Charlton Athletic (Away)
Saturday 1st October 2005
being second in the table and Spurs fourth might have been a bit of a
surprise at this stage of the season, but both sides have shown they
have talents in different areas of the pitch.
Charlton's progress has been down to the play of wingers Rommedahl and Thomas, along with Danny Murphy having had a golden start to the season so far. Allied with a good organisation of the side by manager Alan Curbishley and some stout performances by the supporting members of the team, it is not a false position that the Addicks find themselves in.
As for Spurs, they have not been firing on all cylinders so far, but they have been tight at the back and strong in midfield. If they can get the ball to the strikers where they want it, then it might all fall into place.
With regular keeper Dean Kiely out injured, Stephan Andersen has stepped in and done a pretty sound job between the posts. Unassuming and not flamboyant, he has gone about his business in a solid and secure way. He hasn't been seriously tested and it might need a few more shots than Spurs have been having lately hitting the target to put him through a serious examination of his ability. Looks a good shot stopper though.
With Luke Young,
Hermann Hreidarsson, Chris Perry and Chris Powell making up the back
four, it is a selection which might see Spurs give them a hard time if
the accent is on attack. Mido will be a handful for Perry,
although Hreidarsson will have the beating of him in the air.
Defoe should be able to sneak between the central defenders, but if
pushed wide, might have trouble getting around the full-backs.
That will be the job of Lee and Lennon. The veteran Powell
should have a tough time keeping up with Aaron, while Lee will try his
skills against our old boy Young. There is scope there to make
The midfield of Charlton has been strong, with Murphy ruling the roost, getting forward to score as well as create. He is a busy player, who drops off to pick the bal up and continues his runs into the danger areas, so will need to be tracked when our players get back. Alexei Smertin on loan from Chelsea will feature, with Jerome Thomas as a tricky wide outlet for the Charlton defence to find. It will be a test for Lee and Stalteri to defend the wing-play of the former Arsenal youngster and the Dane Rommedahl. Both have pace and quick feet, but there is a need to prevent them supplying crosses and passes to Daren Bent.
It is Bent's goals that have helped Charlton reach their lofty position and stopping him will be Ledley's main aim in the game. With Dawson still doubtful, Naybet will play alongside King and he might need all his experience to win the ball rather than let anyone get past him, as he will not be able to catch them. I think wherever possible, Curbishley will try to pair Bent on Naybet to exploit the former Ipswich man's pace. While the single striker has been used to good effect, Curbs might pair Bent with loan signing Jay Bothroyd, who scored against Lincoln in the League Cup and has a point to prove, making him hungry to do well. His height with Bent's speed might be a difficult combination to cope with.
Spurs need to battle out the midfield to make sure Charlton are given plenty to think about and thus, I think there will be a change from Monday's side. The home and away sides that Jol fields will be designed for a purpose and here, it will be to frustrate Charlton's ambitions. Expect a midfield of Jenas, Tainio, Davids to start with Lennon out wide and chasing back. With Mido and Defoe expected to chase down defenders on the ball, it will be a full court press to hassle Charlton out of their stride. On Monday, Spurs sat deep and conceded ground to Fulham, leaving them room to move into, but when they got the final third, they had to face a number of defenders and midfielders and their moves invariably broke down. It might be similar on Saturday, but Spurs will look to hit Lennon with the out ball and get support up to him quicker than they did against Fulham.
With both sides being keen to keep their high positions and unwilling to let the points go easily, I think the best result would be a Spurs win, but realistically, I believe that it will end up ...
PREDICTION : - Charlton Athletic 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC : Darren Ambrose (groin); Jason Euell (dislocated shoulder); Dean Kiely (broken finger); - (-)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Noe Pamarot (knee); Wayne Routledge (broken foot); Michael Carrick (ankle); Anthony Gardner (thigh)
available on BBC radio, it can be heard in these countries on these
|Charlton Athletic 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Half-time score : 1-0)|
|Premier League||Venue : The Valley|
|Saturday 1st October 2005||Kick Off : 15.00 p.m.|
|Crowd : 27,111||Referee : Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Weather : Dry and sunny to start with, but rain in the second half|
|Teams : -|
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
|Cards : -|
|Match Report : -|
Two London derbies on the trot and two wins !! What's going on ??
