Early Doors

When is a rout, a rout?

Early Doors

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Arsene Wenger was perched in the stands at White Hart Lane on Tuesday night failing to pick up a signal on his mobile while his Arsenal side appeared to be communicating via telepathy in laying waste to Tottenham.

Upon reflection, sometimes it is better to avoid phoning a friend. Sometimes it is better to avoid human contact altogether. Sometimes it is better to remain holed up in your bed all day, as some readers of this frazzled blog no doubt do. 

As Early Doors discovered yesterday afternoon, life remains full of debates that are of little or no value to how one evolves as a human being, especially when it comes to discussing fairly lowbrow sporting matter. 

When you profess one point of view, you can be sure someone is going to differ. It is human nature to argue, no matter how flawed the point of view may be.

Football discussion remains a vehicle for the unhinged, simply because everybody thinks they know the game better than the bloke, or in these PC times, bird sitting next to them.   

Washing up for another day in the boiler room yesterday afternoon, ED was immediately drawn to a fairly telling email from an esteemed colleague questioning the  assessment of Arsenal's throbbing 4-1 win at Tottenham in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.

Having described Arsene Wenger's side's win as a rout, ED was slightly bewildered to learn that not everyone saw it the same way.

"Hardly a rout if it's gone to extra time, I'd suggest..," opined the note before adding the caveat "it could not have been a rout because the match had gone to extra time." Doors had to double check that he wasn't half-joking, that he wasn't Stan 'The Man' Collymore in disguise - or a sore Tottenham supporter.

"What if the match ended 6-1 or 7-1 to Arsenal after extra-time?"

"Nope, that wouldn't be a rout," came the reply. "If it goes to extra time, it can't be a rout."

Mind how you go, as someone somewhere once put it.

It seemed almost as baffling as Collymore's belief that Rangers disgraced themselves by defending at Manchester United before leaving with a 0-0 draw in the Champions League last week.

Collymore has reportedly had a dislike of all things Scottish since a selection of the Tartan Army asked him to 'improve' his conduct in a bar at France '98 when he was seeing Ulrika Jonsson, but that is another story for another time. 

Collymore's comments about Rangers were a disgrace, especially when Jose Mourinho had deployed similar tactics in getting out Inter Milan of the Camp Nou with a 1-0 loss at Barcelona in the Champions League last season and was proclaimed a tactical genius.

What constitutes a 'rout' for you? ED assumes Manchester United's 5-2 clobbering of Scunthorpe last night, a match missed by Sir Alex Ferguson as he took in Valencia's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid at the Mestalla, or Celtic's 6-0 ritual roasting of Inverness in the CIS Cup fits snugly into the category?

A rose by another name is still a rose, a rout by any other name would smell as sweet.
ED had to study some other reports of Arsenal's derby win to work out whether or not he had been watching some other game.

Thankfully, ED was on the same page as the majority of reports traisping around the world's wires over the past 48 hours, without even requiring the need to turn to Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph.

The Guardian described it as a "derby destruction", The Sun used the word "thumped" while the haggard Daily Mail merely reinforced the accepted thinking with a fairly fizzing headline. "Samir Nasri at the double as Gunners rip sloppy Spurs to shreds in extra-time rout.."

ED has no preference for Arsenal or Tottenham, but he does appreciate good football and he also knows a good old rout when he sees one, having been brought up in creaking press boxes on such nights. 

Harry Redknapp has bigger fish to fry this season in the Premier League and Champions League so the pain of defeat will not linger too long, but he probably discovered that his fledgings are not as impressive as those lurking elsewhere in North London.

He fielded a weakened team against a visiting side containing a heady brew of youth and experience and received a spanking. His young side were giving a right good going over, a rout, a throttling, a lesson, etc... repeat to fade...

It may have required 120 minutes, but anybody who witnessed Arsenal utterly toy with the home side for the best part of 80 minutes knew this was as much of a rout as you can enjoy when you are playing at the home of one of your main rivals. Arsenal managed 17 shots on goal, more than double the output of Spurs.

If Spurs are allowed to wallow in a 5-1 win over Arsenal in winning at the semi-final stage of the Carling Cup two years ago, then they must accept a 4-1 defeat as a bad night at the office. Wenger may have been missing a reception, but his side got the message.

It was something of a minor miracle Tottenham survived until the 90th minute, such was the delicious manner in which Arsenal went about their business.

Not only did Arsenal rout Spurs in the Carling Cup, they also routed their fans, who began to desert White Hart Lane in droves with 15 minutes of the contest to go.

The question Arsenal fans must ask themselves is: do we feel lucky? Arsenal are unbeaten in seven games and have hit the net 24 times, but will a solitary Cup of Carling be enough to quench their five-year thirst for any sort of trophy? Or will nights like Tuesday be minor consolation for a sixth season without a trophy? Will Wenger finally be routed if it all goes wrong away from the old League Cup?


QUOTES OF THE DAY: Take your pick from a raft of them, but here is how Roy Hodgson described Liverpool's loss on penalties to League Two Northampton Town in the Carling Cup after playing out a 2-2 draw after extra time.  

"They haven't done themselves too many favours, several of the players out there tonight. We thought here at Anfield, we'd be good enough to win it. It's a major setback for the club as a whole. The Carling Cup is a competition we are capable of doing well in.

"It's one of many setbacks we are facing at the moment. It's a tough period to work and live through, but we will work and live through it and survive and get better. I'll learn an awful lot tonight about this defeat about an awful lot of people.

"I can only congratulate Northampton and apologise to the fans who came here tonight. They expected us to win and so did we."

COMING UP: We have live commentary of Villarreal v Deportivo La Coruna from 19:45, with Sevilla v Racing Santander following at 21:00 in a Liga double bill. If you prefer pizza to paella, we also have Juventus v Palermo from 19:45.

The World Open snooker from Glasgow continues with Ronnie O'Sullivan facing Jimmy White in the last 32. You can follow that match with us here from 12:30.

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