Saturday 2nd October 2004
With everyone predicting a dour season ahead for the Toffees, they have hit the ground running ... well, after losing to Arsenal in their opening fixture. A draw with Man U and five wins have propelled them up to third place and it will be a tough assignment for Tottenham, who are still settling into some sort of pattern.
The difference between the two sides is that Everton have had a fairly smooth run, with WBA, Man City, Palace and Boro seen off, while they dropped points to Man U and Arsenal. Tottenham have had a fairly tough start and should have beaten WBA and Norwich, but did well against Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle. The other difference is that Everton lost some players during the summer, but did not sign many, thus leaving their side settled and ready to go straight into a new campaign. Spurs on the other hand brought in virtually a whole new squad and they are still waiting to play the same team in more than two games, with injuries hitting them already.
A veteran finds himself in goal, despite the challenge of a pretender for his old England keeper's crown. Nigel Martyn is having a renaissance in goal, producing good performances without being flashy and he is keeping Richard Wright out of the side. Wright looked all set to take over from Seaman in the England and Arsenal sides, but he failed to oust the pony-tailed one at Highbury and moved on to Goodison, where he has now found his way barred by the former Leeds United keeper, where he was sidelined by the form of Paul Robinson.
The defence in front of him contains some rugged players, who have a determination to keep the opposition out. Tony Hibbert is a younger full back who likes to break forward and has been a steady performer this season after being a little bit erratic last season. Italian Alessandro Pistone fills the left back place and has experience with Internazionale, liking to get up to whip crosses into the forwards, while Alan Stubbs, usually with a bandage around his head from a wound worn as a badge of honour, dominates in the air. Without Fredi, the aerial approach would be a big mistake for this match, especially as Stubbs' partner is another six footer in David Weir. The two nippy forwards might well pose them more questions than they are able to answer.
Midfield for the home side will be a return to the Joe Royle's Dogs of War. Ex-Newcastle man Steve Watson is a worker between the boxes and he likes to score, appearing at the right time in the area. Skinhead twins Thomas Gravesen and Lee Carsley are look-a-likes in appearance and style of play. Gravesen tries to be a bit more experimental with his footwork, while Carsley often suffers from a rash tackle or two. Both provide a solid basis for the other two midfielders to be more offensive and in Kevin Kilbane the Toffees have a winger who likes to dip his shoulder and take people on. A dangerous supply line, it will be a test for Pamarot to keep him in check. And then there is Tim Cahill ... if he is not suspended for celebrating a goal !! The Millwall midfielder was one who was touted as coming to Tottenham in the Hoddle/Pleat era, but now things have moved on and so has he. A dynamic midfielder who works hard, but sometimes tries things he is not capable of. And he has a short temper if his record at the New Den was anything to go by.
That leaves one up front in the shape of Marcus Bent . A newcomer to the side, Bent has been around the Prem. with Leicester and Blackburn, with his spell at Ipswich attracting a lot of top flight clubs to his abilities. String on the ball and possessing a good shot, he is a lovely striker, although not out of the top drawer. You would hope that our defenders would snuff out any threat he might pose.
Joseph Yobo has been sounding off about leaving Everton for a while now and seems to be set on going, but he is an athletic defender with good pace. Also among the subs on recent match-days have been Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell. Once the preferred partnership up front, they now fight for the one place to displace Bent, but more likely for one of them to come on and join Bent up front, with the other there to replace him if required. Both are highly experienced in the Premiership, being strong in the air and on the ball, but both have seen better days and some Everton fans are upset at the lack of on-pitch time they see of them for the money they are paid. Scot James McFadden is a talented individual, who might be the one bright ray of sunshine in what is perceived as an otherwise dull side. He has a trick or two up his sleeve and is bag full of confidence, despite not being a regular starter for the team. Has adapted to English football well and might be a star at Goodison and one that might galvanise the side onto greater things.
Chinese midfielder Li Tie is still at the club and has played only a handful of games since his initial introduction into the side, due to a sending off and then a broken leg. He is a tidy player who tries very hard, but may be a little lightweight for the hurly-burly of the Premier League. There is also a rich crop of youngsters that the side have brought through from their youth set-up and some might make it onto the bench if injuries hit and Leon Osman gained a lot of confidence from a loan spell at Derby County last season, making him the most likely to make the transition into a first-teamer, as he proved with two goals in the game against WBA earlier in the season.
