Talking Sport: Defence didn’t stand Chelsea in good Stead

Trevor Watson
Trevor Watson

My goodness there were smiling faces on Saturday night after Bradford City stunned Chelsea and Middlesbrough stuffed Man City.

The happy folk weren’t just members of the family of that plumber from Doncaster who won £3,000 by putting a tenner on those results. Be fair, if you’d ten quid to spare you wouldn’t have risked it on City and Boro, especially away, even with 6,000 travelling fans going mad.

These and other FA Cup ties this time have raised questions about the quality of Premiership defences. Veteran Huddersfield striker Jon Stead, on loan at City, terrified a Chelsea backline, which included current England international Gary Cahill, scored a cracking goal and set up two others.

Man U’s defence, which also had an England ‘star’ in Phil Jones, wobbled every time Cambridge took a corner in their 0-0 draw and Liverpool struggled badly at Wimbledon in the last round. You’d think they might practise defending a few corners.

There was also the remarkable sight of Jones taking the corners for Man U. He’s a big lad and should be trying to nod them in not send in crosses. Aren’t any of United’s superstars capable of putting a stationary ball into the penalty area unchallenged?

So we had a good laugh and it was pleasing to see Leeds and Town fans enjoying Bradford’s success.

The only down side was a ‘crowd’ of less than 6,000 at Blackburn to see them beat Swansea and this included 580 travelling fans. Mind you it was played Saturday lunchtime and apparently lunch in Blackburn on a Saturday is quite a social occasion.

This weekend sees the start of rugby league’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with the amateurs kicking things off.

There was a time when the RL Cup caused great excitement and you had a dozen clubs to choose from as likely winners. Now it’s the same three or four. One thing is certain, there won’t be many leading clubs toppled by a smaller outfit, especially at home.

The national media aren’t letting cricket star Kevin Pietersen go without a fight, despite him being ditched by England. He hit a six for his Melbourne team in Australia’s Big Bash semi-final against Perth and it was said to be ‘the shot of the tournament.’ Cue hysteria over here.

However, Pietersen was out for 31 in 27 balls and his side lost. Hampshire’s Michael Carberry hit a half-century for the winners but only got a passing mention. Don’t be surprised if TV invite Pietersen to be on the panel for the political discussion of party leaders. Everybody else will be on.

Tennis devotees are thrilled at the emergence of attractive Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. After a recent win in Australia the TV interviewer asked her to ‘do a twirl’ to show off her skirt. And they wonder why most of us don’t take it seriously.

Nobody asked Jon Stead for a twirl at Stamford Bridge.