3rd April 2004
Yes, we all know what
score I should be predicting. But having seen Spurs beat Chelsea
in the League in the past, although the memory is fading, I am sure it
can happen again. With a Champions League quarter-final coming up
against Arsenal, Chelsea might have their minds elsewhere and also be
keen to avoid injury in this local skirmish.
With most of their
goalkeeping roster on the treatment table, the resources there are being
put to the test. Carlo Cudicini broke a finger in training, Neil
Sullivan had a bruised leg and Jurgen Macho has hardly seen competitive
action for the Pensioners since signing from Sunderland. That
leaves Marco Ambrosio as the man in possession of the gloves and he will
be between the sticks on Saturday. What he is like as a keeper is
yet to be determined. He hasn't had a great deal to do in the
games he has played, but he looks confident in his handling and like
most Italian keepers, he will throw himself about to stop shots on goal.
In front of him, the
defenders have not escaped the injury curse, with Glen Johnson is out
with an ankle injury, while Winston Bogarde will not likely see the
first team at Chelsea this side of a plague, the virility of which was
last seen in 1666. Nigerian Celestine Babyaro has featured rarely
this season, but one of his games was against Spurs at Stamford Bridge,
so he might feature at the Lane too. Regulars among the defenders
are WiIliam Gallas and Wayne Bridge, with 20 odd games each.
Gallas provides an athletic and pacy presence in the back four, while
the former SCBC man gives width and an attacking option up front.
French skipper Marcel Desailly has only played half the matches this
season, being mixed and matched with Dutchman Mario Melchiot. Of
the two Melchiot is the more mobile player, as Desailly is coming to the
end of his career. Melchiot is good in the air and Desailly
perhaps stronger on the ground, but as far as Tottenham are concerned,
the best choice to suit our forwards would be Desailly. The tall
German defender Robert Huth is emerging as a favourite who Ranieri is
bringing through into the side. Determined and a big man to get
past, he might be one for the future for Chelsea.
The preponderance of
players in midfielders means that many of the staff in this area are
unhappy at not getting a regular spot in the side. Jesper
Gronkjaer is saying that he might have to move away if he cannot get
into the starting XI, while Claude Makelele has been named as one who
will be disposed of during the summer. The former Real Madrid man
has made an impression in the side, but not been as dominant as Roman
Abramovich had hoped. Having said that, he has been a regular
alongside former Iron Frank Lampard, who has established himself as the
main man in midfield for Chelsea. The same cannot be said for his
team-mate Joe Cole, who still has not imposed himself on the games he
has featured in, while producing the skills, but still lacking the end
Wide man Damien Duff has been out injured and will be looking to prove
his worth at Chelsea, despite rumours of his imminent transfer to Old
Trafford in exchange for Rio Ferdinand. Quick, skilful and a good
finisher, Duff has always played well against Spurs, so expect more of
the same as he is an almost certain starter. Mario Stanic will not
be as he is out injured and both Emmanuel Petit and Juan Sebastian Veron
are ruled out, as the ex-Gooner is still injured, while Veron is not
going to be risked. Most likely to feature will be a name much
linked with Spurs in the past, but he chose to fight for his place in
the midfield of Chelsea and has broken into the England team.
Scott Parker left the homely surroundings of Charlton for West London
and has settled in well. A solid tackler and good going forward,
he may lack a little in pace, but with Tottenham's midfield, that might
not see him troubled too much. The one buy that Chelsea made that
hasn't clicked is that of former Boro and Cameroon man Njitap Geremi.
The impact he made at Middlesbrough has not been shown at Chelsea and he
might make an exit in June.
Whichever of the forwards play, Tottenham's defence will be tested for
the full ninety minutes. Romanian Adrian Mutu is not reckoned to
have been a good buy at £15.8 million, as he has notched only six goals
in 19 games. But two of them came against Tottenham !! One
forward who regularly nets against us is Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink and he
showed he can still do it in the League with a hat-trick in 13 minutes
after entering the Wolves game as a sub. So powerful and difficult
to shake off the ball, he presents a different risk to many of the
forwards in the Premiership. Argentinian Hernan Crespo was always
a dangerous forward when he was at Parma and Lazio, it is no surprise
that he has slipped into the scoring groove in England with eight in
eleven matches. He is strong in the air and has a powerful finish,
but also a great touch and awareness of where his team-mates are.
