Chelsea (Wembley)
League Cup Final

Sunday 24th February 2008


A League Cup semi-final win over Arsenal has lead to a meeting with Chelsea in the final at the new Wembley and it is all for Spurs to do as they have to go on the next step and win some silverware.

It won't be easy against the parade of big name stars that Chelsea have bought over the years and they are experienced in the big match glare of the finals of competitions.  However, there have been big changes at both clubs this year, with new managers and some new faces in the teams.

With Juande Ramos making changes in the Spurs defence and bringing the best out of the other players available to him, the side are making steady progress up the table (in terms of points if not places just yet) and his forte seems to be in knock-out competitions.

Over at Stamford Bridge, Avram Grant had the unenviable prospect of taking over and stepping into the overcoat of Jose Mourinho.  The fans were crying in their executive boxes when the Chosen One was unchosen and the unknown Grant was put in his place.  Known to Abramovich though, as he was a close friend and has a reputation in the game as an astute coach, so he should be able to galvanise the rich kids in the Blues team.

However, Spurs are closing the gap on the top teams in matches against them and the recent two games against Manchester United and the matches against Arsenal show that Ramos has the tactical nous to pit his wits with the top managers in the Premier League.

The weight loss news has made the headlines, but behind that it has made Tottenham a sharper bunch of players with more stamina and that has put other teams on the back foot.  With Jermaine Jenas making a push for the England side with his rejuvenated performances, no doubt Chelsea will be looking to take him out early on and Dimitar Berbatov will be the other player that they fear can do them damage.

But they ignore others at their peril.  Steed Malbranque has been the most consistent player this season and Aaron Lennon's play on the other flank has been reaching the levels he displayed in the season before last.  And the Ramos signings at the back - Woodgate and Hutton - have added experience in the England man's case and height and athleticism in the Scot's to a defence that needed some attention.  Whether King plays or not now, there are enough good players there now to produce a decent back four.

With Chelsea's formidable attack, our defence will have to be on their game to shut them out.  Paul Robinson's good game against Slavia Prague on Thursday might win him a starting place in the final as his big match experience could sway Ramos into picking him.  With Drogba being strong in the air and Anelka quick across the ground, the defence will need a mix of personnel to cope.  The midfield of Chelsea like to break quickly and their counter-attacking style will need our central players to track back to defend should the need arise.  With Lampard a doubt, it leaves the way clear for the likes of Ballack and Mikel to stake a claim and it will be a tough task for our midfield to match the opposition's.

At the back, if Terry is absent it will make things easier, but even with him in the side, the pace of Lennon, the quick thinking of Berba and the tricky footwork of Keano could upset the Chelsea back four.  Rumours are that Cashley Cole might be left out and Bridge brought in and while they will be hoping he adds to the attacking options, one of his performances recently saw him fail to hit his intended target with his passes.

On our day, we are more than a match for anyone, but will Sunday be our day ?  With King in the team, it will be a better bet, but if not, I still think we can edge it as Chelsea are not playing at their peak, so it will be a close one, but I predict a repeat of 1967 ...

PREDICTION : -  Chelsea  1   Tottenham Hotspur   2

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


CHELSEA :  -  - (-); - (-)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Gareth Bale (foot); Gilberto (calf); - (-); - (-);


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)  3.00 p.m. onwards
ITV 1 - (highlights) -  11.15 p.m. - 00.15 a.m. 
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 :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Chelsea   1   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 1-0)
(after extra time; 1-1 at full time)

League Cup Final
Venue : -  Wembley Stadium
Sunday 24th February 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   87,660
Referee :   Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Weather :  -  Dry, mild
Teams : - 
Chelsea :


Terry (c)

Wright-Phillips (Kalou 72)
Essien (Ballack 88)
Obi      (Joe Cole 98)


Unused subs: 

Tottenham Hotspur :


King (c)
Chimbonda (Huddlestone 61)

Malbranque (Tainio 75     )

