Thursday, 22 January 2009

Burnley show the way

What a superb cup tie last night at Turf Moor. Three goals down from the first leg against Premier League Tottenham, Owen Coyle sent his team of motivated lower league professionals out last night to have a go and what a go they had. Harry Redknapp obviously thought the tie was over and selected a weakened side to complete the job but he had to bring on the big guns to scrape through in extra time.

Burnley were a joy to watch as they took the lead in the first half and them plugged away in the second until the deficit was only a goal before forcing the tie into extra time. They were two and half minutes away from Wembley on the away goals rule before Pavlyuchenko struck for Spurs. Defoe scored a minute later to secure victory but the sight of a sick-looking Redknapp on the touchline for most of the encounter warmed the cockles of my heart. This was no flash-in-the-pan for Burnley either and they really have been the surprise side of the Championship (if we don't qualify for that in a more dubious way).  The Clarets deserve to make the Premier League via the play-offs; they certainly have the one-off match experience to do it this year and how ironic if they end up swopping places with the massive Tottenham Hotspur.

The League Cup final is obviously a one-off but it's hard to see Spurs overcoming Manchester United. A potential top-versus-bottom game could prove as one-sided as when Man U thumped Millwall in the F A Cup final.

Back in the Championship, Norwich have surprisingly appointed Bryan Gunn as manager until the end of the year. This on the back of one game, albeit a convincing 4-0 win. Gunn has no managerial experience and this looks like a huge risk to me. It also looks like a least-cost choice which is obviously becoming something of a Championship trend, Gunn having been promoted from his matchday hospitality duties at Carrow Road.

Those of us desperately searching for snippets of hope for the upcoming palace home gamne, will be delighted to hear that Simon Jordan is recouping £2m of his outlay on Palace by selling Ben Watson to Boro. Hopefully the deal will be done ahead of our match or he will be kept out of the game to avoid any possible injury. Jordan himself has also been suspiciously quiet of late and I wonder whether he is planning some high profile piss-take ahead of next Tuesday's Valley encounter. If he is, he needs to think carefully because feelings will be running high and I suspect local tempers may get lost during the course of the evening. 

1 comment:

Suze said...

Burnley last night made you wistfully think of what could have been. A team that played with passion, organised and knew what was wanted, and needed. I hear this morning that Harry Redknapp has said he'll play as weak a team as possible against United in the FA cup on Saturday. I wonder what he'll do in the final?!

Watching Gunn being interviewed last night on Look East, he seemed a little embarrassed to be made manager...his daughter put a petition on Facebook, and it's been inundated with support. He is a legend at Norwich(that doesn't always work, but....), and if he can't get them playing...I wouldn't hold up much hope anyway. There was talk of Worthington as he still lives in Norfolk, but took himself out of the frame, Ady also was spoken about...but he said he hadn't heard from the club, and said he guessed they knew who they wanted...it seems so.

Next Tuesday should be interesting...the club has said the away tickets have been sold out.