2nd May 2004
With Aston Villa
transformed by David O'Deary and Juan Pablo Angel's renaissance,
Tottenham will face a tough task on their visit to Villa Park on Sunday.
Although we still need a couple of points to be mathematically
safe, another point from this match will be a significant achievement.
With goalkeeper Thomas
Sorensen in good form and living up to his reputation earned at
Sunderland, before being shut out at Villa, before O'Deary
arrived. His defence has a good record this season too, with the
strong presence of Olaf Mellberg proving an aerial winner of challenges,
alongside the veteran, but stylish Ronnie Johnsen. He may lack
pace, but still reads the game well. Wide of these two are Gareth
Barry and JLloyd Samuel, who are young, attacking full backs, but they
are not always concentrated on their positional play, so it can allow
access behind them if Redknapp can ping a diagonal pass beyond
them. Welsh defender Mark Delaney has suffered some bad injuries
and has missed a lot of this season and will be out until the new season
midfielder Lee Hendrie has been effective providing a nuisance presence
for the opposition, but he can lose his rag very easily and rumours of
his departure form the club have been mooted. Norberto Solano also
showed a flash of retaliation last week and got sent off against
Middlesbrough, but this will be his last game of the season before his
suspension for that offence begins. A player who is good at dead
ball situations and a perceptive passer of the ball, he can also be
sidelined, if the going gets tough. Someone who gets stuck in is
Thomas "the Hammer" Hitzelsperger, the young German who has a
powerful shot and is not afraid to try his luck from any range and any
angle. One who will need to be closed down quickly and not allowed
to get close to Tottenham's goal, as we tend to let other players !!
Up front veteran Dion
Dublin always scored against Spurs and his height proves a problem for
our defenders, Another player who might pose similar problems is
our former reserve striker Peter Crouch, who id the tallest player in
the Prem. Gangly, but good on the floor, Crouch is more mobile
than Dublin, so has been preferred recently and has responded with some
important goals. Darius Vassell might be fit after having a
rumoured hamstring injury that didn't turn out as bad as first
thought. He has pace and can finish well, never giving up on a
ball that others might let go. He could provide Gardner and King
problems, as his movement will be away from the middle and the two
central defenders will have to keep their shape and not get pulled out
of position. The one forward who has been a revelation after being
a seemingly expensive misfit, is Juan Pablo Angel. The
multi-million pound transfer had thrown up all sorts of questions, but
he has come good now he has had a run of games and is back among the
goals under O'Deary. The two Moore brothers, Luke and Stefan, are
strong and fast, but might only been seen as being introduced from the
Tottenham have not done
all that well on the road this season and not well at Villa for a number
of years. Last year's victory was the first in 17 visits for
Tottenham, but if the effort and desire they showed in the second half
of last Sunday's match is repeated they could bring something
home. We looked far superior to Villa at the start of the season,
but a lot has changed since then and we approach the game as the
underdog. Maybe that will suit us ??
PREDICTION : -
Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
VIEW FROM THE OTHER
do you think your team have played this season
Which part of the season would you like my thoughts on? The first
half of the season I like many other Villa fans now am trying hard to
forget it. At times it made you think of pub league football where
every successful pass, even if made under 2 yards, gave you
something to talk about for two hours in the pub after whilst
laughing. Sadly that was the reality of our football for a long
long time. Players for the most part just didn't seem to care, we
couldn't pass, shoot or do anything that you would call basic
elements of football! As the long months passed you could slowly
see tiny little things that were changing in the team and although the
progress was pleasing it still wasn't enough.
Before December we
had only won 5 games and one of those was against Wycombe in the cup !
Then we entered December and whilst most fans were contemplating how much
debt to get into Xmas something really silly happened within the team
and you still can't nail it down. They either remembered that in
football it helps if you win games and play well, or they realised they
could win games and actually play well! Chelsea in the cup seems
to be the real turning point and the team started playing good
attractive football and picking up the results. Players stopped
dropping their heads in games, instead when things weren't going well
they dug deeper. Still slipped up at points and reverted to
"typical Villa" of the last few years every
now and then but for the second half of the season so far they are
abnormal blips as opposed to common expected practice. Seeing us
go from the bottom of the table to the lofty heights of 5th says a hell
of a lot about how DOL has got us playing, and to how the players have
responded and grown themselves.
do you think is your best player at the moment ?
Being really honest you can barely separate JPA and Mellberg, if either
one had been missing for an extended period we would not have climbed
the table as we have. JPA has banged them in upfront and Melly has
stopped a hell of a lot from going in at the back.
player isn't playing as well in recent games ?
Barry, Vassell are the two off form players that stand out. Vass
is incapable of living up to his England expectations and Barry is
struggling to live up to the standards he set himself the other season
where he was voted player of the year.
exciting new names in the squad that we should look out for
Solano is out for the rest of the season suspended after Boateng dropped
quicker than a hooker for £50, so expect him to be fired up for this
game. Ridgewell at the back if he gets on looks a very composed
defender and then we are onto Luke Moore upfront who has looked really
good and strong in his appearances so far.
is our old, but tall friend, Peter Crouch doing ?