Our last line of defence will have to be on their toes to make sure he
stays at a distance where he cannot inflict any damage. With the
highest scoring Chelsea forward currently doing the business for
Birmingham City (Mikael Forsell), his fellow Scandinavian forward Eidur
Gujohnsen, is showing he has the ability to knock them in with the best
of them. The Icelandic striker has a strike rate of around one in
two games at the moment and although he often looks like he is a bit
lardy, when the ball is in front of him and the goal beckons, he can be
Spurs will need to
maintain their concentration for 90 minutes, as the threat in this
Chelsea side can come from anywhere. With defenders scoring from
open play, the Tottenham players in all positions must be aware of their
defensive responsibilities. If Jamie Redknapp starts, then there might
be more of a creative flavour in the Tottenham midfield, but that means
that someone has to cover runners from the Chelsea side, so hopefully,
there will be players who track back to get goal side. The
chances Spurs do make must be converted, with Defoe and Keane needing to
be deadly in their finishing. If they can do that, and with hearts
and minds on other things, we might just be able to cash in ...
PREDICTION : -
Tottenham 2 Chelsea 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
It has not been possible
to get a view from an opposition website.
Dean Richards (ear infection); Rob Burch (ankle); Simon Davies (shin);
Fredi Kanoute (shin); Stephen Carr (knee); Gary Doherty (ankle); Christian Ziege (groin); Darren
Anderton (Achilles); Mbulelo Mabizela (knee)
CHELSEA : - Glen
Johnson (ankle); Carlo Cudicini (finger); Emmanuel Petit (knee); Mario
Stanic (ankle); Juan Veron (back); Neil Sullivan (leg)
TV : Live on
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C+ Deporte 1
Radio : Live commentary on BBC Five Live (606/939 AM); TalkSport
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk
Live webcast (subscription only)
Chelsea 1 (Half-time score :
|Saturday 3rd April 2004
|Venue : - White Hart Lane
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Grey, but dry and
|Crowd : - 36,101
|Referee : - S. Bennett (Orpington)
|Teams : -
Tottenham : - Keller; Carr, Gardner, Doherty, Taricco (Kelly
61); King, Brown, Redknapp (Jackson 66), Ziege (Kanoute 46); Defoe,
Unused subs: Hirschfeld, Poyet
Chelsea : - Ambrosio; Terry,
Gallas, Melchiot, Bridge; Duff, Makelele, Lampard, Parker (Cole 74);
Hasselbaink (Crespo 86), Gudjohnsen (Gronkjaer 78)
Unused subs: Sullivan, Huth
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Tottenham - None
Chelsea - Hasselbaink
|Cards : -
Taricco (foul) 55,
Carr (foul) 83
Chelsea - None
The flat atmosphere that greeted the two
teams was a strange one for a London derby, but perhaps Tottenham fans
were expecting that their fate was already sealed. The fact that
only one goal did the sealing should not be allowed to hide the cracks
that need major repair in the summer, rather than the paper-thin
plastering that is currently going on under David Pleat.
say that the team Spurs put out against a Chelsea side missing some of
their big guns was nowhere near the West Londoners would be an
understatement. Playing Redknapp in such a game was a grave
mistake, as he is not accustomed to the pace of the Premier League and
although he might want to play for as long as possible, he might care to
do that for another club. His lack of pace, when tracking back was
cruelly exposed and that will not return. The reason I presume, he
was included was to add a passing presence in the midfield, but the
number of creative balls he sprayed around was minimal. Leaving
the field with a facial wound that required plastic surgery saw Jackson
brought on and put in the middle of the midfield, rather than on his
natural left side, where he could have done most damage.
Doherty and Carr recovering from their midweek knocks and Redknapp
restored to midfield, the Spurs side looked to be the strongest that
Pleat could select on paper. However, the team never really
gelled. With Tottenham making forward runs from the start, it
looked like we might take the game to Chelsea, but as the game settled
down, they took control with increasing possession of the ball.
Early shots from both sides flew wide of the target, with Taricco and
Lamppost shooting well over. The most dangerous effort came from a
corner, when Hasselbaink nodded the ball goalwards and Robbie Keane,
stationed on the post, kicked the ball out.
