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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup semi-final Preview - Man Utd v Spurs, 21.04.18

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Full Domestic Cup History Spurs v Manchester United

FA Cup

Season  Rd  H/A Result Scorers

1898-99  1   H   1-1   Joyce
1898-99  1R  A   5-3   Jones, McNaught
		       Smith, Hartley
		       Joyce
(United known as Newton Heath)
1922-23  2   H   4-0   Lindsay, Handley (3)
1925-26  2   H   2-2   Thompson, Lindsay
1925-26  2R  A   0-2   -
1961-62 S-F  *   3-1   Greaves, Jones, Medwin
1967-68  3   A   2-2   Chivers (2)
1967-68  3R  H   1-0   Robertson (a.e.t)
1978-79 Q-F  H   1-1   Ardiles 
1978-79 Q-FR A   0-2   - 		
1979-80  3   H   1-1   Ardiles
1979-80  3R  A   1-0   Ardiles
1996-97  3   A   0-2     -
2007-08  4   A   1-3   Keane
2008-09  4   A   1-2   Pavlyuchenko

LEAGUE CUP

1979-80  2(1)H   2-1   Pratt, Hoddle
1979-80  2(2)A   1-3   Armstrong
1981-82  2(1)H   1-0   Archibald
1981-82  2(2)A   1-0   Hazard
1989-90  3   A   3-0   Lineker, Samways, Nayim
1998-99 Q-F  H   3-1   Armstrong (2), Ginola
2008-09   F  *   0-0   Man Utd won 4-1 
                       on penalties (a.e.t)
2009-10 Q-F  A   0-2  -

Eight is a lucky number, isn't it?

Spurs, who are drawn as the "away" team for tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final, travel to Wembley their temporary home for their eighth attempt to reach the final since their last victory in this competition in 1991. Yes, it is over 27 years now since we last tasted success in a competition we once regarded as "ours". After all, when we did win it in 1991, we had won the competition more times than any other team (8). Now that record has been surpassed too many times, and in one case, by the wrong team. Arsenal, who have now won the competition 13 times have won three of the last four finals, and 8 times since we last won the cup. Manchester United have won the competition 12 times in total, and five times since 1991.

If we want to increase our FA Cup tally, then firstly we have to reach the final of course, and it is Jose Mourinho's United who stand in our way. The question is - which United will turn up? Will it be the team which came back so dramatically two weeks ago against their Manchester City rivals, or the one which so tamely surrendered to Premier League bottom club West Bromwich Albion last week? On the one hand, Mourinho has got one of his excuses in early with the argument that Spurs are "at home" for this tie, and on the other hand the man, who prides himself on winning a trophy in virtually every season he has been a manager, plays mind games over one or two of his top players and whether or not they will be selected tomorrow.

Mauricio Pochettino rested a number of key players who will surely start tomorrow, such as Trippier, Sanchez, Dier, and Dele Alli, with Mousa Dembele playing the last 20 minutes only. Much as "Poch" still insists that the premier League and achieving Champions League is a priority, I am sure that he and the players have their eyes on the prize of this FA Cup.

Mourinho too rested key players when his side played Bournemouth on Wednesday night, a day later than us. United won that game 2-0, whilst we only drew at Brighton. of the players who started on Wednesday, perhaps only goalkeeper De Gea, Chris Smalling (who scored the the third time in 8 games), Herrera and Pogba will start tomorrow, although Jose likes to keep us guessing regarding Pogba's place in his team. Lukaku came on and scored United's second goal, and he will start surely with Valencia, Matic and Ashley Young among others returning to the side.

I am hoping the true barometer for what will happen tomorrow is our game at Wembley on January 31st. Then we won 2-0. Eriksen scored after only 11 seconds, and a Phil Jones own goal from Trippier's cross (intended for Kane) secured the points, but the scoreline flattered United with Spurs at their best.

For the record, here is the sad list of those seven successive FA Cup semi-final defeats:-

1993 v Arsenal at Wembley, lost 0-1
1995 v Everton at Elland Road, lost 1-4
1999 v Newcastle at Old Trafford, lost 0-2 after extra-time
2001 v Arsenal at Old Trafford, lost 1-2
2010 v Portsmouth at Wembley, lost 0-2 after extra-time
2012 v Chelsea at Wembley, lost 1-5
2017 v Chelsea at Wembley, lost 2-4

On three of those occasions (1993, 1995, 2012) we lost to the eventual trophy winners. In 1999 United won the esteemed "treble", beating Newcastle in the process. We had lost to Newcastle at Old Trafford. Five of these semi-final defeats have occured in the "Spurs Odyssey" era, and full match reports are available by following the links above. I have personally seen the last six, with the last three being at Wembley. I do not want to see another defeat tomorrow!

Spurs and United have a lengthy Cup history. The full list can be found above. Surprisingly, it is over 8 years now since the two teams met in Cup competition with three meetings in 2009. We lost all three games, one of which was a League Cup Final, won by United on penalties with goalkeeper Ben Foster awarded the man of the match trophy.

There are heroic memories of Ossie Ardiles scoring a winning goal at Old Trafford in 1980 in a third round replay in which none other than Glenn Hoddle played for an hour in goal!

If you are looking for an omen, then the number 8 is lucky in Chinese culture. Our shirt sponsors are AIA with plenty of Chinese and south-east Asian connections. The best omen of all could be the fact that the previous semi-final between these two teams was in 1962, which Spurs won 3-1. They went on to win the final against Burnley. It was a World Cup finals year 1962. Check out the You-Tube clip at the top of the page!

Manchester United's only injury issue is with goalkeeper Romero, who was injured playing for Argentina last month and is absent with a knee problem. As for Spurs, only Danny Rose and Harry Winks were announced as absentees by Spurs as they "continue their rehabilitation". I am hoping for a win of course, and will go for a 2-1 to Spurs!

Match referee Anthony Taylor was in charge for the Spain v Argentina friendly game in which Romero was injured last month. Spain won 6-1. Mr Taylor is not one of our favourites, having overseen our defeats at home to Chelsea in August, and at Leicester in November. On the plus side, the last time we saw him in charge, we beat Arsenal with a Kane goal!

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - reviewing the 1997/98 season match by match.

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