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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup semi-final Preview - Chelsea v Spurs, 22.04.17

This week - last year
What happened in the Premier League in Matchday 34 2015-16

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Spurs' Full Cup Record against Chelsea


FA Cup

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
01-02    6     H     0-4
06-07    6     A     3-3  Berbatov, o.g., Ghaly
06-07    6R    H     1-2  Keane(pen)
11-12    SF    N     1-5  Bale, 56


League Cup

71-72   S-F    A     2-3  Chivers, Naylor
71-72   S-F    H     2-2  Chivers, Peters
90-91   Q-F    A     0-0
90-91   Q-F    H     0-3
01-02   S-F    A     1-2  Ferdinand
01-02   S-F    H     5-1  Iversen, Sherwood
                          Sheringham, Davies
                          Rebrov
07-08    F     W     2-1  Berbatov (pen), Woodgate
14-15    F     W     0-2

That was then. This is now!

Yesterday I published Brian Judson's recollection of the 1967 FA Cup Final. The game is also recalled (in great detail) in Norman Giller's new book "Spurs 67 - The Cockney Cup Final". This was a game won by Spurs 2-1 with goals from Jimmy Robertson and Frank Saul. I watched on TV, and Spurs were 2-0 up with five minutes to go when BBC match commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme gave us a "commentator's curse" when Bobby Tambling made it 2-1 and gave us a nervous end to the game. I vividly recall how Wolstenholme (famous for the "They think it's all over" World Cup Final line) said words to the effect of "there are only five minutes to go for Spurs to win this FA Cup Final" just as Chelsea scored. All was well in the end, and Dave Mackay lifted the cup, and Spurs jigged around the Wembley stadium.

It is 35 years since our last FA Cup win over Chelsea in 1982. Chelsea were a Division Two side then and Spurs were the FA Cup holders. It was a quarter-final game played at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea took a first half lead through a Fillery free kick, but Spurs scored three goals in 16 second half minutes to take control of the game through Steve Archibald, Glenn Hoddle and Micky Hazard. Hoddle claimed assists for both Archibald's and Hazard's goals having hit the shot that goalkeeper Francis could not hold when Archibald tapped in, and provided the pass for Hazard. We would go on to retain the trophy.

Since then, we've had some sad times in FA Cup meetings against Chelsea. A Glenn Hoddle managed Spurs side lost 4-0 in a quarter-final in March 2002. That was a home game too, and it was the second of three consecutive 4-0 defeats, the third of which was in a league game at Stamford Bridge. Those were bad times indeed.

In March 2007, we played another quarter-final at Stamford Bridge, within 62 hours of an away European game in Portugal. Spurs so nearly sprung a massive surprise, going 3-1 up at half-time, before Chelsea clawed their way back in the second half to earn a replay, which they won. A month later we had to play a Saturday lunchtime game at Stamford Bridge after a Thursday night game in Seville. Just imagine the furore had Chelsea manager of the time Jose Mourinho been obliged to play two such crucial games within such a short time!

Finally, our most recent meeting in this competition was also in the semi-final, and it was also played at Wembley. The match was also refereed by Martin Atkinson, who is in charge tomorrow. Mr. Atkinson is not remembered fondly by Spurs fans after the controversial award of Chelsea's second goal in a horrible 5-1 defeat on April 15th, 2012. Goal-line technology was not introduced at this time, but replays indicated the ball had not crossed the line. A goal was given to Mata, making it 2-0, and Spurs' heads and hearts dropped, as Chelsea ran out massive winners. Some Chelsea fans did not cover themselves in glory that day in their disrespect for the observance of the Hillsborough anniversary.

You can find links to most of the games mentioned in this report at the top of the page in the list of previous cup meetings between the two sides.

However, history is one thing, and Spurs fans can realistically look forward to the future with great optimism. That was then. This is now! Spurs and their fans would do well to focus on the positives in their approach to our 20th FA Cup semi-final this week-end. Our 2-0 win on January 4th was achieved against Antonio Conte's regular first choice team, and brought an end to their 13-match winning run.

This is a meeting of the best two sides in the country. Both teams have four players in the Premier League's Team of the season. Spurs are represented by Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane. Chelsea's four are Cahill, Luiz, Hazard and Kante. There has been some debate already about the preference of Luiz and Cahill to Alderweireld and Vertonghen. One of Chelsea's four may not make tomorrow's game. Gary Cahill has this week been struck by a mystery illness which may keep him out of he side. There has been talk of John Terry possibly playing, but Zouma (who played at Old Trafford last week) would be he more likely choice.

Last week, Chelsea missed their first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but he may be available tomorrow. There has been illness in the Chelsea camp, and last week Alonso pulled out of the United game at the last minute.

Spurs have no new injury worries. Danny Rose is nearing match fitness, but will not feature before the Arsenal game next week. Michel Vorm is out until May, so Hugo Lloris will play his first FA Cup game of the season and he will captain the side.

Spurs can take heart heart that they, and not the league leaders Chelsea, are the best of the two teams on form at this time. Spurs have won their last 8 games in all competitions. Chelsea have lost two of their last four, and those were two Premier League games too. Spurs are better placed than they were in last year's title race at this stage, with a gap of four points, and a superior goal difference. A win tomorrow would be a great confidence booster for either side for the title run-in.

Antonio Conte's side will be feeling the twitchier of the two sides after last week's defeat at Old Trafford. They did not play well against their former manager's team last week, and Mourinho found a way to neutralise Hazard by having Herrera follow him all over the pitch. Whether Pochettino will adopt such a strategy remains to be seen, but he knows that he can beat Conte by matching Chelsea's 3-4-3 formation, as he did in January. Mauricio has used this style many times now, but he has been keeping opponents guessing in recent weeks playing three or four at the back when it suits.

I think we will be three at the back tomorrow, which means Son Heung-min will have to settle for a start on the bench. That would put Eric Dier beside Alderweireld and Vertonghen with the fit again Victor Wanyama starting next to Dembele.

History is fine (ours is great!), but we must not dwell upon the fact we have now lost 6 consecutive FA Cup semi-finals, nor the fact that we have not played in an FA Cup Final for a full 26 years. That is the longest spell in my lifetime without my team appearing in the most prestigious domestic cup tournament final. I repeat - that was then. This is now! Now is our time; our moment; our opportunity to go for glory to cap the fine progress and achievements of this inspired Spurs team. I have to predict a Spurs win! (I am going for 2-0!)

COYS!

P.S - All of the players will have been devastated by the sad news of Ugo Ehiogu's collapse at the Tottenham Training ground yesterday, and the subsequent news that, at the age of just 44, Ugo passed away in the early hours of this morning (21st April, 2017). One or two members of the Spurs squad will have played for Ugo, who coached our under 23 side. Certainly, substitute goalkeeper Pau Lopez is one of those players. Ugo was a fine centre-half, and gentleman, who distinguished himself in the game he loved, and in life. Some of our up and coming players will miss Ugo desperately, but at this time we must send our sincere condolences to Ugo's personal friends and family, wishing them all the strength in the world to deal with their tragedy.

Reviewing Spurs' last Champions League Season - 2010-11. 6 years ago we drew 2-2 at home to West Brom.

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