in this match, I wouldn't predict a repeat of what happened last season
at White Hart Lane when Southampton came to visit. Not that anyone
could have predicted that ... 0-1 and 1-2 down before ending up winning
7-2 !! It's just not what you expect from a George Graham side is
Especially as only three weeks
ago, Spurs succumbed to the Saints at the Dell in a poor
performance. But that was away form home and now we are back on
home turf, things could be different. Spurs will have learned from
that December game that Southampton will work hard to shut down the
space available and even though there is a good home record behind them,
they will have to match the Saints' industry to get anything out of the
James Beattie is the form striker
in the side and he will be shooting on sight, so someone needs to stick
tight to him and with Hassan Kachloul being available this time, his
creativity will be a thorn in Tottenham's side unless they lock off that
particular avenue of service. Writing a couple of weeks before the
game, it appears that all Southampton's injury worries should have
cleared up before the match and barring any suffered in between time,
there should be a full squad to pick from. Dean Richards had a
good game against us at the Dell, but if truth be told, there wasn't
much to test him, except a string of high balls up to Rebrov.
Spurs will need to put more pressure on the Saints defence with better
quality balls in. Jones looked a little uncomfortable with the one
good cross put in, so he may need to be worked a bit harder. One
player who won't be involved is Francis Benali, who has been sent out on
a month's loan to Nottingham Forest and his place could be taken by new
arrival Dan Petrescu who has come in from Bradford City on a free
transfer and likes to get
Many of the solid players at their
club performed well in the previous meeting of the sides. Dodd,
Lundekvam, Draper and Bridge, while Parhars, Davies and Tahar played
very well to give Spurs cause for thought this time out.
With only a few weeks separating
the matches, they will be familiar with what to expect and therefore, it
will not be surprising for it to end ...
PREDICTION : -
Tottenham 1 Southampton 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Tottenham 0 Southampton
0 - Saturday 20th January 2001
Weather : - Cold, dry.
Crowd : - 36,095
Referee : - Clive Wilkes (Gloucester)
Scorers : - None
Tottenham: Walker, Freund (Leonhardsen 77), Campbell, Perry,
Anderton, Ferdinand (McEwen 21), Rebrov, Doherty, Young, Clemence, King.
Subs Not Used: Segers, Thatcher, Davies.
Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Lundekvam, Richards, Oakley, Draper,
Davies, Beattie, Bridge, El Khalej, Kachloul (Pahars 83).
Subs Not Used: Moss, Marsden, Rosler, Soltvedt.
In freezing cold conditions, I had half hoped that
this match would have been called off. While, in the old days,
matches were played on ice rinks of pitches, causing all nature of
slippage, this was not what was called for on this occasion. It is
forgotten that us supporters are not as hardy as those of yore. We
sit where once they stood. We have hot drinks available, where
they smuggled hip flasks in to warm their cockles. We are
molly-coddled and don't like sitting in the cold, whereas they had to be
prised off the terraces with crow bars after a winter's game.
The match went ahead and then ended. Not a
lot happened in between really. Ian Walker had a very good game in
goal for the suspended Sullivan, making important saves from El-Khalej,
Kachloul and Davies in the first half and engaged himself in keeping
warm for most of the second half, when he hardly had a direct shot to
deal with. His shot stopping ability has been pretty sound over
the years and he blocked El-Khalej's drive at the near post, denied
Kachloul with a block at his feet and beat away Davies' attempted lob
when Doherty's header back fell short.
Jones had little to do in the Southampton
goal. He fielded a straightforward header from Sol in the first
few minutes and then watched as a quickly taken shot by Rebrov flew just
wide of his post. His next involvement came in the second half
when he was left stranded by King's header which put Rebrov's cross onto
the bar. Clemence had probably the best chance in the first half,
when he ran onto Rebrov's clever header and hit a shot that Jones
managed to paw aside for a corner. He perhaps should have finished
Short of these incidents, there was little to
mention. Lots of effort was put into the ball shuttling around in
midfield, but Spurs could hardly have argued if the Saints had travelled
back to the South Coast with the three points. They passed the
ball well and found space which was not filled by Spurs shirts.
