Saturday 13th September 2003
Sullivan, Macho, Ambrosio, Johnson, Babayaro, Melchiot, Terry, Desailly,
Gallas, Bridge, Cole, Lampard, Makelele, Veron, Duff, Petit,
Hasselbaink, Mutu, Gronkjaer, Gudjohnsen, Crespo.
Is that enough to convince you that Spurs are not going to end their Chelsea hoodoo ? It looked like everything was going so well, but then the Roman empire began building and all we can hope is that it falls some time in similar fashion to it's namesake.
There is no guarantee that Spurs will go along with the plan and might put on a surprise performance and actually get something from the game, but the spending made by Chelsea puts our own summer splash in the shade.
I can't see Spurs getting on the scoresheet, which has been the problem so far (no goals in three out of four games), although Dalmat might make his Tottenham debut and add some creativity to the side. The midfield will have to work very hard to shut down space that Chelsea will use and where they will win the ball against our midfielders.
PREDICTION : - Chelsea 2 Tottenham 0
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
Chelsea - Jurgen Macho (knee ligaments), Geremi (suspended)
Tottenham Hotspur - Christian Ziege (thigh), Kazuyuki Toda (calf), Robbie Keane (ankle), Gus Poyet (broken wrist) - all back in training, but not match fit
TV : No live coverage in UK.
Radio : TalkSport (1089 Medium Wave) - Live coverage (London only)
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk Live webcast
|Chelsea 4 Tottenham 2 (Half-time score : 2-1)|
|Saturday 13th September 2003|
|Venue : - White Hart Lane|
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.|
|Weather : - Bright, sunny, warm|
|Referee : - G. Poll (Tring)|
|Crowd : - 41,165|
|Teams : -
Chelsea : - Cudicini; Melchiot, Babayaro, Desailly, Terry; Petit (Makelele 66), Lampard, Gronkjaer (Gallas 71), Duff (Cole 74); Mutu, Hasselbaink
Unused Subs : - Gudjohnsen, Ambrosio
: - Keller; Gardner, Richards, King (Bunjevcevic 40); Carr,
Anderton (Dalmat 61), Redknapp, Ricketts, Taricco (Konchesky 69);
|Colours : -
Chelsea - Blue shirts, blue shorts, white socks
Tottenham - White shirts, white shorts, navy blue socks with a white turnover
|Scorers : -
Chelsea - Lampard 36, Mutu 38, 76, Hasselbaink 90
Tottenham - Kanoute 26, 86
|Cards : -
Chelsea - Petit (foul) 45, Hasselbaink (foul) 89
Tottenham - Zamora (foul) 30, Taricco (foul) 53, Redknapp (foul) 81, Dalmat (foul) 89
Both teams fielded weakened sides, but for different reasons. Chelsea proved that the depth of their squad is "Abyss"-like, while Tottenham's still skulks in the shallows as this defeat showed.
Spurs had started brightly, with Redknapp making the Chelsea keeper scurry to keep out a long range effort. It was a surprise to us all that we took the lead, although we had looked fairly comfortable in the first half hour. Kanoute taking down a cross-field ball from Anderton on his chest and bumbling past challenges, before slipping it away under Cudicini. Both he and Zamora, in for Postiga, were working hard up front in difficult circumstances, but they stuck at their task.
In fact, had Zamora converted Dazza's corner with his head, instead of putting it wide on the half hour, it might have tested Chelsea's resolve even further. As it was they came at us all guns blazing. Richards and Gardner had thrown block on Hasselbaink to stop him hitting the net, but the inevitable happened when Duff got away on the wing and Lampard popped up to head home from a reclining position at the far post. And then in a flash it was 1-2, with Mutu being put through the Tottenham defence by a neat pass. King was dumped on his arse, pulling a hamstring in the process (so how long will he be out now ?), as the Romanian passed the ball past Keller and in grazing the post on the way. So from what could have been 2-0 to 1-2 !!
Bunjy came on, so there would be a reshuffled defence again, but Tottenham pressed forward and had a goal chalked off for pushing by Richards, who headed Anderton's corner home. It looked a legitimate goal to me though. It will be interesting to see it on TV tonight. Then play broke to the other end and Spurs conceded one of many corners. Keller flapped at it near the edge of the box and it fell to Lampard, who hammered it back at the American, who must have seen it late, but managed to get a hand to it and turn it wide. Even then, Spurs might have levelled right on the stroke of half-time, with Gronkjaer messing up in his own half and Cudicini helping him out by clearing from a wide position. However, he muffed his kick-out and Ricketts got the ball, quickly lobbing it back into the goalmouth, but it landed on the roof of the net and not in it.
The second half was a real pressure 45 minutes, with Chelsea knowing they had not played well, so trying to put that right by constantly attacking. I think they ended up having about 10 corners, while Spurs had three and only one of those in the second half. The pressure also told as the yellow cards started to add up, with Chelsea fan Graham Poll making sure we picked up most of them - Zamora, Taricco, Redknapp and Dalmat.
For all the possession, Chelsea didn't really threaten in the first quarter of an hour of the half. Only a Babayaro 30-yarder that flew just over and a curler from Duff that went wide to speak of. It took Hoddle until the hour to bring on Dalmat for the tiring Anderton. He did make a bit of a difference, but the movement of the game was towards the Spurs goal for most of the time. With 75 minutes on the clock, Cole, who had only just come on, put Mutu through again, with the Spurs defence being caught pushing forward as a move broke down and he finished clinically to make it 3-1. The Tottenham heads had been down since going 1-2 down so quickly and it appeared that it was all over for them now. The £15 million man should have got his hat-trick when Joe Cole hit a drive that Keller couldn't hold and the striker latched onto the rebound, but missed with the goal right in front of him.
