Monday 24th March 2003
poor performances preceding the Liverpool match, I feared the worst
against a resurgent Scouse side, but the Spurs team put in a creditable,
if eventually 'pointless' showing.
In this match against the third bottom side, Spurs will need to show as much effort and some more guile if they are to return South from this televised match with anything at all. Much depends on the presence of Robbie Keane you feel. Gary Doherty has battled away manfully up front, but has found it hard going on a 90 minute basis, rather than just being shoved forward for the last ten minutes as a final fling to get something from a game. Slabber is likely to keep his position in the squad and did show he wasn't over-awed by the Premier League.
They will face a side who have also had a few good results themselves in the run-up to this match. Wins over Leeds, Newcastle United and Sunderland, with a draw against Manchester United, they have done well. However, it has shown that they have to do more to pull away from the bottom of the table, as West Ham's win over Sunderland dropped the Trotters back into the bottom three. Their results against the other teams fighting relegation could be vital in their quest for survival and the 5-2 win over Birmingham City would have helped them in that respect.
Jussi Jaaskaleinen is the regular keeper for a club who don't have a number 1 in their squad !! He's pretty hot on shot stopping, as he gets plenty of practice, but is a quick and agile keeper and will make it hard for anyone to get past him. In defence, there is our old friend Gudni Bergsson, who is in his last season at the Reebok. Gudni is an honest central defender, who has scored a few goals for his side, normally from set-pieces. He plays alongside Bruno N'Gotty, who has been brought in on loan and has showed a resolve in the defence that has been missing on occasion. They are flanked by two of Simon Charlton, Ivan Campo or Anthony Barness. Charlton has been around a long time, works the line well and plays tight on his man, so Simon Davies might find him in the way when he makes forward forays. He would have been edged out by Mike Whitlow had he been fit, but a knee injury will deprive Bolton of his services. The other slot will no doubt be filled by Campo, who has had mixed reviews since his arrival at Bolton from Real Madrid (who would have thought that sentence would have been written over the last couple of seasons ??). He has experience at the top level of the Champions League, but sometimes forgets he is where he is ... in the Premiership, allowing players to get away from him. Acts as the general at the back with his distribution being vital to starting attacking moves. Barness is an attacking defender who has scored a couple for Spurs in recent years. He's suspect and Spurs might be able to play on hi if he gets on the pitch. Bernard Mendy has also featured lately, but can be prone to lose his position, while Andre Laville is another Frenchman and an unknown quantity.
Per Frandsen is the free-kick expert in the side and works hard in midfield, but his mantle as set-piece specialist might be threatened by Youri Djorkaeff. The Frenchman has shown that he can turn it on, but there have also been matches when he has disappeared without trace. The same cannot be said for Jay Jay Okocha, the Nigerian who loves nothing more than getting the ball and trying to make the opposition look silly with it. Full of tricks and flicks, he can turn a game ... either way. He can be a liability and therefore, Tottenham need to keep a tight rein on his runs. Dispossessing him could turn the play to our advantage by launching an attack with Bolton players caught upfield. With Tofting out of favour and Farrelly on loan to Rotherham United, the others likely to play in midfield are Ricardo Gardiner and Kevin Nolan, who has a leg injury, but played some of a reserve game in midweek. The Jamaican enjoys running at opponents with the ball and can dribble well, although his final ball is often a bit wayward, while Nolan is a tough battler, who, despite his callow experience, can stand toe-to-toe with the best of them. has a knack of scoring important goals too, but can let his impetuosity get the better of him.
Former Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth has gone on loan to Coventry City, leaving Henrik Pedersen as a lone striker with Okocha and Djorkaeff to support from behind. Pedersen took along time to get off the mark, but now seems to be happy finding the target with his new mates supplying him better than before.
Having sacrificed both cups, Bolton were concentrating on the League, but things haven't gone to plan. Sam Allardyce will make sure that this is one match his troops will want to win, having been upset by Spurs supposed "tapping up" of Michael Ricketts, so we should be prepared for a fight. With the games running out for both clubs to realise their ambitions, the need for a home win could open the game up from Tottenham's point of view. If Keane plays, they might be able to turn that to their advantage, with his speed being a great asset. From the Spurs point of view, they need to make sure they put in enough hard work to stem the fury that will hit them. A televised match means only one thing for Spurs usually, but on this occasion, I take the following to be the result at the end of 90 minutes ...
