|COMPETITION||FA Cup Semi-final|
|DATE||Saturday 22nd April 2017|
3. Marcos ALONSO
4. Cesc FABREGAS
5. Kurt ZOUMA
6. Nathan AKE
7. N'Golo KANTE
10. Eden HAZARD
13. Thibaut COURTOIS
14. Ruben LOFTUS-CHEEK
15. Victor MOSES
19. Diego COSTA
21. Nemanja MATIC
23. Michy BATSHUAYI
24. Gary CAHILL
28. Cesar AZPILICUETA
29. Nathaniel CHALOBAH
30. David LUIZ
34. Ola AINA
41. Dominic SOLANKE
With the news of Ugo Ehigo's death coming through this morning, the
FA Cup semi-final preview is something that has taken a different
slant. When someone so young passes away, the game pales into
insignificance and Bill Shankly's quote about football being more
important than life and death looks shallow and obsessive.
But, outside of his family, football was Ugo's life. We send
our heartfelt condolences to all his family.
With Spurs and Chelsea being the top two side sin the country, you would consider that the winner of this match could well take the FA Cup. While Manchester City and Arsenal can be good on their day, you cannot guarantee that their day will be the one they want.
For Tottenham, they come into the game off the back of a good run and off the back of a win over Chelsea in their last meeting. But the Pensioners will be looking for revenge, with the Double tantalisingly within reach of they can stay ahead of Spurs in league and cup.
The key to the battle will be Tottenham's closing down and sharpness in getting the ball and passing and moving quickly going forward. Given space, the likes of Hazard and Pedro can damage you, while Victor Moses will make the most of wide positions, if allowed to get into them.
Spurs have found in recent
weeks, that they are able to create and score lots of goals, without
letting too many in. To keep Chelsea out might be tough, with
Costa not at his best, but odds on to raise his game against us.
Cahill has made the PFA Team of the Year ahead of Toby and Jan, but,
if he plays, will just be getting over gastro-enteritis, so there
may be scope for getting at him. Matic and Kante will sit in
front of a back three, adding further protection, as Chelsea match
up Spurs formation, so it will leave a lot of work for Alli, Dembele
and Eriksen to do. I think Wanyama might come in with Son
making way, strengthening up the defensive two and covering for the
full backs going forward. Walker and Davies will be relied
upon to stretch Chelsea and with some of their players not the best
at tracking back, the hope for Poch will be that they find a little
space and time. It will then be the time to add a little
quality and to take our chances when they come along.
|PREDICTION||Chelsea 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|RESULTS HISTORY||Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Chelsea|
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS :
Thibuat Courtis (ankle) and Victor Moses (illness) could return, while Gary Cahill (gastro-enteritis) and Marcos Alonso (illness) are doubts.
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Danny Rose (knee), Cameron Carter-Vickers (knee), Michel Vorm (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) and Harry Winks (ankle) all miss out on a place in the semi-final squad.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
FA Cup Semi-final
Saturday 22nd April 2017
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 17:15
Willian 4m 15s
Willian 42m 25s
Hazard 74m 25s
Matic 79m 42s
Kane 17m 09s
Dele 51m 33s
Alonso (throwing the ball away) 45+3
Kante (foul on Dele) 90+3
Alderweireld (foul on Pedro) 3
Dele (foul on Moses) 73
|Crowd : 86,355||Weather : Sunny, warm|
|Referee : Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Burt; Mr. I. Hussin|
|Fourth Official : Neil Swarbrick|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the West end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
|Chelsea :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
(10 Eden HAZARD
15 Eric DIER
4 Toby ALDERWEIRELD
5 Jan VERTONGHEN
Victor WANYAMA (14
Georges-Kevin NKOUDOU 80)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Antonio Conte||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Yokohama Tyres||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
A fine performance by Spurs ended in disappointment as they handed Chelsea two goals, which were added to by two goals from range, even though Tottenham had battled back and dominated for long periods. The one thing that Tottenham appear to lack in these sort of games, is the cynical approach that means you do not have to play well to win games. The legacy of Mourinho lives on, even though Willie Carson is now in charge at Stamford Bridge.
