Adebayor bags a crucial winner as Spurs beat top four rivals Everton

Emmanuel Adebayor, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, repaid the faith placed in him by his managerEmanuel Adebayor – Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images

Tottenham 1-0 Everton
Sunday 9 February 2014

A wonderful goal from Emmanuel Adebayor gave Tottenham a boost in the race for the Champions League as they beat Everton on Sunday. The Togolese forward’s goal was enough to get the win, in a fairly even game. That takes Spurs above The Toffees and into fifth place in the fight for the top four. Tim Sherwood’s men now trail Liverpool – who are in fourth place – by just three points.

Everton made a great start to the game at White Hart Lane with Leon Osman in the thick of the action. The English midfielder had four sights of the Tottenham goal inside the the first ten minutes of play. He showed lovely feet to create space and curl just wide of the post with his left foot, then brought the very best out of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a sweetly struck half volley, this time with his right foot after an excellent layoff from Stephen Naismith, the Frenchman doing very well to parry the ball away for a corner. Osman then headed just over from the subsequent corner.

A forth chance to give Everton a deserved lead fell to Osman but he could not take it, as he drove the ball straight at Lloris after more good work by Naismith. Spurs’ first real effort on goal came when Christian Eriksen hit his free kick just over the bar, rippling the top of the net. Everton very nearly created another chance through some great pressing, which was the hallmark of their first half display. Seamus Coleman was the next player to threaten the Spurs goal. The right back – who already has six goals in the league this season – went on a good run, cutting inside on his left foot but could not get enough power on the strike to really work Lloris.

Then Spurs created quite possibly the best chance of the half. An incredible ball in from Danny Rose on the left beat everyone but left Adebayor inches away from converting. Any touch would have been enough to take it past Howard and give Spurs the lead. Again the pressing from Everton lead to another chance. This time Kevin Mirallas was setting off on a great run but somewhat selfishly ignored Naismith (who was in a better position to the right) and blazed over from eighteen yards.

To sum up the first half, it was an excellent display from Roberto Martinez’s side who were playing without key target man Romelu Lakaku. Stephen Naismith was flung into an unfamiliar role as a makeshift centre forward and played very well, supported well by Mirallas, Osman, and Pienaar. Everton’s pressing was also having a major effect on the game by not allowing Tottenham to settle into any sort of pattern. Martinez would be happy with the performance but not the scoreline, as his side were full value for a lead at this point.

Tim Sherwood on the other hand would have probably felt the complete opposite. He would have been happy with the scoreline but looking for better in the second half of this key clash in the chase for the top four. The Tottenham boss got what he was looking for, as his side started the second half with the perfect response. His players worked harder, played with much more intensity, got the crowd into the game and forced a number of corners. Adebayor headed over from one of them when well placed after pulling away from his marker.

Then a good run by Kyle Walker nearly created a good opening but his cross was cut out at the near post. Andros Townsend then made his return, which I’m sure was greatly welcomed by Spurs and England Fans alike, after nine games out with hamstring trouble. Moments later Spurs went in front, after some quick thinking by Walker and Adebayor caught out the Everton backline with Distin playing Adebayor just onside. The centre forward showed excellent chest control, strength to brush aside Coleman and finished perfectly by putting the ball straight past Howard into the corner.

Tim Sherwood deserves a lot of credit as he clearly told his players a few home truths during the break, and made Everton pay for a first half that was – although good in terms of possession, pressing and creativity – wasteful in the most important factor, which is finishing. Roberto Martinez was clearly frustrated at his team’s second half effort and made all of his changes in a very short space of time, bringing off Pienaar, Naismith and Osman and replacing them respectively with Barkley, Deulofeu, and McGeady.

However, not a lot changed after that, with Hugo Lloris not having a real save to make in the second half. Everton will feel hard done by based on their first half display. They will also feel aggrieved by the injury time penalty they should have been awarded when Coleman was clearly caught by Etienne Capoue with ref Mark Clattenburg well placed. But Spurs, although not at their best by any means, produced a much better second half display and limited Everton to far fewer chances than in the first half. Tim Sherwood obviously made it clear how important this game was at half time, as the race for Champions League qualification hots up.

Man Of The Match: There were several good candidates in the first half for Everton, Naismith and Osman to name two. However, I’m going with Emmanuel Adebayor. His well taken goal proved to be the match winner.

