that the Highfield Road pitch was frozen, leading to the postponement of
the match on New Years Day means that Spurs face a tricky tie against
the recently relegated Midlands side. Even if the pitch gets
passed as playable, the heat that has been put into it over the last few
days will mean that as soon as the game is underway, it will start to
harden in the cold air. With the rested Sky Blues up for it and a
rock hard pitch, the conditions will be stack against Tottenham, but it
is these games that they have to win to progress.
Sitting in eighth
position in the First Division, the main aim of the Sky Blues will be to
retain their Premiership place, but that is a harder feat to achieve
than maybe they thought. Having sold some of their better known
players to fund rebuilding, the departure of Gordon Strachan as manager
has made the incoming Roland Nilsson's job one with a steep learning
curve. He has steadied the ship, but the lack of depth to the
squad means he will have a battle on to gain promotion. They have
won two and lost three of their last five League matches and the ones
they have lost have been against their promotion rivals. They have
to pick points up from these games to gat back in the big time.
In the goalkeeping
department, they have Magnus Hedman, Andy Goram, Gary Montgomery.
Montgomery is a youngster who has had a chance this season in the wake
of Chris Kirkland leaving for Liverpool. However, having brought
in the experienced (and ever so slightly tubby) Goram, he will probably
not feature. First choice is the imposing figure of Magnus Hedman.
Touted as another possible departure with Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool
his rumoured destination, he has chosen to stay and get first team
football in his quest for a place in the Swedish World Cup squad.
An accomplished keeper, but Spurs might be able to find a chink in his
armour with some decent crosses (for a change).
Marc Edworthy and Richard
Shaw were both former Crystal Palace players and have been playing on
eaither side of the back four. Both like to get forward, but Shaw
is now getting to the veteran stage and will probably hang back more
than Edworthy. It should be possible for the Tottenham wing-backs
to push up on them and get past to deliver crosses into the box.
Republic of Ireland central defender Gary Breen has been in good form,
until he was hit with injury. Just coming back, he has been in
training hoping to play and if he does, he will be an obstacle to Spurs
scoring. Tall and able to play the ball out of defence, he is
causing a lot of concern at Coventry by failing to agree to a new
contract, leading to a lot of clubs sniffing around should City decide
Muhamed Konjic is a 6' man mountain that Spurs will have to get past to
have any chance of scoring. Having played in his home country of
Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Switzerland and France, he has had a lot of
experience, but he might not be quite up to mastering Premier League
forwards. His height is his advantage, but his bulk is not, so
perhaps a nippy player might be the one to play against him.
Tomas Antonelius is a Swede who has just started getting a start after being
signed from AIK Solna with an injury. He is not the only Swede in
defence, as his manager, Roland Nilsson, is still registered to play,
although it is unlikely he will pull on his boots again for this match.
Once touted as an England international, Marcus Hall has slipped out of
the limelight. He has been a regular in the side, but his pace
seems to have deserted him and any attacking instincts have also been
put on hold, while he re-establishes himself at Coventry.
Honduran international Ivan Guerrero has been an irregular player in the
side, with a place on the bench a more likely pick for him.
Youngster Barry Quinn has enjoyed a good run in the City side, sometimes
doubling up at right back. He is a great hope and has settled into
the side in midfield alongside a fellow Irishman Lee Carsley, who is a
more familiar face, having played for Derby and Blackburn in the Premier
League. A hard worker, he tries to get up to support the forwards,
but if Tottenham are in the ascendancy, he should be back defending his
own goal more often than not.
Runar Normann is yet another Scandinavian who joined the club from
Norwegian club Lillestrom, but has been out with a hernia op and is not
yet fit to regain his place in the side. John Eustace made a bit
of a name for himself when he first burst into the Coventry side last
season, scoring a few goals. However, he has suffered with injury
this season that has limited him to only one game, so it is not likely
that he will play in this game.
Yousef Safri is another
new name and another Moroccan in the City side. A defensive
midfielder, who likes to get a rocket shot on goal in, he has become an
integral part of the City set-up. Playing alongside his fellow
countryman Youssef Chippo, they make a lot of things happen for the Sky
Blues and both need to be carefully tracked by the Spurs midfielders.
