The second round of matches took place in The Churchill Cup tonight and after two games we have surprise leaders. There was also a surprise guest at one of the games. Who was it? Find out below.
CELTIC ……………….. 1 NEWCASTLE UNITED ………………. 0
Celtic followed up their fine 1-1 draw with Manchester United with a 1-0 win over Newcastle. Celtic were meant to be the whipping boys in this section and with boss ruts 66 already a self confessed S&M addict, whipping boys suited him just fine but it has not turned out that way and with 4 points from 2 games they have surprised their critics. The first half was end to end with both teams having their chances but the goalkeepers were the outstanding men on the field with both making some fine saves.
The longer the game went on, the more likely it seemed one goal would settle it and that goal came on 63min when Niang’s strike found the top corner of the Newcastle net, sending Celtic Park wild. Newcastle could not find a response and to be truthful they were disappointing and didn’t seem to believe that they could get a result here. It wasn’t until the last 5 minutes that they put Celtic under pressure but Fernandez in the Celtic goal was in inspired form and the hosts held on to record another great result and we wonder if Celtic could be the shock side in this cup. We have been asked to point out that ruts 66 is NOT into S&M but is in fact into M&S which we believe is a totally different thing altogether. Personally I think the former is much less embarrassing.
MANCHESTER UNITED ……………….. 3 LIVERPOOL …………………. 1
There was a surprise guest in the V.I.P. section of the Old Trafford main stand for the match against Liverpool tonight. The main sponsor of this cup made an unexpected appearance but the fans were delighted to see Churchill, the star of the Churchill Insurance adverts, take his seat. Well they were delighted until Churchill’s real life owner told him to get down off the seat as he wasn’t allowed on the chairs at home so here would be no different. The game itself was predictable, with the current Top 100 Champions running out comfortable 3-1 winners against struggling for form Liverpool. It took only 2min for Depay to open the scoring with a low free kick beating Szczesny to his left and that was to set the pattern for the night. It was one way traffic towards the Liverpool goal for the whole of the first 45 with Depay and Rooney’s link up’s causing Liverpool all sorts of problems. Liverpool were so far out of the game that 11 dustbins would have put up a better show. Kinnear in the visitors dug out looked resigned to defeat apart from the couple of times that he broke out into a big smile when he looked up at Churchill in the main stand.
When Mata made it 2-0 straight from the second half kick off, we were prepared for more of the same but at last Liverpool started to try and play a bit of football. Whether it was United thinking the game was won that made Liverpool look better was unknown but it certainly looked that way. Sturridge managed to cause United some concern but he still couldn’t get the ball on target. It was game over on 69min when Depay added his own second and United’s third and at this stage Kinnear started throwing a ball down the touchline, urging Churchill to chase it. The celebrity pooch was unmoved – literally. Liverpool got on the scoresheet on 70min when Bender fired home after good work from Sturridge but it was little more than a consolation. The last 20 minutes provided very little of note and the game was brought to a close with United taking the points. Kinnear doesn’t have his troubles to seek at the moment and can’t buy a win. Is his job in danger? To find out you will have to read Gino’s Thursday Blog tomorrow. What? No advertising? Oops ok, sorry.
SUNDERLAND …………………. 2 EVERTON ………………….. 1
After their surprise(?) win at Liverpool last week, Sunderland played host to the other half of the city, Everton with the outcome being another great result, a result that sees them sitting at the top of the Churchill Cup North section. For Everton, it was their second defeat from two games but whereas last week they contributed nothing for over an hour, this time they made a game of it for the whole 90 minutes. The first ten minutes was much like a boxing match with both sides doing bit of sparring but Everton’s Reinartz took it too far and was yellow carded for a foul on Szalai. It was Everton who went in front through a Negredo goal on 18min with the striker fooling Pantilimon with what has been described as a deft flick but it could be typo and it could have actually been a daft flick. Really, Everton should have went on from there as they had Sunderland on the ropes and Negredo had more chances to extend the lead but he failed to take them.
