FA Cup Semi-final

Sunday 11th April 2010

Having faced Portsmouth just two weeks ago, that should have been a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup semi-final.

However, Spurs played at half pace and with Portsmouth missing a few players and another couple sustaining injuries, both sides will no doubt be much changed form the Premier League match.

Aaron Lennon and Ledley King are rumoured to be drafted back into the side, with Michael Dawson missing and the need for a balanced attack on both flanks.

It appears that a number of the cash-strapped South Coast club's (CSSCC) players have been kept back for this match, with Belhadj, Boateng and Smith all returning to try and may the club's season have a happy ending.  And in that, Spurs will not only face the team that are bottom of the Premier League, but also the housewives' favourite who have the sympathy of the nation. 

Tottenham need to ensure that they do not give the opposition the time and space to run at them, like they did in the first half hour of the game at the Lane.  Closing down the man on the bal land using the space in wide positions could be the key to Tottenham winning the tie.  With injuries, it will mean that players unaccustomed to the team will be drafted in.  With King coming into defence, a right back will need to be found.  Perhaps Dervite might be brought in, or Assou-Ekotto moved to right back and Bale brought back to left back, with Kranjcar in front of him and Lennon on the right, with Modric and Palacios in the middle of midfield.  Up front, Defoe and Crouch will start if both are fit, with Gudjohnsen and Pavlyuchenko settling for a place on the bench.

With Boateng and Belhadj coming back into the side, they will not have had much match practice, but they are skilful and creative, so this might provide more threat to the Spurs defence.  Utaka will be looking to find space up front and if Dindane is allowed to play, he needs watching, as on the odd occasion, he has lead the Pompey front line with a few goals here and there.  The defence looks to be hit by injury and Spurs might profit there, with David James likely to be brought into play at regular intervals.

Personally, I don't think it will be as easy as a lot of pundits seem to think.  While the season has seen Portsmouth lurch from one disaster to another, the management and players will be keyed up for this one match, as relegation seems certain.  It will be tough, with the opposition packing the midfield and hoping to grab something from the breakaways or set-pieces, but I hope Spurs will not approach the game with an air of we only have to turn up and win.  If they approach the game correctly, they should go through ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Portsmouth    1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (doubtful - thigh); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Vedran Corluka (doubtful - ankle); Roman Pavlyuchenko (doubtful - hamstring); Tom Huddlestone (doubtful - ankle); Kyle Walker (out - cup-tied); Younes Kaboul (out - cup-tied); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Michael Dawson (doubtful - Achilles); - (-); 

PORTSMOUTH :  -  Marc Wilson (doubtful - hamstring); Papa Bouba Diop (doubtful - knee); Jamie O'Hara (out -ineligible because on loan from Spurs); Herman Hreidarsson (out - Achilles); Danny Webber (out - knee); Tal Ben Haim (doubtful - groin); Arune Dindane (out - contractual issues); - (-); 


ITV1  -  Live coverage
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)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 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
Singapore 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 :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   0    Portsmouth   2   (a.e.t.)   (Half-time score : 0-0; Score at 90 mins. 0-0)

FA Cup Semi-final
Venue : Wembley
Sunday 11th April 2010
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   84,602
Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Spurs end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Sunny, mild
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  3  Bale
19  Bassong     
20  Dawson (c)
22  Corluka

  5  Bentley   (21  Kranjcar    79)
  6  Huddlestone      (17  Gudjohnsen 102)
14  Modric
12  Palacios     

15  Crouch 
18  Defoe (  9  Pavlyuchenko 59)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
32  Assou-Ekotto
29  Livermore
25  Rose

Portsmouth :

  1  James (c)

16  Finnan
  3  Rocha
35  Wilson
  4  Mokoena

  6  Mullins (22  Hughes  89)
32  Yebda    (17  Utaka 87)
23  Boateng    
11  Brown

  9  Piquionne    (  8  Diop 51)

Unused subs: 
21  Ashdown
20  Smith
33  Basinas

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

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur



Piquionne 99
Boateng (p) 117

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Huddlestone (foul) 44   
Palacios (foul) 115
Bassong (kicking ball away)  120



Dindane (foul) 17
Boateng (taking shirt off) 117   


Match Report : -  
Eleven years to the day when Spurs lost to Newcastle United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup semi-final, so a repeat happened under the Wembley arch, with Tottenham crashing out of the competition to Portsmouth.