Promising former youth
star, Lee Fowler, has been given a chance in the side since Nilsson took
over, but it is more than likely that he will make way for more
experienced team-mates for this match and much the same goes for recent
addition to squad from the youth team Callum Davenport.
Laurent Delorge is a big
Belgian who has shown a certain degree of skill in his appearances for
Coventry. Only 22, but strongly built, he is an attacking
midfielder, who will look for a shot on goal. Broke a leg in the
reserves after only 40 minutes of his first match, but now he is fit, he
is looking to make up for lost time. Former Middlesbrough winger Keith
O'Neill has not made the impact he would have hoped for after dropping
down a division. A natural left-winger, he has pace and skill, but
sometimes his weight and temper are his worst opponents.
Unsurprisingly Gavin Strachan is not getting the chances in the first
team he might have expected under his father's management, but he is
still young and has time on his side.
Most of Cov's goals have
come from the boots of Lee Hughes and David Thompson. The West
Brom striker left the Hawthorns for a more ambitious club and the fact
that they paid one pound over the asking fee by WBA should have told him
how ambitious they were. Regardless, Hughes is an ace goalscorer
and will have to be marked tightly to prevent him having even half
chances. Refs are obviously watching him closely too as he has
been sent off twice already this season. Thompson joined from
Liverpool and has had a rough time, being left out and when he did play
getting involved in stuff that he shouldn't have done. A speedy
winger-cum- midfielder, on the short side though, he has the ability to
cut inside and hit a fierce shot.
Lee Mills has signed for £250,000 from
Portsmouth this week and, despite admitting he is only 80% match fit, he
is a tough, tall centre forward, who will try and knock on balls for
Hughes or get in amongst our defenders himself. Julian Joachim was
part of the deal that took Mustafa Hadji to Aston Villa and the little
forward has been called on rarely, with Mill snow the preferred partner
for Hughes. Honduran Jairo Martinez came over with Gurrero and has
chipped in with a few goals already. He plays a scoring role in
the reserves and might be brought on if things are in need of a goal
,much like Peruvian Ysrael Zuniga, who is often called upon from the
bench. Former Gooner Jay Bothroyd has become a regular in the side
and has responded with a few goals. A temperamental sort, he is
tall and speedy, with a knack, ever since he was in the England schools
side, of knowing where the goal is. His height is a benefit to his
striking instincts, but he is skillful on the ground too.
With much to prove to
their Premiership opponents, Coventry will be trying to repeat their
famous FA Cup victory of 1987. They have a fairly good record
against Spurs of late too, especially at Highfield Road, but with any
luck and some fresh legs in the side, Tottenham should be bale to record
the following scoreline ...
- Coventry City 1 Tottenham 2
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Coventry City 0
(Half time score: 0-1)
|FA CUP THIRD ROUND
|Wednesday 16th January 2002
|Kick Off : 7.45
|Weather : - Cold
|Crowd : - 20,758
|Referee : - Mr. N.
Scorers : - Coventry City
Tottenham - Poyet 23, Ferdinand 52
Coventry City :
(foul) 34, Konjic (foul) 47, Breen (foul) 51
Tottenham : Sherwood
: Hedman; Edworthy, Konjic, Breen, Shaw; Antonelius (Martinez 71),
Carsley (Quinn 69), Thompson, Betts; Bothroyd (Delorge 79), Joachim
Unused Subs : Hyldgaard, Fowler
Spurs : Sullivan;
Perry, Richards, King; Taricco, Anderton (Leonhardsen 80), Poyet,
Sherwood, Davies; Rebrov, Ferdinand (Iversen 71)
Unused Subs : Keller, Gardner, Etherington
Coventry City :
Sky blue shirts, sky blue shorts, sky blue socks
Spurs : White shirts, navy blue shorts, navy blue socks
Being welcomed to the
ground by the sight of the 1987 Coventry City FA Cup winning team was
not the ideal way to start the evening. The mustard suit of Dave
Bennett, the bald pate of Micky Gynn and the flowing locks of Brian
Kilcline all made for the impressive history for which CCFC are known.
