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Chelsea V Tottenham (FA Cup SF) 15/05/12 KO 18:00 BST


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The club seems hell bent on prioritising the CL (despite what Gourlay has said publically).

Spurs are on a massive slump now, if we were to win on Sunday I think that could finish them (in terms of confidence). Having to play at Loftus Road on a late televised Saturday kick off won't be easy for any side at the moment let alone a side low on form and confidence. The last thing we need to do now is give them a lift.

Like City they have imploded and the fact they have only won once this year (and that was Watford) is rather telling. Even Stevenage avoided defeat when playing them. At the rate they are going, I genuinely believe they won't win an away game again for the rest of the season and I see Sunday as massive in terms of the outlook for both sides.

We lose on Sunday then we've not only handed Spuds a massive confidence boost which could also cost us top 4 but we've also surrendered any realistic chance of us ending this season with a trophy, Whilst we may not be the force we were, if we can show the world we can still win trophies I believe with the financial backing we have we could still attract top players on the premises that we will get back into the top 4 next season.

So before the players undoubtedly see Sunday as an unimportant game to them, well it is huge for the fans and IMO also huge for the football club.

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Very good points Myles, you have very sound reasoning and the game could be massive for us (I'll admit having read the title my initial thoughts were that you were wrong, and for me personally, it's the lowest priority of the three)

Interesting that Tottenham have only won once this year away from home - we really need to make the most of that slump, and hope that Newcastle slip up too. As you also mentioned, the QPR game really isn't going to be easy for them, we saw that for ourselves earlier in the season, and Arsenal have just found that out too.

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On one hand winning the FA cup is important but finishing 4th is more important for the future of our club. 4th place would give us a better chance of getting a world class manager and it would be a major pull in attracting new players. The FA cup wouldnt do either of those things.

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Tottenham have forgotten how to win on the road. The defeat to Arsenal did more damage than they realise, since then 'Arry as changed his tactics and packed the midfield out in away games. If QPR play like they did against Arsenal I wouldn't give Spuds a prayer against them, Bolton away midweek has a slip up written all over it, the Reebok is to them what Villa Park is to us - the ultimate Bogey ground.

Obviously it will mean nothing unless we win all of our games and play better than we did, but Sunday could lift us and also dent Spurs.

Spurs are not used to dealing with the kind of pressure we are. Look at the pressure we have faced in the past, in this season alone nobody gave us a prayer against City (home), Valencia, Napoli or reaching the CL semi.

All year Spurs players have probably woken up to stories praising them and the "great" football they play and how sh*t their rivals Chelsea and Arsenal are in comparison. The media took great pride in announcing them top London club in December and rubbing salt into the wounds of us and Arsenal but now the tables have turned, all of a sudden their manager is leaving, they are clinging into 4th, Arsenal are above them and now look a shoe-in for 3rd after a great run of form and Chelsea are in touching distance of them with a FA Cup and CL semi coming up.

I think we can all agree of the four teams we are playing the poorest but at the same time we are probably the team most are weary of because of what these group of players have achieved in the past. People won't care to admit it, but there is a begrudging respect for this team despite its shortcomings this season.

Experience is key and may be the telling factor. Spurs and Newcastle have never had to battle for anything before like us and Arsenal have. Arsenal may be the ultimate bottlers in title races, but not top 4. They've been written off many times and both Villa and Spurs had huge margins over them recently yet they went on a run of form and came out on top. We have to emulate that.

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4th is the priority for me personally. Sunday is one-upmanship on Spuds and I too was brought up on the FA Cup and dreamed of playing in it - sigh. And naturally a great day if we get to the final. I see no evidence of prioritising the CL other than we don't want to be slaughtered/humiliated??

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The reality is this ..

We face Spurs 72 hours before the 1st leg against Barca.

Barca are the team you need the most energy against, and we all know why.

Wembley is a huge pitch and the most energy sapping.

The game may go to extra-time and penalties.

After the 1st leg against Barca we have Arsenal away, again on a huge pitch, again against a side you need an awful lot of energy against.

And then, 72 hours after that, we go to the Camp Nou, again on a huge pitch, and if we're not careful we will be knackered, and we will be f**ked.

The only saving grace in all of this is that Barca play Real inbetween both legs, but their game has been brought forward by a day, to Friday, by their helpful FA.

