Looking Forward



Premier League

Saturday 11th November 2000

And so, just when it seemed Le Beau David would not come back to haunt us, he looks likely to come back and haunt us.  I know many fans are making the trip to Villa Park to see Ginola in action against us, just to remind Spurs fans of what a creative midfielder/winger can do.  However, even if he does play, the odds are that he doesn't run the course of the match, as he is yet to complete 90 minutes for the Villans.  His relationship with John  Gregory will be interesting once he is fit again, as the manager needs to get someone who can make things happen going forward and Ginola needs to play, but he is the sort of player who Gregory would not inherently trust.

As for the rest of the side, Joachim has done well since staying at Villa Park and his pace could cause problems.  Dublin looks like he could also return to face the side he loves scoring against !!  And Merson has hit a bit of form, but whether he would be played in the same side as Ginola could be in question.  Spurs do need to stop the ball getting knocked into Dublin's head, as this could be our undoing.   

Hendrie is buzzing in midfield, but has been suffering a lack of discipline which resulted in his sending off against Arsenal recently.  Former Forest midfielder, Steve Stone is back in the fold and behind him the other baldie, Wright is still going strong at Right Back.  Boateng has not made the impact it was hoped for at Villa and Ian Taylor is sill getting a run out in midfield too.  Barry is the real star for the future at the club, now playing alongside Gareth Southgate and Alpay, the Turkish import, who has settled down a bit after a rocky start to his career in England.

For Tottenham, and George Graham, a win is desperately needed and although Villa haven't been starting any fires this season, they have hit a little bit of form with a last minute goal against Everton giving them the points last week.  Tottenham will no doubt employ the 5-3-2 formation again to try and stifle the threat from an early surge from the home side.  However, Vega against Dublin ??  Dodgy.  Carr against Ginola ??  Bit more comfortable with that one.  But as usual, it will be going forward that is the problem.

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.



Aston Villa  2  Tottenham 0    Saturday 11th November 2000

Goalscorers – Taylor 22 & 57
Attendance – 33,608

Aston Villa – James, Alpay, Southgate (Delaney 24), Barry, Stone, Taylor, Boateng, Merson, Wright, Joachim (Ginola 78), Dublin.
Subs not used – Enckleman, DeBilde, Hendrie

Tottenham Hotspur – Sullivan, Perry, Young, Vega, Carr, Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence, Thatcher, Rebrov (Doherty 83), Ferdinand (Armstrong 45).
Subs not used – Walker, King, Thelwell

This was another appalling away performance in front of the largest crowd of the season at Villa Park. The new main stand is nearing completion, which is more than can be said for this Spurs side, as Tottenham were completely overrun by Villa. Spurs seemed to lack confidence and showed a complete lack of organisation. They had no appetite for the game and lacked passion and commitment. All this despite a huge contingent of travelling fans who really got behind the team in the second half.

John Gregory the Villa manager left Ginola on the bench but he was still greeted by the Spurs fans with cries of “You're Spurs and you know you are”.  As the teams came on the Villa fans held up large £ signs as part of an organised protest against their club’s lack of spending. They should be so lucky!

The first incident of the game came when Ferdinand was defending and clashed heads with Southgate. Both players eventually left the field and went to the dressing room. There was a lengthy period of ten a side during which Villa took an inevitable lead after sustained pressure. Wright floated a cross, which Taylor stole in to meet unchallenged and floated his header over a stranded Sullivan. Ferdinand reappeared but Villa substituted Southgate. Spurs should have followed their example as Ferdinand spent the rest of the half wandering around totally bemused by what was going on. He did not come out for the second half. The only real effort for Tottenham in the first 45 minutes came when Anderton finished a good move with a well struck shot straight at James.

The second half continued the pattern of Villa domination. Just when it started to look as if Spurs could lift themselves Villa scored again. Dublin played a clever ball to Taylor who had advanced unmarked down the left. He collected, controlled and drilled past Sullivan into the bottom corner. For some unknown reason Taylor then decided to stand directly in front of the Spurs fans to celebrate his goal. A clear case of incitement although fortunately the Spurs fans did not overreact. Seen it all before!

During the second half Tottenham had another shot on target, which makes two in ninety minutes. This time it was Doherty who hit his effort straight at James.

On 78 minutes David Ginola entered the game to cheers all round the stadium. His first run brought a foul from Sherwood (too slow) and a yellow card for the Spurs man. Ginola looked his usual comfortable self on the ball and on one occasion fed Merson who volleyed just over. There had been an amusing incident earlier in the half involving Merson. The former Gooner was booed all afternoon and when he took his first corner in front of the Spurs fans one wag ran forward and showered Merson with a handful of betting slips nicked from the bookies.

The game finished with Villa convincing winners. The scoreline could have been greater. Dublin hardly broke sweat but still ran Ramon Vega ragged. The teams left the field to jeers from the Spurs fans and there was also the usual torrent of abuse for George. One thing is certain. If you are struggling at home a visit from Spurs will soon put matters right. Listening to 606 on the journey back one fan said the answer is obvious. Ramon Vega clearly does not have the ability to play at this level. That is clear to all and to compensate we now seem to be playing an additional centre back in Luke Young to compensate for Vega’s inadequacies. This completely upsets the balance of the side. Thatcher struggles at left back and is even worse as a wingback. The midfield at Villa was overrun. Still the next away game is only at Old Trafford.


Eric the Viking


Run Away


If Spurs play away, then there is only ever going to be one result.  How George Graham can stand there after the match and say that the side lacks confidence and that he doesn't know why they play so differently away from home than they do at White Hart Lane, I don't know.  I always thought that was his job.  Surely he should be motivating them and working out how to play away from home.  Simply suggesting to the players that they approach the game in the same way as they would a home match could be a start.

Sullivan seemed to get his angles all wrong for the second goal, leaving one side of the goal gaping for Taylor to finish of a nice move.  But then who was running with him from midfield ??  Let someone have that much space and time and of course we will be punished.   As stated above, Ramon Vega is rapidly becoming too much of a liability, as opponents go past him with impunity.  We might as well be playing the Invisible Man at centre half !!  With a heavily defensive set up, it is asking for home sides to come out and attack Spurs when on the road, so why not beef up the midfield and put someone in there who would be able to retain possession, either by holding onto the ball or by passing to a Spurs shirt ??  Get rid of Les up front as he can't control the ball and doesn't play well with Rebrov and Sherwood is again exhibiting petulance when he can't get his own way, by picking up another yellow card.  If this goes on GG might have no option than to play the youngsters with injuries and soon to come suspensions hitting the squad.

The latest news about Carr's contract negotiations going badly and David Sullivan's interest in the club are not reasons to be cheerful, but there is little positive to come from the on field action.  Two shots directed straight at the keeper in the entirety of the match is a pretty poor return for any side.  Having paid £11 million for a top class striker and having sold our main supply line, how are we now providing him with chances ?  We are not, it is that easy.  Ginola got the fully expected ovation and he showed in the short time on the pitch that he could have served Tottenham well this season.  Maybe not for every match for 90 minutes, but enough to make us play better than we currently are.

Everything is geared up now for the televised visit of Liverpool next Sunday and the protest from fans who have taken enough.  Will it make Sugar decamp ?  Not if his comments of today about Sullivan's attempt to buy into the club are to be believed.  Any attempt to remove him from the company would have to involve a business deal with considerable financial backing, as it is not only the money required to make him feel that it is worth his while to go, but more funds will be required to pump into the club to make it great again.  Who would realistically put that much money on the line at the moment, with the way the team are playing ??

Barry Levington


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