March 1, 2009
Manchester United survived a strong effort from Tottenham, prevailing in penalties to win the Carling Cup for the first time since 2006. Andeson’s goal from the spot gave United a 4-1 advantage after Jamie O’Hara’s penalty was saved by Ben Foster and David Bentley missed wide left. Yet Spurs, holders of the Carling Cup, certainly gave United more to think about than many (including this space) thought. In fact, both sides missed several nice opportunities in regulation that would’ve won the League Cup.
But it is United who take the Carling Cup in 2009. As we may yet see more trophies swell the coffers of Sir Alex, it is perhaps not the most important match of the year. But failing more triumph, it is a cup nonetheless. As for Tottenham, this was the last chance to survive in Europe for next season after being knocked from the UEFA Cup by Shaktar Donetsk during the week. With no hopes of reaching much higher than tenth in the Premier League, Spurs will be lucky just to survive in top flight football.
February 27, 2009
Expect a Lot of This on Sunday
So on Sunday Manchester United and Tottenham will kick off from new Wembley (can I call it that? kind of like new Comiskey, even though it was built in the early 90s and is called US Cellular Field?) for the right to call themselves champions of the tournament named for the UK’s highest selling beer. That’s actually true by the way, or at least that’s what everyone always told me.
There shouldn’t be too much to talk about in this match assuming one thing: that Man United actually bring their top squad. It’s true that they just played on Tuesday in Milan, drawing Inter nil-nil in the Champions League. And it’s also true that there will be mid-week Premiership matches as well as matches again next weekend. So there is a very real possibility that United could opt out with their A team and play a bunch of youngsters. Granted, Spurs just played yesterday (at home) in the UEFA Cup and have the same domestic schedule as United.
But as Pratt and I discussed on the phone last weekend, if they’re already in the final, why not win it? United still have the farfetched chance to win four trophies this season, and that includes the Carling Cup. Why not bring out the big guns against a sorry Tottenham side and mop the floor with them for a well-earned trophy? That way, in case the FA Cup or Champions League go down the tubes, at least they’ll have two trophies.
Spurs on the other hand have absolutely no reason not to play their top side. They are the holders of the Carling Cup and if United fail to bring their top players, it’d be possible to pull off the rare back-to-back Carling Cup title. That could bring at least a little light to the darkness that has been this season for Tottenham. Plus it guarantees them at least a qualifying position in the UEFA Cup next year. There is no way Spurs can make it into Europe next year besides winning this tournament so it’d be well-worth trying. That and the fact that their domestic season has been such a disaster and they are now out of the UEFA Cup, there’s not a whole lot left to rest the regulars for.
My prediction is that United will come out blasting and take Spurs out 3-1 for the title.
January 21, 2009
Tottenham did all they could to lose their almost-assured spot in the Carling Cup final for the first 117 minutes against upstart Burnley. Then Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe scored in the 118th and 120th minutes to send Spurs through. Ahead 4-1 after the first leg of the semifinal, Tottenham looked all but guaranteed to advance to their second consecutive final. But Burnley found themselves with a 3-0 lead today at the end of regulation forcing overtime periods due to the 4-4 aggregate tie. Sadly for Burnley (though thankfully for Spurs and my coverage of them) they could not hold their clean sheet through all 120 minutes at the Turf Moor and Tottenham eked out the 6-4 aggregate victory.
So, Spurs will face Manchester United on March 1 at Wembley Stadium for the Carling Cup. Spurs and United will also face off in an FA Cup fourth round match-up on Saturday at Old Trafford.
January 20, 2009
Manchester United erased their one-goal deficit on aggregate with Derby County and defeated the Championship side 4-2 (4-3 aggregate) today to reach the finals of the Carling Cup. Nani, John O’Shea, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo scored for United. Tottenham face Burnley in the second leg of their semi-final tomorrow with Tottenham holding a 4-1 lead on aggregate.
Interestingly, Tottenham will play Man United in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
January 7, 2009
Manchester United fell today in the Carling Cup semi-final against Derby County, 1-0 at the Pride Park Stadium. Kris Commons’ fantastic 30th minute goal gave the Rams the famous victory over the English and European champions. Though the return match will take place at Old Trafford in a fortnight, Derby can take at least a brief advantage into the second leg.
The winner of the return leg will likely face Tottenham after their 4-1 victory yesterday over Burnley.
January 6, 2009
With a 4-1 victory over Burnley at White Hart Lane today, Tottenham are now quite close to returning to the finals of the Carling Cup. Spurs won the Carling Cup last season and now hold a three goal advantage on the Championship club. Spurs trailed after fifteen minutes 1-0 but after a half-time change of Jamie O’Hara for David Bentley, Spurs got going. Michael Dawson headed in a cross from O’Hara for the first goal and O’Hara himself nutmegged the Burnley keeper for Tottenham’s second goal. Roman Pavlyuchenko scored again for Tottenham, providing a 3-1 lead and an own-goal from Burnley provided the final tally.
Spurs will face either Manchester United or Derby in the March 1 final. United and Derby will square off tomorrow for their first leg.
