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Saturday 26th August 2006

Unbeaten Everton come to the Lane for their second away game on the trot and will meet a re-invigorated Tottenham side looking to add to their tally having got off the mark against Sheffield United on Tuesday.

This 3.00 p.m. Saturday kick off is likely to be one of few this season, what with the UEFA Cup looming and if we progress, it will mean many a Sunday afternoon game.  So, this early season meeting between us and the Toffees (as often seems to happen) is one to savour for a number of reasons.  Firstly, they are doing well, having four points from two games, which bodes well for a good game and we have a record against them which is even better than Bolton's against us.  However, this should not let the team take to the field in an over-confident manner, as the money that Everton have had to spend has been used wisely for a change.

Having lost Duncan Ferguson off the wage bill, the club could afford to pay the wages of some decent enough buys.  Replacing the troublesome Scot up front, Andy Johnson comes in from Crystal Palace for a whopping 8.6 million.  What do you get for that ?  Well, a busy little striker, who scores a lot of penalties and becomes an instant hero, being stripped of his kit in his first pre-season friendly and on getting his first goal, a badge kisser of the highest quality.  Shoring up things at the back was a priority, as several of the central defenders were getting on a bit, so Wolves' Joleon Lescott was signed up.  A player who has had some good times at Molineux, Lescott might have seen better days, but he is tall, strong and good in the air, although he likes to think he is good on the ball in a Rio Ferdinand kind of way.  The retirement of Nigel Martyn left the goalkeeping department light and the season-long loan of Tim Howard from Manchester United has been a good move, as he is a pretty good goalie and might benefit from a long run in the side.

Richard Wright, John Ruddy and Iain Turner are all among the goalkeeping ranks at Goodison Park, but will be playing back-up for Howard.  All have good qualities, but they are either suspect to errors (Wright) or untried in the case of the other two.  Howard is a good shot-stopper, but is rash coming out of goal sometimes and is beatable one-on-one.

In front of him, Tony Hibbert has a mystery illness which has ruled him out pending tests, Nuno Valente has a thigh problem and David Weir has an ankle injury keeping him out.  That leaves three from Gary Naysmith, Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs and Allesandro Pistone to form the back four with Lescott.  Stubbs and Yobo have been preferred to the new signing, but I think he will get his first start, as they try to find a solution to marking Berbatov.  Pistone has been over-looked of late, as he comes back from a knee injury and the veterans Naysmith and Phil Neville pair up at the back, with the former Manc having been moved back to full back on the other side to the Scot.  I think that Lennon will have a lot of joy running at either of the full-backs as he did at Goodison late in the season and with Routledge on the bench, it could provide a double route of attack late in the game.  Centrally, the height in the Everton defence will be hard to get the better of, but Dimitar's movement might pull them about enough for our midfielders to run in behind them.

In the Everton midfield there are Leon Osman, James McFadden, Lee Carsley, Kevin Kilbane, Simon Davies, Mikael Arteta, Tim Cahill and Dutchman Andy van der Meyde. The former Internazionale man's troubles have been well publicised since his arrival, but on the pitch he has had more problems, with a red card against Liverpool and some inconsistent performances.  Therefore, Moyes has plumped for a four in midfield of Osman, Arteta, Carsley, Kilbane  at home, with Cahill coming off the bench after his exertions in the World Cup with Australia.  Osman is hard working and likes to get forward, while Carsley is the foil for the adventurous midfielder.  He gets back to cover and gets stuck in, while the other two - Kilbane and Arteta are more attack minded too.  Kilbane offers width on the left, while Arteta is a good passer, who is very good at free-kicks.  Tim Cahill is an all-action midfielder, who enjoys scoring, but can be drawn into arguments which have nothing to do with him and this detracts from his dynamic play.  In a game like this, Moyes might choose to put Simon Davies into the middle of midfield to give some more defensive cover in there and as we all know, when he is on form, Davies can be a highly effective player.  The Welsh midfielder had a difficult first season at Everton, with a series of minor injuries before being moved inside from a wide position.

