Saturday 18th December 2004
new manager syndrome didn't work for SCBC on Saturday when they let a
two goal lead slip in the last minute against Middlesbrough and we
will have to hope that form continues at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
The fact that we have kept three clean sheets on the trot give us the fourth best defensive record in the league and with confidence building, we will have to hope that the side realise that they need to keep going to maintain that proud boast. I am convinced that Martin Jol will not let them think they only have to turn up to win, especially after losing to a very young Liverpool team lately.
With Niemi back after an operation, Keller will be on our bench instead of the SCBC side. The Finnish keeper is highly regarded and his form in keeping the ball out in any way he can has drawn admiring glances from Arsenal and Man U most recently. With only untried ex-Brentford keeper Paul Smith as understudy, Niemi is a good shot stopper, but can leave you a chance with his positioning and not being the tallest of keepers, he lacks inches to get to crosses. He relies on Lundekvam to win the high balls in front of him and new central defender Andreas Jakobsson completes the Scandinavian pairing. Both are good with the ball at their feet and are ready to troll up at the set-pieces at the other end of the pitch.
Graeme Le Saux has returned to the side after injury and is twinned with Danny Higginbotham as the full backs in Harry Redknapp's side. Both want to get up on the overlap, but Tottenham's work will be along their flanks to prevent them making ground up the line. Neither has great pace, so with some breaking out from defence, Spurs might be able to quickly turn defence into attack.
Having scored a cracker of a goal against Spurs at the New Dell last season, Rory Delap notched twice at Highbury and he has the getbackability to track opponents back if he gets caught upfield. Harry has put him in the centre of midfield with Mikael Nilsson who battles away to win the ball there, feeding it out to Fabrice Fernandes and Anders Svensson on the flanks. Both are good at running with the ball ... Svensson playing passes and taking the return, while Fernandes prefers to take player on with his dribbling skills. Both also like breaking forward to hit shots from outside the box, so they will have to be closed down quickly when in range of goal.
Up front, James Beattie's injury has left Redknapp linking the tall and short in attack, with Peter Crouch the aerial target and Kevin Phillips the man to take the balls on the floor. The movement off the big man will need to be watched, but the way the defence is working together now, they should be able to communicate where they need to be. With the great height Crouch adds to the attack, Jol might be tempted to bring in Gardner for Naybet to counter the ex-Spurs player's advantage as happened a few seasons back when Crouch was at Villa.
Other squad members who might feature are French midfielder Leandre Grifitt, young forwards Dexter Blackstock and Leon Best, experienced players midfielder Paul Telfer and Jason Dodd, recently loaned out striker Brett Ormerod and ex-Forest midfielder David Prutton.
Tottenham will hopefully carry on their good form and prolong their winning run, with a couple of goals from Defoe and Brown to take them into Christmas in good cheer !!
PREDICTION : - Tottenham Hotspur 2 SCBC 0
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Sean Davis (knee); Dean Richards (ear); Goran Bunjevcevic (shin);
SCBC : Matt Oakley (knee); Neil McCann (toe); Matthias Svensson (knee); Marian Parhars (ankle); Jelle van Damme (ankle); Leon Best (on loan to QPR)
|Tottenham Hotspur 5 SCBC 1 (Half-time score : 3-0)|
|Premier League||Venue : White Hart Lane|
|Saturday 18th December 2004||Kick Off : 15.00 p.m.|
|Crowd : 36.054||Referee : P. Dowd (Stoke-On-Trent)|
|Weather : Dry, cold|
|Teams : -|
Ricketts (Pedro Mendes 67)
Dodd (Folly 55)
Nilsson (Jakobsson 46)
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
Defoe 8, 27, 61
|Cards : -|
Lundekvam (foul) 44
|Match Report : -|
A good string of matches for Tottenham can sometimes be a fragile thing, especially when you face a team that you know that you should beat, but SCBC proved to be one of the poorest sides to visit the Lane in a long time and Harry Redknapp will need to rebuild his side's confidence after Spurs inflicted a big win over his Saints team.
