Match Report & Day: EFL Cup Final City 1 Spurs 0 (predictable).

Match Report & Day: EFL Cup Final City 1 Spurs 0 (predictable).

A great day, foreseeable result.

Saturday and the Lateral Flow Test.

My adventure started off on the day before the cup final. Three-thirty to be precise; that was the time I had my “Lateral Flow Test”. Even though I was anxious (without a positive result, I couldn’t go to the final) the test went OK. I was told instantly that it was negative, but I waited in my car for the test results to come through (if it wouldn’t have gone through, then I would have had to go back inside to chase them up). Thirty minutes on the dot, it came through. What a relief!

Sunday

Got up at 7 am to go to the gym for an hour. Got home, showered and waited for the clock to reach 12 noon, then I was off to the land of dreams (or it will be for one of the teams). I was picked up by Mel, who lives in Bristol. Interestingly, as he was driving down the M4 (before he got to me), who should pass him, none other than Garth Bale (I wonder where he was going!).

We picked a good day to go to Wembley; half the Motorway was closed off, so plenty of detours. Then traffic hold-ups. We did stop on the way for a coffee. Finally got to Wembley about 1.30ish. Mel had a parking spot on somebody’s drive, then fourteen minutes walk to the stadium. It was a brisk walk, one a cribble (me) and Mel a champion race-walker (or so it seemed to my slow tortoise pace). To be fair, Mel walked at my slow speed (thanks!).

Met Colin and Terry at Wembley’s Box Park. We ordered (through the phone) our drinks (where we sat outside). Waited 30 minutes for the drinks to come. It was really great to see them and others we knew who stopped by our table to chat. The last time I had seen them was in Leipzig, Germany (which was our last game before COVID).

I was asked for my prediction. Even though I had said in my Match Preview blog that I was going for a 2-1 result, I wasn’t that confident (I wasn’t prepared to give a prediction favouring the City-slickers). I thought if we were going to win, it would be through luck, not because of team quality. I might as well have tossed a coin and said, “Heads, we win, tails we lose”. My gut said we would lose, my heart hoped we would win. After about an hour of chat, laughs, and just being glad to see old friends, we then made our way to the stadium.

Programmes

One sad thing (at least for me), no programmes on sale anywhere. In fact, at this point in time, I am not even sure if any had been printed for this match. I’ve never gone to a game without getting a programme.

First up; lateral Flow test checks.

We got to the first security point (at the bottom of the stairs to Wembley), where security asked everybody to get their phones ready, then, as we passed through, they checked them for the text test negative results. To quote or paraphrase Catherine Tate’s “Nan” character, “What a waste of fucking time.” They glanced, yes, glanced at the phone and then let you pass—no checks on whether the dates were correct. I could have taken the test a week earlier and got through. A total joke!

Then there were protesters with flags and banners with “Enic Out” on them, between the two security walls.

Into the stadium

We were in the Green Zone. At the entrance, the security guard ordered “keep your distance,” but before that, everybody was milling together, and even inside. Once through the turnstiles,  bag check (which was a bit more thorough), and then we made our way to the food bar for something to eat and drink. Saw more old friends, touched knuckles (instead of shaking hands), chatted and laughed. Thirty minutes before kick-off, we made our way to our seats. Mine was third from the front, where I saw more friends (people who sat near me at the Tottenham stadium).

Now to the depressing part; the match

I say, depressing… but like all games, at the start, you have high hopes, no matter how bad you had done previously. And a lot happened to us previously. The Super League fiasco protests to get the Chairman out, sacking Mourinho and Levy putting somebody in charge who was still wet behind the ears; who had never managed any league team in any division anywhere on the planet. Yes, we had high hopes of winning this tournament – in our dreams. But reality quickly set in.

Spoiler (if you are living in another dimension and don’t know the result)

Yes, the City-Titty-Slickers  won the League Cup for a record-equalling fourth time in succession with a victory over a very disappointing (and I am being generous here) Spurs side at Wembley.

It was City defender Aymeric Laporte, who was fortunate to be on the pitch after escaping a yellow card in the first half before being cautioned after the break, rose above Moussa Sissoko to head home Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick eight minutes from time. Funny enough, two minutes before that goal went in, I had said that whoever would score next would win this game (low and behold, City scored).

City created the chances and dominated us from the beginning. We didn’t enjoy any sort of positive reaction from sacking Jose Mourinho on Monday and replacing him with Ryan Mason. The way things panned out does make you wonder why Levy sacked Pochettino in the first time. If he had been given proper funds, things might have turned out differently. All roads lead back to Daniel Levy.

The final was played in front of 8,000 supporters, including 2,000 from each club – and it was a great pleasure to hear the noise inside Wembley’s enormous arena once again

My thoughts

Levy’s big gamble fails to pay off

It has been an eventual few days for us, the supporters, and the team, with Mourinho’s astonishing dismissal at the start of a week in which we were attempting to win Levy’s second major trophy while he has been in charge. Then Daniel Levy and the club’s hierarchy became a target for criticism over the club’s involvement in the European Super League debacle.

One of the first chants I could hear going around the stadium was ‘We want Levy out’.

It was a bloody gamble to remove Mourinho, who has a track record of success on these sort of occasions – and replace with an inexperienced boy. We were insipid, lacklustre and have no complaints about the result. Again I am being kind here.

As for Harry Kane, there was injury doubt whether he would appear,  but was named to start. He looked well off the pace and stayed down on a couple of occasions after challenges. He made minimal impact on the game, but he was not alone in that respect.

After the game, I saw Son in tears on the pitch.

Mason commented after our humiliation: “It hurts. I’ve been sitting there as a player, I’ve played for this football club and lost a final, I know what it’s like, I know that feeling. It’s normal that they’re hurting. It’s normal, because it shows that they care. I think we saw that today, they gave absolutely everything, 100% commitment. City are a great side, an incredible team, but I think our group of players gave everything with what they have had to deal with in seven days. That is something to be proud of. 

Stats

We have ended as runners-up in five of our six finals this century, failing to score in each of their past four

Manchester City secured their eighth League Cup title, the joint-most alongside Liverpool. They are the second team to win the competition in four consecutive campaigns (Liverpool, 1981-1984).

Only the Gooners (six) have lost more League Cup finals than us(five), with us now losing each of our last three finals in the competition (2008-09 v Man Utd and 2014-15 v Chelsea).

Ryan Mason became the youngest manager to take charge of a League Cup final (29 years, 316 days), surpassing Gianluca Vialli with Chelsea in 1998 (33 years, 263 days).

What’s next for us? God knows!

We host the Premier League’s bottom side Sheffield United on Sunday, 2 May (19:15 BST) with the inexperienced Mason still in charge. I would presume that Sheffield United will think that their luck just might be in for this match.

After the game, we watched the players on the field presented with their medals, chatted, said our goodbyes to Terry and Colin, and then we made our long walk back to where we had parked. On the way home I had an interesting discussion with Mel. I got home at about 8.30ish. Totally exhausting day, and I didn’t get up until  8 the following day.

I don’t have high hopes for the rest of the season, with the shambles we’ve witnessed off and on the field.

Has your eye’s seen the Glory? If yes (or even no) click HERE and follow the link, then they will and for those that are longer in the tooth…. be prepared to be dazzled all over again!

Take care and be safe, Glenn

COYS!