In the past there was an inclination to play five in midfield, but with Andy Johnson and James Beattie up front, the Everton boss might feel it is better to keep the opposition defence tied up with two strikers.  Beattie has been flitting around the fringes of the England squad for a while and last season his early season sending off, injuries and problems settling in caused him to have a difficult first season at Goodison, but he scored a few goals at the end of the season.  His height and ability to hold players off should prove useful as a foil for Johnson's more direct style and the pairing might prove to be a good one for the Toffees.  Star youngster James Vaughan didn't play all last season as he struggled to overcome knee ligament surgery undertaken by the expert in this field Dr. Steadman in the US, but it is hoped that he will be able to play more this season to realise some of his striking potential.  Victor Anichebe is another youngster being given his chance this season and has a two year contract to show what he can do, but might have to settle for a place on the bench at best.

Tottenham will be looking to pass the ball as well as they did against Sheffield United and for a similar outcome.  What they will find is a Blues team full of effort and determined to stay unbeaten, with Moyes rallying them on from the touchline.  Lennon will be key, but the visitors will have made provision for his runs, but this should leave space for others to operate in.  Keane can pull strings from his deeper position and with Tainio marauding forward, it leaves Davids to put in the hard graft to make sure there is enough cover.  It might be time to give Edgar a rest after two games in four days, with Zokora starting, now he has an idea of what will face him.

At the back, the aerial threat should be coped with well by Dawson and Davenport, but the nippy Johnson will have to be watched and the timing of tackles well made, otherwise penalties might follow.  Robbo will need to command his area and the wide defenders keep Kilbane and Osman in check to stop the supply to the front men. This game will be a lot tighter than many might think and if Spurs can prevent Everton getting into the game, then they could come out as winners ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Everton  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee)

EVERTON :  David Weir (ankle); Tony Hibbert (cryptosporidium infection); James Vaughan (knee); Alan Stubbs (hamstring)


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Tottenham Hotspur   0    Everton   2      (Half-time score : 0-2)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 26th August 2006
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,540
Referee :  Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Weather :  -  Warm, dry, sunny
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


Lee (Defoe 60)

Tainio (Zokora 74)


Unused subs:

Everton :


Neville (c)
Lescott (Weir 84)



Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur



Davenport (own goal) 53
Johnson 66

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Dawson (foul) 38 



Kilbane (foul on Lee) 15  

Kilbane (foul on Lee - second yellow) 33 

Match Report : -  
All good runs come to an end, but I had hoped for a better performance from Tottenham in going down 0-2 to a ten man Everton team.  An hour with a man advantage did not prove to be an advantage to Spurs, as is often the case when other teams are reduced to ten men.

Everton had come to White Hart Lane to make it hard for Spurs to penetrate their five man midfield and with James Beattie left on the bench, there was only Andy Johnson up front to cause Spurs any problems.  Tottenham lined up as they had done against Sheffield United, but the early stages saw the visitors pass the ball around well and have Spurs struggling to find a rhythm ... something that continued all game.  The tempo that Tottenham played with on Tuesday was sadly missing and the passing was sloppy, the movement almost non-existent and the creativity lacking in making openings for our forwards.  It seemed for long periods that Aaron Lennon was the only key they had to open the Toffees defence.

Ironically, it was not he who made Spurs favourites to take another three points off Everton at the Lane.  Kilbane took a disliking to Young-Pyo Lee and on the quarter hour ran a long way to bring him down and receive a yellow card.  The Irishman was lucky not to get another as first he kicked the ball away and then committed another foul within a minute of getting booked.  It was highly surprising when, 15 minutes later, he again chased Lee down and took his legs from underneath him to see the ref brandishing another yellow to be followed by a red.

Spurs had gone closest to scoring between Kilbane's cards, when a long throw was helps on by Berbatov and Johnson to the far post, where Gary Naysmith smashed his clearance against his own bar before it went over the top.

