OPPONENTS Cheltenham Town
DATE Saturday 7th January 2012
VENUE White Hart Lane






Not seeing a lot of Cheltenham Town, I only know of their rise this season to second in the League Two table, as former QPR defender Mark Yates gets the best out of his players.

That is being assisted by Arsenal, who loaned the Gloucestershire side their training facilities and the Robins will be wearing a deep red kit to celebrate the club's 125th anniversary, which is supposed to look like the one Arsenal wore in their centenary year.

It is said that the Robins are playing good football to get to the top of the division, but they have had a couple of wobbly results lately, drawing with Barnet and Shrewsbury Town, but they have a long unbeaten run going back until the early part of November.

With a much changed team, Spurs might suffer some of the problems they did in the Europa League where the players were not accustomed to each other,  leaving them unable to play the flowing football the first team regulars have exhibited.

Some of the youngsters have gone out on loan, so the side will be a relatively experienced on and they should be able to deal with Cheltenham, but with nothing to lose, the visitors might relax and play a bit.  This could give Tottenham problems, but the intention to close Spurs down and to get in our faces, might leave them open to a counter attack, although it will be tough for the Tottenham players to keep the ball as comfortably as the player left out of the side.

Tottenham should be able to progress but expect Cheltenham to put up a good display.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3        Cheltenham Town    1
Spurs will be missing Scott Parker (knee), Sandro and William Gallas (both calf muscle victims), as well as resting a number of players who played throughout the Christmas and New Year programme of games.  Back in the side will be Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson, while some fringe players will get a start including Niko Kranjcar, Danny Rose, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Steven Pienaar, Sebastien Bassong and Giovani dos Santos.
Cheltenham have a full fit squad for Mark Yates to choose from for the match.

FA Cup highlights (ITV 1) - Saturday 22.45 - 00.15 (highlights)   [repeated at 09:30 - 11:00 Sunday]  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
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Commentary may be found on
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If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
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Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  3 (2)     Cheltenham Town  0 (0)
FA Cup Third Round
Saturday 07th January 2012                               Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Defoe  24
Pavlyuchenko  43
dos Santos  87
Dawson (foul)  79  




Crowd :   35,672 Weather :  Dry, mild
Referee :  Lee Mason (Bolton) Assistant Referees :  Adam Watts; Nick Hobbis
Fourth Official :  James Linington -
Cheltenham Town kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Cheltenham Town : kit
23  Cudicini

29  Livermore
20  Dawson  (c)      (46  Carroll  88)
19  Bassong
25  Rose

  7  Lennon (41  Bostock  82)
21  Kranjcar
40  Pienaar
17  dos Santos 

  9  Pavlyuchenko 
Defoe   (27  Falque 76)

Unused subs: 
  1  Gomes

  4  Kaboul
11  van der Vaart
58  Parrett

    1  Brown

22  Jombati
15  Bennett (c)
  6  Elliott
19  Garbutt

  8  Low (11  Smikle 58)
  7  Pack
25  Summerfield
16  Penn (10  Goulding 77)

14  Spencer  (  9  Duffy 62)

Unused subs: 
40  Book
  2  Lowe
  3  Andrew
21  Graham

Manager :  Harry Redknapp Manager :  Mark Yates
Sponsor :   Investec Shirt sponsor :  Mira Showers
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Errea
Match report

The magic of the FA Cup often throws up fairytale match-ups between top teams and those lower in the league, but sometimes, it throws up a total mis-match and that was what happened today, when Spurs strolled to a tedious one-sided 3-0 win.

Cheltenham came with a plan, but it didn't seem very clear what that might be, with an early attack and one shot on target for the rest of the game, it appeared that the passive control Tottenham had of the game cowed the opposition into a submissive performance that belies belief that they are doing so well in League Two.  The crowds of red shirted fans came in their coach loads; 5,000 apparently, with their balloons and songs, but they had little to cheer about to tell the truth.  The Robins failed to make a dent in the makeshift Tottenham side, reduced by injuries and the need to rest stars, while the team consisted of those returning from injury, needing games as they are on the fringe of the squad or youngsters willing to grab a first team outing.

The mere fact that an overweight Niko Kranjcar could stroll around unhindered by the efforts of the Cheltenham players, making him look like some sort of slow-motion Messi, said a lot.  The fans might have climbed back on the bus to Gloucestershire with a glow that they were not out-classed by the score-line, but they were not up against the finest even Tottenham could offer, let alone the Premier League.  And it was all too easy for Spurs, who seemed to want to score the perfect goal rather than be more clinical in their finishing.

Tottenham put Jake Livermore at right-back and had the returning Michael Dawson at centre-half with Bassong, while Danny Rose filled the left back berth.  A midfield of Lennon, Kranjcar, Pienaar and dos Santos did not look the most defensively minded, while Pav and Jermain started alongside each other up front.

With an eye for getting ahead early on, Mohamed broke forward in the first minute and made Cudicini dive to take a low cross and then Low hit the first of many Cheltenham efforts that soared over the crossbar.  Spurs made the customary start by winning a string of hopeless corners, before Pav had the first meaningful Spurs effort, taking the ball after good work by Lennon and Livermore, as he made a yard to shoot and the ball touched the roof of the net as it passed over the top.  Elliott nearly did what the Spurs players couldn't when he got on the end of a cross from Danny Rose, but the ball came off his thigh and went just over the bar, which was a prelude to Tottenham opening the scoring in the 23rd minute.

