Manchester City (Away)
League Cup - Round 5

Tuesday 18th December 2007


Being just a couple of steps away from Wembley and a final, it seems strange we have only played two games so far.

The wins over Middlesbrough and Blackpool were more functional than enterprising, but it proved that we are able to graft out victories when we need to, which could be an asset on this occasion.

Having played City a week ago, the teams will be fresh in each other's memories, but Spurs will be without Keane once more and City missing Ireland - both through suspension - so it will leave the door open for someone else to make a name for themselves.

For Spurs, it will be another test in how they are adapting to Juande Ramos' tactics and style, with an away game which will see City's unbeaten 100% home record on the line.

I think that with the two wins behind them, the Tottenham team will begin to play with a bit more belief, after the disasters which stuck them earlier in the campaign, but they must not take the game too lightly and will need to battle to match the home side's youthful and energetic midfield.

With a starting pairing of Berbatov and Defoe, I predict that both will be on the score-sheet, as Tottenham reach their second successive semi-final in the League Cup.

PREDICTION : -  Manchester City  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.


MANCHESTER CITY :  - Stephen Ireland (suspended); Elano (hamstring); Dean Sturridge (hip/thigh);  Valeri Bojinov (knee)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee); Ricardo Rocha (knee); Anthony Gardner (ankle); Gareth Bale (foot); Robbie Keane (suspended -  3 of 3); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Michael Dawson (migraines)


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.




Manchester City   0   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 0-1)

League Cup - Round 5
Venue : -  City of Manchester Stadium
Tuesday 18th December 2007
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   38,564
Referee :  Steve Bennett (Orpington)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Cold
Teams : - 
Manchester City :


Garrido (Ball 77)
Dunne (c)     

Hamann (Geovanni 59)

Vassell (Mpenza 69)

Unused subs: 
Gelson Fernandes

Tottenham Hotspur :

Robinson (c)

YP Lee

Malbranque      (Huddlestone 87)
Lennon (O'Hara 70)

Defoe (Tainio 27)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Manchester City


Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 5
Malbranque 82
Cards : -  
Manchester City

Dunne (foul) 45
Johnson (diving) 48
Elano (foul) 65


Tottenham Hotspur 

Chimbonda (dissent) 20
Malbranque (foul) 28
Jenas (diving) 40  

Zokora (foul) 20

Match Report : -  
Against not only a team who had a 10 out of 10 home record, but also a team of officials who showed they were not up to the task of taking control of a major match.  It might have spoiled the cup tie, but Tottenham overcame the loss of a man to go through 2-0 with a controlled performance.

When the game started, there was little to signify what was to come. 

With Tottenham pushing forward towards the City goal, it was Dimitar Berbatov who slipped a pass beyond Garrido for Aaron Lennon to race past the defender he had such joy against at White Hart Lane last week.  In a good position, Aaron delivered a measured cross across the face of the six yard box for Jermain Defoe to knock the ball home with great ease.  It was a simple, but well worked move that opened up the City defence with little trouble with five minutes gone.

The attacking intent almost paid off with Steed getting on the end of Lennon's pull back, but let indecision get the better of him and tried to lay it off to Defoe instead of shooting himself.  The referee - Bennett of Kent - ignored the contact on Jenas as he approached the penalty area and later in the half when the same thing happened in the penalty box, he booked Jermaine for diving !!

With Bianchi throwing himself to ground at almost every possible occasion, it was surprising that it was Tottenham who received the first card of the game for a two footed, but low tackle by Zokora.  It was all the more surprising that Bennett brought out the red for the Ivorian's first foul.  It was not just that we lost Didier for the rest of this match, but also for other games to come when we are down to the last few defenders at the club.  Things might have been a lot worse, when Steed Malbranque performed a similar, but possibly worse tackle and only picked up a yellow card.

The dismissal meant that a reorganisation had to take place and with great disgust, it was Defoe who had to trek to the touchline, while Teemu Tainio came on to go to right back, with Chimbonda moving inside to replace Zokora.  The change didn't affect Spurs that much, as they moved the ball around and kept it going in the right direction.  Lennon's effort was blocked and came out to Berbatov, who struck for goal, but Corluka got enough on it to take the bal lover the bar.

The play was moving quickly now, with Petrov racing away and his cheeky ball through gave Elano the opportunity to get something on target, but he prodded the ball wide and when Bianchi did manage to stay on his feet, he was just short of reaching Johnson's cross coming in from the left wing.  With Spurs shorn of Defoe, it was important that Dimitar put in a game the like of which we know he can put in.  His performance showed that he could play the lone striker role, with great control and a bit of pace when he wanted.  He quickly took a ball past Dunne and raced past Corluka before Micah Richards raced over to dispossess him.

There was one late chance for the home team as Garrido knocked a cross to the far post and Bianchi headed it back to Martin Petrov and he struck a volley over the top.

