Pellè gets Booked for Yelling at a Ginger Steward
Two games in four days against Stoke would not be on the top of most managers’ “To Do” list but here we are again. My opinions on Stoke can be found at the start and end of Saturday’s blog…. I don’t like them.
The fall out from the weekends games involving other teams was that Spurs lost again so to take the heat off of that, the
London media fired up the “Let’s try and make
a Transfer” spin and bullshit machine again.
Pochettino wants Jay Rodriguez again for anything between £15 and £25
million depending on how sensationalist they want to be.... and of course they
want Schneiderlin.... and so do Arsenal.
West Ham are getting it with their players as well so we’re following
the well worn path of a smaller club doing well, therefore they must be slapped
back down. I’m sure there’s nothing
concrete in this but Saints got rumoured to be in for Harry Kane for £10million
from Spurs. I really hope that this is
someone at Saints putting a bullshit rumour out there just to yank Spurs’ chain a bit. I dn;t really want us to sink to their level but sometimes you gotta have your fun.
So, Capital One now sponsor the competition that in my head is “The League Cup” and we are at the 4th Round Stage and win tonight and we’re in the Quarter Finals. Ronald has made 4 changes from Saturday with Shane Long, Florin Gardos, Matty Targett and Big Vic coming in for the injured Sadio Mané and the rotated Alderweireld, Bertrand and Cork who are all on the bench. I strongly suspect that Mark Hughes doesn’t read this blog but he’s done what I suggested and brought in Diouf, Arnautovic and Bojan and left out the Giraffe, Moses and common thug Charlie Adam.
To my surprise we’re playing a 4-4-2 with Long up front with Pellè, rather than on the wing as we play in the league. I’m expecting Stoke to come tearing into us but they don’t really and the first real action of the game sees Morgan and Big Vic sort out a potential issue in defence and feed Pellè. He goes left allowing Matt Targett bring the ball forward on the left and slip it back inside to Graziano. He seems to be looking right to lay it off to Steve Davis but instead, he smashes it from 30 yards and it curls round the dive of Begovic and flicks the inside of the post on its way into the top corner of the net - GOAAAAAAAAALAAAZZZZZZOOOOOO! As a commentator in his Italian homeland might have said.
Stoke seem more up for it for a bit and pile on a bit of pressure without forcing Fraser into any serious action and in entirely clinical fashion, we take our second chance as a move down the right sees a wonderful reverse ball from Tadic intot he path of the overlapping
Davis and his pull back is despatched past
Begovic for Shane Long’s first Saints’ goal.
It’s nearly 3-0 and virtually game over a few minutes later as Tadic produces a ridiculous sand wedge chip onto Pellè’s chest and he brings it down superbly before pashing it over the bar. Stoke have the ball in the net not long after after a long diagonal finds Walters beating Targett in the air. The balls eventually falls via Diouf to Walters who smashed it over Fraser and into the net but the flag and whistle had already gone so there’s really no point in berating the linesman you twat.
A great passing move with some flicks and general showboating later and we win a corner which eventually sees Gardos nod over the bar. Hughes did not look happy as the players headed off at half time and I’m sure that words were said at half time. At risk of sounding that I have Merringtitus, the key to defending a 2-0 advantage is to survive the first 15 minutes without conceding a goal so what do we do? We doze off at a free kick on the half way line which Stoke pass short to Nzonzi and then we allowed Nzonzi to run unchallenged to the point where he had a free shot which he fired along the ground and past Fraser and into the corner. On first viewing I thought the big man should have done better in goal and on second viewing later, I still did.
We have woken up now and Tadic is trying to put the game to bed by setting up a 3rd goal. Firstly he puts Long through but his effort is well blocked by Begovic and the ex-Skate is at it again as Big Vic plays a 1-2 with Dusan and smashes in a shot which he kept out as well.
Shane Long is really proving his worth. He picks the ball up twice and starts running with it and Stoke’s 2nd half directive of ‘kick everything’ comes into play as he gets trashed twice and Stoke get two bookings. 2 balls to Long, 2 fouls, 2 yellow cards, 2 shite free kicks into the box that are easily cleared.
There’s a casual element creeping into our play at both ends of the pitch. Tadic butchers a 3 on 3 break with a sloppy pass behind Graziano and then we get really lucky at the other end as Gardos gets caught in two minds as to whether to clear or knock it back and in the end he just miscontrols the ball and Bojan is away and here’s where the luck comes in. Bojan has a simple pass to set Diouf up for a tap in but Bojan is shit and his cross is cleared by José Fonte, much to
What you need when you’re chasing a game is a couple of inspiring substitutions or failing that, Charlie Adam. He’s on with the Giraffe and Bojan and Cameron are off. Florin Gardos looks like he’s got his gaffe on his mind still as he initially does well to read a ball into the box and then gets robbed by Diouf and again gets lucky as the pass goes astray. Adam’s first involvement is to take a hack at Morgan after he’s turned away from him. He’s nowhere near the ball and it’s completely deliberate. He gets the booking and then psses and moans about it. It’s a borderline red card for what is basically a lash out at another player. I hate players like him.