He's doing really well since he came back from his loan spell at
Norwich, without checking his record now is something like 4 goals in 5
games and he is enjoying his football and starting to prove some of the
it came to O'Leary or Ellis going would it be "no-contest" ?
Absolutely Senile Out for me every day of the week and twice on Sunday!
is your line-up expected to be ?
Sorensen, DLC, Samuel, Johnsen, Mellberg, Solano, Hits, McCann, Barry,
any injury troubles that I've missed I think that is our likely start
up, only variants would be JPA out Crouch in and DLC out Delaney
fans think of Tottenham Hotspur ?
I don't think our fans often think of Spurs to be honest :))
Generally they are pretty decent games between us and good natured in my
Spurs player do you like ?
I've always liked Carr, nice busy player and what I've seen is equally
as useful in defence as attack which doesn't seem to be the case with
many fullbacks these days. King is another one who seems to be
making a name for himself now, looks a quality addition at the back.
Then it's the obvious upfront, Keane and Kanoute, players who are nice
to watch for different reasons - would it be cruel to say I hope they
are both out injured for Sunday ??? (grin)
do you reckon the score will be ?
Home game, we're playing well, Solano out to prove a point ... I think we'll
take it 2-1 to be honest
ASTON VILLA :
Darius Vassell (hamstring); Lee Hendrie (suspended); Gareth Barry
HOTSPUR : -
Rob Burch (ankle); Darren Anderton (Achilles); Stephen
Carr (suspended and back injury)
TV : No live coverage
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk
|Aston Villa 1
Tottenham Hotspur 0 (Half-time score :
|Sunday 2nd May 2004
|Venue : - Villa Park
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Warm, bright
|Crowd : - 42,573
|Referee : - N. Barry
|Teams : -
Aston Villa : - Sorensen; Samuel, Mellberg, Ridgewell, De La Cruz;
Barry, McCann, Solano (Delaney 90), Hitzlsperger; Crouch (Dublin 87),
Angel (Allback 69)
Unused subs: Postma, Whittingham
Tottenham Hotspur : - Keller;
Kelly (Ricketts 70), Richards, Gardner, Taricco; Brown, Davies,
Redknapp, Keane; Kanoute (Doherty 80), Defoe
Unused subs: Bunjevcevic, Mabizela, Hirschfeld
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Aston Villa - Angel
Tottenham Hotspur -
|Cards : -
Aston Villa - Solano
Sorensen (dissent) 89
Tottenham Hotspur - Defoe
As Tottenham's season peters out into the
whimper it has been for so long, it is lucky that there are teams who
are even more unable to keep themselves in the Premier League than Spurs.
It is only thanks to Leeds inability to keep goals out and for Mark
Viduka to act as a professional person on the pitch that Spurs are still
in the Premiership next season. This 19th defeat of the season
(only Leeds have more) was a testament to that and it could be that
Spurs end up one place off the relegation trio, with little prospect of
improving their position with performances like this.
The early goal at least meant that it
wasn't a long drawn out affair, but the way Spurs played, the pain did
continue for the remaining 85 minutes. A simple ball into the box
from Hitzlsperger was nodded back into the danger area by Gareth Barry
at the far post and Angel was unmarked to get one of the easiest goals
he will ever score. Another in the long line of soft goals we have
conceded this season.
Spurs did try
to hit back, with Fredi stinging Sorensen's hands with a drive, after he
had been played in by Brown and Redknapp got well under a free-kick from
25 yards after a foul on Defoe in a central position. The best
chance came on 20 minutes, when Redknapp's flighted free-kick to the far
post was met with the forehead of Dean Richards. The centre half got
power but no direction in his effort that went over the top, when he
should have hit the target.
minutes before the break, an almost identical situation to the goal
nearly made it 2-0, but this time Angel got too far below the cross and
could not keep it down, much to Tottenham's relief. The Colombian
is just getting his Villa act together and was quite a handful, with
Kelly being robbed by the striker and he got his chip over Keller all
wrong, thank goodness.
through to half-time at 0-1 was a result and I am sure that the result
from the Reebok was fed through to the players, but it had little effect
on their performance, as they allowed Hitzlsperger to stride forward and
rasp a shot that crashed back off the bar from the edge of the
area. Straight away Barry went close from a similar range, but his
shot flew low and wide of the goal, as was McCann after a blocked shot a
couple of minutes after that.
looked lethargic and unwilling to put too much effort into the match,
but on 58 minutes, Simon Davies picked up on a loose ball and made
Sorensen dive down to the left to keep the ball out. Anthony
Gardner did well to challenge Angel as he raced to the near post to meet
a low cross from the left and this proved the scorers last involvement
before being subbed. Spurs created a couple of weak chances, but
in the 77th minute, Angel's replacement Allback turned Taricco too
easily and could only get his shot straight at Keller.
