The Journeyman Pro: No handshake – it was bound to be a Hazard

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The Independent Football

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs and has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper.

The Capital One Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Swansea ended in more controversy than the launch of my ultimately doomed, exclusively cheese-based, diet book. Much like with Cheese Are Good, the quick- witted will have seen the potential danger early on. Eden Hazard and the ballboy did not shake hands at the start and when that doesn't happen it's clear trouble is imminent. With his creativity, speed and penchant for kicking teenagers, Hazard is a hard man to defend.

While on the subject, I was sorry to see Adkins go but trust he still makes a few bob off his rather more successful diet.

Settling down in front of the telly this week, I was confronted by 90 minutes of tactical intrigue, stubborn defence and blatant cheating. Eventually I turned off the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah and put some footy on.

On Tuesday night, in the other semi, the underdogs managed to pull off an almighty shock and triumph against all the odds. Still, despite winning on the night, Villa lost the tie on aggregate and crashed out. Congratulations to Bradford on being the first fourth-tier side in over 50 years to reach the League Cup final. To put that in context, this was such a long time ago that football pundits hadn't even begun to use "ask" as a noun yet.

Sunday's weather was so bad that it looked as though Spurs against Man United would be called off. At least that would have meant a short trip home for both sets of fans. Dempsey's late equaliser ensured Clint left feeling lucky. I blame De Gea – it was the weakest punch since I went to that designated drivers' Christmas party.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro