Early Doors

Worst. Miss. Ever. Of all time. Part Deux

Early Doors

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If you believe any of the baloney Early Doors comes out with, Nicklas Bendtner's calamitous cock-up in last week's showing of 'Arsenal-Liverpool - The Original' was the worst 'miss' of all time.

But pit two Championship sides against each other in a pressure-laden FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and a new contender is sure to emerge and throw his hat into the ring for the dubious title.

Step forward please, Mr Kayode Odejayi.

The Barnsley centre forward was presented with a golden opportunity (and that's the 24-carat stuff, none of that fool's gold) to draw his side level with Cardiff when he was played clean through on goal after 66 minutes of his side's biggest game of the season.

But he could only find the side netting - on the wrong side of the post.

Who knows what happened to him. The pressure of playing for a side that last reached the FA Cup final in 1912 was probably playing on his mind as he bore down on goal. Or perhaps he knew his performance was under close scrutiny, given his poor form this season. Or perhaps it was just that - he is simply not good enough.

At least that seems to be the popular consensus. The miss sparked shouts of "me mam could've put that one away" in the crowd, but ED suggests that to be far from the case.

Odejayi may not be able to hit the proverbial barn door for Barnsley this season - two goals in 39 appearances, enough said - but surely you'd back him over the mother of your average man in the street to find the back of the net.

It's unlikely that a 50-year-old woman would have been able to run 40 yards to get to the though pass, let alone control the ball and connect with a shot in the general direction of the goal, something which Odejayi at least managed to do.

It was a bad miss, no doubt, but cut the guy a bit of slack - he'll have to live with that moment for the rest of his life. Already his career is in real danger of becoming defined by That Miss - see, it's already taken on an identity of its own.

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'Boro goal machine' proclaimed the banner unfurled at the Riverside during Middlesbrough's clash with Manchester United over the weekend.

And who could argue with such an astute prognosis? Certainly not ED. George Camsell's incredible 59 league goals in 37 games and 63 goals in all competitions during the 1926-27 season is certainly a record to be marvelled at, and one that is unlikely ever to be beaten.

If ever anyone deserved the accolade 'goal machine' it was Camsell.

Funny, though, how the sketches accompanying the words on the banner made Camsell look a bit like Afonso Alves.

We can only put it down to coincidence, even though Alves finally came good at the weekend, opening his account with a brace that made the Brazilian the toast of west (and possibly north?) London on Sunday night.

ED will admit that it may have a little bit of egg on its face this morning - and not just because it forgot to clean up properly after breakfast - considering the bashing Alves has received since arriving on Teesside.

Short of issuing a full apology to those Boro fans who read these pages, ED will simply say that it takes something special to upstage Cristiano Ronaldo these days - and to think, the Portuguese netted his 37th of the season in the same match.

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Outstanding quote machine Nicolas Anelka has it tough. When not making hugely overly complimentary comparisons between himself and one of the best players the world has ever seen, the Chelsea marksman has to contend with being a well-travelled Premier League footballer.

Having played for a quarter of the top flight's teams - including three of the top four - means Anelka has to return to former clubs on a regular basis, and deal with the added pressure that brings.

Unfortunately, he hasn't been too adept at finding the net against old colleagues so far this season.

Saturday's outing at Manchester City was the Frenchman's sixth game against former clubs this season, and he is yet to get on the scoresheet.

When at Bolton, he played against Liverpool and City and since his switch to Chelsea, he has met Liverpool and City again, along with Arsenal.

He has faced another former club in the Champions League but the end result against Fenerbahce was the same - no goals.

He can't even score against future employers, as demonstrated when he failed to find the net for Bolton against Chelsea before his move to Stamford Bridge.

But there's still time to get one over a former employer this season with the return leg against Fener coming up this week, followed by a last day Premier League clash with Bolton. And of course, there could be the small matter of a Champions League semi-final against Arsenal or Liverpool.

Interesting - and true.

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FIGURE OF THE WEEKEND: 166,336 - the combined gate for the weekend's FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley. Good news for the suits trying to recoup a bit of money on the new stadium, bad news for fans of atmospheric semis at Villa Park and Old Trafford.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: "People forget, I did not come back here with everyone welcoming me, out on the pitch, arms in the air, waving to the crowd. They all say they did now, but when I walked off at Aston Villa after the first game all the banners said 'Judas bastard', stuff like that. If I had not got them out of relegation, they would have slaughtered me." Not wanting to spoil the party, Harry Redknapp points out he has a longer memory than most Pompey fans.

TALKING POINT: On last Friday's subject of the biggest disappointments at your club, it cheered us greatly to find out we weren't alone in our judgement of a certain Brazilian. "Afonso Alves, without a doubt," proclaimed suzetkd, prior to the striker's scoring exploits against possibly the best team in Europe.

And for today, better contenders for worst miss of all time than poor Odejayi, please.

COMING UP: Team of the Week, Weekend Winners and Losers and Around the World in 80 Goals. In fact, everything but the kitchen sink. But what use is one of them at work on a Monday morning anyway?

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