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FA Cup Third Round

Saturday 2nd January 2009

Not having seen too much of Peterborough since their promotion to the Championship, their league position perhaps explains their current plight.  Sitting bottom and having sacked managed Darren Ferguson, who had steered them to two successive promotions, the team have yet to click following Mark Cooper's appointment as a permanent successor in the boss' office.

Injuries have not helped and while a few loan players have come in, some are not eligible to play in the FA Cup.  This includes the Cambridge United midfielder Josh Simpson, who hit two goals in their 4-4 draw that saw them come back from a half-time 0-4 deficit.  Also out is the marvellously named Exodus Geohaghon and while England Under-21 keeper Joe Lewis went off in that game with a mystery injury, it is expected that he will be fit enough to play at White Hart Lane.

One familiar face in the opposition is that of Charlie Lee, who was with Spurs through the youth ranks, but failed to make the first team.  A former Reserve team captain, he is a determined character, who has been getting amongst the goals and has moved from his defensive slot at Tottenham into the Posh midfield.  He is joined there on the left wing by a talented player George Boyd, formerly of Stevenage Borough and one who was looked at by Spurs.  Good on the ball and a decent finisher, he has made a big impact at Peterborough since joining in 2007.

Another big money signing was Craig Mackail-Smith from Dagenham & Redbridge and he has carried on his good goal-scoring record since his move to London Road, where his partner has been Aaron McLean, but maybe not for much longer.  Attention from Wolverhampton Wanderers has turned the former Grays Athletic striker's head and he wants to leave Posh, with the club unlikely to stand in his way, as he will go for a good price at a time when the chairman has made some noises about selling up, then changing his mind.

Other players of fame are Tom Williams (husband of NIcola McLean - model and "I'm a Celebrity noteriety), who is a Cypriot international and has just returned form a loan spell at QPR and highly rated Lee Fracklington, who should also be available after a knock.

No doubt they will employ the same tactics as in the Championship, where there is little time on the ball as teams close you down quickly, but they might feel their best chance would come by attacking Spurs, which might leave space to attack them on the counter.  Without Lennon, that will be less effective, but Kranjcar will fill in on the right or on the left, if Modric takes Lennon's place, giving width to the team.

With Crouch and Defoe likely to start, having Pavluchenko in reserve if needed, the fire-power should be too much for the Posh visitors and Spurs should, if they approach the game professionally, progress ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    4      Peterborough United    1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); David Bentley (out - calf); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - groin); - (-); 

PETERBOROUGH UNITED :  - (-); - (-); - (-); 


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Internet :
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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   4    Peterborough United   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 2nd January 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,862
Referee :  Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, cold
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton
19  Bassong
20  Dawson
  3  Bale  (16  Naughton 78)

14  Modric
12  Palacios
21  Kranjcar  (25  Rose 72     )  

18  Defoe   (  9  Pavlyuchenko 83)
10  Keane (c) 

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
22  Corluka
15  Crouch
  dos Santos

Peterborough United :

  1  Lewis

  4  Morgan
29  Bennett
30  Griffiths
18  Whelpdale

  6  Lee   (25  Green 86)

10  Boyd
  8  Frecklington  (19  Batt 68)
  7  Coutts
  3  Williams  (14  Rowe 73)

12  Makail-Smith

Unused subs: 
13  McKeown
15  Diagouraga
20  Wright

27  McCrae

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

  Peterborough United
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Kranjcar 35
Kranjcar 57
Defoe 70
Keane (p) 90+5

Peterborough United


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Rose (foul) 87   


Peterborough United

Boyd (foul)  42
Lee (foul)  45+1  


Match Report : -  
Never an FA Cup tie to get the blood coursing through veins, which was what was needed on a chilly January afternoon, but Spurs turned this into a useful exercise in how to break teams down when they come to defend and ended up with a 4-0 score-line in their favour too.

With a reasonably strong side put out by Harry Redknapp, it looked like he was taking this seriously, while the noisy Posh supporters obviously thought that a shock was on the cards.  But with four clean sheets behind them, the Spurs team looked as if they were willing to face up to the challenge and Peterborough never really threatened the Tottenham goal throughout the match.

Heurelho Gomes only had to make one serious save and that came after 65 minutes when he dived across to palm away Craig Makail-Smith's drive from outside the penalty area.  The visiting supporters obviously thought they were in with a chance when George Boyd struck and early 30 yarder, but like many of the away team's efforts, it flew too high, although it dipped just as it passed wide ... and just to show that it is not just Championship sides who can do that, Wilson Palacios hit a similar effort wide of the mark from a long way out. 

Spurs were settling into a good rhythm and Peterborough dropped a lot of men behind the ball, deploying a lone forward, with ex-Spur Charlie Lee in between him and midfield.  However, Lee was continually pulled back to help out the midfield and left Makail-Smith isolated up front, mostly freeing Alan Hutton and Gareth Bale to rampage down the flanks and provide service into the area.  While Bale showed what a good attacking full back he can be, Hutton's failure to find a white shirt with his final ball was a little disappointing.

Some good defending by Bennett stopped Palacios getting onto the end of Bale's cross and then, when Modric's shot was blocked by Bennett and the ball dropped in the six yard box, Jermain Defoe crashed a shot against the bar from very close in, when that looked harder than scoring.  Spurs were to be regularly denied by Peterborough's England Under-21 keeper Joe Lewis and he produced a dive to his right to beat away Huddlestone's free-kick on the left hand side of the box and then reacted extremely well to a 27th minute shot from Kranjcar after Defoe had back-heeled the ball to the Croat 10 yards out and he smashed his shot at goal, only to see the goalkeeper touch the ball upwards against the bar and out.  Posh did make an attacking play, winning a corner off Bassong, but from it Whelpdale put his header wide of the Tottenham goal.

