Looking Forward



Premier League

Sunday 3rd November 2002

Chelsea again ?  After last year's five matches with them, I was hoping for something better.  Like them going out of business perhaps ??  Still, that can wait until next year.

No doubt stung by the disappointment of going out of the UEFA Cup at the early stages for the this season in a row will make them more determined to do well in the league.  Not that this fixture needs to generate much geeing up of the players.

Spurs will find a Chelsea side who sit just above them in the League on goal difference, but only because of a decent run in form in the last few weeks with wins over lower half teams Manchester City and WBA.  They have struggled in games against other London clubs lately ... drawing with Arsenal and Fulham  before losing to West Ham at home.  But to their credit they did beat Newcastle and Blackburn, while they took one point from both SCBC and Man U.

There have been some rumours circulating that some of the players are just at Chelsea to pick up their wages and nothing more.  Well, the ones who have been playing are putting in some effort to produce some reward for weird talking manager Claudio Ranieri.  Especially Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who looked set to join Barcelona in the summer, but remains at the Bridge and might be doing his best in the shop window until the transfer one opens in January.  His three goals are eclipsed by the rejuvenated Gianfranco Zola, who has hit eight.  As a creator he was well known, so this goalscoring streak is somewhat of a revelation.

Cudicini has struggled to find his form of last season, but he's getting back there now, after injuring himself walking the dog in the close season.  He has little competition, as de Goey is getting old and Bosnich ever more invisible.

The defence has been picking itself, with Terry out of the picture since his CCTV appearance in court on charges of affray, of which he was acquitted.  That leaves little Le Saux, Desailly, Gallas and Melchiot in the back line.  The way that Spurs might get around them is to use Keane's pace and trickery, but we will need Teddy to make some runs to drag one of the back four out of position.  Maybe the attacking option of Simon Davies and Etherington might distract the flank defenders.  The Chelsea players have height and good skill on their side, but they can be caught out of position and Spurs will have to make the most of their offensive instincts.

Lampard has been more impressive in midfield this season, but his partners sin that area have varied regularly ... Petit, de Lucas, Stanic, Morris and more recently Zenden means that there has not been a pattern established in the side.  Also missing is Zola, who has played a more advanced role this term.  There is not a lot of height there and Tottenham should win most things in the air, but will have to beware of their ability on the ball and Zenden's pace when he gets going.  However, as Tottenham showed at Anfield, they can battle and play a lot of football, which could surprise the Blues midfield.

Hasselbaink we all know about ... just don't go near him in the box !!  Eidur Gudjohnsen is a very good player, who spoiled his reputation a bit at the Lane in last season's FA Cup tie by gesticulating to the crowd.  It was unnecessary and he should have know better.  The Icelander is blessed with pace good feet and he is a cool finisher too.  Hopefully he will be overlooked for this match.  One newcomer is lanky youngster Carlton Cole, who has made an impact in the games he has played this season.

The trick for Tottenham is to get amongst Chelsea early and restrict the amount of chances they have on goal, as their finishing ratio against us is usually very high.  Again, the two side's forwards will be the difference, as Tottenham need to improve their shots:goals ratio.  With many of the Tottenham team coming out of the treatment room, it could be a bolstered squad that comes into this game.  

It will never be an easy game, but the matches at the end of season against Chelsea were not representative of our season, after the collapse at Cardiff.  This season, the team has approached matches in a bright fashion (except Boro) and we must hope that there is a favorable outcome to this London derby.  A tight match and a close call in what could end up ...

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.



Tottenham  0   Chelsea  0  (Half-time score : 0-0)
Sunday 3rd November 2002
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  14.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Bright, but occasional squally showers
Crowd : -  36,049
Referee : -  R. Styles (Hampshire)
Teams : -  Tottenham : -  Keller; Perry, Richards, Bunjevcevic, Carr; Poyet (Acimovic 73), Redknapp, Freund, Davies; Sheringham (Ferdinand 90), Keane
Unused subs : - Hirschfeld, Gardner, Etherington

Chelsea : - Cudicini; Babayaro, Desailly, Gallas, Melchiot; Lampard, Petit, Morris, De Lucas (Oliviera 88); Zola, Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen 44)
Unused subs : - Pidgeley, Ferrer, Terry 

Colours : -  Tottenham -  White shirts, Navy blue shorts, White socks with navy blue turnover.

Chelsea -  Blue Shirts, Blue shorts, Blue socks

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  None

Chelsea -  None

Cards : -  Tottenham -  Sheringham (foul) 67, Acimovic (unsporting behaviour) 75, Keller (dissent) 81

Chelsea - Morris (foul) 64, De Lucas (foul) 77

With all the expectation on the Tottenham side in breaking the hoodoo, there was little more they could have done - except score - in this London derby.  A scoreless draw was a disappointing end to the fare that was served up, but probably a point apiece was just about right.