On the way to the game, we found that both teams had made changes with Spurs opting for Son at left wing-back and Trippier in for Walker. Chelsea left out Hazard and Costa, brining in Batshuayi and Willian. Both seemed odd moves, but worked to a certain extent for both sides, but it was when Chelsea brought on the two players they had omitted that the game changed their way. Even then, the way Spurs played, it was only two moments of madness that gave Chelsea any goal-scoring opportunities.
The minute's applause tribute to Ugo Ehiogu, who died last week, we well observed and Spurs fans added another in the 44th minute (Ehiou being 44 years old).
When play got underway, a long through ball was latched onto by Pedro and as he approached the penalty area, Alderweireld slid in to take his legs. He wasn't the last man and it was outside the box, but Atkinson produced a yellow and the free-kick was fired home wide of the wall by Willian. Four minutes into the game, we were behind to a goal gifted to them and had it all to do. Four minutes before half-time, Spurs made it harder for themselves having got back into the match, when Son needlessly dived into a tackle on Moses as he got into the box. There were sufficient Spurs players back, but not being a defender, Son's instinct wasn't to stay on his feet. A penalty gave Willian the opportunity to take Chelsea into the break in the lead. He took it.
With goal-line technology in place, there was no chance of Atkinson being able to gift Chelsea a goal like back in 2012, but he was making up for it by allowing the persistent fouling of Chelsea players to go unpunished. Two late and nasty tackles from Alonso (would you expect anything else) on Eriksen and Trippier went without a booking, when they were worse than Toby's. When he did get booked, it was for throwing the ball away. I thought referees were supposed to have the safety of the players as their first priority. A ball thrown away from a player who has committed a foul and is trying to waste time is not going to put anyone out of the game. A late tackle could. Luiz was regularly going through the back of Kane and Kante through Alli while the Chelsea players use of their arms was inventive (and I am being kind), but the officials failed to act on them. Soft fouls were awarded against Spurs and the consistency throughout the game was nothing like consistent.
Spurs dominated possession and territory. Pressing high, Chelsea were turning over possession and when Dele closed down Courtois, his sliced kick went straight up in the air and when it came down, Spurs won a free-kick. Eriksen took it quickly, sliding it into Kane in the box. He turned, but his shot deflected off Kante for a corner. From it, Eriksen got the ball back when it was cleared initially, but he played a low cross with his left foot into the near post. Harry was alert to it and falling, he guided a header wide of Courtois into the far side of the goal to put Spurs level in the 18th minute.
Spurs were starting to test Chelsea by running beyond their midfield, which produced some desperate tackling. Luiz, Azpilicueta and Kante all produced last minute challenges to deny shots on goal. Dier did get his head to a Vertonghen cross, after a corner had been cleared, but it slid across the goal and wide. It was surprising that Chelsea were reasonably poor in the air, with one of their two central defenders in the PFA Team of the Year playing. Eriksen struck a shot at goal, when Kante passed loosely across the edge of the box, but it was straight at Courtois. The other good chance we had before giving a penalty away was Kane rising high to glance a header narrowly wide of the far post, when a cross came in from the left.
Half-time perhaps came at the wrong time for Tottenham, as they would have wanted to get back into it before the interval. The sun was shining down as the second half kicked off and Chelsea set out their approach early on, with Azpilicueta clearing out Kane and Luiz doing anything he could to stop Dele, legal or not. However, there was no stopping Dele when he made a late run to get onto the end of a sumptuous cross from Eriksen, bent in form the right and dispatched into the roof of the net to pull Tottenham level at 2-2. It was a fantastic goal and one that had echoed Lampard's comments in the week about Dele's knack of arriving at the right time.
The Pensioners were stung by this, so started putting some "energetic" tackles which Atkinson failed to recognise as fouls, but Pedro tried to put Willian in on goal, being denied by a great block from Jan. Then, when Spurs attacked and won a couple of corners, with Dele being blocked off again, the pressure was at the other end. Courtois had looked nervy all game and he tried to punch out a corner, but it slipped off his gloves and when it was worked back, Dele nut-megged Azpilicueta and then got way too far under his shot that skied into the fans behind the goal.
