THE EMIRATES FA CUP SIXTH ROUND
SATURDAY 17TH MARCH, 2018
SWANSEA CITY 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2)
Lamela, 45 (+1)
Referee:- Kevin Friend
Assistants:- Harry Lennard & Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official:- Lee Mason
Video Assistant Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Additional Video Assistant Referee:- Derek Eaton
Swansea (3-5-2):- Nordfeldt; Van der Hoorn (sub Roberts, 81), Bartley (Capt.), Mawson; Naughton (sub Narsingh, 46), Ki Sung-Yeung, Clucas, Carroll, Olsson; Dyer (sub Routledge, 86), Abraham
Subs not used:- Mulder; Fernandez; Byers, Britton
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen (Capt.), Davies; Dier, Sissoko; Lucas Moura (sub Llorente, 73), Lamela (sub Dele, 81), Eriksen; Son
Subs not used:- Lloris; Aurier, Foyth, Alderweireld; Dembele
Booked:- Sanchez (foul on Olsson)
Eriksen eases Spurs into Semi-Finals!
Two goal Christian Eriksen, who has now scored 8 in all competitions against Swansea, led and eased Spurs into their second successive and 21st FA Cup semi-final at The Liberty Stadium, Swansea. It was a bitterly cold day, where flurries of snow had been seen on the journey down, and more promised for the return trip. A lot of the game was actually played in bright sunshine, and part from Swansea threats at the start of each half, Spurs, with playmaker Eriksen at the helm bossed this game enjoying 75% possession. Swansea were spectators for most of the game, and a lot of their fans started their exodus once Eriksen made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute.
In his press conference yesterday Mauricio Pochettino made it very clear he places the FA Cup behind the ongoing “project” to win a title and/or qualify for Champions League football. That said, despite the fact he made seven changes to last week’s starting line-up, he was still able to field a strong team, and one which before kick-off looked good enough to beat a struggling Swansea side weakened by injuries, suspension (Jordan Ayew), and the enforced absence (cup-tied) of Andre Ayew. Spurs were missing Harry Kane, of course, but Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld were among the high-profile substitutes. Eric Dier wore a strong support bandage on his arm, and was well supported in front of the defence by Moussa Sissoko.
Son Heung-min was given the task of leading the line, but this is not a natural position for him, and he seemed to have more influence when Llorente came on and Son moved to the left wing. Llorente had replaced Lucas who had started on the right wing, but had been switched to the left. He had bright moments, but didn’t always make the best use of his possession of the ball.
The early scare for the Spurs defence came when Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham broke forward and fed the ball to Nathan Dyer to his right. Spurs captain for the day Jan Vertonghen came to the rescue to clear, and both Swansea strikers wanted a penalty, but got no sympathy from referee Kevin Friend, in charge of a Spurs game for the third time in their last five matches. After 5 minutes, Vertonghen was effective at the other end, sending a good ball over the top for Son to chase. Son had been flagged offside – not for the last time today!
A good move after 9 minutes featured strong running by Sissoko, and passes through Son and Lamela before Sissoko threatened again with goalkeeper Nordfeldt claiming the ball. Spurs took the lead in dramatic style, after Martin Olsson had been deprived of the ball in the Spurs half, and a fast move up the field ending with a well timed pass by Erik Lamela to Eriksen who crashed the ball home with his left foot to the right of the goalkeeper.
Next up was Eric Dier, exchanging with Lucas Moura, who got into the box and squeezed a shot which Nordfeldt saved low to his right. Spurs played in their patient style, happy for an opportunity to arise. Son fed a ball to Lucas, and as he was tackled by Mawson a Spurs corner resulted. An excellent ball by Eriksen gave Son a chance and he scored a good “goal” off the underside of the crossbar. Son had been flagged offside, but the incident was referred to VAR (the only one I am aware of in the game) with the offside decision being confirmed, whilst our patience was tested.
Lamela and Eriksen combined and Lamela crossed from the left but the ball passed in front of Son and across the goalmouth. Trippier and Lucas combined on the right with the ball being fed to Lamela, who skied his shot. After a corner taken by Lamela, Eriksen hit another left foot cracker of a shot, which the goalkeeper touched onto the crossbar for another corner. My only concern at this stage of the game was that we were worth much more than a one goal lead, but my worries were eased as we entered added time when Erik Lamela scored with a right (yes, right) footed curler beating Nordfeldt to his left. 2-0 was the least we deserved.
Former Spur Kyle Naughton was replaced at half-time by Narsingh, as Carlos Carvalhal, with nothing to lose sought to get his side back in the game. The second half early threat by the home team led to a terrific double save by Michel Vorm, firstly from Olsson’s shot, then the follow-up by Abraham as the goalkeeper had parried the shot. I don’t think Lloris would have done better here!
Spurs regained control and Eric Dier hit a good right footed shot from outside the area, which Nordfeldt saved in his top right corner, conceding a corner kick. A little later, Spurs had four corners in quick succession but there was no end result. Two up became three though in the 62nd minute. Dier had got to an advanced position on the left of the Swansea area, and passed back to Lucas, whose attempt on goal was blocked with the ball running to Eriksen just outside the area. Eriksen scored with a shot that was low and hard, finishing in the right corner of Nordfeldt’s goal. That really was game over for the Swans, whose last quarter-final had been in 1964, when they also last reached a semi-final.
Eriksen had another shot on goal, this time saved, after Lucas had an attempt cleared. Lucas was replaced by Llorente, but in truth I can’t remember the former “Swan” getting many touches, but his presence did allow “Sonny” more freedom on the left wing. Son was put in by Lamela, and had a narrow angle, but hit his shot wide across the far post. Carvalhal replaced Van der Hoorn with 22 year old Connor Roberts and one got the impression now that the Swansea manager was giving some game time to one of his rising stars. Lamela was replaced by Dele Alli, who was roundly booed by the Swansea fans, but of course he was cheered by the massed Spurs army.
Another former Swan, Ben Davies, was fouled as he ran towards the Swansea box. Eriksen’s free kick was parried and Llorente had two attempted shots blocked by the defence. Another ex-Spur Wayne Routledge replaced Dyer, but by now the last rites were being played out in front of less and less home fans.
Spurs are the first semi-finalists this year, and wait to see who their potential opponents are in tomorrow’s draw. Of course, uniquely, we will be playing this game at “home”.
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