Thanks for reading,

Glenn

WWE: Bryan and Punk team again to top off a fairly weak UK Smackdown

bryanpunkTeam Best-Beard in action again – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hi, and thanks for checking out The Real Mid Card. I’m going to take a look at this week’s episode of Smackdown as always. It was once again emanating from the great city of Manchester, England. I made my way home on Tuesday after seeing Raw in the same arena the previous night, and I was kind of glad that I didn’t stick around for this taping. Let’s see what was noteworthy here.

Well the commentary was top notch, that’s something! JBL was in great form as usual. I actually got a quick glimpse of the two of them legit laughing in the background shot during a match. They had great chemistry, some great banter and that really helped me to retain interest. One thing that came out of their mouths did make me sour a little, the news that Daniel Bryan and CM Punk will be teaming against Bray Wyatt’s two disciples at Survivor Series. They thought that was “best for business” apparently. It’s already making me consider not ordering, but I guess you can’t please everyone. I’m not sure who this will please though. They couldn’t even make it a traditional multi-man match. Not a lot to anticipate so far, as the second longest running pay-per-view in the company’s history continues to decline.

The Wyatts were involved in a terrific opening match with The Usos. I have no problem with the two big guys. I even get why they are keeping Bray out of the ring whenever possible, but to not even have him wrestle on a major pay-per-view is a step too far. One of the supposed main event matches will be a standard tag-team affair that wouldn’t look out of place on this very episode of Smackdown, and that’s difficult to swallow. The Union Jacks made another appearance to job to R-Truth and the Prime Time Players, and The Funkadactyls took on The Bella Twins in a match which must surely have set a new record for the least crowd reaction ever.

cenasignsUs Brits are known for innovative signs – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Alberto Del Rio and John Cena appeared in the ring with Michael Cole, in an arm-wrestling contest of sorts. This was marginally entertaining, and I credit them for trying to do a different kind of segment to move this one along. There isn’t much they can do with these two that won’t be boring. I’ve seen their feud before, and I really don’t want to see it again. I suppose doing this was better than just doing a random tag team match. Hunico and Camacho returned, and were subsequently squashed by The Great Khali. That almost made me shut off the TV.

Our new super-group aptly named “The Beard with The Best” concluded the show against former Paul Heyman guys, Curtis Axel and Ryback. They were involved in a backstage conversation earlier in the show, in which they made it clear that they are going it alone, or together, or something without Paul, from now on. This match was very solid. That’s something you would expect from the former. The show ended with another Wyatt Family run-in brawl mayhem moment. Too predictable.

[6/10]: You know me by now, I will explain my rating. Some would call me a WWE fanboy. I’m easily pleased by their product, and rarely have a bad thing to say about them. That’s why this show shocked me so much. I’m glad I didn’t attend. It was predictable and average. Survivor Series does not look too great at this point. The announcement of the Bryan/Punk tag match at the start of the show, did not make the abundance of filler and rebounds any more bearable for me. Hopefully things will improve, but it looks like the second oldest show is going to fall stagnant before it even starts.

Thanks for reading, and leave a comment letting me know what you think.

Craig[Editor]

Brains For Breakfast has been kidnapped!

Video

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Work. Rest. Play movie, which we shot on the Brains For Breakfast tour. If you like this, get ready for the full film, coming free to YouTube next month! Be sure to check here for every episode!

Act like you want it.

Check out all the written blog entries I posted every day while we were on the road here.

Birmingham 2022: The Commentators

stanscafe

The Commentators – Source: Capsule

Here is another piece I wrote for the Discovery brochure, as part of the Birmingham 2022 project, to celebrate the opening of The New Library. Check it out, and check out the artists. You can also get the brochure at most information and cultural points in the city. All of these pieces, and many more are in there. Thanks for your interest.

Stan’s Cafe
The Commentators

The Commentators, brought to you by theatrical provocateurs and internationally renowned performance company Stan’s Cafe, will be in residence to carefully document everything they see, from the vital, to the peculiar, or the mundane. Which books are being borrowed? What is the weather like on the rooftop terrace? Look at the queues for the large print romances! If you drop in and check out some of the installations, you could even bump into them, but be careful what you do as you could provide them with some amusing material for their live show!

After previously commentating on a mammoth twenty-four hour Scalextric in 2009, Artistic Director James Yarker and Associate Director Craig Stephens went on to harness their unquenchable enthusiasm and keen observational skills to create marathon commentaries on everyday life. Now, you could be a part of one of their renowned shows. These two sheepskin fanatics will be happy to bring some audible colour to all that you see.