On another day Tottenham might have won all three if they hadn't been faced by a keeper in inspired form.  Cudicini made two excellent saves that would have beaten many goalies.  When Redknapp flicked up and hit one of his now trademark free-kicks, it looked for all the world that Spurs would take the lead.  However, despite going the wrong way, the Blues goalie dived at full length and upwards to tip the ball over the bar.  Jamie was already celebrating, but it was stopped short by the Italian's glove.

Into the second half, the Chelsea keeper made an equally sharp save when Teddy hit a shot from his favourite corner routine.  Meeting the ball off a skidding, wet surface, he drove it straight into the ground and it shot off the grass and was arrowing in, just under the bar.  Until Cudicini rose up and put the ball over the top.

These were the closest anyone came to breaking the deadlock, although it wasn't for the want of trying.  Melchiot hit a post from a free-kick with 56 minutes gone and Desailly couldn't react quickly enough to convert the rebound, but other than that Keller only had some fairly straightforward shots to hold.  De Lucas, Lampard and Zola had been in the clear in the box in the first half, but none of them could produce a finish, with the Spaniard robbed off his chance by a fine challenge, just as he was about to shoot.  Apart from that, it was just a few threatening low crosses across the box and the ever present danger presented by Zola's free-kicks.

Both Dean Richards and Chris Perry were in good form against Zola and Hasselbaink.  Deano was a formidable obstacle for the Chelsea stars to get around, while Perry was doing what he does best, getting on front of his opponent to win the ball before it even got to them.  They did so well that Hasselbaink quite happily limped off in the 44th minute, despite acting like he had fractured his leg a moment earlier, while his replacement Gudjohnsen only had one shooting chance, which he pulled wide.

Richards also found time to go on some forays upfield, spurred by his goal last week and almost got one when he headed a corner firmly down, but it hit the legs of a defender on the line.  If only Robbie Keane had been as accurate with his headed chances.  One on the quarter of an hour was put just wide, and a second half attempt over the bar, when he could have headed it back over Cudicini, but couldn't get his head around it.  Another after the break saw Robbie head over, although he had got above Gallas to win the ball and the Chelsea man's challenge was just enough to put him off.  A minute after Richards' effort was cleared from the line, Gus Poyet almost scored against his old side, but Cudicini rushed out to block his shot at close range.

Teddy was also guilty of spurning the few opportunities that came his way.  A couple of headers could have been better directed, although, again, Cudicini did well to hold one form a corner.  Spurs were losing out with Sheringham playing behind Keane, meaning that every time the ball was cleared, there was no-one to pick it up and when we went forward, there was no-one far enough up the pitch to link with Robbie.  Neither one thing nor the other was achieved.  They did play well in midfield though, with Redknapp instrumental in the good things that happened and Simon Davies always being available on the right to receive the ball.

Stand-in ref Rob Styles was doing his damnedest to give Chelsea the three points, including giving a free-kick against Perry for a stray hand that caught Zola (so never a foul anyway) and then booking Keller for clearing the ball (supposedly in dissent) and moving the ball ten yards forward.  That actually didn't help Chelsea and Desailly tried to move the ball backwards from the point it was placed by the ref.  First time I have seen that !!  As it turned out, all ended well, with the ball hitting the wall and being cleared.

With both teams just next to each other in the League, it should have been a close game and although Spurs perhaps edged the clearer chances, there wasn't a lot in it.  Luckily, Chelsea are still struggling and Tottenham didn't hit full throttle today, so perhaps the outcome was to be expected.

Three months until the next League fixture comes up with the Blues.  It will be so much sweeter to win at Stamford Badge !!


Mr. Jinx




There are some things in life that I just don't understand.  Supporting Chelsea is but one of them.  A bunch of money grabbing mercenaries describes them ... and that's only the fans !!  What would possess them to be followed with such die-hard passion ?  I suppose the knowledge that are not going to lose to Tottenham is one (if not the only reason).

This match looked like another in the long line as soon as Carlo Cudicini started to throw himself around like some Olympic acrobat on the parallel bars.  His save from Redknapp's "home made" free-kick" was almost gravity defying, while his leap to stop Teddy's drive into the wet turf was more than a fan could stand.  The keeper had just stopped Poyet by diving at his feet to give away the corner Ted's effort came from.  It was like we could have played all night without managing to get one past him.

Chelsea had started brightly and had a couple of openings, but their shooting was wayward, while Tottenham were at least trying to make the Blues goalie earn his corn.  Unusually attacking the Edmonton end for the first half, Keane could have done better when a cross was planted on his head, but he managed to get it wide of the mark.  Spurs best chance came from the above-mentioned free-kick by Jamie, but the lack of cohesion meant that the play swung back and forth.

