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Carling Cup - Fourth Round

Wednesday 3rd December 2003

With no 'goals for' in four games, it is an unusually barren spell for a Kevin Keegan side to come to White Hart Lane with.  It won't last, as we have been leaking goals ... not many, but one or two consistently, while with a need to get back among the goals, the side might feature a Zamora/Keane pairing to start with and hopefully, Helder will be able to get on and try to open his account, as we all want him to.

The match will be a similar one to the League game at the new City of Manchester stadium, I would imagine, with City laying siege to our goal and our defence trying to get the ball out to Keano to hold it up in the forward line.   The side looks a little more settled now, with Ledley protecting the back four, but I would like to see Mabizela in there with him to firm up the middle of the pitch for us.  Ricketts could add the outlet and dribbling outlet (he's a real crowd pleaser), while on the other side, there could be a place for Anderton, where he can't do too much harm.  With Konchesky at full back, he will feel more at home and the willing running of Zamora should prove troublesome for the makeshift City defence.  The Citizens also have a problem in goal with promising Nicky Weaver's injury nightmare continuing and now Seaman slipping out of the team, leaving a young Dane to come in and he might be affected by the terror of the Tottenham crowd !!

A lot depends how many shots flick off Stephen Carr and how the City side decide to play.  From all reports, they haven't been bad, but have been lacking some luck in their finishing.  Anelka has pace that hopefully will be matched by Anthony Gardner and Deano might have trouble with Wright-Phillips buzzing around his knee caps and our midfield will need to put the hard yards in to match Reyna, Bosvelt and Sinclair, while trying to break forward when they can.

With a weekend derby against United coming up, Keegan has taken the opportunity to rest a couple of players and some of the others might be holding back a bit, but Tottenham have an equally important game against Wolves, so that might cancel things out, as the 4-4-2 formations will.

While it will be nip and tuck either way, I will go for a Tottenham win, but it might take extra time (again) ...

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham   2     Manchester City   1

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

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE

MEHSTG did not have enough time to get a view from the other side.

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

TOTTENHAM : -  Simon Davies (thigh/groin), Christian Ziege (knee), Jamie Redknapp (knee), Frederic Kanoute (ankle), Jonathan Blondel (knee), Gus Poyet (wrist)

MANCHESTER CITY : -  David Seaman (rib/hamstring); Sun Jihai (hamstring), Paolo Wanchope (knee), Michael Tarnat (leg muscle - doubtful), Nicky Weaver (knee)

COVERAGE : 
TV :  No live coverage
Radio :  BBC Five Live Sports Extra (not available online)
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast    

 

 

Tottenham   3      Manchester City   1     (Half-time score : 2-0)
Carling Cup - Fourth Round
Wednesday 3rd December 2003
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  19.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Dry, clear, chilly
Referee : -  P. Durkin (Dorset)
Crowd : -  31,727
Teams : -  
Tottenham : -  Keller; Carr (c), Gardner, Doherty, Taricco; Ricketts (Konchesky 71), King, Poyet (Dalmat 86), Anderton; Postiga (Kanoute 78), Keane
Unused Subs : - Burch, Mabizela

Manchester City : -  Stuhr-Ellegaard; Distin, Sommeil, Dunne, ; Wright-Phillips, Barton, Reyna, Tarnat (McManaman 72); Anelka, Fowler
Unused Subs : -  Schmeichel, Wiekens, Sibierski, Macken

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

Manchester City

Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  Anderton 9, Postiga 31, Kanoute 90

Manchester City -  Fowler 81

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  Postiga (removing shirt to celebrate goal) 31

Manchester City -  Shaun Wright-Phillips (refusing to let go of the ball) 24, Anelka (foul) 86 

Our 2-0 half time lead in this Carling Cup fourth round tie was due to an impressive performance by Spurs in the opening forty five minutes combined with a lack-lustre display by visitors Manchester City.  With Darren Anderton in fine form in our midfield (the cynical might suggest that, with rumours going around that he will be sold either during the January transfer window or at the end of this season, Anderton was trying to impress potential new employers - however, there are probably not many clubs who would be willing to offer the 31 year old the £24,000 a week he is allegedly on at White Hart Lane) we took control of the game from the start. 

