On Monday, Tottenham took down Wycombe 4-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup, but that final score is not an accurate reflection of the overall game. Indeed, this was one Tottenham Hotspur had to earn.
After dispatching Marine in the third round of the tournament, Spurs traveled to snow-lined Adams Park Stadium to face off against Wycombe. Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against the hosts, it became clear they’d be difficult to contend with in this fixture.
In particular, Wycombe center forward Uche Ikpeazu was a handful for Spurs’ backline. The big man used his strength and determination to create chances, culminating in a 25th minute goal for teammate Fred Onyedinma. Just like that, against all odds, Spurs were down. And it wasn’t for a lack of chances: they simply weren’t finishing any of them.
As the game approached halftime, Spurs came maddeningly close to evening the score. Two shots rang the crossbar: one in the 36th minute from Moussa Sissoko, and another in the 45th minute from Japhet Tanganga off a corner kick. It appeared as if they’d close out the first 45 minutes behind, but two minutes into stoppage time, Gareth Bale equaled the score.
A clever run allowed Bale to creep in behind the Wycombe defenders, where a perfect pass from Lucas Moura was eased past the keeper. The Welshman had several chances in the first half, so it was nice to see him shake off the rust and finish the half strongly.
In the second half, Spurs began imposing their will on the beleaguered hosts. This was largely because of their fresh legs. Within the first 17 minutes, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Harry Kane entered the game, and their presence was felt instantaneously. The tides turned decidedly in favor of Spurs as they dominated possession, stifled opposing counterattacks, and narrowly missed several chances. To make matters worse for Wycombe, in the 68th minute, Heung-Min Son and Tanguy Ndombele came onto the pitch.
The four substitutes, who have a combined market value of $313.5 million, kept pressing the home side, yet Spurs still couldn’t find the back of the net. Chance after chance was repelled as the game inched closer to extra time, something bench boss Jose Mourinho was surely hoping to avoid.
However, in the 86th minute, the breakthrough came at last, as Harry Winks’ left-footed curler from outside the box found the back of the net. From there, the floodgates opened as super-sub Ndombele scored two goals. His first came in the 87th minute, while his second came in stoppage time.
A 4-1 defeat is hardly fair to Wycombe, who gave Spurs everything they had. But, the visitors proved too strong and will advance to the next round of the FA Cup where they’ll face Everton on Feb. 10.
More immediately, Spurs have a massive Premier League fixture this Thursday against bitter rival Liverpool, which is struggling for offense and sit one point ahead of Spurs in the table. You won’t want to miss this one.