The sight of Hasselbaink going down under challenge by Perry and frantically signalling to be substituted was fun, but why did the ref stop the game ?  There was not a head injury and although the Dutchman knew he was hurt, it was only a groin strain and then not one that was bad enough for him to be carried off.  He limped the width of the pitch to the bench, accompanied by boos.  And they wonder why he gets called a cheat ??

The other moment that made you remember why the West side of town was not for you was when the ball was running harmlessly back to Cudicini, but Desailly decided it was right and proper for him to step into Sheringham, who was closing down the keeper.  He spun Teddy right round and onto the floor.  The look of indignant rage on his face when the referee had the temerity to award Tottenham a free-kick was worth the money alone.  Shame he didn't get a card to go with it though. 

Like the wet and sunny weather throughout the game, the referee changed with the wind.  The linesman did change, as our friend Mr. D'Urso took the flag.  Rob Styles was all Spurs in the first half, but continued his whistle-blowing in the same direction in the second half.  It was interesting to hear that Deano got a scratch in the eye in the first half, but I don't remember him needing attention nor getting a free kick.  When Perry went up with Zola, who didn't even bother to jump, the Italian was left holding his eye and Perry left with a foul given against him,  To add salt to the wound, the ref booked Keller for booting the ball away and moved the ball forward 10 yards.  That actually helped Tottenham, as the ball could not be got over the wall and then down again, so Zola's shot flew into the wall and away.

Tottenham suffered at the ref's hand which brought out the yellow card for Sheringham and Acimovic too, with the Slovenian's offence being off the pitch, so where was the place-kick given ?  About a yard in form the touchline !!  De Lucas was lucky to be on the pitch, not that many people realised he was there anyway, so small was he.  He had a kick at Redknapp in the first half and then got a booking for pulling Davies' shirt.  Morris was another person of restricted growth who seemed to want to prove he was a big man, by kicking Davies too.

The best Chelsea chances came from free-kicks and they nearly nicked the points as Melchiot got a near post header on a Zola free kick that bounced across the six yard box and hit the upright.  Marcel Desailly was at the far post, but couldn't touch the ball home.  Another chance from a dead ball in the first half saw Zola almost creep in like Sinclair did in the West ham match earlier in the season.  Luckily, the ball would not come down for him.

Tottenham had done well, in matching the Chelsea midfield, which contained a bunch of scrappers.  Petit is nothing more than that these days, Lampard tries to drive forward, but lacks the power and finishing power to do so successfully.  De Lucas was crap (thankfully) and Morris mirrored the Spaniard's play.  Spurs were more creative there, but the forwards lacked the finishing touch today.  

Bunjy still gives jitters at left back, but looks more assured on the ball now he has had a few games.  Perry was outstanding today, as was his central defensive partner Dean Richards.  Neither let Chelsea have time on the ball and they were closed down very quickly too.

A point each and another statistic to mull over. It's a record that Tottenham will try and spin around when the two teams meet again in the League at Stamford Bridge next year.




Other scores this weekend :

Birmingham City                    2
Bolton Wanderers                 1

Blackburn Rovers                  0
Aston Villa                             0
Charlton Athletic                    1 Sunderland                            1 (Sunday)
Fulham                                   0     Arsenal                                  1 (Sunday)
Leeds United                         0 Everton                                 1 (Sunday)
Liverpool                               2
West Ham United                  0
Manchester United                2 SCBC                                    1
Newcastle United                   2     Middlesbrough                        0   (Monday)
WBA                                       1     
Manchester City                      2  


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Liverpool 12 9 3 0 24 9 30
2 Arsenal 12 8 2 2 27 13 26
3 Manchester United 12 6 4 2 16 9 22
4 Chelsea 12 5 5 2 20 12 20
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 12 6 2 4 17 16 20
6 Everton 12 6 2 4 15 15 20
7 Blackburn Rovers 12 5 4 3 18 13 19
8 Newcastle United 11 6 1 4 18 15 19
9 Middlesbrough 12 5 3 4 15 10 18
10 SCBC 12 4 4 4 12 12 16
11 Fulham 12 4 3 5 16 15 15
12 Birmingham City 12 4 3 5 14 15 15
13 Leeds United 12 4 2 6 13 13 14
14 Manchester City 12 4 2 6 11 18 14
15 Aston Villa 12 3 3 6 7 11 12
16 Charlton Athletic 11 3 2 6 10 16 11
17 West Ham United 12 3 2 7 10 19 11
18 Sunderland 12 2 4 6 6 16 10
19 WBA 11 3 1 7 9 20 10
20 Bolton Wanderers 11 2 2 7 11 21 8

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