Saturday 20th September 2003
only two goals conceded and a big club, the chances of a Spurs win the
way they are playing against SCBC is on the dieting side of slim.
It is a great honour for Spurs to be on the same grass as a club like
their opponents this weekend.
Veteran Paul Jones has the gloves at the moment, filling in for the injured Antti Niemi. The Finn is now back, but Jones is doing OK, although he can have the odd nightmare against the minnows (remember our 7-2 win over the Saints ??).
The defence is packed with top class stars such as Jason Dodd, Claus Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Graeme Le Saux, Fitz Hall, Danny Higginbotham and Darren Kenton. Le Saux left the faltering Stamford Bridge club when the lure of the New Dell proved too strong and Fitz Hall is a player who needs no introduction, such is his fame. Higginbotham is a blend of Alex Higgins and Ian Botham, while Lundekvam and Svensson make a tall centre-back pairing, but Darren Kenton has been short changed after his move from Norwich City. The most likely four to feature from this galaxy of defensive giants will be Le Saux, Lundekvam, Svensson and club captain Dodd.
The midfield is packed with skillful players. Slaphead Chris Marsden runs around a lot, Matt Oakley runs around a lot, Neil McCann runs around a lot up and down the line, Anders Svensson runs around a bit, David Prutton runs into people a lot, Jo Tessem runs, Fabrice Fernandes doesn't run around a lot and veteran Paul Telfer runs into people a lot. Spurs will have to be careful as the SCBC midfield is full of running ... probably because they are trained in their manager's image and fed bananas non-stop all week !!
Up front, Marian Parhars is only just coming back from long-term injury, Brett Ormerod is a perennial substitute and James Beattie is the main hope they have of scoring. Beattie has been joined by the big signing of little Kevin Phillips, who might be a little unsteady in the penalty area, so our players will have to stay away from him there, thus allowing him to have a shot or two.
Sometimes, the odds are overturned and the little club can surprise the bigger one and this might just happen on Saturday with the following outcome ...
PREDICTION : - Tottenham 2 SCBC 1
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE
MEHSTG was scared to approach any fanzine or website of such a big club.
Tottenham Hotspur - Christian Ziege (thigh), Kazuyuki Toda (calf), Robbie Keane (ankle), Ledley King (hamstring)
SCBC - Stuart Anderson (suspended), Mark Draper (ankle), Austin Delgado (prolapsed disc), Rory Delap (ankle), Marian Parhars (groin), Fitz Hall (toe), Darren Kenton (thigh)
TV : The Premiership ITV (highlights) - Saturday 20.9.03
Radio : No live coverage
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk Live webcast
|Tottenham 1 SCBC 3 (Half-time score : 0-2)|
|Saturday 20th September 2003|
|Venue : - White Hart Lane|
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.|
|Weather : - Sunny, hot|
|Referee : - A. D'Urso (Billericay)|
|Crowd : - 35,784|
|Teams : -
Tottenham : - Keller; Gardner, Richards, Bunjevcevic (Postiga 67); Taricco, Ricketts, Dalmat (Anderton 46), Redknapp, Carr; Kanoute, Zamora (Keane 46)
Unused Subs. : - Burch, Doherty
: - Jones; Dodd, Lundekvam, Michael Svensson, Le Saux;
Marsden (Prutton 84), Oakley, Fernandes (Anders Svensson 72), Telfer;
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Tottenham - Kanoute 62
SCBC - Beattie 3, 44, Gardner (o.g.) 61
|Cards : -
Tottenham - Redknapp (foul) 24
SCBC - Marsden (unsporting behaviour) 83
If this was one of Hoddle's matches to save his career at White Hart Lane, he might as well start packing his bags. Two down to two slices of bad luck, but not doing a lot to justify anything else, the team only started to play when 0-3 down and pull one back to give a semblance of respectability to the scoreline, but it was not to the liking of the Tottenham fans who started as early as 60 minutes into the match.
To be honest, the first two SCBC goals were tinged with the touch of fortune that doesn't go the way of struggling clubs. Two minutes in and the ball that Keller went to clear skewed off his foot for a corner. From that Beattie rose (admittedly virtually unchallenged) to head in of a post. Then two minutes from half-time, a free-kick 25 yards out was given for a tackle by Ricketts, when Beattie fell over his own feet. D'Urso made his position on Tottenham perfectly clear by not giving us anything and booking Redknapp for his first tackle, while Saints players consistently got away with what they wanted. Michael Svensson took advantage by shirt pulling and using his arm to lever above Tottenham's forwards on a regular basis, but Beattie was the main benefactor, when he swung a punch at Taricco under the ref's nose and got let off with a talking to. Unbelievable.
But the luck was definitely against Spurs. Two minutes after the first goal, Ricketts hit a good cross in from the left and his firm header bounced back off the bar. Redknapp forced Jones to save his shot and Kanoute was cleverly played in by Dalmat, making his first midfield start, but was tackled in the box by Svensson. Spurs were making a determined effort to get back into the game, with Kanoute's cross unable to be seized on by Ricketts or Zamora, before Fredi was getting onto Taz's cross but heading wide. Carr made inroads down the right, but could only find the side-netting with his low left footer as play moved to the opposite end.
Dalmat was guilty of a loose ball that let Phillips in to rifle a shot that Keller wouldn't have got near, but it flew a foot wide. It was only a brief respite, as D'Urso's award of a free-kick gave Beattie a chance to show he can score from a dead ball and placed it in the top corner with Keller grasping at it, but not able to stop it going in. Even then, Spurs hit back in the last minute of the half with Zamora hitting a 30 yard shot that Jones managed to tip around the post.
