For the second week in succession at White Hart Lane, Spurs were thwarted by a goalkeeper at the top of his game and their own lack of a cutting edge. The cup-tie against Leeds should have been put to bed inside the first half-hour, but Casper Ankergren's heroics between the posts inspired his teammates to fight on for what was in the end a deserved 2-2 draw.
Spurs were denied a clear penalty by referee Alan Wiley, while Defoe fluffed the one that was actually awarded. It was also very difficult to see where the officials came up with five minutes of added time but that being said, Spurs at home should have had the resources to beat a side 41 league places below them, Of the team that started, only Gomes, Bale and perhaps Hutton will be able to look back on this performance with any satisfaction.
The manager must also take his share of the blame for such a poor result. His decision to leave Palacios on the bench and to deploy Jenas as - presumably - the holding midfielder was very strange. Stranger still was the fact that Jenas remained on the field for the full 95 minutes, with Rose and Kranjcar - scorer of two goals in the previous round - making way from the Spurs midfield.
Spurs have performed badly at the Lane this season against physical sides and that was evident once again as Leeds packed the midfield and played in a manner that earned them six yellow cards. If ever a player was unsuited to this type of encounter, it is Jermaine Jenas. Despite his abundant and obvious natural ability, the midfielder often appears to play as if in a dream, drifting in and out of the game and allowing opponents to pass him at will. On Saturday, these habitual shortcomings were compounded by the squandering of a fine chance toward the end of the first half, a weak back pass which almost allowed Leeds a goal at the start of the second, and then fatal indecision in his own box, which did lead to an equalizer. It was only with the introduction of Wilson Palacios for the last half hour that the Spurs midfield looked to have some shape.
Indeed Palacios started the move that led to Pavlyuchenko's well-taken goal. It’s hard to know how the Russian will view Harry Redknapp's assessment of his impressive twenty minute display: "if he played every week like he did when he came on he'd be an automatic starter". Based on this short appearance, let's hope that Pavyluchenko's gesture upon scoring of throwing his gloves into the crowd was one of celebration and not of farewell.
As the manager has observed, with Man. Utd., Liverpool and now that other team from North London eliminated from the FA Cup, the competition is wide open. The replay at Elland Road will not be easy, but if Harry puts out a more balanced side - and one that hopefully features Aaron Lennon - there is no reason why Spurs should not look forward to a fifth-round tie at the Reebok.