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Spurs v Norwich (FA Cup), 04.03.20

THE EMIRATES FA CUP
FIFTH ROUND
WEDNESDAY 4TH MARCH, 2020
(7.45pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) NORWICH CITY 1(0)

(a.e.t – Norwich won 3-2 on penalties)

Spurs scorer:-
Vertonghen, 13

Norwich scorer:-
Drmic, 78

Attendance:- 58,007

Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Harry Lennard & Nick Hopton
Fourth Official:- Andrew Madley
VAR:- Stuart Attwell
AVAR:- Simon Beck

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen (Capt.); Skipp, Winks (sub Ndombele, 81); Lucas Moura (sub Lamela, 70), Lo Celso, Bergwijn (sub Gedson, 54); Dele (sub Parrott, 96)

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Alderweireld, Tanganga

Booked:- Skipp (foul on Godfrey)

Norwich (4-2-3-1):- Krul; Aarons, Hanley (Capt.), Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull (sub Tettey, 89), Vrancic (sub McLean, 67); Buendia (sub Stiepermann, 97), Rupp (sub Idah, 72), Cantwell; Drmic

Subs not used:- McGovern; Duda; Pukki

Booked:- Vrancic (foul on Lo Celso), Hanley (foul on Dele)

Our season is crumbling

Spurs v Norwich, 04.03.20

First it was Leipzig. Then came Wolves. Now the Premier League’s bottom club has won at New White Hart Lane (albeit on penalties) and Spurs’ interest in the FA Cup is once again over. That’s three consecutive defeats at so-called “Fortress Tottenham”, and endless stress, angst and sheer anger for the fans. It would seem that the anger of one fan overstepped the mark to such a degree at the end of the game that Eric Dier stepped into the stand to confront the individual, apparently because his younger brother was close to the offending individual. Dier got the headlines, and may get more in the way of subsequent punishment. We will see.

The game was played at a high tempo in front of almost a full house. For the first time at the new stadium the away fans occupied three tiers of the north-east stand (take note Arsenal regarding allowing full allocations). I have jo reason to believe the away fans were anything other than good-natured and enthusiastically got behind their team even after going one down at an early stage. On the pitch it was clear that Norwich, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, were determined to give a good account of themselves, despite Pukki and Tettey not being fit enough to start.

Spurs’ enforced absences are well known, but once again Jose Mourinho sprang a surprise by giving emergency signing Michel Vorm his first start of the season. This was to prove costly, particularly with regard to the Norwich equaliser. Vorm hadn’t convinced in the first half either. Oliver Skipp (a perpetually unused substitute recently) made only his second start of the season (the other was at another penalty shootout defeat at Colchester), but in truth, Skipp’s was one of the better Spurs performances. Lo Celso played well, but of course we lacked goal power. Dele gets a lot of stick from supporters currently, but remember he is not a number 9, which was the role he was being asked to play.

Norwich kicked off and played towards the South Stand. Lucas Moura and Bergwijn led a spurs break from their half after 10 minutes and Lo Celso had a shot from the right side of the area which was saved by Krul, who would be a headline maker in the conclusion of the game. Referee Paul Tierney waved play-on giving Spurs the advantage when Lo Celso was fouled by Vrancic. Then Bergwijn was fouled outside the left of the Norwich area, winning a free kick. Lo Celso took the kick and at the back of the area captain for the night Jan Vertonghen climbed and simply hammered home a header. It was a great start and all was looking good for Spurs.

Mr Tierney won’t get thanked for it by most Spurs Odyssey voters, but he generally wanted to let play flow. The downside of that was that potential infringements by both sides were overlooked. Serge Aurier was a beneficiary though when the referee had “words” after a foul. Lo Celso was the driving force in another Spurs attack which ended with a good cross by Aurier into the danger zone being cleared. Lucas Moura did well on the right side and got the ball to the bye-line, winning a corner, taken too long by Lo Celso. Despite his assist for the free kick, Lo Celso has generally proved no better than did Eriksen at corners. Spurs made a break after a Norwich free kick but the Norwich defence were strong with Jamal Lewis winning the final tackle deep in his half on the right.

There was some desperate defending by both Sanchez and Dier in their area when Rupp had the ball at his feet and was ready to shoot. Three minutes later Vorm saved well from Buendia at his right post, but could only parry the ball. In a follow-up attack Vorm fumbled his save from a longer range shot by Rupp, but he did come out with the ball. Dier blocked a dangerous shot by Vrancic at the expense of a corner. Two minutes before the break Lo Celso sent Lucas Moura away down the right side with a clever flick but Lucas ultimately overran the ball.

