Monday, February 23, 2009

EPL Liveblog: Hull City v. Tottenham Hotspur

Sorry Likely Lad... Spurs' Glory Days are just as far back in history

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? Why do we continually subject our souls to this pain and suffering?

I'm not talking about the dismal weekend that just passed, aka "The Weekend the EPL Died", but the unenviable task of liveblogging a game between two teams about as attractive as Dirk Kuyt, and about as successful too.

It's the Battle of 13th vs. 16th!

Why do all signs point to this being awful? Well, Hull have lost 6 of their last 9 in the EPL (the other 3 games being draws, one of which was probably against Liverpool), and it's becoming increasingly difficult to remember the halcyon days of late October, when Hull were perched in 3rd place having accumulated 20 of their 29 points. Since then? 9 points from a possible 48.

Meanwhile, Spurs are sitting on pillows after the "Rape at Donetsk" and 'Arry tinkers with the lineup ahead of the Carling Cup Final on Sunday. Oh, and they've only managed 1 EPL win in their last 9.

I fear the worst.

Join me after the jump for tons of words describing the eye-bleeding nightmare from the KC Stadium. Here's hoping Spurs find some form before trying to topple Sir Alex Ferguson's Quintuple-Chasing Jenga.

Starting Lineups:
Hull City, in a "park the bus" 4-4-2: Duke, Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Marney, Ashbee, Zayatte, Kilbane, Garcia, Cousin.

Subs: Myhill, Doyle, Barmby, Geovanni, Halmosi, Manucho, Mendy.

Tottenham, in some kind of attacky, diamond 4-4-2, maybe: Cudicini, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Keane, Bent.
Subs: Gomes, Zokora, Bentley, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko, Dawson, Chimbonda.

Referee: Lee Probert

Spurs are mired in rotations, so Keane and Bent will have a crack up-front while Gomes gets some rest ahead of Sunday, presumably because picking the ball out of the net 4-5 times against United will prove quite energy-sapping.

Hull, meanwhile, have dropped Geovanni and Mendy to the bench (why, I'm not quite sure; they're two of Hull's best players) and brought in Kevin "The Human Mule" Kilbane and Ian Ashbee, presumably to kick lumps out of Luka's legs while holding down the midfield.

We're almost ready for kickoff... Phil is right to feel dread. After all, Hull's PA system is playing that ominous song by Fatboy Slim/DJ Shadow/RJD2 (I forget who it is... sad, I know) that gets all the Northerners reet fired up for a good evenin' out.

Big Sam is in attendance, presumably with a few Sudoku puzzles tucked in his pocket for the dull moments when he's not scouting Blackburn's next EPL opponent.

And there's Robbie Keane with the armband, trying to get the lads fired up in the tunnel. And a Nick Barmby sighting!

As the teams spill out, I think I hear that dreadful song by one-hit "wonders" (and I use the term loosely) Republica. It's hard to find a worse song than that one. Really.

For further proof, consult the video:

Nevermind that, we're ready for kick-off!

1 min: Hull kick off, and immediately hoof it forward. Why am I not surprised?

3 mins: There's Bernard Mendy, warming up after arriving late (thanks, Ibra). Hull win their first corner, which Andy Dawson readies to take...

... and it coulda-woulda-shoulda been 1-0 Tigers! An unmarked header for Richard Garcia in the thick of the six-yard box, but he puts it off-target and despite good work by Gardner to keep it in, the chance is gone.

6 mins: Sam Ricketts does his best Jose Bosingwa impression, sprinting free down the right but failing to do anything with the possession. Spurs clean it up, and then Andy Dawson comes in late on Aaron Lennon, but gets no card.

8 mins: Nevermind, as Dawson gets his card barely a minute later, needlessly shoving Lennon to the floor after he beats him inside for pace. Spurs now have 82 minutes to get Dawson sent off, as he's clearly up for it.

10 mins: Some pressure for Spurs, with their second corner in quick succession. Modric ruined the first one, so he'll try again. It's cleared easily by Kamil Zayatte.

Palacios and Zayatte clash heads, and both appear to be a little dazed. Sorry lads, you're not hallucinating or concussed: you are actually playing in a Hull v. Spurs match on a Monday night.

