Boom. Back down to earth with a mighty thud. What did we learn today? That Partey is Xhaka’s natural understudy. And that Jota should play for us.
Atkinson is a twat is another truism. We did not learn that today. How Partey picked up his first yellow is beyond me. Not that this explains the stupidity of the second tackle. That was a yellow all day long. So now he can go back to Ghana for a week. Not his most successful two weeks of football.
I love a Cigarette as much as the next man. But, really, as good as Liverpool are, if we swapped Jota and Cigarette we could also (possibly) have swapped the scores. Imagine if Jota had that chance in the second half? Do you think it would have ended up in the stands missing the target entirely? Me thinks not.
We start full of vim and vigor and had them on the back foot initially. But after 20 minutes we lost our way a little and then they started to come back into the game. But by half-time we’d had the better of the first half. Unfortunately, the 2nd half was the reverse.
Overall, the better team won. Of course. But we knew they were the better team beforehand. Because they are. It was noticeable though that some of our players were off the pace. Tommy kept slipping over and making little mistakes. And he faded as the game went on. He was clearly not match fit. The same was true of Odergaard. He started by actually making tackles but then also faded as the game went on. And Saka was marginalized on the right. I figure he was also impacted by the less than energetic Tommy.
The only one who ran like an Energizer battery was Martinelli. He also had a few chances. But unlike Cigarette, he’s a baby with many years ahead of him. But he ran AA raged for that first ½ hour.
Their first goal game against the run of play and was a little fortunate as that mis-hit shot wrong-footed everyone. And once we went 1-0 down you knew that was it as we barely could create chances.
This could have been our easiest route into Europe next year. Of course, it could also have just set us up for yet another League Cup final disappointment. So now our Arse-it continues. So I remain disappointed but optimistic. Directionally we’re still pointed upwards. This team is improving. If anything it amplifies Artetas’ achievement of winning the F A Cup in his first year with a much inferior team.
Now onto the blockheads from Burnley. And without Partey. Hopefully we won’t need that defensive cover. Today Sambi was pretty solid and dependable. And we’ll need the creative juices of Odergaard and ESR to unlock the Burnley brick wall. And we’ll need Cigarette to take his chances. You can see why we’re in the market for a striker. My preference has always been for additional midfield over – especially as we sent AMN into the jaws of Darth Vader. But, maybe, I was wrong (I know, I can’t believe I wrote that; I’m obviously emotionally distressed). Maybe if we had a Jota type figure we could win marginal games like these. The fact that ESR is our highest goal-scorer across all competitions is pretty telling.
So as I wipe away my tears I console myself that I won’t have to suffer through losing in another final and that the team will now channel their own disappointment into focusing on the League. I mean, there’s nothing else now. No more cups to distract us and wear down our squad. If we could just find a way to keep 11 players on the pitch for the entire game that would help. Though not having Atkinson ref our games would also help. I mean, really. What a wanker. In both games we had a player sent off? How is that possible? Neither game was dirty? So what are the odds of this happening? And people wonder why AFC fans are a little paranoid. We’re paranoid for a reason. I know I am. Actually, for many reasons. But that’s another story.