PREDICTION : - Bolton Wanderers 1 Tottenham 2
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
TV - Match Live on Sky TV - Sky Sports 1
Radio - Radio Five Live
Webcast - www.spurs.co.uk
|Bolton Wanderers 1 Tottenham 0 (Half-time score : 0-0)|
|Monday 24th March 2003|
|Venue : - Reebok Stadium|
|Kick Off : - 20.00 p.m.|
|Weather : - Cold, clear|
|Referee : - Graham Poll (Hertfordshire)|
|Crowd : - 28,084|
|Teams : -
Bolton Wanderers : - Jaaskelainen; Ngotty, Bergsson, Laville, Gardner (Barness 46); Campo, Frandsen, Okocha, Djorkaeff; Pedersen, Mendy (Andre 74)
Unused subs: Poole, Nolan, Ballesta
Tottenham : - Keller; Carr,
Thatcher (Doherty 22), King, Taricco; Bunjevcevic, Poyet,
Anderton (Etherington 87), Davies; Sheringham, Keane
|Colours : -
Bolton Wanderers - White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks
Tottenham - Navy blue and black shirts, white shorts, navy socks with a black turnover
|Scorers : -
Bolton Wanderers - Okocha (pen) 90
Tottenham - None
|Cards : -
Bolton Wanderers - None
Tottenham - Doherty (foul) 63
Just like Spurs ... they pull defeat out of the hat, just when it looks like they might hold on to a point with Keller playing out of his skin. On this performance, it's not hard to see why Hoddle is still being linked with central defenders, even though he was without Dean Richards tonight because of a back injury.
Early on it became
clear that Spurs were playing deeper than they needed to and that there
would be little rush to support any forward break.
As usual, Poll (and his linesman sidekick) gave nothing to
Tottenham who were playing pretty square at the back and quite high up
the pitch. It would be a tactic
that would catch them out in the end.
Davies was making the
early running and on a breakaway couldn’t quite pick out Keane, with
Teddy in an even better position just behind him. Then the Welshman broke into the box, only to be tackled well
by Laville, but Ledley King had
to be equally alert as he cleared a back header from his own man into
the six-yard box.
Anderton missed out
Sheringham from their favoured corner routine and Gus had a free header,
which he put wide from 10 yards. Then 20 minutes in, Thatcher done a calf and was ready to be
substituted, when a Carr cross caused panic in the Bolton box and a
Keane shot was blocked. Then
the home side broke and Okocha blazed high over the top when Pedersen
was clear on the other side of the box.
Carr was finding space on the right side and his crosses were forcing the Trotters to clear hurriedly. However, Spurs defenders got sucked into the middle of the pitch and when the ball fell to Mendy in the clear, they were fortunate that he hit it over the bar and again when Pedersen broke with Mendy pulling players away, but his shot was straight at Keller.
Poyet had a half chance
when a long throw dropped to him and he hit it on the turn, but over,
swiftly followed by Teddy setting Carr away, but his touch took the ball
towards a Bergsson, who nicked it away for a corner.
It was from a set piece that Sheringham’s header was blocked,
then Keano missed the ball and the action ending with Frandsen kicking
Bunjy’s shot off the line.
A lot of what Bolton was trying was too straight and too hurried, but their breaks showed Gus struggling to keep up with the opposition midfield. Into injury time, the old corner routine nearly paid off, but it was too high as Teddy got under his shot.
Spurs had played on Gardner in the first half, but were stopped from getting forward so much with Barness replacing the Jamaican at the break and stiffening the defence. It changed the game, as Spurs were unable to break out of their own half and surrendered possession too readily.
The turning point of
the match came in the 58th minute,
when Djorkaeff threaded a neat
pass through the middle of the Tottenham defence and it was a brave stop
by Keller that denied Mendy. The American was injured in the
incident, but was determined to keep Bolton out.
Campo had a shot from a
melee in the box and claims against Anderton for handball was waved
away. A free-kick for Spurs
was fed to Doc on the left of the box and his cross was deflected onto
the top of the net. Keller
fielded a couple of shots straight at him and his opposite number had to
be swift to get to the ball before Robbie.