They will also be at the New Library of Birmingham VIP opening to webcast descriptions of the glitzy event, and will stay through the first three days of public access. To hear more and get an idea of what to expect, simply check out their work here.

Craig

Chameleon Recordings: Brum Town Bad Boyz

bigdog

@bigdogyogo – Source: Twitter

This is the pre-release review for Big Dog Yogo’s upcoming single ‘Brum Town Bad Boyz’ released on Chameleon Recordings – If you like what you read here, get it on iTunes, AmazonMP3, Spotify, etc on 20th September 2013.

Brum Town Bad Boyz

Fresh out of the thriving Rap scene emerging in the second city, Big Dog Yogo is ready to unleash his latest track on you. Taking clear influences from hip hop, grime and trap, and with an unmistakably UK feel, Brum Town Bad Boyz is set to be the new soundtrack to the city. While extensively sharp and polished, it retains a raw and violent atmosphere. But when it comes right down to it, this tune is about Brum pride.

Big Dog’s not alone on this one. Fellow Smethwick native Bomma B adds more of a grime orientated twist to this progressive UK trap sound with his distinctive flow. Yogo’s trademark catchy style and pitch perfect delivery blend well with that grime approach. The pair of them spit menacing and violent venom, while still managing to create a feel good vibe for the streets.

The beat has a certain intensity that is hard to describe. It gets you amped up, but it has a slightly haunting edge. The production is slick and tight. The bars are gritty and dark, but not it’s not a comedown tune. It’s the finished article, a big sound gangster rap anthem with identifiably UK genetics. It’s a tune to be proud of, a sign of things to come from the buzzing UK scene, and it’s a unique symbol.

Also watch out for Big Dog’s final free mixtape dropping on Grime Blog, along with the official Brum Town Bad Boyz music video on P110 on the same day, September 20th.

Follow Chameleon Recordings:

http://facebook.com/chameleonstudios
http://youtube.com/user/chameleonstudiostv
@chameleonmojoe

Craig

Unsanctioned Wrestling: Episode Four

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This is Episode Four of the YouTube wrestling Q&A series Unsanctioned Wrestling. It features questions on CM Punk, John Cena, Chris Benoit and much more. Check it out! Get involved by leaving a question in a comment if you would like. Hit play and enjoy it.

Unsanctioned Wrestling: Episode Two

Video

This is Episode Two of the YouTube wrestling Q&A series Unsanctioned Wrestling. It features questions on the Stone Cold, Goldberg, classic wrestling moments and the debut of the Wyatt Family. Check it out! Get involved by leaving a question in a comment if you would like. Hit play and enjoy it.

A very solid Smackdown, indeed

sandowDamien Sandow and Sheamus playing with knots – Source: http://www.youtube.com

I’m watching Smackdown from last night right now on my Sky Plus. I’ve decided to go another different route by writing a post completely spontaneously. I’ll type every time I see something of note that I have something to say about. This may be pretty short. It is Smackdown after all. There won’t be any time for reflection with this post. It will just be a train wreck of a ramble, with very little time for co-ordination. This may come out a little unprofessional and one sided. I like the bad guys. This may be a little indecipherable at times and my changing between tense will probably be rampant, so my apologies in advance for that. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on the show. Anyway, here goes…

So the opening vignette did a good job of putting over Raw, but not a lot else. I am excited that I may get to see Curtis Axel again though, and The Shield. Opening segment of the show is Miz TV. He just announced Fandango as his first guest. Summer Rae is an absolute goddess! The Miz just called the ballroom supremo a narcissist. Really? My boy Wade Barrett is here to get involved. He is making his presence known on the mic. A fracas has occurred. The Miz cashed in his Intercontinental Title rematch, and that match is starting now. Fandango has jumped on commentary. A very good opening segment.

Wade Barrett (c) v The Miz (for the Intercontinental Championship) Fandango is doing an amazing job on commentary with his deep raspy tones. He has now proceeded to repeat his dancing outside the ring during matches routine. He then attacks The Miz ending the match with a DQ. Wade keeps the title, and the rematch was a waste. Barrett then helped Fandango with the beat down, before hitting him with the bull hammer elbow. He seems to be in a sort of tweener position at the moment. Decent match though and a great period of the show overall.

Daniel Bryan and Kane just had another generic “I’m not the weak link” conversation backstage, and now they are coming out for a match. Bryan is taking on Jack Swagger in a single’s match.