All the first half efforts from Everton failed to meet the intended target and Robinson had another quiet 45.  Although they manouevred the ball into shooting positions, Osman hit two shots wide and Lescott aimed a far post header from a corner wide of the mark.  In defence, they were working hard to keep the score at 0-0 at the break and Dawson had a header over the bar from a free-kick, then the centre half got on the end of Keane's dead ball, but could not get a good connection and the ball ended up in Tim Howard's arms.  His fellow defender Davenport also rose high to head a corner, but it was again too high to trouble the Everton keeper.  The only other efforts Tottenham created were long shots from Jenas and Davids, who both dragged their drives wide.

At the start of the second half, there were no changes and that is perhaps where Spurs lost the initiative.  Moyes set out his side, leaving Johnson up front with two banks of four between Spurs and the Blues goal.  It proved too difficult to break down and putting in tons of work, Everton began to take control and make Spurs look like the side with ten men.  Lennon got more into the game, but his final ball was not as damaging as it could have been and the chances that were made were fluffed.

It was a shame that when Mikael Arteta played, he showed he could be a really potent player, but for me, he looked like he was more at home throwing himself on the floor every time someone came near him.  He was dictating the Toffees play and when Assou-Ekotto gave away an unnecessary free-kick near the corner flag, the Spaniard flighted the ball to the near post, where Joleon Lescott rose to head the ball, but it was Davenport who unfortunately diverted the ball past Robinson. 

With a man over, it is hard to see how Spurs let a free header go begging in the box and the second Saturday running we have conceded from a free-kick.  A poor goal to let in at the best of times, but with an extra man, even worse. 

Jol introduced Defoe, taking off Lee and going with three at the back.  It was a brave move, but one which backfired after six minutes.  Lennon cut inside into a bunch of Everton players, lost the ball and it was moved forward quickly.  Davids held Osman up for a while, but he played a square ball out to Phil Neville, whose early cross was met by Johnson getting in ahead of Dawson and beating Robbo from close range.  It was a well created goal and one which Spurs never looked like scoring all afternoon.

Zokora replaced Tainio and seemed to add a little urgency into the team, but it was a bit too late.  Keane had his legs taken from under him from a position standing in the area, but Spurs were given a free-kick outside the box.  Defoe struck the free-kick which was touched to him, but it hit the wall and ballooned away for a corner.  As the ball was cleared but played back in, Dawson, mow being played as another forward, jumped for the ball and Lescott jumped forcibly into him, without getting anywhere near the ball.  Halsey stopped the game, allowed the Everton newcomer to be treated, then substitutes and then dropped a ball for Howard to pick up ... all totally against the new advice given to refs by the FA when dealing with stopping the play for injured players.

The two best chances came right at the death, when Lennon cut a low ball back from the goal-line for Keane to meet it at the near post, but his back-flick took the ball wide of the far post.  Into injury time, Spurs forced Howard to his first save.  Lennon once more danced down the right and his cross was this time in the air and Berbatov managed to get a head on the ball, but it brought an easy dive for Howard to end the game.

It was a really poor performance by Spurs and while I will not join those at the ground or those on the radio in wrist-slitting pessimism, it is of concern that there have been two performances like this in the first three matched and that this one came at home.  Having lost only to Manchester United and Chelsea in over two years at White Hart Lane, it was highly disappointing to lose to this Everton side, who are still in transition.

But it was a deserved victory for the Merseysiders and will probably see Tottenham splash some cash before the end of the transfer window, but hopefully, it is in the right positions and on the right players to strengthen the side.  Rumours of Mido's return circulated outside the ground prior to the game, but this seems like a panic move if it is true and one which will not work in Tottenham's favour.  The pursuance of Downing makes more sense to balance the side, although the amount we might have to pay is excessive.

This was always going to be a tough season with expectation high, but there is still a long way to go and much work to be done.


Pete Stachio


Reaction : -



The following words cannot truly describe my state of distress and disappointment following yesterdays debacle.

A good run ?  It wasn't just a good run, it was a magnificent one, better than Chelsea's against us and when you consider the complete disarray Spurs have been in for much of those 21 years, it looked all the better. 

There aren't many home bankers over the course of a season but I always thought Spurs-Everton was the one, above all others.  Not any more, as the Toffees ripped up the history books, the rulebook and every other book with a fantastic display which Spurs failed to match.

