Looking Forward

 

Middlesbrough  (Home)

Premier League

Sunday 28th November 2004

With the prospect of a record seventh straight defeat on the cards, is there much to write about here ?

Well, the performance at Villa was not a winning one in the end, but there was enough there to show that the team can create chances.  But it also showed that they did not take enough of them and also that there was an alarming lack of cover in midfield, where Villa walked through.  Some more effort and determination will be needed over the coming weeks to start picking up points again.

Boro are receiving good reviews and much of the spotlight has fallen on Stuart Downing, who is being touted as a starter in England's difficult left side problem slot.  A tricky winger with a fine ability to finish, he will eb one who Spurs will have to pay attention to, but there are other options up front who might need watching as well.  Mark Viduka and Jimmy Hasselbaink are both experienced Premiership scorers and ones who will provide another test for our centre-back pairing, who ever that might be.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Calum Davenport might get a start soon and although Sunday might be too soon, if he leaves the bench in this game, he will find a place in his more normal surroundings, rather than being flung on up front for ten minutes.  Both Boro forwards are physically strong and hold the ball well, so it will be difficult for our defenders to try and shrug them off the ball and they will have to try and stop the ball getting to them in the first place.  Job and Nemeth are more lightweight versions, but they always find time to score against us !!

The supply lines from midfield contain George Boateng, Ray Parlour and Boudewijn Zenden.  The Dutchman has been given a roaming role and may need picking up by one player, because if he moves across the line, players will not always select him as their man to mark.  Parlour is an up-and-back midfielder, who runs in straight lines, so will be easier to deal with, but being an ex-Gooner, he will be striving to do his best, while Boateng is the sort of player we allow to rule the midfield.  Lacking someone to put their foot in amongst the player sin that are of the pitch, Boateng might have a day when he gets little direct pressure, but someone needs to be on him and maybe Jamie Redknapp might get a call into the side, just to put a few tackles in.  Naybet's former team-mate at Deportivo - Doriva might play and he offers an old head and is a dynamic little performer who gets into the box and gets stuck in too.  Morrison is a youngster I know little about, but with Mendieta and Parnaby injured long term, some experience is missing from the Boro midfield.

The defence features the blond bouffant of Andrew Davies, who played at the Lane last season and looked like a player that someone could go past, but then we had nobody.  This time we might find some joy on the left wing and on the opposite flank for the visitors will be Quedeurue and in the middle Ehiogu and Riggott.  The French Franck has his mad moments, resulting in a card or two, but is solid defender, who likes to get forward too.  Ugo is a top defender, but has lost a little pace since his many injuries, so Jermain might have the legs on him (even though Ehiogu's are very long), but it is more likely he will mark Kanoute, leaving Defoe to Riggott.  Another injury hit defender, he is now back in the side and performing well, getting up for set-pieces to score too.  We will need some good movement and interplay between our two forwards if we are to get anything from this match.

I am sure Jol will have been working on some of the things that let the side down at Villa Park and that the team will be more accustomed to his way as Head Coach now.  It might be quite a tough match, with Middlesbrough losing to Villareal in the UEFA Cup, but Tottenham can get something to start the team heading into more confident waters and therefore, I foresee ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    Middlesbrough  1

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

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Sean Davis (knee); Goran Bunjevcevic (compartment syndrome); Dean Richards (ear); - (-)

MIDDLESBROUGH :  Gazieka Mendieta (knee); Stuart Parnaby (broken leg); Malcolm Christie (leg - stress fracture); - (-);

Coverage

TV :

Radio :

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
Planet football - http://play.www.planetfootball.servecast.net/downloads/sky/spurs_match_new.ram (free - only available when match is on)

 

 

Tottenham Hotspur   2    Middlesbrough   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)
Premier League Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 28th November 2004 Kick Off :  15.00 p.m.
Crowd :  35,772 Referee :  P. Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)
Weather :  Wet, drizzly rain throughout
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :  

Robinson

Pamarot
King
Naybet
Atouba

Ricketts
Mendes
Carrick
Ziegler

Defoe
Keane (Kanoute 69)

Unused subs: 
Fulop
Brown
Redknapp
Davenport

Middlesbrough : 

Schwarzer

Queudrue
Riggott
Southgate
McMahon (Reiziger 74)

Zenden
Boateng
Parlour
Downing

Viduka (Nemeth 81) 
Hasselbaink

Unused subs: 
Nash
Job
Doriva

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

Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 48

Middlesbrough 

None

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

     

Defoe (goal celebration) 49 

     

 

Middlesbrough

    

Boateng (dissent) 42
Parlour (dissent) 79   

     

Queudrue (two footed tackle) 41

Match Report : -  

One moment of French madness settled this match in Tottenham's favour as Queudrue was dismissed for a horrendous two footed "tackle" on Pamarot just before half time that left Spurs space to play their own football.

