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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup Rd 4 Preview - Spurs v Man City, 26.01.24

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Cup Record v Manchester City

FA Cup

Season  RD   H/A  W/L  Score  Scorers

08-09    1    A    W    4-3   Morris (pen), R. Steel, Minter (2)
13-14    2    A    L    1-2   Bliss
21-22    3    H    W    2-1   Bliss, Wilson
29-30    3    H    D    2-2   Cook, Osborne
      Replay  A    L    1-4   Thompson
34-35    3    H    W    1-0   Evans
53-54    4    A    W    1-0   Bennett
55-56  S-F    N    L    0-1
           (Villa Park)
68-69    6    A    L    0-1
80-81    F    N    D    1-1   Hutchison (o.g.)
      Replay  N    W    3-2   Villa (2), Crooks
     (Both games at Wembley)
92-93    6    A    W    4-2   Nayim (3), Sedgeley
03-04    4    A    D    1-1   Doherty
03-04    4(R) H    L    3-4   King, Keane, Ziege

League Cup
92-93    3    A    W    1-0   Samways
03-04    4    H    W    3-1   Anderton, Postiga, Kanoute
07-08    5    A    W    2-0   Defoe, Malbranque
20-21    F    N    L    0-1

UEFA Champions League

18-19 QF(1)   H    W    1-0   Son
18-19 QF(2)   A    L    3-4   Son (2), Llorente
Spurs won this tie on away goals rule

A curse or a blessing?

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"The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It's nothing of the kind. The game is about glory. It is about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out to beat the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom." - Danny Blanchflower

When Spurs legend Gary Mabbutt drew Manchester City out of the bowl for this fourth round tie, most Spurs fans would have cursed our luck at the prospect of facing the treble and World Club Cup winners so early in the tournament. After all, "Mabbsy" was the last Spurs captain to lift aloft the FA Cup nearly 33 years ago, and we hoped he'd give us a better draw.

Is this meeting with City a curse or a blessing though? Firstly, we are at home and Pep's side have yet to score a goal at our new stadium in five attempts. The Manchester City manager has lost all five of his visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions - it's the away ground he's managed at the most without ever winning in his managerial career.

The first of those five games was the memorable Champions League quarter-final first leg when "Sonny" scored, and Hugo Lloris saved an Aguero penalty. Harry Kane was withdrawn through injury after 58 minutes, before Son's crucial goal. We won 2-0 the following year (February, 2020) again without Harry Kane. This was the game in which Steven Bergwijn scored on his debut and Son added the second goal. We won by the same score in November that year when Son scored yet again against City and Giovani Lo Celso scored the second goal.

There were two more 1-0 wins in August 2021 (Son) and last February when Harry Kane scored the goal which finally beat Jimmy Greaves' 266-goal club record.

In recent years, we've met City twice in the League Cup, beating them on our way to our 2008 success (our last trophy) and narrowly losing the 2021 (Covid-affected) final at Wembley. We last met City in the FA Cup in Round Four 20 years ago. We drew the first leg at The Etihad - it was then still called The City of Manchester Stadium, but we famously lost the replayed fourth round tie 4-3 at home!

Gary Doherty scored his last-ever Spurs goal to equalise Nicolas Anelka's goal. City were then managed by Kevin Keegan, who had led City to their last Promotion to the top flight in 2002. Spurs' were under the caretaker leadership of David Pleat - not for the first time.

Memories of our 5-3 2001 home defeat to the other Manchester team were brought to mind firstly when we were 3-0 up at half-time and agonisingly when Jon Macken scored a 90th minute fourth goal for City, who won despite a certain Joey Barton getting sent off at half-time. Barton, who most recently managed both Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers, is still getting in the news for the wrong reasons now, thanks to his social media prominence and a bad case of misogyny.

Of course, in the context of an FA Cup meeting, we have to mention Ricky Villa, whose magical winning goal in the 1981 Cup Final replay will never be forgotten. "One Ricky Villa" indeed.

Once again, we find ourselves playing on a Friday night (8pm) on ITV.

City's number one keeper Ederson had to go off injured very early in City's last game against Newcastle, but it seems he is once again fit. However, Pep has a habit of playing Stefen Ortega in Cup games, so he might play tomorrow. Erling Haaland has been out with a foot injury since early December and is not expected to return until next week. Kevin de Bruyne had been out since the first game of the season, but recently returned and was very influential in City's 3-2 win over Newcastle, with an assist and a goal.

City of course are always formidable opponents and are still challenging for another treble. There is good news for Spurs with the return of James Maddison to full training. Maddison will hopefully be involved from the start tomorrow. Dejan Kulusevski will also be available, giving us some choices for our front four. Our first choice back four is also available, so Ange Postecoglou just has to choose Skipp or Hojbjerg to partner Bentancur.

It should be a super game with both teams going toe-to-toe. Obviously, I am hoping for a Spurs win. I cannot bear to contemplate yet another trophyless season.

Paul Tierney referees us for the 21st time, but for the first occasion this season. Mr. Tierney's first Spurs game was the 6-1 FA Cup Fifth Round replay in February 2018. The last time we saw Mr Tierney in the middle was for our 4-3 defeat at Anfield last April. Mr. Tierney was in charge of last June's all Manchester FA Cup final.

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