Watford 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1: A lackadaisical performance, but the FA Cup is ours to lose

Tonight’s match was difficult enough and important enough to merit an almost first choice XI, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Brad Friedel the only first choice players rested.

Tottenham didn’t really show up for a first half that was low on quality, but went in at half-time one-nil up with a 43rd minute Rafael van der Vaart 25-yard speculative effort that went straight through keeper Scott Loach.

Luka Modric had passed the ball haphazardly and didn’t come out for the second half, replaced by Aaron Lennon, but things didn’t change very much. Michael Dawson’s sloppiness at the back almost gifted Watford a goal, the youngster Sean Murray hitting a shot that Carlo Cudicini tipped on to the post. Troy Deeney squandered the follow up.

Kyle Walker had a header tipped over and Van der Vaart crashed a shot against the cross-bar, but the performance from the entire Spurs team was languid beyond belief and we were always just a kick away from facing a replay.

In the 80th minute Nyron Nosworthy and Deeney had the ball at their feet in the area within a matter of seconds, but neither buried the ball in the back of the net like they needed to, and shortly after Mark Yeates capitalised on a Younes Kaboul miskick but his shot hit Michael Dawson.

Chelsea are the bookies favourites for the FA Cup and Manchester United are the best team in it, but they could both be out by three o’clock tomorrow and even if they aren’t Tottenham are well capable of beating both and not just in a tokenistic ‘on their day’ way.

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This week on my podcast we selected an all-time South London XI. Scott Parker made it. Listen to South London Hardcore now.

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