Hull City (Away)
Premier League

Monday 23rd February 2009


The first of three cup finals in a week which could determine Tottenham's season comes with a long trip to Yorkshire to meet Hull City.  With neither club in outstanding form (Hull 16 games without a win and Spurs gaining only one win in nine), it might be a shabby game with each side out to grab what they can from it, but with the tightness of the bottom half of the table, both sides know that a win will help add a bit more daylight between them and the bottom of the table.

With other teams at the bottom drawing on Saturday, it means a win will be the best outcome for either side, as a point only maintains the margins.  Therefore, it might be a more attacking game than one might expect.

Hull's early season success was a combination of catching teams cold, as a lot of promoted teams do, their hard work and their organisation.  Over the weeks leading up to Christmas and beyond, the side have not been functioning in the same way and that particularly applies at home.  It seems a long time since we lost 0-1 at the Lane to the Tigers, but that day we had enough of the ball but failed to do what Hull did and that was put it in the net.  it is still a failing Spurs are suffering, but they need to resolve it quickly to pull up the table.

With Matt Duke replacing the very capable Boaz Myhill in goal, the newcomer must be a very good keeper and not only will Spurs have to test him, but their movement and final ball will need to put pressure on the back four of Andy Dawson, Sam Ricketts, Michael Turner and Kamil Zayatte.  Having kept Chelsea out in their last league match, they will be a formidable barrier to break down and one Spurs will have to use guile to get around, rather than lumping a high ball up to the forwards, as City will be able to deal with that sort of tactic pretty well.  They are a big, strong defensive unit and the use of pace and movement will be the best way to out-smart them.  This means getting the ball to Lennon early and as much as possible, but other players need to be aware that if he should be double-marked, then they need to exploit the space left by the missing man.

Captain Ian Ashbee will play a defensive midfield role in front of the back four, with Dean Marney likely to be deployed in midfield as a ball-winner, who can get forward.  The skill in the team comes from Geovanni, who is devastating from long range or dead ball situations, so it will be imperative to avoid conceding soft free-kicks within 30 yards of goal.  Added to his ability, the signing of Kevin Kilbane will add some experience and tricky wing play.  Kilbane is a good crosser of a ball and takes a good corner and sometimes he gets on the end of them (not his own corners that is), as he did for Wigan against us.  Bernard Mendy is more usually a defender, but can play midfield and is a strong runner with the ball, so must not be allowed to get up a head of steam.

Up front Phil Brown can call on Daniel Cousin, Nicky Barmby, Richard Garcia or Caleb Folan.  Folan came to fame in Chesterfield's FA Cup run a few years back and went to Wigan, but didn't do a lot there, but at Hull, his height adds a different dimension to their attack, although he is usually called on from the bench.  Barmby we know all about.  A talented, busy player, who left Spurs too soon and moved around too much to realise his true potential.  Still a player with vision and a good finishing ability, he links play and brings players into the game.  Garcia is a more out and out centre forward, who will get his chance if he is needed.  Usually behind Fagan, who is out after having an operation, he is strong in the air and has a good shot, much the same as Daniel Cousin, who was signed from Glasgow Rangers.  Because of the big money tag on him, he is the one usually starting games and the Gabon international has a good scoring talent, so will need to be well marshalled by our central defenders.  Perhaps the most natural goal-scorer in the Tigers' side, Cousin is one to watch.

I would like to predict a win for Tottenham, but the away form is dire and with Hull desperate to get something from a home game, the sides could cancel each other out ...

PREDICTION : -  Hull City  1   Tottenham Hotspur   1

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


HULL CITY :  - Craig Fagan (knee); Jimmy Bullard (knee); George Boateng (knee); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (hamstring); Alan Hutton (foot); Jermain Defoe (foot); Jamie O'Hara (hip); - (-); 


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Hull City   1   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  KC Stadium
Monday 23rd February 2009
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   24,742
Referee :  Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Weather :  -  Dry, chilly
Teams : - 
Hull City :

12  Duke

  3  A. Dawson     
30  Gardner
  6  Turner
21  Ricketts

24  Zayatte (10  Geovanni 87)
  4  Ashbee     
17  Kilbane
22  Marney

25  Cousin (15  Mendy 67)
14  Garcia (28  Manucho 79)

Unused subs: 
  1  Myhill
  8  Barmby
  2  Doyle
16  Halmosi

Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

22  Corluka
26  King
39  Woodgate     (20  M. Dawson 89)
32  Assou-Ekotto

14  Modric     
  8  Jenas
12  Palacios
  7  Lennon     (  4  Zokora 87)
15  Keane

10  Bent (  9  Pavlyuchenko 72)

Unused subs: 
  1  Gomes
  5  Bentley
  6  Huddlestone
21  Chimbonda

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Hull City

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Hull City

Turner 27

Tottenham Hotspur

Lennon 17
Woodgate 86

Cards : -  
Hull City

A. Dawson (foul) 7
Ashbee (foul) 42  


Tottenham Hotspur 

Modric (foul) 44  


Match Report : -  
A vital away win was achieved with a little luck and no help from a referee who could not tell as corner from a throw-in, but goals from Aaron Lennon and Jonathan Woodgate were enough to ease past Hull City and put us just a point behind them in 14th place in the table.

