Looking Forward

 

EVERTON (Home)

Premier League

Sunday 12th January 2003

With both teams suffering humiliating defeats in the FA Cup last time out, they will both be looking to get back on winning ways.  Shrewsbury's win over the Toffees at Gay Meadow was a major setback along the path that David Moyes was leading his side.  However, their rise this season has been remarkable and one player has hit the headlines, although the team ethic has ruled Goodison Park.

Richard Wright found a good streak of form following a dodgy start against us in the first game.  A big and intimidating keeper, he sometimes surprises with his lack of judgement to low shots.  Steve Simonsen is just coming back from a  broken toe and Paul Gerrard has been recalled from Ipswich, where he was on loan, as cover.

The dfenec has been pretty stingy this season.  Height has played a big part with Stubbs, Weir, Yobo, Unsworth and Pistone all lending inches to the cause.  With Naysmith, Watson or Hibbert on the flanks, the back line has conceded just 24 goals.  They are well organised, but with a significant number of those players out injured or suspended, it may lead to a new partnership that could let Spurs in, if they can get mobile enough in and around the box to exploit any chinks in the Everton defensive armour.  It is not hard to see how they have won several of their games 1-0.

With a run of draws and some hard games to face soon, the midfield will be trying to tighten the game into a narrow section of the pitch to restrict the use of the width by Spurs.  By squeezing in the play, they can battle through the middle using the power of Carsley, Gravesen and Pembridge.  However, with the wild eyed Dane Gravesen missing, the Blues might lack the edge in midfield.  Gemmill lacks a punchy tackle and Alexandersson has come in, but has not been in Moyes' first choice XI.  Chinese international Li Tie has brought a new audience to the side and although he hasn't made a massive impact, his compact play has been useful between the boxes.

Everton have been hit up front for this match too.  Kevin Campbell is supposedly out with an injury, wonder-kid Wayne Rooney will not be able to reproduce his 30 yard effort of last season's FA Youth Cup semi-final as he is suspended and Joe Max-Moore has been released.  The elusive Duncan Ferguson is still out injured, while Brazilian newcomer Rodrigo has missed the bulk of the season through injury and is only just returning to training.  That leaves Thomas Radzinski up front with new loan signing Brian McBride, brought in from the USA.  How the two will pair up with McBride having had but a few days with the squad, we will see.  He can be powerful in the air and Radzinski is nippy in the penalty area.  It could prove a useful combination.

The team have had a little lull after a record run of six straight Premiership wins.  However, their midfield will dominate with hard running and hard tackling, but Spurs must take advantage of the missing Toffees to make sure they have a sweet finish.  I don't think Sheri will be on the menu, but with limited options in attack, Hoddle might choose to bring in Iversen, who he has a soft spot for, with Etherington on the left.  It is a shame Les is injured, as he usually scores against Everton, but then we will have to learn to do without him.  Don't expect Spurs to show too much improvement from the SCBC defeat, as the lack of a killer touch will continue until we bring in a consummate goal-poacher.  A narrow win for Tottenham, with the pay per view audience wishing they had saved their £5 !!

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  1   Everton  0

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

 

 

Tottenham  4    Everton  3  (Half-time score : 1-1)
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Sunday 12th January 2003
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  14.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, dry
Referee : -  S. Dunn (Avon)
Crowd : -  36,070
Teams : -  
Tottenham : -  Keller; Perry, Doherty, King, Carr; Davies, Poyet, Anderton, Bunjevcevic; Iversen (Acimovic 80), Keane.
Unused Subs : - Sullivan, Taricco, Blondel, Gardner

Everton : - Baardsen; Yobo (Carsley 86), Pistone, Stubbs, Unsworth; Li Tie (Osman 90), Gemmill, Naysmith, Watson; Radzinski, McBride.
Unused Subs : - Alexandersson, Pembridge, Said

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

Everton -  Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks

Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  Poyet 13, Keane 50, 68, 84

Everton -  McBride 10, Watson 58, Radzinski 74

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  Doherty (foul) 78

Everton -  Gemmill (foul) 28

Three points for Spurs and a thoroughly entertaining end-to-end seven goal thriller, which owed much to bad defending from both sides, proved to be suitable compensation following the previous weekend’s FA Cup humiliation at Southampton. 

