Looking Forward



FA Cup Fourth Round

Sunday 25th January 2004

Another meeting with Manchester City makes it three so far this season, with this being the second in a cup competition.  So far we have drawn at the new CoM stadium and beat City 3-1 in the Carling Cup at home.

Another trip North will see Spurs face a Man. City side shorn of David Seaman, who's calamitous career is now at an end.  With new signing to replace him, David James, being cup-tied, it looks likely that Arni Gautur Arason, the Icelandic international keeper might make his debut after signing a short term deal at Eastlands.  He has impressed in training, but with City not firing on all cylinders, that might give a false impression of his abilities in a game situation.  Although he has played for Rosenborg in the Champions League, this might be a different kettle of fish for the 28 year old Icelander.

Kevin Stuur-Ellegaard will be the back up keeper to play between the sticks if required.  As predicted, he was very unsettled under the red hot atmosphere that was generated at WHL, but at home, he might feel more comfortable, although Spurs could put him under pressure and there will need to be players following in on any shots, as his handling appears to be less than sound.  One other option would be for Keegan to play Kasper Schmeichel, but the youngster might not yet be ready in his career for such a high-profile appearance.

Kevin Keegan is looking for a world class defender on a Bosman, while letting Danny Tiatto, Michael Tarnat and Gerard Wiekens know they will no longer be required by the Light Blues.  Richard Dunne has been preferred in the middle of defence and Keano had joy against him in the Carling match, as he is not blessed with the quickest turn of pace and if we can keep the ball on the floor, we might benefit from that.  Alongside him will be Sylvain Distin, who had a poor game at Tottenham back in December.  David Sommeil has played at full back  to strengthen the defence, but he lacks the finesse in that position and can be caught out of position, so there is hope for wide men to attack the space he leaves behind him.  

Paul Bosvelt has had a resurgence of form lately and with Wright-Phillips buzzing around on the flank, this area will be one that City hope to capitalise on.  If McManaman plays, we could reap the rewards of that, as he does not appear to have settled into the side effectively since his return from Spain.  Chinese star Sun Jihai is a runaround but has little discernable effect on the game, while Sibierski is a player who gets involved and makes things happen.  He can break forward into the box and covers a lot of ground in the team's name.  Trevor Sinclair is on the right flank and has skill and a shot that can catch keepers out, although he again is not realising his full potential on his return to the North West.

Robbie Fowler is fit after getting over the problem with his dodgy knee and will come in for Jonathan Macken while Claudio Reyna could return to replace young midfielder Joey Barton.  Steve McManaman and Shaun Wright-Phillips are both ready to get back to action after being 'rested'.  The great enigma and perhaps the key to any City success is the form on the day of Patrick Anelka, as his pace can destroy any defence, but if he mopes around the field, he will disrupt the whole team's pattern.

Tottenham are on a good run, but need to be aware that City are a dangerous side if Anelka decides to play.  They will be putting in a lot of effort to make sure that things go their way and as Spurs have done recently, will have to match that.  Former City midfielder Michael Brown playing their on his birthday will be the 'frustrater' in midfield and with Davies back in harness, there should be enough endeavour in the middle of the team to ensure that we can defend and attack as required.

With City desperate for a result and a Cup run, Spurs will do well to come home with a ...

PREDICTION : -   Manchester City  1   Tottenham  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


MEHSTG has been unable to get a view from an opposing site.


Manchester City : -  Robbie Fowler (knee); David James (cup tied); Paolo Wanchope (knee); Nicky Weaver (knee)

TOTTENHAM : - Christian Ziege (head cut); Gus Poyet (suspended); Jamie Redknapp (not match fit); Dean Richards (calf); Frederic Kanoute (on international duty)

TV :  Live on BBC 1
Radio :  BBC Radio London (94.9 FM - London area only).
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast    (subscription service only)



Manchester City   1     Tottenham   1     (Half-time score : 1-0)
FA Cup Fourth Round
Sunday 25th January 2004
Venue : -  City of Manchester Stadium
Kick Off : -  13.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Bright, sunny, but chilly
Crowd : -  47,000
Referee : -  Steve Dunn (Gloucestershire)
Teams : -  
Manchester City : -  Ellegaard; Distin, Dunne, Jihai, Tarnat, Bosvelt, Sinclair, Reyna, Sibierski (Wright-Phillips 69), Fowler (Macken 69), Anelka
Unused subs:  Arason, McManaman, Sommeil

Tottenham : -  Keller; Carr, Taricco (Jackson 46), Doherty, Gardner; Brown, Anderton (Dalmat 46), Davies, King; Keane, Postiga
Unused subs:  Hirschfeld, Bunjevcevic, Zamora

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Manchester City Tottenham
Scorers : -  
Manchester City  -  
 Anelka 10

Tottenham -    Doherty 57

Cards : -  
Manchester City  -     Reyna (foul) 30,    Bosvelt (foul) 53

Tottenham -     Anderton (foul) 35,    Carr (foul) 54

A visit to the COM stadium was always going to be harder than people thought, despite Man City's poor run, and so it proved with Spurs happy to take the draw and bring City back to the Lane.

This FA Cup tie swung back and forth, although in the first half, it looked like it would be Manchester City's day.  Spurs looked lethargic and the passing was off the mark, with possession being given away at almost every opportunity.  Conversely, the home side were "mad for it" as they say in this part of the country.  Closing Spurs down, harassing our players when looking to take some time on the ball and getting their tackles in, it was a City side that Tottenham had not encountered so far this season.

