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Premier League

Saturday 14th August 2010

 
 
So, Spurs start the season in much the same way as they realistically finished it ... with a match against Manchester City that determined the outcome of the campaign.  And make no mistake, this game will go a long way in where the team end up this season.

Winning the first game of the season at home to Liverpool was a surprise start for Tottenham, but then when everyone seemed to beat the Reds it seemed like it would be other games that determined the outcome in the final league table of the season.  So, this game is important for both clubs.  For Spurs, as they want to stay in the top four and for City, as their expenditure means they NEED to break into the top four.

With the players they are bringing in, you would think that they stand a good chance, but as Spurs have learned over the years, bringing in a host of new faces every summer sometimes means that the side has to start all over again, learning each others' play and transition becomes a cyclical thing.

There is no doubt that the money that they have at their disposal means they can bring in top quality players, but then again, it can work against them, as they failed to gain Champions League football, which is what the top players crave ... or so we are told.  If that is the case, how come Tottenham have been unable to bring in only one new player ... and he won't arrive until after the Copa Libertadores final ?

Are players moving to City for the money, or the chance to make themselves Eastlands legends if they can make the top four ?  Well, some of them are in danger of looking like it is a last big payday for them, while others are being squeezed out.  For example, the normally shy and retiring Craig Bellamy has spoken out about not being in the Europa League squad and while he may not be flavour of the month with Roberto Mancini now, he might be in the Spurs side after the opening day meeting.  City have to do something with their 30 odd professionals who are over 21 and it might mean farming some of them out to their rivals, which might mean funding their own downfall.

Spurs have had a mixed pre-season, being without many of their top players because of the World Cup and injury, but they need to make a good start.  Losing silly points last season made it nip and tuck until the final two matches, so if they can get points from their league games, which come before and after their first entry into the Champions League, they might be able to juggle resources in the two different competitions.

Still missing Jonathan Woodgate and with Ledley looking like he might be on his last legs (but might actually be fit for the start of a season for a change), the options in the middle of the back four look limited and the midfield might need the right blend to make sure they can take on whoever is put in front of us.  Palacios has looked a little off the pace for a little while and he will need to regain his best form, while Jermaine Jenas looks like he is staying and needs to put in some of the better box-to-box performances he has come up with.

As for City, their midfield will be frightening and in the valley of the giants (Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira) it will be interesting to see how the likes of Luka Modric and Aaron Lennon fare.  Defoe's fitness might be key, although Robbie Keane has looked sharp in pre-season (albeit against US teams and a shadow Fiorentina team by the time he came on) and we may be reliant on them for the goals, with Peter Crouch still not being fully utilised up front with the supply either coming in around his throat or being trampled all over by a hairy arsed centre half from the other team.

Both sides will be going out to impress, so it won't be a classic, especially with the early kick off and the presence of the TV cameras.  For that reason, I think it might end up all square ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    1      Manchester City    1

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

 
 
TEAM NEWS

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Roman Pavyluchenko (out - hamstring); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Jermain Defoe (hopeful - groin); David Bentley (out - ankle); Danny Rose (out - thigh strain);  Jamie O'Hara (out - back); 

MANCHESTER CITY :  -  - (-); - (-); - (-); 

 
 
Coverage

TV
Sky Sports 3 - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30  (highlights)   [repeated at 07:35 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online (delayed).
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here
.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

 
 
Ma
 
 
 

Tottenham Hotspur   0    Manchester City   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 14th August 2010
Kick Off :  12.45 p.m.
Crowd :   35,928
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Sunny spells, with some showers
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
20  Dawson
26  King (c)
22  Corluka

  3  Bale
14  Modric
  6  Huddlestone
  7  Lennon  (17  Giovani 77)

18  Defoe  (10  Keane 68)
15  Crouch  (  9  Pavyluchenko 68)

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
  4  Kaboul
12  Palacios
19  Bassong
 

Manchester City :

12  Hart

  2  Richards
  4  Kompany      
28  K. Toure
13  Kolarov (  5  Zabaleta 46)

  8  Wright-Phillips  (11  A. Johnson 67)
34  De Jong
18  Barry
12  Y. Toure
32  Tevez (c)  (  9  Adebayour 83)
21  Silva
 

Unused subs: 
  1
  Given
19  Lescott
24  Vieira
27  Jo

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

  Manchester City
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

None

Manchester City

None

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

       
 

    

Manchester City

       
Kompany (foul) 23
Zabaleta (foul)  60

     

Match Report : -  
An opening day scoreless draw might have seemed a poor start after the achievements of last season, but when the match was looked at in closer detail, Manchester City would be the happier side with the point and with Joe Hart turning in a man of the match display, he was the difference between the sides in more ways than one.

With all the money City have spent over the summer and the previous year, it was a side packed with big names that took the field.  And the manager Roberto Mancini had a big decision to make between the two very good goalkeepers he has at his disposal.  In the end, the one he plumped for the England keeper and in the final analysis, it proved a good choice.