It was Anderton who gave us the lead after nine minutes, shooting low with his left foot into the corner of the net past City goalkeeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard, whose dive seemed to be in slow-motion.  It really was a shot that the keeper probably should have saved.  We continued to dominate whilst the threat from City was almost non-existent.  Even the usually dangerous forward Nicolas Anelka, playing in a withdrawn role, was ineffective.  After half an hour came the moment Spurs fans (and a certain Portuguese striker) had been waiting for all season.  Playing in his thirteenth game for the club, Helder Postiga finally got on the scoresheet, capitalising on an error from Trevor Sinclair and sweeping the ball into the net.  Postiga went one step further than the usual celebratory removal of the shirt, tossing his top into the home section of the Park Lane end.  Referee Paul Durkin was far from impressed and attempted to put a dampener on proceedings by showing Postiga the yellow card for his celebrations. 

City were toothless in the opening period, their only efforts being a woeful free kick which Michael Tarnat launched into orbit and a deflected shot from Sinclair.  

The second half was a different story.  The visitors, having been subjected to a half time rocket from manager Kevin Keegan, improved quite significantly and took over the midfield.  Suddenly our 2-0 lead didn’t look quite so safe and City came close to reducing the deficit on more than one occasion.  Keller tipped Claudia Reyna’s long shot round the post four minutes after half time and made another good save from a header by the same player eight minutes later whilst Doherty deflected a Joey Barton effort over the bar.  

With ten minutes left City, having failed to score in their previous four games, finally pulled a goal back.  A miscued attempted clearance from Gary Doherty went straight up in the air and, as it came down, Robbie Fowler beat a slightly hesitant Kasey Keller to the ball and headed into the empty net.  Sensing the chance of forcing extra time, City poured forward.  

We were definitely wobbling a little, but our defending was impressive as we got in some important blocks, including one from Doherty to stop an injury time goal-bound shot from Dunne, which atoned for his earlier error.  Fowler also assisted us by getting in the way of another effort on goal by the visitors.  A Tottenham break in the last of four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the second half saw substitute Paul Konchesky deliver a cross into the penalty area from the left wing.  The ball eluded Robbie Keane, but was swept in by substitute Frederic Kanoute, returning to the first team after missing six games with an ankle injury, to seal our victory and put us into the last eight of the competition and a home tie against Middlesbrough.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DARREN ANDERTON

Andrew Ford

 

I'D STAKE MY SHIRT ON IT

 

It had to happen some time and I am sure that the Tottenham crowd were as relieved as Helder Postiga that his first goal went in to steer Tottenham along to victory over Manchester City in this Carling Cup tie.

Robbie Keane had been causing City early problems with a shot that ended up in the side-netting in the first minute, but it was Darren Anderton's tentative looking left foot strike from just outside the area in the ninth minute that gave Tottenham the lead and sowed seeds of doubt in the Spurs fans (and probably the players too) minds about the keeper.  Dazza's effort was low and near the keeper's right hand post, but the Stuhr-Ellegaard seemed to move very late to it and it slipped in almost in slowed down motion.  It was created by Rohan Ricketts cross from the left and a poor defensive header by Sylvain Distin, who knocked it straight to the middle of the box at the edge of the penalty box, where Anderton was waiting.

As the young City keeper gave in to nerves, he failed to hold a couple of low shots, with one bouncing off his chest, but he did get to an Anderton free-kick that got past the wall.  Gary Doherty had  a solid game, throwing himself in the way to make some good blocks, but two incidents will probably stick in the memories longer than the good things he did.  A ball into the box was headed on by Poyet and as it bounced a couple of yards out, Doherty was there, but waited for the ball to bounce and when he got his shot in, it was blocked by Sommeil's boot.  His other faux pas will be revealed later.

Darren Anderton was looking like his old self and a right wing cross was narrowly missed by a diving Rohan Ricketts and Keano also went flying in the box, with claims for a penalty for a push from behind going begging.  It mattered little, as Ricketts did it again, with a pacy ball into the area, which fell at the edge of the area and as Trevor Sinclair tried to control the ball, it got away from him and Helder Postiga was there.  Spinning on the ball, he struck a low guided right foot shot into the opposite corner to Anderton's goal and he sprinted off to celebrate his first competitive goal for the club.  So pleased was he that he stripped off his shirt and flung it into the crowd, leading to a plea for it back by a team-mate and the reward of a yellow card from Durkin.