King did just enough to put off Pedersen as he closed in on a shot at goal, then Barness cut inside to hit a low shot that Kasey kept out and the rebound bounced up to Okocha, whose header went over the bar. With the pressure building, old boy Bergsson hit the post with a header from Djorkaeff’s free-kick, then Keller tipped a Djorkaeff drive just over the top. Then Keller kept the ball out from Andre with a strong wrist. Keane had a chance to win it for Tottenham, when he got away from the offside trap, but his first touch took the ball to Jaaskaleinen, while play switched to the other end once again and King just got in front of Pedersen to make him miss the bal just three yards out.
Doherty’s last minute
tackle on Djorkaeff from the wrong side earned a penalty, which Okocha
converted to win it at the death.
Tottenham wasted too much possession with Bunjy and Teddy guilty, which let Bolton build up a head of steam and Spurs were happy to get out of their own box most of the second half. Anderton was not as effective as he can be, Gus contributed little and Doc had a mare. Robbie Keane looked tentative and might not have been fully fit, while Keller did well even with one arm, after his injury.
This result showed that Spurs are not yet ready for Europe. If we can't keep a clean sheet against West Ham and Bolton, then imagine the mayhem top sides would cause us. Our away form is still pitiful and we are now in tenth position, not much better than last season. The only good thing about Bolton winning is it puts West Ham back in the relegation zone. Frankly, that is the least of our concerns, as we should be making our way up the table, not glancing at the bottom.MEHSTG TOP MAN : - LEDLEY KING
|TOUGH TO TACKLE|
another abject second half performance has left us having lost to three
of the bottom four clubs in the league now, with the other still to
question that arises must be how the team can change for the better for
next season. Perhaps this
performance will encourage Hoddle to lose the older legs in the team to
make sure we don’t get over-run in midfield.
Perhaps it will make him see that even in his preferred position
of defence, Gary Doherty is not the player he was before his injury.
Perhaps the need for a player to create from midfield will be noted.
Perhaps even that Bunjy does not play a major part in the team
structure, leaving the point of him being there up for discussion.
is not just that at the moment, but even the bench begs questions. Etherington is one of the quickest players in the squad, but
is not deemed suitable for a place in the side, except for a couple of
minutes at the end of the game. Surely
his pace would complement Robbie Keane’s and give him some support
until we purchase a proper partner for him ?
Acimovic has been
at the club since August and has yet to make an impact.
When he has played, he looks well off the pace of the Premier
League. So where does he
fit into the jigsaw ? Toda
will not make a significant difference to the team at this time.
His play is haphazard and there will need to be a greater degree
of understanding before he gets on the pitch.
Blondel, young though he is, must be pulling his hair out in
frustration at not being given an opportunity.
team needs the average age brought down and rapidly.
Gus looked his age tonight and Teddy did some nice things and
some that weren’t as nice. When
Bolton attacked, Spurs were left trailing in their wake.
Anderton showed that his best days are gone, when he pushed the
ball past N’Gotty and couldn’t (and never looked likely to) get past
him to retrieve it on the other side.
the others, Carr played better than he has done in recent matches, with
Ledley King playing solidly in the middle.
Thatcher got injured, so couldn’t really get into the match and
Taricco looked at odds with what was going on, but his intention to get
involved in any petty squabble going (and those that he creates) mean
that he is becoming a liability. Simon
Davies was trying to cover as much ground as possible and would be much
more effective with some more willing runners inside him and he and
Kasey Keller were the ones who impressed the most.
The keeper kept us in it until the final minute.
until then, Spurs had the best of the first half and the home side the
best of the second. The
post had helped out on one occasion, when Bergsson headed against it,
but most of Bolton’s efforts were within Keller’s reach.
He saved well from Barness and Okocha, but had no chance with the
penalty. That was conceded
by a lapse in Doherty’s concentration allowing Djorkaeff to get away
from him and then he had to fall on top of him to stop him scoring.
There wasn't time for anything more than Keano to tap the ball to Teddy,
who hit the ball away in anger as the final whistle went, aiming for the
ref I think, but only succeeded in hitting a Bolton player in the
The prospect of Europe frightens me. We need to bed down with a side capable of achieving that first and not try to run before we can walk. There are some tough subjects for Hoddle to tackle. Let’s hope that he wins them better than the team have been doing.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Newcastle United||5||Blackburn Rovers||1||Saturday|
|West Ham United||2||Sunderland||0||Saturday|
|18||West Ham United||31||7||9||15||34||53||30|
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