Tottenham Hotspur dispatched League One opponents Colchester United 4-1 today in the FA Cup fourth round on a blustery winter day in Essex. Colchester, bottom of the League One table, were hoping to surprise Spurs, but the gulf in class between the two clubs was too much to overcome and Spurs progressed easily despite not playing their best football.
The match started with a scary injury. Both of Colchester's starting center backs, Alex Wynter and Tom Eastman, collided head-first on the pitch in the second minute of play. Wynter was apparently knocked unconscious and after several tense minutes was stretchered off. Eastman had a nasty gash on his forehead and while he eventually rejoined the match with a large bandage on his head, he too was subbed off midway through the half. Colchester were unluckily forced to use two of their subs in the opening 20 minutes.
As expected, Spurs dominated the first half, having the bulk of the ball and rocketing shots at Colchester keeper Jake Kean, who is on loan from Norwich. Nacer Chadli opened Spurs' scoring account in the 27th minute with a rifled shot past the U's keeper, off of an assist by Erik Lamela. It wasn't a surprise considering the number of opportunities Spurs had prior, and it was a well placed goal.
Spurs continued to pile the pressure on Colchester and peppered Kean with shots, but despite everything weren't able to get a second past the U's defense and Spurs went into halftime leading 1-0.
The second half opened with no changes from either side. Colchester had a couple of decent chances: Darren Ambrose had a shot deflected out by a Spurs defender for a corner, and Spurs looked a little rattled off of a couple Colchester crosses. The U's looked like they were trying to surprise Spurs by going on offense.
Perhaps Spurs' best chance came in the 60th minute: Harry Kane got the ball on a break and squared the ball to Nacer Chadli in the box. Chadli had time to set himself, turn around, and instead of placing the ball in the corner rocketed a shot off the crossbar.
Eric Dier finally put Colchester away in the 65th minute. Dier put in what one could call a speculative effort from outside the box that deflected off of a U's defender and past Kean. It's safe to say that it wasn't the prettiest goal, but it essentially sealed the game for Spurs.
Colchester's best chance of the match came on a Marvin Sordell breakaway. He had Michel Vorm at his mercy but his placed shot went off the post and Spurs were able to clear. Minutes later, Nacer Chadli put Spurs up 3-0 with header past Keane for his second goal of the match.
The scoring wasn't done, though. Colchester got off the mark in a very fortunate manner: a shot that deflected off the post and straight into Ben Davies, who unfortunately bundled into the net. It went down as a Davies own goal.
That didn't last long: Tom Carroll got the fourth goal for Spurs in the 81st minute, going unmarked in Colchester's box and firing home a close-range effort. Spurs took their foot off the gas for the rest of the match and the match ended 4-1.
- Let's be honest, despite the win Spurs didn't look especially great today. They were playing a relegation-threatened League One side so its effects were somewhat mitigated, but Spurs' performance wasn't exactly inspiring for much of the match. Still, better a (relative) off match in a cup match than in the league.
- Nabil Bentaleb did not look good today. Lots of wayward passes and a failure to lock down what's a pretty bad Colchester midfield. Bentaleb seemed to be making a lot of mental errors out there. Pochettino, to his credit, seemed content to let him work through it, but it was most definitely not a great day for our backup central midfield. Don't get hurt, Mousa and Eric.
- Tom Carroll wasn't especially great either in central midfield, but he did redeem himself by scoring a nice goal late in the match. He's still better than Pele.
- Nacer Chadli had another good match today and was probably Man of the Match. Played well on balance, scored two goals (should've been three). He seemed to pop up out of nowhere to score. This match was the Chadliest and I'm glad he's back to being good.
- I thought Christian Eriksen was very good for much of the match. I saw a big part of Spurs Twitter slagging him off, but I thought he effectively ran Spurs' offense. Wish he could've been rested for Norwich earlier, though.
- Kieran Trippier looked great today. Was a threat going forward and had some wonderful crosses into the box, even if Spurs weren't able to convert them.
- Credit to Colchester: they're not a good side but despite having both of their starting CBs subbed out due to injury in the first half they comported themselves as well as they could and their fans were in full voice.
- It wasn't pretty, but Spurs got the job done on the road. On to the fifth round.