Daniel Bryan v Jack Swagger Good technical match. Not overly long but solid. You can expect that every time Bryan gets in the ring. He picks up the win with the No Lock, and goes back and puts it on him again after the bell rings. The signs of the heel turn are already showing. I would expect something more concrete on that in coming weeks. Smackdown has been very cool so far though, or maybe I’m just really high?

danielbryanDaniel Bryan applying the No Lock – Source: http://www.wwehunks.com

So, moving forward. Constant reminders of Raw, and now a rebound of the Ryback promo from Monday. The beauty of Sky Plus is that I can fast forward this. And we’re back. Damien Sandow is in the ring with a very nice looking desk. This looks like a good thing. Silence! He is getting cheap heat by insulting the crowds intelligence. Vintage Sandow! He is now roasting Matt Striker for letting down the Substitute Teachers of America Association with his inability to untie a very complicated looking knot. Oh, Sheamus is here. Yay…

Josh Matthews seems to be clearly turning heel now, and that’s kinda cool. Sheamus is attempting to untie the crazy knot. Now, Sandow himself steps forward to take care of some serious knot business, by pulling out a pair of pliers. Just like Alexander The Great, he broke the Gordian Knot. He is now hoisting it above his head proudly like a Championship belt. Sheamus is probably gonna do something lame like start a fight. Who wants to see that while watching a wrestling show? And as I just predicted, he just tried to “resort to brute force” when “he couldn’t meet the mental challenge” or that’s how Sandow puts it anyway. I concur. He tried to Brogue Kick him but Sandow nipped out under the ropes just in time, like a total boss. Sheamus just threw Striker at him through the ropes, and talked about Isaac Newton. That was a pretty great segment considering, and this post isn’t going to be anywhere near as short as I expected. If you’re still reading, thanks for hanging in there. Keep on powering through.

Big Show v Chris Jericho The former team mates of Jeri-Show are here to battle it out. I’m finding it hard to focus on this match. I’ll be honest. It’s just an irrelevance. I love Y2J but I’m just getting easily distracted. Big Show is outside the ring and is about to be counted out. Yeah, Jericho picks up the win.

So, this is interesting. I just skipped a fifteen minute Raw Rebound which focused on the Curtis Axel and Triple H situation. Crazy waste of Smackdown time. Classic B show mentality. Some good news. Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel are actually out here on Smackdown. This I do want to see. I love the new Heyman guy’s beard. Paul is majorly putting over his own successes as a manager. I can’t argue with his credentials. Axel is now able to come out and brag about having made Hunter have a bad turn on Raw now too. That’s a great way for him to get some heat and some credibility. Good promo on the whole from both guys. And now it’s time for his second ever match (in this new character) against Mr. Botchamania Sin Cara.

Curtis Axel v Sin Cara One thing I have missed about Sin Cara is his awesome ring lighting. It’s good to see that again. This should be a decent match, as long as Sin Cara doesn’t try too much. It was okay. I got distracted pretty easily, but I’m looking forward to seeing more from this guy. He picked up the win. He is undefeated after two matches now.

Dean Ambrose (c) v Kofi Kingston (for the United States Championship) This has been quite the Smackdown. Two title rematch clauses used in one night. It’s always good to hear that amazing Shield music. The two of them head back and let Dean do his thing again. Just like at Extreme Rules, he doesn’t need them to help him go over the King of the Mid Card. Maybe not. They came out and helped beat down Kofi in a three on one assault. Another DQ ending to a rematch. Sheamus and Randy Orton came out to help and got huge pops from the crowd to be fair. Tag Team Teddy just came out and shocked the world by booking a six man tag team match.

teddy-long-flow-chart

The Teddy Long Thought Process – Source: withleather.uproxx.com

The Shield v Randy Orton, Sheamus & Kofi Kingston So this appears to be the impromptu main event of what I have to say, has been a good episode of Smackdown. Granted the match is classic boring Teddy, but I’m actually always happy to see The Shield in a six man tag team match. They can make it interesting, whoever they are in there with. It’s been as solid as usual so far, but nothing particularly spectacular. The Viper just hit a very good, high impact Superplex. That’s given the match some real energy as Orton and Rollins reach for the tag.

Sheamus bursts in and takes out everyone. Are The Shield gonna be pinned for the first time since their arrival in WWE? Sheamus is completely clearing house at every opportunity. He just had Ambrose up for White Noise but Reigns takes him out with the spear, only to take the RKO from Orton after rolling outside under the bottom rope. Kofi Kingston is right in the action now, hitting a few pretty cool moves. However, in the end he does the job for Ambrose and The Shield keep getting over. The crowd are reacting pretty loudly. They have been very decent for Smackdown.

