Portsmouth (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 22nd March 2008

Unfortunately, other commitments mean that there has not been time for an in-depth preview of the game with Portsmouth, but with the absentees for the South Coast side, I think Tottenham will be able to capitalise and take on the form they showed against Chelsea when 1-3 down to get a win.

Berbatov and Jenas to score in a 2-1 win that takes the goals scored in our Premier League games over 100 for the season.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Portsmouth  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Gareth Bale (foot); - (-); 

PORTSMOUTH :  -  Sol Campbell (knee); Suleyman Muntari (suspended); Baba Papa Dioup (suspended); Jermain Defoe (ineligible)


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.25 - 23.45 (highlights) - repeated Sunday 08.35
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 - 23.00 (highlights)
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.




Tottenham Hotspur   2    Portsmouth   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 22nd March 2008
Kick Off :  12.45 p.m.
Crowd :   35,998
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Stoke On Trent)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Snowy, sunny, sleety, rainy, hail, cold
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Robinson

28  Hutton
20  Dawson (26  Bent 70 )
38  Woodgate
  2  Chimbonda

25  Lennon (24  O'Hara 70 )
  4  Zokora
22  Huddlestone
15  Malbranque

  9  Berbatov
10  Keane (  6  Tainio 83)

Unused subs: 
12  Cerny
  5  Kaboul

Portsmouth :

  1  James

  5  Johnson
15  Distin
  7  Hreidarsson
  3  Aubey

22  Hughes (18  Mvuemba 90)

17  Utaka     
30  Pedro Mendes
28  Davis
19  Kranjcar

27  Kanu (  9  Baros 83)

Unused subs: 
21  Ashdown
10  Nugent
35  Wilson

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

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Bent 80
O'Hara 82



Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  




Utaka (foul) 57 


Match Report : -  
Never has a team come to White Hart Lane looking for a point more than Portsmouth did today and I am happy to announce that they didn't get what they came for.  With two goals, albeit late ones, Spurs ensured that the negative approach adopted by Hangdog Harry Redknapp - even without a few first choice players - did not achieve the aim of a team pushing for a UEFA Cup place in the league and an FA Cup Final appearance.

Tottenham dominated the first half to such an extent that it was surprising that one of the best chances in the first 45 minutes fell to Portsmouth, when Spurs old boy Sean Davis produced a fine chip over Paul Robinson, which the keeper did well to back-peddle to touch over the bar.

However, by that time, Tottenham should have been goals ahead.  Too often the crowded final third and Pompey's tactic of sticking a man in front of the back four and then another in front of their midfield four made it difficult for Tottenham to penetrate.  Aaron Lennon was finding some good possession on the right, but his final ball was not always what was required.  One early cross saw Chimbonda challenge David James for the ball and the danger was cleared when Distin came in to knock the ball away with his head.

Keane turned to run onto a pass in the area from Huddlestone, but his slow shot was straight at the keeper and then when Tom tried his luck with a 25 yard free-kick, the shot beat the wall but was straight at James in the centre of the goal.  It was just after the quarter hour mark that Davis produced his moment of skill, but the save by Robbo kept it out and the corner came to nothing.  Even Keane's party piece of hiding behind the goalpost as James was about to clear by dropping the ball on the floor to kick upfield, Robbie almost got to the ball before the Pompey crowd behind him managed to attract his attention and prevent Keane opening the scoring.  And when a cross was cleared up in the air to the edge of the box, Pascal Chimbonda watched it studiously come down and struck a firm volley that left James standing and fizzed inches past the goalkeeper's left hand post.

Lennon was showing some nice tricks to get around the plainly out of his depth Aubey, who I had never heard of  before and on this form might never again.  One low ball in was cleared at the near post and it dropped for Jonathan Woodgate to strike, but his shot went way over the top.  Things were beginning to frustrate Tottenham, as the massed ranks of blue shirts in front of them showed no intention of being pulled out of their defensive shape.  When Huddlestone fed Robbie Keane and he played Berbatov through, the Bulgarian rounded James expertly to slide the ball into an empty net, but the lineman's flag had been raised a while before he shot across the line.

One moment of anxiety arrived when Kanu muddled his way into the box on the left hand side of their attack and pulled the ball across the face of goal with no blue shirt on hand to touch it home.  Thank goodness Defoe was in the crowd, as he might have been odds on to score that one.  As it was the ball passed across the box and was taken away by Chimbonda.

With Tottenham's next attack, they almost broke the deadlock with a corner that dropped invitingly to Michael Dawson, who took a touch and took his time to fire a shot on goal that had such power that after it had struck the crossbar, it rebounded out to the part of the pitch beyond the penalty area.  Another chance came when Hutton played a low ball into the box and it came to to Keane.  Robbie put it through to Berbatov and the striker size dup his options, but could only curl it wide of the goal, with James unable to move.  It was a great chance and one which might have opened up the game with ten minutes to go before the break.

With time running out until the half-time whistle, Tom Huddlestone almost produced a wonder goal, when Aaron Lennon's corner was headed out and Hud hit it back at goal first time, with a full-bloodied volley, but it missed the target by not a lot. 

Shots on target were what was needed, but Lennon's first action of the second half was a long run and a cut inside, only to hit a weak bobbling effort wide of the goal as the weather changed for the worse.  But it should have been to Tottenham's advantage ... playing in all white in the snow !!

