.

51 mins: Pyatov races out of his goal to clear a ball, makes a mess of it, but the onrushing Jenas can’t guide it into the empty net. Three defenders crowd him out and clear. 

55 mins: Spurs showing a bit more attacking ambition at the start of the second half. Darren Bent is warming up. I imagine he’ll come on for Frazier Campbell who’s been a little anonymous thus far.

58 mins: Nothing to report at the mo. I just sipped some tea if you’re interested.

60 mins: Dawson gives away a soft free kick about 30 yards out. Fernandinho belts it at some pace but it deflects over.

61 mins: The resulting corner comes to nothing.

65 mins: Spurs are pretty solid at the mo, and are doing a good job of frustrating the home side. The crows are starting to whistle loudly.

68 mins: Some changes are afoot. No not an sudden spell of good football but some substitutions. Ilsinho off, Luiz Adriano on for Shakhtar. Ilsinho goes straight down the tunnel. I imagine this is more because he’s cold and wants a shower rather than being annoyed at coming off. Bent coming on for Giovanni.

72 mins: A half chance for Spurs. Sort of. The ball falls to Parrett in the box and he tries to lift it back central over the oncoming keeper. He doesn’t though.

73 mins: Gomes annoys ‘Arry with some sloppy, rushed distribution. Spurs annoy me with some sloppy, boring football.

77 mins: A Spurs break see them three on two and bearing down on the Shakhtar goal. Parrett plays in Bent but the ball is just knicked from his feet by Ischenko.

78 mins: GOAL! Shakhtar 1-0 Tottenham! Donetsk make a change with Gladkiy off, Seleznov on. Jadson swings in a teasing free kick and with his first touch Seleznov heads it in. Brilliant substitution! Gomes came and missed and nearly knocked himself out in the process while the centre-backs were nowhere to be seen. Comedy from the Spurs keeper


Yet another blunder...

81 mins: Gomes is treated for a few minutes but eventually is alright to continue.

84 mins: Shakhtar press for a second. Spurs resorting to long balls. 

88 mins: GOAL! Shakhtar 2-0 Tottenham! Jadson scores a lovey second goal but once again terrible defending by Spurs. He has the ball on the right hand side of the pitch starts to dribble infield, dribbles a bit more, plays a nice one two with William, dribbles some more until he is past the penalty spot, then shoots across Gomes, wrongfooting everyone and scoring. No challenge forthcoming, so he ran and ran and picked his spot. Harry not pleased with that. I am though…

89 mins: Bostock on for Parrett.

Full time: Shakhtar 2-0 Tottenham! A little bit of effort on Spurs’ part to try and snatch an away goal but Shakhtar close it out. They fully deserved this victory, Tottenham were woeful and created nothing at all. Donetsk on the other hand kept testing the Spurs defence with teasing crosses and eventually found a way through. Jadson then showed what happens when your ‘defensive’ midfielder is Jermaine Jenas as he waltzed past about six Tottenham players who decided it wasn’t worth trying to tackle him and slotted a lovely shot into the corner. I’m glad this finished early, I’m off to watch Masterchef.



Derby vs Man Utd Live Minute by Minute!


So, after their two games in the Carling Cup semi final, Derby and Man Utd meet each other again in the FA Cup fifth round. Derby beat Utd 1-0 in the first leg at Pride Park and battled bravely before succumbing 4-2 in the return match. Will they be able to cause an upset again?

Lots of focus on Clough Jnr vs Fergie. Let’s just hope ITV let us see the goals this time…



Derby: Bywater, Connolly, Addison, Albrechtsen, Stewart, Barazite, Green, Savage, Teale, Commons, Hulse.

Subs: Carroll, Sterjovski, Nyatanga, Davies, Todd, Pearson, Porter.

Man Utd: Foster, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Park, Fletcher, Gibson, Nani, Giggs, Ronaldo.

Subs: Kuszczak, Vidic, Scholes, Welbeck, O’Shea, Tevez, Possebon.


A slightly weakened side from Ferguson but Ferdinand plays to marshall the defence and Evra finally makes his comeback after injury. Giggs and Ronaldo up front which is interesting. No doubt Carlos Tevez will be a bit annoyed. Robbie Savage and his Armani tattoo play and look out for Nacer Barazite who’s on loan from Arsenal. 



Edward Sheringham Esq. joins Steve Rider and Andy Townsend in the studio. He played for Clough Snr, with Clough Jnr, and for Fergie OAP so is well placed to offer an insight. Probably.


1 min: Man Utd kick off. Peter Drury and Jim Beglin commentate. Darron (why does he spell it like that?) Gibson has an early shot from 30 yards. Not too far over.

3 mins: Nani gets a bloody nose from a man sandwich of Evra and a Derby player. He’ll be alright though.

5 mins: Ronaldo reckons he’s fouled by Savage by nothing given. He gets annoyed when Savage tries to help him up. Savage will definitely play pantomime villain here. Ronaldo will probably be his sidekick though.

7 mins: Good atmosphere at Pride Park today.

10 mins: Barazite makes a run down the right wing. He goes past Fletcher but with no one to support him is eventually dispossesed.

11 mins: Derby win a corner. Commons swings it in high but Ben Foster claims it.

12 mins: Ronaldo tries to make space for himself but is tackled strongly by Savage. 

