Two fine goals from Andrei Shevchenko and Shaun Wright-Phillips
condemned Spurs to an FA Cup quarter final defeat in which not all the
players on the pitch were on top form and a fan on the pitch after the
final whistle gave the night an even more depressing end.
With Mourinho drafting in Mikel to mark
Berbatov out of the game, it made it hard for Tottenham to make inroads
into the Chelsea defence, although there were a few chances available.
The failure to accept the opportunities in the first game cost us more
dear, but in this match, the chances were fewer but not unscoreable.
Berba almost played Keano in early on,
when he stood on the edge of the penalty area, with three defenders
around him and produced a cute drag-back that nearly went into the Irish
striker's path, had not a Chelsea defender intervened. In typical
cup-tie fashion, the play switched to the other end and Drogba set up
Ballack, who hit a shot just past the post with Robinson rooted to the
spot. With a quarter of an hour gone, Shaun Wright-Phillips came
inside from his left wing position and unleashed a shot that came from
behind a defender and fizzed over the top by a foot.
Aaron Lennon started off on the left
wing, where he tormented Diarra and brought a booking when he was hauled
down by the Chelsea defender. However, the little England winger
switched to the right and found it easy to go past Cole. It was
thus surprising that in the second half, Jol stuck with Lennon on the
left wing, which released Cole to make forward runs without the
ever-present threat of Aaron's pace to keep him in check. He did
carve out an opportunity for Robbie Keane, but the shot was charged down
by Terry and Carvalho.
Rocha was doing well in
his battle against Drogba, who towered over him. The Spurs man
showed he can jump well, with some good aerial challenges against the
strong Chelsea forward, but he also nipped around the Ivory Coast
international to pinch the ball away from him on a couple of occasions.
He frustrated Drogba into throwing the ball away after winning a
free-kick for a foul on him and the ref pulled out a yellow card.
With Chelsea coming set-up to keep
Tottenham out in the early stages of the game, they created little and
Robinson had a quiet half really. After the break, it was Spurs
again who started the brighter. A corner fell to Chimbonda, who
hit a shot that Cech saved at the Park Lane end and the Czech keeper had
to be smart to get down to a Malbranque effort to keep it out.
With ten minutes of the second half gone,
Diarra broke from right back and burst between two Tottenham players to
knock the ball down the line to Shevchenko. Having taken the ball
inside the penalty with one touch, he spun to hit a left footed shot
that arrowed into the opposite top corner of the net, leaving Robbo
helpless. Sitting right behind it, the shot was only going to be a
goal if it went in there and perhaps it was one of those which might
have ended up in row Y, but it didn't.
It seemed like the 3-1 lead that Chelsea
clawed back would be the turning point of the match and six minutes
later, Drogba chested the ball down for Wright-Phillips to strike a high
bouncing ball past the Spurs keeper for 2-0 from the other side of the
box. Dawson almost got to the diminutive winger, but having been
drawn out of the back four to make a challenge, he was not back to pick
up his man and nobody covered for him.
The tiring programme of games Tottenham
have had lately seemed to be taking it's toll. A few players
looked jaded and Defoe's introduction for Malbranque saw Spurs play with
three up front and three at the back. it was a risky change, but
Lennon played a cross in, but Keane
couldn't get it under control, while the ball dropped to Zokora, but he
hit it wide. Wright-Phillips did the same at the other end before
Jermain Defoe played the ball in to Berbatov, who stepped past a
defender and as he prepared to shoot, Carvalho brought him down just
eight yards out from goal. It was as clear a goal scoring
opportunity as you would see ... one he scored from in the first game;
so, how it was not deemed a red card offence, I cannot conceive.
The Chelsea defender, who spent a large amount of the game on the floor
and whingeing at Keane, only picked up a yellow card and Keane picked up
the ball to slide it past Cech, despite the best efforts of Terry to use
gamesmanship to delay the taking of the spot-kick. The Blues
keeper picked up a yellow card for kicking the ball away after Keane
tried to hurry the restart and Chimbonda had got one too for a scuffle
with Drogba in the lead up to the penalty being taken.
It was all set for a thrilling last ten
minutes until Chelsea brought out the methods which do nothing to endear
them to anyone. While Manchester United play thrilling attacking
football, with their aim to outplay the opposition (with Ronaldo's
antics one of the few draw-backs), Mourinho's men employ the same ways
that Porto used against Celtic in the 2004 UEFA Cup final, which brought
wide-spread condemnation. Feigning injury, time-wasting, harassing
the referee and intimidation of the opposition players. They are a
good enough team not to have to do that and while it might be a
back-handed compliment to Tottenham that they felt they had to kill off
the game in this manner, they will win few friends outside SW25 and the
chants of "Next year you'll be supporting Man U" to their fans might not
be too far off the mark. The arrogance and pettiness of their
phone0in callers certainly indicated to me that they have little good to
say about anyone other than themselves.
Drogba ran his studs down Rocha's heel
without the referee Atkinson giving a free-kick to Spurs nor Drogba his
second yellow card. It was astounding that such a weak performance
from a referee, who rarely got a decision right, should be considered by
those in power as suitable for such a big game.
Tottenham's best chance to get something
out of the match came with five minutes of normal time remaining, as the
ball came in from the right wing and neither Keane nor Berbatov were
placed to get near the low cross. The four minutes of extra time
saw Dawson join the players up front and everything was aimed at his
head, making it easy for Chelsea to defend. A couple of scrambles
saw the ball not sit up for the Tottenham front men and the final ball
was not accurate enough, as it had failed to be for most of the night.
Spurs had enough possession and enough
opportunities to play the ball in to their forwards, but one touch too
many or poor delivery, especially from corners and free-kicks, failed to
give Chelsea enough difficult situations to defend. It took two
cracking goals to win it for the visitors, but it will hopefully be
another step in the learning process for the Tottenham team.
THE HEATHROW SPUR