|COMPETITION||FA Cup Third Round|
|DATE||Saturday 5th January 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Since Coventry City's dive down through the divisions, I have lost
track of their personnel over the years. After all it is nine
and a half years since we last played the Sky Blues and nearly
twelve seasons since they were relegated from the Premier League.
There are few household names in the City side these days. Gary McSheffrey was a player last time Coventry were in the top flight, but he left for Birmingham City and has since returned to the Ricoh stadium. Both striker Cody McDonald and midfielder David Bell had spells with Norwich City before dropping down a level and John Fleck left Rangers after their financial meltdown on a free transfer. Goalkeeper Joe Murphy was once highly sought after, when he played for Tranmere Rovers, but a move to West Brom didn't work out, then Sunderland didn't give him a game, so he tried to re-establish his career with a long spell at Scunthorpe before joining Coventry. Forward Roy O'Donovan was another Sunderland buy that didn't work and he went out on loan a lot before settling at Coventry, although he has also been put out on loan from Highfield Road to Hibs last season. Much the sae could be said about Stephen Elliott, who ahs moved around a fair bit since leaving Sunderland, but he did get a certain amount of playing time at each one, including Wolves and Hearts.
The remainder of the squad consists of players signed form lower leagues or non league, coupled with promising youngsters that they have brought through their academy. Manager Mark Robins has done well with this group of players, taking them from near the bottom of the division this season to tenth with a run of nine games without defeat before they succumbed 0-1 to Shrewsbury Town on New Year's Day. It is a game that leaves the visitors with no pressure on them, so they can be expected to give it their full attention, so Spurs will need to be alert, whoever is in the team. With a disciplined approach ... and with Scott Parker in the side, I can't imagine any other attitude being adopted, they should comfortably see out this tie, with the more experienced player son the bench, should they ne required, but hopefully, they will be afforded a rest ahead of a tricky run of league matches.
With Lennon in such devastating form and Bale having a game off on New Year's Day, the side should be raring to go and City might find it hard to try and keep Spurs out.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 4 Coventry City 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Gareth Bale is available again after a one match suspension and the only real absentee is Younes Kaboul, who is just starting a six week programme to regain his fitness. Brad Friedel, Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto could be among the starters, with some other squad players getting a run out.
COVENTRY CITY TEAM NEWS :
David Bell completed 35 minutes of an Under-21 game this week after suffering a broken metatarsal and a knee injury, while Callum Ball is also on the road to recovery from a broken bone in his foot.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
3 (3) Coventry City
Saturday 5th January 2013 Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Bailey (foul on Parker) 12
Baker (foul on Caulker) 65
|Crowd : 35,766||Weather : Dry, mild, but slightly chilly when the sun went down|
|Referee : Mr. M. Naylor (-)||Assistant Referees : Mr. L. Betts (-); Mr. D. Robathan (-)|
|Fourth Official : Mr. D. Sheldrake||-|
|Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Coventry City :||kit|
Gylfi SIGURDSSON (46
Tom CARROLL 80)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
Steve JENNINGS (10
John FLECK 71)
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Mark Robins|
|Sponsor : Investec||Shirt sponsor : City Link|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Puma|
While the Coventry City fans had plenty to sing about, not much of it had anything to do with their team nor what was going on on the pitch, where Spurs eased through the first couple of gears to see off the League One side. When their most popular song (among themselves) was concerning their own team losing 0-6, you wonder if the full embarrassment of the content was lost on the Sky Blues supporters.
Much like the West Ham United supporters who came to the recent game at the Lane and sung about how good Arsenal were, the happy band of away fans enjoyed their sing song, thought they had wound up the Tottenham support and went away with another defeat to their name. And it was another side who failed to cause Spurs too much trouble, although there were a couple of shaky moments from set-plays.
But in the main, the progress to Round Four was more straightforward then had been hoped for, against a team fired up on pure memory juice from 1987 ... even down to wearing a replica style shirt for the day that mimicked the club's finest moment. It was a shame that their football didn't live up to it and that the most notable incidents about Coventry in the first half was an extremely crude tackle on Parker that should have seen red and a lack of penetration into the Spurs half, let alone their penalty area. And within half an hour, the game was tied up with Tottenham 3-0 ahead and not even they could throw that sort of lead over a Sky Blues side in which the only household name was Gary McSheffrey !!
With Tottenham starting with Friedel in goal and the back four being Naughton, Dawson, Caulker and Assou-Ekotto, the side was much changed. Also out were Defoe, Sandro and Dembele and in were Dempsey and Scott Parker in the defensive midfield two with Tom Huddlestone. Would the big changes gel or would they allow City to have chances ? Well, from the start, the ball was played around comfortably, with Coventry unable to hold onto the ball when they did gain possession. And chances for Coventry were few and far between. By using the space and the fact that City were not marking that closely, Spurs managed to create openings, with bale having the beating of Jordan Clarke with great ease.
Long shots came in from Sigurdsson, Parker and Huddlestone in the first twelve minutes, but none could hit the target. In the twelfth minute, Coventry did find the target, but in this case, it was Bailey's two footed, off the floor leap to win the ball from Parker, but he left the player suffering, while the referee could only bring himself to produce a yellow card. However, further punishment was heaped on the side from the third level when a free-kick came in from Sigurdsson and Bale touched it on with his head, before Clint Dempsey rushed in to fire into the net from close range.
Bale decided to take it on himself to attack the Coventry defence, who were so scared to touch him, Gareth had the run of the left wing, with one ball across the six yard box just asking to be put in with no white shirt there to apply the finishing touch, while he played the ball to Kyle Naughton, who struck a shot across goal and then Bale did the same, from left to right, but only after beating five players in a run from the halfway line. And he could have gone down a couple of times when bumped on his runs, but he stayed on his feet.
