|With Derby having
a bit of a run, it is perhaps not the best time to play them, but away
from home Spurs are on a run too !!
Last week's win came courtesy of a
penalty, but for the rest of the game they were hanging on a bit, as
Villa were thwarted by new keeper, Andy Oakes. He has come in to
replace Mart Poom, who is out long term injured and has impressed with
vital saves in this game and the one against Sunderland. His
defence has been a worry for Rams fans this season and despite the
emergence of promising centre half Chris Riggott and the arrival of
Nigerian Taribo West, there can still be visible shivers running through
the spine of the back four. Horacio Carbonari and Stefan Schnoor
have not been involved lately, mainly because the former has been out of
favour, while Schnoor is now a Wolfsburg man after he found himself
becoming too violent during Premier League matches. Lilian Martin,
signed from Marseille, is suspended for the Spurs game, so the other
defenders could come from former Manchester United youngster Danny
Higginbotham, Norwegian Bjorn-Otto Bragstad with Craig Burley or Seth
Johnson, playing as a wing-back. He has been out injured lately
and is only just coming back, so may not be risked from the start.
Scot Brian O'Neil came to Pride Park as part of the swap deal that saw
Schnoor leave and he has experience that could come in use for the fight
against the drop.
In midfield, there is the magical
Georgi Kinkladze, who has also suffered a spell out with a hamstring
injury, but could be ready to return for this match. His skill is
undoubted, but his attitude sometimes leaves a bit to be desired.
Alongside him should he play will be Darryl Powell, a tenacious worker
who scores the occasional spectacular goal, although not always
intentionally !! He has a good shot and breaks forward stretching
his long legs to join in with attacks. Rory Delap has also been a
player who has caught the eye this season, with impressive performances
in the engine room. Another capable of getting amongst the goals
and quite an accomplished finisher. Youngsters Boertien and Murray
have all been drafted in at times to cover the midfield area, but Stefan
Eranio has provided some experience and style to the middle of the team,
again weighing in with the odd goal.
There is a choice of forwards
despite the recent sale of Dean Sturridge to Leicester City. Young
Malcolm Christie is the leading scorer and is a handful every time he
plays Spurs, while Deon Burton has also started to get onto the
scoresheet more often. Having just returned from injury, Branko
Strupar will also be looking to re-establish his goalscoring
credentials, especially from free-kicks, which are speciality. Lee
Morris has also featured in the forward line this season and although he
has not got a lot of experience, he looks a talent who will benefit from
Premier League exposure.
Spurs have a decent record against
Derby over the last few meetings, but there will be added incentive for
the Rams in this match as they seek to achieve their survival target of
39 league points. Their home form was terrible at the start of the
season, just picking up points from draws, but it has improved to such
an extent that they are now unbeaten in six home league matches, with
five of them wins. The blot in the copybook came in the FA Cup
where they succumbed 2-5 to Blackburn Rovers in the Fourth Round.
The match will be fairly frantic in pace I suspect and Spurs will have
to show a great deal more movement than they did against Leeds last week
to open up a determined Derby side. While I think there will be a
resolution among the Derby players, Tottenham are showing signs of
getting it together if they can only finish better. So, I believe
Spurs will get the following result ...
- Derby County 0 Tottenham 2
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
2 Tottenham 1 - Saturday 3rd March
Weather : - Cold, sunny.
Crowd : - 29,410
Referee : - Rob Harris (Oxford)
Scorers : - Derby County - Strupar 12, 33 (pen)
Tottenham - West (o.g.) 70
Oakes, Delap, Riggott, West, Carbonari, Higginbotham, Powell, Burley,
Johnson, Strupar (Burton 57), Christie (Gudjonsson 77).
Subs Not Used: Morris, Murray, Grant.
Tottenham: Sullivan, Clemence (Iversen 76), Doherty,
Campbell, Young, Thelwell (Gardner 45), Freund, Sherwood, King, Booth,
Subs Not Used: Walker, Korsten, Etherington.
Stadium, shame about the result, is a comment that sums up Spurs visit
was the 100th match at Pride Park. Derby are looking to ease
away from relegation threats and have put a little run together. Who
better to play than Spurs who have lost as many league matches on their
travels as bottom club Bradford. Spurs did little to improve their away
record with perhaps one eye on next week’s FA Cup encounter. There was
no Rebrov, so Andy Booth took his place up front alongside Ferdinand.
Most Spurs fans thought and wished Booth had returned to Sheffield.
Hopefully after this performance he will. It has not been a tremendously
successful loan arrangement with Booth’s goal tally standing at Nil.
At the back, Thelwell came in to play on the unfamiliar left side of the
three centre backs, which also did not work for him. There was a lot of
height in the Tottenham team, which suggested plenty of high balls. Even
with all that height Spurs contrived to concede a goal as early as the
12th minute when trying to defend a corner. Riggott headed on
the ball to an unmarked Strupar at the back post who stabbed home. Spurs
were struggling to find any sort of rhythm and worse followed. From a
break Christie was bundled over by Thelwell to concede a penalty.
Strupar scored his second from the resultant spot kick.