The win came at a cost, with Woodgate splitting his head open above his eye in the closing minutes and Ledley King limping.  Neither were likely to play against Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday, but the League Cup Final on Sunday now becomes a match they might struggle to make.  Still, at least they are likely to turn up on time, not like Bernard Mendy, whose late arrival meant that Hull had to shuffle their side and play Anthony Gardner for the first time since September.

Spurs started with Darren Bent up front and five behind him in midfield, with Carlo Cudicini preferred in goal to Heurelho Gomes.  It was a team set up to be difficult to break through and to hit City on the break.  It didn't really turn out like that as Tottenham are very rarely difficult to break down.  And being away from home, they are perhaps more fragile than ever, knowing that they had conceded last minute goals to lose point son the road in a number of matches so far this season.

A frantic opening saw a shot blocked by Assou-Ekotto for a corner that dropped in the box and ended with Andy Dawson thankfully belting over the bar.  His next intervention was perhaps more typical of the Tigers' physical approach to the game, perhaps not too surprising as their manager was a Bolton Wanderers coach under Sam Allardyce.  Dawson crudely took Aaron Lennon down shortly after being spoken to by the ref and he got a yellow card.  It was surprising that Lee Probert did not then go on to book players for similar tackles, as both Dawson, Zayatte and Ashbee were all guilty of the same or worse. 

Spurs were nearly the architects of their own demise when Woodgate headed a seemingly innocuous through ball back to Cudicini, but the keeper had  come out and had to dash back to stop the ball crossing the line after it went past him.  Tottenham started to push forward and Robbie Keane, who had a quiet night, slid a pass down the left side of the pitch to Darren Bent to run onto.  he got there first and nudged it past Anthony Gardner, but the telescopic leg came out to deflect the ball away from the Tottenham striker for a corner.

Spurs played it short and whereas Keane had taken the ball from Modric and tried to turn his marker close to the dead ball line, this time he played it back to Luka and as Marney came out of the middle to close him down, this left Lennon with space just inside the 18 yard box to receive the Croatian's pass and to drill a shot past the ducking Bent and the keeper.  It was a well created goal and one which seemed to indicate that Spurs had done their homework on how Hull defend.

The goal appeared to spark Hull into action and Cudicini had to be quick off his line to deny Zayatte and looked to have hurt his foot in the process.  One thing Tottenham would not have wanted to do would to have conceded set-pieces, but the corner count was high for both sides.  It would have been higher if the incompetent officials had not combined to turn an obvious corner into a throw-in to Tottenham.  It may have only seemed a minor gripe, but on such things are matches won and lost.

From a home corner in the 25th minute, Cudicini was impeded, but the match official failed to give anything, leading to a corner on the other side.  Dawson swung it in and Cudicini probably thought he had to come for it, as the ref would not protect him, but the Italian got underneath it and it hit Palacios on the leg to head back towards the Tottenham goal, where Michael Turner stretched a leg out to put it into the goal.

It was another soft goal to concede and another one which wiped out a good start.  Hull then enjoyed a spell of good possession and Spurs were pushed back as a result.  A ong ball drpped kindly for Daniel Cousin to strike first time and his shot left Cudicini standing as it curled and dipped, skimming the roof of the net on it's way over the top.  A free-kick just before half-time gave Dean Marney to show Spurs what they were missing, but it flew too high.

The second half saw a turnaround in fortunes, as Spurs picked up the tempo and started to pass the ball better.  Too often in the first perios they had ceded cheap possession and that handed the home side the chance to push towards the Tottenham goal.  A ball across the box fell to Bent at the edge of the area.  he took the ball down and struck a shot on the turn, but it lacked sufficient power to beat Duke, who comfortably caught the ball.  The game moved to the other end and another free header was completely missed by Zayatte, but it needed Modric to get in the way of Kilbane's shot to keep the ball out.

An even better chance came when Keane got free on the left and cut a ball back to the 18 yard line, where Wilson Palacios ran in and met it full on the volley that would have ripped a hole in the net had Gardner not got his body in the way ... or should that be if his body hadn't been in the way, as I don't think he knew much about it and went down like he had been shot.  Keane also had a chance to restart his Spurs scoring record, as Duke muffed a kick out and it fell to Robbie some 40 yards out and he lobbed it back at goal, but it unconvincingly went wide.  Shame Bentley wasn't on the pitch !!

