Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sheffield Wednesday Defeats Arsenal!

There was a time when I considered myself a Pittsburgh sports blogger. I wrote about other topics too, but it seemed like I wrote more about Pittsburgh sports than anything else. Now, two months into the 2015 NFL season, and I've barely mentioned the Pittsburgh Steelers. I haven't written any posts about the Penguins this month. The Pirates reached the playoffs for a third consecutive year, and while I typed notes from the Wild Card game, I didn't feel like publishing it. So even with the World Series and NBA season starting on Tuesday, my first sports post in a long time isn't about any Pittsburgh sports teams. It involves Sheffield Wednesday and the Capital One Cup, one of England's soccer competitions.

If you're not familiar with English soccer, there's the Premier League with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and 17 other teams. This is the biggest soccer league in the world with arguably the biggest names in the sport not named Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. The Capital One Cup involves all of the Premier League teams and the other 72 professional teams in England. Granted the other teams are professional teams, but they are at a lower level (sometimes MUCH lower level) than the Premier League teams. The best comparison in the United States might be baseball. There's the major leagues and the minor leagues ranging from rookie league to AAA. Yes, players in the rookie league or A league are professionals but they would struggle to compete with the Royals or Mets.

Anyway, this is a very long way of describing what happened Tuesday. Sheffield Wednesday, my favorite British soccer team, stunned Arsenal, 3-0. I started supporting Sheffield Wednesday shortly after they were relegated from the Premier League. They have struggled the past 15 years or so, and while they are doing well this year, getting back to the Premier League remains a challenge. But on a late October Tuesday evening, the Owls advanced to the 5th round (the final 8) of the Capital One Cup by defeating Arsenal, currently the 2nd place team in the Premier League. Sure, Arsenal didn't play all of their normal starters, but this doesn't take anything away from Wednesday's impressive win. This is sort of like the AAA Indianapolis Indians defeating the St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe Michigan State football beating the Green Bay Packers. It's a big deal (at least in my mind).

Here are the highlights:

Go Owls!

Full disclosure: I haven't watched a complete Sheffield Wednesday game since my visit to Hillsborough. (It's not like the games are on TV very often.) I can't even name most of the players on the team. With that written, if Sheffield Wednesday wins the Capital One Cup and/or makes it back to the Premier League, I'm definitely getting a jersey.

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