12 mins: Hull are camping down at Tottenham's end with some good pressure. Corluka gives up a couple of throw-ins, and then concedes a corner under pressure from Cousin. LFC should buy Ricketts, because he is a full-back who appears to be able to cross the ball. Jenas heads over his own bar for the 3rd Hull corner already. Dawson takes, and Woodgate nods it away.

16 mins: Communication Breakdown, it's always the saaaaaaame.... especially when you're Spurs. A speculative long ball by Ricketts brings Cudicini off his line to collect, but Jonathan Woodgate has other ideas! He flicks it back to his keeper but it ends up flying past Carlo's shoulder and slowly towards goal. Luckily for Wooders, Cudicini gets back just in time to stop it going in.

Good spell of pressure for Hull, and Spurs don't appear that capable of stopping them. I repeat: Phil, you were right to be worried.

16 mins: Hull have a couple of shots at goal, to no avail. Spurs break down the other end via Darren Bent, but Gardner tackles him perfectly in the box and concedes a corner.

Modric to take...

... GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, and that takes the pressure off, doesn't it? Some dreadful, dreadful defending from the short corner catches Hull out. Modric plays it short to Aaron Lennon standing all alone at the top of the box, and no-one closes him down. He controls and shoots, curling it inside the left post with only Ian Ashbee making the effort to stop him. Pathetic effort at the back by Hull. Hull City 0, Tottenham Hotspur 1

18 mins: Hull come close to equalizing immediately! Zayatte gets through on goal, miraculously, burning past Corluka, but his touch on the ball is lead-footed and Cudicini slide-tackles the ball to safety.

20 mins: The Tigers aren't entirely done yet, but Ashbee's lucky to escape a yellow card with a cynical late tackle on Keane when it looked like Hull's defense was beaten yet again. If Ashbee doesn't trip Robbie, then Darren Bent is 1-on-1 with the goalie. Having said that, there's no guarantee that Bent would finish even with those good odds.

23 mins: Saying the game had become "scrappy" would be an understatement. Darren Bent thinks he's won another corner, but the ref says it's a throw. It was obviously a corner, for those keeping score at home. That's how unexciting things are at the moment.

The last 5 minutes, in bullet-point:

- throw-in
- throw-in
- corner
- tackle
- free-kick
- throw-in
- sideways passing
- complete and utter boredom

26 mins: Ugly stuff. Hull get a move going with a long ball to Cousin. He holds it up and gives it to Ricketts wide. His cross is ballooning a mile away from goal, but Corluka decides to thigh it behind for a corner, just to make sure. They waste that one, but then win another corner as Ashbee's cross gets deflected behind...

GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, Michael Turner. It all comes back to that needless corner conceded by Corluka. The theme of the day is "absolutely woeful defending".

On corner #2, Cudicini shows why he's better off collecting paychecks on the bench for the better part of a decade, coming to collect the corner but muffing it miserably. It takes a knock towards goal, and Turner bundles it in. Is it just me, or should Spurs spend 50 million pounds on Iker Casillas? Nevermind, it wouldn't make a lick of difference. I'm beginning to think there's a curse on Spurs goalkeepers. Hull City 1, Tottenham Hotspur 1

Definitely one of the worst goals you'll see all season.

28 mins: Danny Cousin attempts to atone for the ugly goal by ripping a wicked shot from 20-odd yards, but it's narrowly wide of the post. Good effort.

30 mins: Another corner for Spurs. Modric delivers right in the danger area, but Woodgate's flick lands at Ledley King's feet. From 8 yards out, he does what you'd expect him to do: spoon it over the bar.

33 mins: Hull with more good pressure. I'd put money on 'em scoring again before Spurs do. The last 10 minutes have seen Hotspur playing headless chickens while Hull try to grit, spirit and hustle the ball into the net.

Dean Marney lofts a cross to the back post, but Garcia can only half-volley it wide.

'Arry looks livid on the sidelines. I don't think he's happy with his squad. AGAIN. Expect the post-game chatter to involve him eviscerating the old boss for the players he's now forced to work with.

