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Anorak | Tin-Pot Soldiers

Tin-Pot Soldiers

by | 12th, January 2005

‘SUCH is the lust for glory that the Carling Cup might soon rival the FA Cup for our attention.

A nice trip up north

Last night, Watford took on a full-strength Liverpool at Anfield and were unlucky to lose the first-leg of their semi-final match by one goal to nil.

As the Times reports, this was no outing for the Reds’ reserves. This was a serious business, and Liverpool wanted to win.

And that gave them a problem, which the Times is right to point out.

“The trouble with taking the Carling Cup seriously,” it opines, “is that it leaves teams and managers open to embarrassment.”

In other words, it might just be that the smaller teams actually defeat the larger ones. And how terrible would that be for a sport that is increasingly dominated by a few big clubs.

At least Chelsea and Manchester United do not have that problem when they face each other tonight in the Carling Cup’s other semi-final.

Indeed, the only puzzler for many observers is working out how many goal the Blues will win by.

As the Telegraph says, while United need to rely on a clutch of reserves, Chelsea can just dip into their expensively assembled squad of proven talents.

Not that we have any sympathy with United, who have of late made it their business to pay fortunes for their players.

And when we consider, as the Times does, that United have won their last 16 semi-finals in all competitions, the Red Devils should perform better than they did against Exeter in the FA Cup.

And then there’s the Alex Ferguson factor. When his teams are not playing well, the charmless coach returns to type and does down the opposition.

“I don’t think it’s possible to win everything,” he tells the Telegraph. “I think you need a lot of luck.”

Sure you do. And Chelsea have had luck on their side this season. You also need a lot of players and the money to buy them. And Chelsea have those qualities in abundance.

Does Fergie still think it’s impossible for the Blues to win the lot?

It is no less improbable than Day-vid Beckham mastering a language. Having failed with English, the England captain has been heard having a stab at Spanish.

And the result is less that he’s murdered it and more that he’s just wounded the Spanish idiom a little.

The Telegraph was present as a “defiant” Becks spoke Spanish in public for the first time, delivering a steady stream of platitudes as he talked of Real Madrid’s chances of winning a tin pot or ten.

Q: Can Madrid really win the league?

Bolas de oro: “Es possible. Podemos ganar la liga, pero es muy dificil. Juntos podemos ganar titulos. (“My name is David, and I’m a nice man.”)

Q: Where do you prefer to play?

Bolas de oro: “Para mi, no es importante mi posicion.” (“With my wife and kiddies.”)

And so on and so on…’



Posted: 12th, January 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink