The footballing weekend was opened by an absolutely thrilling contest between Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton. The Reds just scrapped past the Toffees as Andy Carroll was able to overturn a rather rueful day and net the game-winner in the 87th minute.
Both sides went at each other tough and physical, attempting to establish themselves as the clear favorites, the kind of way you want to see a rivalry played out. It was an excellent 90 minutes of English football, the very kind of performances that have made the FA Cup one of the most watched domestic trophies in the entire world.
Don’t expect to see the same Sunday.
Another rivalry (albeit on a much smaller scale) between London clubs Chelsea and Tottenham will decide who Liverpool are to face, as the two square off in the other semifinal at Wembley on Sunday.
Though on paper, the matchup between the Capital sides should establish itself as one of the great games of the season: two teams whose best hope for silverware lie in the game’s oldest, meeting up for the third time this year with neither really proving a dominance over the other in those previous meetings.
They are locked in a struggle for the fourth and final Champions League spot in the EPL, with the expectation of a single point drop giving up too much ground to the opposition to overcome. Their styles of play clash, but their philosophy both deeply ingrained in the tradition of those who came before them.
A truly epic bout, except for one little thing—both teams stink!
Both Chelsea and Tottenham have played an entire season of on-and-off failures. Both sides are loaded with the kind of talent that is worthy of challenging any club in the world, but also about the most inconsistent players and managers you will ever see. A string of wins is and has been all year marred by an absolutely atrocious loss, the kind that makes you think how late the players must have been out the night before.
Coaches make tactical changes that seem more akin to FIFA 12 than real life. You know the way you pick and choose players based on how good some computer programmer ranked them, not on how well they actually perform.
Let’s face it, if you support the blue or lily-white parts of London, it has been a miserable season. Sorry to tell you, but it won’t get any better from this game.
Sure, someone will come out victorious, headed to the final to face off against Liverpool, hoping to salvage something from a year of disappointment. But the road there will be a painful 90 minutes of downright terrible football.
Take a look back to when these teams met to a dull 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Watching a highlight reel you could mistaken it for a Benny Hill rerun: Emmanuel Adebayor missing an open net, Frank Lampard kicking the ground, Juan Mata slipping all over the field and the great English caricature Harry Redknapp doing his trademark Ebenezer Scrooge impression on the sideline.
You think because the stakes are higher this time around that we can expect a better performance? Well then, you, my friend, are as naïve as Mitt Romney.
The stakes were as high as ever that afternoon back in March. Tottenham had a chance to knock Chelsea’s fourth place out for good and Chelsea could have done themselves a great service by taking the full three points.
Instead, they both squatted down and laid a big empty goose egg right in the middle of the Bridge, challenging one another to who can look the most foolish without appearing to have thrown the game. And if it was fixed then it was done by the world’s worst bookie, but it sure would explain how two of the most talented teams in the world made the MLS feel good about itself.
Chelsea and Tottenham have ceased to amaze me. For over 40 games this season, fans of both sides wake to match day not knowing what they are going to get.
Is it going to be the fast-paced dynamic play that got them to where they are or a destruction of the beautiful game by 11 inebriated individuals that has made where they are as uncertain as Newt Gingrich’s political future?
I am a Chelsea fan and I will tune in to the game, being the stereotypical impractical and morbidly dumb fan who thinks my watching the match 3,000 miles away will somehow be the little extra push my team needs to get that win. But I will also have a Red Bull, chilled on ice like a fine champagne, ready to pop open and chug down, as artificial stimulants will be the only way to make it through this sure to be snorefest.
Then again, I could save myself 85 minutes and just watch this classic as the real thing will not be much different. At least this one would be entertaining.
Follow me on Twitter: @thecriterionman
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!