OPPONENTS Colchester United at the Jobserve Community Stadium
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Tuesday 24th September 2019
PREVIEW The draw for the early rounds of the League Cup often throw disparate sides together with the hope of a giant-killing or a giant score.   While Spurs went to Tranmere Rovers and came home with a 7-0 win in the FA Cup last season, this game might provide more of an opportunity for some youngsters tog et some playing time.

Colchester have found a little bit of form with a win at front-runners Swindon Town last mid-week and a win over Orient at the weekend, although it was more made difficult than it should have been by an embarrassing cock-up between the goalkeeper Dean Gerken and his defenders, presenting Orient with a late goal when 2-0 ahead.

Courtney Senior is a tricky forward, who might look to commit defenders, with Frank Nouble and Theo Robinson both experienced strikers, who have spent a lot of time playing in the lower divisions, but know where the goals are.  Luke Norris is the leading scorer at the club over the last couple of seasons and is physical, so if he is up against a younger Spurs defender, might look to psyche them out with his approach, but in their own defence, the U's will be missing former Spur Kane Vincent-Young, who was sold to Ipswich Town and the full back has made an immediate impact there. 

Goalkeeper Gerken has good experience with Bristol City and Ipswich, while in front of him, central defender Frankie Kent was sold to Peterborough United, so local lad Omar Sowumni has arrived from Yeovil Town to partner Spurs fan and captain Luke Prosser in the heart of the back four.  Midfielder Tom Eastman has been a Colchester stalwart for .eight years, racking up nearly 300 appearances for them, with an appetite for hard work, he likes to get forward and score too, with well-travelled Paris Cowan-Hall, a lively forward playing in front of him, joining from Wycombe Wanderers in the summer.

It is a bigger game for the U's than the previous round, when they went to Selhurst Park and beat Palace on penalties after a 0-0 draw, so they are capable of putting in a solid performance, with a couple of wins coming onto the match in League 2, but the pressure is on them a little, being at home and some expectation following the Palace win, especially as it will not be a full strength side that Pochettino fields.  There will be the core of first-teamers, with some youngsters and players who haven't had much playing time.  Dier, Lucas, Dele, Sanchez and Davies will probably be selected along with Parrott, Tanganga and Skipp.

I am not sure that Colchester will go all out for a win, but with the Spurs side looking for a win of any kind at the moment, they might take this opportunity to go at Colchester and while there is a strength needed in League Two, they might not have experienced someone like Parrott, who can probably match that physical approach, but add some moments of skill to it.  I don't think the side will suffer the hangovers of the last few results and will progress to Round Four.

PREDICTION Colchester United    1        Tottenham Hotspur    3
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS : -  Mauricio Pochettino will make lots of changes for this match with a packed schedule of games ahead.  Juan Foyth (ankle) could return, but Giovani Lo Celso (hip) is definitely out, while other players will be rested or left on the bench.  Hugo Lloris may still be allowed to spend time with his wife and their new baby, with Ryan Sessegnon not yet over his hamstring problem to be ready to start. 

Midfielder Harry Pell is still sidelined with injury and a quad issue rules out Callum Harriott, who returned to the club in the summer.


Quest  (Highlights) Wednesday 22.30

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League Cup Round Three Kick off 19:45
Colchester United  0 (0)  
(Win 4-3 on penalties)
Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)




Crowd :   9,481 Weather :  Mild, some rain
Referee :  Jarrad Gillett (Australia) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Darren Blunden; Mr. Geoffrey Russell
Fourth Official :  Darren Drysdale  
Colchester United kicked off and played towards the Weston Homes end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 minutes.
Cowan-Hall (foul on Davies)  56 




Colchester United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Dean GERKEN

  2  Ryan JACKSON  (11  Cowan PARIS-HALL  50     )
  5  Luke PROSSER  (c)
  3  Cohen BRAMALL

24  Ben STEVENSON  (  9  Luke NORRIS 78)
  7  Courtney SENIOR
14  Brandon COMELY
  Luke GAMBIN  (10  Jevani BROWN  68)

45  Frank NOUBLE

Unused subs: 
  Ethan ROSS
  6  Omar SOWUMNI
21  Ryan CLAMPIN

  22  Paulo GAZZANIGA

16  Kyle WALKER-PETERS     
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
39  Japhet TANGANGA  (  7  Heung-Min SON  66)
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER  (c)
29  Oliver SKIPP  (
11  Erik LAMELA  78)
  Victor WANYAMA
20  DELE Alli 

