Mark Lawrenson’s Comedy Column – FA Cup Special
Bumper edition of valuable pedantry
I’ll be straight with you, although I knew that it was FA Cup weekend and knew that Thursday afternoon was the best time in my week (release date), I hadn’t put two and two together and realised we would be treated to a bumper edition of a Comedy Column.
So has Lawro stepped up to the plate, analysed the situation and made his case for the Monday Night Football anchor role? I’d rather have Ron Burgundy…
Everton v Chelsea
“Until Didier Drobga put them ahead against Bolton, there were no great signs that they were back on track.”
Well that is fairly harsh. It took ten and a half minutes for Chelsea to take the lead, and they didn’t exactly look rocky in that period.
Manchester United have only scored one goal earlier than that away from home this season, and when Chelsea score in the first 20 minutes in the league their aggregate score is 21-1. So fairly harsh to say:
“(the win) was more down to how bad Bolton were rather than anything out of the ordinary by Chelsea.”
Swansea City v Leyton Orient
“Swansea have been near the top of the Championship all season”
The first time Swansea were in the top five this season was the 16th October. Over two months after the start of the season. Maybe that’s why they’ve not been talked about.
Incidentally , Steve Claridge writes a column for the BBC Sport website about the Football League. Number of mentions of anything to do with Swansea since 4th November? One. Have a word Mark.
Aston Villa v Blackburn
“Villa boss Gerard Houllier has plenty of other match-winners fit and firing on all cylinders again.”
Firing on all cylinders? They have scored three goals in two games. One by Bent, one a penalty, and one which was a striker’s first of the season. One of the wins (Manchester City) was at best smash and grab.
They have still won three in twelve. Firing on all cylinders they are not.
Torquay United v Crawley Town
“It is amazing what Crawley are doing in the Blue Square Bet Premier”
It really isn’t amazing. The tactic of spend shitloads of money in an aim to gain success has been around a while Lawro, and is very much the 2 + 2 = 4 style of football ownership. Ask Chelsea. Or Man United. Or Man City. Or Real Madrid. Or Blackburn.
Arsenal v Leeds
“Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger might just have learned his lesson after Leeds came to the Emirates. Wenger probably messed around with his team a bit too much and he will probably pick a side to finish the job off first-time around on this occasion.”
Firstly, I don’t think he did “learn from his lesson”. Eight of the players selected for the Leeds game then started the replay, and finished off the job. Only Nasri, Koscielny and Sagna came in, and Sagna was suspended for the first game.
Secondly, Huddersfield are not Leeds. Wenger will play a very similar team to the Leeds games.
Wolves v Stoke
“Stoke made a whole host of changes for their replay win over Cardiff in the last round and I’d expect Potters boss Tony Pulis to do the same here because they have got a trip to Liverpool coming up on Wednesday.
So it might be a bit of a mix-and-match Stoke team whereas, with Wolves, I am not sure whether their manager Mick McCarthy will do the same.
Do Wolves, who are second-bottom of the Premier League, need a Cup run? No. But, by the same token, if a game is winnable like this one is, then why not win it? They should go for it, because a victory might create a bit of competition for places, plus some hunger and some confidence.”
So Stoke are playing Liverpool away and so will go under strength, despite being tenth in the league.
But Wolves will put put a full strength side, despite an away game at Bolton on Tuesday (day before Stoke’s game) which is a bigger game as Wolves are two points off safety. All because the game is “winnable”. Presumably the game isn’t “winnable” for Stoke.
I love laughable logic.
West Ham v Nottingham Forest
“Their manager, Avram Grant, seems reluctant to change things around when it needs to be done during a game.”
Number of substitutions used by Avram Grant in last six games: 17 out of a possible 18.
Sometimes the players just aren’t good enough.