So it’s been fun making passing notes on the show. You can probably tell how I feel about it, by what I’ve said as it’s gone on. Just to confirm, I have to give the show a thumbs up. Some really good matches, title matches, great promos and just all round quality content. I’d give it an 8/10 by modern day Smackdown standards. I hope you enjoyed reading along with me on my journey, and stay tuned for more wrestling rambles. Thanks.

The Unfair Dismissal of Roberto Mancini

roberto-mancini-shared-photo-1311560559Roberto Mancini – Source: http://www.mobile.fansshare.com

It seems like forever since Roberto Mancini was dismissed of his role as manager of Manchester City. I’ve given it some time to let it settle in before offering my comment. I’m sure you don’t even need me to continue typing, to know that I’m not best pleased by the news. As an avid Man City fan of around fifteen years, I’m very disappointed to have lost the man who finally delivered something I genuinely didn’t think I’d live to see, a major trophy success. Not one, but two. He was sacked within a year of winning the Premier League title, much to the obvious dismay of most supporters.

I don’t really see his dismissal as a fair one. People can talk about the money that’s spent and describe the expectations as acceptable, but they are simply not. To deliver two major trophies in three years is a success, and one that shouldn’t be greeted by a p45. What is the world of football management coming to? It’s been this way for years at clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid, but I was actually naive enough to think we were different. The man had a 59% win percentage in all competitions over his time spent with us. That, along with the gold he delivered, is a good performance in my opinion.

Not only was he successful, but he was beloved. He shared a genuine connection with the fans. He was openly embraced and his loss was taken with deep regret. You could still hear the raucous crowds chant his name in the final games, after his departure. I expect that to go on into the start of next season, but sadly it won’t last forever. We will all be forced to move on eventually, but many of us just aren’t ready to do that yet. The man returned the favour with a fine gesture of respect. He took out an ad space in the Manchester Evening News, expressing his love and gratitude for the support of us City fans. That touched the heart, and it won’t be forgotten for a long time, at least by me. It’s unheard of for a manager to go out of his way to do that, after being ruthlessly sacked by the clubs misled hierarchy.

Roberto ManciniMancini’s newspaper ad – Source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

We have had our fair share of managers since returning to the top flight around ten years ago, but it appears that we have joined the ranks of Chelsea, Madrid and Milan in taking things to an unprecedented level. The managerial merry-go-round is something that all football fans have had to become accustomed to, but some clubs take it to the extreme. We are now one of them. That doesn’t fill me with confidence for the future, and it certainly doesn’t scream sustainability or stability. Now that Everton and Manchester United have seen their long serving managers resign, I expect them to join in. Behind Wenger at Arsenal, Alan Pardew has become the second longest serving manager in the league, having been there for two or three years. That is just ridiculous and not at all healthy for the performance and harmony of those teams. Clubs like Chelsea have shown that you can buy trophies with a revolving door of managers and players, but you can’t buy consistency and stability this way.

So now that we have lost the manager who took us from the grasp of Mark Hughes (who could well have made us another QPR or Blackburn) and solidified us, gave us credibility and and most importantly, made us identifiable, what does the future hold for us? Apparently Manuel Pellegrini is set to become his replacement. A man who (granted) did well to make Malaga punch above their weight, and had a decent run at Real Madrid (who couldn’t?) – is this the answer? No. The guys at the top openly admit that they don’t want to follow the example of United and Fergie? This is the kind of mindless bullshit that they aren’t even afraid to say. They don’t want to follow a model of stability that has led to United becoming the most dominant dynasty in the history of English football? That just shows the kind of morons we are dealing with. Am I excited about the prospect of Pellegrini? Not one bit. I expect a decline in performance and in results.

Manuel-Pellegrini-1886696Manuel Pellegrini – Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk

I have to try and get over this and stay supportive of my club, but sometimes you just want to throw in the towel, and say “Fuck it!” and stop bothering to follow. I guess we will see how we feel come season starting time, but right now I’m not at all interested in proceedings. I have a bad taste in my mouth, and a chip on my shoulder. I’m not hoping Pellegrini fails, but I’m not getting behind him a whole lot either. When the fans make it so abundantly clear that they don’t want to lose someone, and the board shows just how little they value their opinions, it makes it hard to identify themselves with the club. That’s the struggle I’m going through at the moment.