Looking Forward



Premier League

Thursday 26th December 2002

It is just typical that Charlton hit a bit of form coming into this match.  After a tricky start, they are on a six match unbeaten run arriving at White Hart Lane, which will give them confidence.  Added to that, they are experts at the London derby winning a good percentage last season and have a good away record too.  Our win at the Valley early in the season will not have much bearing on the outcome.

Lisbie has been playing well up front and getting amongst the goals, with Euell doing the same, but having been suspended for Saturday's match at Birmingham, Curbishley will have to decide whether he returns to replace Jensen, who had been pushed forward to fill in for him.   Shaun Bartlett has been battling away up front too and makes more goals than he scores these days.  With Rufus missing out through injury, their defence has been reformed around Fish and Kishichev.  Konchesky has a licence to roam forward and is another who has got on the scoresheet recently.  With Powell pushing forward, the Spurs wing backs will need to assert themselves on the Charlton opposite numbers to be effective.  The return of Luke Young will also provide an interesting interlude in the afternoon's proceedings, as he felt he was hard done by when sold on.  How he would of fitted into the Hoddle plan I am not sure now.

Jensen is a classy creator  and has the ability to produce a stylish finish, while midfield partner Scott Parker is putting his foot in and being the dynamo in that area, but lacks a sudden change of pace that would be really damaging at this level.

Charlton have proved to be a solid outfit, who have gone forward under Alan Curbishley.  His management style has brought out the best in a number of players and he has not been afraid to sell on those who he has no use for any longer.  This means he keeps the team fresh and they repay him with lots of effort.  While they do not possess the big name stars of other Premiership clubs, they work hard for each other and make games difficult for their opponents.  Therefore, Spurs will have to earn anything they get from the game, much as they did against Arsenal and Manchester City.  With Keane having drawn a goalscoring blank for a couple of games, I reckon he will change that and help Spurs to the following result ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham   2     Charlton Athletic  1

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



Tottenham  2   Charlton Athletic  2  (Half-time score : 0-1)
Thursday 26th December 2002
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  12.00 noon
Weather : -  Rainy, mild
Crowd : -  36,043
Referee : -  A. D'Urso (Billericay)
Teams : -  Tottenham : -  Keller; Bunjevcevic, Perry, King; Ziege, Poyet, Freund (Ferdinand 61), Anderton (Davies 46), Carr; Sheringham (Iversen 61), Keane
Unused subs. : - Sullivan, Taricco

Charlton Athletic : - Kiely; Young, Fish (Konchesky 74), Rufus, Rowett; Powell, Parker, Jensen (Kishichev 81), Euell; Lisbie, Bartlett (Fortune 89)
Unused subs. : - Roberts, Johansson

Colours : -  Tottenham -  White shirts, Navy blue shorts, White socks with navy blue turnover.

Charlton Athletic -  Red shirts, white shorts, red socks with white turnovers.

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  Keane 69, Iversen 88

Charlton Athletic -  Euell 15, 49

Cards : -  Tottenham -  Freund (foul) 52, Ziege (foul) 57, Ziege (foul) 90

Charlton Athletic -  Rufus (foul) 34

With Christian Ziege getting sent off for the second match running, it was a relief that a point was salvaged from a poor performance from Tottenham in yet another London derby.

To say that Tottenham started slowly might be the understatement of the year. Despite Robbie Keane first minute mesmeric dribble along the goal-line only to be denied by Kiely's plunge at his feet, Tottenham appeared to be suffering from a good Christmas Day.  While Charlton rarely threatened, they did play neat and tidy football with some good short passing in midfield that made inroads into the Spurs side.  

With Lisbie running down the left wing, he pulled the ball across the box and King got a touch that diverted it straight into the path of midfielder Jason Euell.  Just inside the area, he struck the ball well, but a flick off Perry's challenge took it past Keller low to his right.  It was a fair result of the play until this point, but Spurs were passing the ball to red shirts too often and lacked movement.  Sheringham had come in for Iversen, which appeared a straight swap, because Teddy played poorly, as Steffen did at Maine Road.

Once again, Hoddle left his Director's box perch to come down to make some changes to the set-up to try and prevent this.  Moving Ziege up into midfield (ands often what seemed to be the forward line), Hod altered the formation to 3-5-2 from 4-4-2.  This didn't seem to help as Parker stole into the right side of the box and hit a low shot that Keller could only parry and had to be hacked away from the six yard box.  At the other end, Spurs were suffering with the final ball being off target as often as the visitors.  Ziege's crossing was off today, with many over-hit and others not getting past the first defender.  In fact, there was little that was going right for Tottenham as every move broke down and they were left to chase back, with Robbie Keane putting in a lot of effort tracking back, rather than causing the opposition problems.

At the end of a disappointing first half, Davies and Ferdinand warmed up on the pitch during the break and we were expecting their arrival in the side when the teams emerged for the second 45 minutes.  Davies did appear for Anderton, but Les was back on the bench.