Understandably, Hoddle made changes to the side, with places in the starting line-up for all four outfield players who had been on the bench at St Mary’s - Bunjevcevic, Doherty, Anderton and Iversen replacing Taricco, Thatcher, Freund and Sheringham respectively.  Everton were missing wonder-kid Wayne Rooney, out through suspension, and a pre-match injury to Richard Wright saw on loan former Spurs goalkeeper Espen Baardsen between the sticks for the visitors.

The Toffees, having themselves suffered an FA Cup nightmare, with defeat at Third Division Shrewsbury Town, settled the better and their American striker Brian McBride, put through with consummate ease by Scott Gemmill, calmly slotted the ball past Kasey Keller to mark his first appearance for the club with a goal after only ten minutes.  Four minutes later, captain Poyet redirected Simon Davies’ header following a weak clearance from a corner and we were level.  It was vital that we replied quickly - had we remained behind for long the inevitable increasing frustration of the crowd may well have adversely affected the Spurs players confidence and performance.  Everton continued to look the more threatening and quickly got players up to support their attacks, which is something that we struggled to do.  

At the back we looked weak in the air and clearly missed Dean Richards.  However, Everton also looked vulnerable in defence.  Up front, Robbie Keane had looked lively enough in the first half but after the interval he was unstoppable.  Five minutes into the second half Poyet’s pass found Keane, who rounded the floundering Baardsen with no problems at all before slotting the ball into the net.  This time it was our turn to fail to hold on to the lead, the impressive Everton right back Steve Watson equalising eight minutes later following some poor defending by Iversen, who, in one of his rare starts this season, failed to make much of an impression. 

Keane’s second goal of the afternoon, after 68 minutes, came about courtesy of another defensive error, this time a slip by Yobo, but the Irishman’s low drive into the bottom corner from around twenty yards out was an exquisite finish.  Once again, we were not in front for long - the lively Radzinski taking advantage of slack defending to fire home at the near post with sixteen minutes left.  The replacement of Iversen with Acimovic with eleven minutes remaining hinted at caution by Hoddle, maybe more concerned with hanging on to one point than going out for all three and risking defeat.  Or perhaps he just knew that Keane didn’t really need a striking partner.  With seven minutes left Robbie showed his persistence as his powerful run took him past Stubbs and Yobo before he beat Baardsen to complete his hat-trick and put us 4-3 up.  

For the third time in less than 35 minutes those fans in the corner of the West and Paxton Road stands were treated to a close-up of Keane’s celebratory somersaults.  This time there was no comeback for the visitors and the remaining time was played out with little threat to our goal and we held on for what was a vital win over one of the other clubs in the mini-league of teams all vying to finish high enough in the Premiership to qualify for next season’s UEFA Cup.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - ROBBIE KEANE

Andrew Ford

 

BORN THREE

 

Who would have thought that a game that featured two sides desperate for a result after being knocked out of the FA Cup would turn in a seven goal thriller, with the home side taking the points with a hat-trick performance from the player who journalists were saying couldn't hit the target ?

Robbie Keane's triple showed he is a consummate goalscorer and that he is not affected by the criticism of the press nor the fact that he had not score since Boxing Day.  The three goals were not the total contribution to the game, as his running at the Everton defence left them panicking every time he got the ball.  One run ended when he beat himself in the opposing penalty area, another when Stubbs nodded the ball out, as Keano tried an outrageous dink over a defender just two yards away from goal !!  

