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Premier League

Saturday 2nd February 2008

Anyone thinking of going to tomorrow's match, just let me give you some advice ... Don't bother.

No, not because we were beaten just six days previously in the FA Cup by the same side.  No, not because they are one of the most irresistible forces in the Premier League at the moment, playing pacy, skillful, attacking football.  No, not because we have let Anthony Gardner go out on loan to Everton (is that a subversive move to dent their hopes of a top four finish ?). 

The reason I say this is that the goal-line king is taking charge of the game.

Yes, the man who can't tell when the ball is over the line by a country mile, but can when it is inches across the white marking is in charge of the game and we all know that when Clattenburg is in town, controversy is not far behind him.

If it is not enough that we have to face the top team in the country, we have this clown making decisions in the match.  And knowing his history with us and with this match in particular, are the Premier League extracting the urine by appointing him ??  Why don't we tell them we don't want this fool near any of our game sever again ??

With Ronaldo in sparkling form and having cut out the unnecessary diving, he is almost unstoppable, although Juande Ramos almost achieved that in the Cup tie last week.  However, as good a job as O'Hara did on the Portuguese winger, he still came out of the game with two goals, albeit a penalty and a soft one let in by Cerny.

With Rooney also linking well with Tevez and Ronnie, the attack is formidable.  Their midfield works hard and Hargreaves shutting down of our players harried them out of possession, even though he might not play this game.

Tottenham caused United's defence more problems than perhaps they had been asked for a while and scored the first goal against them in ages, but the centre back pairing of Vidic and Ferdinand will be back in tandem, while Spurs have no option in attack now Defoe has been sold, so Keane and Berbatov have to do the work against the United back line.

United will be facing a completely new Spurs defence when they come out on Saturday.  Hutton, Gilberto and Woodgate are all likely to play, with King or Dawson filling the vacant back four slot.  it will be interesting to see how Ramos plays this one, seeing as how we are at home.  The FA Cup match was open from the start, but I imagine this might be a bit more cagey.   Ferguson always says how well Tottenham are doing, but that might be as long as his side are picking up a regular three points against us.

What will be his reaction if we get something from this match ?

Not that I think it will happen, as United are simply playing too well at the moment and even if we do field three new signings, they will not know each other's game that well yet.  So sadly, I think we might not get much from this one ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    Manchester United   2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Gareth Bale (foot); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Darren Bent (knee);  Didier Zokora (international duty)

MANCHESTER UNITED :  - Gary Neville (ankle); Louis Saha (knee); Mikael Silvestre (knee); Ben Foster (knee); Patrice Evra (suspended)


Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (highlights)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   1    Manchester United   1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 2nd February 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,075
Referee :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, chilly
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

12 Cerny    

  2 Chimbonda
39 Woodgate    
20 Dawson
28 Hutton

15 Malbranque
  8 Jenas
22 Huddlestone    
25 Lennon (17 Boateng 79)

10 Keane (c) (24 O'Hara 90)
  9 Berbatov

Unused subs: 
  1 Robinson
  3 YP Lee
19 Taarabt

Manchester United :

  1  van der Sar     

  6  Brown
  5  Ferdinand
15  Vidic      
  3  Evra      

  7  Ronaldo      
  4  Hargreaves (16 Carrick 46)
18  Scholes (  8  Anderson 60)
11  Giggs  (17  Nani 60     )

  9  Rooney     
32  Tevez      

Unused subs: 
29  Kuszczak
22  O'Shea

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Manchester United
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Berbatov 21

Manchester United

Dawson (o.g.) 90

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Woodgate (foul) 42
Huddlestone (foul) 45
Cerny (time wasting) 83  



Manchester United

Van der Sar (rolling around on the floor in dissent) 21
Ronaldo (dissent) 29
Brown (foul) 39
Nani (foul) 67
Vidic (foul) 69
Rooney (diving) 84
Tevez (taking shirt off) 90  


Match Report : -  
With the leading team in the league visiting the Lane, we hoped for a spectacle worthy of the event, with something approaching last week's fare.  What we got was a snarling, snivellingly cynical performance from the League champions as you could say "United are Back" in a late scramble to grab an equaliser and an undeserved point.

The last gasp goal was a blow to Tottenham, who had played the more expansive football, while United struggled to keep away from the Spurs players, who were literally, all over them.  Never allowing them the opportunity to settle on the ball, United failed to pass the ball effectively and Ronaldo was frozen out of the game, as Ramos' tactics paid off for a second week against the renowned deployment of the United manager.