Again, it was a change that did not bear fruit for Glenn, as four minutes after the break, Spurs were hit by a second Charlton goal.  A diagonal ball by Lisbie from the left to Euell running into the box saw Keller and Perry converge on the Addick.  Both Spurs men looked favourite for the ball, but prodding the ball against Keller, Euell got the benefit of the bounce and it fell beyond the keeper and he stuck it into an empty net from four yards out.  While Charlton were not outstanding, they had done just enough to show Tottenham a clean pair of heels.  Was this to be our Christmas gift for the festive season ??

Another 15 minutes of aimless football by Tottenham saw Hoddle make the changes that would finally have some effect.  Off went an unhappy Teddy and Steffen Freund; on came Iversen and Freund.  While Sheringham had not been playing well, the thought of Les coming on did not fill me with seasonal glee.  But, he made an immediate impact and the tempo that Tottenham played at visibly quickened, as Bunjy moved up into midfield.

Carr had a cross shot that flew wide when it only needed a slight touch, then a far post corner was headed into the side netting by Perry.  It looked like it was going to be one of those days, when Ziege played a ball forward to the edge of the "D".  Iversen rose to it, cushioned a header into the area, where Robbie Keane fastened onto it and smashed the ball past his national team goalkeeper to put Spurs back into the match.  He had been unlucky a little earlier, when a corner had been headed on and he got a foot onto a volley that went over Kiely, who was right on top of him, but also went about a foot over the bar.

Ziege had a drive pushed aside by the Charlton goalie, then, with time running out, Simon Davies launched a long cross from the right wing and found Steffen Iversen climbing above ex-Spur Luke Young, to head across Kiely and inside the post.  Iversen had looked keen to do well today and played with a verve, which is often missing from his game.  He linked up well, as did Ferdie and they sparked an improvement in the side's fortunes, allied with Keane being able to play through the middle more often than when Sheringham was there.

Simon Davies was slipped in on the right side of the penalty box and unleashed a drive that Kiely could not hold.  Then shortly afterwards, Keane was in on goal, but his shot was blocked by Kiely's body and ballooned up into the air. Iversen was underneath it, but had his back to goal, so produced a textbook overhead kick which looked destined for the net ... that was until Richard Rufus managed to stoop to head it off the line.  Even from the resulting corner Spurs could have won it, when the kick went to the far post, where Keano could only head it into the side netting, as Perry had earlier.

The game did end on a low note for Tottenham, with Christian Ziege picking up his second yellow card for a challenge on Parker that looked like the Charlton man threw himself more dramatically than the tackle deserved.  Two sending offs in two matches and he will now face four games out unless D'Urso reviews the evidence.  The ref had a decent game apart from this one decision, which looked to be made in haste, but you never know what view he had of it. 

Coming back from 0-2 down is not a situation that Tottenham have done too often over the last few years, but they made all the running, despite a couple of through balls into the Tottenham box that had to be intercepted, once the subs came on.  A tactical triumph for Hoddle after a couple of misfires, but the point will be viewed as one gained rather than two lost.  However, with a little more luck, all three could have been delivered by Santa in a closing flurry of activity in the Charlton goalmouth.


Ben Ellis




When you see Spurs play as they did for 90 minutes against Arsenal, you wonder why they only bother to turn it on for an hour against Man. City and thirty minutes here today.  With that effort applied for the whole duration of the match, it would have been six easy points.

But perhaps the inclusion of more elderly players in the side meant that the imaginative running that was displayed at Maine Road was missing here.  It started with a piece of dribbling that is unlikely to have been seen since the days of Waddle.  Robbie Keane ran along the wing and then along the goal-line, weaving past defenders with ease, until Kiely pounced to stop his progress.  Ziege and Anderton tested the Irish keeper with free-kicks and then Charlton scored.  It was a bit of a fluke really, although not undeserved, but Lisbie put in a cross that was going nowhere until it hit King as he tried to cut it out.  This meant it ran nicely for Euell to take it in his stride and even then it took a flick off a defender before going past Keller.

A free Barrett header and a looping effort from Parker failed to test Kasey, but Tottenham were getting embroiled in a midfield battle that Parker was winning.  We seemed to have nobody willing to put their foot in against him.

At the break, there was a competition to win a Thomson holiday between two fans - one Spurs and one Charlton.  They had to dribble around three deckchairs and then shoot past Chirpy the Spurs mascot within 20 seconds.  The Spurs fan won by scoring on his first attempt, while the Addick had all three efforts saved.  What a keeper Chirpy is !!  However, the funniest thing was on the Charlton fan's last run, when he almost failed to beat one of the deckchairs !!  You had the feeling that if there had been eleven deckchairs out there against Spurs, we would have struggled to get past them !!

Just after the restart and you were certain this would have been the case.  Euell ran on to a through ball and with Keller and Perry closing him down, he got to the ball first and like deckchairs they failed to close properly, leaving him the easy task of putting the ball into an empty net.  Just like Spurs to win away and then slip back by losing at home, I thought.  Even more so when a couple of more incisive passes were threaded into the Tottenham box, but they were timely booted away by the defence.  