Keane (Kaboul 102)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Drogba 39

Tottenham Hotspur

Berbatov (p) 70
Woodgate 94

Cards : -  

Mikel (foul) 96
Caravalho (foul) 104
Cech (dissent) 120


Tottenham Hotspur 

Zokora (foul) 38
Tainio (time-wasting) 116
Lennon (kicking ball away) 120
Jenas (kicking ball away) 120


Match Report : -  
With a performance which saw virtually every Spurs player put in a good performance, the side lifted themselves to beat Chelsea after a long 120 minutes and allow Ledley King to exorcise a number of ghosts in lifting the League Cup aloft at the new Wembley.

Thanks to Juande Ramos' team selection and substitutions, he out-thought Avram Grant and made sure that the Spurs team made sure of their place in the club's history, as Dimitar Berbatov's penalty and Jonathan Woodgate's first goal for the club gave Tottenham an extra time win for the fourth time in this competition.

There was a willingness from the players to give their all and the Spurs fans themselves gave every breath in exhorting the team on against the cynical and frankly, temperamental Chelsea team. 

From the moment Robbie Keane intercepted a cross-field pass by Belletti and strode forward to strike a shot that John Terry just deflected wide, the tempo that Spurs played at and the pressure they put on Chelsea all over the pitch dictated the way the game was going.  It was from that corner that Dimitar Berbatov headed on for Ledley King to volley over from a yard or two out.

EIght minutes in and Malbranque had a cross blocked for a corner and when Lennon played it to the far post, Chimbonda rose high to nod back across goal, but the ball drifted high and bounced off the top of the bar and out and was cleared away.  Then Berbatov slid a header wide of the far post and it looked like the chances which clipped wide of the goal might end up coasting Tottenham.

The opening period of the game saw Tottenham dominate and the game seemed to be played at a slow pace by Chelsea.  The ball was moved around and the defences sat deep to try and nullify any attacking that might happen.  This resulted in long passes being played beyond the intended targets and a series of goal kicks and throw-ins.  A foul by Terry on Berbatov allowed Jermaine Jenas to flight in a free-kick with pace and while Woodgate got on the end of the cross, he could not control his header as he flung himself at the ball.

In the 28th minute, Keane held the ball up well and passed behind him to Steed, who hit an early shot that made Cech dive to his right to push the ball past the post.  Shortly after, Chelsea threatened for the first time, but Lampard blazed well over from distance and then Drogba started to go all weak at the knees ... at every challenge that came his way.  it was always going to be a bit tricky conceding free-kicks around the box and it was deflected out for a corner, from which Drogba was fouled by Zokora and this time, the Ivory Coast striker hit his shot from 25 yards just over the bar.

When Didier fouled Didier in the 37th minute, the range had been found and from 25 yards out, Drogba put his shot wide of the wall and where Keane had jumped in from to leave Robinson helpless.  It looked as though the keeper might have left too much open, but the wall had helped the Chelsea forward see too much of the net.  His celebrations were unnecessarily provocative, being in the face of the Spurs management team, but they failed to react to the intended irritation.

The Tottenham response was immediate, with Berbatov setting up Keane for a volley that hit Cech, while the favour was nearly returned, but Berba lost his footing in the area.  Then, right on half-time, Lampard slid in hard on Berbatov when he was on the floor having already had a foul given against him.  Excessive force would have been a good description of Lampard's assault, but Halsey felt that as he is Frank Lampard, he shouldn't be booked.

Still, the second half saw Spurs attempt to salvage their position by passing the ball around well.  The only clear chance came when Zokora ran on goal and hit his shot with plenty of slice and missed by miles, as usual.  Anelka headed Wright-Phillips' cross straight into Robinson's arms, before Ramos decided to take off Chimbonda and bring on Huddlestone.  The defender took an age to leave the field and had to be hurried off by Jenas, prompting Pascal to head straight down the tunnel.  Tom came into midfield with Malbranque fitting into Chimbonda's position and the move released Lennon and Jenas to maraud a bit further forward.

