A couple of weeks ago, I received notification that tickets were on sale for Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon, and inside the email was a countdown to kick off, though more appropriate - as it turned out - would have been a countdown to the congestion outside the ground that delayed kick off.
Perceived wisdom is that the problems were caused by 20,000 tickets going on ‘general sale’ , and casual fans being unfamiliar with the stadium layout, not to mention the usual lack of urgency to get in on time while selfies had yet to be completed and a thorough browsing inside the club shop.
Luckily, most were inside to see Eddie Nketiah’s imaginative back-heeled goal, and it is any moments like these that seem to be the point of League Cup matches. Manchester City have won the last four League Cup finals and will no doubt make it a fifth in succession. They win it so routinely that the trophy is usually forgotten when summarising their season; didn’t win the league or Champions League, not even the FA Cup. A season of failure.
All the eyes on Nketiah’s goal, and all the frustration of those not being able to make kick off, and all the thousands of words on the 3-0 home win should, with all reasonable logic, have been geared towards the story of the match itself, rather than on any journey to lifting the trophy. Same with all the other goals and moments to in all the other games, unless they involved City; the ending to the League Cup has already been written, it’s just the tale that needs to be weaved.
The countdown to Manchester City’s triumph at Wembley.