Spurs are on their way to Wembley, Tottenham’s gonna do it again! It’s lucky for Spurs when the year ends in one, as they booked their place in the first Wembley final since 2015 with a comfortable victory against Championship high-flyers Brentford on Tuesday.
No manager has played in more domestic finals in England than Jose Mourinho since his debut season in the country, and his team selection proved how seriously he wants to win a trophy. As a result, Spurs very much started on the front foot, getting forward early, with Sergio Reguilón forcing an early corner.
After ten minutes, as Brentford had been starting to show their talent, Reguilón whipped a gorgeous left-footed cross into the box towards Moussa Sissoko, who must’ve thought he’d recieved an early Christmas present with the amount of space he had to himself inside the Brentford box.
He made no mistake, impeccably guiding the ball past David Raya to score his first goal since December 2019 (his last goal, coming against Burnley, was overshadowed by a certain Korean winger’s individual slaloming piece of excellence).
To the delight of many, Spurs did not sit back on their 1-0 lead, instead pushed for a second. Often through Reguilón on the left, or through Tanguy Ndombele down the middle. However, they failed to create too much of note in the first half, bar a Lucas Moura header from a corner, which was well saved by Raya.
Brentford had some chances of their own, Bryan Mbuemo causing havoc down the right wing, but Eric Dier and Davinson Sánchez held firm.
Brentford’s best chance of the game came a few minutes into the second half. Mbuemo rounded Sánchez on the right and fizzed the ball back to Ivan Toney, usually excellent in front of goal.
Yet, he found his effort heroically blocked by Serge Aurier, who very much made the most of his opportunity to show his worth after the Leicester rugby tackle. Almost instantly after, he missed a wonderful chance at the other end, sending his shot over the bar after some good work by Lucas.
Kane took a free kick after 52 minutes. It went in the general direction of the goal, and that’s all we’ll say on that.
After some minor chances at either end, Tottenham’s set-piece woes continued, with Ivan Toney heading home into an empty net after Hugo Lloris was unable to fully clear a header from Pinnock.
His celebrations were muted, perhaps in the fear of what could come. And indeed, the dreaded VAR check ensued, and ruled his knee to have been offside- by no more than millimetres. It was incredibly close- but rules are rules. No goal!
Spurs looked to push on and make the most of their stroke of luck, and it was only a matter of minutes before the inevitable happened. Tanguy Ndombele played a wonderfully weighted pass in behind the defence, and Heung-Min Son, after already running what seemed like the length of the pitch, latched on to it and fired home to stretch the lead and put the game seemingly beyond doubt.
In quick succession, Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele came close to extending the lead even further, but were denied by Raya and the post respectively, before Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was horribly sent to the ground by a challenge from former Arsenal graduate Josh Dasilva, leaving a huge gash down his leg.
Intentional? Probably not. But excruciating to watch? Absolutely. Referee Mike Dean sent him for an early bath after consulting with VAR. With ten men remaining on the field, it was over for Brentford. After a heated exchange of words, Højbjerg was (against his wishes) brought off the pitch to be replaced by Japhet Tanganga, as Mourinho couldn’t take any risks. It was another fantastic performance from the Dane, who won 13 duels, and had a passing accuracy of 88%.
Chas and Dave could be heard over the Tottenham Hotspur Speakers at full time, as Wembley beckons. Moussa Sissoko didn’t know it, but ‘Ossie’s Dream’ would have brought memories back to some of the older Tottenham faithful, released in 1981. The side would go on to beat Manchester City 3-2 in an FA Cup final replay to take home the famous old trophy. As Chas and Dave (and the Tottenham side of 1991) also told us, “it’s lucky for Spurs when year ends in one, we first won the cup when the century begun”. And indeed, a third of our major trophies have been won in years ending in 1. Coincidence? Or will we get our 25th major trophy in April? Will we end 13 years of hurt?
The cup action doesn’t stop there. Spurs travel north to the home of eighth-tier Marine FC, at 5pm on Sunday 10th January, to contest what will be Tottenham’s first FA Cup match against non-league opposition since 1995, in which they played out a 3-0 win over Altrincham.
Written by Ollie Mitchell
Edited by Joey Pickthall