With Tottenham all geared up for attack, they peppered his goal in the first half especially and he was equal to all the efforts on target and when Gareth Bale slipped a shot past him, the post came to his rescue.

Spurs attacked from the start and Peter Crouch, who seemed to have had a troublesome week away from the pitch, had a blocked shot inside the first 30 seconds, after Bale and Modric had linked up well.  If anything, Tottenham's early tactics of trying to hit Crouch early in the air did not work, as Hart came out to take the crosses and when the big man did knock the ball down, there was not often a Spurs shirt on the end of it.

Dawson had got to the ball before Tevez in the Tottenham box to deny the Argentinian a shooting chance and then six minutes in, Shaun Wright-Phillips got spare in the area and could not keep his shot down, sending it rising into the Paxton.  Within two minutes, Crouch had got his head on the end of a floated Bale free-kick in from the left and Hart was unsure about where it was going to end up, so pushed it around the post, but somehow hapless referee Marriner managed to give a goal-kick.  This was the first of several frankly confusing decisions he awarded throughout the game.  More of which are to come.

With ten minutes gone, Crouch was in the action once more, as Lennon out-paced the leaden legged HaHa Toure and the lanky forward headed down for Jermain Defoe to take the ball under control and turn sharply to shoot only for Hart to dive to his left to keep the ball out.  Modric and Huddlestone were denied strikes on goal by desperate blocking by the City defenders and then with 16 minutes on the clock, Hart got a punch to Bale's in-swinging near post corner.  The ball fell for Tom Huddlestone on the edge of the box to hook a volley back at goal and it was heading in by the left hand post, until Hart flew across the goal to push it wide.  If Hud had got a proper connection on it, the result might have been different.

From the corner, the ball was knocked out and this time, it was BAE who shaped up for a 25 yard shot, which deflected off Wright-Phillips' back and flew spinning towards the top corner, but Hart was once again equal to it and reached up to tip the ball over the top with a quality save.  The cameras at White Hart Lane cheekily cut to Shay Given on the bench quickly to try and gauge his reaction to his goalkeeping rivals reflex stop.

Kompany found his way into the referee's notebook for a cynical haul down on Defoe, as he turned away from the big centre-half, but it hadn't stopped Nigel De Jong carrying on from where he left off in the World Cup final, with his over-zealous tackling.  But then 25 minutes in, the ball found Tevez in the Spurs box and he looked to shoot, but then turned inside to find a better angle, but only found white shirts blocking his way.

In the 28th minute, Bale picked out Crouch again and a knock down to strike partner Defoe, saw the little man hook a shot goal-wards immediately, with Hart doing well to block the shot with a reaching save, when it looked like he would not get to it.  A minute later, Gareth Bale engineered a way past Micah Richards on the left side of the box and as he moved into the area, the City defender had an arm in the Welshman's back to knock him over.  Referee Marriner failed to see the offence, even though he was behind Bale and I was behind the referee and could see it.  It might not have been the worse foul in the world, but it was a foul nonetheless.

The onslaught continued, with a shot by Gareth Bale in the 30th minute that cut across Hart from the left and hit the keeper's left hand post with the keeper beaten.  It rebounded to Aaron Lennon, who controlled a shot on target, but the effort was blocked on the line by Kompany.  it looked like it wasn't going to be Tottenham's day.  Within a minute, Huddlestone picked up the ball on the edge of his own box and pinged a pass over the City defence to Defoe to run onto and Hart blocked the resulting shot from the right with his legs.  The loose ball fell behind him, but Defoe could not get a decent shot and the ball squirmed away square.

Spurs had another chance to score, when Bale picked out a low cross along the six yard area, but there was no Spurs player close enough to get a touch on it to divert it into the goal, but Heurelho Gomes had to be sharp to respond to a long shot from HaHa Toure that took a deflection and the Spurs keeper stretched well to hold the shot.  It was hard to see what the fuss about HaHa Toure is.  What City got for 28 million and 500,000 a week was a couple of long shots and a decent pass in the second half, but he appeared to be troubled most of the match by thinking about what he was going to spend all that money on.

A nostalgic half-time interval saw the remaining members of the Spurs 1960-61 Double team take to the field.  Peter Baker, Maurice Norman, Dave Mackay, Les Allen, Cliff Jones, Terry Medwin and relatives of Ron Henry, Danny Blanchflower and John White took to the field with the League Championship trophy and the FA Cup to mark 50 years since the achievement.  With footage from the season in question and interviews with the players at the time, it brought a tear to the eye of many Spurs fans and full credit to the City fans who applauded during the feature.