The match was only a couple of minutes old when Defoe broke down the right and pulled the ball back across the six yard box, but Niemi was the only person there. The next attack bore fruit. In the eighth minute, Michael Carrick tidied up al loose ball in defence and played it up the right touchline in the direction of Kanoute. Fredi had two SCBC players for company and one - Higginbotham - tried to hook the ball out and missed, while the other - Kenton - missed his header, leaving the striker with a clean run down to the touchline. Having got there, Fredi held his composure and pulled the ball back to the penalty spot, where Defoe had lost his marker and slammed the ball past the keeper to give Spurs their first goal within the first half hour of a match this season. It was a well constructed goal and showed the football that they have been playing under Jol can pay off.
With Defoe almost repeating his first cross, Kenton intercepted it just before it reached Ricketts, before the Saints had their first real attack. Phillips shaped to shoot, but a Gardner interception took the ball over the top and from the resulting corner, Crouch headed on, but over Phillips' head ad the chance was gone. Spurs continued to pass the ball well and Thimothee Atouba was entertaining the Spurs crowd with his show-boating skills. Carrick toe-poked an effort straight at the goalie in the 19th minute, while Fredi fed Defoe, who turned his man in the box and hit a low shot that Niemi got down to hold very well. But Jermain was not to be denied for long. In the 26th minute, a tackle by Telfer on Kanoute took the ball back towards the left side of his own penalty area, where the predator Defoe seized on it and slipped it past the keeper with the outside of his right foot to arrow the ball low just inside the right hand post.
Not even half an hour passed and Spurs 2-0 up !! Whatever next ?? Well shots flew in from Ricketts (too high), Kanoute (spectacularly saved by a flying Finn) and Defoe (not enough power to beat the keeper), while King nodded a corner over and Pamarot put an Atouba cross in the same place, but should really have done better by getting it on target, as it would have gone in if he had done that. Phillips took a Saints free-kick, but it was easy for Robbo in goal and Telfer pushed on through the middle and hit a low shot from 25 yards, but it slid wide of the goal.
On 41 minutes, Spurs were denied a great opportunity, when Kanoute was played through by Carrick and Lundekvam pulled his shirt to bring him down, when Fredi might have been away. It was cynical and designed to prevent him getting in on goal, but the ref only issued a yellow card. For Fredi the real punishment came four minutes later, when another Carrick through ball saw him control it well on the edge of the area, take it in and as Niemi flopped to the ground, put the ball past him at his near post. Spurs had one nervy moment just before the break, when Prutton put in a low pass to Crouch at the near post and he turned it goalwards, only to find Paul Robinson sharp enough to get down and get a hand to it to turn it aside.
With the score at 3-0 at the interval, we all waited for the rout to take place when the match restarted. With everyone saying "Remember Man. City" and the away fans singing "We're going to win 4-3", things did get a little worrying when we were unable to maintain our good defensive record beyond two minutes of the second period. Prutton made another surge into our box, hit a low pass across goal, where Ledley skied his clearance, but it fell perfectly for Crouch to head past a hesitant Robinson and past Atouba on the line. It was a bad time to concede and a bad goal to concede. The rout never really got going in the second half though.
Prutton had been lucky to escape a booking in the first half, with two bad challenges, but got his caution for a late tackle on Defoe in the 51st minute. Shortly after that, Brown hit a weak low volley straight at Niemi and Lundekvam, having a bit of a mare inadvertently set up Tottenham's fourth goal. He put a clearance right up in the air in his area, but as it fell to Michael Brown on the edge of the area, he hit s fierce low shot that Niemi did well to keep out. Unfortunately for him, it dropped to Jermain, who gratefully accepted his early Christmas present and slammed past him to wrap up his first hat-trick in Spurs colours.
The showboating really began now, with Kanoute running through his repertoire of tricks, Mendes coming on to do the "look one way, pass the other" speciality and Atouba kept on mugging up his opponents. Both Defoe and Kanoute broke in the left hand channel, firing shots narrowly wide, with Fredi doing well to set up Mendes, but he pulled his left foot shot wide. In the 88th minute, the final goal of the game came when Defoe scooped the ball over the SCBC defence for Robbie Keane to run onto and prod a volley under Niemi and in for a neat little goal. Keano was very appreciative of the part Jermain played in the strike.