Stephane Dalmat made way for Darren Anderton and Zamora for the rehabilitated Keane at the break and they were designed to add a bit more sparkle to Tottenham going forward. However, a feeble surrender of the ball to Fernandes by Taricco, who then skipped past him as though he wasn't there, set up Phillips, who hit one off the bar. Taz did make a forward run and put in a cross for Fredi to head over, but Keller was fortunate when a long range shot from Le Saux bounced off his body and away.
When Kanoute just missed getting on the end of Anderton's left wing cross, it looked good for us to get a foot hold back in the game. Three passes later that was over. Down the left, a low ball in was tucked away by Phillips to show that he believes Spurs should have bought him, although he probably wouldn't want to change places now. However, a minute after 0-3, Anderton released Robbie down the left and despite being offside, he raced away for the defence. Looking up, he squared a perfect ball for Fredi to show why Spurs did buy him, by taking the ball in his stride and pulling a goal back.
Dont know why we decided to start playing when we went three down, but they did start getting forward with more purpose and Hoddle moved Postiga on for Bunjy, switching to a 4-4-2, which bolstered things up for a while. Kanoute linked well with Ricketts on the right and the young midfielder broke into the box, but lost his composure, hitting a low shot along the six yard line. It wouldn't have caused any problems, but it hit Svensson and ballooned up and just a few feet wide. No luck again. Then with time running out, Helder managed to get alone in the box and hit a difficult bouncing ball fiercely, with Jones just managing to get something behind it as it swerved viciously.
The play was all over the place as Phillips was allowed a clean run on goal with Spurs defenders calling for offside, but he rounded Keller, who managed not to pull him down and then was faced by Stephen Carr. He tired to move the ball wide of him to hit the target, but Carr got a touch on the ball and it flew up and back off the bar. Ricketts had one last effort before the end, but it wouldn't have made a lot of difference, as the game was lost in two moments of bad luck in the first half.
I suppose it is unfair to say we didn't have any luck, as without the crossbar, it could have been 1-5, but without the referee, it could have been 2-2. Sometimes, you make your own luck, sometimes, you make your own problems. This match was a bit of both, but it needs to be sorted out quickly or Hoddle will be a part of the club's history that he wouldn't want to be remembered for.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - FREDERIC KANOUTE
|DOWN ON YOUR LUCK|
nightmare performance or a couple of bad decisions, which out the game
out of our reach ? A managerial cock-up or a lack of putting a
plan into operation, undermined by a lack of luck ? Depends how
you look at it I suppose.
For me, there wasn't a lot in this game. No really. Other than a Phillips shot that went wide when presented with the ball by Dalmat, they only had two efforts on goal in the first half. So is Hoddle responsible for So'ton making the most of what came their way or for the Spurs players being penalised by D'Urso, who we all know about ? The Spurs fans got behind the team even despite the early set-back, but the singing faded as the score got away from Spurs, until the comeback started.
The starting line-up was given a little shake and Stephane Dalmat lined up on the right of midfield, but had a roving role. I must say, he looked like a very skilled performer, always seeking out the pass that would damage Saints and willing to take people on (shock, horror). It was a shock that he was taken off at half-time, presumably because he lacked match fitness. The other loanee Konchesky was absent and one would wonder why we have brought him in if we are not going to play him. Perhaps he will get cheesed off and not want to come on a permanent basis if he is treated like this, but he is a player we could use with a left foot and a defensive mind.
Richards was labouring at the back, winning little in the air and without King and Perry, it was a surprise that Konchesky didn't feature today. His presence on the left would have give Tottenham an attacking option that is not available from Taricco, who I would leave out as soon as possible. His temperament is suspect and his defending even more so. Attacking on the left with a right foot is not the ideal situation, as he needs to switch the ball back onto his right all the time and this changes the angle of attack.
The hack that Kasey had at the ball was not pretty and the resulting free header was even less attractive for Spurs fans. Beattie became Cheattie when the ref was duped into awarding a free-kick for his run into Ricketts. He stuck it away without a shade of shame though. Spurs had rattled the bar in the first half with Kanoute's header and he was the one player who looked worth a light today. Carr wanted to do well, but it just wasn't happening for him, while Ricketts started lively enough, but faded. It might be time to give him a break and bring in Gus with Blondel on the bench to replace him when he tires. Bunjy but in another anonymous performance and must have limited value to the side. He should be phased out, as he has been a poor purchase.
The horrible little git that is Le Saux had a shot that Keller got behind, but couldn't hold and it was another example of Spurs players backing off and letting an opponent have a shot on goal and I would have thought Hoddle would have stressed that they needed to get closer to them. The way Spurs did attack was more effective when Dalmat played the passes through on the floor, than when we lumped high balls forward for Svensson to have heading practice (as well as sharpening up his shirt tugging skills). Most of the crosses slung in were from deep positions, which made them easy to defend.
Anderton made a slight difference, but it was Robbie Keane who made the most decisive effect. His slide rule pass made Kanoute's job simple in sticking the ball away. By then we had lost another goal, which looked like Gardner got the last touch on a low left wing ball in.
Jones denied a pile-driver from Postiga and Phillips hit the bar at the other end when trying to be too clever and attempting to make Spurs look stupid. But the team performance form Tottenham was not what one would expect from them to save their manager. Whether he had a hand in that or not, who knows. It just means that the pressure for the next match at Coventry is even greater now.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Aston Villa||2||Charlton Athletic||1||Saturday|
|Leeds United||0||Birmingham City||2||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||0||Bolton Wanderers||0||Saturday|
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