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In numbers: Wycombe vs Tottenham

Tom Hancock provides the insight ahead of Monday's meeting.

23 January 2021

Tom Hancock explores three different perspectives of Monday's Emirates FA Cup fourth round meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Adams Park.

11: Players involved in the 2017 tie still at both clubs
Paul Hayes and Garry Thompson may be the defining figures from that game – which, hard to believe though it may be, took place four years ago this coming Thursday – but Tottenham fan Joe Jacobson and Adebayo Akinfenwa both had significant involvements, the former delivering the corner which was half-cleared for Hayes to sensationally volley home for the opener, the latter playing in Sam Wood to win the penalty converted by Hayes to, double our lead and send the travelling Chairboys faithful into dreamland.

Both Generals should be involved this time around, while Anthony Stewart, Dom Gape and Scott Kashket (like Jacobson, a Spurs fan) also featured on that unforgettable trip to White Hart Lane.

As for Tottenham, Ben Davies, Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko and Wanderers heartbreaker Son Heung-min all started, with Dele Alli – still at the club but out of favour and linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, now managed by then Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino – coming off the bench to help turn the thrilling contest back in the hosts’ favour.

José Mourinho’s men face Liverpool in the league three days after visiting Adams Park, so we might be spared Son on this occasion. That would be just as well as the South Korean has already banged in 16 goals this season, scoring at a terrifying, Premier League-high rate of a goal every 2.87 shots.

Kevin Friend is back as fourth official, having once lost teeth in an accidental collision with Matt Bloomfield, while Jon Moss takes charge of a Wycombe match for the first time since November 2010 (a 2-1 League Two defeat at Port Vale).

4: Times José Mourinho has lost to a lower league team in English football
Even an elite manager who takes both domestic cup competitions more seriously than most of his contemporaries comes unstuck sometimes. Bristol City and Derby knocked Mourinho’s Manchester United out of the EFL Cup in 2017 and 2018 respectively, while in the FA Cup Barnsley upset a Chelsea side featuring the likes of John Terry, Michael Essien and Nicolas Anelka back in 2008. They were all Championship sides though. Ok, maybe that’s a good omen of sorts, but the ultimate shock came in courtesy of League One opposition: Phil Parkinson’s Bradford City, who, in 2015, two seasons after their historic run to the EFL Cup final as a League Two side, pulled off one of the great FA Cup upsets by winning 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round.

Of course, the two-time Champions League winner has never won at Adams Park (played one, drawn one). There are no replays in this season’s FA Cup, so a repeat of the 2006/07 EFL Cup semi-final first leg result (a 1-1 draw with eventual winners Chelsea, as Jermaine Easter kept up his record of scoring in every round with a pandemonium-inducing strike at the Valley End) could give us a chance. Obviously there won’t be the same feverish atmosphere in HP12 14 years on, but that’s not stopped us from recording more truly historic results over the last seven months.

32: Places closer to Spurs that Wycombe are now than four years ago
January 28th, 2017: Spurs sat third in the top flight – between Arsenal and Liverpool – and Wycombe were going well in League Two, sitting sixth – between Portsmouth and Exeter. Turn the clocks forward and things are looking better for both Spurs – they may ‘only’ be fifth, but they’re two points closer to top spot than they were back then – and, quite obviously, for us. A gap of 71 places in the pyramid has become 39.

In the time that we’ve won two promotions to scale new heights, while the eight-time FA Cup winners have secured three top four finishes – including as runners-up to Chelsea in 2016/17 – and reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history, losing 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid in 2019. They’ve also just made it to their ninth EFL Cup final, in which they’ll face Manchester City in April. We still exist in different footballing worlds, but if those League Two Wanderers could come within seconds of earning a replay four years ago, then we should dare to dream on Monday night.


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