Kranjcar put a pass down the left that evaded the sprawling defender and allowed Giovani to run in on goal.  As Brown came out to meet him, he flipped the ball over him and it was heading for the empty net until Defoe got a foot on it before it crossed the line.  Booo !!  The goal thief had denied Gio a goal on what could well be his last game for Spurs, but I am sure JD will say that the defender coming in behind him might have cleared it off the line had he not made sure.

On the half hour, Rose put in another cross from the left and Brown had to back-peddle to make sure he could get a hand on it to palm it out as it looked like it might drop in the far top corner, then it looked liek Spurs might get a penalty in their next attack, when Giovani was clattered by Jombati in the box, but the referee ran into the area with his whistle blowing and his finger pointing, but it was to the six-yard box for a goal kick.  Odd decision. 

Spurs had to wait until three minutes before half-time for their second goal and it was a very well worked one.  There was a lot of possession before Pav played the ball from the left hand side into Giovani in the area.  The Mexican slipped a cute pass through a couple of defenders to Defoe on the left, who pulled the ball back low into the middle taking the goalkeeper out of the game, leaving Pavlyuchenko, who had continued his run, an easy task of tapping into an empty net.  It was a well-crafted goal and allowed the Russian striker to continue his good scoring record in the competition and effectively finished the match.

Tottenham attacked straight from the start and Defoe nearly got on the end of a through ball from Pienaar, but the keeper came out quickly to grab the ball and a couple of minutes later, Livermore showed some fancy footwork before hitting a shot that deflected just wide off a defender.  Then Pav got his head to the corner, but put it wide and then tried an audacious chip over the keeper a while after, but it was a couple of yards too high.  Defoe set up Giovani for a shot, but the pass was delayed and by then the midfielder was closed down and hurried his shot over the bar.

Pav played in Defoe with 57 minutes gone and he ran past a couple of defenders before hitting a shot that Brown did well to keep out, then Livermore shot over and Lennon shot wide, before Roman had an effort deflected wide.  A better opportunity came with Kranjcar's low placed shot was heading just inside the far post, but Brown saved and Gio looked like he might net the rebound, but a defender got in the way.

On a rare breakaway, Cheltenham got a chance with Smikle setting up Penn for a shot that hit the upper tier of the Park Lane.  It was brief respite, as Bassong's low shot was beaten out by Brown, far enough to elude Falque and dos Santos, who were both following up.  Falque had come on for Defoe with the job done and soon after, Lennon was replaced by John Bostock, who was making a surprise comeback into the first team squad after having gone missing for three years.  He did what he had to do well and looked like he had grown up and matured a bit in the short time he was on the field.  I for one hope he can achieve what everyone thought he was capable of when we signed him as a teenager.

As it was, three minutes form time, Cheltenham's tiredness got the better of them.  When a Spurs move broke down, a weak clearance on the right side of defence went straight to Danny Rose about 30 yards out.  He whipped the ball into the box on the floor to the feet of Giovani dos Santos.  Taking a touch, he whipped the ball (with the aid of a slight deflection from a defender) past the keeper from 12 yards out.  .

There was one opportunity for Cheltenham, when the ball came out to Pack just inside the box, but he got excited and smashed his drove way over the bar, leaving Spur son the attack when the final whistle blew.  The Robins' players went to salute their crowd, who many true supporters felt were swelled by glory hunters and they grabbed the opportunity to get a Spurs player's shirt better than the few opening they made in the match.

While not deriding the efforts they put in, Cheltenham were way out of their depth today as the Spurs team, that was a shadow of the Premier League first XI, took them apart with ease.

Stanford Rivers


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What you thought
Barry Levington I didn't think much of it to be honest.  It looked like Cheltenham came along for the day out and to make sure they limited the damage.  Spurs tried to score the beautiful goal and therefore didn't test the visiting goalkeeper as much as they should have done.

Spurs kept the ball well, but didn't play with a great tempo and didn't look to go at the Cheltenham defence, preferring to move the ball about 30 yards from goal without threatening a shot too often.

The chants of "Premier League you're having a laugh" were hollow, as this was a Europa League team Tottenham fielded at best, so we were treating Cheltenham with the same (or perhaps a little more) respect that we gave to Shamrock Rovers.

But we are through and that was the objective to be achieved.

It will be interesting to see what team Harry fields if we are drawn to play another Premier League team though.




Other scores from this round :
Liverpool 5 Oldham Athletic 1 Friday
Barnsley 2 Swansea City 4 Saturday
Birmingham City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Wrexham 1 Saturday
Bristol Rovers 1 Aston Villa 3 Saturday
Coventry City 1 Southampton 2 Saturday
Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Millwall 0 Saturday
Derby County 1 Crystal Palace 3 Saturday
Doncaster Rovers 0 Notts. County 2 Saturday
Everton 2 Tamworth 0 Saturday
Fleetwood Town 1 Blackpool 5 Saturday
Fulham 4 Charlton Athletic 0 Saturday
Gillingham 1 Stoke City 3 Saturday
Hull City 3 Ipswich Town 1 Saturday
Macclesfield Town 2 Bolton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 Shrewsbury Town 0 Saturday
MK Dons 1 Queens Park Rangers 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Norwich City 4 Burnley 1 Saturday
Nottingham Forest 0 Leicester City 0 Saturday
Reading 0 Stevenage 1 Saturday
Sheffield United 3 Salisbury Town 1 Saturday
Swindon Town 2 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Watford 4 Bradford City 2 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 4 Cardiff City 2 Saturday
Chelsea 4 Portsmouth 0 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3 Sunday
Peterborough United 0 Sunderland 2 Sunday
Sheffield Wednesday 1 West Ham United 0 Sunday
Arsenal - - - -day
Leeds United - - - -day


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