Archive for January, 2017
Not a lot to be said about our shambolic exit from the onetime valued FA Cup. Our ‘weaker’ side was deservedly beaten by Wolves ‘weaker’ side and that’s about it really. The brainless Moreno gave his vast army of critics more ammunition by first of all giving away a totally needless free kick inside the opening minute, the fact that Wolves went one up as a result is neither here nor there because the majority of regulars knew it would happen due to the fact that our ‘best’ defence can’t defend very well, let alone one that gave the impression it was put together by drawing names out of a hat. The second goal came after we’d played tip and tap on the edge of the Wolves penalty area before messing up and leaving a breakaway goal inevitable. Changes did get made, they made little difference, we never really looked like we could salvage anything and our goal four minutes from the end didn’t make the slightest difference. No trips to Wembley then so we concentrate on the league then?
We rarely looked like scoring despite domination possession, and that’s the third time it’s happened this season against Southampton. You could sense we would struggle from almost the off and that’s how it turned out. A team packs their penalty area and we don’t know what to do. Familiar story. The last minute winner on the night mattered little, it just gave the Saints what they deserved. We bowed out tamely and that’s both sad and annoying.
I looked at the time, it was 5-15am. I had things to do before setting off for another day at the Holy Ground. It was real Brass Monkey weather which isn’t too bad when there’s daylight but daylight was still a few hours away. I’d heard the Matip saga had been resolved so a bit of good news to start the day. At about half ten outside Anfield Brass Monkey’s would have still been advised to stay indoors but the sun was shining and I thought to myself, not a bad day to be watching football. Unusually I hadn’t heard any team news, not until I was tucked away in a corner of the Lower Anny. As Loud Mouth Pete gave out the team I thought I’d misheard, Matip wasn’t playing. Ah well, we should still be okay shouldn’t we? Ten minutes into the game I said to my match day companion, the famed Mister Pilchard not a lot was happening; we had the ball, we had the ball a lot but not much was happening. Half an hour into the game I said it was all a bit indifferent and as far as Anfield being a cauldron of sound, which it rarely is on these occasion you couldn’t even suggest a Librarian was required. It was more Mausoleum. The first half was definitely sitting behind paint dry in the items of interest column. In a rare foray forward minutes into the second half and after some defensive mayhem we’re so capable of, Swansea had a corner. A guy sitting behind us shouted out boringly “Who R Ya” and Mister Pilchard said, “You know when we concede goals don’t you”. And that’s just what we did. I turned round to the other guy to say, “Who is he then” only he seemed in a state of shock. The guy sitting next to me had gone for a halftime cuppa which he brought back with him. By the time he’d sat down it was 2-0 and he muttered, “What’s happened?” Nobody seems to know what happened or what’s happening. Even when we got back level Mister Pilchard whispered, “You know what’s coming” and it did. T’was the Recurring Nightmare on L4.
In 1965 Liverpool, the Champions of England had been drawn at home against the bottom side of the Fourth Division, Stockport County in the FA Cup fourth round. Liverpool was on a long unbeaten run, Stockport weren’t, in fact just the opposite. Maybe, for the only time in his life Bill Shankly felt over confident – so he gave the game a miss and went to watch Liverpool’s European quarter final opponents Cologne instead. There was no such thing as rotation and no one in their right mind would have fielded a weakened side in an FA Cup game, it would have amounted to sacrilege. Had Liverpool lost it would have surely gone down as one of the biggest shocks in the history of the FA Cup and been viewed as even worse than the loss against non-league Worcester City a few years previous. It came close to being just that. Liverpool came from a goal down to scramble a one-all draw but had to thank a last minute goal line clearance by Gerry Byrne for keeping them in the Cup and getting a replay that would be played the following Wednesday. Liverpool won and went on to win the FA Cup for the first time in their history. So our side having to go to a team of Plymouth’s status in the FA Cup is nothing new. We got through and like the performance of Stockport all those years ago, Plymouth’s brave showing will soon be forgotten by all bar their own because that’s way it is. I don’t feel the need to rotate in the way Jürgen does and did. Every team from The Premier Division have had a fixture glut and, in fact, Plymouth’s probably played as many games this season as we have. Next week we have to find a way past Southampton in the League Cup but maybe we should remember Southampton’s played more games this season than we have. There’s no doubt English football is overloaded with fixtures and Cup competitions the majority no longer care about. You have to get on with it. More worrying for me is no matter what our line up of recent weeks we’ve stopped scoring, we’ve stopped having shots on target in the numbers we were having. Five goals in the last six games and the number of shots on goal have probably just crept past a dozen. That’s what we have to put right and I’m sure The Kaiser will do just that. In the meantime, we won last night and more game time for the kids, as things are just now, I can handle that.
We started the day second, ended it third but if results had swung a different way we could have dropped to fifth and if you’d have said we could have a point from our trip to the swamp, I’d have gladly taken it. Even more so when I saw our starting eleven. Just one question on that, shouldn’t someone with a desk job have sorted out whether Matip was eligible a bit sooner? As far as things on the pitch went, we deserved the draw but in fairness, they deserved their point as well. TA-A let nobody down and Lovren and Mignolet looked top draw as far as we were concerned. I’m hoping now we’re over our ‘blip’ – four games without win is something even if it’s not a ‘blip’ – and we can now see Coutinho playing full games. If you view the top end of the table we’ve only got to go to Manchester City, the rest have got to come to us, we’ve got 10 homes and seven away so more than a few reasons to be cheerful if we can get back to winning ways. I don’t think we should be fielding the Under 21 side down at Plymouth either. If its match time Little Phil wants get him on the pitch and maybe give Sturridge a go, the Cups are worth it and winning games isn’t a bad habit.