37 mins: Spurs' midfield has become as effective as wet toilet paper. Palacios loses possession and Hull break with Garcia, but his through-ball to Cousin was too heavy, not that it mattered; Danny C was a mile offside.

Spurs have subs warming up already. Both Dawson and Pavlyuchenko have been forced to jog and tip-toe down the sideline. Will we see the rare sub before half-time that isn't due to injury?

39 mins: THERE! I SEE ROBBIE KEANE WITH BALL AT HIS FEET! He gives it to Aaron Lennon, presumably so he doesn't have to do anything, and Lennon wins a corner. Modric tries it short again as the Tigers only send one out to defend, but it is cleared rather easily. Don't bring that weak cross action into Michael Turner's house.

40 mins: Ahh, a shame, that. Hull with another great move, cued by another good, strong run by Sam Ricketts. He played Marney free wide on the right and continued his run, meeting Marney's cross in the middle but it was just an inch too high for him. His free, open header ends up wide of Cudicini's goal.

42 mins: Ian Ashbee shows why he's the Hull captain, lumbering into Modric's stomach/forehead with his boot and getting a yellow card for his neanderthal challenge. Spurs put the free-kick deep, but Keane-o is offside. Whoops, Robbie.

44 mins: It's all rather frantic in the midfield as Hull throw themselves at the ball with every opportunity, breaking up the middle yet again with Kevin Kilbane. Modric trips him for no apparent reason (Kilbane was all alone moving forward), and gets himself a yellow card. Dean Marney and co. stand over the ball, 30 yards out, ready to take.

Andy Dawson takes it with his left foot and bends it high and wide over the top.

2 minutes to be added on... I wish it weren't true.

45 mins + 1: Robbie Keane is whistled for a foul in the Hull area, much to his amazement. That spell at Liverpool has done wonders for his confidence.

Darren Bent is then caught offside in pursuit of a long ball, surely meaning the end of this first half. I really hope it is the end.

HALF TIME: Hull City 1, Tottenham Hotspur 1
Not the worst match I've ever seen, but it's coming close. The Tigers are running rampant in midfield, but only have that one bundled goal to show for it. Meanwhile, Robbie Keane and Darren Bent have shown themselves to be complete and utter shit.

To illustrate, another song from the melodically-challenged band, Republica:

The combination of that needless techno beat, mixed with those lazy pop-rock guitars, makes me want to murder Lucas Leiva Andrea Dossena someone.

And we are back.

48 mins: Spurs win a corner off Turner and take it short to Lennon, but he wastes it. It's cleared as far as Jenas, and he does more than he's done all day, skipping past one challenge and crossing from the byline, but Zayatte heads it out for a corner.

Spurs try the same trick, taking it short to Jenas who's standing much where Lennon was when he scored, but it amounts to nothing. Still, Hull fail to clear, and Bent forces a decent save with a low volley.

The Tigers counter and win a corner of their own, the 13th corner of the game.

Cudicini makes a mess of it again, and it drops to Kilbane who shoots on the turn, blocked at the last second by Lennon.

51 mins: But wait, another Spurs corner! Zayatte clears it without too much trouble.

52 mins: It's all happening now! The corner is cleared as far as Robbie Keane. The Irishman dribbles to the edge of the box and cuts it back for Palacios, and his volley is blocked by Antony Gardner. The defender didn't know much about that, considering the speed on the shot... surely a goal if Gardner's chest didn't absorb that one...

... and it's another Spurs corner. It's cleared after Jenas fluffs his shot, but it comes to Modric, who dribbles past Turner but takes one too many touches and puts his cross/shot over the bar. Goal kick Hull, and a temporary lull in the flurry of corner kicks.

55 mins: Duke shanks a backpass right to Robbie Keane, and in trying to lob the keeper, he chips it 10 yards wide of the post. Not good, Robbie. I wonder which of 'Arry's relatives could have scored that. His nan? his aunt?

It's all Spurs thus-far in the second half, which inevitably means they'll concede a goal shortly.

57 mins: Lennon has a chance to run straight at the Hull defense, but he takes a touch too many and feeds Bent wide, but Bent's pull-back is smothered by the goalie.