52  Troy PARROTT  (23  Christian ERIKSEN  66)
27  Lucas MOURA

Unused subs: 
  1  Hugo LLORIS
17  Moussa SISSOKO
1  Juan FOYTH

Manager :  John McGreal Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Texo Scaffolding Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Macron Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

I would very much like to tell you about this unforgettable, forgettable night that saw Spurs knocked out of the League Cup on penalties by Colchester United in Essex.  However, what should have been a home game for me, living just 30 miles from the ground and a journey that should take a maximum of an hour (and a minimum of half an hour), took three times that long, resulting in me entering the ground just as the teams had left the field for their half-time tea and cigarette.  It was the worst trek I have ever made to a Spurs game and the biggest chunk of one I have missed since the time I got stuck on the M1 going to Birmingham City and got there ten minutes before half-time in 1983.  At least I saw Steve Archibald's goal to win the game that day.

There was to be no such luck this time out and even though we took our seats in the front row of the West Stand in with the Colchester fans and the penalties were down our end too, the shock of the defeat washed over me, having been scarred by the drive at an average of 10 miles an hour.  What I saw was a Spurs team have a lot of possession, but not make much of it and fail to test the home keeper on many occasions.  Colchester threw their bodies in the way of shots, then brought on an extra striker near the end to add to the chances they created, but failed to garner a shot on target in the whole game.  Is it possible to win the trophy without scoring a goal ?  Well, beating Crystal Palace on penalties in the last round at least saw the U's get two shot son target.

Pochettino rotated drastically, with Troy Parrott and Japhet Tanganga given debuts,  giving performances in which they didn't disgrace themselves.  It was a solid enough team and should have had enough to beat a side 10th in League Two, but with the team arriving less than half an hour before the match wasn't perhaps the ideal preparation for the usually well-prepared Argentine.  Having got there some time after them, I will have to refer to other contemporary reports for the first half report.

Spurs started sprightly, with Kyle Walker-Peters getting a fair bit of room to operate down the right wing.  The right back shot over in the first move of the game, had a cross blocked and then Tanganga's defensive header to a long Colchester throw was the start of a breakaway that ended with Dele having a long shot that bent wide of the mark.  A quarter of an hour of the game had gone before Dean Gerken was worked in the Colchester goal.  Captain for the night Eric Dier spread the ball aiming for his mate Dele, but a header prevented the ball getting that far, although it dropped for Parrott to drive a shot at goal that the keeper needed to push wide.  Lucas fired a shot over the top, Dele hit Skipp's right wing pull-back wide of the far post and Ben Davies struck a free-kick just over the bar from the corner of the penalty area.  You would have thought that Moura's pace would be too much for the Colchester defence and he set up Parrott for a shot that was the first of many blocked by a defender.  The Brazilian then hit a free-kick through the wall and Gerken saved it and all this was in the first half an hour. 

Tottenham's crossing wasn't great all night, with them rarely finding a white shirt and the League Two team were pretty used to dealing with balls into the box.  Too many were over-hit though and the same went for some of our corners. 

Anyway, having arrived in enemy territory, the sides came out for the second 45 minutes.  Early on their defender Ryan Jackson got injured trying to tackle a Spurs player and was replaced by Paris Cowan-Hall, who was a Courtney Senior look-a-like and had a bit of pace about him.  Lucas was running away from defenders and again played the pass to Parrot, whose shot was again blocked before he rose to meet Eric Dier's cross, but put his header over the bar.  There was a shout for a penalty from the Spurs fans behind the goal we were attacking as Dele went down as he chested the ball, but there didn't seem a defender very close to him. 

When Spurs looked like they might get away, breaking up a United attack, Davies was unceremoniously hauled down just on halfway by Cowan-Hall, who went into the book, but saved his side facing a break that would have seen them out-numbered.  It almost led to a goal, as Spurs came the closest all night to getting one in, with Walker-Peters making progress down the right and his low effort bounced back from the inside of the far post from a narrow angle. with the keeper beaten.   The ball was hacked out for a corner and from it, there was a penalty area scramble, with the home defence getting in the way of shots from Lucas and Wanyama (yes, he was playing).   Gerkan got an uncertain punch to a KWP cross, but it fell for a blue shirt and his subsequent crosses were just too far in front of Dele and then another deflected off a defender for a corner.  Pressure was building, with Colchester unable to get the ball out of their half very often, but there was little sign of Tottenham looking like scoring. 