Then, against the run of play, Spurs earned a corner and from it, Cudicini pushed it out for a throw-in on the far side. It was launched in, Richards got a shot in, bounced it against a post and Kanoute poked home the loose ball to make it 2-3 with five minutes left. And like Spurs always do, the hope that goal raised was dashed as they slept a bit leaving Babayaro space to fashion a low cross into the box, where Hasselbaink ran in to score the fourth from close range.
The match was expected to be a rout and it never really promised to be that, as Spurs worked hard, but lacked the conviction to take the game to Chelsea for long periods. While they have a panoply of stars, they are not yet a team and the constant chopping and changing of personnel might mean that they take a long time to achieve that. This started well, but fizzled away all too quickly.
If Hoddle has got just the three matches (Chelsea, Southampton and Coventry) to save his skin, he will have to work some miracles and do it very quickly.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DEAN RICHARDS
|SPOILED FOR CHOICE|
|It beats me what positives Hoddle
found in this performance. Was it "We kept them to single
figures" ? Was it "We got two goals" ? Or
something that no-one else in the ground saw ? Because, even
though Spurs scored to go one up, the home side never panicked and knew
the three points were there for the taking ... whenever they wanted
And that all stems form having top class competition for places. Yes, Spurs have players now fighting for places in the team, but look at our bench and theirs. Then look at who they left out or were without today ... Veron, Geremi, Crespo, Bridge ... all players who would walk into our team and with Geremi or Veron as the sort of midfielder we are crying out for.
Spurs have their own problems in maintaining a regular XI, but they lie in injuries rather than being spoiled for choice. Dalmat did make a difference when he came on, almost setting up Zamora with a good run and cross, then hitting a shot that showed he was confident despite only arriving a week ago. What the team still cries out for is a defensive midfielder though. That is where we lost the third goal and where our current midfielders fall down. They are great with the ball, when they have time and are on top, but when things go against Tottenham, they don't have the ability to get back and stop the opposition getting onto our back three. That was proven by the two Mutu goals and the final one by Hasselbaink. They were all allowed in on Keller with little resistance to stop them.
Kanoute showed a good amount of effort today and he took his two goals well, being poachers goals, not the same as his spectacular strike against Leeds. It is nice to see us scoring some ugly goals for a change. Zamora didn't look likely to score after he headed wide from a corner. You get the feeling that he needs to score to convince himself that he can do it in the Premiership. Postiga was dropped, as he has found it hard to come to terms with the Premiership, although funnily enough, with so many overseas players in the Chelsea line-up, he might have flourished in this match more than the previous four, especially after having got a "goal" in the Under-21 international this week.
Taricco showed his petulant side again and I hope that Hoddle gives him a kick up the backside by playing Konchesky next week. He was lucky to stay on after a temperamental swing at a Chelsea player and lacks the two-footedness to be really effective on the left side. If he doesn't play the Charlton man next week, what is the point of bringing him in anyway ?? We need to see how he fits into the pattern that Hod wants to use or it will be just an exercise to see how he does in training, which will not tell the manager much.
The defence will be without King now he has a pulled hamstring and will be out for three weeks. With Perry at the Valley, we only have Doherty to come in as a central defender and I am not sure how he would fit in as one of three. Maybe he will revert to a 4-4-2 ? He desperately needs a result against Southampton and we need to stop picking up stupid bookings, as these will come back to bite us soon, if they continue to build up.
The result was not an unexpected one, but the nature in which was was obtained was not how it was supposed to happen. I hope Hoddle gets it right quickly, although I see no benefit in bringing in a manager who will have to work with those players brought in with the bulk of the money we had available to spend. And even if the club did have to bring in a new man to take charge, it is not as if we are spoiled for choice ... is it ??
There were some worrying aspects of our, not unexpected defeat yesterday.
Ledley King's positioning for the second goal was almost S.Cumball like. Not watching the man he was supposed to be marking nor making a move towards the player with the ball, he was caught in no-man's land and thus the pass for Duff to find Mutu was made a whole lot easier that the TV people are making out.
The final goal, just when Spurs had pulled it back to 2-3 was slack all round. The free-kick was taken quickly and no Spurs player was alert to it. The ball played down the line to Babayaro by Cole was easy because Dalmat had not tracked back. Then the ball into the area found Hasselbaink unmarked, making his goal an easy one.
Things are going to be tough enough without gifting goals, as Hoddle said. What Tottenham are lacking is a player with presence. Whether that will turn out to be Dalmat, we will have to wait and see, but we need someone who can take a grip on the game, because we don't have the sort of Mackay/Gough/Roberts player who will get that hold on a game.
I'm not panicking like the papers are about Tottenham's situation, because we have had a tough start to our programme, but there needs to be a resolve about the side that spells out to the fans that they will tough out some results and although it now looks like we have the ability to score, even more so, we need the ability to top the other side from doing so.
The Heathrow Spur
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Charlton Athletic||0||Manchester United||2||Saturday|
|Leicester City||4||Leeds United||0||Monday|
|Manchester City||4||Aston Villa||1||Sunday|
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