Well, the fact that we were 0-2 down in this game against Charlton echoed the match when Jol was first in charge and almost inspired a comeback to get something from it. Here, his tactical bravery won the day and left Charlton still above us, but with their good start in tatters after losing the lead at home. It had all started so well for Spurs, with a spell of pressure for the first twenty minutes that left Charlton on the back foot. Jerome Thomas went down like a sack of spuds (although the analogy would have been better had it been Danny Murphy) a couple of times and one of them was in the area, but the ref was having none of it.
Aaron Lennon was a constant problem for the home side's defence in the opening period and Tottenham's slump to 0-2 down coincided with the fact that the ball was not given to the youngster enough in the last half of the first half and early in the second. He left Young for dead early on to put in a cross for Mido, who glanced instead of powered a header on goal and it went wide, although it was a bit behind him.
Ledley King had our next opportunity in the 14th minute, when he slashed at a loose ball in the Charlton box and it went wide, when he really should have hit the target form about six yards out. An early warning of Bent's play came after a quarter of an hour, when Robbo came out to grab a pass played over the defence and behind the central defenders. Naybet looked like he might get caught out by Bent's pace, but he stuck to his task.
Then it happened. 27 minutes in and Spurs went behind. With a huge gap through the middle of our centre-halves, Murphy put a pass into the space and Bent ran onto it, slipping the ball past Robinson with the outside of his foot to give Charlton the lead. It could have been worse, as 11 minutes later, Smertin took a through ball and rounded Robinson. He pulled his low cross back to the edge of the six yard box, where Bent was waiting and his side-footed volley went wide with only two Spurs players on the line to beat.
Young, Charlton's captain for the day, got booked for a late foul on Davids and Defoe for a frustrated slash at El Karkouri and as time ticked towards half-time, Mido got the wrong side of Charlton's Moroccan defender to head goalwards, almost surprising Andersen into a diving save.
Three minutes of the second half had elapsed, when Spurs dropped further behind. The Tottenham players stopped for a free-kick to be awarded when Lennon was bundled over, but the ref played on (and we will see a couple of other occasions he did this later on). Smertin played the pass through the square back line and Bent over-ran the ball, stopped, got it back in front of him and then curled a delightful shot round King, Robinson and into the net. He took the goal really well.
But Spurs got back into the game quickly. A free-kick was awarded when Smertin raked his studs down the back of Davids' leg, taking his boot off in the process. Mendes floated the ball into the Addicks box and Mido got a flick on, with Ledley King coming in behind him to stick out a leg and divert the ball low into the corner of the net. There was some discussion on the radio and TV as to whether King had meant it, but he definitely reacted to the ball arriving in front of him to steer it in. So, the two goal lead lasted three minutes.
Mendes got a yellow for a foul on Rommedahl and then got substituted by Tainio, while the sides exchanged shots - Smertin's straight at Robbo ... Mido's straight into the rafters of the stand !! But in the 65th minute, Spurs pulled level thanks to the Egyptian. A neat move started on the now rain-soaked pitch and Stephen Kelly, doing a sterling job on the left (not his natural side), joined the attack as he took the ball to the edge of the Charlton area. Lennon took the ball off him, slid it out to the left to Tainio and he touched it on for Mido. Wide in the penalty area and with a narrow angle, his shot was too fierce for Andersen as it ripped between his legs and into the net to make it 2-2. The addition of Tainio had given Spurs a little impetus to go forward and it had paid off.
Martin Jol then had a quandary, as he had been warming up Robbie Keane, with Mido the one to be withdrawn. Having scored, Jol did not want to take off the scorer and chose Jenas as the one to make way for Keano, pushing three into attack. Charlton had to take off Bent, after he clashed heads with Stalteri ... the ref continuing play while both were prone in the penalty are with head injuries. Luckily for Spurs, Murphy's pass went to Young, who should have scored, but showed why he wears the number 2 shirt. Stalteri had to have his head swathe din vinegar and brown paper ... well, bandages then, but he returned to play a vital part in defending what Spurs had.
It paid dividends, as a high ball to the far post was won by Lennon and it flew out to Chris Powell wide on the Charlton left. As he tried to cut inside, Lennon knocked the ball away from him and was running upfield. His pass inside to Keane was laid off to Defoe and the England striker ran forward before putting the ball right, into Keane's path for him to lash the ball in for the lead for Tottenham. It was perhaps fitting that Tottenham scored at that moment, with Mido laying flat out on the pitch. It had been hoped that Charlton would put the ball out of play so he could get treatment, but they did not. In doing so, Spurs broke and made them pay.