This kick-started the visitors into action and Keller was keen to see Reyna's fierce shot go over the bar.  His only other action had been to race out and dive at Anelka's feet.  His moment of panic was yet to come too.  A flurry of action in the Spurs penalty box just before half-time had fans hearts in their mouths, when a ball in from the right was won with a great tackle by Gardner and then it fell to Anelka, who got in a shot, although Ledley King's back that deflected it for a corner.  Keller took the corner and then the whistle blew for the break.

Perhaps Spurs thought that City would realise their Cup run was over and succumb without a fight, but after the interval, they came out looking to get an early goal back.   Reyna nearly did with a shot that Kasey managed to keep out and then with a header after the ball pinged about the box in the air, but Keller dived full length to deny his fellow countryman.  IN between, we almost conceded what is becoming our trademark goal with a Barton shot being blocked by Doherty, who got it into the ground and up and just over the bar, more by luck than judgment as our KK was on the floor at the time, covering the initial effort.

Spurs were getting a bit sloppy in front of goal - their own that is - and Ricketts got robbed inside the box and Barton pulled his shot a couple of feet wide with the goal in front of him.  Spurs managed to relieve the pressure for a little while and Keane tried a chip over Ellegaard, but the youngster got a finger to it to knock it over.  Then, Ricketts took the ball off a City defender to square it to Ledley King, who's shot was a foot or two outside the post.  Ledders was having a great game in midfield, with a neat touch getting some space in tight situations, while his chasing back and tackling were proving City problems in how to get around him.  It was Ricketts' last action, as he suffered from bad cramp and Konchesky came on in his place, with Kanoute replacing Postiga soon afterwards.

Unfortunately for Spurs, the faux pas that Doherty was to enact nearly cost Spurs dear.  An innocuous ball into the penalty area looked destined for Keller's hands until Doc took it upon himself to clear it straight up in the air.  With Kasey unsure if he could handle the ball, as the ref might have construed it as a back-pass, he jumped with Fowler and lost out in the air to the City forward, who nodded it into a vacant net.  You could tell Keller wasn't happy as he lay on the floor twitching with rage.

It started a few minutes where City pressed for a leveller, but the ball was blocked by the Spurs players and cleared by anyone who was there.  It was a real end-to-end finish, as Manchester City left space as they pushed on and Keane ran through, setting up Kanoute, who hit a shot against Distin in the area, but claims for a penalty were turned down by Durkin indicating the ball hit the French defender on the chest.

In his attempts to keep the ball at the Spurs end, Anelka raised his foot when Keller was drop-kicking the ball out and was booked for his trouble.  It was obvious that something was not right in the Anelka camp, as a couple of times he used his pace, but most of the time was in second gear, with little attempt to change up.  But then a lot of the City players looked out of their depth, perhaps a reflection of their current form, but something appears to be going on under the surface there I reckon.

With the ball failing to go in at the Tottenham end, a ball to Konchesky on the left set him away and his low ball back into the area from the dead ball line found Robbie Keane at the near post.  With a defender (Distin) behind him, he faked to shoot and let the ball run on, knowing Fredi Kanoute was behind him.  It was a relatively easy task for Fredi to slip the ball into the net (through the keeper's legs) to wrap up the win, as it was virtually the last kick of the match.  

It was a better performance from Spurs, but it wasn't hard to see how City have lost their last three matches and not scored for ages either.  They looked to have lost shape and direction, with no pattern to much of their play.  The Tottenham defence held up well, but they didn't have much potent threat for much of the match to deal with.  At one stage, Barton hit a shot from outside the box as the space in front of him opened up, but Fowler decided to put in a diving header which directed the ball about 15 yards wide.  That was typical of their lack of awareness.  Perhaps we might be able to play them in the League while they are still in disarray ?

A quarter final against Middlesbrough awaits at home, so let's hope that the fact we drew 0-0 with them in the league as well, means we are to progress further in this competition.

Kirk Hammerton

 

Other scores in this round of the competition :

Arsenal

5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Tuesday
Aston Villa 3 Crystal Palace 0 Wednesday
Liverpool 2 Bolton Wanderers 3 Wednesday
Middlesbrough (won 5-4 on penalties - aet 0-0 at 90 mins.) 0 Everton 0 Wednesday
Reading 0 Chelsea 1 Wednesday
SCBC 2 Portsmouth 0 Tuesday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Manchester United 0 Wednesday

 

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