Spurs left it late against a spirited Aston Villa at White Hart Lane with a 2-0 win. Goals from Ben Davies in the 71st and Son Heung-min were enough in the end but a dogged Villa dug in belying their 11th place in the Championship and a team on paper that should be in the Premiership. As we all know you don’t play football on paper but Villa need to show as much mettle in the league as they did at the Lane. At least they now have Steve Bruce pulling the strings, a reliable manager who is well respected and knows how to get a team out of the Championship and into the Premiership, he did after all guide Hull into the Premiership only 7 months ago. Yes I know it’s hard to believe but remember Hull have had two managers since then and more problems than they care to admit. For Davies it was his first goal for Spurs and the team relaxed after that. There were a lot of Spurs changes to the team with Ali, Kane and Erikssen all rested but they looked poor in the first half only going up a gear when a replay looked ominous. Villa weren’t much better going forward with only one shot on goal the entire game. When the superb Son Heung-min wrapped up the game when he notched from Sissoko’s pass in the 80th minute the writing was on the wall for Villa. Well done Son.
Chelsea entertained Peterborough with the neutral observer hoping for a repeat of the shock victory by Bradford at Stamford Bridge a couple of seasons ago. It wasn’t to be as Chelsea dominated. They put out a second string team if you can call them that with John Terry and Kurt Zouma recalled, the former only lasted 67 minutes before receiving a red card and the latter cheerfully playing after 11 months out with injury. The magnificent Pedro scored twice had a shocking miss and was everywhere to be seen controlling the proceedings with precision. Peterborough gave their all but it was not to be a giant killing feat along the lines of David and Goliath, still they played their hearts out but when Batshuayi scored the second and only his 4th for the club overall after 43 minutes the game was over as a contest. Willian nestled a third in before Terry saw red and Nichols restored some pride to the Posh when he netted on 70 minutes. Pedro scored again knocked the stuffing out of Peterborough with the last 15 minutes played as almost target practice for the Blues.
Fulham beat Cardiff at Cardiff City stadium with all three goals in the match in the first half. Pilkington’s goal after only 8 minutes put City in front but this lasted all of 5 minutes as Johansen equalized for Fulham and they won it with a Sessegnon goal after 33 minutes. Fulham were full value for their victory as a paltry 5,199 watched the game unfold.
Probably the big shock on Sunday was Plymouth managing a 0-0 draw away at Liverpool. To be fair Liverpool put out a very weakened team to the extent that it was the youngest ever team to play a competitive football match in its history. I guess Klopp’s idea was to let the kids have a go and come away without a reply with an already hectic schedule ahead. Unfortunately it backfired despite Liverpool having a huge majority of the possession. So a replay at Plymouth it is and although under the cosh for large parts of the game they deserved a second chance. It’s a money spinner for the Devon side who should make about one million sterling from the game.
In Sundays final other game Middlesbrough came away victorious against Sheffield Wednesday by 3 goals to 0. That was with Daniel Ayala sent off in the 59th minute as well. Alvaro Negredo played a blinder and scored Middlesbrough’s second after 67 minutes. Leadbitter opened the scoring and De Roon scored the third in stoppage time.
Mondays only game pitted Cambridge United against Leeds United. Cambridge were fantastic in the first half and Leeds were not. As they say in footballing circles it was a game of two halves. Cambridge led 1-0 at the break scoring through the excellently named Uche Ikpeazu and Cambridge could have gone in at the break 3-0 up. They didn’t and an entirely different Leeds came out in the second half equalizing almost immediately from a Stuart Dallas header before a flick from Alex Mowatt gave the Yorkshire team a draw in the 4th round of the cup. Cambridge could have won this and they know it. Instead the supporters went home wondering what the highest score you could possibly get from Uche Ikpeazu in a game of Scrabble might be.
A quick round up of the missing games rom Saturday. Arsenal won away 2-1 at Preston but I think even Arsenal fans will tell you they were a bit fortunate. Preston were great in the first half but Arsenal got better as the match wore on with that man Giroud scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory for the Gunners in the last minute just as Preston were dreaming of a lucrative replay in North London.
Norwich and Southampton drew 2-2 in East Anglia while Premiership Stoke lost at home 2-0 to Wolves. Oxford won 3-2 at Rotherham while Sunderland drew 0-0 at home to Burnley. Non league Sutton drew 0-0 in an insipid match where both teams desperately wanted to get into the 4th round draw, they both succeeded to the detriment of the fans. Derby did well as the Championship team beat their illustrious Premiership opponents West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Hawthorns. Watford overcame Burton Albion 2-0 as Wigan Athletic beat Nottingham Forest by the same scoreline. Finally Stourbridge’s fabulous run came to an end as the non league outfit were beaten 2-1 by Wycombe.
“Main photo: Vlad1988/ Shutterstock”