It really needed a piece of inspiration, luck or a late run from someone into the area for Spurs to break the stranglehold that Portsmouth gripped this game with.  Their defensive formation did not allow the free-flowing football that we had seen of late, but like an envelope asking me to watch your TV for all the big programmes, it sealed up any sparkle in Tottenham's performance and threatened to get stuck in the post.

Spurs were being thwarted by some desperate last ditch defending and when it looked as though Robbie might score, his shot from inside the box was relieved of all it's sting when Distin got a foot in the way, making it easy for James.  Things did not get a lot better soon after Bent and O'Hara came on for Lennon and Michael Dawson, as the young midfielder was in a good shooting position, but pulled his shot harmlessly wide. 

In fact, the substitution nearly blew up in Ramos' face, when an aimless long ball evaded the defence and with Robinson looking for off-side against Kanu, the Nigerian carried on and nodded the ball over the keeper, who made a late rush out to confront him, but the header lacked power and the diligent Zokora was covering such an event and was on hand to hack the ball away from a yard out in front of an empty net.  It was a nervy moment, but four minutes later Tottenham were ahead and were not to look back. 

The ball bounced around the Portsmouth penalty area.  Malbranque headed back into the edge of the area and Dimitar Berbatov looked to drill in a volley, but got it wrong and the ball bounced up off the floor and as it looped into the air, Darren Bent made sure he got to it first and nodded it past a flat-footed James from close range.  It was the bit of luck Tottenham needed to get past the defensive line-up the visitors had constructed in front of goal.  And it was good for Bent to score for the second time in three home games, as he has had little opportunity to show what he can do.

And when Tottenham did play to his strengths, he did well.  A minute later, a long ball beyond Hriedarsson in the right back position found Bent racing away beyond him.  Taking the ball down and running to the by-line, Darren thoughtfully pulled the ball back into the six yard box, where Robbie Keane missed it at the ear post, but coming into the middle of the box with a late run, Jamie O'Hara steered the ball into the net under pressure and with Johnson on the goal-line.  It was a well-worked goal, with Bent showing strength and presence of mind to put someone else in with a goal-scoring opportunity.

His part in the lead was obviously the confidence boost Bent needed, as he had two more shots on goal before the end.  One blocked by Hriedarsson and one into James' chest, while he was also through and tried to square the ball to Berbatov.  Hopefully, it will prove to be a bit of a turning point for him in his Spurs career.

Credit must be given to Juande Ramos for the double substitution that changed the game and going with three at the back, with Zokora helping out there, when Keane dropped back a little to allow Bent to play up front.  It certainly seemed to be the change that brought about the goals the team had been searching for up until that point.

Perhaps missing S.Cumball, Defoe, Papa Dioup and Muntari made Redknapp adopt a more pragmatic formation in trying to stop Spurs, who have been free-scoring, but in the end, it might only have kept the score down.  James was not tested enough, as the home side found it hard to find a yard's space to get shots in on goal, but the volleys on goal and Dawson's crossbar hit in the first half, coupled with some good breaks into the box without any telling final ball, showed Tottenham were desperate to win this game.

If they can keep that going for the rest of the season, it will be a tough job for Ramos to decide who he might ship out.



Reaction : -



How pleasing it was that Juande Ramos' changes finally broke the deadlock that Portsmouth seemed to come with and tried to keep.

Particularly impressed with O'Hara's goal, as he won the ball and then got forward to round it off with the shot that beat Johnson on the line.  Also, Huddlestone's passing was a feature of both goals and he looked the key to unlocking the defensive stance Pompey adopted.

Good to see Keano trying his old tricks, sneaking up behind James and nearly embarrassing him.

We just need to keep this form going to the end of the season and take it forward to next season too.



For Wyart Lane's view of the game on Times Online's Fanzine Fanzone, click here







Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 1 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 3 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Manchester City 0 Saturday
Everton 1 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 Derby County 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Fulham 0 Saturday
Reading 2 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Manchester United 3 Liverpool 0 Sunday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 31 23 4 4 64 15 73 +49
2 Chelsea 31 20 8 3 55 23 68 +32
3 Arsenal 31 19 10 2 59 24 67 +35
4 Liverpool 31 16 11 4 55 24 59 +31
5 Everton 31 17 6 8 48 26 57 +22
6 Portsmouth 31 14 8 9 44 33 50 +11
7 Aston Villa 31 13 10 8 52 40 49 +12
8 Blackburn Rovers 31 13 10 8 42 38 49 +4
9 Manchester City 31 13 10 8 36 34 49 +2
10 West Ham United 31 13 8 11 34 37 44 -3
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 31 10 9 12 60 51 39 +9
12 Middlesbrough 31 8 10 13 28 44 34 -16
13 Newcastle United 31 8 8 15 33 57 32 -24
14 Wigan Athletic 31 8 7 16 27 43 31 -16
15 Reading 31 9 4 18 37 58 31 -21
16 Sunderland 31 8 6 17 27 48 30 -21
17 Birmingham City 31 6 9 16 35 48 27 -13
18 Bolton Wanderers 31 6 8 17 28 45 26 -17
19 Fulham 31 4 11 16 27 51 23 -24
20 Derby County 31 1 7 23 14 65 10 -51

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