Looking Forward



Premier League

Monday 18th March 2002

With Little left to play for except pride this season, Tottenham face a Charlton side who have yet to be defeated in a London derby.

With a losing run behind them, Spurs will be looking to put things right on the pitch, but the Addicks are a decent side under Alan Curbishley and they are not a push-over.  Their squad is not top class, but the manager has added sensibly to the core to bring in some players who fit the 4-4-2 system he adopts.

In goal, they have Dean Kiely, who revels in having a good game against us.  I can't remember him having a bad game when we've played Charlton since he joined them.  Sasa Ilic is in reserve, but is prone to costly mistakes, while Ben Roberts (the former Boro goalie), who has been farmed out on loan, but is now back at the Valley.

Steve Brown is the veteran of the defence ... or was until Jorge Costa came on loan until the end of the season from Porto.  Brown is a whole hearted defender, although is doubtful for this game, while Costa's experience has been useful, even though his legs aren't as young as they once were.  He reads the game well and with the nickname of "The Tank", he tackles players and they know they've been tackled.  Young centre-half Richard Rufus has lots of experience too, but has suffered a couple of bad injuries and made an appearance in the reserves against Spurs last week.  It might be too early for his inclusion in the team, but he might clinch a place in the squad.

South African international Mark Fish has had a change of heart and might turn out for his country in the World Cup, after initially saying he had retired from the international game.  He would have something to prove in this match to those watching who select the squad, but looks like his knee injury will rule him out until next month.  Stout defender Eddie Youds is also ruled out with no return date as yet, with the same injury.

Charlton have good depth in this area though and a familiar face to all Spurs fans will be the return to the Lane of Luke Young.  The England Under-21 defender was unlucky to be moved on from the Spurs squad, but has found a good home at Charlton and he reads the game well, which compensates for his slight lack of pace.  On the other flank Paul Konchesky has made a good start to his career with Athletic.  The youngest player to represent the club, he has made some noted names pay tribute to his performances, which are athletic and mature.

Two others who have found a regular place in the side of late are Jonathan Fortune and Chris Powell.  Fortune is a tall central defender and his height helps out at the back, where Charlton are a little lacking.  Powell has broken into the England squad, but might not make the trip to Japan, although he offers his club side an option by breaking forward on the left wing.  Being utilised form the bench in recent games is Radostin Kishishev, the Bulgarian, who has had a difficult time since moving to England, with injuries and not being able to hold down a regular place.

Having been persona non grata at Forest, Chris Bart-Williams moved to Charlton on loan, but now that has been made permanent.  A very desirable talent when younger, his career never really took off at Sheffield Wednesday or Nottingham Forest, where he was moved between attack and defence.  Finding a place in the Charlton midfield should suit him.  He's got good vision and can strike a beautiful free-kick.

He will be needed with industrious Republic of Ireland international Mark Kinsella just coming back from injury and being used sparingly, while Claus Jensen, another knee injury victim, will not be back in the team until the end of March.  Welshman John Robinson will work the line and get back to cover for the defence, alongside Graham Stuart, who sets a captain's example by covering lots of ground and getting into the box to show he used to be a striker.  Scott Parker is also a box to box player, with lots of skill, but he has a temperament perhaps a bit volatile to play at the highest level.

Among the forwards there is Shaun Bartlett, another South African, who went to the African Nations Cup and got on the scoresheet there.  An almost cert for the World Cup, he will be looking to maintain his form with the summer in mind.  However, in his absence, Mathias Svensson and Jason Euell have been paired up front.  They are both mobile and experienced, with Euell being the more dangerous of the pairing.  His strength makes him a difficult opponent to deal with and he has a fearsome shot to go with his good ability in the air.  Svensson is more a predator and the two have developed an understanding in quick time, although they are neither prolific scorers.  And that is where Charlton's problem has been.  The speed of their players has made them play on the break and the chances have been limited for the forwards.  When they did score four (for the one time this season), West Ham matched them.