The tackle seemed entirely unnecessary as the ball had gone and for some reason the challenge was made with the referee in close attendance, leaving him in no doubt that the red card was the appropriate punishment.

Until that stage, the game had been notable for it's lack of incident.  A few off target efforts and a close shot from a rebound off the wall at a free-kick by Defoe, which fooled a lot of fans by hitting the back of the net ... but it was the back of the net behind the goal and not the one you would want to see it hit.  The only other incident that raised anything more than a yawn was when a foul by McMahon was given and Boateng was so incensed he kicked the ball away in disgust ... straight into the prone McMahon's head.  Well, it was cold and boring, so we were glad of anything to cheer us up. 

A Boro clearance fell to Carrick 25 yards out and he hit a deliberate shot straight down the middle, where Schwarzer was waiting.  The best chance of the half came after 37 minutes, when a nice move involving Ziegler, who had a super match and Keane released the Swiss lad on the wing and his ball into Defoe was taken with one touch and hit with the next.  It left Schwarzer difficulty in adjusting, so he was pleased to see it rising just over the bar.

After Parlour put in a low cross that Viduka couldn't make ground to, it was left to the man in black to make the one hard decision of the half, when Queudrue made a horror tackle on Pamarot.  It wasn't that hard a decision as he had a clear view and was little more than a few yards away, but from a distance (me, not the ref), it was not clear that the tackle was that bad.  Obviously George Boateng didn't agree and he got booked, while Steve McClaren thought it was not that bad, as he made his way onto the pitch at the half-time whistle to tell the match officials so.

Spurs had one chance before the interval, with Keane running down a back header, forcing the Boro keeper to head out on the edge of his area to Defoe 30 yards out.  His immediate shot was blocked by Robbie Keane running out, but I am not sure the ball would have gone in, as Keano was outside the line of the goal anyway.

With Mendes in the middle of midfield, replaced on the right by Ricketts, he had more influence over the match, making astute passes and important interceptions.  On the contrary, Ricketts had a quiet match, despite putting in a lot of running, he did not make many forays down the right wing, as might have been expected.  However, it wasn't long into the second half that a goal came from that flank.  Pamarot's fine pass up the line from defence found Mendes running into space and his first time low cross was met by Defoe, who turned it in at the near post.  Jermain did what all good strikers do and got across his marker to get to the ball first and fired it low inside the post leaving Schwarzer no chance.  Unfortunately, he then too his shirt off to display a Happy Birthday message and earned a booking, which is his second for such an offence this season and takes him to five bookings meaning a suspension.

Spurs continued to push forward and with the man advantage made Boro chase the ball.  Keane looked onside as he raced through onto Mendes' measured through ball and chipped over the goalie, but was ruled offside by the linesman.  Pressure built up with an Atouba header at the far post easily saved, Southgate nicking the ball off Keane's toe inside the six yard box and the Reto Ziegler firing in a 30 yard shot that Schwarzer took at the second go.  Keano was replaced by Kanoute and the Irishman did not look happy as he stormed off down the tunnel, but the move paid off for Jol just seven minutes later.

Former Gooner Ray Parlour played a ball back to Schwarzer and Fredi, looking sluggish in setting off, managed to get himself in the way of the Aussie keeper's clearance and the ball ricocheted back past him into the net to make it 2-0 !!  It looked like it might be our day with the bit of luck we had been missing lately.

With a cushion established, Spurs made some basic mistakes to concede a free-kick on the edge of their own area, with Naybet shoving Hasselbaink in the back.  Luckily, the ex-Chelsea man slammed it over the top, but from another set-piece, Downing stepped up and hit a low shot towards the post and Robinson made a fine save tipping it around for a corner.  Carrick could have improved our goal difference when bustling through two men on the edge of the box, but having found himself in the clear, he dragged the shot wide of the far post.

So, the run of six straight defeats was ended and will Spurs now move on with a bit of confidence ?  they worked hard enough when the score was 0-0 and then with the extra man did exhibit some decent passing, but before that there was a touch too much long ball to our little forwards up against some tall defenders.  When the ball was kept on the deck, we gave Boro problems.  Maybe that lesson will be learned and go towards helping a climb up the table.  The big plus was the performance of Reto Ziegler, who had a fine game and with Mendes more comfortable in his normal position, he showed he can be an effective operator too.  Perhaps Jol is some way towards finding the right blend in the team.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - RETO ZIEGLER

Purcell Cole

 

SAME GAME, SAME TIME ??