Spurs only suffered a couple of threats on their goal. One came from another sliced clearance, which Robinson dealt with by coming for and knocking everyone in front of him out of the way and the other was when Phillips broke on the right and hit a low shot that the Spurs keeper did well to dive low to save and hold.
The Saints were never really in it. They looked like a side who did not believe in themselves and the early goal shattered them. Few of the players did themselves justice and for Tottenham the complete opposite was true. Confidence brimmed after the good winning run, with any of about six players who could have been man of the match had Defoe not scored his treble. And with some winnable matches coming up, you hope that Martin Jol will keep them on the right track to maintain their surge up the table. 7th after today, maybe a good season will be ensured as the squad is bolstered by some January signings ??
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JERMAIN DEFOE
|ONE RULE FOR THEM ...|
|The old rules of football set
down in stone showed that one was true, while the other was there to
be broken as Spurs saw off a SCBC side that has fallen a long way in a
The old law that new managers will spark a revival seems to have hit the buffers for SCBC, with Harry Bagpuss losing a two goal lead last week to let two points slip away and this week, his side got a battering as Spurs finally hit top gear. Unfortunately, the ex-Factor hit Tottenham when Peter Crouch headed home from close range shortly after the break to make it 3-1 and make things look a little dodgy for a while.
For Jermain Defoe, it was the right time for Eriksson to look at him. A hat-trick with each goal taken in different style, meant that the England coach had a good appreciation of what the forward's game is all about, but added to that his ball over the defence for Robbie Keane's last minute volley emphasised that he is not purely about goalscoring. Michael Carrick hardly did himself any harm with his five star performance in this game. Spraying passes around, he found his range having a hand in two of the goals, but also showed a determination to win the ball in defence and midfield. His block on a clearance lead to Defoe's hat-trick goal and it was typical of a dynamic all-round performance.
Fredi Kanoute seems rejuvenated and it is a wonder what a goal can do. He set up Defoe's opener with a great run past the Saints defence and an astute ball back to Jermain, who slammed in from ten yards out. His control of high balls all day was exemplary and he showed a willingness to run balls down and turn a trick or two. He had a couple of chances before he took Carrick's through pass on his toe and slotted past Niemi, who didn't have much of a chance of stopping him.
In between, Defoe had capitalised on a tackle on Kanoute by Telfer and passed the ball past the keeper with the outside of his right foot, as Niemi advanced on him. It was a poacher's goal and showed his alertness to a half chance.
The whole team were enjoying the space and lax attitude of the SCBC players, making them chase the ball after long periods of passing and the Tottenham boys indulged in a fair bit of showboating, one bit of which involved two step-overs by Atouba that even Phil Neville might have been embarrassed by !! Michael Brown showed an energetic performance that ended with him winning a bouncing ball on the edge of the area, then firing in a shot that Niemi could only block, leaving Defoe to shoot the ball into the net with his left foot.
The string of opportunities dried up a bit in the second half, as the quick start after the break saw Ledley spoon a clearance and Crouch head, unchallenged, into the goal. In fact King and Robinson were the two England players who didn't totally impress on the day. Ledley was quite composed, but the mistake for the goal led to Robinson not coming for the high ball and that was his only mistake though. He made two sharp saves from Crouch and Phillips, keeping them out at the right time.
Of the others, Pamarot, Gardner and Ziegler all did well, with only Rohan Ricketts falling from the standard he set himself last week. Mendes came on and sprayed the ball around and he almost got his first Spurs goal, if his shot had been on target !!
A year ago, SCBC's win cost Hoddle his job at Tottenham. This year Martin Jol gets the fourth win on the spin for the first time since 1995. A year is a long time in football, so where would you like to be next year ?
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Birmingham City||4||West Bromwich Albion||0||Saturday|
|Bolton Wanderers||0||Manchester City||1||Saturday|
|Manchester United||5||Crystal Palace||2||Saturday|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||18||1||7||10||15||36||10||-21|
Back to homepage