However, it was Ledley King who produced a finely timed tackle to slide in and stop Anelka, just when it looked like he might get a shot in on goal on the left side of the area.  As Spurs moved forward in their next attack, Aaron Lennon got round Belletti on the left wing and stood up a cross to the far post, where Tom Huddlestone had to back-pedal to control the ball. Bridge was on him in a flash and as the Spurs man juggled the ball to get past him, the Chelsea defender seemed to balance the ball on both arms and the lineman on that side flagged across his chest for a penalty.

Now, with Robbie Keane not having had the greatest record from the spot this season, it was reassuring to see Berbatov pick up the ball.  He seemed like the coolest person in the stadium, while we were all nervous wrecks, as he put the ball down.  He made what must have been one of the slowest approaches to a penalty kick ever and as Cech committed himself to his left, Berba stroked the ball slowly to the keeper's right and the ball hit the net, soon to be rammed back in as the Bulgarian striker celebrated his 70th minute equaliser.

The way the team celebrated, you could see that the goal spread more confidence through the side and the rest of the remainder of the 90 minutes showed that.  An urgency and speed of passing opened up Chelsea.  Two minutes after the goal though, Drogba got past Woodgate for the first time and Ledley raced over to slide in to block his shot and preserve the situation Berbatov had earned Spurs.  Since moving to left back, Steed had struggled and although he had done a job, Ramos brought on Tainio to counter any effect Kalou might have brought from replacing Wright-Phillips.

With ten minutes left, Spurs could have won it, as Didier Zokora raced past a static back four, who looked on as he went through to face Cech.  Now, if it had been anyone else, you might have thought it would be a goal, but Zokora took it too close to Cech and hit his shot into the Czech keeper's face.  Even then, the ball rebounded back to the midfielder, who hit another effort that sailed wide and high, when Berbatov was alongside him and if he had received the pass, could have slipped the ball into an empty net.

Tottenham were flooding forward and when Keane's cross into the box was half-cleared to Tainio on the edge of the area, his shot was blocked by Jenas and Tom fired in the rebound, but his shot got stopped too.  The chances were coming thick and fast now, with Lennon on the left setting up Berbatov to fire a half volley on the turn, but it was straight at Cech and he beat the ball out.  When the play moved to the Spurs end, Anelka's diagonal ball to Drogba from the right was just too long for him to reach it with four minutes left on the clock.  Even closer to the end, Lampard tried to hit a clearance back at goal, but struck it wide.

In added time, Tom Huddlestone came forward to launch a long throw towards the box and Woodgate nodded it on at the near post.  It went to the back stick, where Robbie Keane, with his back to goal, tried an overhead kick, but it flew way over and that was it for full time.  So, extra time it was.

After a break for a rub down and more instruction, the teams took the field playing the same way as they had in the first half of normal time.  Three minutes in and Lennon raced away from Anelka, who fell all over him and gave away a free-kick 40 yards out on the left hand side.  As Jenas played the ball in, Woodgate lost Drogba, who was supposed to be tracking him and had a free header.  Cech had come out to close him down, but his save only pushed the ball back into Woodgate's face and it rebounded back past the keeper.  When the Spurs defender realised what had happened, he reacted and made sure the ball went over the line to give Spurs the lead.  What a time to score your first goal for the club !!

Chelsea had to change things if they wanted to get back into the match and Mikel made way for Joe Cole.  Kalou was released down by the touchline on the left wing and as he cut in he was fouled by Hutton, who had a very good game in defence.  With the wall being pushed back, Lampard thought he could squeeze the ball in with a shot from a narrow angle, but Robbo pushed it away as it headed for the top corner.

Just before the end of the first period of extra time, Ramos made the surprising move to replace Keane with Kaboul.  As he left the field, Keano looked like he was limping and Spurs moved to a 5-4-1 formation, with the long ball tactic expected from the Blues.