The home side were struggling to get a foothold in the game and chances were scarce but that all changed after the break and whatever Wayne Bullough said to his side in the dressing room, it worked wonders. Sunderland won a free kick just seconds after the restart which Gomez sent into the Everton box. First man there was Szalai and his shot flew into the roof of the Everton net. The Toffees were rocked and Sunderland took control, denying Everton time and space and whatever else they had enjoyed in the first half, before going in front through Halilovic on 64 minutes. This brought Everton back to life but Sunderland shut up shop much to the annoyance of some fans that were still hungry. Back on the pitch, Sunderland fell much deeper and soaked up anything Everton could throw at them while still looking dangerous on the break. Time eventually ran out for Everton and Sunderland had now put both halves of Liverpool to the sword. Sunderland top the section after two games and no one could deny they deserve it.
CHELSEA ………………….. 0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR ……………… 2
The two winning sides from last week met at Stamford Bridge and it was Tottenham that ended the day on top of the section after a surprise 2-0 win. Chelsea had been in superb form last week with a 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa but tonight they met their match in a dogged Tottenham, who matched them all the way. Tottenham boss David The Squirrel Piero had no reason to go nuts tonight as for many periods in the game it was them that looked like the top flight side, leaving Chelsea to chase shadows. The Fox? His nickname is apparently The Fox and I was told this last week. Ok, I am sure I wasn’t but I will go with that. Ok, Chelsea boss James The Fox McKenzie (are you happy now?) couldn’t be too upset at his sides performance as they had their chances to score but a combination of bad luck and bad luck, with a little bad luck thrown in was their undoing.
The great Chelsea team, captained by The Ox, were my pre competition favourites to go all the way and I still think they will despite this loss to a very lucky Tottenham side. Both goals had a very lucky look about them with Dembele’s opener on 22min taking a lucky swerve that out-foxed Courtois and somehow ended up in the net but if you thought that was lucky you should have seen the second goal when Icardi sent a free kick, which was sooooo obviously a shot, into the middle and battered off the bum of Alderweirald before hitting a post and rolling over the line, just. I have no doubt that Chelsea will bounce back from this and go on and win the section and then the Cup and be Champions. David The Badger Piero’s side will crash and burn next week allowing Chelsea to go top and all will be well in the world. I will leave it at that. Go Chelsea!!
WEST HAM UNITED ……………. 2 ARSENAL …………………. 0
Ok, I have settled down now, thanks to something called Ritalin, whatever that is, and we move on to the East End of London where Arsenal made their debut in the Churchill Cup against West Ham. Arsenal were expected to do well in this competition and recently new manager Michael Bowes has done a good job since taking over but tonight they slipped to a disappointing defeat at the hands of their Fourth Division opponents and already find themselves with a lot to do to try and get out of this section behind the mighty Chelsea (sorry, sorry wont happen again) A boring first half seen next to nothing happen on the pitch although on 19 minutes a pigeon landed near the far corner flag and a huge debate opened around the ground as to whether it was a Woodpigeon or if it was actually a Rock Dove, which is very similar. The pigeon/dove walked around for a few seconds before flying off again and the attention turned back to the footy. That was it for the first half but things improved after the break. Well not for Arsenal obviously, as just three minutes into the half, Obiang fired a low shot into the bottom corner to give the Hammers the lead.
Bowes was out his dug-out giving his players his thoughts but considering it was he, who did the half time talk, then he had a bit of a cheek on him. Nicky Thomson was also out his dug-out but he was celebrating the opener along with the West Ham fans and for a moment Bowes eyes met Thomson’s eyes and the whole ground froze as one, expecting the worse. Both managers returned to their respective dug outs though and calm was restored. Arsenal hit back and at last, looked a first division side but, against the run of play, West Ham went 2-0 ahead. Obiang again did the damage and he showed his versatility after the goal which could get him into trouble with the SMFA. The referee told him to tuck his versatility away and the game restarted. At 2-0 down, Arsenal accepted that they were on the end of a shock defeat which was fine by me since they knocked Liverpool out of the Shield during the week. A great result for West Ham that will elevate Nicky Thomson to legendary status in the East End and his photo is expected to appear in the Queen Vic alongside Dirty Den and Phil Mitchell. For Michael Bowes, he has to try and lift his side for the league match at Manchester United tonight.
That’s it for Matchday 2 in the Churchill Cup. For full tables, go to the Churchill Cup tab at the top of the page. I will be back next week with Matchday 3 and we should know a lot more as to who is likely to qualify for the play off stage of the competition.
No offence is intended to any manager in this article. Thanks for reading.