The half time whistle gave Tottenham the break they needed and the second half started with both teams unchanged.  It was expected that City would throw themselves into attacking Tottenham, but when Richards lined up a shot it looked dangerous, but it ended up going off for a Spurs throw-in.  It looked even more worrying when Michael Johnson burst into the penalty area and went down under a challenge, but all he ended up getting was a booking for diving, when he over-balanced and was not looking to seek an advantage, although with this official, anything could have happened.

The pressure built and when it was needed, Paul Robinson came up with a fine save to keep Man. City out.  As Darius Vassell met the ball from eight yards out, his header looked a goal all over, but Robinson produced a reflex save to stop the ball.  Petrov fired another volley over the top, then, with 64 minutes gone, Chimbonda rashly flew into a tackle and took Richard Dunne out in the box, but Bennett wouldn't know a decision if it was made for him and waved play on.

Tottenham still enjoyed a lion's share of possession and Jenas blasted over, when Steed played him in and perhaps should have made Hart work.  When Lennon broke away with the Man City half in front of him to run into, Elano bundled him over with little effort for the ball and picked up a yellow card for his cynicism.  With Mpenza and Geovanni on for City, they looked to go for the equaliser, but the play of the side was nothing more enterprising than they showed at White Hart Lane in the league encounter.

That gave Spurs the enthusiasm to go forward and produce a fantastic passing move through Lennon, Berbatov and Malbranque, with the latter ending the move with a shot that deflected wide for a corner.  It was Lennon's last action, as he was taken off with Jamie O'Hara coming on to take his place on the left side of midfield.  Berbatov was holding the ball up front, with players all around him, but his skill and body movement to shield the ball, held off players when it looked like he was heavily out-numbered.

When City finally broke through, Robinson was there again to deny them.  Richards put in a ball to the back stick and Bianchi came in to plant a header on goal, but Robbo pulled off a save, where he pushed the ball upwards and Younes Kaboul completed the clearance as the ball might have crept over the line.  Kaboul had a game where he kept things simple and looked all the better for it.

Then, when it looked like Spurs were tiring, having played an hour with ten men, Berbatov slipped the ball inside to Jamie O'Hara.  The midfielder's run took him away from the City defenders and played the ball across the box to Steed Malbranque, who beat the tackle of Dunne and slotted the ball past Hart to score the Spurs second and ensure that a semi-final place was theirs, with just eight minutes of normal time left.

Would City be able to produce a grandstand finish, with Spurs famous this season fro their last minute jitters ?  Well, Elano tried to smash the ball as hard as he could and lifted it over the bar, while it was Tottenham who came closest to hitting the net, with Berba drilling in a shot that Hart did well to beat out.

There was a calmness about Tottenham's performance and it might signal the effect that Juande Ramos is having on the team.  His insistence that the team play the same way whether they are winning or losing might give them some belief when it yields results and with one defeat in ten, he has had an immediate response.  Worse times will come, with Arsenal on Saturday, having rested their first-teamers and play their youngsters tonight in their quarter final.

With ten men having to run for 70 minutes, it will be a tough task for Spurs to get back up for the game at the weekend, especially with another defender being unavailable, with Zokora's red card.  It might be a case of the last man standing who gets to play, but if they play like this, then it might not be a bad thing.





Reaction : -



Luckily for Tottenham, Steve Bennett was in the giving mood.  Not only did he give Didier Zokora a red card for a yellow card tackle, if he hadn't won the ball because Elano bottled out of the tackle, but when Steed Malbranque slid in on Corluka and caught him late, the referee gave him the benefit of Zokora's red and showed him the lesser of the two evils.

Bennett also gave Spurs the chance to show that they can play their way past a decent side, who admittedly didn't live up to their reputation, even with ten men.

City were also in festive mood, allowing Spurs the gift of space and inviting them on to their back line, while not wanting to make Paul Robinson look bad served up enough efforts on target (although not that many) for him to show what he can do and enhance his reputation with the new England manager installed.

With Bianchi getting away with a gross amount of diving, it was somewhat ironic that Bennett decided to book two players who did not dive, but Jenas was touched (whether it was a penalty or not is another matter) and Johnson over-balanced and dropped to the floor as he burst into the box.

Defoe finished crisply when Lennon's low ball into the area found him right in front of goal.  He then played Scrooge and said "Bah Humbug" to the fourth official as his involvement was cut short with Zokora's dismissal and Malbranque's presence on the pitch came back like the ghost of Christmas past to haunt City with a goal near the end to seal a 2-0 win and keep Spurs present and correct in the competition.




Other quarter final scores  :
Chelsea (after extra time; 0-0 at full time) 2 Liverpool 0 Wednesday (19th)
Blackburn Rovers 2 Arsenal (after extra time; 2-2 at full time) 3 Tuesday (18th)
West Ham United 0 Everton 1 Wednesday (12th)



Back to homepage