OPPONENTS Norwich City
COMPETITION League Cup Fourth Round
DATE Wednesday 31st October 2012
VENUE Carrow Road






Spurs face former Assistant manager Chris Hughton, who earlier this season gained a point for the Canaries at White Hart Lane in the league.

Since then they have struggled until the last couple of weeks when they beat Arsenal at home and drew against Aston Villa away.  Can they continue with a surprise result against Spurs ?

Well, they got turned over easily at home by Liverpool, who played a counter-attacking game, while Chelsea took them to the cleaners at Stamford Bridge, but only after going a goal behind.

The key for Spurs will be to keep the ball and keep the attacks going up the outside of the Canaries full backs.  The Norfolk side work hard and funnel back through the middle to make it difficult to play through them, so Spurs need to cash in on the wide men and if they are doubling up there too, there won't be much attacking being done, thus freeing our full backs to add to the attacking options.

Grant Holt will be their sole striker and he is strong enough to hold the ball up, but we need to do to other teams what they do to us, by making the ball go straight back where it came from.  While City have other options in Aaron Wilbraham, Steve Morison and Simeon Jackson, I don't think they will start with two up top and Harry Kane will be ineligible to play against the team he is on loan from (but he wouldn't be playing anyway, as he has a fractured metatarsal).

The midfield are able to get up in support, with Wes Hoolihan having a good season and being the main creator of goals for the team.  He delivers a good dead-ball and is an industrious worker, who tackles and passes well.  Alongside him, Andrew Surman is a stylish player, who looks good on the ball and knows when to make a run into the box, much like his team-mate Johnny Howson, the former Leeds midfielder.  Bradley Johnson closes down and tackles, but lacks a finish if he does get around the box, while Anthony Pilkington can cross a good ball and Alexander Tettey works hard and can produce a fearsome shot.

The defence is based around the former Spurs defender Sebastien Bassong and ex-Sunderland man Michael Turner.  They are still developing their partnership and there may be joy if Spurs can get in and around them, while wide, Russell Martin might miss the game with injury, leaving Leon Barnett and Javier Garrido as the full backs.  Neither might be able to handle the pace of Lennon and Bale should they start, so we need to make sure our supply comes form there.  Hughton may be wise to this and flood the midfield to force them infield, but with good movement, Tottenham could make this work to their advantage and support for Defoe could drag their central defenders out of position.

Spurs should be able to win this one to go through to the quarter-finals, but much will depend on who plays and how long the team play for.  We have already seen this week that you cannot relax too much against opposition that you should have the whip hand over.

PREDICTION Norwich City    1      Tottenham Hotspur   3
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.
Spurs will not be able to select Younes Kaboul (knee), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee), Scott Parker (Achilles) and Emmanuel Adebayor (back).  Additionally, Mousa Dembele (hip) may to be risked with some big games coming up.

League Cup Show  (BBC 1) - Wednesday 23.15 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Norwich City  2 (0)     
League Cup Round 4
Wednesday 31st October 2012                              
Venue :  Carrow Road
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kick off  19:45
Tettey 80
Jackson 82
Bale 66
Tierney (foul on Walker) 84  


Bale (foul on Tierney)  39


Crowd :   16,465 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Jon Moss (Leeds) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. Scholes; Mr. P. Bankes
Fourth Official :  K. Stroud -
Norwich City kicked off and played towards the Barclay end in the first half.
Norwich City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
28  Mark BUNN

  3  Steven WHITTAKER
  6  Michael TURNER
23  Marc TIERNEY     
24  Ryan BENNETT

  7  Robert SNODGRASS
11  Andrew SURMAN (  9  Grant HOLT 82)
  8  Johnny HOWSON (c)
15  David FOX (27  Alexander TETTEY 68)
21  Jacob BUTTERFIELD (10  Simeon JACKSON 68  )

16  Steve MORISON

Unused subs: 
  Declan RUDD
18  Javier GARRIDO
20  Leon BARNETT
17  Elliot BENNETT

  25  Hugo LLORIS

28  Kyle WALKER (18  Jermain DEFOE 90)
20  Michael DAWSON (c)
33  Steven CAULKER

46  Tom CARROLL (  5  Jan VERTONGHEN 79   o.g.)
29  Jake LIVERMORE (  6  Tom HUDDLESTONE 46)

11  Gareth BALE       
27  Iago FALQUE

  2  Clint DEMPSEY

Unused subs: 
23  Carlo CUDICINI
  Adam SMITH
  Aaron LENNON

Manager :  Chris Hughton Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Aviva Shirt sponsor :  Investec
Kit Supplier :  errera Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

This League Cup Fourth Round tie was another game that Spurs have thrown away this season.  The substitutions in the match made the difference with Spurs bringing on Jan Vertonghen to shore up the one goal lead and Norwich introducing Simeon Jackson and Alexander Tettey.  Vertonghen deflected in Tettey's shot that was going wide and Jackson was on hand to knock the ball home when Lloris had saved well from Turner's header. 

