Saturday 11th March 2006
So. This time we meet Chelsea, who are fifteen points clear at the top of the table and just after they have been knocked out of the Champions League. They have been criticised in the media for their diving and Jose Mourinho's attitude and comments. Spurs ... well, we have just beaten Blackburn after an iffy run.
Historically, this fixture sees us leave any ground we play Chelsea at bereft of points. Although we are progressing, it is still not far enough to have beaten a top four side in Jol's reign. If we get a draw I will be happy, but with a myriad of international football stars to choose from, the reality is that the Pensioners will continue to keep their dominance over us.
With Defoe looking likely to start alongside Mido, it could not have been a tougher task for him. But perhaps his pace will trouble Terry and Carvalho. With Mido giving an option in the air, he will need to keep his elbows down with referee Graham Poll allegedly pulling on his Chelsea shirt under his black kit. It will be a busy afternoon for King and Dawson, with Drogba and Crespo or Gudjohnson looking to score the goals that put the league title out of reach of Manchester United.
With Lampard and Cole no doubt keen to impress the watching Sven and Duff coming in for the suspended Robben, Stalteri will be hard pushed to stem the runs of the Irishman.
Spurs have not been playing that well for a while now and event he win against Blackburn came against the backdrop of a dogged performance from Rovers that stopped us playing how we would have liked to. This time we face Chelsea with the onus on us to stop them playing and then try to snatch something from the game. The team nearly managed it last time, with Keane almost stealing a winner with a header that Cech kept out. The few chances we get this time will need to be converted if we are to get anything from the match.
Jol's tactics sound like they will be to keep it tight at the back and to try and get something on the break, so we will need Aaron Lennon on the pitch at some stage for his pace to do some damage like it did to Rovers. That is if he doesn't sink up to his neck in the muddy pitch, although a new surface is supposed to have been laid. It might help Spurs, as it would be a better approach to play the ball on the floor rather than lump it to Mido's head, so Carrick's distribution and Davids' and Tainio's battling will be key to establishing the right to play. You know what ... I think it might just work !!
PREDICTION : - Chelsea 17 Tottenham Hotspur 0
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
CHELSEA : Arjen Robben (suspended);
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Mounir El Hamdaoui (groin); Hossam Ghaly (groin); Lee Barnard (foot);
available on BBC radio, it can be heard in these countries on these
|Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Half-time score : 1-1)|
|Premier League||Venue : Stamford Bridge|
|Saturday 11th March 2006||Kick Off : 12.45 p.m.|
|Crowd : 42,243||Referee : Graham Poll (Tring)|
|Weather : Overcast|
|Teams : -|
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
|Cards : -|
|Match Report : -|
|When you are playing that well
against the champions, why do you invite them to come and attack you ?
With a few minutes remaining Spurs dropped off and decided to defend their
18 yard line, but we all know that this is not something we have ever been
able to do and so, when the last minute winner came, it was hardly a
Martin Jol got this one all wrong in the end and yet another last minute goal conceded has cost us a point and maybe more come the end of the season. Although Spurs have been dominant in terms of results at home, away there has been a noticeable caution that has held the team back a bit. The approach was always going to be different away from the one employed at home, but the loss of away points might be crucial in the final analysis.
As for the action, well, a lot of it was fought out in midfield, with only a few chances presenting themselves to either side. The earliest was in the second minute, when Lampard's cross was met by Crespo's head and luckily Jermaine Jenas was there to clear the ball off the line. Wright-Phillips drilled in a shot, but Robinson blocked it, then it fell to Essien, after Lee had blocked the winger's follow-up. The big midfielder missed with a shot from around the penalty spot when he should have done better with the goal yawning in front of him. It delayed the goal for six minutes, as in the 14th minute, the two players who had threatened the Spurs goal linked up for the Ghanaian to sweep home from a similar position he had earlier missed from, as Wright-Phillips' cross came in from the right. Michael Carrick had been caught releasing a loose pass across his own area in the build up to the goal and releasing the ball as early and as accurately as possible is something that he will have to master against the very top opposition.