Bartlett had an opportunity similar to King's in the first half, when Stalteri headed the ball up in the air and the South African's volley went wide, although Paul had done enough to stand in front of him and put him off. The frustration that was felt by the home players became evident when Murphy hacked Davids down and kicked at fresh air in his fury. he was lucky he didn't make contact with anyone, as he would surely have seen red if he had.
One last chance came Charlton's way, when Murphy put a deep cross into the left hand side of the Tottenham box. Kelly headed it back into trouble and King could only flick at it, to see it fall to Luke Young. He steadied himself and as he was closed down by King, he blasted the ball at goal, but it rose over the bar and the danger was gone. Luckily for Spurs, the best two scoring chances of the second half had fallen to a defender.
Jol changed things around very well today and his decision to play three up front paid off, even though Mido was on the floor when the third goal went in. It proved that Defoe and Keane can play together ... given the right service. The whole side put in a good effort today and with some determined chasing back and inventive forward play, they salvaged a result in a game we would have lost in years gone by. Maybe this marks the dawning of a new attitude amongst Spurs player.
I will not say that being third is the start of something big, as we have seen that situation before at THFC, but there is enough evidence that things are going right with the on-field staff and the off-field decisions. An away London derby win is almost a thing beyond the memory of many Spurs fans !! Long may they continue !!
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - EDGAR DAVIDS
|Rain seemed to have a freshening
effect on Tottenham on Saturday.
Having slipped two goals behind to Darren Bent on a hot scoring streak, the team suddenly woke up with a cold shower and started to go about their business.
Perhaps the first goal slipped off Ledley King's boot before the rain fell, but it was a slick move that saw the soaked Mido slam home off the skiddy turf and through the keeper's legs to get an equaliser. The third goal came from Lennon taking the ball off Powell in our own last third and feeding Keano to link with Defoe before taking the return and shooting powerfully into the net from 12 yards out.
Jol's use of subs seemed to pay off at the Valley and he worked out how Spurs should have been playing Bent in the first 50 minutes. Maybe the clash of heads he had with Stalteri causing him to leave the field might have helped Spurs, but suddenly, their forward line looked lacking. Stalteri returned looking like a reject extra from the "Invisible Man", but his involvement was more obvious after the bandage was applied to his head. He did just enough to put off Bartlett a couple of times as the home side went for a late equaliser, which they couldn't find.
It has often been said this season that Spurs would have lost this match last season and I am afraid that this was another example when it is more than possible that this would have been the case. Being 0-1 down for most of last season's match and a late second left Spurs pointless on their trip home from SE25. The side is more resolute and while there are people in the set-up like Jol, Davids, Mido and Tainio, the will to win is there. The Finn looked sine when he came on and sparked the revival, setting up Mido's goalscoring opportunity.
It was especially pleasing that we won because there was an image of a spotty Charlton fan doing the "Easy" chant at 2-0. Shame they didn't focus in on him at the end, as I bet he was looking decidedly sheepish then. And Tony Gale's friendship with Alan Curbishley probably had nothing to do with the lack of credit extended to Tottenham during the Sky commentary, did it ? These sort of things hack me off. That and the fact that Charlton seem to have taken it upon themselves to shed their "friendly" club image with their fans booing Defoe for leaving as a junior and then their players not kicking the ball out when an opponent is down injured. Perhaps there is some sort of natural justice in the world, as we scored while Mido lay unmoving while Lennon, Defoe and Keane linked up to give the Irishman a chance to slam in the winner. The keeper went down a bit early, but Keano finished decisively to give Spurs the three points.
If Luke Young had been as good a finisher, we would have been dead and buried, but he isn't and his two chances went wide and over and with them, Charlton's hopes of getting anything from this game. It was interesting in the aftermath that everyone was raving about Danny Murphy, while few made comment on Davids' contribution to proceedings. While not producing the passes that Murphy did, he was a constant niggle in the prospective England midfielder's periphery. This saw him nick the ball off him on a number of occasions and end up earning him a kick in the calf and almost another that might have cost him a leg had it made contact, as Murphy's frustration boiled over and he got a caution. It is not the obvious that Davids brings to the side, but just being there can sometimes be more important than what he actually produces.
