The meeting of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City was an important match between two teams near the top of the standings in the English Premier League. But the setting wasn’t ideal, thanks to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles.
On Sunday, Wembley Stadium hosted the Eagles’ 24-18 win over the Jaguars. That left under 28 hours for groundskeepers to get the field ready for some soccer. The results weren’t great:
Silly and slightly confusing paint aside, the real problem was that 60 minutes of NFL action shredded the field. That’s not good for any match, let alone an important one between two good teams. Unsurprisingly, fans and commentators were annoyed.
Looking forward to this Match but the pitch is a bloody disgrace!— RyanC (@RyanLUFC92) October 29, 2018
Hope Tottenham are back at White Hart Lane soon as shouldn't have to play in them conditions.
1-3 City I'm thinking.#TOTMCI #PremierLeague
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino was able to find the humor in the situation, at least.
"We are facing one of the best teams in the world - maybe it will help us"— Hayters TV (@HaytersTV) October 29, 2018
Mauricio Pochettino jokes the Wembley pitch conditions could in fact work in @SpursOfficial's favour ahead of tonight's clash against @ManCity. #TOTMCI pic.twitter.com/ZxfiaE5wxA
His optimistic take didn’t come true, though. Manchester City pulled out a 1-0 win.
Typically, this is a situation that the NFL and Premier League have collaborated to avoid. When the match was first scheduled, it was to be played in Tottenham’s brand new stadium. But delays in construction forced the open date back to 2019, and the team announced in September the match against Manchester City would be moved to Wembley Stadium.
That was far too late for the NFL to do anything about the matchup between the Eagles and Jaguars, which was scheduled back in April. The terrible field conditions Monday were a result everyone saw coming, but probably won’t happen again in the future.