With a pitch that had a top surface looser than a Portsmouth budget, the game looked to be played at a much slower and more cautious pace than perhaps Tottenham would have preferred.  With David Bentley picked ahead of Niko Kranjcar, the aim must have been to put in the crossed to trouble Portsmouth in the air and get Peter Crouch to be the main target.  The return of Jermain Defoe would also have hoped to carry a bit more of a threat than he actually produced on the day.

Spurs had the lions' share of the possession and almost three times as many effort son goal as Pompey, but in the end, the score-line was the all important factor and that went 2-0 to the club relegated to the Championship the day before.

Too often, good moves broke down with a poor final ball or ended with a cross into the area that lacked any sort of threat.  Too many 'nothing' balls were just helped into the box without trying to pick out a white shirt and thus it was fairly comfortable for Portsmouth to cope with.  In the first half, James had to make few difficult saves and only a measured shot from Huddlestone and a header from Crouch caused him to hurry, tipping the first over the bar and the other catching in mid-air.  Perhaps his most worrying moment came from one of numerous corners, when he fumbled the ball against Mokoena and the ball bounced back towards goal and he was relieved to see the ball go just wide of the post.

Defoe was getting little service and the closest he came was seizing on a knock down in the box, but he was leaning back as he got to it and the ball went over from five yards out.  Modric was also finding it hard to get through the Pompey midfield, when they dropped a man back in front of the back four and then Dindane held a right side midfield position, to help crowd that part of the pitch.  However, he made his way into the box on the right side to dip a shot a little too late and the ball flew over the bar.

Bale was less than confident on the left wing from full back, as his footing went a couple of times from underneath him and his effectiveness was therefore limited.  It left Spurs caught on the break and with 36 minutes gone, Piquionne broke upfield to hit a shot to Gomes left as he came in from that flank and the keeper did well to get his arm down to beat it out.  Spurs had a little flurry of opportunities in front of goal at the end of the half, with Crouch and Bentley had shots blocked, but there was little real chance there.

At half-time, the men and women with rakes came out to try and repair the pitch, but the presence of ten men stomping around the penalty area during a fans penalty shoot-out did little to entertain the crowd nor to improve the state of the pitch.

With no changes at the break, Tottenham continued to attack, but there was little tempo to their game and it is this high pressure style of play which has caused other teams problems this season.  Within a minute, Crouch knocked the ball on for JD to hit a shot at goal, but Ricardo Rocha blocked the ball into the air and it was cleared by a team-mate.  Piquionne had another good chance with ten minutes of the second half gone, but his header to Dindane's cross lacked any real conviction and Gomes saved with ease.  The game went straight up the other end and Crouch once more set up Defoe, but his first time shot lacked any sort of good contact and the ball bobbled through to James.  it was his last involvement, as Pavlyuchenko came on to take his place in attack.

A corner from Bentley at last eluded James and the keeper got under the ball, leaving Crouch at the far post to head unmarked, but he missed the target and then he met a low ball in from Bale, but could not beat Mokoena, who got a block on his near port shot.  15 minutes from time, Bale's far post cross found Crouch doing well to wrap his head around, managing to get the ball to hit the outside of the post, when he would have done very well to score from such an acute angle.  Right on full time, Crouch was there again to try to beat James at the near post as Bale's low cross was played in, but the keeper got something on the ball to keep it out.

So, the final whistle brought an extra half-hour.  Possibly not the greatest thing for Spurs with their next three games against Arsenal on Wednesday, Chelsea on Saturday and Manchester United on the following Saturday.  After three minutes, Pav broke through to take advantage of some hesitancy by Rocha in the air and ran on to shoot at goal, but his effort went well over.  However, within a minute the ball was in the net.  The Tottenham net.