To lose 2-1 from a winning position is something Spurs have to learn to avoid even if it is in a trophy which they are not all that worried about.  For all the words about taking it seriously and wanting to win every match, the comments of AVB afterwards saying it was a pity to lose, indicate that the club are not too heartbroken about the exit.

Spurs started reasonably well, with Dempsey heading Naughton's cross wide and Bale had a shot at Bunn that he held comfortably.  Both sides were flinging crosses into the box and they came to little of note, but a good passing move by Spurs got the bal through to Dempsey, who had started on his own up front, but he couldn't control his toe-poked effort that went over the bar.  Bale brought a good save out of Bunn when he picked up a poor headed clearance and shot from outside the area, then he hit the side netting from Livermore's low cross at the near post and had another go wide, Kyle Walker missed by a distance when the ball ran to him outside the area and Hugo Lloris had to save from a Steve Morison headed effort.  But none of these chances really looked like breaking the deadlock.

Bale was in the action quite a bit and got a yellow card for a lunge on Tierney, but the referee failed to notice that Gareth had been caught late, in an incident just before that.  Consistency is not the name of the game as far as referees are concerned.  The half ended with shots at either end by Dempsey and Howson, with Clint's on target and the Norwich captain's a yard wide.

Not the most inspiring half of football, but Spurs had shown the more attacking intent of the two sides and Norwich seemed to be going through the motions in front of a 16,500 crowd.  Tottenham brought on Tom Huddlestone for Jake Livermore, who had picked up a knock.

Norwich started brightly and with a good passing move down their right, Surman found himself breaking into the box, but Steven Caulker made a fine block to take the shot out for a corner.  Bale and Iago Falque tested Bunn and Kyle Naughton drove a shot over the top, while Lloris was called on to keep out an effort from Morison by racing out to block his shot at close range.  But then, with 66 minutes on the clock, Spurs worked the ball on the left between Naughton and Carroll and Gareth Bale cut inside to shoot low right footed to Bunn's right and the ball went past the keeper's dive and into the bottom corner to give Tottenham the advantage.

Spurs had perhaps just edged the balance of the game to this point and were worthy of the lead and you hoped they might go on to extend it.  Falque had a shot at the near post that Bunn beat out and the Norwich changes came shortly after, with Tettey and Jackson entering the pitch.  Lloris produced a flying tip over from Howson's powerful drilled shot as Spurs brought on Vertonghen to counter the Canaries' changes.  They then also brought on Grant Holt and when Dawson conceded a corner, all eyes were on him, but the ball cleared the forward and went to the far post, where Jan headed away, but only to Tettey just inside the box.  He struck the ball back towards goal, but it was going about a yard wide, until Vertonghen took a swing at it and the ball sliced off his shin and went into his own goal to put Norwich on equal terms.

It was a fortuitous goal, but one that Spurs should have been aware could always happen and that the one goal lead was not enough.  Anyway, from the kick off, Norwich attacked again, as the impetus swung their way.  Holt fired in a shot and Lloris did well to save.  But the next time the ball came into the box, Turner rose highest and headed down towards goal from about eight yards out.  Lloris got down to it well, but couldn't grasp the ball and it popped up with Simeon Jackson the one player quickest to react and knock it past the French keeper into the goal.

So, 1-0 up to 1-2 down inside a couple of minutes.  But with another two gone, Walker found space to be played in on the right and as he ran inside the area heading for the dead-ball line, Marc Tierney came in and Walker went flying.  The referee pointed to the spot, but when seen on TV later, it was clear that it was not a penalty, with Walker anticipating a tackle that didn't get as far as him.  Anyway, a chance to level was handed to Dempsey from the spot and while he hit the shot well, it was about a foot off the floor and just the right distance away from Bunn  to allow him to reach it to his left and push it away.  Once more, Spurs players were second to the bal and it was hacked away.

The last throw of the dice was to bring on Defoe for injury time, with Walker making way.  With four minutes left to play, it was a big ask for the little man to get Spurs back into the tie, but his running with the ball worried Norwich and a corner was played in low to the near post by Bale, where it found Michael Dawson and his flick at the ball saw it fly at goal, but straight into the midriff of Bunn.  There was time for one last shot, when Bale's left wing cross beat everyone and reached Falque at the far post, but he snatched at his shot and the ball went high and wide and that was that.

Norwich's changes had worked out for Chris Hughton and they go through to meet Aston Villa in the quarter finals.  It might have been a way through to the semis for Tottenham, but Villa are boring opposition and it would not have been much of a spectacle, much like this game for long periods of it anyway. 

As long as it is a learning process, otherwise it is nothing more than a pointless exercise.  Something I hope our side does not experience on Saturday.




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What you thought


Other scores this round :
Chelsea - Manchester United - Wednesday
Leeds United 3 Southampton 0 Tuesday
Liverpool 1 Swansea City 3 Wednesday
Reading 5 Arsenal (a.e.t.) 7 Tuesday
Swindon Town 2 Aston Villa 3 Tuesday
Sunderland 0 Middlesbrough 1 Tuesday
Wigan Athletic 0 Bradford City (a.e.t. won 4-2 on pens) 0 Tuesday


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