Looking Forward



Premier League

Wednesday 27th December 2000

The visit to the Dell is going to be notable for a number of reasons.  It will probably be the last time Spurs fans will have to go to this toilet of a ground.  Intimidating, cosy and cramped it may be, but this is the Premiership.  Also, it could herald the first away win for Tottenham this season.

The games between the two sides have been awash with goals in the last few seasons and this encounter is unlikely to be any different.  Although the Tottenham bound Hassan Kachloul will be suspended, with James Beattie in the sort of form most strikers only dream about, goals are definitely to be scored in this fixture.

Marian Parhars is a player who many clubs have coveted, but he is still at So'ton and making defences twist and turn inside out.  He will be a test for the Tottenham back line and the rarely used Uwe Rosler and Kevin Davies will be on the bench to come on and create problems if there are no takers of chances in the line-up.  Creating the chances will not be Matthew Le Tissier (last seen at White Hart Lane going through the motions in a 6-0 reserve defeat).  He's out with a knee injury, however, Oakley, Mark Draper (once touted as a Tottenham target) and El Khalej are there to form a hard-working midfield who can create chances.  Marsden has been used sparingly this season, but could get an appearance because of injury.

The defence consists of Tessem, Bridge, Richards, Lundekvam and Dodd.  For all the good things written about Beattie up front, the opposite has been said about the defence, who do tend to creak a bit under pressure.  Paul Jones is a very capable keeper behind them, but is prone to errors of judgement as last season's 2-7 defeat at the Lane showed.  They need to communicate to produce a solid barrier to any side.

For Tottenham, the away mind-set has got to change.  Having failed to convert a 3-1 lead over Bradford City into three points, it must seem like we will never win away from home.  Trying to imagine it is a home game might help, but most of all, playing to their maximum potential for the full 90 minutes could help things too.  Despite the fact that the match will be covered by BSkyB TV, last season's home win and the fact that they will be up against Hoddle as manager, I think the match will end ...

PREDICTION : -  Southampton 1  Tottenham 2

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



Southampton 2  Tottenham 0 -  Wednesday 27th December 2000 

Goalscorers – Beattie 38, Davies 40
Weather : Very cold, dry.
Attendance – 15,237
Referee : David Elleray (Harrow)

Southampton –Jones, Dodd, Lundekvam, Richards, Bridge, Draper (Soltvedt 64), Marsden (El Khalej 45), Tessem, K. Davies, Pahars, Beattie (Rosler 88).
Subs not used – Moss, Bleidelis 

Tottenham Hotspur – Sullivan, Carr (Sherwood 45), Campbell, Perry, Thelwell, Clemence, Anderton, King, Leonhardsen, Rebrov (Doherty 61), Armstrong (Korsten 81).
Subs not used – Walker, S. Davies.

This was probably Spurs last trip to the Dell as Southampton are due to move to a new ground next season. It was not a memorable one. It was a pathetic display by Spurs in front of the Sky cameras and on a bitterly cold night. Ten Premier League away games without an away win and only two points. The worst away record in the Premier League and no worse team away from home in the Nationwide either. Watching Spurs away is not an enjoyable pastime this season and is a real test of patience and endeavour. Maybe we’ll win at Ipswich!

The Tottenham line up saw Armstrong start for the injured Ferdinand. Not a change to enthral the fans given that Armstrong never plays well against Dean Richards. Sherwood was relegated to the bench and replaced by Leonhardsen. As midfielders go Sherwood is one of the slowest around and Leonhardsen one of the weakest, so not much to choose between them really. During the game both confirmed their status.

In the early exchanges Spurs created a couple of chances. Leonhardsen hooked his shot over the bar. Armstrong ran on to a nice through ball but saw the advancing Jones deflect his effort wide. That was it as far as troubling the Southampton keeper was concerned and he must have struggled to keep warm on such a cold night. Not so for Sullivan who was kept very busy. In the first minute Davies hit the side netting and there were plenty of other chances. Hoddle the Southampton Manager clearly won the tactical battle. Interesting given that he is being tipped as the next man in the hot seat at White Hart Lane. The return of “the king of White Hart Lane” maybe. Hoddle deployed Beattie as a lone striker down the middle supported from the flanks by Pahars and Davies. The Southampton strike force gave the Spurs back three of Campbell, Perry and Thelwell a torrid time. Campbell was actually booked early in the game for two fouls and looked unhappy all night. Chris Perry started badly and got progressively worse as the game went on and Thelwell found himself under constant pressure from Pahars.