Defoe, who looked lively and put in a lot of effort in closing players
down, produced Tottenham's best effort to bring a save from Ambrosio in
each half. Taking a neat pass in from Brown, he turned and drilled
in a low shot that the Italian keeper got down to hold. The narrow
margins that make such a big difference showed themselves, when Keano
slipped a perceptive pass through the square Blues back-line, but
Stephen Carr was just unable to get on the end of it. The lack of
a tall forward might have cost Tottenham a goal, as in the next attack,
Ziege's precise right footed cross found Ledley King ghosting in between
two Chelsea defenders to get in a free header. However, his lack
of experience in such situations saw him snatch at the header and put it
well wide, without making Ambrosio work for his money.
what do you know, Spurs allow a 38th minute lapse of concentration to
gift Chelsea a goal. Carr went missing in his right back role,
leaving Duff with space wide of the box. As Doherty came in to
close him down, he delivered a low ball into the heart of the goalmouth
and Hasselbaink was there to stick it past Keller for the lead. IT
was a soft goal and one that the visiting side had looked unlikely to
get up until that point. However, Spurs rarely looked like
breaking through and even a minute after the goal, when Ziege sent Keane
away from the halfway line, he took the ball all the way into the area,
but his shot was kept out with the keeper's foot.
the half time oranges beckoned, Spurs flung in a couple of crosses that
flew across the face of goal, with Keane and then Defoe unable to get on
the end of them. The latter was Ziege's last part in the game, as
he was replaced by Kanoute at the start of the second half, but the move
to put Keane back into midfield barely worked, with him being a more
advanced player than Kanoute on many occasions. That left Spurs a
bit light in midfield and as Chelsea knocked the ball about with
consummate ease, there was little to suggest that Tottenham might get an
Even when we did get
near the goal, there was little fortune happening
for Tottenham. On two occasions, it looked like hands were used to
stop Spurs players getting to the ball. Firstly, in the first
half, Melchiot got the wrong side of Keane and as the ball dropped over
his head, he stuck out an arm that knocked the ball away from the
Irishman. Then even more blatantly, a shot fired in from outside
the box was deflected away from goal, by John Terry's arm held stiffly
out from his body. The ref and the lineman must have been among
the few who did not see it as a handball, but then it appeared that
Bennett was reluctant to give any decision to Spurs ... even to the
extent that he did not wave appeals away (as is the norm), but just
moved on dispassionately to his next erroneous decision. And that
also includes the missing of Gronkjaer being all over and holding down
Doherty at a corner. He did
see Taricco's cynical trip on Hasselbaink, who wanted to start a fight
about it (doesn't he always ?) and adjudged Carr's tackle on Makelele
near the end as a bookable offence, when it looked as though the former
Real Madrid man was happy to fall under the slightest pressure.
This was something that Parker was also displaying, so it is a real
surprise that he didn't sign for Arsenal rather than Chelsea. He
was also doing his best to wind up Taricco as was Hasselbaink and
Lamppost. Perhaps the time has come to leave this object of
opposition wind-ups out of the side for a while.
did well to stop a sharp shot from Duff and to keep Lampard out when he
ran through the heart of the Tottenham defence following a five pass
move taking Chelsea from their box to ours. He was also alert when
Gudjohnsen broke through to get to the ball first, but he let himself
down with his kicking and distribution today. Some of which was
not helped by the static nature of our side, when they failed to move
into space to receive the ball. However, KK's kicking was woeful
and his attempt to dribble the ball away from Hasselbaink even worse !!
deft piece of work from Defoe almost caught Ambrosio off his line when
he chipped up a shot from 30 yards that looked like it might just drop
in under the bar, then came another shout for a penalty. Keane
produced a piece of skill to win the ball from Terry and then dinked it
over Melchiot's head in the box. As he turned and ran on to it, he
was fallen on and although he managed to get the ball to Kanoute, there
was blatant contact and no question that most referees would have at
least considered whether it was a spot-kick. However, this ref
failed to give it and Kanoute was blocked by the keeper's dive.
put together a late rally, but it was all too late to make much of an
effect on the Chelsea defence. Gardner headed a corner towards
goal and the keeper palmed it away, then in injury time, Anthony nodded
a Jackson cross back across goal and Robbie Keane threw himself at it to hit a
shot that was always going over the bar. The few chances Tottenham
did make they failed to make Ambrosio produce a difficult save and there
is the crux for Spurs at the moment. The games of many goals have
gone to be replaced by a barren outfit, who are missing Simon Davies in
midfield and the ones who are not favoured by Pleat (Ricketts and
Dalmat) and are left off the bench, but who might make a difference in
the outcome of some of these games. Poyet's presence is one borne
of nostalgia ... not of any aim to get something from a match.
reality of this game was that Chelsea were using it as a gentle canter
ahead of their Champions League match against Arsenal. I hope they
experience as much luck in that game and come out of it with the same
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JERMAIN
|No passion against a side surely
trying to evade injury for Tuesday.