Spurs had been in control of the game until the goal, when they appeared to let their heads drop and Chelsea started to dominate proceedings. Terry brought a save from Robinson, when Stalteri let a long pas hit him and fall to the Chelsea captain and then the Spurs keeper had to stop Huth's shot from 35 yards. It took until the half hour for Spurs to have their first serious effort, when Jermaine Jenas' 30 yard shot went wide. Five minutes from half-time, Joe Cole found himself in a shooting position and put it to the right of the goal and it was a costly miss, as right on half-time a free kick given for a foul by Wright-Phillips in Lee was floated in by Carrick. Michael Dawson rose above John Terry to head down and Jenas was on hand 12 yards out to flick the ball past Cech to make it 1-1.
Spurs had been just about worth the draw at the break, with some spells of good possession and taking the game to Chelsea, but when they dropped off, they let the home side look more threatening.
After the interval, Terry's header from Lampard's free-kick saw Robbo grab it and was then in action again shortly after when Cole had another effort on goal. At the other end Keano brought Cech into the game by making him save with a shot and when Chelsea broke away, Gallas brought a catch from Robinson with a shot from 25 yards, which was a portent of what was to come. Terry was proving more dangerous in our penalty area rather than solid in his own, as he produced a 57th minute header to Lampard's free-kick and once more Robinson was required to save, by tipping the ball around the post. The nearest Chelsea came to another goal at this point was when Crespo put in a low cross and Ledley did well to cut it out, but sliced the ball up high and it landed on the roof of his own net. Then Robbo did well to put Terry's header over the bar.
While Lampard put a lot of hard work in, he seemed to be less effective than usual and on the hour, he fired in a shot that missed the target. Such was the worry of Mourinho that he swapped Duff for Wright-Phillips and Drogba for Cole to add more to the strike-force. But the changes seemed to inspire Tottenham rather than the Pensioners. With some space being found on the flanks, it looked like Spurs might get something from their crosses, but they were poor in execution and we were left rueing the chances to create opportunities from this spell of play. It prompted Mourniho to bring on Maniche for Essien to try and stiffen the defensive composition of the midfield, but failed to have that immediate effect, with Jenas hitting a shot from inside the box to make Cech save. Jermaine had taken the ball from King well as he ran through, but should have done better when he was faced with only the Chelsea keeper to beat, as a goal 12 minutes from time would have come in very handy.
The Spurs wall did it's job as Drogba tried to fire through it and Jol tried to inject some pace to our attack when he brought Jermain Defoe on with less than ten minutes to go. Unfortunately, this left him isolated up front, while the side dropped back to try and defend the point they had at that point. It is a tactic we suffered last week against Blackburn and it almost didn't work and when Drogba forced a diving save from Robinson to keep his angled shot out with the help of the post, I started to get jittery.
My worries were well founded when William Gallas went forward up the left and curled a right footed shot out of Robinson's reach to deny Spurs a point right at the death. It was a real blow, as the team deserved something out of the game, but trying to defend a narrow lead against any side, let alone one like Chelsea, is hard for the team and even though the goal came well into added on time, it seemed almost inevitable knowing our past history of such periods of the game from earlier in the season.
The goal capped a dismal day for Stalteri, who had been given the run around by Cole and Duff, before he got turned inside by Gallas. The Canadian might need a rest with Kelly being brought in to add some defensive strength, as I fear that a number of clubs are now playing on Stalteri and it might be our undoing if he stays in the team for the next few games. Dawson was outstanding again, as was Ledley, with Jenas sticking to his task if not having the best of games. But he was there when it mattered ... both in terms of clearing off his own line and getting into the thick of it between Terry and Gallas to score. Davids did OK and Tainio got stuck in with gusto. Mido didn't look like he was too interested today and with Robbie putting in a lot of effort, it might have been a better substitution to bring Defoe on for Mido rather than Keane.
Still, we can argue until the cows come home. It is another in the long line of defeats by Chelsea and we expected little before we got to the Bridge, but coming so close to getting a point, it was a real disappointment to leave with nothing. Let's hope it doesn't feel just like that at the end of the season.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - PAUL ROBINSON
|THE FINAL MINUTE BLUES|
Sorry there's more!
NO, not another 92nd minute goal conceded !