Conte made his changes and initially, it looked like they would make little difference, as Spurs borke on Chelsea, with Kane winning a header in midfield to put Dele away. His cross found Christian at the far post, but he could not get any power in his header as he tried to dive forward. Trips set up Victor Wanyama for a shot, but that went wide. Walker replaced Son, with Trippier going to left back in a 3-4-3 set-up. It meant that when Kieran got the ball he had to cut back onto his right foot all the time, so crosses were swinging in towards goal. One ball in nearly picked out Kane, but was cleared for a corner, which was played in and went through everyone and out the far side of the box. Dele got a booking for a foul on Moses as he ran away from him, but compared to what had gone before, it was a soft caution.
With 15 minutes left, a Chelsea corner was knocked away, but it was picked up by Hazard on their left side of our box. He stepped inside and drilled a low shot that went through a lot of players and wide of Lloris to find the bottom corner of the net.
Tottenham slipped back into attacking mode, having looked tired just before the goal and Eriksen twice put crosses in, before Poch brought on Nkoudou for Wanyama. But it was rendered pointless after a minute when Matic let go a shot from 30 yards the hit the top corner with an accuracy he could only have dreamed about.
Spurs started to open up and Hazard nearly capitalised when Lloris rushed out wide right to meet him. He took the ball around Hugo and squared for Fabregas, who had come on, but his shot was blocked, then Costa headed wide when he met a cross from the former Gooner. Georges-Kevin looked pacy when he got wide and troubled Moses, who couldn't keep up with him. The first time, his low cross was blocked for a corner and the second, he managed to hurdle a scything attempt at a foul by Moses, who is supposed to be quick, but he got nowhere near Nkoudou. There was intent, but no booking.
Eriksen couldn't get enough on GK's cross to beat Courtois, Kane got a shot blocked by Luiz and Eriksen got into a good position in the right corner of the area, but his low shot was dragged well wide. As Alli tried to get away from Kante, he brought him down cynically and took the booking. From the free-kick, Kane shot through the wall and the ball squirmed under Courtois' dive, but as it headed for the goal-line, it spun back and the keeper gathered it.
The last effort put the game into a nut-shell. Chelsea were given two goals by Spurs, scored another two that anything could have happened with, but they both went in, while our two goals were well-crafted and expertly taken.
There is not FA Cup semi-final hoodoo and losing seven on the trot is bad, but there is not common thread to them. Losing at Wembley is not a hoodoo. In both respects, we have lost to some good sides. We have lost because we have been unlucky. We have lost because perhaps we deserved to, but there is nothing to take into our next Wembley or FA Cup semi-final.
Chelsea won but were not the best team on the day. We have already given them the biggest tests and hardest games this season.
Our time will come.
Chelsea were one of the first teams to take on sponsorship, when they were paid to wear the slogan "Weir Shirt" on their strip.
It was only some years
later that they realised they had been spoofed by a fan of their big
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
Driving home from the game, listening to TalkSport, I was astounded
to hear the Chelsea fans lining up to have a dig at Tottenham and
our future. Attacking Danny Kelly as a Spurs fan and Stuart
Pearce as a summariser, they questioned why they thought Spurs
future looked bright and why the club haven't won anything. It
seems like a club with no history have a chip on their shoulder
about anyone who doesn't think they are the best thing since sliced
bread. They couldn't even accept that they were not the best
team on the day, they "just did what we do" as one eloquent a fan
One caller said Spurs couldn't win the league last year when an average Leicester side could. And where were Chelsea while all this was going on ? They said that Spurs Champions League campaign was embarrassing, but where were Chelsea in the Champions League this season ? Without European football at all this season, Chelsea have had the perfect base to go all out in the league and domestic cups.
What they fail to realise is that Levy and Pochettino are building a side here. It is not like splashing billions of pounds on a club to suddenly start winning things. Look at Blackburn. Millions brought them the Premiership title, but what then ? And where are they now ?
Chelsea are reliant on petrodollars and if that oil that fuels them dried up they would shrivel and die.
Even in victory, their
supporters show they have no class.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Swansea City||2||Stoke City||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United London||0||Everton||0||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||-||-||-||-day|
|FA Cup Semi-final|
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.
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