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Spurs Odyssey Capital One Cup Semi-Final Preview - Spurs v Sheffield United, 21.01.15

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Spurs' Cup History v Sheffield United


Season  Rd  H/A   W/D/L  Scorer(s)
1900-01 F    N    D 2-2  Brown (2)
1900-01 F(R) N    W 3-1  Smith, Brown, Cameron
1935-36 6    A    L 1-3  Morrison
1957-58 4    H    L 0-3  -

League Cup
1970-71 3    H    W 2-1  Chivers, Pearce
1989-90 4    A    W 2-0  Stewart, Gascoigne

Beware of dashing "Blades"!

It is perhaps surprising that two clubs with such long histories have so rarely met in Cup competition. It is nearly 60 years since we met in the FA Cup, and 25 years since our paths crossed in League Cup competition.

We did, of course, meet "The Blades" in one of the most famous Cup Ties of all time, when we became the only non-league team to win the trophy in 1901. It took a replay for us to succeed though, and that success was against a top flight side.

Indeed, United were arguably enjoying their halcyon days. They had won the Division One Title in the 1897-98 season, and the FA Cup in 1899. The year after losing to us, they had another replayed Cup Final, which they won, beating Southampton, who were also a non-league club in those days.

Sandy Brown famously scored in every round on our way to victory in 1901, and scored a total of 15 FA Cup goals in 8 games, failing to score only in the drawn Round 3 game against Reading, but scoring two in the replay.

That 1901 FA Cup Final was played at Crystal Palace, then the dramatic replay was at Burnden Park. A memorable and formidable player for Sheffield United was William "Fatty" Foulke, whose bulk exceeded 20 stones, and who must have nearly filled the goal! Foulke spent most of his career at Sheffield United, but had one season at Chelsea, where he was made club captain. Born in 1874, Foulke died in 1916.

There have only been two League Cup meetings with United. We beat them 2-1 in October 1970, on our way to winning the 1971 Final. Martin Chivers was one of the scorers, and he was prolofic in our run, scoring two goals in the Final, and seven in all seven games he and the team played. Do you spot a trend here? I expect to see "Big Chiv" interviewed at half-time tomorrow by Paul Coyte.

The last Cup meeting between these two sides was at Bramall Lane in November 1990, in Round 4. Again, we were the victors, with Paul Stewart (79 mins) and Paul Gascoigne (90 mins) securing our passage. Unfortunately, we came up against a Chelsea side, whose hoodoo over us was just beginning, and they knocked us out.

Nigel Clough took over as manager of Sheffield United in October 2013, and whilst he has yet to get them out of League One (they sit just outside the play-off places at present), Clough has led them on a couple of good Cup runs. Last season they reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, losing 5-3 to Hull, beating Premier League opposition Aston Villa and Fulham along the way. Alright, they weren't very good Premier League opposition, were they?

This season (and bear in mind they have tto start both Cup competitions at the outset), they have recently beatn QPR 3-0 at Loftus Road. In this competition, they beat West Ham (on penalties) in the second round, and Southampton in the quarter-final 1-0. Those are not results to be treated lightly, so United have earnt respect, and the right to challenge Spurs for a place at Wembley against either Chelsea or Liverpool.

There was some controversy during that victory over Southampton, when Ronald Koeman was not happy with what he considered over-exuberant celebrations after the United goal on the home bench. Koeman refused to shake Clough's hand at the end of the game. Around that time, United were also attracting negative publicity over the Ched Evans saga.

Jose Baxter, a 22 year old attacking midfielder for United, has been quoted as saying about Premier League teams, "They are nice, they don't want to get kicked, and they're all great technical players. It's just when they come to play us and we give them a few kicks, they don't like it." That says a lot about how United will be approaching this game.

Tomorrow (and next Wednesday at Bramall Lane) it should all be about the football. United beat Preston the week-end before last 2-1 at home in the League, and face them on Saturday (away) in the FA Cup. Whilst Clough's focus ought to be on securing promotion, his clear policy has been to maintain form through good Cup performances, and I am sure there will be no let-up tomorrow.

31 year old attacking midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce has been in goal-scoring form, with four goals in the last three games, two of which were against QPR. Look out too for 22 year old Scottish striker Mark McNulty, who hasn't had many starts for United, but has scored two goals in recent games. McNulty is United's top league scorer with 6 goals.

Spurs' head coach Mauricio Pochettino has plenty of options, despite the continuing need to "use the squad" with such a busy programme of League and Cup games, with Leicester coming up on Saturday. I am sure the objective tomorrow will be to secure a good lead to give us more flexibility next week. I'll take us to win by the requisite two clear goals, hopefully with a 2-0.

Tomorrow's match referee is Neil Swarbrick, who was in charge of our away wins at Villa Park, and Leicester this season.

10 years ago this week, we lost 3-0 away to Crystal Palace

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