Spurs will have to work hard to cope with the five in midfield and no doubt Jacques and Jol will have looked at the way Everton play and make plans for that. We might see the diamond formation that was designed to cope with Paul Scholes last week ... until he was left out !! This will give Spurs the ability to match the home side for numbers in that area and still have two up front to tie up the Everton defence. The focus will be on keeping it tight at the back and breaking out when they can and this might catch Everton out, especially if Sean avis gets on. His passing could open up their defence and he might be out to prove something seeing as how he was due to sign for the Merseyside club until they dropped out of the running.
David Moyes has definitely benefited from a settled side and the team are all playing for each other. Like Spurs, they have struggled to score freely in their last few games, so it might not be a high scoring affair, but I reckon that with Davis due back in the squad, he could make a difference to the team going forward (even as a sub) and I believe we can get something from this game ...
PREDICTION : - Everton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
FROM THE OTHER SIDE
No View From The Other Side received from an Everton website
EVERTON : Li Tie (broken leg); Leon Osman (groin)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Mauricio Taricco (suspended); Jamie Slabber (shoulder); Michael Carrick (ankle); Fredi Kanoute (hamstring)
|Everton 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Half-time score : 0-0)|
|Premier League||Goodison Park|
|Saturday 2nd October 2004||Kick Off : 15.00 p.m.|
|Crowd : 38,264||Referee : G. Poll (Tring)|
|Teams : -|
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
|Cards : -|
Gravesen (foul) 89
Redknapp (foul) 61
|Match Report : -|
|With a little bit of
assistance from the woodwork, Spurs travelled home with all three points
as Toffees manager David Moyes felt mugged and a couple of his players
might be feeling that way in the morning.
For so much of the game, the home side were the ones looking most likely to take the game, but it was Spurs who got their noses in front and then held out with consummate composure that it looked like they might add to their lead. There were some fiery flashpoints though with captain Jamie Redknapp lucky not to see red for a bad tackle on Cahill and a bust-up between Weir and Atouba as the players departed for half-time oranges.
It could have all started so badly for Spurs with Bent falling under challenge from Edman, but the theatrical effect may have persuaded ref Poll to waive the appeals and wave play on. With eight minutes passed, a Keane corner produced Tottenham's first effort, with Pamarot unusually popping up to meet it with his head, but the ball was not going to hit the target ... on this occasion.
With the woodwork becoming an increasingly important player for Spurs (who wanted to cut out the deadwood ??), it cleared a dangerous effort from Cahill, who's header to Gravesen's long throw beat everyone, but not the upright. With the goal doing it's bit, Paul Robinson decided he should do his and produced a fine save by staying big and blocking Leon Osman's goal-bound headed attempt. Paul's presence in goal must be a great boost for the defence, as if they are by-passed, they can rely on him to provide a difficult obstacle to get beyond.
The French full back was having a tough time against Kilbane, who was having a day when he decided to get involved, rather than flit around the periphery of the match. He showed a turn of pace to leave Pamarot trailing, but the Spurs man stuck to his task and produced a good, dogged defensive showing. However, when the Irish winger did get past him he flashed a low drive across the face of goal and it missed the far post by eighteen inches. The same player also brought cries of "Penalty" from the Goodison faithful when he went into a challenge with Pamarot and they both ended up on the floor. Once more Poll drew the right straw.
The way Spurs have been playing, there has been little supply for the two forwards, who were Defoe and Keane today. Once more out-jumped in the air, it was difficult in a first half when Spurs turned the ball over on a number of occasions to keep a supply of good balls to them. The frustration showed in their finishing. Defoe hit a curling shot wide from 25 yards, while at the death, Robbie wriggled into a good position and then fired his shot way over the top when he should have been thinking about hitting the target.
