Tottenham vs Manchester City Classic Clash: February 10, 2004

Manchester City will face ‘bogey’ team Tottenham in the FA Cup, which gives us the chance to look back at one particular classic clash between the pair 20 years ago.

Two decades ago, neither Manchester City nor Tottenham were considered in the top four or the ‘Big Four’, as they used to call it back then. The current treble winners, in particular, were nowhere near what they are today, while Spurs at least used to make some noises about a top-four finish.

Today, these are two teams firmly in the Premier League title chase and rapidly growing in stature. Pep Guardiola’s side have found a particular problem in games against Tottenham, which has given Spurs the label of their ‘bogey’ team.

This season, they have faced off once, with Spurs coming out on top in their dramatic 4-4 draw at the Etihad. Tottenham have been powerful against Manchester City in recent years in North London, with the two sides set to meet for a dramatic FA Cup clash.

Beginning with Tottenham, Ange Postecoglou has brought about a revolution within the club, making the fans all the more hopeful of ending their trophy drought. A League Cup title won in the year 2008 remains their only major trophy in a while now, although they have come closer to lifting a lot more essential accolades in recent years.

As for the FA Cup, Spurs last won this trophy back in 1992, which makes it more than 32 years since they saw the shine of the grand prize. Postecoglou will certainly have firm eyes on lifting this cup, although their fans would have liked to have an extended run in this season’s League Cup campaign, too.

While Tottenham continue their hunt for a long-awaited trophy, Manchester City come into this one having one of the most recent titles available in club football. Pep Guardiola’s side recently lifted the Club World Cup accolade, which reflected upon the stellar season they have just had.

Back to last season’s FA Cup final at Wembley between them and bitter rivals Manchester United, Guardiola’s side added the domestic cup to the impressive haul of Premier League and Champions League crowns last season.

They completed the ‘treble’ by beating Manchester United and will enter the Tottenham game as defending champions of the FA Cup. Before we dwell into the ifs and buts of the upcoming clash between Spurs and Manchester City, let us take a look back at one of the most epic clashes known to this competition played between the two sides.

Heading back two decades ago, Tottenham hosted Manchester City in what is considered an epic FA Cup fourth round clash. We dwell into it further to understand what happened in that clash and the aftermath below.

Laying the Setting

Tottenham fans had a bitter end to that particular season in 2003/04, where they finished 14th in the Premier League and saw their bitter rivals Arsenal win the title without losing a single game. That was the campaign where the Gunners earned the invincible tag. And to make matters worse, they clinched the domestic league title at White Hart Lane.

The FA Cup and the League Cup provided their fans an outlet to dream of winning silverware that season. But everything ended in disappointment. In the latter, they had a concerted run until the fifth round, only to suffer a defeat to Middlesbrough on penalties.

During their EFL Cup run, they managed to beat Manchester City but lost to the same opponents in their FA Cup fourth round clash. As for their league campaign, they had a faltering season and ended both clashes against Kevin Keegan’s Manchester City with a draw.

Manchester City also had a terrible end to their campaign, finishing 16th in the league and not progressing beyond a decent point in both cup competitions. Managed by Keegan then, the current Premier League champions were nowhere close to their present levels but could have had a decent season had it not been for instant stumbling blocks.

After beating Spurs in a dramatic FA Cup fourth-round clash at White Hart Lane, Manchester City limped out of the competition in the very next game against bitter rivals Manchester United. What would have been more frustrating is watching the Red Devils go on to lift the FA Cup in the end as Manchester City fans were left to rue on their rather disappointing season.

What Happened in Tottenham vs Manchester City 2004 FA Cup Fourth-Round Tie?

What happened was that the audiences got to witness one of the most dramatic clashes in FA Cup history. With some of the finals and semi-finals taking the limelight in the grand scheme of things, this classic clash between Tottenham and Manchester City often goes under the radar.

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Tottenham fans would have felt a meltdown after the game in which they were leading 3-0 at halftime courtesy of goals from Ledley King, Robbie Keane and Christian Zeige, which primed them to beat Keegan’s side and go through to the next round.

To make matters worse for Manchester City, midfielder Joey Barton received a second yellow card for his extended arguments with the referee, as he reduced his team to ten men and doubled the task of his teammates. However, what happened later would later shock everyone, as City would lead a dramatic comeback in the second half.

Defender Sylvain Distin pulled a goal back early in the second half. Dutchman Paul Bosvelt then added another in the 69th minute, but between those two goals, Spurs had a few good chances to put the game to bed.

Shaun Wright-Phillips then equalised in the 80th minute and showed that ten-man Manchester City had the fight in them to go against adverse situations and looked on the verge of getting a positive result. The away fans would have taken a draw at that point, as they would not have dreamed of what was to come.

Manchester City will have thanked Jonathan Paul Macken, who found the net in the 90th minute to turn the tide in his side’s favour and clinch a dramatic yet unthinkable victory. At half-time, City were down and out. But the resilience shown by their players might never be repeated in the FA Cup.

The Aftermath

The aftermath of that season for both these sides was rather grim, notably Manchester City. Keegan was trying to build something with his squad that consisted of talented stars but failed to get going at any stage in the season.

A 16th-placed finish was seen as a disappointment, alongside the manner of their cup exits. However, to everyone’s surprise, Keegan survived the ordeal and kept his job as Manchester City’s manager, although he would lose his role just over a year later.

After that, Keegan would take a considerable break from football management before returning as Newcastle United’s manager, which would last another nine months in 2008. Overall, the finish to the 2004 season was not great for Manchester City fans, as they will have looked forward to something, considering their team was part of four different competitions, including the UEFA Cup.

As for Tottenham, it was very similar to Manchester City, as their season ended in disappointment, and fans were further enraged with the fact that Arsenal won the league title at White Hart Lane. Their 14th-placed finish was the lowest since 1998, and they already had made managerial changes.

Glenn Hoddle had left his role early in September 2003, as director David Pleat took over first-team duties. He would then leave the club to take up advisory roles elsewhere, as Spurs began reflecting on the dismal season behind them.

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