No passing, which is what I thought Redknapp was in the side for.
No shape as the team was unbalanced with Pleat's picks.
No midfield, as Chelsea ran through the middle of the park with ease.
No tactical awareness of what was needed to change the direction of the
No practical use of the substitutes brought on.
No legs in midfield to cover when defending.
No decent service to the forwards.
No atmosphere from the fans, because there was
No action to get excited about.
All this means is ...
No win against Chelsea in 37 matches in the league.
a very good game was it ? I noticed when we have little strikers,
we have the habit of pumping high balls all the time.
Should we avoid picking Taricco anymore this season, as I feel a
red card will eventually come his way ? I don't think we can
afford this, or allow the opposition to wind him up. I felt
we were playing in slow motion for best part of the game, and should
have used a bit more pace at times, because Chelsea were using it as a
training match (or so it seems).
|At this rate we
will never beat Chelsea, as their fans reminded us at the end of the
game. We huffed and puffed and had a few chances but nothing gilt edged.
Chelsea had the better of us in all departments. The truth is they are
years ahead of us and we are stuck in mid table with about twelve other
It doesn’t help when your
caretaker plays Keane on the left, Brown on the right and Doherty in
defence! We have the players to play in their rightful positions.
The sooner Robinson comes to The
Lane from Leeds the better the defence will be. Keller is a good shot
stopper, but dealing with crosses and his kicking leave a lot to be
King should play alongside either
Gardner or Mabizela. Mabizela is The South African Captain and Pleat is
not playing him. Have a word.
The middle of the park with
Redknapp, Brown and King in today’s match was just over run. Lampard,
Parker and Makelele showed us the difference in the teams. Those three
Chelsea players starved our forwards of any kind of service.
Seeing Redknapp injured again just confirms that this player is injury
prone. Brown tries hard, but if we want to go forward then, at
best, he is a squad player.
We know the strikers can and will
score goals, and it seems to me that Pleat is trying to keep them all
happy by having all three of them on the pitch, which either leaves us
short at the back or in midfield.
We need at least two, if not
three, top class midfield players if we want to be challenging for a
European place and once we can secure that on a regular basis, we might
then think about a Champions League place. Again we find ourselves
at the season's end two or three players short. When you think Hoddle brought
in five players at the beginning of the season, with Defoe and Brown
arriving in January and we still need players, and a manager, what kind
of a mess are we in ?
I dread the up and coming game
against the forces of evil. I know we will give them a good game,
but like today’s game against Chelsea I would have taken a draw before
kick off. Let us hope next season is a lot better than this poor
season that we have had.
|Having seen Taricco's actions on
TV, I must agree with the pundits that he is a liability to Tottenham
and although he is a target for provocation, he has simply not learned
to deal with it. I don't think it is his "Argentinian
blood" like Micky Adams said a few weeks back, I think he just does
not have the right mind-set to deal with it.
Some players such as Vieira and
Roy Keane have learned to deal with the winding -up that goes on, but
Taricco's off the ball antics do nothing to endear him to the opposition
and their fans and he actually provides a incitement
for them to raise their game. Some players such as Savage manage
to wind teams up so much they lose their shape, but you could see that
Chelsea were not going to lose out to a team with Taricco in it.
He was lucky that the ref did not
see what went on, although that was entirely in keeping with everything
else he didn't see in the match. Going back to Hoddle's early
days, he made the point that he did not want Tottenham players
committing fouls like the one Taricco did at Everton and he needs to
calm down if eh is to be of any use to Spurs.
After getting booked (and being
lucky it was Gardner alongside Hasselbaink when he cynically tripped
him, or he would have been off), he was withdrawn before he got sent
off. The callers to the radio phone-ins saying it was because he
has been out with a thigh problem were deluding themselves. There
were not many around me at the ground who felt it within them to applaud
the actions he took in the white shirt of Spurs.
It is a shame, because in a few
games of late he has played some good football and stuck to his
defensive duties without resorting to the unnecessary antics.
Someone remind him of why we
bought him, because I am sure it wasn't because of this sort of uproar.
this weekend :
F A Cup Semi-Finals