And that was what happened.  King blocked one Drogba effort, while Woodgate had both arms around the striker, but he had already been flagged offside, luckily.  With eight minutes remaining, Kalou turned Kaboul and hit a low shot that Paul Robinson kept out with his foot to maintain the Spurs lead.  However, as Chelsea pushed on for an equaliser, Spurs hit on the break, despite Berbatov playing a lone role up front.  He found Lennon but he could not keep the ball down and Kalou robbed him of it as he moved forward.

Tainio became the first Spurs player to be booked for time-wasting, being followed by Jenas and Lennon later on.  King missed getting a full head on a long ball into the box and it slid off his head to Joe Cole and his low shot was well held by Robinson, as it did not have a lot of pace in it.  Away came Spurs with Zokora bringing the ball into the Chelsea half.  He had Berbatov to his right and Lennon to his left, but delayed the pass so long that when he did try and put Aaron in, he only played it to a Chelsea shirt.  At this stage of the game, we could have done without stranding too many players upfield when the ball was given away.

It was getting a bit like a siege as Spurs defended with their backs to the wall and blocked, threw themselves in the way of and generally did what was necessary to keep the ball out.  Belletti, who had rammed one in from 35 yards at Stamford Bridge tried a repeat performance and hit the middle tier of the stand behind the goal and Woodgate headed out for a late corner.  We all held our breath as the ball was played in and Robinson came for it, but didn't get it.  The whistle went for a free-kick for a foul on him.  Relief.

Jermaine Jenas was still full of running and took the ball on into the corner of the Chelsea half, but lost control and gave a throw-in to the Pensioners.  The ball was hoicked forward and Terry knocked it on to Kalou in the left hand channel.  He pulled his foot back to shoot against the post, but the Spurs players had long since given up the chase, because Halsey did the one thing right in the game and blew for the end of the match, leaving the Chelsea players furious with him.  So much so that Cech was booked and the Chelsea assistant manager Ten Cate had to physically pull a number of players away from the official.

The white shirts hugged each other and jumped over each other, as the Tottenham end of the stadium erupted.  The opposite end showed red lines of seats which had been vacated long before the end.

As Ledley went up to lift the League Cup, the Tottenham fans were beaming smiles, while the Chelsea players' faces were thunderous.  They soon dissolved into the dressing room, while Spurs spent an age on the pitch enjoying the moment.

It appeared that Ramos had got all the major decisions right on the day.  Picking the right players and making the right changes at the right time.  With Chelsea lacking the will to engender any urgency into their game, Spurs closed down on the wide open spaces of Wembley with an efficiency that they have found under the new coach.

It might be a Mickey Mouse Cup to some, but it put us in fantasy land for a short while.  With one taste of what it is like, the players might want more to come.





Reaction : -



I am not sure which game Avram Grant was watching (perhaps he had his Wenger vision goggles on), as he said that the game was being dominated by Chelsea until the questionable penalty was given to Tottenham.

His assertion that the referee blew just when Chelsea were attacking and had never seen anything like this in his life obviously did not see the 1978 World Cup game between Brazil and Sweden when Clive Thomas blew the whistle as a corner came in (which Brazil scored from), as the time of the first half was over as the ball was in flight.  Why would he let Chelsea get a goal beyond the 120 minutes of the match ??  Oh, yes, I forgot ... it is because Chelsea should not lose isn't it ??

When Grant also whinged about the amount of stoppages in the thirty minutes of extra time, he should have looked at the amount of times his players hit the deck in normal time for no apparent reason.  Drogba must have the cleanest boots of all the Chelsea players, as the studs hardly touched the turf ... well not as much as his arse.