Then, at the other end, Cudicini tries to mess up a decent cross from Dean Marney, not catching it but punching it down into the turf right in front of Cousin before collecting it on the bounce.

Another Spurs corner! I cannot keep up. Modric wastes it.

59 mins: Darren Bent can't control the long ball, and the video cuts to a crimson-faced 'Arry on the touchline, gesticulating wildly and yelling to anyone who will listen.

Hull win a corner off Ledley King, and it's Marney to take from the left...

... Cudicini bitch-slaps it to safety, and when Ricketts floats it back in, Gardner is a mile offside and the danger disappears.

Spurs break with Lennon in the middle, and Palacios wins ANOTHER CORNER when his weak cross is deflected behind. Don't worry Tigers fans... Modric wastes it.

It's alright though, as they win another f*cking corner off Sam Rickett's back. Modric puts it to the back post, where Darren Bent fouls in the air. Dismal. By my count, 22 corners thus far?

63 mins: Nothing of note happening. Just more wasted corners and long throw-ins. Spurs do at least have some stability in the midfield so far in the second half, but they're doing as much with it as Hull, that is to say, nothing.

Dear oh dear, Aaron. With a good, quick attack, Lennon cuts it back to the top of the box, where it finds Ian Ashbee. Hull break down the left with Dean Marney, but Kilbane puts the header into the side netting from close range.

66 mins: Lennon is bundled down 25 yards out, and Modric actually delivers a good cross. He floats it onto Corluka's noggin, but his free header skims off the top of the bar. Nice work by the Croat duo.

Phil Brown takes a second to make a substitution, removing Daniel Cousin in favour of Bernard "Tardy" Mendy. Here comes the 4-5-1, folks...

70 mins: It's become very sloppy. A few fouls, a throw-in here and there. Robbie Keane just lost possession in the Hull area while trying to make room to shoot, and Pavlyuchenko is ready to enter the fray at the next stoppage.

But who will he replace? Bent, or Keane? Which storyline will the press harp on endlessly in response?

72 mins: Yep, and it's Dazza Bent. An utterly crap game by the No. 10, and here comes a Spurs striker lacking in confidence to replace a Spurs striker lacking in confidence. The other Spurs striker lacking in confidence is still on the pitch, while the only Spurs striker with confidence continues to rehab his injury. Hilarious, really.

74 mins: Corner to Hull, after great defending by Ledley King to deny Marney some room.

It's corner #20, so I was wrong earlier.

Mendy fouls Palacios, apparently, although it looked like the Spurs midfielder wrapped himself around Bernard's legs first. That said, it doesn't matter. The long ball to Pavs is a waste, as the Russian is offside.

Discussion Question:
Which Russian striker will have more of an impact in the EPL over time? Arshavin, or Pavlyuchenko?

76 mins: Corner #21, this one for the home side. What will they do with this one? Andy Dawson to take...

... so close!! Kamil Zayatte has a free header, and puts hit off the far post with Cudicini beaten. Hull have Corner #22 immediately, but Zayatte puts that free header agonizingly wide.

Darren Bent is on the bench icing the side of his head, presumably to soothe the perforated eardrum he just received from a furious 'Arry. The cold stops the bleeding, apparently.

79 mins: Hull make another substitution, bringing off an exhausted Dicky Garcia and putting Manucho on for the final 10 minutes.

80 mins: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzHull caught offsidezzzzzzzzzzz

Tonight's attendance was almost 25,000. I am amazed.

Mendy's offside again, and the vein in Phil Brown's temple begins to bulge ominously. He's not happy, and neither am I... this game has been rubbish since half-time.

82 mins: Dean Marney has time and space to run and shoot, but it's blocked by Woodgate for a throw-in.

Andy Dawson has a head injury, as he dared to clash with the mighty Pavlyuchenko. He looks alright, however. It's the rest of us that are worse for wear.

85 mins: Pressure for Spurs, as Duke slices his clearance out for a throw-in. Jenas has a shot, but Gardner gives up another corner.

Modric to take short to Lennon...