Ledley was again outstanding, producing moments like the one where a little touch that took a Kilbane header wide when no-one else was claiming the responsibility of dealing with the ball into the box. He also brought the ball out with a calm authority that has been his trademark this season and used it well. The grip Spurs were getting on the game as the match headed towards half-time was evident with a more accurate passing passage of play, which carved a ball into Jermain in the box, but he got closed down very quickly before he could get his shot away. As with the early cry for a penalty, there might also have been one here, as Pistone stuck out a leg that touched Defoe and took him down. The ball fell to Davies, who ran in and had a shot that was saved, but he was ruled to be offside. This was followed by Redknapp's shot spinning loose and Keano seized on it to put it away, but a linesman's flag ruled it out for offside. Then right on the stroke of half-time, A free-kick routine saw Atouba steal in to win a header, but it slipped wide when he was well placed.
Whatever had gone on in the half, Hibbert sparked a flare-up involving Weir and Atouba, who had to be separated as they went down the tunnel, trading blows at each other ... followed by two of the Merseyside Constabulary.
When the match restarted, it was Spurs who took the bows eight minutes in. A corner was played short by Davies to Keane and his ball in found Pamarot bursting onto it and powering a header back from where Martyn had just come and into the net from 12 yards out. It was a terrific effort by Pamarot, who had to crane his neck backwards to get it around the ball and it was done so with some power.
Almost immediately, Everton nearly got back on terms, with Osman firing in a low shot from some 20 yards and he was unlucky to see it bounce out off the foot of the post and Pamarot was on hand, at his more usual end of the pitch, to get there just before Kilbane touched the rebound into the net. Everton were keen to capitalise on the uncertainty in the air in the Tottenham defence, so brought on Duncan Ferguson to provide an aerial threat, taking Carsley out of the midfield.
They soon had to replace Cahill after a very bad high tackle by Redknapp left him unable to carry on. While Jamie might not be the most vindictive player in the Premiership, he does have a habit of taking players late and earning a number of yellow cards for such tackles. He now has five and might face a ban. The hangover of the Atouba half-time incident might still have been in the air, as Defoe was carded for a two-footed lunge, which did get the ball, but looked bad and the ref decided that he should enter the book.
Substitutions were becoming very influential in the game and McFadden's entrance saw him embark on a great run, but his final touch, as he entered the area, took the ball too close to Robinson, who came out to take the ball. Defoe's frustration had got the better of him, so Santini decided to take him off and shore up the side by putting Reto Ziegler on for his first taste of the Premier League. He did quite well in the few minutes left and showed a maturity that might yet see him get more exposure in the first XI.
Gravesen had hit Pamarot twice very early in the match after the ball had gone, but Poll waited until the final minute to book the Dane, as he ploughed into Ziegler ... late again. It was interesting that Spurs found things easier when Carsley had gone off and the home side expected more to go through Gravesen and Spurs found it easier to play around him. Pamarot was on had a couple of times to clear away balls bouncing into the box and after his initial troubles with Kilbane, he stuck to his task and had a very good all-round game.
As Everton became more desperate, their attacks became more fevered and less accurate, leaving the Tottenham players a more comfortable existence in picking up their loose passes. It was always going to be a tight affair, but with Spurs having got the goal and then basically trying to defend that, it was once more satisfying to see that we can do it ... at last !! Some more attacking might not have gone amiss, but Jacques' "young teem" will blossom as the autumn moves into winter and the flowering of the side will be one worth waiting for.MEHSTG TOP MAN : - NOE PAMAROT
|WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT ?|
What a memorable day !!
The post almost taking Spurs' man
of the match award.
The Funky Phantom
Listening on the web radio broadcast, it was highly amusing that the bloke behind the Gary O'Reilly's microphone was getting more and more furious with each decision and piece of action. The former Spurs defender even commented that things must be going well for Spurs as the bloke had resorted to slamming the ref !!
The team really battled well and showed grit (and I don't mean Redknapp's foul), but stuff like players racing back behind the ball when Everton attacked. Robinson not complaining after McFadden caught him in the head with his boot left trailing. No nonsense football, just get on with it and don't whinge (which was even a feature of the penalty conceded last week ... can you imagine if Man U had it given against them ???).
All credit to Santini and his team of coaches. They have a shape, the tactics and more importantly, the players to get results ... despite what everyone says about the team.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Blackburn Rovers||2||Aston Villa||2||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||2||Bolton Wanderers||1||Saturday|
|Birmingham City||2||Newcastle United||2||Sunday|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||8||1||4||3||8||13||7||-5|
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