OPPONENTS Norwich City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Wednesday 4th March 2020
PREVIEW This tie is important to both teams for different reasons.

For Spurs, it is a route to a domestic trophy that has been too long in coming.

For Norwich, it is a game that is in the way of their fight against relegation.

With Tottenham struggling with injuries, Norwich are in desperate need of avoiding the same, so will try and protect some of their players with important league games ahead.  For Spurs, it is a case of throwing in whoever might be able to play.  Victor Wanyama is now off to Canada, so that is one less to choose from, but it should give someone else an opportunity, with Lamela a possible to return and Parrott given a  starting place on the bench.  But Gedson Fernandes could make Wanyama's role his own in time, but he is still a developing talent and fans have to realise that he is not the finished article just yet.

Having played Norwich at home on a Wednesday night not too long ago, it seems a bit like deja vu, but that was league points and the Canaries came close to taking one away with them.  The side they put out will want to show that they can match Spurs, with their young talent (including Aarons, Lewis, Buendia, Idah, Cantwell) looking to impress.  City are not great on the road, but in the FA Cup, it is a one off match, which they will regard as a freebie, with nothing to lose, other than fewer games to face between now and the end of the season with their main aim to retain their Premier League place.

There are players in the Norwich side who can change the course of a game in Emiliano Buendia, who has a lot of skill and strength on the ball and Todd Cantwell, who is slighter but still possesses a good passing range and looks to try and hit the target from anywhere up to 25 yards out.  If Teemu Pukki is missing, he is the main source of goals for the visitors, but they are capable of being dangerous from set-pieces with some very tall players who are dominant in the air, while midfielders such as Drmic, Vrancic, McLean and Trybull are capable of adding attempts on goal.  Pukki could be replaced by youngster Adam Idah, who scored a hat-trick in the Third Round against Preston North End and is a quick and direct runner with the ball.  Even Jamal Lewis likes to get forward as he showed at the weekend against Leicester when he scored a fine goal.

Spurs have problems scoring goals and even though they got two on Sunday, they are unable to keep a clean sheet at the moment.   Hopefully, Tottenham are able to open up the Norwich defence on enough occasions to out-score them and the key could be setting out with a fast paced game to put the Canaries on the back foot and getting the defence to focus to deny breakaway goals, as Wolves scored on Sunday.

With a good passing game, it should be possible to stretch the Norwich team across the pitch and to tie them up in defending, rather than attacking.  I will go for a narrow Spurs win to put them through.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        Norwich City   1
Hugo Lloris (groin), Harry Kane (hamstring), Moussa Sissoko (knee) and Heung-Min Son (broken arm) miss out for Spurs, but Ryan Sessegnon is fit again after a hip problem and Erik Lamela might be ready to return after a groin injury.
Teemu Pukki and Alexander Tettey are suffering from flu and will miss the FA Cup 5th round tie if there is a possibility they will not be fit again on Saturday for the match with Sheffield United.  The Canaries are already without Ben Godfrey, Christoph Zimmermann, Sam Byram, Onel Hernandez and Timm Klose.

BBC  Red Button/iPlayer - Live coverage
BBC FA Cup Highlights -  Thursday  23.15

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

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01tdhcm  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 19.45
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)

AET : 1-1  (lost 2-3 on penalties)

Norwich City  1 (0)


Vertonghen  12m 22s


Drmic  77m 55s

Penalty Shoot Out (Norwich took first penalty)  
Missed (hit bar)  -  Lamela
Scored  -  Dier
Scored  -  Lo Celso
Saved  -  Parrott
Saved  -  Gedson
Saved  -  McLean
Scored  -  Idah
Scored  -  Stiepermann
Scored  -  Cantwell
Skipp (foul on Godfrey)  71 


Vrancic (foul on Lo Celso)  12
Handley (foul on Dele)  73


Crowd :   58,007 Weather :  Raining for much of the game, chilly
Referee :  Paul Tierney Assistant Referees :  Mr. Harry Lennard; Mr. Nick Hopton
Fourth Official :  Andrew Madley  
Video Assistant Referee :  Stuart Attwell Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Simon Beck
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Norwich City kicked off extra time and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 minutes plus 30 + 3 minutes extra time.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Norwich City : kit

13  Michel VORM

24  Serge AURIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (c) 

  Oliver SKIPP
  8  Harry WINKS  (28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  81)