... and GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL. The most undeserved goal in the history of anything ever. The corner is bungled, as one might expect, but Assou-Ekotto picks up the pieces, loses his marker on the left wing, and floats in a wonderful cross that Jonathan Woodgate powers in at the far post. Not much Hull's backline could do about that, but shit... the law of averages would dictate that after some 14-odd corners, you'd get one right. Hull City 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Phil Brown puts on Giovanni to replace Zayatte, as a desperate late move.

'Arry puts Zokora on to protect the lead, removing Aaron Lennon.

88 mins: Woodgate cannot stop putting his head on things! After meeting that BAE cross a minute ago, he puts his head on Corluka's elbow and splits his eyebrow open. Claret spilled everywhere! 'Arry brings him off and gives Michael Dawson a run-out, against his brother. What intrigue!

90 mins: Cudicini does well under a cross for once, leaping and holding onto the ball under pressure from Marney.

4 minutes of added time, and if the result holds, a cruel twist of fate for a Hull side that looked good value for at least a point.

90 mins + 2: CORNER FOR HULL. Can they steal an equalizer?

The cross is met by Cudicini's fist, but Spurs can't scramble it too far from goal and Robbie Keane gives up a throw-in deep at the Spurs end.

It's cleared to Andy Dawson, but he puts a cross out for a Spurs goalkick. D'oh.

90 mins + 3: This is it, folks! 70 seconds from victory for a crap Spurs team that'll have trouble keeping the score under double digits on Sunday. I will be sure to report back, as I'll actually be at that game. Should be good.

A long ball into the Spurs box is flicked on as far as Geovanni, but he can't meet the flick and Cudicini collects.

FULL TIME: Hull City 1, Tottenham Hotspur 2
A rubbish game of football, but Spurs get a win thanks to Woodgate's forehead. The home crowd boo and hiss, while 'Arry and his limp-wristed lads climb up to 14th.

The winless streak for the Tigers continues, and Spurs are now 5 points clear of the drop. I'm not entirely convinced they'll avoid it, but this massive away win will help.

I'm off to bathe in chloroform to get the stink off. I feel dirty for having watched that. Thanks for playing along in the comments!


The NY Kid said...

WTF? I need points from Geovanni after slipping behind TFA in our fantasy footy!

I must protest!

Mike Georger said...

"Spurs' Glory Days are just as far back in history"

Um clearly you don't realize they won the Carling Cup last year.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Georger: that's hardly glory.

phil said...

I have a feeling of dread about this match.

Mike Georger said...

I was going to respond to that by saying 'I was being sarcastic', but really I'm not sure if I was, because that IS glory for them.

Ibracadabra said...

why is Mendy on the bench? He's the only Hull player who possesses the pace to keep up with Lennon.

Bigus Dickus said...

Hey Lingering.....Who's going to the Carling Cup final next weekend?

Lingering Bursitis said...

Bigus: I believe you & I!

Lingering Bursitis said...

Ibra: I have no clue. It could be that Hull are simply looking to sit back and tackle anything that moves?

The NY Kid said...

@Bigus and LB - I hate both of you.

Bigus Dickus said...

Oh thats right. 2 games, back to back, jammed in a beer sandwich.

The NY Kid said...

While you're gone I'm buying your boy an Ipswich kit

Bigus Dickus said...

@the Kid....He is running low on diapers, go for it.

Ibracadabra said...

2-1 Tottenham, with a rare 90th minute ironic "Role reversal" gamewinner for Tottenham, after conceding do many soft injury time goals this season...

Ibracadabra said...

Sky Sports reporting that Mendy was benched because he was late arriving at the ground.

Bigus Dickus said...

'Ready to go' is a riff heavy, andrenalyn fuelled anthem that has been played at every ground in the world at one time or another. A true classic to any male who has had 6 pre match beers.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Bigus: it's a shit song written by a girl. Pick any heavy metal anthem as being far superior to that tosh.

Precious Roy said...

'Arry's pregame ritual: A couple of shots of Jameson, or do you think he's doing Purple Drank so that he's tripping balls by midway through the second half?

The NY Kid said...

Sam Ricketts does his best Jose Bosingwa impression

Who did he kick?