What Jol does though is once we score, we invite teams onto us, so what was needed was Defoe and Lennon on to keep the attack away from our awful full backs who we got on a 'buy one get one free' down the local supermarket !
When is Jol going
to realise that every team knows the weaknesses of Lee (right foot only)
and Stalteri (can't defend at all), so they are targetted from the
Whilst he maybe clinically insane, and served up a distinctly average managerial reign at the Lane, Glenn Hoddle hit the nail on the head when he claimed our lack of conditioning is causing us to tire in the last twenty. Instead of inviting the boys back to his Chigwell ranch for Grolsch and pies, perhaps Martin should get them training a bit harder to ensure they stay the distance.
Stalteri - hopeless. Carrick shouldn't be blamed fully for the first goal. If our Canadian clown had booted the ball into Row Z, Carrick wouldn't have been in such a compromised position. I've got more time for Lee, but he's a bit small and I'm getting fed up of seeing him trying to jink back onto his right, to cross - no one's fooled.
Jol is doing a staggering job, but it would be such a disappointment to miss fourth when we've held it for so long. Bring in Kelly for the Brum match. Give Edgar a rest and let Jenas play in his natural position - and give Murphy a chance - what's the point of that buy, if he's not there to add value (surely he wasn't bought so we could all 'enjoy' his wife's turgid column in The Times ?).
And finally, for all Mido's positives, give Defoe a run against Brum - I don't want to see some South East Londoner on the plane to Germany in place of our boy. He's due 90 minutes ... I say he'll deliver.
Final moan. Young player of the year - why's he at Wigan ? We haven't got a natural left sided back or midfielder (unless you count that 40 stone lump, Reid), so bring him back from the cold. What did he do wrong, take too much of a toke on Jol's weed ? Bring back ZIEGLER...
I am very concerned that the season is spluttering to a grinding halt, with Bolton having two games in hand on us, we may not qualify for Europe at all. I donít believe we have had a worse set of full backs since Messrs Austin and Edinburgh graced our presence in the 90s.
What has been
overlooked in the Gallas wonder goal is Stalteriís perfect clearance in
the 92nd minute of a cross into our area. It should have gone into
row Z - he canít cross for toffee. As for Lee why is it we paid 5
million for a left back who is right footed, thereís a precedent before
Taricco (average) or Hughton (legend). As a result we play central
midfield players Davids/Tainio/Jenas on the flanks to protect the full
backs. To quote Jol, Lee was bought because he canít get forward
more than Edman and supply decent crosses.
Last minute ... myself and my son sitting there happy as Larry ... a good point gained we thought.
Oh no ... how wrong ! Our ever unreliable right back fluffs his clearance and another point disappears again. How many last minute goals can one team concede in a season ? Sadly, I think this will cost us a chance at Champions League football next season. I think I can stop dreaming of the Nou Camp and the San Siro for another year, unless we can get our act together for one last effort starting at Birmingham on saturday (who quite honestly made the baggies look good).
I'm trying to keep the faith but it keeps getting harder every week. come on u spurs please.
All the best
Richard Cook and despairing son Thomas.
Not keen on knocking a man when he is down, but got to agree about Stalteri. He is too easily turned and doesn't seem to be able to show an attacker the left channel. He is certainly the weakest link at the moment.
Martin Jol has changed so much at Spurs that it is churlish to be critical. However, I cannot understand the point of signing peripheral midfielders like Danny Murphy and Hossam Ghali, when we desperately need cover in both full-back positions.
One Man. One Problem. Paul Stalteri, a player so poor it makes one wish for the return of a certain Mr Carr, seeing how Stephen Kelly and Phil Ifil are never going to feature in the plans of Martin Jol. For God's sake, even Lee Young-Pyo has got his act together at left back. The only thing that will stop us from securing fourth place is Stalteri. I just hope Jol realises before it's too late.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Birmingham City||1||West Bromwich Albion||1||Saturday|
|Blackburn Rovers||2||Aston Villa||0||Saturday|
|Bolton Wanderers||4||West Ham United||1||Saturday|
|Manchester United||2||Newcastle United||0||Sunday|
|Other scores this mid-week :|
|10||West Ham United||28||12||6||10||42||40||40||+2|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||29||7||6||16||26||43||27||-17|
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