Spurs kicked off the second half towards the “White Wall” who could be heard urging their team on at various times. There was no “Spurs are on their way to Wembley” though, as the fans correctly guessed the game was not won. Norwich won a corner after 49 minutes following Vrancic’s cross, Drmic’s battling play and a final deflected shot by Buendia. After a dangerous Norwich attack down the left side, Vorm was out to collect the ball in front of the advancing Cantwell.

Steven Bergwijn was replaced by Gedson after 54 minutes. Bergwijn had apparently suffered a knock having been down twice. Gedson got a shot on target from just inside the rea after good footwork and after Lo Celso and Dele had exchanged passes on the left. The shot was easy for Krul. At the other end Vorm held a deflected shot from Rupp. A Norwich free kick from the edge of the “D” was taken by Vrancic and fired over the target. I noticed that Lucas Moura was kneeling behind the wall, and I had seen this in the Chelsea-Liverpool game the night before I think. I am not sure what that particular strategy achieves.

After a foul ln Dele Alli outside the left of the Norwich area on 63 minutes, Lo Celso’s free kick was half cleared and Skipp had a pot shot which passed over the target. Lamela replaced Lucas Moura with 20 minutes of ordinary time remaining. Lamela played on Lucas’s right-hand side and certainly added energy to proceedings. Spurs seemed to get away with a tackle on Buendia in the middle (Dele and Winks) and Winks raced towards the Norwich area but the attack fizzled out. Norwich had a player offside (Aarons) but provided a dangerous moment when substitute McLean’s deep cross was met by Aarons and fed to Drmic who fired wide across the goal.

Oliver Skipp passed to Winks at the other end. “Have a shot!” I shouted, and Winks did that, but not on target. With 12 minutes remaining, Norwich were on level terms. Aarons passed inside to McLean who shot from over 20 yards. Vorm fumbled and the ball basically rebounded off the advancing Drmic into the Spurs net.

Ndombele replaced Winks and the substitute’s pass led Lo Celso into the box where he went down, with no offence apparently committed. Gedson showed good footwork and speed in his own half with Jan Vertonghen winning a corner from the ensuing attack. Gedson had another shot blocked after build-up play by Lamela and Lo Celso. Then Aurier had a golden opportunity and a goal bound shot well blocked by the Norwich defence. Spurs were looking the more likely late winners of this game. There was no foul by Tim Krul as he slapped the ball away from in front of the advancing Dele Alli’s head. Krul’s momentum took him all the way to the touchline where he was fouled.

There were three minutes of added time. Spurs won a couple of corners, but nothing else.

Spurs kicked off the first half of extra time and played towards the North Stand. Three minutes into the half Dele pushed a ball out to Aurier on the right. Aurier cut inside and out before hitting a right foot shot which was held by Krul. Lamela had an exciting run into the box but met a wall of defenders, who cleared. Teams are allowed a fourth substitute in extra-time and Troy Parrott replaced Dele Alli to massive cheers from the home section. Ultimately, Troy, who was only 18 last month, did not match the expectations of his fans. Norwich took off Buendia for a defender – Stiepermann. Gedson won a corner from which Dier had a header, but that was all too easy for Krul to collect.

We went into the second half of extra time and Lo Celso (fed by Lamela) had a shot parried by Krul, following which Aurier fired well over the target. Lamela won a free kick towards the right. He took the kick himself, but hit it straight at Krul. Lo Celso teed up Gedson, but he fired over. Spurs had had their chances, but failed, so now we faced the dreaded penalties.

I had to leave at this point, with a train to catch, but I have viewed the TV recording. Harry Kane was spotted amongst the massive Spurs contingent discussing the shoot-out, which took place in front of the South Stand. Krul basically delayed every penalty as is his wont.

Dier took the first penalty and scored to the right of Krul as he dived in the right direction. McLean’s shot was well saved by Vorm, who dived to his left. 1-0.

Lamela’s shot skimmed the top of the bar. 19 year old substitute Idah scored emphatically to the left of Vorm, who had gone the wrong way. 1-1.

Lo Celso allowed Krul to commit and scored confidently to the right of the keeper. Stiepermann scored inside Vorm’s left post. 2-2.

Parrott had apparently put his hand up to volunteer before the shoot-out. He stepped up but Krul saved to his left with the shot too close to the keeper. Cantwell scored nonchalantly hight into the net in Vorm’s right-hand corner. Norwich had the lead. 2-3.

Gedson hit a weak shot. Krul saved to his left with little effort required. The game was over and Krul (chased by his team) raced to the Norwich fans at the other end to celebrate. They, not Spurs, will face Derby or Manchester United at home in the quarter-finals. Spurs will now host West Ham on Friday night 20th March. Oh what fun that will be.

Spurs’ season is crumbling before our eyes. We’ve now lost four consecutive games, and by the team we play that West Ham game we could be out of the Champions League, and out of the running for a place in next season’s competition. The mood on my train was not good.

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