Kopper said...

wow. there you go Lennon.

The NY Kid said...

well that was a sexy strike from Lennon

Andrew said...

I hearts UF today. From NYK's post on Platini to this liveblog, there's no reason I can't make it through the next three hours of class.

Is Hull going to stay up this year? You'd think that after their great start they would, but I'm beginning to worry of late. Anyone see the ESPNMag article on Hull City?

Bigus Dickus said...

@Lingering....I will hate that song to your poo poo list...


Kopper said...

Is it me or does it look like they're playing on Astroturf?

Andrew said...

Does Aaron Lennon come in a life-sized figure?

Lingering Bursitis said...

Bigus: make sure Man U are on that list too, please.

Kopper: yeah, they share the pitch with the city's rugby league team. Same difference, really.

Kopper said...

what a garbage goal to level it.

Precious Roy said...

I don't understand how these teams score goals.

/Arsenal fan

The NY Kid said...

oops. When having a man on the line goes wrong - The Tottenham Story.

Andrew said...

@PR: Goals? In a football match? I want to go there.

phil said...

Get Pavs on. Bent bleats all week about playing and has spent the entire half shuffling about and doing f*ck all.

/waits for Bent to score inevitable "make Phil look stupid" goal

//reconsiders; after all, it is Darren sodding Bent

Precious Roy said...

By the way... anyone else catch the commentator's description of Sunderland's second half formation as a 4-6-0 on Sat?

Andrew said...

PR: I read that somewhere. It's anti-football. And they get rewarded with a point.

phil said...

Keane at least is attempting something. He's gotten shite for service, and hasn't been able to create any space for himself anyway. But he's trying. I've seen corpses more animated than Darren Bent. If he wants to leave, don't let the doorknob hit your ass on the way out, wanker.

Defoe can't come back soon enough. I hope he brings Martin Jol with him.


phil said...

The only bright side to this is that I have Michael Turner on my fantasy EPL team. So there's that.

Andrew said...

Why would Jol ever want to leave HSV, especially to return to Spurs? I know its wishful thinking/sarcasm on your part Phil, but it seems Tottenham has no direction as a club, no stabilized strategic plan. This is why they can't maintain stretches of the same management and sell players only to buy them back 6 months later.

Precious Roy said...

Then I take it Phil that you've seen 'Re-Animator'.

Eh, points are too precious for teams outside of the top 7 or so. It's Arsenal's job to break that down. And if RvP hits that chipper over the keeper, it's a different game.

That said, fucking pussies Sunderland.

phil said...

Never should have fired Jol and sold Carrick

phil said...

Keane's confidence is shot. Just shot.

phil said...

Shite touch by Bent. Gah.

Andrew said...

@Phil: not to distract you from the game, but what would you address at Spurs? It seems to me that nothing seems to work - the players aren't gelling, the tactics aren't working, it seems like the entire set-up needs to be redone.

Andrew said...

The slap at the ball by Pavs aptly sums up Spurs season.

phil said...

I don't know what I'd do Andrew. I'm completely baffled at this point. I just don't know.

phil said...

I'll tell you what, Andrew, first thing I'd do is hire a coach who can teach players to f-n mark people and defend f-n set pieces.

Precious Roy said...

Someone like say, Juande Ramos?

I know Spurs were shipping goals in by the bucketload with Ramos, but suddenly Real's defense is pretty stout.

phil said...

ManU are going to f-n destroy us.

Andrew said...

Yeah that would seem to be important if you're looking to, y'know, win games and the like.

As for the discussion question, I think it'll be Arshavin based solely on the system Wenger runs. I feel bad for Pavs. Loads of talent, but he's on a team that is lost.

Andrew said...

Woodgate! Why not?

phil said...



phil said...

And Woody gets busted up and bloodied for his trouble.

phil said...

This match was for defensive football what an Everton-Sunderland match would be for offensive football.

jjf3 said...

I'm watching this right now, and wow, it's ugly on so many levels, even though it hasn't really been "boring". But this comment today on BBC probably summed it up beautifully:

"There is a point in your youth when you realise you're not a good enough footballer to be a professional. Games like this make you think 'maybe I was wrong'."