27  Lucas MOURA  (11  Erik LAMELA  70)
18  Giovani LO CELSO
23  Stephen BERGWIJN  (30  GEDSON Fernandes  54)

20  DELE Alli   (52  Troy PARROTT  96)

Unused subs: 
39  Japhet TANGANGA


  1  Tim KRUL

  4  Ben GODFREY

  5  Grant HANLEY  (c)     
  Jamal LEWIS

  8  Mario VRANCIC       (23  Kenny McLEAN  67)
19  Tom TRYBULL  (27  Alexander TETTEY  89)

Lukas RUPP  (35  Adam IDAH  72)
17  Emiliano BUENDIA  (18  Marco STIEPERMANN  97)

20  Josip DRMIC 

Unused subs: 
33  Michael McGOVERN
25  Ondrej DUDA
2  Teemu PUKKI

Manager :  Jose Mourinho Manager :  Daniel Farke
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Dafabet
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   errea
Match report

An FA Cup exit on penalties to Norwich City virtually ended any opportunity for silverware this year, but on the evidence of this performance, even progress to the Sixth Round might not have gone much further.  Not that it was a bad performance, with most players playing well, but the lack of an out-and-out goal-scorer is hurting the team that cannot keep a clean sheet.

Both sides had chances with shots on goal and possession stats very similar.  The teams were both changed from their previous games, with future games in mind and were reasonably well matched, but without anyone who was used to leading the line, Spurs had trouble getting the finish to many of the moves they created.

It had all started so well.  Taking free-kicks quickly and short, Spurs tried to keep the game going and this produced a run by Lucas Moura that saw him set up Giovani Lo Celso, whose shot off his left foot brought a save out of Krul.  It was closer than his earlier shot that he scuffed a long way wide.  His running with the ball was worrying Norwich, with Vrancic cynically fouling him as he broke on halfway, but from that foul Spurs did punish the Canaries as Gio's cross from the left wing free-kick found Jan Vertonghen rising above Lewis and Vrancic to power in a header at the far post with Krul nowhere.   It was a fine header and a goal that Spurs needed to settle their nerves after a poor run in the last three games. 

While both teams tried to break, free-kicks interrupted any flow in the match.  Lucas showed good skill getting away from Lewis close to the dead ball line, but his shot was blocked for a corner.   When Norwich got free-kicks they bombed them into the area trying to find a yellow head, but Vertonghen and Dier were winning most of the headers in the box, while Jan was looking to get forward and he was forcing some hurried defending when he put crosses in from the left.  Chances were not coming cleanly, with Bergwijn hitting Cantwell with a volley from a cleared corner and when it looked like Spurs might break on Norwich, Lo Celso's pass was behind Moura and the ball went harmlessly off for a throw-in.  Norwich responded with Buendia hitting an effort from the left, which Vorm beat out and almost scored when Rupp picked up the ball in the second phase of the move and struck a 20-yard shot at goal.  Vorm was right behind it, but managed to let the ball slip between his hands and drop behind him, just about recovering in time to grab the ball in front of the goal-line.  Bodies were being thrown in the way of shots and Dier diverted one from Vrancic off target, Skipp made a very well-timed tackle on the edge of the box and then when Tottenham took the play to the other end, Norwich won a free-kick as referee Tierney got taken in by a weak fall by Trybull to ease any pressure with a free-kick.

Davinson Sanchez was the next to get in the way of a shot, this time from Buendia, but at the other end, Lucas was robbed of the ball in the box, but the defence dithered on the bal and Lucas nicked it back on the edge of the six yard box, hitting a shot that Krul pushed aside.  And that was it for the first half, with the interval thankfully being free of the horrendous DJ, who deafened with his tunes, so that I could barely hear the person next to me.

Norwich looked eager to get back in it after the break, with Spurs having some defending to do.  Jan blocked Rupp's shot, as this lead to three successive corners, but Tottenham won the headers to clear the ball.  Vorm needed to be quick out as the feet of Cantwell, as he looked to get on the end of a one-two with Buendia, then the keeper was sharp to react to a deflection off Dier from Rupps' shot that could have beaten him.  When Spurs attacked, Bergwijn's replacement Gedson was showing good feet to get him past groups of players around him and he was unlucky when he put in a low shot, but it didn't have the power to cause any difficulty for the Norwich keeper.  Once more, the ref was handing Norwich free-kicks - some of which were cheap - with Vrancic striking one from more than 20 yards out that went too high and when Spurs had one, Dele laid the ball back to Oliver Skipp, whose shot was also too high.  He had a good game and showed the aggression that Mourinho had demanded, but it did get to him a bit and he picked up a yellow card as he flew into Godfrey running with the ball.  Hanley got the same punishment for a crude foul on Dele, just after Vorm had to get down to gather an Aarons effort on goal. 