Unfortunately, when Tottenham came out after the break, they looked like they had taken the fifteen minutes too comfortably.  City almost scored within a minute, with the new boy Toure's pass clipped over the defence and Assou-Ekotto, who had played Wright-Phillips onside, got back to make a last ditch tackle, as the England winger took an age to get in a position to shoot.  Another new signing David Silva failed to show what the Eastlands club had paid big money for, but I suppose these are early days, but City have so many players that it might be some time before they settle down as a team, by which time it might be too late to make up lost ground.

While Lennon had a couple of good crosses, he failed to take advantage of the yellow card on Zabaleta on the hour, when Corluka's ball down the line saw the Argentinian cynically haul down Lennon as he sped past him (sound familiar ?).  It would have been an ideal opportunity to run at the full back, having already had debutant Kolarov taken off after twisting him inside out, but he didn't capitalise on the chance and eventually, he was replaced by Giovani, after the front two had been taken off and Pav and Keano brought on.

With 20 minutes left, a run by Adam Johnson, who had come on for Wright-Phillips, played in Tevez and his shot hit King in the face as he tried to block it and with Gomes stranded, the ball flew inches over the bar on the opposite side of the Brazilian's goal.  Then Spurs broke from the corner, with Roman Pavlyuchenko having two shots in quick succession, both low to either side of Hart, but neither had the power or the elevation to beat him.

Spurs broke again from a City corner with seven minutes remaining and Pavlyuchenko put a low cross in from the right, but Keane couldn't reach it, although the interception bounced out to Bale, who was running in, but he shot wide with the goal at his mercy, with the right foot effort not being on his better foot.  It was the chance that would have won it for Tottenham and was similar to the goal that Crouch scored at Eastlands back in May, but this time not taken.

With time running out, Spurs won a corner on the right wing and taken short by Tom to Pav, the Russian cut inside and unleashed a shot that flew waist high across the penalty area crowded with players and went wide, when it could have taken a flick off anyone to go in.

With four minutes of added time, little more goal action came about, but with the City defence and keeper holding out, they celebrated their point with glee.  Away from home, Mancini will perhaps set out his side to be hard to score against and try to pick up points away from home, while being a bit more adventurous at home.  They might not be as lucky as they were today every time, but the Italian obviously sees this as the way forward.  I am not sure that the Blues defence is up to that level of concentration just yet, so it will be interesting to see how this project develops.

As for Spurs, they are set up to attack.  The defence is there if needed, but the midfield are almost all attacking players and they might be going out to score more than the opposition.  One game down and one point in the bag.  Worse results comparatively with last season's opening match and against City at home, but there is time to put that right.  It is the start of a long road.

barry levington

 
 
 
HA
 
 

Fan Reaction : -

 
 

HART STOPPING

 
 
It was a little hard to see what all the fuss was about.  The only difference between this game and the one 101 days before when we won 1-0 at Eastlands, was that they had a bit of  luck and a better keeper in goal.

The rest of their side was average and without Hart, you would have been hard pushed to select their man of the match.  Tevez dropped so deep that he wasn't a threat.  Y. Toure was a long legged mac daddy, who resembled Patrick Vieira as he is now at the age of 403.  Silva was light-weight and easy handled by our defenders.  Kolarov was given the run-around by Lennon and looked a big old unit.  Barry was slower than normal and even Wright-Phillips seemed to lack his usual pace ... maybe they were both suffering form being involved in the England debacle in South Africa.

But the Spurs players who were with England didn't.  While Crouch didn't win everything in the air, he did manage to knock the ball down into dangerous areas and Defoe was usually on the end of them, looking sharp and being unlucky not to find the net.  Dawson played solidly and King was very good without being unduly troubled.  Lennon also showed what he is capable of, but in the second half tailed off and was substituted.

Bale was always a threat on the left and Modric pulled the strings before tiring in the second half.  Corluka was solid enough, while Assou-Ekotto handled the threat from Adam Johnson when he came on.  Gomes had little to do and it left Huddlestone to try and pick out the passes to the front men and get forward to have shots himself.

Not a good result in terms of points, but the performance will see us win more games than not if we play the same way.  the only drawback is that other teams will see we had 13 shots on goal and three off target and come to pack their defence.

Pete Hayes

 
   
 
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Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 3 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 1 Everton 0 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Fulham 0 Saturday
Chelsea 6 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Birmingham City 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Blackpool 4 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 0 Monday

   

 

League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 1 1 0 0 6 0 3 +6
2 Blackpool 1 1 0 0 4 0 3 +4
3 Aston Villa 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 +3
4 Manchester United 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 +3
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
6 Blackburn Rovers 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
7 Birmingham City 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
8 Sunderland 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
9 Arsenal 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
10 Liverpool 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0
11 Bolton Wanderers 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
12 Fulham 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
13 Manchester City 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
15 Everton 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
16 Stoke City 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1
17 Newcastle United 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 -3
18 West Ham United 1 0 0 1 0 3 0 -3
19 Wigan Athletic 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 -4
20 West Bromwich Albion 1 0 0 1 0 6 0 -6

Position before the match :  N/A
Position after the match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :   14th

 

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