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Preview Spurs v Chelsea, 10.03.02
Here we are on the Cup trail again - this time the still prestigious FA Cup,although even this hallowed tournament seems to be losing some of its appeal to certain clubs. Not for Spurs or Chelsea though, both of whom will be desperate to get to Cardiff in the quest for UEFA qualification. At the moment, only fifth place in the Premiership guarantees a place in Europe. For Spurs that seems an impossibility, and even Chelsea have their work cut out to get above Leeds.

Chelsea of course will be looking for revenge after their embarassing defeat at our hands in January, but we had better put that in the back of our minds as this will be a whole new ball game, and I feel that even the "Fancy Dans" from the Fulham Road will be up for this one. Spurs will have been upset by Chairman Bates comment to the effect that the Spurs defeta by Blackburn was "good for football", all because we "gloated" after our 5-1. Why shouldn't we for goodness sake?

Darren Anderton, Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand face late fitness tests, but I suspect they will all play. Chelsea should have a pretty full strength side, including their ace strike partnership Hasselbaink and Gudjohnssen.

I don't feel at all confident, I'm afraid. Spurs form has deserted them, and we can only hope for a return to the scintillating form of 23rd January, which has been sadly lacking during the rest of this year so far. Of course, I hope we finish them off in one go, but I have a feeling that we will be fed up with the sight of those dark blue shirts, as a draw will mean a replay on 19th March, which would mean three games against the blues in 10 days. (We have an away league game next Wednesday)

Let me end on this reminder.....In 1982, we lost a League Cup Final, but won the FA Cup Final. Who did we beat in the quarter-final that year? It was Chelsea! (see Brian's reminiscences below) So - are the omens on our side? Let's hope so!

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game (if you need to know your way to the ground - click here)


SEASON   RD   H/A   Score SCORERS

09-10    2     A     1-0  Humphreys
56-57    4     H     4-0  Harmer R Smith 
			  Stokes Medwin
63-64    3     H     1-1  Dyson
         3R    A     0-2
64-65    5     A     0-1
66-67    F     W     2-1  Robertson Saul
81-82    6     A     3-2  Archibald Hoddle 
			  Hazard

The game I remember most is the 1967 FA Cup Final. It was, in my opinion, the most one-sided Final I have ever seen, even more so than the Manchester United -v- Brighton replay, which the Reds won 4-0. The simple truth is that, on the day, Chelsea froze and played nothing like their normal form at all. Perhaps the factors that led to Docherty's abrupt departure later were already in play. Certainly life at the Bridge was never dull whilst Docherty was there.

Spurs sprung a major shock from the outset by playing Mackay in a defensive position whilst Mullery, who had played that role for most of the season, was given the role that Mackay had played in swashbuckling style. Mackay's role was simply to nullify the threat that Cooke could pose. He was chivvied into positions where he could do no damage and Chelsea had no idea how to set about releasing Cooke. Tambling and Hateley were subdued and were rarely seen. Also, Kinnear, although with just a season behind him, emerged as the star of the game, closing down Boyle. Gilzean's deft flicks terrorised the Chelsea defence and Hinton ran around like headless chickens trying to shore up the gaps and cracks that were appearing.

Just before half-time, Spurs struck. Mullery surged down the pitch like a tank as the Chelsea players backed off. Mullery let fly at the ball, which struck Ron Harris and rebounded to Robertson, who cracked home a shot low and hard to elude the diving Bonetti! Spurs celebrated and knew they were certain to win, given their long undefeated run of 23 games without a defeat since early January.

In the second half, Chelsea seemed bemused and hesitant. Spurs continued to press forward with Knowles leading the charge down the left wing. Hollins conceded a throw-in. Mackay sauntered up, took one look at the goalmouth and took a long throw. Kinnear headed the ball to Robertson, who steered the ball to Saul. With his back to the goal, Saul spun round on a sixpence and slashed the ball beyond Bonetti's despairing dive.

At this point, Chelsea started to play as they should have done much earlier. They knew they had nothing to lose by pushing everyone forward. Spurs could have scored twice more when Kinnear chipped balls across the Chelsea goalmouth. In one, Saul and Gilzean left it to each other to react and the chance was gone. In the other, Saul over-ran the ball and reacted too late.

Then, with time ebbing away, Chelsea scored. Jennings was at fault with the goal as he decided to try to punch the ball clear instead of catching it. Needless to say, Jennings missed it and the ball hit Tambling on his head and dropped in to Tottenham's goal. Spurs then played out the final four minutes, preventing Chelsea from snatching an undeserved equaliser and forcing extra time.

Many people will have made the journey to Stamford Bridge in March 1982 to witness our tie there. The 15-minutes that saw us score three second half goals was probably the best football we played under Keith Burkinshaw. Fillery had given Chelsea a half-time lead when he had taken a 25-yard free-kick that had caught Spurs by surprise. Spurs equalised soon after half-time when Chelsea's keeper, Steve Francis, failed to hold on to a Hoddle shot and Archibald had whipped the ball into the net before Francis could recover. (Remember those chants of "Archie! Archie! Archi-BALD! We'll take MORE care of you ARCH-IE-BALD!"?????) Hoddle then put us ahead after a bout of brilliant passing from Archibald to Hazard, on to Hoddle, who scooped the ball home. Hazard scored the third to leave Spurs well in control but Alan Mayes struck back in the closing minutes to give Chelsea hope of snatching an equaliser.

I remember the 5th Round tie at Stamford Bridge in 1965. I stood on the huge terracing that day in a 70,000+ crowd. Tottenham were very disappointing and rarely looked like beating Chelsea, losing 1-0. This was, of course, the Chelsea team skippered by Venables and featuring players like Graham, Bridges, Murray, Bonetti, the Harris brothers, Eddie McCreadie, John Boyle and others. Later on, of course, Docherty and Venables fell out, principally because Venables was caught coming back to their Blackpool hotel after a night out on the tiles with several of his team mates. Venables tried to bluff his way out of trouble but was sent back to London in disgrace.

Of all the ties I have seen at this stage of the competition, I think the one that stands out in my mind most is the replay we had against Liverpool in March 1971. It was a humdinger of a cup tie and Liverpool, as usual, always looked as if they had more than the requisite number of players on the park. If memory serves me correctly, it was Steve Heighway who scored the winning goal. It was the first time since 1912 we had lost a replay at home. That match had everything. Spurs threw everything at Ray Clemence that night but he seemed to make things look so easy as he prevented Spurs from scoring.

The most disappointing 6th Round tie I have seen was the one at Manchester City in 1969. We were poor that day. What made it even worse was that Lee did not even connect with the ball properly as he scored as it seemed to come off his shin. It was a very long journey home that day!

And Sunday's game? That will largely depend on two very unpredictable factors! Neither team have been noted for their consistency this season. They have not even managed to play with the same commitment in different halves of the same game! In the final analysis it will be the team who is hungrier who will win! I hope it will be Tottenham but I have a sneaking feeling it could be Chelsea!

COME ON YOU SPURS!

Cheers, Brian

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