How times have changed them and how times have changed the current
truth, this match was easier in the flesh than it might have appeared on
paper. Coventry, fresh from a 1-3 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers,
looked like a side grateful for a 0-2 loss to Spurs. They chased
and ran, but their passing and shooting was woeful and it is not hard to
see why they are mid-table in the First Division.
could have picked them off at will, with the Sky Blues fans
sarcastically cheering Magnus Hedman when he came for a cross and giving
the "olés" when their side managed to string three or four
passes together. It was sad to see really.
Spurs knocking the ball about for fun, City players chased shadows and
wore themselves out doing so. The bookings were all for fouls, as
they tried in vain to get the ball, but only succeeded in getting the
man. Much like they didn't for the first goal. Taricco fed
Anderton on the left flank and his cross flew over everyone in the
middle, but was picked up by Simon Davies on the other wing. He
looked up and crossed it into a space in the six yard box where Poyet
arrived to head low into the net. No marker anywhere near and the
tie almost wrapped up.
were a few efforts from distance, one of which from Joachim flew over
the bar, but in a match where even Taricco had more meaningful attempts
at goal than the whole of the home side, Tottenham's dominance was
complete. The Argentine shot wide, then had a header go wide,
before unleashing a 20-yarder that flew just over the bar, as he seemed
convinced that tonight was the night for his first Tottenham goal.
it was, the second Spurs goal came from Les, who followed in a cross
that was poked against his own goalpost by Breen and Ferdinand was on
hand to tap in from a foot out. The ball had been well worked
wide, but when an even better move swept upfield and from a similar
cross, Tim Sherwood managed to get the ball up and over the bar from a
couple of feet out !!
came from all angles; Ledley could have got a shot in as he moved
forward into the box, Iversen blazed over, Rebrov had a few unconvincing
pot shots, while Les also had one flash across the face of goal.
kept a clean sheet without really being stretched and the defence did
what they had to do well. It is hard to say that the team did well,
as they really only did well enough. Passing the ball to maintain
their rhythm, they did not get the goals the performance deserved, but
perhaps they are saving some for next Wednesday ??
|MEHSTG TOP MAN : - SIMON
|All the old faces that Coventry
pulled out before the game could not re-create another FA Cup
shock. It shouldn't have happened in 1987 and didn't
tonight. In fact, City might have been better with some of the old
boys out in the side for this match, as the team under Roland Nilsson
look doomed to a lengthy spell in the First Division. They looked
a mere shadow of the relegation fighting side of years gone by.
Tottenham started off passing the
ball crisply and that continued until the very end. In between
they cut the Coventry defence to ribbons, like the ones that adorned the
Cup that day in May 1987, when Hoddle played his last match for
Tottenham. But this time they fluttered to deceive, as Spurs went
about their business in a manner that said that would not fall into the
same trap again. With old heads running on young legs, Poyet,
Ferdinand and Anderton caused holes to appear every time they got near
the ball. With young legs playing with old heads, King and Davies
turned in performances beyond their years, which helped steer Tottenham
Goals did indeed
come from the old heads - one literally, as Poyet ghosted in to nod home
as the Coventry defenders were statuesque. His timing was expert
and brought to mind Martin Peters in his execution of the goal.
Les got an old foot to an attempted interception of a low Anderton
cross, but Breen only succeeded in diverting it against the woodwork and
Ferdie was on hand to prod home before Hedman could recover. This
brought to mind the sort of goal, we need players to score rather than
the "Goal of the Month" efforts they normally want to score.
With chances to score coming
along every few minutes, Tottenham maintained a pace and accuracy to
their passing that made it hard for Coventry to get back into the
match. It must be hoped that Bolton, who beat Stockport 4-1 away
tonight, will face a similar display from Tottenham, as on this
evidence, I would fancy us to give most sides the runaround when in this
With most of the players having
an easy enough time and Anderton and Ferdinand substituted to make them
fresher for the coming games, the stat to an important week went very
well. Sheringham's return will add impetus to the way the team go
forward and that can only help things.
The Funky Phantom