In fact, they didn't come close.  For this, there are many, many reasons, because I cannot and will not accept that Everton are better than us.  Not a chance in hell. They make three bloody signings, as did we, and theirs are better than ours ?  B******s.  I've said it a million times before and will do so again.  The problem is simply that our 'genius' manager has failed to recognize the duff players that cost us so dearly last season AND, astonishingly, continues to select them for first team duty.

Davids has ceased to be any sort of force since returning from injury in January and has done more harm than good, perhaps contributing toward Michael Carrick's exit from White Hart Lane.  Likewise, Lee Young-Pyo has never settled and, be it left or right, just looks out of his depth.  Seeing how well Glen Johnson has done at Portsmouth leaves me green with envy, as he's been on my wish-list ever since the arrival, and subsequent departure, of Pamarot.  The other
potential target was Daniel Alves, the brilliant star of Seville, who destroyed Barcelona in the European Super Cup last week.  The boy has it all.  Pace, strength, skill and two powerful feet, as Middlesboro found out in last season's UEFA Cup final.  He's easily the best right-back in the world, after Zambrotta, and if the Catalan giants hadn't signed the Italian World Cup-winner, it would've been Alves.  Liverpool were interested but put off by the 12m asking fee, which is fully justified for such a crucial player.  With the funds available, through the sales of Carrick and Reid, Spurs could've afforded a player twice as good as Chimbonda and still had enough to capture Stewart Downing and welcome back Mido. 

These are the players we need and surely MJ knows this ... surely.  Sadly, it's too late for Alves, as it seems he's staying at Seville, where Fredi Kanoute is banging the goals in for fun.  Sods law, eh.  It's not too late for Spurs to nab Chimbonda before Boro do.  He isn't great but will
give us more than what we've got now.  Similarly, Downing is nowhere near as potent as Damien Duff, who was first choice and available for much less.  At least Downing is miles better than Reid and could give us more than Ziegler at present.  God knows, Lennon needs a hand.

Mido is needed because he offers a good alternative to Berbatov against certain opposition, such as Bolton and Everton, when the action gets a little too physical for the skinny Bulgarian.  Barnard can handle himself but I'm not sure he's got top-flight goals in him.

With just six days left, I'm hopeful but unsure if Spurs will make these signings and whether or not they care enough to.  Perhaps Levy and his boardroom chums are more concerned with banking the Carrick-Reid cash.  Then again, it's hard to imagine a man like Jol not getting whatever he wants from his chairman, so the possibility that our head coach has made an almighty cock-up in judgement has credence.  How can MJ not realise that Davids is shot to pieces ?  Astonishing.  Doesn't MJ realise that it would be far more beneficial to the future of the club to be playing Phil Ifil until we bring in Chimbonda ?  Also, how on earth is Jenas still getting in the Spurs XI and the England squad with displays such as yesterday ?  Absolutely zero cutting edge and the occasional goal, together with lots of running (off ball, of course) is not going to disguise that.  Jenas should never be any more than a squad member, albeit an expensive one, as there are others more deserving of some involvement in the first team.  The likes of O'Hara, Huddlestone and Murphy must be nutting a wall with frustration, seeing how inept Davids & Jenas are.  Heaven knows, I am.

Enough already.  All I can say is that by the time we visit Everton next year, we'll have the right personnel, system and attitude in place to take them apart like we should've done yesterday.

S J Wightman

With the up and down season already in place, this down will test Spurs' power of bouncebackability, as their next game will be against Manchester United and if we play like this there will be more weeping and a wailing from the Spurs contingent on the radio phone-ins.  So far, the team have made sure we have rarely suffered back-to-back defeats, much as they have avoided losing many games at home, but this was a poor performance and I want to look at each players part in it.