It looked as though the team could not put together a decent move which ended with a good ball.  Sheringham held up play, but we looked better when Keano was racing forward, although for most of the time it was into wide positions.  Davies was getting space on the right, but the red shirts packed the middle of the park and worked hard to deny Spurs any room to pass the ball as they would have liked. 

Teddy's main contribution had been in winding Richard Rufus up in a couple of penalty area scuffles.  He did nearly score with a back-heel in a goal-line scramble, but Hoddle made the right decision in taking him off, as he slowed down the play too much to help any forward momentum we did have.  There was a farcical piece of pantomime when Les came on for him, with nobody in particular wanting to take the captain's armband form Sheringham.  Les got it, didn't appear to want to wear it and was going to give it to someone else, when Gus decided he would take on the skipper's duties.

He took responsibility in pushing the team forward too.  Just before Ted left the field, Gus had one shot deflected just wide and a header just over the top.  After Les and Iversen joined the play, the style of play became more direct with balls being played up to their heads.  Invariably they won most of the aerial challenges, which surprised those around me and their team-mates seemed to appreciate that and played off them.  Ziege's ball from the left wing in his own half would not normally be the sort of cross you would want, but when Ivo knocked it down for Robbie to run onto and strike first time with great power past Kiely, it opened the floodgates for a grandstand finish.

The equaliser came after the ball had been peppering the Charlton goal and it was a long cross to the left side of the box by Simon Davies that saw Iversen leap above his marker to head back where the ball had come form and flat foot the keeper, who could only look on in despair as the ball went inside his post.  The scorer almost doubled his tally for the season, when Rufus made an incredible headed goal-line stop from an acrobatic overhead kick.  Whatever happened to Iversen during Christmas Day, I am all for it, as he showed perhaps his best form for a year in the short time he was on the pitch.

Les too lead the line well and Bunjy's range of passing improved when he moved up into midfield with Ziege dropping back.  Unfortunately, that meant that Christian was left with some defensive duties, which drew a tackle on Scott Parker as he went through.  Having already been booked by the ref, when the Charlton midfielder went sprawling onto the floor, the official ran over and administered another and a red for a double whammy for the German.  It was not a reckless challenge.  It was not a high tackle.  It is dubious as to whether or not it was a foul in the first place, but having seen it and made up his mind, D'Urso produced the card and left Tottenham to play out the final minutes without their full complement.

As it was, they continued to go forward and with Keane's header into the side netting from a corner might have won it.  As it was it ended a draw and the comeback was worth just the one point.  However, lessons should be learned from this match.  Anderton, Sheringham and Poyet in the same team will not all last the 90 minutes.  They and Hoddle have to accept this.  Davies provided more verve than Anderton in this match and Les offered more than Teddy, as at least he moved the ball on quicker.  The pace stepped up a gear and the ball was passed around better with more use of the wings as a source of supply for the front men.

Charlton will probably be gutted that they left with only the one point, but they worked hard and deserved their lead, although they themselves were not playing well.  However, it shows that the quality in the side can flourish, given the basis of a hard working platform to build on.  Robbie Keane worked his socks off for the whole 90 minutes.  Oh, for a team of Robbie Keanes.

The Funky Phantom


Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 1 Everton 1 Wednesday
Bolton Wanderers 4 Newcastle United 3 Wednesday
Chelsea 0 SCBC 0 Wednesday
Liverpool 1 Blackburn Rovers 1 Wednesday
Manchester City 3 Aston Villa 1 Wednesday


3 Manchester United 1 Wednesday
Sunderland 1 Leeds United 2 Wednesday
WBA 1 Arsenal 2 Wednesday
West Ham United 1 Fulham 1 Wednesday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 20 13 3 4 41 21 42
2 Chelsea 20 10 8 2 34 15 38
3 Manchester United 20 10 5 5 31 21 35
4 Everton 20 10 4 6 23 22 34
5 Liverpool 20 9 6 5 29 20 33
6 Newcastle United 19 10 2 7 32 28 32
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 20 9 5 6 29 28 32
8 Middlesbrough 20 8 5 7 25 19 29
9 SCBC 20 7 8 5 22 19 29
10 Blackburn Rovers 20 7 7 6 26 23 28
11 Manchester City 20 8 3 9 27 29 27
12 Charlton Athletic 20 7 5 8 23 25 26
13 Birmingham City 20 6 7 7 19 23 25
14 Leeds United 20 7 3 10 26 27 24
15 Fulham 20 5 5 9 23 26 23
16 Aston Villa 20 6 4 10 18 23 22
17 Bolton Wanderers 19 4 6 9 23 35 18
18 Sunderland 20 4 6 10 13 28 18
19 WBA 20 4 4 12 16 31 16
20 West Ham United 20 3 6 11 19 36 15

Back to homepage