Saturday 15th January 2005
long run goes on and still Spurs are yet to beat Chelsea in the
Premier League. Will it end at White Hart Lane on Saturday ??
Well, both teams are in good form, with the panoply of stars that
Chelsea have at their disposal and the young stars Spurs have hungry
to make their mark, it could be a very good game.
The League Cup semi on Wednesday saw Chelsea hit their heads against a brick wall and with Spurs having morally beaten Man U this might be a tighter game than we might have thought after the comings and goings of the summer and early season. We might even be able to leave the bus in the car park !!
The goalkeeper Petr Cech has made a big impression as a big bloke like him should. A parsimonious goalie and one with good reflexes, he will be a hard one to beat and if he is keeping Cudicini out, then he must be good, as the Italian would be first choice elsewhere.
In front of him, Spurs have been linked with most of the Chelsea defence !! Glen Johnson was supposed to be coming on loan, as he was not getting much of an opportunity; Bridge was going to be part of the swap deal for Defoe and German central defender Robert Huth has also been linked with Tottenham. The stock back four would be John Terry, who is dominant in the air, WIlliam Gallas, who adds speed and height; Paolo Ferreira, a classy ball-player in the defence and Carvalho, who is a determined and cool full back.
The midfield is where the damage tends to be done. With a choice of Makelele, Smertin, Lampard, Jarosik, Cole, Duff, Geremi, Tiago and Parker (if he was fit), the engine room is a formidable sight ... even just on paper. There is power and skill there and when you look at the forward line-up who might convert the chances this lot make, it is even more frightening.
Kezman, Drogba, Robben and Gudjohnsen have all been scoring lately, with Kezman the one taking the longest to settle. The Spurs defence will get a good test as Mourinho will want to make up for the 0-0 at the Bridge earlier in the season by putting our defence up against it.
I think that the Tottenham team now will provide more of a challenge, but there is the question of which team Mourinho will field. If he puts s full strength side out (and we are unlucky to catch them without a match next midweek), we might struggle ... even if we can put our first choice XI out. But I think in Defoe we have a match winner and the total is more than the individual parts these days. That is why ... at long last ... I think we will get the following result that we have waited for too long
PREDICTION : - Tottenham Hotspur 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 HOTSPUR : - Simon Davies (virus); Sean Davis (knee); Rohan Ricketts (knee); Thimothee Atouba (knee);
CHELSEA : Mikael Forssell (knee); Scott Parker (broken foot); Ricardo Carvalho (broken toe); Robert Huth (ankle);
|Tottenham Hotspur 0 Chelsea 2 (Half-time score : 0-1)|
|Premier League||Venue : White Hart Lane|
|Saturday 15th January 2005||Kick Off : 15.00 p.m.|
|Crowd : 36,105||Referee : G. Poll (Tring)|
|Weather : Mild, but turning chilly in the second half|
|Teams : -|
Pamarot (Marney 72)
Mendes (Yeates 78)
Drogba (Gudjohnsen 76)
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
Lampard (p) 40
|Cards : -|
Brown (pushing at a free-kick) 87
Duff (dissent) 36
|Match Report : -|
Some controversial Graham Poll officiating and some dodgy behaviour from the visiting Chelsea players ensured that our poor run against the West Londoners continued in what became a game decided by which way the whistle blew. With most of the important moments in the match decided by Poll in the favour of his beloved Chelsea, a win in the game was never within Tottenham's reach.
Some early efforts by Spurs showed that the side Martin Jol has forged did not fear the Pensioners. Edman fired in a shot that rocketed over the bar. A moment of slow-motion action in the 17th minute almost cost Spurs a goal when a long Makelele ball was chased down by Drogba and he got there before Robinson's hesitant advance from goal, but the Frenchman's lob over the England number one dropped wide into the side netting.
Defoe was starved of supply throughout the game and he was double marked most of the match, but with 19 minutes gone, he picked up the ball on the left wing and weaved his way back outside the penalty area and struck a shot that must have caught Cech off balance, because he pushed the ball out in the continental style rather than take would should have been a routine catch. King's partnership with Naybet was restored in the centre of the defence and they took turns to produce timely tackles to stop Drogba and Robben getting in on goal, but when Duff got the ball on the "D" and hit an early shot on the half hour, Robinson reacted well to push it wide of the goal.
Then Pamarot got caught the wrong side of Robben as he ran into the area and although the first contact took place outside the box, Robben's weakness was exposed as he crumpled inside the area and claimed a penalty. Needless to say, Pamarot and Naybet did not agree and stood over him berating him vehemently. Mr. Poll ... well, all he did was have a quick word with the Flying Dutchman.
Damien Duff, obviously jealous of Robbie Keane's nomination for FAI Player of the Year, while he was not put up for the award, pulled his international team-mate back and then held onto the ball getting a yellow card for his trouble. From the open play resulting after the free-kick, Pedro Mendes could have taken a first time shot, but chose to wait and float an attempt that drifted wide of Cech's goal. But then, before you knew it, we were a goal down.
