AXA FA CUP 6TH ROUND
SUNDAY 10TH MARCH, 2002
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) CHELSEA 4 (1)
Gudjohnssen, 48, 66
Le Saux, 54
Referee:- Andy D'Urso
Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; King, Richards (sub Rebrov, 61), Gardner; Davies, Anderton (sub Taricco, 74), Sherwood, Poyet, Ziege; Sheringham (Capt), Ferdinand
Subs not used:- Keller; Perry; Etherington
Booked:- Ferdinand, Richards, Ziege, Sheringham, Sherwood
Chelsea (4-4-2):- Cudicini; Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly (Capt), Babayaro; Gronkjaer (sub Dalla Bonna, 79), Lampard, Pettit, Le Saux; Gudjohnssen (sub Jokanovic, 83), Hasselbaink (sub Forsell, 88)
Subs not used:- De Goey; Zola
Booked:- Le Saux, Desailly, Lampard
Sent off:- Le Saux (2nd Yellow)
It was blue murder at the lane today, as Chelsea exacted full revenge for that 5-1 Worthington Cup defeat, with a result that was just as embarrassing for the home side, and which looked like being as bad as the 6-1 defeat of December '97. All the goals were gifted to the opposition today, and at times it was schoolboy defending. In their second 4 goal defeat in as many days, Spurs competed until going 2 down, and may claim that the officials got their decision wrong, as Gudjohnssen looked well offside to me, when Dean Richards calmly walked out of his half and claimed the decision that never came. I do blame Richards though for not making an effort to recover though. The second half was agony to watch, as Spurs were in disarray everywhere, and never looked like scoring. The Chelsea fans were of course happy to gloat about their progress, and taunted Spurs with chants such as "You've got your Tottenham back".
The game was viciously contested from the start, and I feared that Andy D'Urso was never going to get it under control. He dished out so many cards early on, that it was inevitable that someone would see red, and so they did, in the second half, but by that time, Spurs were already 4 down. Gallas was over -theatrical when going down under Ferdinand's late swipe with his leg, but Dean Richards was probably lucky not to see red when Gudjohnssen raced out of the Chelsea half and all the way to the edge of the Spurs box, before Dean brought him down. Let's put it this way - Taricco's foul at Old Trafford was less deserving of a red card, so when D'Urso showed the yellow there was some relief, because all the Chelsea team and their fans were begging for the red card.
The first chance came after 9 minutes, when a Richards long free kick was headed on by Les Ferdinand, but Teddy's flick went over the goal. Chelsea scored from the first corner of the game, and Sullivan was at fault for misjudging Hasselbaink's kick taken on the left. Sully could only flick the ball to the back post, where Melchiot returned it low, Lampard turned it on, and Gallas was allowed to slot home for his first goal for Chelsea.
Glenn Hoddle had left Taricco on the bench, in favour of Davies at right wing-back, but Simon did not bet into the game until the 16th minute, when at last Spurs started playing the ball to feet in the swirling windy conditions. Simon's cross reached Gus Poyet who seemed to be clamped down in the box, but got no penalty award. Chelsea seemed to be getting the befit of the doubt with their challenges, as Gronkjaer's late tackle on Poyet went without a booking. After the free kick, Gus received the ball in the right side of the box, but his shot was deflected and saved by Cudicini.
Hasselbaink then nearly doubled the lead. Le Saux and Babayaro combined on the left to cross, and Richards had his back to the ball, when Hasselbaink received the ball, then after an exchange with Gudjohnssen, Jimmy-Floyd chipped a shot onto the top of the bar. Spurs at last got the home support excited with a bit of pressure, and should have equalised on 38 mniutes, when Les Ferdinand headed Anderton's cross against the foot of the post, with Cudicini beaten all ends up. It was a free header and should have gone in the net. There was one more effort for Spurs before the break, when Ferdinand found Ziege on the left, but Teddy's first time attempted flick went over the bar.
Almost the only other chance for Spurs came soon after the interval, when (I think) Ledley King headed a Ziege free kick goalward, but Cudicini saved. Within minutes of the restart, Chelsea were two up in embarrassing circumstances. Spurs were taken by surprise by the long clearance that was aimed in Gudjohnssen's direction. Richards stepped up, but got no flag, and Gudjohnssen was allowed an unimpeded path to goal, where he coolly slotted past the helpless Sullivan. Thereafter, Spurs were having trouble clearing their lines. Hasselbaink collected an Anderton clearance, but Sullivan saved this shot.
On 54 minutes, after Gardner and King had worked the ball inside from the left, Sherwood gifted the ball to Le Saux on the edge of the box, and Sullivan was beaten again. By this time Le Saux had joined the legion of names in D'Urso's book, but his afternoon was to become even more eventful. There was a melee at the re-start following the third goal, and Desailly and Sheringham got booked for their trouble. Richards was taken off for Sergei Rebrov, but really, this move only served to leave Spurs more vulnerable at the back, as you could see Gudjohnssen getting loads of space.
Gudjohnssen was disappointed not to get a penalty when challenged by Anthony Gardner, and the Icelander did not win the affections of the Paxton Road fans, when he signalled the score in return for some ritual abuse! After 66 minutes, Spurs lost the ball when totally committed to attack, inside the Chelsea half. I believe it may have been Sherwood again, who was the guilty party, but the ball was sent in Gudjohnssen's direction, and he had the pace and lack of defensive attention to race on and score. Simon Davies was the last man who had to make the effort to catch him, but it was a hopeless cause. I ask you! What is the point of an attacker like Davies being left to cover whilst the defenders were up for a corner? In my view Davies needs a 4-4-2, and to be deployed as an out and out winger, as he is not a defender.
Taricco did get on for Anderton, and was involved in two incidents which lead to discipline for Chelsea. First Le Saux flew in with a late challenge and got his second yellow, then Frank Lampard tried a similar trick, and saw yellow. Simon Davies 78th minute shot did find its way to goal, but a free kick was given against Sheringham for impeding the keeper. Much as Spurs did try to at least get on the scoresheet, Cudicini flew to save Sheringham's header from a Ziege cross in the closing minutes.
So - the Spurs season looks like winding down into one of missed opportunities and failure. The last opposition we need for our next game is Chelsea, but it's off to Stamford Bridge we must go on Wednesday, and we must be prepared for plenty of flack. Personally, I would love to see a 4-4-2 on the following lines:- Keller; Taricco, King, Gardner, Thatcher; Davies, Anderton, Poyet, Ziege; Rebrov, Ferdinand, but whatever team we use will be up against it without new blood.
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
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