Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Do You Think Of Cup Competitions?

My friend Ethan sent me this email, and I thought I should share my response and then elicit yours:

Ethan's email:
I was wondering your opinion on the English Cups this year. The decline of the FA and League Cups has been well documented over the past five years. However, this year's versions seem to be doing better than ever.
I have watched 5 or 6 FA or League Cup matches this year and I haven't been disappointed with any of them. While Premier League matches are too often cagy affairs, the Cups seem to be producing some truly wonderful end-to-end football. As you mentioned, the Boro-Bristol match was fantastic and Wednesday's Arsenal-Bolton match had everything you could ever want in a football match: Attacking flair, defensive saves, route-one passing, total football, managers that hate each other, a red card, missed chances, post striking, and a frenetic pace.
It seems like teams "go for it" more because (maybe) there is almost less on the line than in a given EPL match. You are playing for the next round and maybe a $100,000, not a vital point that could help keep you in the $50 million EPL. Even Bolton seemed to be playing without their customary shell.
Throw in the chance to see Arsenal's youngsters and I think that the Arsenal-Blackburn FA Cup 5th Round tie will be can't-miss viewing for me. Something I definitely can't say about the next Arsenal-Rovers EPL match.

My response:
I like it, but I don't care a whole lot.
I do enjoy the games I see, and mostly when they play at the little tiny stadiums of lower division teams. Those can be particularly great to watch. You can hear all the locals (just like us at a Minnesota Thunder match) hollering all kinds of stupid crap.
But as a whole I don't get too caught up because I feel it's such a personal investment type tournament.
I think if I liked a particular English team it would be much easier to get really fired up for it.
Alas, I don't care much about any of them. Not to say I don't like the top leagues and the quality.
Now if you want to talk about the US Open Cup and our Thunder, that's a whole new topic. I love that stuff, and have gone all over the place top see 'em play. Like KC & LA two years ago for the quarter and semi finals. Glorious.

Ethan follows up with this note mid-day Sunday after the brutally boring Arsenal v Blackburn FA Cup game he had just witnessed:
Well, after suffering through 90 of the most boring minutes in recent football memory, maybe I exaggerated the beauty and excitement of the English Cups. Blackburn could not have played more defensively and unfortunantly got the result they wanted: a 0-0 draw away from home. Maybe the second leg will prove different (just like the open affair against Bolton in the second leg of the last round), but I think that that will depend on the health of McCarthy and Pederson. Without their only decent attacking options, I guess it was little surprise to see Blackburn pack it in. What I just don't get is how Arsenal allowed themselves to be lulled into a snail's pace. They didn't move with any conviction until the last 10 minutes (when they really should have won). If they were out there saving energy for the Champions League, than I say that they should have started all of the youngsters and played with some real conviction. Oh well, I guess that is football; you have to take the ugly with the beautiful.

What do you readers feel about the English FA Cup, the League Cup, of other national league type Cup competitions? Leave a comment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

THe only one I care about is the one that kicks off with MLS sides on Wednesday.

On the line: Spot to Club World Cup to the victor, Copa Sudamericana to the runner up.

The Tradition

The Pride...

The Glory...

That is...

(cue overblown music)

the CONCACAF Champion's Cup!

Seriously though. I'm more excited about that kicking off on Wednesday than the resumption of the play between a bunch of clubs I personally don't feel any connection to on the other side of the world.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

They don't seem very important to me to be honest. I have a "favorite" EPL team in Tottenham and a few others I hope do well. But realistically these domestic cups seem to be more about bragging rights for fans than anything else. A chance for clubs down on their luck, such as Tottenham is this year, to perhaps save some face by winning some new hardware and providing a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing season.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

The cup competitions are a big part of the game's appeal for me. I feel the same way about our own US Open Cup. No other sport has anything like this (or Champs. league, of course), and it underlines how special this sport is.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous bq said...

I agree with Susan but things have changed. The money at stake for the big clubs is just too high. They lip service the league cups and yet the top teams often put out the second stringers. They save the better players for the league games and European cup games. I was invited down to a local establishment on Saturday to watch some of the games and didn't go because I didn't expect much and I was correct.

I did invite Bruce to go down with me to watch the Fulham v Spurs game which even though was a shocking score-line, the game was actually a lot closer than that and had good moments for both clubs. I think these days I try to avoid the games with the bigger clubs and stick to the games were two mid table to lower table teams will be playing each other. The only exception to that is when a big team plays a 1st or 2nd division team as Bruce stated, in the smaller teams stadium.

About 4 years ago I watched Chelsea play some university team at their stadium. The pitch was s#it. All chopped up and sloppy. The stadium with tin corrugated roof and all was small and nosey. The lesser team hung in there for about 3/4 of the game and it was very exciting. But at this point in the competition you mainly have your better teams and it is not to exciting until the final. I say "Come On Watford"!

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite cup is a Tea Cup !

I like a little sugar, but not too much.

10:20 PM  

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