The first goal came when Perry messed up a knock into touch and hit the ball against Beattie. The big Southampton forward brushed Perry aside and proceeded to smash his shot in the far corner past a despairing Sullivan. As is usual on these occasions, one nil down away from home, the heads went down. Southampton struck again within two minutes. Pahars easily beat Thelwell and crossed to the far post where an unmarked Davies side footed in off the post. The game was then over and it was hard to see how Spurs might hit back. They didn’t.

Stephen Carr had a late fitness test and struggled in the first half. He was replaced at half time, which meant a reshuffle with Thelwell moving across to right back and Clemence dropping to left back. Sherwood came off the bench for the whole of the second half and made no impact at all. Rebrov’s performance resembled that of Alan Boksic recently for Middlesbrough, that is to say he did not want to be here and played like it. Gary Doherty eventually replaced him and with time running out Korsten replaced Armstrong. Neither substitution had any effect. It did mean however that Spurs finished with a strike force (and I use force in its broadest sense) of Doherty and Korsten. Not the most fearsome in the league! It’s no surprise we can’t score away from home.

The match finished with some sort of altercation between George and the Southampton bench. Probably George was objecting to the enormous smug smile on Hoddle’s face.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : – STEPHEN CLEMENCE (for at least trying)

Eric the Viking


Winter Break


It is hardly surprising that Tottenham can't win away when they play like this. There was an awful lot of possession coming their way, but the end result of the game came form what they did with that possession.  Too many passes and some poor passing near the Southampton goal, meant that there was precious little for the home goalkeeper to do during a cold night on the South Coast.

Early chances spurned by Armstrong who tried to slip the ball under the advancing Jones and Leonhardsen, who was unable to keep a difficult volley down, were soon punished as Southampton took their chances.  Perry hit the ball against Beattie on the touchline and it fell kindly for the striker, who ran into the box and produced a terrific finish to put the home side one up.  Little more than a minute later a break along their right wing ended with a cross to the far post, where Kevin Davies finished with a shot off the post.  In truth, Tottenham could have been two down early on with Davies picking up a short back-pass from Thelwell inside a minute of the start and pushing the ball wide after rounding Sullivan.  The the Spurs keeper had to beat out a shot from Tessem after Perry had played him onside.  Perry really did have a torrid time and Spurs starting with Carr, but not Sherwood, struggled to cope with the strength of Beattie, a forward in really good scoring form at the moment.

In truth, Southampton had a lot going their way.  They got virtually all the refereeing decisions going and all the lucky breaks.  The only bit of bad luck they had was when Soldvedt hit the bar in the second half with a sweetly, early hit shot which would have rounded the night off for them.  However, it was more than enough for Spurs, as too many players failed to impose themselves on the game.  They must really start hurting teams away from home when they see this much of the ball.

During phases of the game, Tottenham did knock the ball about nicely, but rarely produced anything worthwhile at the end of it.  The nearest they came to a goal was in injury time at the end of the game, when Leo made space on the edge of the box and curled a low shot wide of the far post.  Spurs had little time on the ball, so many of the moves they tried to put together ended up with the ball being given away, but they should have been aware that there was movement off the ball needed to make sure that players were available to pass to.  Rebrov was only fleetingly in the game and when he was his one touch football was off target, while Armstrong did not receive the service he needs.  

With a game against in form Ipswich Town on Saturday, it is difficult to see when the away win will arrive.  At the end, when Doherty came on, Spurs played Route One to get the ball forward, but in truth, he lacks the finesse to do the job with any possibility of hurting the opposition's defence.  Tottenham will need more guile to get the points - both in breaking down stubborn defences (Middlesbrough) and to battle hard and make their possession pay dividends (Southampton).

Stan Chun


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