14 mins: A lovely bit of quick passing sees the ball break to Fletcher who hits a strong drive which is well saved by Bywater. A United free kick on the left wing is then driven hard at the wall by Ronaldo. He may well have been aiming for Robbie Savage’s head.

15 mins: Bywater makes a great reaction save from Ji Sung Park who had made a late run at the back post. United on top at the mo.

19 mins: United free kick 35 yards out. Ronaldo spits, wipes his nose then hits a drive straight at Robbie Savage’s cojones. That must have hurt. I reckon C-Ron is aiming at him.

21 mins: A decent turn and hit from Hulse.

25 mins: Derby have a shout for a penalty. Hulse goes down under a challenge from Rio Ferdinand but it was dive pure and simple. Rio’s not impressed with that. He shouldn’t be sticking his leg out like that though.

27 mins: Ronaldo tries some stepovers but Savage isn’t buying it. His pass then goes astray.

29 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-1 Man Utd. Nani scores a lovely goal. One we got to see live too. Ronaldo nearly connects with a Park cross but the ball is cleared. It is worked to Nani on the left hand side of the pitch. He takes it inside, runs past a couple of player and hits a curling drive from the edge of the box into the corner of net. About six somersaults follow.

35 mins: Derby still looking to play their game. A Commons free kick is easily saved by Foster but nothing has really happened since the goal.

37 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-2 Man Utd. Giggs plays through Ronaldo who is clear of everyone and slots it past Bywater. United celebrate but the goal is then disallowed for offside. It’s all a bit ludicrous. The offside decision was marginal but why wait so long to rule it out. Ronaldo and Fergie are not happy to say that least. It was genuinely about 15 seconds after he slotted it in. 

41 mins: We’re told it took so long as the linesman wasn’t sure if Giggs had flicked it on, so had to check with the ref. Something like that anyway. It was pretty obvious Giggs had flicked it, it was a pretty good bit of skill.

44 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-2 Man Utd. Another United free kick 35 yards out, Ronaldo takes aims at Savage once more. He hits the the wall, somewhere near Savage’s head. The ball breaks to Gibson who shoots past Bywater. This one counts.

There's only room for one poser in this town...

There's only room for one poser in this town...

Half time: United good value for their lead. Derby have come from two down against both Forest Green and Nottingham Forest in this season’s FA Cup but they surely can’t do it a third time. Can they?

Tea time.

46 mins: Derby kick off the second half.

48 mins: GOAL! Derby 0-3 Man Utd. Park pressures Derby into conceding a corner. Giggs swings it in and Ronaldo places a header from 10 yards into the top corner. Simple stuff. He barely had to jump.

50 mins: United almost score again but for a fine double save from Bywater. This could get ugly.

53 mins: Evans needlessly fouls Hulse outside the box. Derby pass it about before it’s eventually crossed in. Foster punches away just before Hulse gets his head to it.

55 mins: Double change for United. Park and Evra off, O’Shea and Welbeck on.

56 mins: GOAL! Derby 1-3 Man Utd.  Commons crosses it in from the left and Addison powers a header in from 12 yards. A good goal but Derby had all the time in the world to cross it in. O’Shea was sleeping a bit there and no one tracked Addison’s run.

59 mins: Derby try to work the ball into a good position. Gary Teale tries to blast in a 35 yarder with the outside of his right boot. It goes horribly wide and over.

63 mins: Barazite off for Derby, Sterjovski on.

67 mins: This is end to end now as Derby push for another to make it interesting while Utd hope to catch them on the break and end it. Teale makes a decent run down the left and threads it to Hulse in the box. His touch is poor and he lays it off to a United player.

69 mins: Porter on for Hulse. Giggs and Ronaldo combine but the Portugeezer slashes a left foot shot over.

71 mins: Nani goes past Connolly, knocks the ball too far then falls over. He’s shocked he doesn’t get a free kick. What a fool. He’s hard to like is Nani. 

72 mins: Possebon replaces Ronaldo. Savage has no one to tackle now. On second thoughts there is Nani. He’s probably more thankful no one will aim at him from free kicks anymore.

77 mins: Teale hits a very good shot low and hard from outside the box. Foster makes a great diving save to give away a corner. From the resulting set piece, Commons finds Addison who heads just wide. Derby still looking for another.

81 mins: GOAL! Derby 1-4 Man Utd. Welbeck wraps it up. Some lovely one touch football from United who work it to Welbeck who’s lurking on the left hand side of the area. He opens up his body and curls a great first shot time past Bywater into the far corner. Lovely finish, reminiscent of Thierry Henry in the way he just bent it round the keeper.

82 mins: Savage off to a warm round of applause. Steven Pearson on.

87 mins: This one has settled down. Nothing really happening as both side wind down the clock.

89 mins: Darren Darron Gibson gets man of the match. He’s been neat and tidy and got his goal. Giggs would be the other contender I guess but no complaints here.

Full time: Derby 1-4 Man Utd. A comfortable win for Fergie’s side. His youngsters impressed whilst there was enough experience with Giggs, Ronaldo, Rio etc to make sure there would be no repeat of the Carling Cup first leg. Derby battled bravely and got the goal they deserved. United scored some nice goals, the pick of which I’d say was Welbeck’s.


The draw for the quarter finals follows straight after and comes out like this:

Blackburn or Coventry v Chelsea

Swansea or Fulham v Man Utd

Cardiff or Arsenal or Burnley v Sheffield Utd or Hull

Everton v West Ham or Middlesbrough



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