While the Tottenham back four had looked leaden footed in the tenth minute, when a totally simplistic pass through the middle of the defence saw McBride stride through to stroke the ball past Keller, the same was true of the Blues back line.  No-one could catch the American and there was accusing looks between the home defenders after the opening goal of the game.  Luckily, Tottenham were back on level terms just two minutes later, when a corner was conceded after Carr worked the ball on the right wing.  Anderton's corner was headed out, but Davies was first to the ball and his header was flicked on by Poyet and it went out of reach of the keeper and into the far corner of the net.  The keeper in question was Espen Baardsen. Only three weeks ago, he was watching Spurs play Arsenal at the Lane.  Now he was playing against them, thanks to Richard Wright injuring himself in the pre-match warm-up.

Tottenham's other best chance of the first half was when Stubbs' header back to Baardsen surprised him and he dived to save at the foot of the post.  In fact, he seemed on edge, pushing away Bunjy's low, swinging free-kick away at the last minute when everyone had missed it.  Shame Iversen couldn't have got something on the ball rather than jumping over the top of it, when Anderton bent in a free-kick later in the half.  It was all about dead ball situations, as Stubbs blasted one over and so did Unsworth, but the former did get a good header on a corner, which Keller had to dive and palm away.  Kasey did the same to deny Watson from another corner.  Tottenham were presented a good opportunity in a central position, when Bunjevcevic was brought down in the 'D' by Gemmill, who might have been dismissed had it been in the box.  Unfortunately, Anderton did a poor impression of Redknapp, as he tried to tee himself up a volley and it flew off the side of his boot and away off the wall.

Spurs appeared happy to concede territory and to defend deep, allowing Everton to run at them.  McBride almost got a second, from a similar position to the first, but Perry did just enough to stop him, then Radzinski had a rasping drive race past the angle with everyone standing off him.  Tottenham also looked happy for Everton t play the ball in to feet in the box, making it difficult for the Spurs defenders against a team who had forwards who could twist and turn in the area.  They managed to get away with it in the first half, but changed the tactics in the second to make it harder for Everton to get into such positions.  The half ended with Carr unleashing a low shot form distance that was going wide, but Baardsen pushed it aside for a corner.  Carr also had a shot when that was cleared, but it was off target thanks to a deflection.

Hal time brought the Deckchair challenge, where a fan from each side dribbles around three deckchairs and shoots past Chirpy. The quickest wins £1,000 in holiday vouchers form the club sponsor.  With the Everton fan taking an early lead, the Spurs fan fell on his second run, while the Blue was in winning position after his second go.  The Spurs fan made quick progress on his last run and hit a host that went low past s static Chirpy, who turned to the Paxton and gave them the thumbs up !!  The Evertonian skied his final effort, leaving his dreams of a grand to spend in Blackpool in tatters !!

The second half saw Tottenham pushing further up the pitch, a tactic that paid off five minutes into the half.  Darren Anderton played a straight pass through the middle of the Everton defence and Keane took the ball into the area, rounded Baardsen and shot into an unguarded net to give Spurs the lead.  This gave Spurs the taste for taking the match, with Carr and Poyet linking up to put in Davies, how hit a low shot which Espen managed to get a hand to and divert past the post.  However, just when you thought Spurs were settled, a far post header from Stubbs had to be turned away by Keller at the cost of a corner.  Iversen decided to try and scissor-kick the ball away.  Failed and it dropped in front of Steve Watson to sweep home for an equaliser.  Carr's annoyance was clear for all to see.