Spurs were pinning Norwich back, with Winks putting another shot over the top, but suddenly, out of nothing, Norwich were level.   The visitors worked the ball along the 18 yard line and then back to McLean, whose shot was straight at a standing Michel Vorm, who inexplicably knocked it down, off his knee, so that it ran away from him and Drmic was quick to react and shoot into the ground, with the ball luckily looping over Vorm, who was on his way down, and into the net.  All the good defending had evaporated in one moment and it is impossible to plan for such an incident in a game, but 12 minutes away from a clean sheet, once more we conceded.  It gave the Canaries the impetus to go forward and they won two quick corners, which Spurs did defend well.

Winks went off with Ndombele coming on and Spurs started to show a bit more forward movement.  Handley bumped Lo Celso over in the Norwich box - a foul given elsewhere on the pitch,  Jan ran half the length of the pitch to try to reach a through pass, but was beaten by two Norwich players to it, although he still won the ball and a corner.   From that, Skipp hit a shot into a crowd of players in front of goal, Gedson's effort was stopped by Godfrey, before Aurier couldn't put his shot on target. Serge then put a ball into the right hand side of the box that Dele went for and Krul came out to and knocked Dele over.  It didn't look like a penalty, but the Norwich goalkeeper was in Dele's face when the ref gave a free-kick for a foul on him outside his box, which wasn't a foul in my view ... just another case of goalkeepers being a protected species.  The Dutch goalie really gives the impression of being a truly detestable person.

As the end of added time was approaching, Aurier put in a cross to the back stick and Dier got his head to it, but was stretching and couldn't put it on target.

So 30 minutes more began with Norwich getting a cross in and Dier just getting enough on it to take it out for a corner.  Spurs hit back with Aurier making Krul work with a shot from the right side of the box, before the knackered Dele Alli made way for Troy Parrott.  Huge cheers for the youngster greeted his arrival, but he may be carrying the huge weight of the over-expectant Tottenham "fans".  It was another youngster - Gedson - who was causing problems and forced a block to his shot after coming in from the left.

The second half saw Norwich going on the attack, with Idah putting a header just over the bar, but when in defence, they packed the area in front of the ball to make it hard for Spurs to get past.  But they did manage it, with Lo Celso getting a low shot on goal, but Krul stopped it and then Aurier put the ball over the bar with a sliced shot..  A bit of pinball in the bounce saw a clearance fortunately bounce softly back to Krul.  Gedson was there again, when he took Lo Celso's back-heel on the edge of the box, but didn't keep his shot down and it flew into the South Stand and that was all before the end of extra time.  I'm sure neither side wanted extra-time with vital games coming up.

So, into penalties, Vorm saved McLean's first spot-kick, Lamela hit the top of the bar with Tottenham's first penalty and then it became 2-2 until Krul was in Parrott's face before he took his penalty and it ended up being saved.  Cantwell scored and then Gedson's weak penalty was easily saved, although Krul was well off his line and Spurs were out.

We are never very good at penalties, so it might have been a bit of a foregone conclusion, but the referee's allowance of Krul time-wasting before each penalty and his extreme gamesmanship with Parrott should have been stamped on.

With neither side looking very good during the 120+ minutes, it is doubtful that either side would progress beyond the next round, with Manchester United or Derby County waiting.  The issue revolves about getting some support up to help Dele out, as he is not accustomed to playing with his back to goal.  Lucas often received the ball with his back to goal, but wide to the touchline, so he only has one way to turn most of the time, making defending against him pretty easy.

With Burnley up next, it will be a physical battle that we have to win before we can even hope to play our game.  Big, strong players will threaten at free-kicks and corners, so defending will have to be determined like today, but going forward, it will be a matter of moving the ball quickly to pull their players out of position.  With RB Leipzig following that on Tuesday, our season could be over then.

Pete Stachio

Match facts


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How the players did
Michel Vorm -.
Serge Aurier -.
Davinson Sanchez -.
Eric Dier -.
Jan Vertonghen -
Harry Winks -.
Oliver Skipp -.
Giovani Lo Celso -.
Stephen Bergwijn -.
Lucas Moura -.
Dele Alli -.
Gedson Fernandes -.
Tanguy Ndombele -.
Erik Lamela -.
Paulo Gazzaniga -.
Toby Alderweireld -
Japhet Tanganga -.


What you thought
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Other scores in this round :
Portsmouth 0 Woolwich Wanderers 2 Monday
Frank Lampard's Chelsea 2 Liverpool 0 Tuesday
Reading 1 Sheffield United 2 Tuesday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Newcastle United 3 Tuesday
Leicester City 1 Birmingham City 0 Wednesday
Sheffield  Wednesday 0 Manchester City 1 Wednesday
Derby County - Manchester United - Thursday


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