Don't get me wrong, it's going to be the most exciting 10 days in our history, or one of, and I'm looking forward to it greatly, but I just don't fancy our chances. It would be almost impossible if we were at our peak under Jose, but under Robbie, in our present state, I just can't see how we can emerge victorious in all these games, particularly as the league table suggests we're inferior to all of them.

For me, Barca is the big one, the one that matters. I hate Spurs and it would be a wrench to lose but I've seen us win the FA Cup many times and the lustre of that competition has faded a bit. I would hate to finish outside top four but that's the way it goes, it may actually be good for us. We are in the CL semis, against Barca, it doesn't get any bigger than this, well hardly. Our chances may be slim but you do not get this far in the competition without giving it your best shot, and I'm afraid that means resting our better players, like Mata, there is no two ways about it.

Barca will be wary of us. They will be looking at our schedule and laughing. We need to be canny. We need to make sure our best players are fresh. Look at the team that should face Barca, it should probably be the same team that faced Napoli .. Cech, Ivan, Cole, Luiz, Terry, Ess, Ramires, Lamps, Drogba, Mata, Sturridge. That's the team with the experience, with the motivation due to past experiences against Barca, and with the quality. No way can Cole, Ess, Ramires, Lamps, Drogba and Mata play against Spurs, or Arsenal for that matter. No way. We will be relying upon Bertrand, possibly Bosingwa (due to Ivan's possible suspension), Mikel, Meireles, Kalou, Torres, and I'm afraid I just don't think they will be good enough. Sorry for the doom and gloom folks. I think we have a chance, and I will be praying, but it doesn't bode well. Our big-game players will be on the bench, most of them anyway. I assume Terry and Cech will be playing, if Terry's ribs allow for it, and with them we always have a chance, but our midfield and attack is wanting at the best of times, let alone without our big-hitters.

Sure, we will probably go out against Barca, but I would hate to think we didn't give ourselves our best chance. If that means resting players against Spurs and Arse so be it.

Sorry if this upsets you folks but you know I'm right. It may be a very long time before we make the CL semis again, I'll be darned if we ain't going to go out firing. Besides, winning the CL (however unlikely) looks like our best chance of entering next season's competition.

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My opinions on questions raised n comments made....I wouldnt get too excited at SPURS SLUMP...My thoughts are that THEY have their minds on the semi at wembley like were slipping up coz of our apparant lust for the euro cup....I also hope its not the same scenario as the LCF against spuds a few years ago as all i saw from ten oclock onwards were spuds everywhere b4 n after the game ..Embarrasing really....Or perhaps i didnt see all events....All i know is most Blues ive spoken to are going to the Globe then onto the Torch....Lets hope we stand up to the spuds, as we normally talk the talk

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I'm hoping players will get the lift from the critical games coming up. Yes, Wigan and Fulham were also important but they are not comparable to semis against Barca. Spurs in the cup I'm not too sure about - head says conserve energy for mid week, heart says go get 'em. Arsenal is a tricky one - they are not quite out of sight but must be favourites for the 3rd spot.

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I'd like to think there's no way we won't be motivated for this one, but there is no way we shouldn't have been motivated against Spurs in the league or Fulham with the chance to go 4th, and we put in 2 of the most pedestrian, woeful performances of the season (seems like every week it's the worst of the season!). So I just don't know anymore.

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Think RDM will put a "B-team" out there. Shame though, it's one of the most important matches we'll play (chance to win something, f**kin' Tottenham etc etc), so I guess for this:

Cech - Bos, Luiz, Cahill, Bertrand - Essien, Mikel - Sturridge, Meireless, Malouda - Torres

Resting Terry, Lampard, Cole (if he gets fit), Drogba, Kalou (!!!!!!!!!), Ramires and Mata for the Barcelona game. Shame, cause we will loose 4-1. I'm guessing Cahill scores. From a corner, of course. Offsidebayor gets his hattrick and Gallas scores in Fergie-time. Good luck, guys.

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Sorry to be the pessimist here but the way we've playing over the last few games I can see us losing on Sunday, getting knocked out by Barcelona and losing to Arsenal inbetween! I presume the players heads are all on the Barca games but they need to start playing for the game they're in not the one next week etc.

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