FA Cup review: Chelsea 3 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Match reports

Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: “Jose Mourinho once accused Spurs of parking the “team bus” across the goalmouth at Stamford Bridge, but yesterday they performed like a stylish limo, driving all over Chelsea before running out of gas following Thursday’s trip to Braga. In a high-octane FA Cup quarter-final, Spurs’ counter-attacking was terrific. So was Chelsea’s resilience, if not their organisation.”

The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “A glorious race against time ended in a dead heat. Tottenham had been in action late on Thursday night to beat Braga in Portugal and could not overwhelm Chelsea before the energy levels began to drain from them in the FA Cup quarter-final. For their part the Stamford Bridge side, lagging 3-1, willed their way back for a draw, yet failed to add the very late winner that would have been so typical of them.”

The Independent, Sam Wallace: “Neither of these teams has any room to spare in a fixture calendar choked by European football but that did not mean that either wanted out of the FA Cup. As Jose Mourinho ushered his team forward in pursuit of an equaliser, he was only heaping more fixture pain on to his club. But what the hell, he has never won the FA Cup and if he leaves this summer he never might. Martin Jol’s team played in the Premiership’s game of the season last week at West Ham and this time it was Spurs who could not stand in the way of an irresistible comeback.”

The Times, Matt Dickinson: “Leaping around on the touchline, [Jose Mourinho] could not have been more involved if he had taken to the pitch to volley the 87th-minute equaliser. He has never lacked a will to win, but threatening to dismiss him has simply poured paraffin on to his raging competitive fires.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Asking for a winner in the dying seconds after all that had gone before was perhaps a little greedy. Instead these two teams will have to do it all again on Monday March 19 at White Hart Lane. If that is half as pulsating as this game at Stamford Bridge, anyone present will be in for a night to remember.”

The goals

The good

  1. The result. At half time we looked dead and buried and out of the FA Cup. If you’d offered me the draw I’d have snatched your hand off. As it is we got out of jail big time – Jermain Defoe’s crashing shot against the bar in injury time could have sealed it with some style for Spurs – and surely Jose Mourinho will not allow this type of performance again. John Terry’s return should help the defence.
  2. The performance. Well the second half one at least. Do champions truly only turn up for half the game? We seem to do this week in and week out. To be brutally honest at half time I was wondering how I would explain to Nick that I‘d written the first ever review that had nothing in “The good” section, and I’m certainly not putting Spurs in there, even if they were good. Which they were.
  3. Frank Lampard. I’m happy to dish out the brickbats when Frank doesn’t play well. Maybe, like most I’m too demanding. So, Frank gets a bouquet today because his goals saved our collective arse. Right time, right place would be the correct phrase, but his passing was good, his tackling was good and his passion was obvious. Top marks.
  4. The crowd. I was a distant viewer, watching for the first time with my fellow Chelsea supporting nephew Callum and his Leeds supporting dad (yep, my brother, a Leeds fan, what a let down!) but the atmosphere bled through the screen and even when we were being ripped apart the Chelsea crowd didn’t stop singing.
  5. The Big Man – Didier Drogba. Yep, yet another worthy mention for the man who will be our Player of the Season. Took a knock in the first half and while we collectively held our breath as he hobbled for 5 minutes, he then sprang back to life and completed the game. Didn’t score but was involved in everything good we did and played a fantastic assist to Salomon Kalou for the equaliser.

The bad

  1. The referee. As good as Mark Halsey was last week, Mike Riley was equally bad. Unnecessary bookings and flagrant disregard for blatant fouls on our players, plus allowing the hateful Spurs to time waste. Go now Riley, go now.
  2. Courtesy of my nephew Callum, Michael Essien’s own goal gets an entry in here. He scored a comedy own goal against Reading and this was even worse. Utterly avoidable in every sense. He’s been great but perhaps it was always going to show his defensive frailties against lightning quick players like Defoe and Aaron Lennon. A great player, but have a rest Mike and get back into the middle of the park.
  3. The defending. In the first half it was shockingly bad and although the second half saw an improvement it still wasn’t great. A better team than Spurs may have capitalised on it. The defending for Spurs’ third goal was as bad as anything you’d see on a Sunday morning down the local park. JT can’t come back a moment too soon.
  4. Spurs. Time wasting, niggly fouls and they had the temerity to score three goals at our fortress. I’m almost glad they beat us earlier in the season as it’s rekindled my loathing of them. I quite like Martin Jol though, who is truly closer to being a living version of Shrek than Wayne Rooney.
  5. The result. Yes I do realise this is in “The good” section as well but that is merely a fall back position. The reality is we could well do without a replay two days after our game against Sheffield United. So, although considering how the game was heading I am happy with the draw, but I’m also very unhappy that we didn’t win and secure our place in the semis at the first time of asking.

Player ratings

  • Petr Cech: Superb. And couldn’t do anything about the goals – 8/10
  • Lassana Diarra: Another solid showing but looks better at right back – 7/10
  • Ricardo Carvalho: A little off today from the normal high standard – 7/10
  • Michael Essien: Shocking comedy own goal, but he didn’t let it faze him – 7/10
  • Ashley Cole: A better game than against Pompey but better than Bridge? No! – 6/10
  • Paulo Ferreira: A shadow of the player we once had. Will go this summer, surely? – 4/10
  • Frank Lampard: Wonder performance today, well taken goals – 9/10
  • Michael Ballack: Mostly anonymous again – 5/10
  • Arjen Robben: A pain in Spurs’ side but must stop the diving – 7/10
  • Andriy Shevchenko: Good overall contribution – 7/10
  • Didier Drogba: Absolutely magnificent today despite not scoring. Fabulous head down for the equaliser – 9/10
  • Salomon Kalou (sub): Great finish and looked sharp – improving – 7/10
  • Shaun Wright-Phillips (sub): Didn’t shine, nor did he flop. Decidedly average – 6/10
  • Khalid Boulahrouz (sub): Shored us up nicely when we had started to look like Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle at the back – 7/10

Man of the Match

Midway through he first half I thought perhaps no-one would be worthy of this. Essien who has been superb all season probably had one of the least effective games in the first half, and for once Drogba didn’t score. However, a second calmer viewing of the game thanks to my spanking new Virgin V+ box shows quite clearly that the lynchpin of the team was Super Frankie Lampard who was frankly inspired. So my vote for Man of the Match goes to Frank.

Final thoughts

This was not a good game for anyone with blood pressure issues. Like me, for instance. My doctor calls it “white coat hypertension” whereby the very act of having blood pressure taken causes the pressure to go off the scale. Well, he’s wrong. It’s called “blue shirt hypertension” and is caused by a team that seem hell bent on doing everything the hard way. I make no apologies for saying again that we got out of jail big time and most of the pain came from a totally abject first half display and piss-poor, clueless defending the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the dark days of Doug Rougvie. Truly the worst I have seen since The Special One parked his bus at Stamford Bridge. We have a chance to repair the potential damage this could have caused and we should have a psychological advantage over Spurs having pulled this game back. They’ll know they missed a big chance and I think it’ll work to our advantage, as we’ve looked solid out on the road. Someone will beat us at home one day, but it won’t be the men from White Hart Lane.


Blackburn Rovers await the winner of the replay in the semi-finals. Lunchtime’s draw grouped Watford versus Manchester United or Middlesbrough in the other tie.

The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April.

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