A free-kick that appeared to be for very little gave Pompey the chance to lift the ball into the box and as it was knocked on by Dindane, Michael Dawson went to move towards the ball and slipped, leaving Piquionne to knock the ball past a similarly slipping Gomes.  It was a goal that Portsmouth might have had during normal time, whereas Spurs looked to be having one of those days (Stoke, Wolverhampton Wanderers) when they looked like they could play all night and not score.  Five minutes before the break and Spurs almost got straight back into it, with Roman's low ball across goal touched goal-wards by Peter Crouch, but his effort hit the woodwork.  Worse was to come a minute later, when Spurs finally did get through the Portsmouth defence.  Bale's cross was touched on by Kranjcar, with James in no-man's-land and Crouch smashed home the ball in the centre of the goal from a couple of yards out.  But there was little need to get too excited, as referee Wiley, who had a poor all round match with little advantage played and getting the big decisions wrong, had already blown for a foul.  TV showed this was a big mistake and David James grinned into the back of the net to show he knew he had been given a life.

In the second period of extra time, Spurs were even more susceptible to the counter-attack and Luka Modric ran the whole length of the field to intercept a Utaka pass, when they had two on one at the Spurs end.  A Bale cross that made it beyond the far post did find a white shirt there, but unfortunately, it was Vedran Corluka and the defender hit his shot straight at a defender in front of him.  If it had fallen to another player, there might have been a different outcome.  

Once more, following a good attack, Spurs found themselves picking the ball out of the net.  Another breakaway saw Dindane race away and with Palacios catching him up, the Honduran put in a tackle that saw the Pompey striker sprawl and Wiley point to the spot.  Palacios got a yellow card and misses the next two games.  You might have thought he would have been sent off as the last man and Dindane bearing down on goal, but Boateng stepped up to convert the spot-kick and put Spurs out of the Cup.  In the last minute of extra time, Gomes did well to keep out a shot by Utaka as Spurs pushed everyone forward.

So, Pompey may be down from the Premiership, but at least they are not out of the Cup.

For Spurs, the result at Sunderland and this one at Wembley could be the ones that define their season, rather than the somewhat harder ones now facing them in the Premier League.

barry levington


Fan Reaction : -



Thought I woke up this morning with ringing in my ears , but then realised it was the whole country laughing at Spurs.     Well done Harry and the boys

P.S.  Has anyone at Spurs got Jose Mourinho's telephone number?


Olly Furnivall puts his feelings in verse here






Other scores this weekend :
Premier League
Hull City 1 Burnley 4 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester United 0 Sunday
Liverpool 0 Fulham 0 Sunday
Manchester City 5 Birmingham City 1 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Stoke City 0 Sunday
FA Cup semi-final
Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 0 Saturday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 33 23 5 5 84 30 74 +54
2 Manchester United 34 23 4 7 77 27 73 +50
3 Arsenal 33 22 5 6 75 34 71 +41
4 Manchester City 33 17 11 5 69 41 62 +28
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 32 17 7 8 58 32 58 +26
6 Liverpool 34 16 8 10 54 33 56 +21
7 Aston Villa 32 14 12 6 44 32 54 +12
8 Everton 33 13 11 9 52 44 50 +8
9 Birmingham City 34 12 10 12 35 43 46 -8
10 Stoke City 33 10 13 10 32 35 43 -3
11 Blackburn Rovers 34 11 10 13 35 50 43 -15
12 Fulham 33 11 9 13 35 37 42 -2
13 Sunderland 34 9 11 14 44 52 38 -8
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 33 8 9 17 30 53 33 -23
15 Bolton Wanderers 33 8 8 17 36 61 32 -25
16 West Ham United 34 7 10 17 41 57 31 -16
17 Wigan Athletic 32 8 7 17 29 62 31 -33
18 Burnley 34 7 6 24 36 72 27 -36
19 Hull City 33 6 9 18 32 70 27 -38
20 Portsmouth 33 6 5 22 28 60 14* -32

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.


Position before the matches :  5th
Position after the weekend's matches :  5th

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