Looking Forward



Premier League

Saturday 30th November 2002

Having come off the back of a 2-0 win over Leeds United, the Tottenham team should approach this match with some confidence, but with Simon Davies banned and the home side returning from Sunderland with a last minute win, things are a bit more evenly balanced.

Brum have been picking up points as they go through their first season back in the top flight for several years.  Sixteen to be exact.  But wins at Elland Road and Upton Park have given them a decent away record, with a draw at Anfield to top it off.  They have  drawn quite a number of their games this season though and the gathering of points is essential for their survival.

Vaesan in goal is a good keeper with sharp reflexes, but is prone to the odd ricket.  Putting him under pressure early on will test him and a good supply of balls into the box will keep him on his toes. The defence will be missing Grainger, Michael Johnson and Vickers, who are only just getting back to training.  That leaves Jeff Kenna, who left the Premiership with Blackburn some time ago, the highly rated Darren Purse at centre half, ex-Wimbledon and Eire man Kenny Cunningham and former Celt, Oliver Tebily.  Not the most frightening line up that Sheringham and Keane will have faced, but they will be out to reduce the amount of work that the keeper has to be put to.  The aerial threat from Spurs will be limited to set pieces, so they might have to make the most of Richards' height then.  Allou Cisse may be deployed as a deep lying midfielder in front of the defence or in a more advanced position to provide some power in midfield breaking into attack.

The middle of the pitch features the odious Savage, another tough worker in Devlin, who has a fierce shot as well as a fierce temper.  Another ex-Blackburn Rover in Damien Johnson fits in here and has a good reputation of being dangerous when running with the ball, so he will have to be closed down to prevent him getting forward.  Lazaridis and Hughes provide more of the supply with the ball being played into the front two from wide positions.  The Aussie who was at West Ham has a bit of pace and Hughes works the line well, but the Spurs defence should be capable of stopping them making opportunities for the attackers.

Clinton Morrison and Stern John in the forward line have both scored a few goals this season and Spurs will need to keep a sharp eye on them.  Their movement is good and both are able to make a yard of space for themselves to get shot in on goal.  Luckily, the man who usually gives us a fair amount of trouble, Geoff Horsfield, is serving a suspension for being sent off in the League Cup, so we don't have to worry about him this time.  With Tommy Mooney on loan at Stoke City, Bruce brought in Jovan Kirovski from Palace and he can play just off the front two and has a good ratio of shots on target, so he will need to be picked up by the midfield if he features.

Birmingham's main priority has been to try and keep things tight at the back this season, but they might be encouraged to go forward more being at home.  With our poor away from, this result is not a foregone conclusion, but Spurs should have enough of a side out and if they apply themselves properly, then they should be able to manage ...

PREDICTION : -  Birmingham City  1  Tottenham  2  

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



Birmingham City  1  Tottenham  1   (Half-time score : 0-0)
Saturday 30th November 2002
Venue : -  St. Andrews
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : - Wet, chilly
Crowd : -  29,505
Referee : -  E. Wolstenholme (Lancashire)
Teams : -  Birmingham City : -  Vaesen; Kenna, Purse, Cunningham, Tebily; Cisse, Devlin (Johnson 64), Savage, Lazaridis (Kirovski 90); John (Hughes 84), Morrison
Unused Subs: - Bennett, , Hutchinson.

Tottenham : -  Keller; King, Richards, Bunjevcevic; Carr, Ziege, Freund, Poyet (Acimovic 85), Anderton (Redknapp 80); Sheringham, Keane (Iversen 75)
Unused subs : - Hirschfeld, Perry 

Colours : -  Birmingham City -  Blue shirts, Blue shorts, white socks.

Tottenham -  White shirts, White shorts, Navy blue socks with black turnover.

Scorers : -  Birmingham City -  Kenna 68

Tottenham -  Sheringham 56

Cards : -  Birmingham City -  Cisse (foul) 30

Tottenham - None

With a win over Leeds under our belt, you would have thought that Tottenham could have faced Birmingham with more than a little verve, even taking into account the game would be in front of a passionate Blues crowd.  But with Tottenham being Tottenham, it was perhaps fitting that this was a draw.

It put a stop to the four consecutive way defeats, but left little improvement on our dreadful away record that has gone on for about four seasons now.  Something must be done, as these dropped points are costing us dear when you see how the teams around us do against the same opposition.  The team was more or less the same as turned out against Leeds, so why the different outcome ?  Yes, we were up against a team with a bit more fight, but not a lot more skill.  Yes, they had more possession than us, but it is what you do with it that counts and their wasteful use of the ball should have been better punished by Spurs.

The fact that three of our four chances came from Carr, Ziege and Richards should tell the story.  There was too little supply for Keane and that is due to Teddy dropping off and Robbie being asked to chase the ball wide.  Teddy was on the spot for the goal and you can't knock him for that, but with Keano isolated up front on his own, there is little chance of him keeping the ball, as we have seen the cavalry is slow to arrive.