 

From the frankly disgraceful analysis from the BBC last night to the almost as misleading newspaper reports this morning, you would be forgiven for thinking that Spurs had got away with a fortunate and undeserved victory, with the referee to blame for denying Middlesbrough a victory that was a foregone conclusion with 11 men still on pitch.  However, unlike many journalists and the Match of the Day 2 team, I saw the game at the Lane yesterday and feel that there are a few things that need putting straight.

First up, the first half.  After a bright start the game settled into a pattern whereby Middlesbrough had slightly more of the ball, as most long balls we played came back at us, and we had slightly more incisiveness, especially on the break.  Boro tried repeatedly to go around us, with the crowd favourite Ray Parlour seeing plenty of the ball, but their possession amounted to the odd set piece and a couple of dangerous crosses.  Stewart Downing, who was apparently running the show for Boro, was hardly on the ball and kept very quiet by Pamarot.  It amazes me that because Downing has been playing well of late, the assumption is to write him up as some master playmaker on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.  To return to Spurs, we looked dangerous on the break, and in particular down the left, where some fine running from Keane, Defoe and Ziegler allowed Atouba, who had a good game at left back, to repeatedly play the ball in behind the Boro defence.  This tactic yielded some good chances, with Defoe charging into the box on two or three occasions.  His best chance, when played in by Keane, saw him blaze over the bar.  Then the red card came.

Anyone who has seen the tackle on TV cannot argue that it was a red, a two footed stamp on Pamarot’s ankle.  Steve McClaren put forward the bizarre argument that it had been the first bad tackle of the game and that only a yellow was required to calm the game down.  Even more outrageous was his claim that his side were in complete control and that there was only going to be one winner of the match until that point.  Was he watching the Newcastle game ?  As the Boro manager, you might expect him to say something in complaint. What was truly amazing was the media’s rush to agree wholeheartedly, with Hansen and Co voicing their opinion that the tackle should have been a yellow, and despite not even seeing the game, agreeing that only one side was in it.  You couldn’t come to that conclusion even from the highlights.  The same story found itself into many newspaper reports as well. Incredible.

To return to the game, Spurs came out in the second half and finished Middlesbrough off.  With Boro rather strangely playing 4-3-2, we kept the ball on the floor and used the width down the left Boro had left us.  Unfortunately, Rohan Rickets, whose name got the biggest cheer when it was announced, appeared to be invisible to his team-mates, so despite a country mile of space down the right, the majority of our play stayed down the left.  A rare Mendes run through the right-hand channel did see Pamarot play him in, and he crossed for Defoe to score.  We wasted some decent chances until Freddie came off the bench to capitalise on Schwarzer’s awful clearance to score.  The Boro ‘keeper had a poor day, repeatedly giving the ball to Spurs players in dangerous positions.  At the back, Spurs were relatively solid, a few panicky moments aside, and kept Viduka and Hasselbaink quiet.  

Two-nil to Super Tottenham from the Lane. 
And don’t let the media tell you otherwise.

Dan Kelly

 

Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 1 Norwich City 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 0 Chelsea 4 Saturday
SCBC 2 Crystal Palace 2 Saturday
Fulham 0 Blackburn Rovers 2 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Manchester United 3 Saturday
Liverpool 2 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Newcastle United 1 Everton 1 Sunday

 

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 15 11 3 1 27 6 36 +24
2 Arsenal 15 9 4 2 39 20 31 +19
3 Everton 15 9 3 3 17 12 30 +5
4 Manchester United 15 7 6 2 19 10 27 +9
5 Middlesbrough 15 7 4 4 24 18 25 +6
6 Aston Villa 15 6 6 3 20 16 24 +4
7 Liverpool 14 7 2 5 23 16 23 +7
8 Bolton Wanderers 15 6 5 4 22 19 23 +3
9 Newcastle United 15 5 5 5 27 27 21 0
10 Manchester City 15 5 5 5 19 14 20 +5
11 Portsmouth 14 5 3 6 18 20 18 -2
12 Charlton Athletic 14 5 3 6 17 25 18 -8
13 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 15 4 4 7 14 17 16 -3
14 Birmingham City 15 2 8 5 12 15 14 -3
15 Fulham 15 4 2 9 17 27 14 -10
16 Crystal Palace 15 3 4 8 17 23 13 -6
17 Blackburn Rovers 15 2 7 6 16 33 13 -13
18 SCBC 15 2 6 7 15 21 12 -6
19 Norwich City 15 1 9 5 14 25 12 -11
20 West Bromwich Albion 15 1 7 7 13 28 10 -15

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