It was really a good twenty minutes for Spurs, who really needed to score while they were on top and it almost came when Modric put in a free-kick that picked out his compatriot Corluka and he won a good header, but although it might have beaten the goalie, it did not beat the bar and went over.  With a niggly passage of play, it was ten minutes before the next chance and it was Spurs who were grateful for the intervention of the woodwork, with Zayatte getting a header in against Pavlyuchenko and King's challenges to glance it past Carlo only to see it bounce back off the post and for Jenas to get there just before Gardner could knock it in.

The game was all about set-pieces and when a short corner by Spurs did not work out as planned, they went back to Jenas in the middle and he spread the ball left to Benoit Assou-Ekotto.  Unfortunately, his pass pushed the left back a bit wider than intended, but as Gardner jumped up to block a supposed cross, it allowed the Cameroonian to go past him and then put in a really good left footed cross.  As it went into the penalty area, the Spurs big men had stayed up, with Jonathan Woodgate towering over Dawson to head powerfully past Duke and then run to the Tottenham fans behind the goal.

It was a goal Spurs needed badly and the celebrations in the crowd were matched by those on the field.  However, we were now entering the period of potential errors for Spurs.  With the HUll fans baying for nay decision the ref might be willing to dish out in their favour, it was really down to Tottenham to see if they could hold on for the remaining two minutes plus four to be added.  Substitutions had been made and had to be made when Woodgate went up for a defensive header and had to leave the field with blood pouring from a cut above his eye, which was soon puffing up.

In truth, Hull failed to put too much more pressure on the Spurs defence and their poor run of results, being without a win since October continued in what must surely soon be regarded as relegation form, with a crunch game against Blackburn Rovers at the weekend looming, after their FA Cup replay against Sheffield United.

Tottenham had not played as well as they did against Stoke for instance, but they did show what they are capable of and showed a little bit of fight.  The victory leaves them needing to win another four games and this makes things a little more comfortable, but they must not get too complacent.  The final ball was not always the best and the movement looked to be lacking a little when we had spells of possession, but the goal were well crafted and taken and it will help boost confidence ahead of a punishing schedule over the next 12 days.





Reaction : -



So, Phil Brown thinks Spurs weren't as good as his cheapo Hull City side ?

He thinks that you couldn't tell that his side were any worse than Tottenham.

He has a perma-tan and a Captain Scarlet headset.

He says that he has not thought about relegation.

Let me tell you mate, you need to start thinking about it quick and keep off the sun-bed otherwise your side are back in the Championship race.

I am not saying that Spurs were great tonight, but there was an obvious gap in class and they were only ever going to score form a set-piece.  For Spurs to get two from dead ball situations must mean that we are better than them and we don't get that many from set-pieces.

The in puts us a point below them and in a better run of form, although it is all relative.

I just hope it inspires the team to go on a little run to pull us well away from the drop zone.

the funky phantom

Massive three points last night, massive. 

With games against - Villa , United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton still to come we had to get three points.

Woodgate - almost to the day (carling cup final 24/02/08) scores a very important goal -
it might just save us.

The most important thing is now to follow it up against Middlesbrough next week - another must win game -- with home matches against WBA and Man City , Newcastle still to come and all winnable, a final push will see us through, but still along way to go.  Maybe three more wins and a few draws might do it.

Let's hope WBA, Boro and Stoke keep dropping points, as I can see Blackburn gaining points along with Newcastle who have a very tough run in like us.

Big relief last night, but let's carry on in the winning way. 






Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 0 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
Manchester United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Portsmouth 2 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1 Sunday
Fulham 2 West Bromwich Albion 0 Sunday
Newcastle United 0 Everton 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 26 19 5 2 46 11 62 +35
2 Liverpool 26 15 10 1 43 18 55 +25
3 Chelsea 26 15 7 4 45 15 52 +30
4 Aston Villa 26 15 6 5 40 25 51 +15
5 Arsenal 26 12 9 5 38 26 45 +13
6 Everton 26 11 8 7 34 28 41 +6
7 Wigan Athletic 26 9 8 9 26 24 35 +2
8 Fulham 25 8 9 8 24 22 33 +2
9 West Ham United 26 9 6 11 32 34 33 -2
10 Manchester City 25 9 5 11 43 33 32 +10
11 Sunderland 26 8 7 11 27 33 31 -6
12 Bolton Wanderers 26 9 3 14 29 38 30 -10
13 Hull City 26 7 8 11 32 48 29 -16
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 26 7 7 12 28 32 28 -4
15 Newcastle United 26 6 10 10 33 42 28 -9
16 Portsmouth 25 6 7 12 27 43 25 -16
17 Stoke City 26 6 7 13 23 42 25 -19
18 Blackburn Rovers 25 5 8 12 28 42 23 -14
19 Middlesbrough 26 5 8 13 18 36 23 -18
20 West Bromwich Albion 26 6 4 16 24 49 22 -25


Position before the match :  15th
Position after the match :  14th

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