Day: April 10, 2010

Match Of The Week: Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea

The gap may not seem to be as big as it was a year or two again, but it still clearly exists. As Aston Villa and Chelsea line up at – ridiculously – Wembley Stadium for their FA Cup semi-final this afternoon, both clubs have a lot on their mind. Chelsea followed up the disappointment of being knocked – quite comprehensively, as things turned out – out of the Champions League with one of their best performances of the season, with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford last weekend. Still, though, the Premier League title race (which, we can reasonably assume, will now start to matter that bit more now that all of its protagonists are out of Europe for this season) is still wide open between Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. For Chelsea, though, any league and cup double would be a first. Aston Villa, meanwhile, are starting to give the impression of having had a disappointing season. They have been eclipsed as the team most likely to break into the Champions League Four by Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. They reached the League Cup final but couldn’t see off Manchester United and Europe didn’t reap them any rewards either. An FA Cup final win would be massive progress for them, but such are the thin margins between success and failure in football these days would probably result...

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Portsmouth’s FA Cup Semi-Final: The Last Days Of Rome?

It is perhaps symptomatic of the times that at least one of this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals has seen the majority of the previews unable to properly be able to focus on the football itself. Given the nature of Harry Redknapp’s departure from Fratton Park and subsequent arrival at White Hart Lane, the match between Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth was always going to be a loaded affair, but the financial shenanigans at Portsmouth this season, the club’s entry into administration and its status as the poster club for financial mismanagement in recent years has meant that the light being shone upon this particular match is harsher than most. Harry Redknapp has been characteristically bullish over press questioning his time in charge at the club. In an interview reported in The Guardian this morning, he made it pretty clear where he feels the responsibility for the club’s current problems lay when he stated that, “The problem was that the owner when I was there, Sacha Gaydamak, suddenly lost interest and stopped putting money in”. It is probably fair to say that, at Portsmouth, the responsibility for the club’s purse strings should have rested with those running the club. However, the list of correlation between Harry Redknapp and subsequent financial crisis remains a damning one. There is a clear line in the sand to draw between managers that frequently...

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