But this was not just about the result, although it would have been a great boost to the Tottenham side to have beaten United.  The performance said a lot more than the one point we came out of it with.  The new players slipped into the side seamlessly and the team as a whole looked more athletic and determined.  The chances were there to extend the lead and perhaps put it beyond a lacklustre Manchester team, but one lapse at the death cost us two points and yet another set-piece and yet another last minute goal let us down.

Dawson and Woodgate had dealt with everything that came their way, while Chimbonda had a storming game and Hutton played faultlessly on his debut.  The midfield swarmed all over the red shirts and while they may have used the ball better on a few occasions, they saw three of their opposite numbers substituted, as the United midfield misfired.  Robbie Keane ran across the back four, hustling them into getting rid of the ball and Berbatov scored.  It was almost the ideal performance, but not quite.

While United were hampered by the energetic performance by the Tottenham players, the Spurs side found it to their liking and they attacked United with verve and vigour.  The breakthrough came on 20 minutes, when Jenas appeared to be felled in the area, but I would like to think that Clattenburg played advantage, but I am not sure he is aware of what goes on around him half the time.  The ball found it's way out to Lennon, who beat Evra and played a near post ball in that van der Sar spilled and Berbatov stuck back past him to make it 1-0.

I think van der Sar was indicating that Jenas touched the ball with his arm in the build-up to the goal, but when it should have been a spot-kick, his argument seemed trivial and when he started rolling around on the floor to convince the officials, he got a yellow card for his troubles.  He was lucky he didn't get a straight jacket !!

The only worry Spurs had up to that time had been an "after you" between Malbranque and Chimbonda and Brown stole between them to take the ball on the edge of our box, but he fired well wide.

It was weird that Ronaldo committed an obvious handball, which Clattenburg did spot, but he only whipped out his yellow card when the Portuguese winger showed dissent.  Two goals last time out and he had a chance to score again, but his weak header did not test Cerny.

The cautions were starting to come quicker and the ref was rapidly losing control of the match.  He allowed abuse from United layers, but when Ronaldo dropped to the floor when he couldn't get past Woodgate, the card was flashed in the direction of the new Tottenham defender. 

Berbatov hurried a volley as Ferdinand closed him down and from around the penalty spot, he fired over and then he was nearly through again, but a Hargreaves handball stopped the progress and after a long chat by Clattenburg, the Man U man strolled off unpunished.  I fail to see what there was to talk about, as it WAS a handball, even the ref saw that, so why talk to him about it ??  When Hud caught Ronaldo, who flicked the ball away from him, he got a booking just before the half-time whistle.

Carrick came on after the break, but failed to make much of a difference to the United forward movement.  In fact Spurs looked more likely to add to their lead, as Tom bombed in a long range shot that Ferdinand blocked, but deflected and had his keeper scuttling across to make sure it went wide and then Keane should really have doubled the lead, when Berbatov controlled a kick out that Rooney left.  Tight to the line, he brought it down sublimely, beat three men as he ran infield and played Keane in on the edge of the area and Robbie took the effort early and failed to get either enough power or directions away from van der Sar.

Just after Anderson and Nani had come on for Scholes and Giggs, Steed flicked a ball up 20 yards out and volleyed at goal, but it went straight at the keeper.  Two cynical fouls - one a late studs into Chimbonda challenge by Nani and a crude bundle over of Jenas as he raced past Vidic - brought only yellows and failed to help Spurs with their forward momentum.  but they pressed on and Hutton's shot was cleared up into the air and as the Scot went for the ball, Tevez nudged him out of the way, which would have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch.  Another penalty shout came when a long cross by Malbranque hit Evra on the arm, but his back was to the ball, so I wouldn't have thought it would ever have been given.

With 15 minutes left, at last United forced a decent save from Cerny, as Anderson hit a 25 yard shot along the floor and the Tottenham keeper had to shift his feet and dive to tip it wide.  From the corner, Dawson blocked Carrick's shot.  As United sought an equaliser, Cerny saved a regulation shot at the near post from Nani and Chimbonda appeared out of nowhere to make an important tackle as the Argentinian was about to shoot from close range. 

Things were getting desperate for the visitors.  Following Cerny's booking for time-wasting, Rooney flung himself down in the box as Dawson positioned himself to make sure that the ball ran away from the dumpy England forward.  Thus he became the seventh United player cautioned.  An indication of their being second best.

Where Spurs had done really well in not giving away free-kicks around the penalty area, Boateng caught Ronaldo and down he went with Clattenburg buying it.  The ball was squared to Rooney, but Spurs were out quickly to block it and when Huddlestone lost the ball as he tried to dribble the ball out on the 18 yard line, Chimbonda had to defend it for a corner.  Leaving Tevez unmarked at the near post, the header flew straight at Cerny, but it was not a lesson Tottenham learned.

