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FA Cup semi-final - 15.04.12

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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)

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

Spurs down to the bare bones in defence
My thanks go to Declan Mulcahy for some of the data used in this preview

Are we up for the Cup, then? Of course we are! Unlike Chelsea, whose season ticket holders and members were allowed the opportunity to apply for extra tickets, the clamour amongst Spurs fans for a Wembley ticket is always massive! Be prepared for ITV headlines on the lines of "A Titanic Struggle", bearing in mind they will be screening the final episode of Julian Fellowes' adaptation of the story of the sinking of the Titanic, exactly 100 years ago after the match. Some people are calling that show "Drownton Abbey", after the successful ITV series by the same writer.

Spurs fans will be hoping for an end to what has been our worst run of FA Cup semi-final results. Since last appearing in, and winning the FA Cup Final of 1991, we have lost our last five semi-finals. Not that you want reminding, but they were against Arsenal (1993), Everton (1995), Newcastle (1999), Arsenal (2001) and Portsmouth (2010).

That last defeat against Portsmouth, when we were clear favourites to play again at Wembley in the Final, was particularly painful to bear. Portsmouth were on their way out of the Premier League, with their massive financial problems and loss of points due to administration. Yet, in extra time, Pompey scored two goals through Piquionne, and even more painfully through Kevin Prince Boateng, once of Tottenham, and now starring for Ghana and AC Milan.

21 years is a long time in the modern era for Spurs not to reach the FA Cup Final, but we have had a longer barren spell of 40 years between 1921 and 1961. Chelsea had a longer, 52 year, period of absence from the major Cup Final between 1915 and 1967. They lost 6 semi-finals in 1920, 1932, 1950, 1952, 1965 and 1966. This our 19th semi-final, and Chelsea have appeared in one more. Chelsea have appeared in 6 FA Cup Finals in the last 15 years, and are aiming for their seventh. They've won it five times since 1997 too.

The record above shows some memorable games between the two sides in both domestic Cup competitions. Our most recent cup meeting was the 2-1 Carling Cup Final win at Wembley on 24th February, 2008. None of us will forget Berbatov's 70th minute penalty to put us level, after Wayne Bridge did a bit of ball juggling in the area, and then of course Jonathan Woodgate's bravery in just being there in the challenge for the ball with Petr Cech to head home. On that occasion Ledley King shared with Robbbie Keane the honour of lifting the trophy.

Our most recent FA Cup tie began at lunch-time on Sunday March 11th, 2007 (Chelsea 3 Spurs 3), when we had travelled back from a late Thursday night Europa League game against Braga in Portugal. Chelsea of course have had their grievances over the proximity of this game to their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, but we've had that all before. In 2007 we went 3-1 up at half-time through Berbatov, an Essien own goal, and Hossam Ghaly. Sadly, Chelsea came back in the second half and won the replay on 19th March at White Hart Lane.

An interesting feature of that first game was a master-stroke by Martin Jol, who played Aaron Lennon in a free role in front of a three man midfield, but behind Defoe and Berbatov. The plan, and Aaron, worked a treat. In our recent league game at Stamford Bridge, Harry Redknapp deployed the 4-2-3-1 formation to good effect, and that will probably re-emerge on Sunday, with players such as Sandro and Scott Parker hopefully fit and able to take up the holding positions.

Lennon may have to start on the bench, whilst Van der Vaart, Modric and Bale go to work behind Adebayor. It's in defence where we have concerns, with the continuing question of Ledley's fitness, and the more worrying confirmed absence of Younes Kaboul. I think we needed Kaboul more than anyone at the back. He has been so key all season. A fit Gallas will be a blessing, and with the perennial Ledley issue, Gallas might have to be partnered by Ryan Nelsen. Nelsen has been doing okay in my view, but we are getting perilously short of back-up in central defence.

Chelsea will definitely miss Ivanovic, who got a three game ban after the FA reviewed video evidence of an incident against Wigan last Saturday, which went unseen by the referee. That could mean a game at right back for Bosingwa, and an additional opening for Gareth Bale, if only we can see him concentrate on the left wing!

If you are looking for an omen, then I can pass on a piece of trivia that was published widely on Twitter this week. In 1991, we lost to Norwich in the week before succeeding in an FA Cup semi-final against London opposition (Arsenal). We went on to win the trophy of course. We beat Chelsea in the 1967 FA Cup Final of course, and also beat them on the way to the 1982 Cup win.

We need more than omens of course, but Spurs did show they are more than a match for the current Chelsea side the other week. Can we do it? Yes we can! Will we do it? I'm going to say "Yes, we will!" It could be a late night though, with extra time and penalties to decide the tie on the night, with no replay.

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