Another player who I dislike intensely is Jon Walters. Saints have the ball and there’s an injury from yet another clattering. The drop ball happens and Bardsley gives us it back but he’s played it down the wing. As Forster goes to get it, Walters chases him down and Fraser wellies it into touch. Walters can’t be surprised that it all kicks off and ends with Bardsley, who’s not been at Stoke long enough to be a complete prick, giving us the ball back again. More fouls as Long is again clattered meaning he’s been clattered the last 4 times he’s had the ball.
The pressure is building though and Stoke win what seems like 8 consecutive corners.
Wilson heads one wide off
a Saints player, Forster flaps and misses another, Stoke take one short and win
another corner from it and then finally we break as a corner is flicked on and
Diouf has a free header at the back stick to make it 2-2. I’m not sure why Targett and Long were the
nearest players to the centre forward but it’s happened and shit, 2-2.
I’m sure all Saints fans are expecting Stoke to win it now and we all collectively shit ourselves as Diouf turns and drills in a shot which pings off the inside of the post and across the goal. He’s offside and the flag goes up but the smell of brown trousers is palpable.
Into the last 5 minutes and extra time is looming and no one wants that, least of all the Giraffe. He leads with his elbow in a challenge with Targett and catches him across the chest and gets deservedly booked. A minute later Crouch miscontrols the ball and makes up for it by catching Steve Davis up near his thigh. What a dickhead and off you go. There are no complaints from the Stoke players including Shawcross (who is always in the referees ear) which really tells you all you need to know. So, down to 10 men when they had fought back and were on top and the ultimate punishment is dished out.
chips in the free kick which misses everyone except Pieters who doesn’t adjust,
the ball drops down and Graziano swivels and blasts it into the top corner, 3-2
and get the fuck in! He’s over the
barrier and in the crowd and there’s a yellow card waiting for him when he gets
back on the pitch. It’s a small concern
right now but he must only be one booking from a suspension. It does wind me up when players get booked
for celebrating with their own fans. If
you goad opposition fans then fair enough but I’ve long since given up on
common sense from the Premier League and FA.
6 minutes injury time!!! What!!! To be fair, we were dawdling quite a bit at 2-1 and we delay further by bringing on Alderweireld and
Gardos and Steve Davis. The only alarm
is a decent overhead effort from Diouf from the edge of the box which goes
through a ruck of players but Fraser graps it comfortably enough. We run down the last 2 minutes easily enough
and that’s it, 3-2, quarter finals, come on!!!!
It’s a bit harsh on Stoke at the end as they’re worked really hard to get back into it. A quick glance at their web forums shows fans generally berating the referee for not clamping down on timewasting. I think they should be thanking for ref for not overly clamping down on assault and battery. Hughes obviously sent them out in the second half to try and kick us off the park and it, along with pulling a goal back so quickly, nearly worked. The subs came on – Adam could have quite easily been sent off and Crouch was sent off. I’m sure the way they see it is that they tried playing football in the first half and were outplayed, so they reverted to type in the second half, went long ball and just kicked everything that moved. The story of the bookings tells you all you need to know as well. Including the 2 bookings for Crouch, Stoke had 5, all for bad fouls, we had 2, one for dissent at a Stoke foul and one for celebrating a goal.
Ronald Koeman came out with a couple more ‘honesty’ classics, basically saying that we deserved to win as we played all the football, Charlie Adam should have been sent off and best of all, commented that Stoke sent Crouch on (so they could launch it) and that was not the way we like to play. Interviewers persist with the ‘are you surprised at your start’ line of questioning. When is it not just a ‘start’? When will all the deserters cease to be mentioned? We’ve won 9 games out of the last 10. Imagine the collective creaming off in the media if van Gaal got 9 wins out of 10 out of Man United.
The draw for the next round was made after the game with
Chelsea being the team to avoid, closely followed by
Liverpool and Spurs with Bournemouth and
Sheffield United being the ones you want.
I was convinced we were going to get Chelsea.
Tottenham ..... no, not them bastards, we always lose to them.... will play
Bournemouth.... here we go, come on, come on... will play
Come on now... home draw please... and
Sheffield United ....
will play Southampton
You gotta be happy with that. Ok, it’s our 4th away tie in a row but it’s the lowest ranked team left in the competition, League 1 Sheffield United at
Bramall Lane. A difficult game but more difficult than
Stoke or Arsenal away – I don’t think so.
Bring it on with a great chance of making the semi-finals.
Back to the league on Saturday and our quest for our first title since I was a kid playing Subbuteo against myself in 1981. We play a
side who have picked up some decent results this season as they look to
consolidate in the Premier League.
Gaston Ramirez won’t do anything as he’s on loan from us which is pretty
similar to what he’d do if he could play.
It’s a game we will be looking to win and I’m sure the players will be
up for it. Hopefully we’ve achieved the
impossible and emerged from 2 games in 4 days with Stoke without too many
injures and we can keep Hull City behind us for at
least another week. Let’s fucking do