Robinson : - Went under one cross horrendously, but didn't have a lot else to do apart from pick two balls out of the net.  Needs to command the box in King's absence to give Davenport and Dawson more confidence.
Assou-Ekotto : - must learn not to dive in, to keep his elbows down and to make sure of things in our defending third.  Played well, with some well timed interventions, linked well up the right and got forward, but let the ball get nicked off him and then fouled Johnson to give away the free-kick that led to the first goal.  Needs to settle in a bit more.
Davenport : - Did well in the air, but then he should have done against Johnson.  Showed more composure than against Sheffield United, but lost his man on occasion and appeared to be affected by the own goal, which he had little chance of getting out of the way of.
Dawson : - Missing King alongside him.  Did well, but lost AJ for the goal and finished the game being thrown up front as an extra attacker.
Lee : - Did OK on the right, but still looks weak.  Knocked over twice to see Kilbane get two yellows ... one easily, the other the Everton man's own fault.  Defensively, nto a lot came down their left, so a reasonably easy time.  Still needs a better delivery when in wide position.
Davids : - Loose control and lack of pace to go past people often leads to him having to track back to retrieve the ball, but he doesn't have the legs for it any more.  Did well in the second half to link play, but was one of the reasons it looked like Everton had 11 and we had 10.  Three games in a week too much for him and should have been replaced at the break.
Jenas : - Had to shift to right back when the changes were made, but had one of those games when he doesn't do himself any favours.  Gave the ball away and had little chance to get forward, when he should have been making the most of the spare man and the space that provided.
Tainio : - Had a less effective game and might not have been 100% fit.  Seemed restricted in his forward movement, but did manage to set up others for shots and had a go himself.  One of the better performers, although subbed by Zokora.
Lennon : -  Always bright and wanting the ball.  Found it difficult to get into a position to do damage, as they doubled up on him and it was only near the end that he got any joy.  Only one with any idea about creating anything.
Keane : -  Poor game.  When his flicks don't come off, Robbie looks bad.  Failed to spark anything today and his link-up play with Berbatov was nto as successful as Tuesday night.
Berbatov : -  When he doesn't score or set up someone else, we will get performances like this that look like he does nothing.  He was still running off the ball and getting into the position to score if the ball came to him ... but it didn't.  Only as good as the service he receives and this afternoon, he received none.  Not "the new Rebrov" as some idiot called him on the way out.
Defoe : -  Little time or opportunity to make a difference as one of three forwards.  Everton were dictating the game by then and he would have been better coming on at the break to give the Toffees something else to think about rather than think about how they were going to destroy Spurs.
Zokora : -  Late sub for Tainio, but did well when he came on and looked to prompt attacks whenever he got the ball.  Yet to see the best of him.

Heathrow Spur




Other scores this weekend :
Charlton Athletic 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Fulham 1 Sheffield United 0 Saturday
Liverpool 2 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Arsenal 0 Saturday
Watford 1 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 1 Reading 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 2 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Chelsea 2 Sunday
Middlesbrough 0 Portsmouth 4 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 3 3 0 0 10 2 9 +8
2 Portsmouth 3 2 1 0 7 0 7 +7
3 Aston Villa 3 2 1 0 5 2 7 +3
4 Everton 3 2 1 0 5 2 7 +3
5 Chelsea 3 2 0 1 6 2 6 +4
6 West Ham United 3 1 1 1 5 4 4 +1
7 Liverpool 2 1 1 0 3 2 4 +1
8 Bolton Wanderers 3 1 1 1 3 3 4 0
9 Manchester City 3 1 1 1 1 3 4 -2
10 Fulham 3 1 1 1 3 6 4 -3
11 Wigan Athletic 2 1 0 1 2 2 3 0
12 Reading 3 1 0 2 4 5 3 -1
13 Newcastle United 2 1 0 1 2 3 3 -1
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 1 0 2 2 4 3 -2
15 Charlton Athletic 3 1 0 2 3 6 3 -3
16 Middlesbrough 3 1 0 2 4 8 3 -4
17 Arsenal 2 0 1 1 1 2 1 -1
18 Watford 3 0 1 2 3 5 1 -2
19 Sheffield United 3 0 1 2 1 4 1 -3
20 Blackburn Rovers 3 0 1 2 1 6 1 -5


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