It hasn't been helped by a long term injury to Jonatan Johansson, who is now just coming back to the first team and the injury that Martin Pringle was recovering from, but his loan spell at Grimsby Town to regain match fitness lasted less than one game.  His broken leg has cast a doubt over his whole career.  They do have the lively Kevin Lisbie, who did such damage to our defence in the previous meeting this season, but he has been on the periphery lately too.  A lightning quick striker, he still is developing and might need a while to gain a regular starting position.

There is strength and energy in the Charlton side that could be too much for the old boys of Tottenham.  Perhaps Hoddle will rest some of them and use Richards' hamstring problem to give Gardner, Perry and King the chance to make up a back three.  Rebrov could do with a start instead of Les, Davies and Etherington having a chance to show their worth in midfield.  If those changes are employed, then it should be a repetition of the last two visits of Charlton to WHL in the Premiership ... a score draw ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  2  Charlton Athletic  2

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



Tottenham  0   Charlton Athletic  1                               (Half time score:0-0)
Monday 18th March 2002
Venue :  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : 8.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Blustery, cold.
Crowd : -   29,602
Referee : -   Mr. J. Winter  (Whitley Bay)

Scorers : -   Tottenham  -   None
                  Charlton Athletic  -  Powell 70


Tottenham :  Gardner 35 (foul)

Charlton Athletic :  None 


Tottenham :  Sullivan; King, Perry, Gardner; Davies, Sherwood, Poyet, Anderton, Ziege; Ferdinand (Iversen 46), Rebrov (Etherington 72)
Unused Subs : -  Keller, Thelwell, Taricco

Charlton Athletic : Kiely; Young, Fortune, Rufus, Costa; Powell (Robinson 90), Parker (Konchesky 82), Stuart, Bart-Williams; Euell, Svensson 
Unused Subs : - Ilic, Kinsella, Johansson


Tottenham :  White shirts, navy blue shorts, navy blue socks

Charlton Athletic  :  Red shirts, white shorts, red socks

The defeat tonight was as bad as anything we have witnessed this season by Tottenham.  Not that they played badly, just with a lack of commitment that was supposedly there in too large an amount last Sunday against Chelsea.

The old frailties re-appeared and the lack of a goalscorer was evident, as chances were passed up and the one decent opportunity the opposition had was stuck away off a thigh.  The luck is not going the way of Tottenham at the moment, with Poyet's shot coming back off the bar and out, while once again Kiely saved all that was thrown at him.  

One of the main problems is that Spurs want to play too much football on the edge of the area.  No, make that both areas.  Defenders holding the ball on the 18 yard line either try and pass across their own goal (a schoolboy no-no at any level) or try and bring the ball out and slip up laving the ball presented at the forward's feet.  Both have allowed panic amongst their fellow defenders and when we are unable to stick the ball in the net at the other end, leave Tottenham chasing the game.

Tonight, the lack of a perceptive pass and a player willing to take the responsibility in having a shot were totally absent.  Ziege persisted with taking the free-kicks and put them all high and wide, which at least showed he was willing to have a go, but surely there could be some variety in our dead ball situations ?  The few chances we made almost came as a surprise.  Ferdinand's header made Kiely react sharply to palm it away, as it looked like it might creep past the Charlton keeper. In truth, the ball hit Les' head as he fell backwards and he did well to direct it goalwards.  The clear chances that Gus had in the second half would have gone in a month or so ago, but the keeper blocked one low one, one volley flew over by a couple of feet and the third was wide, although it was via the goalie's glove.  Unsurprisingly, Winter missed that fact, as he didn't seem to notice when visiting players clattered into the back of the Spurs men.  Gardner gets done for his first foul, while Parker committed three bad fouls and didn't even get spoken to.

