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.