Weblog: The football punter
Hammers date can be worth wait for Arsenal
Football organisers must hate this time of year. It’s nearly impossible to get a game played which has been in the diary since August.
A bit of snow hits the ground and suddenly every non-league fixture is wiped out and rearranged for a later date. If you’re a Tottenham fan, you’ve been hit by the news that your FA Cup fourth-round tie has been chosen for television coverage and therefore your Tuesday night fixture at Norwich has been moved to the Wednesday - provided it doesn’t snow.
And if you’re an Arsenal or West Ham fan, you’ve been waiting for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture to be played since Boxing Day when the original fixture was postponed due to a tube strike.
Bradford were able to train at the national centre of excellence ahead of their semi-final against Villa after changing their travel plans in the chaotic conditions while Arsenal and West Ham had Christmas off, while everyone else was playing every other day
And one man who can look forward to his usual evening off at the Emirates is on-loan Hammers striker Marouane Chamakh, who is ineligible to face his former club and I'm taking the Gooners to win comfortably.
One man who looked a little too comfy in Sunday’s arctic conditions was Rafa Benitez. Did anyone else notice that Rafa Benitez wasn’t wearing a coat on the touchline against Arsenal? I’m betting there was a hip flask full of brandy inside that blazer pocket.
Meanwhile his players, in a desperate attempt to get warm, stormed out of the blocks to go two up inside 20 minutes. On Wednesday they need a similarly quick start against Swansea to qualify for Wembley and who would bet against them?
I certainly won’t be.