|OPPONENTS||Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium|
|COMPETITION||FA Cup Third Round|
|DATE||Sunday 5th January 2020|
The FA Cup has lost much of its magic over the last ten years, with
clubs concentrating on the Premier and the Champions League, as that
is where the money is, but the glory of lifting a trophy should not
be underestimated and the boost it can give to a club is one that
might kick-start a run of success.
Spurs come across two old players in the opposite dug-out in the shape of manager Jonathan Woodgate and assistant Robbie Keane. It also happens that Tottenham arrive at the Riverside just when Middlesbrough have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes after a shocking start to the season and Woodgate's managerial career. Four straight wins, including victories over WBA and Preston North End - both promotion chasing - has been an improvement in results, although they sit in 16th place in the Championship.
Goalkeeper Darren Randolph is one of the better keepers in the Championship and West Ham United London are looking to take him back to the Tax-Payers Stadium, although Aynsley Pears has had the gloves more recently. Injuries that might keep four out, there might be a re-shaped defence in front of him, with Dael Fry being highly touted as one for the future and one that Spurs have watched.
Former Notts Forest striker Britt Assombalonga is a doubt, but he has scored regulrly wherever he ahs played and Boro come into the match with Ashley Fletecher (ex-Man U and WHUL) and Rudi Gestede (ex-Villa) both finding their touch in front of goal. Goals might come from midfield, with Lewis Wing another youngster who has earned rave reviews and is a dead ball specialist, while Marcus Tavernier is a willing worker along the left flank and former Millwall man George Saville is capable of both creating and scoring. Paddy McNair was at Man United and is the ball-winner in midfield along with Johnny Howson (formerly with Leeds) with another ex-West Ham man playing as a wide midfielder - Marcus Browne - can add some pace, but has been suspended a fair bit as he has the old red mist (not smog) now and again.
Bringing in Lukas Nmecha and Patrick Roberts from Man City will bolster their ranks and add a bit of Premier League quality, although neither have played in that competition that much. In fact, Roberts could have played against us a fortnight ago, as he was on loan at Norwich then.
Not big scorers, Boro chip in at a goal a game in the league so far and it will no doubt be a tight game with few goals involved.
With captain Daniel Ayala out injured, Middlesbrough will lose one of their most influential players, with long-serving George Friend also likely to miss the game with a thigh injury. Spurs will be without two captains, as Lloris is still out injured with his elbow and Harry Kane will be out for a long time with a torn hamstring. Expect Toby Alderweireld or Jan Vertonghen to take the armband or even Eric Dier if he has overcome his virus, but Tottenham will welcome back Heung-Min Son having served the three match suspension for getting sent off against Chelsea, coming just at the right time. The tie will give Mourinho an opportunity to see some of his peripheral players in action and Christian Eriksen will start with his transfer away from Spurs seemingly only a matter of weeks away.
Games with Boro are typically dour affairs, so don't expect fireworks like those off the London Eye on New Years Day, but let's hope it doesn't end in a damp squib for Spurs, especially as Mourinho looks like he will be taking the competition seriously, as the only possible trophy we might have a chance of this season.
NOTE : - There will be no
VAR in this match.
|PREDICTION||Middlesbrough 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS : -
Harry Kane's hamstring tear will keep him out of the side for a while, but Heung-Min Son's return from suspension is timely. Hugo Lloris (elbow), Tanguy Ndombele (knee), Ben Davies (ankle) and Danny Rose will all be sidelined for this visit to Middlesbrough.
MIDDLESBROUGH TEAM NEWS
|FA Cup Third Round||Kick off 14:01|
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (0)
Fletcher 49m 25s
Moura 60m 48s
|Crowd : 26,693||Weather : Chilly|
|Referee : Stuart Attwell (Leamington Spa)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Richard West; Mr. Adrian Holmes|
|Fourth Official : Darren Bond|
|Middlesbrough kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 7 minutes.|
Saville (foul on Lo Celso) 84
Dele (simulation) 45
Lamela (dissent) 85
|Middlesbrough :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Jonny HOWSON (c)
|Manager : Jonathan Woodgate||Manager : Jose Mourinho|
|Sponsor : 32 Red||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Hummel||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Another lacklustre performance by Spurs saw them fail to turn 71% of possession into an FA Cup win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside, having to settle for a draw and a replay at home in around ten days time.
A strong Spurs side took to the pitch with Boro on a good run of four straight wins, making them the favourites on the day. Woodgate changed his goalkeeper as Mejias came in for his first game in four years and brought Paddy McNair into the middle of defence to replace injury victim Daniel Ayala, so it was a game with two stronger sides than you usually see in this competition.
Boro kicked off and worked a
quick throw-in and then a corner at the Spurs end as they put the
early pressure on Spurs by pressing high up the pitch. There was a
quick change from a back four to three, with Dier, Vertonghen and
Alderweireld allowing Sessegnon and Aurier to play the wing back
roles It was Aurier that the ball hit on the arm when Coulson tried
to play the ball into the box, but it was waved away by Stuart
Attwell. They quickly won a couple of corners and weak clearances
allowed Boro to play it back in although Manchester City loanee
Patrick Roberts skewed his cross over the goal.