And while I am on the subject of Drobga ... his involvement in the booking of Teemu Tainio was must unnecessary.  When he gave the Finn some verbals, Teemu showed him the scoreboard and the Ivory Coast striker wagged his finger as if he shouldn't do that.  However, when he scored the game's opening goal, he ran straight into the Tottenham technical area, where Gus Poyet and Juande Ramos were standing, to be joined by his obsequious team-mates.  In my view, Drogba seems to have the morals of an alleycat ... but that is probably why he plays for Chelsea.  Or turns out for them, laying down on the floor a lot.


First and foremost, well done on your Carling Cup win.  Last time I saw Spurs win a cup on the telly, was when a certain Ricardo Villa and Ossie were putting on a superb display in the early 80's.
Since then I have always had a soft spot for Spurs.  What's it been, 9- 10 years since your last piece of silverware. 

Point I'm getting to is Alan Hutton.  Although still a young man, he has grown over the last 18 months into a fantastic player.

Your manager has got a bargain.  My team Rangers, became boring, predictable and long ball tactics since Alan has left.  The guy can run like a whippet; go past men with speed and whip in a fantastic cross. We're missing him big time.

Anyway would just like to let Alan know that all the Rangers fans don't blame him for leaving. Despite the press rumours up here.

Congrats again on your win. Well done.


The fitness and the signings Juande Ramos has introduced to the squad seem to have made a real difference to the side's performances. 

I was not sure about Jonathan Woodgate, but he is proving a solid defender, who might lack a little pace, but taking the first ball, he is reliable and his positioning means that bigger and stronger forwards, such as Drogba, do not always get the better of him.  Hutton looks class.  Athletic and strong, with a lot more to come from him I think.  With these two getting winners medals within a month of signing, I hope they both feel like they have made the right move and that Berbatov will look at what we have at Tottenham and pledge his future to the club.

The fitness improvement showed when Jenas burst past Bridge in the late stages of the first half of extra time and the whole side (apart from Ledley, who hadn't played for six weeks) kept going to the end with little effect on them physically.

While there were some nervy moments, the look on the faces on Lampard and Terry's faces as they came down the steps with their LOSERS medals was priceless.  Well worth nine years of suffering.

Ramos' procurement might have been sly and badly handled, but the man is seeming to be the winner we needed to take the reins at the club. 

Now if only Daniel Levy could get some good PR people to smooth things in the future, he might start getting some of the praise his moves to take the club forward deserve.


You can't understand what this means !  Perfect ! 



For more thoughts on the day, click here.

The Wexford Spurs supporters have photos of their day here.


Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 2 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Fulham 0 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Liverpool 3 Middlesbrough 2 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 5 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 Derby County 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 4 Bolton Wanderers 1 Sunday
Reading 1 Aston Villa 2 Sunday
Manchester City 0 Everton 2 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 27 19 7 1 56 20 64 +36
2 Manchester United 27 19 4 4 55 15 61 +41
3 Chelsea 26 16 7 3 38 17 55 +21
4 Everton 27 15 5 7 43 23 50 +21
5 Liverpool 26 12 11 3 43 19 47 +24
6 Aston Villa 26 13 8 5 49 33 47 +16
7 Portsmouth 27 12 8 7 37 26 44 +11
8 Manchester City 27 12 8 7 34 31 44 +3
9 Blackburn Rovers 26 11 9 7 36 34 43 +2
10 West Ham United 26 11 7 8 31 23 40 +7
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 26 8 8 10 48 41 32 +7
12 Middlesbrough 26 7 7 12 24 40 28 -16
13 Newcastle United 26 7 6 13 29 51 27 -22
14 Sunderland 27 7 5 15 26 46 26 -20
15 Wigan Athletic 27 7 5 15 25 40 26 -15
16 Bolton Wanderers 27 6 7 14 27 39 25 -12
17 Birmingham City 27 5 8 14 27 40 23 -13
18 Reading 27 6 4 17 31 55 22 -24
19 Fulham 26 2 10 14 23 43 16 -20
20 Derby County 27 1 6 20 13 57 9 -44


Back to homepage