The determination of Birmingham cannot be doubted, but the chances they had were enough to win the game and if they had fallen to our players we might have more easily secured the three points, but most of the home side's efforts were straight at Keller.  These caused him little concern, apart from a full length dive early in the second half to turn Tebily's 25 yard drive away.  The defence did well to prevent Birmingham getting closer, but were woefully at fault for the goal.  Kenna eased between Carr and Anderton far too easily to get into a shooting position and although it flew off Freund as he closed the full back down, the shot came around him and would have left Kasey unsighted anyway.

It was 12 minutes before that Tottenham had taken the lead against the run  of play, it must be said.  However, it was the one piece of flowing football we produced in the game that lead to it, with Carr's neat trick on the right making space to feed it inside to Teddy.  He laid it off for Anderton to sweep wide left, where Ziege was running forward. Taking the ball on he hit a low and half paced cross to the near post, where Keane was homing in on the ball.  The lack of pace surprised the keeper and he fumbled the ball out in front of the goal, where Sheringham had continued his run to meet it with a side-foot into the net.

The goal should have signalled a more offensive drive, but apart from Ziege's rangy shot that the keeper managed to push aside, there was little impetus from the Spurs side.  While a set piece at the end could easily have gone in off Deano's leg, it would have been unfair on a hard-working Birmingham City team.  The point was better than nothing and we were losing to teams who went down last season, so I take some comfort of an away point, but not much.

I can't imagine many of the top six leaving here with less. 


East Stan




There was a lot of huff and puff, but little quality on show at St. Andrews as Tottenham were satisfied to frustrate the Birmingham side and Robbie Savage (now there's a first !).  With opponents in blue, the resemblance to the Worthington Cup final of 1999 was almost complete.  But with a 1-1 scoreline at the end of the match, that was where the similarity ended.

Frankly, the first half is best forgotten.  We could have been a goal down within a couple of minutes, when Morrison set up John, who made the worst attempt at a lob since Geoff Thomas for England v France at Wembley.   One Richards header and a Carr run and shot were all Tottenham had to boast in the opening 45 minutes.  

In the second half, there was almost a replica of the opening minutes of the match, with Tebily driving in a shot, which Kasey saved well.  It was only when Ziege went down the left and put in a low cross towards Keane that Tottenham had a decent opportunity.  Vaesen could not do anything other than knock it out to Teddy, who shot home from about six yards out.

As expected the home side threw everything forward with Keller stopping Savage and John from equalising while Ziege popped up at the other end.  Ignoring Robbie Keane in a good position, he hit s strong shot that the keeper tipped around for a corner.  However, the Spurs defence was breached on 67 minutes, when Kenna broke free on the left, cut inside and struck a fine shot past Kasey from 18 yards, that flicked off someone on the way through.  

With little play from Tottenham designed to create more chances and with substitutions having to be made, Birmingham looked the more likely winners and when Morrison was through, it was handy that he chose to hit his shot straight at Keller.

All the time, the thought was in my mind that Tottenham were playing within themselves and trying to go for the 1-0 win.  For a long time, it looked unlikely, but having got the goal, sitting back was not the thing to do.  The Spurs support really got behind the team and the Bluenoses chants of "Who are ya ?" were definitely Division one in quality.  But their side didn't stop running and Spurs were made to pay two points for not keeping up with them.  Richards dealt well with most of the balls that Brum played into the box and their crossing was not of the highest quality most of the time.  While Cisse managed to boss the midfield, Tottenham did not have a dominant presence there to contend with his ball winning, even though Freund tried to stand up to him.

There are still things that Hoddle needs to work on for away games.  His tactics are not always the best and home sides are expected to come out at Spurs, which should leave space for us to use, as long as the players are mobile enough to do so.  The first half was the worst I have ever seen as a Spurs fan and while the second half was better, it is not up to the standard that we have come to expect.

Yes, we came back to North London with a point, but is that the extent of our ambition against a team like Birmingham ??

Pat Herne


Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Fulham 1 Saturday
Chelsea 3 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Leeds United 1 Charlton Athletic 2 Sunday
Liverpool 1 Manchester United 2 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday

Newcastle United

2 Everton 1 Sunday
WBA 1 Middlesbrough 0 Saturday
West Ham United 0 SCBC 1 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 16 11 2 3 36 17 35
2 Liverpool 16 9 4 3 27 15 31
3 Chelsea 16 8 6 2 28 13 30
4 Manchester United 16 8 5 3 25 17 29
5 Everton 16 9 2 5 19 17 29
6 Newcastle United 15 8 1 6 25 23 25
7 Middlesbrough 16 7 3 6 19 13 24
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 16 7 3 6 20 22 24
9 Blackburn Rovers 16 6 5 5 22 19 23
10 SCBC 16 6 5 5 18 17 23
11 Birmingham City 16 5 5 6 16 19 20
12 Charlton Athletic 16 6 2 8 16 20 20
13 Manchester City 16 6 2 8 17 23 20
14 Aston Villa 16 5 4 7 15 16 19
15 Fulham 16 5 4 7 21 22 19
16 Leeds United 16 5 2 9 20 24 17
17 WBA 16 4 3 9 11 22 15
18 Sunderland 16 3 5 8 8 20 14
19 Bolton Wanderers 15 3 4 8 17 27 13
20 West Ham United 16 3 3 10 15 29 12

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