It was a moment that turned the game in Chelsea's favour, as they had looked little like scoring before that. A long ball was retrieved by Duff and laid into the box, when Ledley King went to clear it. At the same time, Smertin came in and dropped to the turf to hear the whistle blow in his favour. It looked a dive and TV evidence later showed that it was harsh at the very least. But that doesn't worry Poll and he gave Lampard the opening to give Chelsea the lead, which he took, but only just - putting his spot-kick inches out of Robbo's reach. The resolve among the Blues to keep their lead showed in some cynical play, with Johnson felling Ziegler straight after the goal in what might be leniently described as a "no-nonsense manner." Only a woeful piece of finishing from Robben saved Spurs from going in to the dressing room 0-2 down, after Drogba had held of King to lay the ball into the winger's path, but proved that he is not the best thing since sliced bread by slicing it wider than a doorstep sandwich.
For me, the crucial decision came just four minutes after the restart, with Robbie Keane receiving a low left wing cross from Ziegler in the penalty area and Gallas came in with a challenge in an incident exactly the same as King's on Smertin, but this time Poll was disinterested. With a clear view, he chose to ignore the fact that there was as much contact and that the only difference was that Keano failed to hit the ground like the Russian Blue boy. This opened a spell in the match that saw a chance at each end. With Drogba using his power to latch onto a 56th minute ball through the middle, he seemed away for the second goal, but Naybet caught him up as he stalled his run and got enough on it to take the ball off him. Then, three minutes later, a Spurs corner on the left wing was whipped in low to the near post by Defoe and Smertin tried to clear the ball, but only succeeded in getting a knee to it, which took the ball in an arc up and a foot wide of the far post with nobody alive to it ... including the Chelsea defence. It was a lucky escape and evidence that luck is not on Tottenham's side at the moment.
Again, the two teams exchanged attempts on goal, with Ziegler hitting a shot wide and Drogba rising to head a Ferreira cross powerfully, but off target. With 25 minutes left, Jol decided that he needed some physical presence up front, so brought on Gardner for Ziegler. Thinking he might throw the tall central defender into central attack, the coach switched King up front and installed Gardner in the back four. Chelsea tried to counter this by introducing Jarosik to the park.
While few clear cut chances came from this new tactic, the panic it cause dint he Chelsea defence might have brought Spurs some joy. A long Edman cross was nodded down by King to Defoe and the ball ended up at Mendes' feet and he lashed a shot in that flashed across the face of goal. Then a cross from substitute Marney on the right found Keane at the far post and he took a touch inside to beat his man and hit s fierce shot that was always rising over the bar.
Yeates' introduction was designed to get him to run at the defenders and when he slipped the ball inside to Defoe, we had high hopes, but the shot was dragged weakly wide. With just six minutes left, all hell broke loose. A free kick was given and Terry grabbed the ball and would not release it. Poll brandished the yellow card in his direction and as Tottenham lined up the free-kick with Edman and Carrick on the ball, Brown stationed himself in the wall and got a shove from Makelele. Brown pushed back and received an elbow in the head for his troubles. This took place just five yards from Poll and his decision ?? A yellow card each. Hardly fitting punishment when a raising of hands = red !! When the dead ball was eventually hit, Carrick floated an effort into Cech's hands.
With injury time on the clock, Spurs had a throw-in near their own corner. It went down the line, but a header won it for Chelsea and Gudjohnsen took it down left wing to the touchline and cut it back. Robinson got a hand to it and pushed it out, but only to Lampost who hit a low shot past a couple of players on it's way in. It was a cruel ending and one that the Spurs team did not deserve as they were not two goals worse than Chelsea on the day. Arising from the fact that Spurs were pushing for an equaliser and the defence being caught on the break, the same almost happened in the fourth minute of added time, but Gudjohnsen's shot went wide.
Another dodgy decision against a top three team and another loss in a London derby. It is hard to see where a win against either will come with the lack of fortune we experienced. But even without the luck we needed, it is a more optimistic outlook for Tottenham and even though we failed to get a point as we did at Stamford Bridge, I think there is enough evidence to show that the team has progressed since then.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MICHAEL CARRICK
|BLIND OR STUPID ?|
|How cynical can a side be in
their desperation to become title winners ?
First half time-wasting. Diving whenever in the box. Stopping free-kicks being taken. Throwing elbows at opponents right in front of the referee. Taking players out when they looked like they might make ground at vital times in the game. Staying down when hardly touched.
It was like watching Porto winning the UEFA Cup against Chelsea in 2003.
The League might be theirs, but put it down to "professionalism" and a huge pile of money.
While Spurs lost 0-2, they failed to produce the notorious "bus" and went at Chelsea rather than sitting back and hoping for a draw. Jol showed that he knows how to play the game and today there was only one side who wanted to play football.
0-2 sounds bad, but if this is a champion team, Spurs are not too far behind them and with a bit of luck might have stopped them opening a ten point lead at the top of the table.
Tottenham are a team in development. We know what has to be done and the men in charge will try and get there. We're not quite there yet, but it does not look as though it might be far off.
And we will do it our way.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Aston Villa||3||Norwich City||0||Saturday|
|Charlton Athletic||3||Birmingham City||1||Saturday|
|Manchester City||3||Crystal Palace||1||Saturday|
|Fulham||1||West Bromwich Albion||0||Sunday|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||23||1||10||12||17||44||13||-27|
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