It is Tottenham Hotspur v Coventry City in the FA Cup – how can we possibly not mention one of the most memorable finals of recent years?
The 1987 FA Cup final between the sides has become one of the most talked about in the history of the grand old competition and the 3-2 victory for the Sky Blues over David Pleat’s star-studded Spurs side (which included Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle and Ossie Ardiles) was something of an upset.
Keith Houchen’s diving header has become part of FA Cup folklore and was the highlight of the greatest day in Coventry’s history, a history that has, unfortunately for their fans, recently taken a turn for the worse.
For so long a staple of the top flight (City spent 34 consecutive years in the First Division/Premier League), Coventry have hit upon hard times.
Relegation to the second tier under Gordon Strachan in 2001 has sent the club into a downward spiral and after 11 straight seasons in the Championship, Coventry were relegated to League One last May – the first time they had been outside the top two divisions for 48 years.
Failure on the pitch has been exacerbated by financial troubles and the threat of closure still hangs over the club as a dispute over unpaid rent arrears for their stadium rumbles on.
But even though this season started terribly, eventually costing Andy Thorn his job, for the first time in years there is some positivity around the club. Thorne’s successor, Mark Robins, is doing a fine job after an indifferent start and Coventry head to White Hart Lane on a great run.
City have won 11 of the last 15 games in all competitions and will go to Tottenham with nothing to lose. Spurs are the strong 4/25 favourites, with the Sky Blues at 23/2 and the draw at 5/1, and that is obviously right given the gulf in class between the sides.
But I think Coventry can give a good account of themselves against what will be a much-changed Tottenham side. The Sky Blues are more than capable of getting a goal and at 23/20, that looks like a good bet to me.
Coventry have failed to score just once in their last 25 matches in all competitions and their recent away fixtures have seen them hit a goalscoring hot streak that should have Spurs a little wary.
Robins’ side have hit 18 goals in the last five fixtures, scoring at least three on each occasion against some of League One’s better sides such as Doncaster Rovers, Stevenage and MK Dons, and they have registered six away wins on the trot.
Okay, those teams are not in the same class as Spurs, but boss Andre Villas-Boas will surely rotate and they haven’t been too watertight at the Lane this season: AVB’s side have only kept four clean sheets in 14 games at home in all competitions.
With that in mind, I think confident Coventry can have their fans getting even more nostalgic about 1987 by scoring against Spurs. And at an odds-against shout of 23/20, I will certainly be on that happening.