Kranjcar was enjoying his role in the same side as Luka Modric for the first time and a couple of shots had flown wide, as he was finding his aim and in the 35th minute, he did.  Modric's pass allowed Niko to cut inside to the edge of the box and just inside, he let fly with a shot that arrowed away from Lewis' effort to stop it and hit the inside of the side-netting to the keeper's left.  it was a fine strike from a player who is in good form at the moment.

Spurs sensed the game was there for the taking and followed the goal with more attacks.  Lewis saved well at Defoe's feet and then made a second stop as Palacios followed up on the loose ball, then the keeper was at full stretch to push aside Bale's drive as he came in from the left.  A minute later, he was doing the same to prevent Tom Huddlestone getting on the score-sheet, with a trademark rocket of a shot.

Frustration set in for the Peterborough players at the end of the first half, with both Boyd and Lee receiving yellow cards for rash tackles.

The half-time parade of FA Cup winning ex-Spurs featured Paul Miller, Paul Allen and Cliff Jones and their love of the club still shows through, despite a varying of number of years since they played for the team.  Their words might have been heeded, when they preached the need to finish the game off in the second half.

Spurs started the half as they finished the first one, as Lewis had to make himself big to block Robbie Keane's shot following Defoe putting him in on goal.  Kranjcar then laid the ball into Keane's path, but he skied his shot from the edge of the box, when one on target may well have brought him a goal.  With ten minutes of the half gone, Keane put Bale in for a shot, but the ball went wide enough for Hutton to get to it and put it back in and Huddlestone should have done better than putting it over the top.

But in the 57th minute, nerves were clamed with a second goal.  Keane put a well-weighted ball down the left hand side of the box and Gareth Bale ran on to it, sliding a first time cross back along the six yard box to find Kranjcar sliding in to guide the ball home.  At 2-0, the game was effectively over, as Peterborough rarely looked like scoring one, let alone more than that.  Their one decent effort followed the Spurs goal, but after that there was little to trouble the Spurs keeper.

Bale took a heavy knock and just when it looked like he might be making way, he was released down the left to put another low ball into the box and it found Defoe, who flicked out a foot to put it past Lewis and make the score 3-0 in the 70th minute.  It was a well crafted goal and put Bale in line for a man of the match winning performance that will boost his confidence now that he will get a run in the team following Benny's injury.

Gomes had to knock the ball away as a cross came in, but when Bale and Defoe went off, the tempo went out of the game.  Pavlyuchenko came onto the pitch, after eventually getting his shirt on and his first action came straight away when he headed a very good chance wide from a corner.  Substitute Danny Rose was keen to make an impression and he got a yellow card for a foul on former team-mate Charlie Lee (from when he was on loan at London Road)and then showed his pace to set up Roman, although the ball was a bit too far away from the Russian striker.

Tottenham did have the ball in the back of the net at the start of the added four minutes, as Modric did really well to free Keane, who finished with assurance, but he found the lineman's flag raised to rule out his goal.  He needn't have worried, because when the ball went into the Tottenham area and Peterborough substitute Shaun Batt went down under challenge from Kyle Naughton and Tom Huddlestone, the ref waved play on and Spurs broke away, with Rose's pace tricking Whelpdale into a rash challenge in the area and earning a penalty.  Keane stepped up slowly to put the spot-kick just out of the keeper's reach although he guessed right and dived to his right to wrap up a 4-0 win, with the final whistle sounding just after the re-start.

So, what did this game prove to us ?  Spurs might have learned that they need to be clinical in the finishing and that patience is sometimes the key to winning games where the opposition are not that worried about winning.  The squad depth ahs been tested and even though it is not hard to see how Peterborough are bottom of the Championship, they still have to be beaten and Spurs went about the job professionally.  Bale did well, Hutton was OK, Rose showed he might develop into a bundle of pace down the line and that Modric and Kranjcar can both operate in the same side, much as they do for their country.

So, another cup run starts and hopefully, the use of the squad will mean that it does not impinge upon the good league form that needs to be carried through until the end of the season.

purcell cole


Fan Reaction : -



After sinking a few bottles of my favourite German beer, it was off to see the Super Spurs see off the Posh visitors from up Cambridgeshire way.

Really, this ended up as nothing more than an "attack v defence" exercise that you might play as a kid or on a training ground.  Pack the last third and make it difficult to limit the damage.  I hope this is not the main tactic they use in the Championship, otherwise they will be doomed before Easter.

Spurs took their time and often looked like they were not too bothered about running up a decent score, but the second half saw them switch on and show the difference in class between the two side.

Modric's ability shone through and at last Gareth Bale looked like a classy left back, albeit against a side 40 places below Tottenham, but this was a return to the form that he showed when he first joined Spurs and I hope he can replicate it in the coming weeks.

Harry might feel that with a mix and match team, he could go a decent distance in the FA Cup.  And having won it once, he might have his eyes on another winners' medal.

isaac gregory






Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal - - - -day
Aston Villa - - - -day
Birmingham City - - - -day
Blackburn Rovers - - - -day
Bolton Wanderers - - - -day
Burnley - - - -day
Chelsea - - - -day
Everton - - - -day
Fulham - - - -day
Hull City - - - -day
Liverpool - - - -day
Manchester City - - - -day
Manchester United - - - -day
Portsmouth - - - -day
Stoke City - - - -day
Sunderland - - - -day
West Ham United - - - -day
Wigan Athletic - - - -day
Wolverhampton Wanderers - - - -day


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