October 27, 2010

Spy games and Spurs games

Posted by Jon Champion on 27/10/2010

ESPN is proud to be broadcasting the FA Cup this season © Getty Images

The first round of the FA Cup is almost upon us, so this week I have been on a spying mission. Nowhere exotic, you understand, and a disguise wasn’t strictly necessary, but on Tuesday, I found myself at Ingfield. For longer than anyone can care to remember, it has been the home of Ossett Town, proud members of the Evostik Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Ossett is a town in the Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire, founded on the prosperity of the 19th century wool industry. It is not big, but it supports two football clubs – Ossett Albion play in the league below Town. The reason for my visit was a game against the headline act in the cup’s first round, FC United of Manchester, the club born out of the discontent engendered by the Glazers’ purchase of Manchester United.

FC United won 3-0, defying spirited opponents and a difficult pitch. Their supporters made up perhaps 80% of the crowd of 387. Many of them were bedecked in flags and most sang at a volume better gauged by the Richter scale than by decibels.

Next week, ten times that number of FC United fans will make the short journey to Spotland for their Cup tie at Rochdale – I have a visit to Rochdale v Oldham lined up next Tuesday so will give a considered view of ESPN’s first live FA Cup tie in my next blog once I’ve seen both sides – but the point of mentioning FC at all is by way of introduction to our big game on ESPN this week.

Those FC supporters may be disenchanted by the way Manchester United are run, but they still want the club to do well on the pitch, so once FC’s FA Trophy tie against Colwyn Bay has run its course on Saturday, I’m sure they’ll be joining us for the 1730 BST kick-off at Old Trafford and one of the season’s showpiece games – Manchester United against Tottenham.

It’s a fixture that is rarely dull and is famous for spectacular turnarounds. Eight years ago at White Hart Lane, Spurs led 3-0 at half-time yet ended up losing 5-3. Two seasons ago at Old Trafford, they were 2-0 ahead only for Ronaldo to earn a penalty that shouldn’t have been given. Just 22 minutes later, Tottenham trailed 5-2!

Such has been the way of meetings between these two, and I nearly neglected to mention Pedro Mendes’ ‘goal’ that should have given Spurs a last-minute win at United’s home. Roy Carroll’s fumble took the ball way over his own line and only the officials failed to spot it.

This time round, I foresee an open contest but a close game. For all that they remain unbeaten, Manchester United have yet to truly convince and it’s they who’ve been throwing away leads for once. I feel that Harry Redknapp is still discovering how best to confront the twin demands of Champions League and Premier League matches in quick succession.

You will get no prediction from me, other than it’s a game you’d be unwise to miss!


Posted by S.Lash on 27/10/2010

You forgot the no-call on Vidic's handball on the goal line at Old Trafford in 2007

Posted by Jeff on 27/10/2010

(pnoyflava, ESPN username)

great piece.. Also been a keen(secret)fan of the underdogs, or any cinderellas in the beautiful game.. Not even 30 mins ago, before reading this article, and still in my taskbar, is Waltham Forest FC's website. sans yesterday's demise, the cobblers did the impossible, but their league 2 Form definitely was affected.. FCUM really is a cinderella one, and it'd be a great affair if they do go through and win their ties, and maybe just maybe draw the "new" REDS..

Oh, and yes, big Spurs fan, predicting a Niko Krancjar goal in the 32' minute, after a berba miss..0-1 to the lillywhites!


Posted by c-los on 28/10/2010

3-2 spurs huddlestone winner


Posted by heff on 29/10/2010

dandy match, United 2-0 Spurs, Scholes and Hernandez to keep the ball rolling

Posted by Fred on 29/10/2010

2-1 United Chicharito Winner

Posted by Emmanuel on 29/10/2010

3-1 hernandez brace

Posted by LENNIE NAIDOO on 29/10/2010

spurs win 2 - 0 Van Der Vaart and Bale on score sheet.

Posted by Pranav Joneja on 29/10/2010

1-0 berba winner!

Posted by anil on 29/10/2010

1-0 united with nani on the score sheet

Posted by C. Rutherford on 29/10/2010

Crouchie with one in the first half, then VDV blowing it open with a brace in the second half. Chicharito will score first. 3-1 Come On You Spurs!

Posted by wiraniskala on 29/10/2010

2-1 Pavy

Posted by Josh on 30/10/2010

Man Utd have been scoring goals with ease but shelling in many too... Certainly something to worry about for United fans. But with our new BABY-FACED ASSASSIN in the form of Chicharito who reminds us of a certain No. 20 who famously donned United colours, there is definitely something to cheer about as well. A score draw is a high possibility although i wouldn't be surprised to see United scrap through with a 2-1 or 3-1 scoreline.

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