And one to get off my chest
1. Ok so it’s not in the rules. But couldn’t Tottenham be in the Champions League every year? Maybe it is because it is their first foray into the competition, but they are playing games with a confidence and have-a-go attitude not often seen in the Group Stage.
Whereas Manchester United plc owe me three hours of my life back, Spurs “we will score one (or three) or more than you” approach to attack and defence makes for damn good viewing.
2. So referee Hauge last night, eh? While he did admittedly make the game a great spectacle by giving out penalties willy-nilly, not sure any UEFA officials would have been too impresed. The first decision was harsh at best, and the third frankly ridiculous.
Having said that, not much different to Chelsea’s.
3. And while we are on the subject of penalties, spotting hell! There were twelve penalties awarded this Champions League gameweek, and they accounted for almost a quarter of the goals. Is this a sign of penalty box clumsiness, simulation, whistle happy referees, or a genuine sign that the fifth and sixth official experiment is accounting for more omniscient officials?
4. Rafael van der Vaart is going to be one hell of a player for the neutral. He has flashes of brilliance, flashes of despair, and is one of the most excitable players in the Premier League. Within an hour last night he had been booked, scored, missed a penalty and been sent off. There is a rabid keeness in his actions, it sure makes for attractive viewing.
5. Ok, so he doesn’t actually play for Spurs, but he used to. But having choosing (massively erroneously) to watch the United game, and only seeing highlights of the funfest at the Lane, I want to talk, just for a few seconds, about Michael Carrick.
The man is incredible. I am unsure if David Blaine could trick Fergie into selecting a midfielder based on these credentials. Carrick gave the ball away six times in the first half last night by my own counting, and consistently slows attacking moves down through his crab policy of sideways sideways sideways.
He offers little creatively and even less in the tackle.
This man has played 22 times for England. He was bought by Manchester United for a fee that could rise to £18.6million. That’s a lot of caps and a lot of money for a chocolate teapot.