With Defoe and Keane finally passing to each other for the third goal, it might be an opportunity for Jol to sit them down and show them how they can play together and be effective together. It is nto about who scores the goals, but if they get the goals while playing together, then it might mean Martin gives some consideration to the two leading the line on occasion.
So, two London derbies on the spin and two wins. Who would have thought it ? It is just a shame that after a result like that it might lose some momentum as there is an international break, but it might give the players a bit of a rest and come back even more refreshed. Cold showers all round then ?
|Two wins against London
opposition - heady stuff. The return of Mido although not
requiring the patience needed for the return of the Jedi was just as
welcome. Against Fulham the team looked sharp and with Mido
posed the kind of threat missing since his suspension. The come
back - most unlikely for Spurs - against a strong Charlton side was
all the more enjoyable for its rarity and novelty.
I am still not convinced about Stalteri or Lee and was glad to note the return of Stephen Kelly.
Have we missed Carrick? How long can we keep Robbie? Still a long way to go and many questions unanswered but hey let's enjoy a Premiership league table with Spurs in third and the Gooners not.
A London derby, an in-form Charlton team and a recent lack of goals did not inspire the fullest confidence for the trip to the Valley. A tidy first half display with no cutting edge that ended with us a goal down did not suggest a rise in expectations should be warranted. How wrong we were, although the 4-2 win here two seasons ago reminded us that the home defence – containing two Spurs rejects in Perry and Young – was prone to capitulation. A stirring second half comeback was inevitably capped by Keano’s winning introduction.
The way we played in the second half asks questions as to why that level of urgency and passion is not always evident, but we should be content that it appeared at all. The worst thing about our mid-point predicament was the realisation that those 45 minutes were the best we had played away from the Lane this season, and yet we still couldn’t score, or even create chances. Lennon’s early promise and some sustained possession only yielded a half-chance for Ledley from a corner. His dragged shot left us wondering whether that was the closest we would come. When Darren Bent capitalised on Stalteri’s poor positioning to slot the opener, our fears increased. Not quite resignation to defeat, but calls for Robbie at half time nonetheless.
If no changes came at the break, Bent’s second goal – worryingly coming again from a defence-splitting through-ball – prompted action from the bench. Keano must be familiar with the routine by now: an hour or so gone, few chances, little creativity and a restless support. The nod from Martin, the distinctive springy warm-up and on he comes. Make something happen. Anything. However, his imminent introduction did not galvanise Spurs fans as much as Bent’s unnecessary taunting after scoring his second. Little sympathy was given when he departed after clashing heads with Stalteri. However, before Keane could join proceedings, Ledley stabbed home a Mendes free kick and Mido lashed in the second after good work from Tainio. To Martin’s credit he was bold and backed us to build on the momentum gained by still introducing Robbie. Jenas will no doubt show his class in the future, but his departure and Davids’ subsequent move to the centre definitely improved our potency. Charlton’s game plan disappeared with Bent and we sensed that three points were there if we wanted them. Encouragingly, we did. We all knew that it would be Keano – it could be no other way. Defoe committed defenders after collecting Lennon’s well-weighted pass and another nicely judged touch gave Keane the chance to rifle home the winner. Cue the distinctive Keane celebration (surely never performed with more relish) and delight in the Spurs end. The comeback was inevitably followed by a backs-to-the-walls finish and a defensive line dropping ever closer to Robbo’s goal. However, Dawson’s late introduction gave much-needed presence and although Young wasted a good late opportunity, we held on.
result, a pulsating comeback and another moment in the sun (and rain)
for Robbie, our reluctant supersub. How he hates that tag, but impact
performances like this one today will do little to change Jol’s
mind. However, such a large squad as ours needs good management, for
we hope that Mendes’ apparent disappointment at being withdrawn is
not repeated. Carrick and Dawson will hopefully return for the Everton
game after the international break, but it is a shame that we cannot
build on the confidence and momentum achieved in the second half here.
My Topman: ROBBIE KEANE
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Blackburn Rovers||2||West Bromwich Albion||0||Saturday|
|Sunderland||1||West Ham United||1||Saturday|
|Wigan Athletic||2||Bolton Wanderers||1||Sunday|
|9||West Ham United||7||3||3||1||11||5||12||+6|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||8||1||2||5||7||15||5||-8|
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