then it was all over. Another away defeat ... that's six in
succession. Little to show that run would be broken and we might
hope that now the relegated teams are all but decided, that Spurs might
relax and play a bit more, but with Blackburn and Wolves both putting
some decent results together, don't bank on it.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - ROBBIE KEANE
am a season ticket holder in the East Stand Lower. I will be boycotting
the Blackburn game as a protest against the present state of my beloved
result against Villa was the final straw, we are the laughing stock
of the Premiership. What club sacks a manager a month
into a season that goes through the rest of the season with a caretaker
manager, who actually turns out to be a 100% more inept.
opinion Pleat is devious, totally
lacking in football sense and if he doesn't like you, you have no chance
of playing. What hold does this guy have over this club and the board,
who are equally inept? If his friend Antic is appointed manager we will
sink like a stone, because he will be a puppet for Pleat.
team is a shambles totally lacking in passion, the majority of the players there
now are not playing for THFC, no love for the club at all. We need a
major clearout of overpaid mediocre, injury prone players and old
has beens. This clearout should include all ex-players employed by the
club, includind Chris Hughton who has worked under five managers there,
this must say something. The new manager must have a free reign in all
am totally disgusted and would encourage other season ticket holders to
do the same on Saturday and boycott the game. At least they may take
notice if the fans are not there, as we are the life blood of the club.
two games left of this disaster of a season, how about giving our bunch
of timewasters an extended break and putting out
the Spurs Ladies team or maybe a team of amateur supporters (you
know the type of fan who would, and does, walk the extra mile in
support of the club). Result ... Spurs lose (well we will anyway)
but the entertainment would be an improvement ...
better if the first team donated the 2 games wages to a local charity
Well Mr. Pleat
has surpassed himself this time. After watching that dross all
year, I thought nothing could make me more annoyed than our inspired
Caretaker tells us that he was never worried about us being
relegated. Now if we were Portsmouth or Blackburn that had
actually played their way out of trouble and showed some character and
form then fair enough, but after another gutless display against a team
who man to man shouldn't match us, but are somehow about 12 places above
us, to say that is a disgrace is an understatment. We are up
because Leeds are slightly more appalling than we are and can our
players stop saying how hurt they are, but are going to make sure they
try to win their last 6, 5, 4, 3 and now we are at 2 games.
Also Pleat on
Sunday had Doherty, Mabizela and Bunjy as subs, what possible set of
circumstances could arise that we would need three centre halves to call
upon ? He brings players from nowhere like Jackson back for games,
then they aren't even on the bench for the next game. Marney plays
against Man Utd then goes AWOL. I just hope that Mr. Levy does not
appoint Taylor or Antic, because if he does he is so out of touch with
what the fans want then he should go as well.
Well there we have it, another
totally uninspiring, pathetic season draws to an end and once again
like a lot of other people I am relieved that we won't be watching
Rotherham etc at The Lane next season.
I remember walking out of Paxton
Rd last season after watching us lose 4-0 to Blackburn and remarking to
my mate that I was just pleased that another season of stress and
torment had finally finished. But here we are almost a year on and still
the same dire crap football is fed to us week after week !
The really sad thing about the
Spurs situation is that I don't think it has reached rock bottom yet ?
I think Spurs fans have run out
of adjectives to describe how awful the so called " football
" that has been dished up to us this season has been.
Pleat must be shown the door in
the Summer, His meddling with our club has to be brought to an end.
He has caused unrest with
previous managers and so finally he got his way and was given the
caretaker manager's position for the best part of the season and what a
complete and utter balls up he has made of it !
Pleat talks a good game but he
couldn't motivate Kris Akabusi. The
players have been given it too easy at THFC for too long. The
appointment of a top class motivator and disciplinarian this Summer is
so very important. Players
must be made aware that they are at Spurs to do a job, not just to run
around a little bit on a Saturday and pick up a massive pay packet for
doing it !
How blindingly obvious has it
been for 2 or 3 seasons now that we lack a strong mid-field?
The Aston Villa situation just
shows what a good manager can do with an average team, Villa last season
were struggling with relegation but they got rid of a crap
manager and now they are close to a CL position.
I looked at the Villa team
yesterday and the question I kept asking myself is "Are they really
player for player better than Spurs ?" ... The answer is no.
I don't think it is all doom and
gloom, With the correct players being installed in the Summer along
with a descent manager and I think we will see a major improvement.
The final position that must be
addressed is Club Captain. At the moment we don't have one. Jamie
Redknapp, likeable lad that he is doesn't motivate the team. Please
Spurs sign van Bommel and give him the Captain's armband and let's get
some pride back into our Club for next season !
At least we can go to the
Blackburn game next week and relax.
this weekend :