A free-kick for the U's played into our box was headed out by Parrott and the ball was played to Lucas to run with it and he got halfway into the Colchester half before being crowded out.  Pochettino made a double substitution to try and win the game, with Son and Eriksen coming on for the two debutants, but they made little impact.  Eriksen took a corner and beat the first man, but also managed to beat everyone as the ball sailed over the penalty area for a throw-in.  Son did bamboozle with a couple of step-overs and pinged a ball across the face of goal, which Walker-Peters put back and Eriksen had an effort blocked, before the Dane found a Spurs head from a corner and Wanyama put it over the bar.

Lamela replaced Skipp to make it an almost first team regular side, but still they couldn't manage to break through.  Erik struck a low shot from just outside the box but straight at the keeper, but then Colchester countered and were blocked on the edge of the Spurs area a couple of times before Cowan-Hall had a good shooting opportunity from 18 yards, but put it wide.  Courtney Senior did the same after a run at the Spurs defence and as 90 minutes ticked over, Lucas got on the end of Son's deep cross, but it had little power and was easily taken by Gerken to the roars of the home crowd. 

With the final whistle, it was interesting to be among the home fans who thought there was going to be extra-time.  Interesting as they had already had penalties in the previous round !  Anyway, they came down to the Colchester end to take the pens and Eriksen put his first one low to the keeper's right but too close to him, allowing him to save, having guessed the right way.  Luke Norris rammed home The U's' first spot-kick, followed by Dele, Nouble and Lamela all scoring, before sub Jevani Brown thought he would be smart and Panenka a penalty.  Gazzaniga had dived right, but had time to get up and punch the ball away as it still hung in the air.  Oh, how we laughed.  That was until Lucas rattled the angle of crossbar and post to the keeper's right after Son and Cowan-Hall (just getting it past Paulo's trailing legs) had converted.  That left Tom Lapslie with the task of beating Gazzaniga to knock Spurs out and that's what he did.

Everyone said that it was a massive shock that Spurs were knocked out, but it was more shocking in that the team were unable to turn the huge amount of possession (72%) into more than four shots on target.  Pochettino said that he was taking this game seriously, but I think some players might find themselves limited in their access to the first team after this performance and Poch said that come January there will be a lot of transfer action, as he seeks to get the team back in sync.

Full credit to Colchester, who gave everything to stop Tottenham and kept going for the 90 minutes, keeping them at bay with some solid defending.   Their ambition was limited, but McGreal had done his homework to stifle Spurs and not to play too open to allow Spurs to play the way they wanted to.  We knew from the first game of the season against Aston Villa that teams were going to play against us this way, so needed a set of plays to counter-act these tactics.  Villa ran out of gas.  Colchester didn't. 

This competition may have been the bottom of Pochettino's wish-list for the season, but with it allowing the squad to get some playing time and with other Premier League teams knocked out and more top six teams playing each other in the next round, it did offer a reasonable route to a trophy.  All the benefits of getting knocked out are the lesser number of games we will have to play between now and Christmas and the money we will save on League Cup matches.  Good luck to Colchester away at Crawley.

That could have been us !

Marco van Hip

Match facts


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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 5 Nottingham Forest 0 Tuesday
Crawley Town (Won 5-3 on pens) 1 Stoke City 1 Tuesday
Luton Town 0 Leicester City 4 Tuesday
Preston North End 0 Manchester City 3 Tuesday
Portsmouth 0 Southampton 4 Tuesday
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Everton 2 Tuesday
Watford 2 Swansea City 1 Tuesday
Burton Albion 2 Bournemouth 0 Wednesday
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Aston Villa 3 Wednesday
Chelsea 7 Grimsby Town 1 Wednesday
Sheffield United 0 Sunderland 1 Wednesday
MK Dons 0 Liverpool 2 Wednesday
Manchester United  (won 5-3 on pens) 1 Rochdale 1 Wednesday
Oxford United 4 West Ham United London 0 Wednesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers  (won 4-2 on pens) 1 Reading 1 Wednesday

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