Some pressure at the Boro
end by Aurier brought Spurs a couple of corners, but nothing came
from them other than the home keeper going for the ball and not
getting near it. Some neat passing on the left produced a shot for
Eriksen, but it was blocked. Tottenham’s players were slipping over
and after earlier pratfalls by Gazzaniga, Liucas and Dier,
Vertonghen going over let Spence run with the ball, but his pass to
Fletcher was over-hit and went off for a goal-kick. Gazzaniga then
just got away from Fletcher when taking a back pass and the ball was
played through the lines to Aurier on the right, but his cross was a
little behind Dele, who couldn’t manage to make contact with a
back-heel. A Spurs free-kick on the left gave Tottenham the
opportunity to cause some problems for the home team, but Eriksen’s
ball down the inside of the left of the box was neither hard enough
to be a shot and too weak for it to reach Dier. Dele was getting
caught on the ball as more determined Boro players won it off him,
but Aurier won the ball in the attacking third to allow it to find
him again and cross, but Sessegnon was put off by Spence at
the far post. In a bizarre pattern of play just before the
break, Winks was taken late on his ankle by Fletcher and then Dele
was bundled over by McNair and got a yellow card for his troubles.
I’m not sure what the Spurs midfielder was supposed to do, as he
couldn’t just disappear as the Boro defender blocked his way.
Things are not working properly in the Spurs side at the moment. It doesn't take a genius to see that, but will it take a genius to sort it out ? Mourinho inherited a side in transition and he won't be able to make everything right immediately, but he will need to act quickly during the transfer window to try and rectify some of the shortcomings, otherwise an exit from the FA Cup could be the season over for us. There is still the Champions League, but the team will need to be clicking by the time the next round comes around and we have Liverpool up next in the Premier League. I think for that one, as fans, we will just have to sit back and let it happen.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|How the players did|
|Paulo Gazzaniga||Good double save to keep out Boro in the second half, but once more, had little to do other than that other than to collect the ball from the net.|
|Ryan Sessegnon||Looked willing to go forward, but often not found and when he was seemed reluctant to take on his man. Did well defensively, but would like to see him have a go at beating his man to get crosses in.|
|Serge Aurier||Went on the attack from the off and although he provided a peach of a cross for Moura to score, most of his efforts were not great. Panicked with a great chance to win it at the end.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Solid but we are getting caught out by straight balls over the back line, with Toby getting caught on the turn. He's not alone, but we need to sort it out.|
|Eric Dier||People won't like it, but he did a solid job. Won the ball to start the move for the goal and didn't get bullied off the ball by Boro's pressing.|
|Jan Vertonghen||Looked like he had other things on his mind at times. Was pressed hard and didn't have outlets to find with passes out of defence and almost handed Gestede a chance just after the Boro man had come one. Not sure what will happen to him in the transfer window, but we are stuck for left backs at the moment.|
|Harry Winks||Looked to play the ball forward, but got caught on the ball and Fletcher's tread on his ankle eventually caused him to be subbed.|
|Dele Alli||Another odd performance. In the first half when he was playing higher up the pitch, he was frustrated by not receiving the ball and kept getting the ball taken off him, but in the second, when he played a deeper role, he had more influence, although rarely got into the box.|
|Christian Eriksen||Mixed bag today, with some good passes and a shot in the first half, but some of his passing was short and the dead ball delivery didn't cause enough trouble for the Boro defence.|
|Lucas Moura||Worked hard and kept running at the Boro back five. Well worth his goal and could have had another but for a flying save from Mejias.|
|Heung-Min Son||Played as the main striker with Lucas off him, but had few chances to move the ball inside the box, as too many defenders swarmed around him.|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Looked keen to move Tottenham forward and his running at players opened up space for others. Lots of red shirts to get through when he had the chance to shoot though.|
|Erik Lamela||Another sub who came on with Lo Celso and pushed Boro back with his running with the ball. Didn't need to get booked, as referee wasn't going to do anything more than book Saville.|
|What you thought|
|Other scores in this round :|
|Bristol City||1||Shrewsbury Town||1||Saturday|
|Rotherham United||2||Hull City||3||Saturday|
|Birmingham City||2||Blackburn Rovers||1||Saturday|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||0||Sheffield Wednesday||1||Saturday|
|Cardiff City||2||Carlisle United||2||Saturday|
|Oxford United||4||Hartlepool United||1||Saturday|
|Preston North End||2||Norwich City||4||Saturday|
|Leicester City||2||Wigan Athletic||0||Saturday|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||Manchester United||0||Saturday|
|Manchester City||4||Port Vale||1||Saturday|
|Charlton Athletic||0||West Bromwich Albion||1||Sunday|
|Sheffield United||2||AFC Fylde||1||Sunday|
|Bristol Rovers||2||Coventry City||2||Sunday|
|Burton Albion||2||Northampton Town||4||Sunday|
|Crystal Palace||0||Derby County||1||Sunday|
|Gillingham||0||West Ham United London||2||Sunday|
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