With Spurs so dominant, it would have been easy to over-pass the ball and while the movement was not as good as it had been recently, the second goal came in the 33rd minute. When Clint received the ball 25 yards outside the box and centrally placed, the shot looked on. Unfortunately for Dempsey, the block that got in the way was better than some of his others, but it took the ball arcing towards the goal, as it had done at Everton and against Reading last week. But this time, it was dropping wide, but luckily for Gareth bale, he was the one running in so absolutely totalled a volley as he fell with his left foot from a tight angle to produce the perfect finish to win the game for Spurs. The Coventry fans were not happy, but for Spurs fans, it was a technically fine finish and one that showed Bale's athleticism perfectly.
A left wing corner in the 37th minute found Dempsey at the far post and slightly running back tog et his head around the ball, Clint looped a perfect header into the top corner right by the post, which two Coventry players there couldn't stop as the ball hit the net and Spurs were 3-0 up without 40 minutes played. They had been involved in a professional performance, even if the lower league opposition it and they weren't playing at the tempo they would have liked, they settled into a slower pattern, which ended up the half with a 3-0 lead.
Shortly after the third goal, Jennings ran in to shoot at Friedel and the same player got on the end of some very good Spurs defending to have a shot on goal, but despite Naughton knocking the ball out to a City player who set up Jennings, but his effort was poor and under pressure from Parker, he put the ball well wide. It came as a surprise that Coventry had made it into the Spurs penalty area, but Dempsey almost finished the half with a hat-trick, when a bouncing ball in the area was kept well under control by the American, who then hooked a volley over his own shoulder from the right side of the box, which ended up close to the far post and would have been a wonderful goal if it had gone in. .
After Gary Mabbutt got a bigger cheer from the visiting fans sections than the Spurs crowd, he answered questions about that game and that goal, but did so with good humour and safe in the knowledge that for all of Coventry's FA Cup win that day, he would rather have had that happen and for Spurs to be where they are now, than be stuck in a stadium that you don't own, get no money form the food/drink outlets and solely rely on gate receipts from attendances just more than twice the travelling support today. This match will probably pay off their outstanding rent bill, but how much longer can clubs go from hand to mouth like this ?
As Spurs set out to keep going forward, they once more had the bigger share of possession and early on in the half, Bale threaded a pass through the middle of the City defence for Adebayor, but Manny took one touch too much and it allowed giant defender William Edjenguele to put in a little nudge on the forward as he ran past the D and into the box, who went over, much to the indifference of the referee. Then five minutes in, Benny had a mazy run along the left wing to the dead ball line, then along the dead ball line - beating players as he went - then back to the edge of the box where he played in Timmy Huddlestone for a shot that was blocked and then Hud's free-kick was put wide off Caulker's head. Another free-kick, this time central and 28 yards out was struck perfectly by Bale ... well almost perfectly, as he dipped a shot over the end of the wall with Murphy stood stock still on his line on the other side of the goal, but Gareth's effort went just wide..
In the 66th minute, Brad Friedel had to be alert to get down to a glancing near post header to a corner by Edjenguele, but the ball came out into the area between the keeper and the penalty spot and was cleared away by the defence. The same player brought a good low stop out of Murphy with a low drive to the keeper's left that he managed to palm around the post, before he was substituted and Spurs introduced the pace of Andros Townsend instead !! Dempsey's wild shot failed to bring his hat-trick and Townsend hit two shots narrowly wide of the goal in his brief cameo. In all this time there was little to concern Spurs from the visiting team, although they did bring a great cheer from their side by getting the ball in the net, but the whistle had gone for offside more than an hour before their midfielder McSheffrey put the ball into the net in injury time and got damaged by Dawson's challenge on him in the process.
Without being unkind to Coventry City, Tottenham didn't have to try too hard at all today and the gap looked a lot larger than two divisions, with a massive chasm between Tottenham's familiar names and shiny stadium that they own and Coventry's collections of low quality journeymen and youngsters who might not recover from the trauma of playing for the club. As it was, Spurs settled for the three first half goals and played out the second half, with half an eye to adding more, but without straining already tired limbs from the Christmas programme.
A good win, but not one that will live long in the memories of Spurs fans, although for Cov supporters, the game will be a big highlight of their season.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|The Funky Phantom||
First objective - win
Second objective - don't get any injuries.
Third objective - don't draw and have to play another game.
|Stan Chun||Noticed the Coventry captain - Baker - had two armfuls of tattoos. To carry that off you either have to be a half decent premier League player or a builder. I will leave you to ponder which he might end up as.|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||2||Ipswich Town||1||Saturday|
|Blackburn Rovers||2||Bristol City||0||Saturday|
|Derby County||5||Tranmere Rovers||0||Saturday|
|Leeds United||1||Birmingham City||1||Saturday|
|Millwall||1||Preston North End||0||Saturday|
|Hull City||1||Leyton Orient||1||Saturday|
|Brighton and Hove Albion||2||Newcastle United||0||Saturday|
|Peterborough United||0||Norwich City||3||Saturday|
|Queens Park Rangers||1||West Bromwich Albion||1||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||0||Stoke City||0||Saturday|
|Leicester City||2||Burton Albion||0||Saturday|
|Luton Town||1||West Bromwich Albion||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United||2||Manchester United||2||Saturday|
|Nottingham Forest||2||Oldham Athletic||3||Saturday|
|Oxford United||0||Sheffield United||3||Saturday|
|Sheffield Wednesday||0||MK Dons||0||Saturday|
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