Charlton were determined to get stuck in and Costa flattened Rebrov, getting a rare start, while Rufus went straight through Les from behind after the ball had gone.  They created few chances and looked set to accept the draw, until we cocked up in defence.  Young had the best chance of the first half, when he got in on a long ball over Ziege's head and hit a low shot that Sullivan managed to block with his legs.  The only real chance they had in the second half was the goal, when a Stuart cross evaded Euel and with King coming in at the far post, the ball wasn't cleared and it bounced off Chris Powell's thigh and past Sully.  Another messy goal that cost us points.

The lack of what looked like pride in their performance tainted a few players appearance.  Rebrov looked mobile and sharp, but didn't look like scoring.  However, taking him off was a move that didn't reflect the attempts to get back into the game.  His storming exit straight down the tunnel will indicate what he thought of it all and he might not get the chance to do much more of that if Hoddle has his way.  Too many crosses were flung in hopelessly and there was never ever anyone to get on the end of them.  For a London derby, it was lacking atmosphere (not helped by the many empty seats) and the black clouds that have hung over the Spurs crowd since that rainy day in Cardiff.  That was the day our season died, even though we hadn't played well for some time.  That knocked the stuffing out of the team and has left them needing to win one more match to be practically certain of avoiding relegation.

It's just where will that or the next goal come from ?


Pete Stachio




With no disrespect to a team who has gone through 12 London derbies this season without getting beaten, Tottenham should have won this game.  This is not another arrogant claim as the supposed easy win over Blackburn in the Worthy Cup final was thought to be.  Tottenham should be beating teams like Charlton not just because we used to be a big club, but because we created chances that we didn't convert into goals ... and it is goals that win matches.  We ought to be able to manage without a number of injured players, as there was much talk about the squad this season, but we still have the same difficulties that have plagued the club for five or six years.

We have failed to use the free-kicks and corners we have had this season, despite having some big lads in the side.  The crossing is not up to scratch, even though we supposedly had two of the best Carling Opta crossers in the Premiership a few weeks back.  Unfortunately, most times there is nobody on the end of them.

Playing the passing game on the bobbly pitch was not ideal and the lack of movement off the ball contributed in the moves going nowhere.  Groans when the ball had to be passed back, showed a lack of understanding that nothing was on for the player in possession.  And when the endless passing twenty yards out got to the crowd and they shouted "Shoot", Anderton let fly and missed by yards, thus causing the fans to have a go at him.

Rebrov's removal lead to boos from the crowd.  Frustration with not having a natural goalscorer in the side and the one who is presumed to be there for that then gets substituted.  It is more than the feeling that he deserves to be in the side currently, but that Hoddle needs to play around him.  It just looks like Hoddle is putting him in the side as he has few other options.

But this time, most fans stayed to the end, but there is little merit in getting a bigger capacity at our home ground when we can't sell out a game versus Charlton.  Perhaps the virtual view from the Internet is preferable to having to watch the team tumble to another defeat.  As the match was played in a weird manner, with much physical intent from Charlton and Tottenham picking up the only booking of the match, it seemed like we would create all the decent chances and Charlton would snatch the points with the only goal of the match.  And so it proved.

The Spurs defence did well enough against the muscular Euell and nothing threatened much until the shambles of the goal.  With Eriksson watching again, Ledley might have wished he had joined some of his team-mates in developing "injuries" so they could be left out.  It was a difficult ball into the box, but he should have moved to clear it and Sullivan cannot be blameless for not coming to claim it.  There were instances in the first half, when Spurs backed off just like it was last Wednesday all over again.  Mistakes are acceptable; not learning from them isn't.

The remaining games are not easy.  We still need one if not two wins to put us clear of the bunch of clubs below us, who are struggling to avoid the drop.  We should be OK, but there is not many points separating us from the bottom four.  The next three - Fulham, Middlesbrough and Leeds are followed by Arsenal.  We need to sort ourselves out and quick.

Gordon Smith's Lovechild

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