Pegged back, Tottenham had to break forward again.  Poyet's leading arm caught Stubbs in the face and he needed lengthy treatment on his nose.  Poyet did get his head to one that Baardsen kept out and as Keane ran into the box, Yobo denied the Irishman time on the ball.  But, following an attempted curler from Keane, the next time he took on the Nigerian, he had better results.  Carr and Anderton worked the ball on the right and played it infield to Keane on the edge of the box.  Yobo showed his naivety, by diving in, which allowed Keano to take the ball and turn away from him in one movement, firing the ball early, low past the goalie.  Tottenham in front once more.  And it was almost 4-2 when Davies put Iversen through, but the lob over his fellow countryman, just cleared the bar.  Another great chance arrived when the ball was played out to Keane on the halfway line and he tried to turn away from Li Tie.  The Chinaman pulled him back as Keane turned his man, but the ref nor lineman saw the tug, but Spurs went on and were denied a goal.  Unfortunately, the next time the ball went dead was when Everton equalised again. The offending player put Radzinski in inside the area and his low shot was well placed inside Keller's near post.  3-3 with fifteen minutes left.

Tottenham were denied a penalty when Pistone was all over Iversen in the box; a decision which would have been awarded anywhere else on the pitch; something Dunn proved minutes later when the same incident ten yards out of the area was worthy of a free-kick.  From it Anderton hit a 30 yarder low past the post and when Acimovic came on, he tried an ambitious volley that he screwed wide.  Just when it looked like Spurs wouldn't score again, they did.  A Baardsen goal-kick was headed straight back by Doherty and Stubbs, still suffering with a bloody handkerchief, misjudged the ball, leaving Keane a run on goal.  He took the ball past Yobo and dinked a little shot over the goalie for his hat-trick. It was a confident piece of finishing that showed he can round things off in the box.

The final minutes were quite tense, but uneventful, thankfully.  The team had put in the effort that had been missing at the New Dell and the work they expended for each other seemed to pay off.  The goals they conceded were sloppy, there were moments when you could see what Steffen Freund (notable by his absence today) meant about lack of spirit as accusatory glances abounded and the team still needs some players to return to provide stability.  However, Gus played a captain's role today and kept going, Davies was back to top form and we were all mightily glad that Keano was the one on the end of his three chances that were converted.  Iversen had a bit of a 'mare, while Doherty managed to make Radzinski look like Zidane on occasion.  Some of the Spurs passing was careless, giving the ball away when unpressured and the movement was often lacking to give the man on the ball an option to pass to.

However, the way they went forward and despite conceding twice in the second half, played without backing off, showed that there is some hope there.  Sheringham was missing sue to an injury, Richards still not recovered from his and the inclusion of Blondel and Gardner on the bench was nice to see, even if they didn't get on to the pitch. 

One win does not turn the season around, but you would hope that it might point them in the direction of what needs to be done for the remaining four months.

Isaac Gregory

 

 

Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 0 Arsenal 4 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Fulham 0 Saturday

Chelsea

4 Charlton Athletic 1 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Leeds United 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 2 SCBC 2 Saturday
Sunderland 0 Blackburn Rovers 0 Saturday
WBA 1 Manchester United 3 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Newcastle United 2 Saturday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 23 15 4 4 49 24 49
2 Manchester United 23 13 5 5 38 23 44
3 Chelsea 23 11 8 4 40 21 41
4 Newcastle United 22 12 3 7 37 31 39
5 SCBC 23 9 9 5 27 22 36
6 Everton 23 10 6 7 28 28 36
7 Liverpool 23 9 8 6 31 23 35
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 23 10 5 8 34 34 35
9 Manchester City 23 10 4 9 32 32 34
10 Blackburn Rovers 23 8 9 6 29 25 33
11 Middlesbrough 23 8 6 9 27 23 30
12 Leeds United 23 9 3 11 31 29 29
13 Charlton Athletic 22 8 5 9 25 29 29
14 Aston Villa 23 8 5 10 22 24 29
15 Birmingham City 23 6 7 10 19 31 25
16 Fulham 22 5 6 10 23 27 24
17 Bolton Wanderers 22 4 8 10 23 37 20
18 Sunderland 23 4 7 12 15 32 19
19 West Ham United 22 3 8 11 23 40 17
20 WBA 22 4 4 14 17 35 16

 

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