Spurs started to threaten but they were out of luck after a couple of
goalmouth melee’s where they did not have the run of the ball. Late in
the first half there was also a bizarre yellow card for Freund. As he
tried to make progress down the line he was brought down from behind as
another Derby player in front of him played the ball out. Freund and the
Derby player exchanged words and the referee who missed the offence
called them together for a talking to. Freund insisted on continuing the
discussion until he talked himself into a yellow card. The card was
flourished in the face of Freund, with arrogance usually associated with
the Germans. The referee Mr. Harris (of "substitute for a player
sent off" fame at Tranmere) made a number of “homer” decisions
to justify his poor rating.
raised their game in the second half and created a number of chances,
which they could not finish. Taribo West decided to help out by heading
an own goal over his keeper from a through ball from Campbell. Derby
held on and overall one has to say they wanted the win more than Spurs.
For Tottenham Gardner had a decent second half after Thelwell had looked
nervous. Campbell again did well as did Doherty. King was the pick of
the midfield. Sherwood continued to sell his own players short with his
passing and then blamed them. Ferdinand’s body language looked like he
was saving himself. This was the first game under the direction of ENIC.
I hope the second away game, at West Ham, provides a better result.
TOP MAN – GARY DOHERTY
|What is it with Tottenham ?? Why do
they turn up and only play half the match ?? Why are there so many
Spurs players who look as though they would rather be somewhere else
?? These and many other questions played on my mind on the way
home from Derby.
Having been stopped from selling MEHSTG
outside as I "didn't have permission to sell on Derby County
land", it was not the best start to the day. Especially as
when I entered the ground I found I had a series of fans in the row
behind me who would have benefited from rage counselling. Well,
that and in need of a face mask to stop a shower of spittle raining down
on my head. Is it just me or do we all get upset at the team's
performance, but not all get rabid about it ?? Maybe I am just too used
to seeing the mediocrity served up in the name of Tottenham Hotspur.
As far as I could see, there were too many
of the Spurs team who were not willing to die for the cause. Some
were unable to due to lack of ability, some through lack of effort, but
there should be a visible desire to win that is evidently missing.
Derby, in their 100th game at Pride Park, showed in the first half that
they wanted it more. Spurs, conversely, were unwilling or unable
to get into the Derby penalty area and threaten their goal. The
only occasions I can think that that happened were when Sherwood beat
the keeper to the ball in the air and headed wide and when there was a
scramble and King's shot from around the penalty spot was blocked. A
shot by Clemence straight at Oakes was the only other notable
effort. Meanwhile all sorts were going on in Spurs' box. A
corner awarded for a deflected shot was nodded on at the near post and
Strupar ran around the back of Sol to have an unattended volley at the
far post. That was the first. Then Thelwell managed to get
in the way of Christie to foil a run, but ended up being spun around by
the Derby forward in a wrestling-type throw that Mr. Harris considered
within the laws of the game.
The next time the two collided Harris
still opted in favour of the home side and awarded a penalty to
Derby. Thelwell had not won a header to a high ball cleanly and as
he ran after Christie who picked the ball up, he clipped his heel in the
corner of the area with the young Derby player going away from
goal. When there used to be a degree of intent involved in giving
fouls, at least the ref had to think about his decision. Here
Harris couldn't conceal his run to the spot with whistle blowing
joyfully. Needless to say, for a team who have conceded more
penalties than any other in the Premiership, Spurs went two down.
The Belgian Strupar doubling his season's tally with just over half hour
gone. Spurs were playing, not for the first time this season, like
a team who had just met.
The second half improved, but Spurs still
seemed to have no guile in breaking down the massed ranks of Derby's
defence, but they were at least doing what Tottenham should have
been. Getting players behind the ball when they lost it - a basic
tenet of football philosophy. When Spurs lost the ball, they
looked like they didn't care and wandered back as the Derby players
streamed forward. When Burton ran half the length of the pitch to
hassle Doherty, I could not imagine Les doing the same. Booth
looked unfit and out of his depth, which for a player who has played in
the Premier League was odd. However, he didn't look too out of
place in the Spurs team. Hopefully, his loan period will spell out
to the management the sort of player who is needed to score against
opposition's defences. He had three good chances in the second
period from close range and only got one on target, that being a well
saved header. Two shots which could have made a difference to the
scoreline went a yard wide. Doherty's header went over the bar,
King caused a scramble in the goalmouth, Sol's blocked shot and
Iversen's effort likewise were the sum total of Tottenham's own chances,
but the goal came in bizarre circumstances.
A move in the Derby half was ended by a
pass back to Campbell just inside his own half. His long high ball
into the box was, not for the first time, not attacked by a Spurs player
and Taribo West was underneath it. As Oakes came for the ball, the
Nigerian headed it over him and into the net. I am not sure one of the
Spurs forwards could have done it any better. Amazingly, it was
the first goal they had conceded in over six hours of football !!
After this, Derby lost their cool and only had one more chance, when
Christie robbed Doherty and ran on to shoot over the bar, when he had
Burton unmarked alongside him, although credit to Anthony Gardner who
did shepherd him away from that option.
Few bright points came out of the
match. Iversen looked fitter when he came on for the last quarter
of an hour, while Gardner looked calm and collected when he came on,
showing a nice line in bringing the ball out of defence (so if Rio is
worth £18 million, Ant must already be £7 million and rising).
Doherty looked strong in defence and Sol did well apart from the first
goal, also bringing the ball out on his own (perhaps because nobody make
space to receive the pass). And Ledley did some good things in
midfield when surrounded by a number of Rams players. But we need
more players to perform, especially away from home. Without taking
anything away from Derby, who fully deserved the three points, Spurs
need to beat teams like this if they are to seriously challenge.
What ENIC will make of it will be
interesting to see.