Only their poor finishing let them down. So, the unbeaten run goes
on and so does the lack of scoring. With a number of London
derbies coming up, it will need Spurs to take the chances that present
themselves if they are not going to create many more.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - IAN WALKER
|It seems that Spurs are currently having
trouble getting the ball in the net. This might
have something to do with not having a great number of shots on
goal. And not having a full complement of forwards
available. And not having much of a supply of decent ball from
midfield. Where the players will come to resolve these issues, I don't
know. They don't lie in our reserves, that's for sure.
It is all very well that the
manager moans (although he states that he isn't) of injuries and that
the squad is not as deep as he would like, but he should be able to do
something with the existing players available to him. He appears
to just choose a team and throw them out to fend for themselves with
players out of position and seemingly not knowing what pattern they are
playing. Rebrov has still not been fully integrated into the side,
while others are slotted in positions where GG thinks they will
perform. Also, you wonder what goes on during the week on the
training pitch, as our set pieces were woeful. Either corners
failed to get over the first defender or free kicks were organised with
three Spurs players around the ball. Is that entirely necessary ??
With players suspended and injured it
remained for Steffen Freund and Les Ferdinand to come out of the
treatment room to feature for Spurs in what would have been a highly
inexperienced side without them. It was patently obvious that
neither was fully fit and when Les limped off after 20 minutes with a
recurrence of his hamstring problem, it followed his first serious
sprint for a ball into the Southampton half. Thankfully,
the so far inept Korsten was not in the sixteen for the match, but
McEwen got an unexpected 70 minutes. He got a bit better as the
game wore on, but his touch in front of goal proved not to be up to
Premiership standard yet, when two chances of getting a shot in slipped
King was again a shining light
among the dimness on display. His skill gets him out of tight
situations and he can pass the ball. Sol didn't appear to be fully
fit, but stuck at it and had a solid match, while Perry did reasonably
well, making one block when he had played the So'ton forwards
onside. Clemence did OK, but he regularly seems to receive the
ball on his right foot facing towards his own goal, when his left foot
is supposed to give the side some balance. He did get forward and
forced Jones into a diving stop when set up by Rebrov. Doherty did
well, apart from his lapse that let in Davies, which Walker kept
out. Walker looked at home in goal and while a bit worrying from
corners, he did well on his return to first team action.
Freund didn't last the 90 minutes
and Leo came on for him, but I can't remember him doing too much.
Luke Young was played up in midfield and played well, providing an
outlet on the right. However, the players appeared to think that
he was Stephen Carr and expected him to take on the whole of that side
of the Southampton defence on his own !! He got a couple of
corners and throw ins down by the flag, but he lacks Carr's pace to beat
players down the flank. He did keep hold of the ball though and
showed composure that picked out a simple pass. Anderton was
having a wretched first half, running around without the ball or the
touch to make anything happen, but in the second half, his industry was
much more productive and he was tackling for all he was worth.
Unfortunately, he couldn't produce the ball that would open up the
Saints defence, but the effort was there.
Sergei showed some nice touches,
but the team still does not get him in the game enough. Playing
high balls up to him when marked by the 6 foot plus Dean Richards is a
nonsense that you would have thought they could have worked out.
That was why he was substituted in the game at the Dell. Playing
the ball into his feet is the best option and the two best moments for
Spurs both revolved around him. It appears that he has been told
to shoot on sight now, as his snap shot took Jones by surprise and
missed the goal by just a few inches. His skill made himself a
little space for a cross in the second half and Ledley King got his head
to it and it came back off the bar. It was the closest Spurs got,
but it wasn't close enough.
Something needs to change.
It won't be on the playing side until at least February, when ENIC take
over and whenever the footballing authorities can get their acts
together to sort out the EU transfer system. Until then, George
needs to get his best tactical management books out and get the side to
play as a team. It makes it easier for all of them.
The Funky Phantom