Tarnat was allowed time on the left wing to hit a cross-field ball that found Fowler and his low shot forced Keller to save at the foot of his post as the Tottenham defenders backed off.  From the resulting corner, Doherty headed the ball straight up in the air and Distin, then Fowler won uncontested headers.  The former Liverpool man's effort bounced back off the post, off Keller's arm and then was touched in on the volley from close range by Anelka.

This rattled Spurs and although no direct efforts were forthcoming from City for another fifteen minutes, Tottenham were forced into conceding free-kicks as they tried to get into the game.  The first on the half hour was headed wide by Dunne.   Then a spell of pressure followed.  Reyna released Fowler through the middle, but Gardner got in between him and his pass to Anelka and then Gardner's back-pass sold everyone short.  It was only a considered rush from his line that saw Kasey manage to force Anelka wide and not make contact or he would have been a cert for a red card.  A couple of yellow cards - one each way - clamped down on the game a little and Michael Brown seemed distracted from his purpose by a running feud with Reyna, meaning he contributed little to the Tottenham cause in the first period.

Tottenham's only first half chance came after 37 minutes with a solo run by Robbie Keane through the heart of the City defence and although he was eventually tackled, the ball fell for Simon Davies to have a first time shot that Ellegaard had to stop low down at full stretch.  But Tottenham were still getting opened up at the other end.  We were making Chinese full-back Sun Jihai look like a world class player and his ball in to Reyna released the Yank in the box.  As he tried to lob the ball over international team-mate Keller, he got his bearings all wrong and his shot went harmlessly wide.  Then just before the half-time whistle, a long diagonal ball caught Stephen Carr matched up with the strapping Sibierski, who out-jumped him and put his header from the edge of the box wide.

Pleat had to do something at the break and his team-talk along with a change of personnel did the trick.  Jackson replaced the head-bandaged Taricco and Dalmat came on for Anderton to add some running with the ball in the midfield.  It looked as though Spurs were at last going to take the game to City and from the off, that was what happened.  Dalmat produced a raking ball from right to left that found Keane on the end of it and his low shot was saved by the young City keeper, although you might have thought Robbie could have taken it a bit earlier to catch Ellegaard out.

Again, the ref decided to even up the yellow card count with one each for Bosvelt and Carr in quick succession.  It looked like Tottenham's passing game was breaking the brittle confidence of the home team and when Keane got away on the left, he squared for Postiga in the box and as he looked up to see where the keeper was, he lost track of the ball and it was just out of his reach, meaning all he could do was prod it to the goalie.  However, the next attack saw Spurs win a corner that Postiga swung to the far post.  It eluded the poorly positioned Ellegaard and Doherty rose unmarked to head in powerfully from a yard or so out.  It was well-deserved for the change in team plan and within a minute another corner on the same side was won.  From it, an almost carbon copy header from Doherty just cleared the bar.

City were all at sea and it was a surprise to all when Fowler was given onside to a through ball that passed closely to Anelka who was yards offside and the play carried on.  Fowler ran on and tried to pull the ball across for his sulky team-mate, but Doc got there to slide the ball out for a corner.  This "active zone" nonsense is getting on everyone's nerves and if Anelka had been presented with a goal from the break, it would have been a huge injustice. 

Swinging to the other end, Gardner took the ball up the left wing and skillfully crossed for Postiga to get in ahead of Ellegaard and put his header just over, while a minute later a Brown free-kick forced a parry from the keeper, but Tottenham could not force the second goal.  With City being pushed back, Keegan decided to make a couple of changes of his own and brought on Wright-Phillips for Sibierski and Macken for Fowler.  It made a difference to the balance of play with the little wide-man running at Tottenham, giving them problems which they had not encountered in the second half.  Sinclair had two goes that were off target, Carr intercepted a through ball that was destined to put Anelka away and Bosvelt had a low drive saved by Keller as City made the most of their new-found impetus.

Then came the chance for Spurs to win it.  Robbie Keane tricked his way past Richard Dunne on the left side of the box and stood the ball up for Helder Postiga to rise in the six yard box and head it over from a good position.  As in Cup ties, it was end to end and within a minute, Tottenham could have been out.  Macken was through, looking well-offside, and chose to go for goal with the outside of his left foot rather than roll the ball to Anelka, who was better placed.  Within the space of two minutes, City had that chance and then Wright-Phillips swept the ball across the face of goal with no-one following in to get on the end of it and Dunne put a header wide from a long free-kick.

City finished strongest and Sun Jihai made a run down the right, pulled the ball back low into the box and as Sinclair was poised to shoot home, Anelka took the ball off his toe and it fell for Carr to clear.  The ball came back in and the same crosser hit a fierce ball in that Keller chose to punch out at waist height, luckily for him, it hit the Chinaman on the knee and went wide.

One last fling with a Gardner header going wide form Jackson's free-kick, saw Tottenham's chance of finishing it on the day gone and the teams will return to White Hart Lane on February 4th for the replay.  That was about the right result, although some opportunities were there for Spurs to take the tie, but City fans will think the same of their team, so the teams will face each other for the fourth time this season in ten days time.


Laurie Load









Other Fourth Round ties played this weekend :
Arsenal 4 Middlesbrough 1 Saturday
Birmingham City 1 Wimbledon 0 Saturday
Burnley 3 Gillingham 1 Saturday

Coventry City

1 Colchester United 1 Saturday
Everton 1 Fulham 1 Sunday
Ipswich Town 1 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Luton Town 0 Tranmere Rovers 1 Saturday
Northampton Town 0 Manchester United 3 Sunday

Nottingham Forest

0 Sheffield United 3 Sunday
Portsmouth 2 Scunthorpe United 1 Saturday
Scarborough 0 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Swansea City 2 Preston North End 1 Saturday
Telford United P Millwall P Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 West Ham United 3 Sunday


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