PUN-ting ahead 05 (4-6/JAN/13) – “Romantic Football?” Edition

ROMANCE & FOOTY???….. Agreed, these two words do not instantaneously form an easy combination, (unless of course Cupid converts his skills as a marksman to use them as a football prodigy),…BUT from this weekend onwards I will bet my last Zim-dollar that these two words (along with David & Goliath) and their different derivatives will be spewed from the mouths, and written into the texts, of fellow PUN-dits and FAN-dits, and all because of one reason. The world’s oldest, and most famous football cup competition, The F.A. Cup, is back.  To be fair this is already the 3rd round, BUT it’s the inclusion of English Premier League teams on the fixtures list alongside football minnows that now makes it worthy of our attention.  These apparent mismatches, on paper, provide the backdrop of the romantic slant that will grip the fans. Cue the romantic background music.  The F.A. Cup is romantic because, just like the relational love infused equivalent, there is a sense of inexplicable hope.  Hope that somehow this could be the year that a particular footballing community will experience its own Cinderella story.  One where the rural squares up to the urban, rich entertains the poor, amateur tackles the professional, the haves get served by the have-nots.  It is romantic because, for at least 90 minutes some of these teams will indeed bear, believe, endure & hope all things to the point of hoping that they may just inexplicably conquer all.  BUT….(scratch away the romantic music) it is also romantic because of its capacity to upset!  And booooooy can The F.A. Cup upset.  The much fancied teams will be hoping that they do not have to endure the heart-break of failing to negotiate their way past less fancied opponents, who have proven to be tricky banana skins in the past.  Some infamous 3rd round F.A. Cup slip-ups include:-

  • 1984 – Manchester United (then in the top flight and also being Defending F.A. Cup Champions) being deposed 2-0 by 3rd division outfit A.F.C. Bournemouth.
  • 1992 – The Arsenal (the then Reigning 1st Division Champions) were defeated 2-1 by Wrexham (who had come bottom of the Football League, that is the 4th Division)

So this week’s post is mainly dedicated to the match-ups that will provide the greatest chance for a spectacular upset, that will lead to more people experiencing what Lady Gaga has called… A Bad Romance.

FOOTY

F.A. CUP:-

Brighton & Hove Albion -v- Newcastle United 

Biblical Comparison:- David -v- Goliath (without his spear).

Brighton (9th in Championship) are 14 places below The Magpies, BUT now that Demba Ba has taken his goal scoring talents (which had contributed a Premier League high 48% of Newcastle’s league goals) to Chelsea this tie might be closer.  The Seagulls will also draw more confidence from the fact that they beat Newcastle 1-0 last year in last year’s F.A. Cup 4th round.

My PUNt = Brighton & Hove Albion will earn themselves a lucrative “second date” via a replay at St James’ Park after a SCORE DRAW!

 

Crawley Town -v- Reading

Biblical Comparison:- David (with a sore arm) -v- Goliath (with cheap armour)

33 places separate Crawley Town (8th in League One) and Reading (19th in the Premiership) and even though Crawley Town boast a record of 6 wins in their last 7 F.A. Cup matches, this should be a bridge too far for them.  If only they could borrow a few players from the other team they share their Red Devils nickname with, that would improve their odds.

My PUNt = COMFORTABLE WIN FOR READING!

 

Tottenham Hotspur -v- Coventry City

Biblical Comparison:- Goliath (in a military tank) -v- David (using a borrowed slingshot due to financial difficulties)

The Sky Blues will forever cherish the time they triumphed over Spurs in the 1987 F.A. Cup.  That match ended with Coventry City lifting their only major trophy as they emerged as 3-2 victors.  That, though, was then & this is now.  In the here and now Spurs are 3rd in the Premiership, with Coventry City languishing in mid-table obscurity in League One, a whole 52 places behind Spurs!!

My PUNt = Seeing as Spurs have won ALL of the last 6 encounters with Coventry City (scoring 8 goals without reply in the last 3 matches), the result should be A RUNAWAY WIN FOR TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR!!  Otherwise Goliath will probably be investigated for possible simulation if he was otherwise struck down by a bolt from the (sky) blue.

 

Mansfield Town -v- Liverpool

Biblical Comparison:- David (too old and frail to even load his sling) -v- Goliath (battle weary & less intimidating, BUT still sees himself as a giant, which is all that matters) 

They may be a mere 5 years younger than Liverpool, having been “birthed” in 1897, but that is pretty much as close as The Stags of Mansfield Town will ever come to being in the same fold as The mighty Reds.  7 F.A. Cup trophies mean that Liverpool will always have the pedigree to match up favourably against any opponent in this competition, and when you throw in the FACT that they made it all the way to the final last season it is easier to back them even more.  Oh, not to mention the FACT that The Stags (9th in The Conference) are a mammoth 93 places behind Liverpool.

My PUNt = They may Never Walk Alone, BUT not many of the Merseysiders will be accommodated in the 10,000 capacity Field Mill Ground (which is currently limited to 7,574).  That means that the travelling fans will be limited to generating only a tenth of the atmosphere that will be cranked up in their following away fixture, (at the 75,765 capacity Old Trafford)….BUT that should be enough to inspire A GIANT WIN FOR LIVERPOOL!

 

QUICK PUNts

  1. Cheltenham Town -v- Everton (F.A. Cup) –  The Robins of Cheltenham Town will be hoping that The Dark Knight Rises to their defense, and pulls them out of this sticky situation. Otherwise the 7,066 fans who will cram into the Whaddon Road Ground will witness an everTON of goals in a SWEET VICTORY FOR THE TOFFEES!
  2. Southampton -v- Chelsea (F.A. Cup) – Chelsea boasts an impressive 19 wins from their last 22 F.A. Cup matches (including winning the Final last year).  Demba Ba is now in their ranks so, unless divine intervention of biblical proportions comes through, I guess Saturday will be “OH WHEN The Saints Go MARCHING Ooooout…!”  (otherwise a consecutive defeat for Gaffer Rafa will result in PUN-demonium #JambanjaKuSaintMary’s)
  3. West Ham -v- Manchester United (F.A. Cup) – The Hammers are a formidable team at home and they should be more than capable of extending Manchester United’s Bad Romance with the F.A. Cup (which, though being temporarily suspended the 2004/4 winning run, started in 2000 when United gave it the cold shoulder while opting to go off to sunny Brazil for the inaugural Club World Cup). Big Sam’s boys will HAMMER OUT A LOW SCORE DRAW!
  4. Swansea -v- Arsenal (F.A. Cup) – The Swans have had the measure of The Arsenal in recent times, winning their last two league encounters.  Were it not for the distraction of a midweek Capital One Cup Semi-final 1st leg versus Chelsea, I would be easily PUNting some more cup-drama for The Arsenal.  BUT The Swans will most probably prioritise the lesser cup, which should result in A HIGH SCORING NARROW WIN FOR THE ARSENAL!

NB* majority of quoted football stats above were sourced from www.whoscored.com.

 

So the potential of there being several HEZV-Oh.M.G!! moments in next week’s review Blog-post is certainly there.  Should some giants be slain, a lot of fans, players and managers will have to put on their bravest P-p-p-p-Poker-p-p-Poker Faces!! BUT until then hopefully y’all will still have enough love to …….PardonthePUN-dit!

Keep your eyes peeled for a new PUNk of the week, debuting in the next SUP-Aa?! SLOW-MO REVIEW.

Be Great!

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