As an aside, Spurs bought Jermain Defoe back from Portsmouth to play with his former manager, Harry Redknapp. Defoe starred at Tottenham from 2004-2008 scoring 43 goals in 139 matches. He should provide quite a nice scoring threat up front along with Darren Bent.
December 3, 2008
Darren Bent scored another goal for Spurs, this time just fifteen minutes from time, giving Tottenham a 2-1 victory at Watford and a spot in the semifinals of the Carling Cup. Already holders of the Carling Cup, Spurs are just one more win away from going back to Wembley.
Tamas Priskin opened the match’s scoring for Watford in the 13th minute but Spurs answered just before half-time on a Roman Pavlyuchenko penalty. Watford, managed by Frank Lampard, Sr., played well and kept in the match but were unable to prevent Bent’s match-winner on 76 minutes.
Meanwhile, Manchester United also reached the semifinals when Carlos Tevez hit for four goals in a 5-3 defeat of Blackburn Rovers.
November 13, 2008
With Liverpool playing mostly reserves at White Hart Line in their Carling Cup match-up yesterday, Spurs decided to crush them. With newbies Roman Pavluchenko and Frazier Campbell each notching a brace, Tottenham powered to a 3-0 first half lead before winning 4-2. Damien Plessis and Sami Hyypia did pull back goals for the visitors in the second half but the match belonged to the holders, who now advance into the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup. The only thing Spurs need worry about going forward was the injury to keeper Heurelho Gomes. Meanwhile, Tottenham have yet to lose with Harry Redknapp at the helm.
Elsewhere, Blackburn Rovers also advanced into the quarterfinals with a lucky 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light. Roque Santa Cruz scored in the 65th minute to give Rovers a lead and Phillip Bardsley’s own-goal made the score 2-0. Kenwyne Jones answered for Sunderland just one minute later but it was not enough for the Black Cats.
Finally, Burnley earned an historic victory at Stamford Bridge defeating Chelsea on penalties, 1-1, 5-4. Didier Drogba scored in the 27th minute for the home side but Ade Akinbiy’s 69th minute goal leveled the score. In the penalties, Burnley keeper Brian Jensen made two saves to deny the Blues on their home pitch. Burnley have now defeated both Fulham and Chelsea to send the Championship side into the final eight.
November 12, 2008
For the second time in eleven days, Spurs will host Liverpool at White Hart Lane. This time, however, the stakes are much higher as it is a Carling Cup match. With their 2-1 stunner over the Reds on November 1, Tottenham jump-started its season and has not lost since. And as holders of the Carling Cup, despite new players at almost every position and another new manager, Spurs have to be feeling like this is a major match.
Chances are they will not be able to hold off Liverpool today but with the way Spurs have responded to boss Harry Redknapp, especially with the re-emergence of striker Darren Bent, who knows what will happen. It does appear that Rafa Benitez is focusing his club more on European and domestic league glory than on this tournament as Steven Gerrard and former Spurs star Robbie Keane are expected to be rested. You can expect an update later today with the results of this match as well as other Carling Cup ties.
October 2, 2008
Spurs have seen Liverpool’s recent record in Europe and tournament play as compared to domestic success and taken to the nth degree. Granted, Spurs have not won the Champions League or even qualified for it, but the North London side continue to have success in non-league matches.
Tottenham are the holders of the Carling Cup and just this morning have advanced through to the next round in the UEFA Cup by holding Wisla Krakow to a 1-1 draw and winning on a 3-2 aggregate in Poland. Next up for Spurs in the Carling Cup is, ironically, Liverpool. The chances of pulling off that upset are quite low, though they did stun Chelsea in the finals last season.
Spurs are having an historically bad start to their season, their worst in the past fifty-three years in fact. They sit on two points through six matches, good for 20th place in the twenty team Premier League, and are the only club not to have won a match in league competition. Yet, in taking a page from the Liverpool book, they have survived to this point in other tournaments.
The most likely result is a crash out of the Carling Cup when hosting Liverpool on November 12 and Spurs will probably not do better than their quarterfinal finish (losing out to PSV) in the UEFA Cup last season. But the outside tournaments are the only source of hope for the suffering fans at this point.
September 24, 2008
Despite a last-gasped attempt by Michael Owen for a two-point goal, his shot counted as only one point leaving Newcastle down 2-1 at final whistle to scoring-challenged Tottenham. New boy Roman Pavluchenko and Jamie O’Hara scored within four minutes of one another in the second half to give Spurs a much-needed victory as holders of the Carling Cup. Newcastle, on the other hand, now descends even deeper into the pile of shit that has become their season.
In other Carling Cup action, Chelsea pounded Pompey 4-0 at Fratton Park behind a brace from Frank Lampard. Counting last weekends meltdown in Manchester, Portsmouth have lost 10-0 in their past two matches. Damion Stewart’s 58th minute goal gave Queen’s Park Rangers an unexpected victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park. Wigan took care of Ipswich 4-1 at Portman Road and Martin Olsson’s 10th minutes strike was enough to send Blackburn through against Everton at Ewood Park.