Woodgate had to stop Nani and at the expense of a corner, it proved more expensive than that.  Nani hit it into the near post in the six yard box and with two United players there, Dawson flew in to try and stop it, but diverted it past Cerny for a heart-breaking equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game.  The zonal marking had fallen at the last and so went two points, but then I suppose before the game we might have welcomed a point.  However, leaving the ground, it felt like two lost rather than one gained and that shows some progress.

There is still much to play for in the remainder of the season and the new players will integrate even further.  Some games might not go to plan ... nothing goes right all the time, but with Ramos at the helm, more will go our way than not.  Today, his substitutions did not help the side shore up their lead and taking Lennon off might have given the advantage to United, as he was so influential in the latter stages of other games recently.  He gives us an out ball and can threaten the opposition defence with his blistering pace if played in properly.

Still, it was a game in which we dominated apart from the closing stages.  The fitness of the players seems to be paying off and their belief in themselves also is becoming evident.  It will be an interesting few months I think.



Reaction : -



So much for United playing the beautiful game !

It was a throw-back to all that was bad old days of when Roy Keane was in the Red Devils side, to add an evil presence.  Well, the vile spite that issued from the mouths and the boots of the United team undermined all that has been good about their play this season.  Off the ball skirmishes, late tackles with studs showing, unabashed diving and the surrounding of the referee (bad though he was for both sides) at every decision made this a performance straight out of the Channel Four series set in Manchester.

When Alex Ferguson says "For Manchester United it's not right.  There is something wrong when Manchester United get seven bookings," he is being a bit disingenuous especially when he says that Spurs players were not booked for the same offences.  The number of times United players waved imaginary cards (a bookable offence at the start of the season) and both Nani and Rooney could have seen red for second offences, meant that United got off lightly, although Jenas was fortunate to get away with a tackle that was worse than the one he got booked for.  Both sides could have had a valid penalty claim, but the assistants were not keen to upset the star billing of Clattenburk.  The man is clearly a buffoon, who one expects to do a late Jeremy Beadle and unveil himself as someone who is having a laugh at the fans expense.  Why else would Tottenham fans sing "Can We Have A Referee" for the majority of the match when they were leading.  He failed to spoil the whole match, but only because both teams were going for it.

Berbatov scored an untidy goal, but they all count and United's last second equaliser came off Tevez or Dawson to bundle the ball in for 1-1.  Countless other chances (mainly from Spurs) were better crafted, but not taken.

Ronaldo was kept quiet and Rooney was making good runs ... to defend his own goal.  Full of energy, but not looking like threatening our goal, only our pie franchise.

The energy of the visiting team must have been spent on chasing the ref around the pitch.  I thought the FA were supposed to be stopping this, but it seems like they will get away with it.  And if Fergie complains long enough and loud enough, they will probably escape any punishment from the FA about the number of bookings they got.  It all builds pressure on the powers that be on and off the pitch.

But on it, we were the equals of the team who have been hailed as the best team in the competition.

Well, today, we proved we can live in that company and we have to prove it from hereon in.


Read Wyart Lane's view of the game by clicking here





Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 1 Derby County 1 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Everton 0 Saturday
Liverpool 3 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Arsenal 3 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Reading 0 Bolton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 1 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Fulham - - - -day
Aston Villa - - - -day
Middlesbrough - - - -day
Newcastle United - - - -day



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 25 18 6 1 52 18 60 +34
2 Manchester United 25 18 4 3 49 12 58 +38
3 Chelsea 25 16 6 3 38 17 54 +21
4 Everton 25 13 5 7 40 23 44 +18
5 Liverpool 24 11 10 3 40 17 43 +23
6 Aston Villa 24 11 8 5 43 31 41 +12
7 Manchester City 25 11 8 6 32 28 41 +3
8 Blackburn Rovers 24 10 9 6 32 31 39 +1
9 Portsmouth 25 10 8 7 35 26 38 +9
10 West Ham United 24 10 6 8 29 22 36 +7
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 25 7 8 10 45 41 29 +4
12 Newcastle United 24 7 6 11 27 42 27 -15
13 Bolton Wanderers 25 6 7 12 26 34 25 -8
14 Middlesbrough 24 6 7 11 21 37 25 -16
15 Wigan Athletic 25 6 5 14 23 38 23 -15
16 Sunderland 25 6 5 14 24 45 23 -21
17 Reading 25 6 4 15 30 52 22 -22
18 Birmingham City 25 5 6 14 24 37 21 -13
19 Fulham 24 2 10 12 23 41 16 -18
20 Derby County 25 1 6 18 13 52 9 -39


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