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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup Preview - Swansea v Spurs, 17.03.18

Last season's corresponding game - Spurs 6 Millwall 0, 12.03.17
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Previous Cup meetings with Swansea:-

Spurs have never met Swansea in the FA Cup

League Cup Matches

Season  Rd  H/A  Result  Scorer(s):-
70-71    2   H    3-0    Peters, Morgan, Perryman
78-79    2   A    2-2    Armstrong, Hoddle (pen)
78-79    2r  H    1-3    Villa
91-92    2(1)A    0-1    -
91-92    2(2)H    5-1    Allen, Lineker (pen), Brazil (o.g.)
                         Stewart, Samways

Of course we can win without Harry Kane!

It comes as something of a surprise to discover that Spurs and Swansea have never met in the FA Cup. Swansea's best years in the competition were 1926 and 1964, when they reached the semi-finals. In 1926 as a Division Two side, Swansea were beaten by eventual winners Bolton Wanderers, who incidentally beat Manchester City in the final. In 1964, Swansea's victors were Preston, who went on to lose to West Ham in that year's final.

1964 was the last time that "The Swans" went as far as the quarter-final, and then the semi-final of the FA Cup. They have spent a lot of the intervening years in the lower divisions, of course, but as a Premier league club they did have League Cup success in 2013 when they beat Bradford 5-0.

Spurs have played Swansea in just three League Cup ties. All of these were in the second round, and each had a different format. In 1970, the tie was settled in one game with Spurs winning 3-0. In 1978, the year Spurs had gained promotion after one season in the second division (we've been in the top flight ever since), we drew at Vetch Field, but lost the replay at White Hart Lane with Ricky Villa scoring our solitary goal at home. Of course, Ricky would go on to score a far more significant FA Cup goal in less than three years! In 1991, the tie was played over two legs, and we lost in Swansea, but won 5-1 at home.

Ken Hancock, who had been signed from Ipswich as a back-up goalkeeper to the great Pat Jennings played in only 6 games for Spurs over the course of two seasons with Spurs. He made his debut at Roker Park, Sunderland in January 1970 in a game Spurs lost 2-1. Incidentally, Steve Perryman also made his Spurs debut that season against Sunderland, but that was in the home game in September, when we had also lost. The September 1970 League Cup game against Swansea was Hancock's third game for Spurs, and his first on the winning side, having played in an away league defeat against Arsenal.

In 1970 Swansea were a third division side, having been promoted that year.

The 78-79 Swansea side included Liverpool veteran Tommy Smith (in his one season at the club), and at this time was managed by John Toshack - also a former Liverpool man. Toshack was player/manager and scored one of Swansea's three goals at White Hart Lane.

Since we played Swansea in the Premier League at The Liberty Stadium in January, when we won 2-0, Carlos Carvalhal's side have lost only one game. That was a 4-1 defeat at Brighton last month, which was a serious set-back to their quest to avoid relegation. Carvalhal has given "The Swans" a chance. They were rock bottom at the turn of the year and currently lie 14th, 4 points above the drop zone. Survival is clearly their priority, but with the International break following this game, they, like Spurs, can field their strongest available team. That will not include Jordan Ayew, who was sent off last week at Huddersfield and has to serve the first of a three match suspension. They do have Jordan's brother Andre though who was recently re-signed from West Ham and who played against his former club in Swansea's recent 4-1 win. However, as he played for West Ham in this competition, Andre is cup-tied!

Swansea are likely to be missing Leon Britton, who took temporary charge of the team between the departure of Paul Clement and the appointment of Carvalhal. Britton played in Swansea's 5th Round victory over Carvalhal's former club Sheffield Wednesday, but he does have a back problem, and is described as a slight doubt. Definite absentees include Leroy Fer, Wilfried Bony, Angel Range and Renato Sanches.

Swansea have adapted and improved under Carvalhal, and their notable scalps include Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League. "The Swans" have reached this quarter-final by beating Wolves, Notts County (8-1 in a replay), and Sheffield Wednesday.

We cannot deny that Spurs have had an easier path to this stage having played only teams from the lower two tiers of the Football League. We have famously made hard work even of that oppositon with replays required against Newport and Rochdale.

It is a fact that in 14 Premier League attempts, Swansea have never beaten Spurs, and when we beat them in January in difficult conditions, it was without Harry Kane. Of course we would prefer to have Harry in the side, but of course we can win without him! Former "Swan" Fernando Llorente made his one Premier League start for Spurs in that January game, and scored his one Premier League goal for the club too! There seems to be a slight doubt as to whether Dele Alli will play tomorrow, although he has been selected for the England squad (along with Trippier, Rose and Dier. If Dele doesn't play, perhaps Llorente will get another start, otherwise we could see the same front four which scored four goals at Bournemouth after Harry Kane had to leave the field injured.

Mauricio Pochettino has also indicated that Toby Alderweireld might be fit enough to play. Spurs are aiming to reach their 21st FA Cup semi-final, which would effectively be a home game at a place where we have not lost a domestic game since October, and only twice all season. First we have to win this game though, and under rules introduced this season, the game has to be decided on the day with extra time and penaalties if required. I take Spurs to win 2-0 in normal time.

For the third time in five games our referee will be Kevin Friend. Mr Friend had to step up for the injured Mike Jones two weeks ago when we beat Huddersfield. The last time Mr. Friend had charge of one of our FA Cup games was in January 2013, when we lost 2-1 at Elland Road, Leeds.

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - On 14th March, 1998 Spurs drew 3-3 against Liverpool in a Premier League game.

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