Bolton Wanderers (Home)
Premier League

Sunday 25th February 2007

Bolton are always a tough proposition and when they are in sixth position in the Premier League table with a chance of going above Arsenal, they are even more so.

With home advantage this match might have favoured Spurs had it been before Christmas, but without a home point in 2007 and with the tide turning away from home, the pressure will be on Tottenham to restore some of the home pride to the club.

Since introducing Patrick Anelka to the side, Bolton have been able to score the goals out of nothing that previously eluded them.  His pace and ability to shoot from any angle causes a constant threat and he had developed a useful partnership with Kevin Davies, until the English striker got injured.  With him being out for this match, Diouf might come into the side to partner the French enigmatic forward.  Vaz Te has pace and is a keen player, who will look to get in behind the Tottenham defence.

The supply from midfield has come from Stelios, who is a tricky wide midfielder and Gary Speed, who can deliver a good dead ball and also get into the box to get among the scorers.  Campo is a wily campaigner, who knows when to move, when to pass and when to hold.  With Ricardo Gardner giving width on the other flank, there is enough passing in the midfield to create chances.

Jussi Jaaskaleinen is a top goalkeeper, who is brave and a fine shot stopper.  His weakness is on crosses and if Spurs can capitalise on this, then they may find some joy, but the middle of the Bolton defence is tall and strong, so this might be difficult.  Meite has joined to add experience and strength to the back line and with Ben Haim suspended, Campo might have to drop back alongside him, leaving captain Kevin Nolan to run the midfield.  A strong player on the ball and a good passer and finisher, rumours are that he would be close to an England call-up if he played for anyone but Bolton.  I am not sure that is true, it is just he is behind a long line of players in the England midfield at this moment in time.

For Tottenham, it is important to start picking up points at home once more, as there are some tough games coming up.  One key player will be Aaron Lennon.  Not because he is expected to open up every opposition defence, but because Bolton will come with a plan to stop him being involved, by either cutting off the supply to him or by doubling up on him  to make sure he can't get to the dead ball line.  This will be important, as it will free up space for others, who must use it.  With Zokora and Jeans finding their best form so far this season, this could allow them space to run at the Bolton defence and cause them problems. 

With a good start to the game and with Spurs playing a a high tempo, I believe that they coulld get the three points out of the match ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Bolton Wanderers  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (broken foot); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee)

BOLTON WANDERERS :  -  David Thompson (suspended); Tal Ben Haim (suspended); Kevin Davies (ankle); Joey O'Brien (knee)


Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - 22.30 - 23.20 (highlights)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)

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 :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   4    Bolton Wanderers   1      (Half-time score : 3-1)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 25th February 2007
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,747
Referee :  Graham Poll (Tring)
Weather :  -  Rain before the game, but dry and clear during match
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


YP Lee

Zokora (Stalteri 90)
Tainio (Malbranque 67)

Keane (c)

Unused subs

Bolton Wanderers :


Faye (Teymourian 25)
Gardner (Pedersen 63)

Nolan (c) (Vaz Te 76)


Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Bolton Wanderers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Keane 11
Jenas 19
Keane 22
Lennon 90

Bolton Wanderers

Speed (p) 37

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  



Keane (deliberate handball) 35

Bolton Wanderers

Diouf (foul)
Meite (foul)
Gardner (foul)
Campo (foul)


Match Report : -  
Playing against ten men is always hard for Tottenham and they don't usually do well with ten either, but against Bolton to say they controlled the game and should have won by more than the 4-1 score-line they ended up with, despite being a man down for the best part of 55 minutes.

Robbie Keane's dismissal after handling on the goal-line when a close range scrambled effort struck him on the chest and then was knocked out by his hand came after he had played a significant part in putting Spurs 3-0 up within 22 minutes. 

Tottenham had started confidently, as you might expect after beating Fulham and Everton away from home.  With the passing crisp and the movement intelligent, Bolton had struggled even before Keane put Tottenham ahead.  Robinson launched a free-kick forward and Berbatov knocked over Faye, with everyone expecting a free-kick for the visitors, but the play went on and the Bulgarian flicked it to Keane outside him on the left and the striker took his shot early, firing towards the near post.  It was the harder shot, but the ball struck the upright and cannoned in off it via the inside of the net on the other side of the goal.  Jaaskelainen should have done better, but the ferocity of the shot probably surprised him and he had more of that to come later in the game.

Within a couple of minutes, Bolton might have been level, but when Diouf crossed fro Stelios to have a free header from a couple of yards out, he headed down, but straight at Robinson, how reacted to push the ball out, but Spurs went up the other end to score again, with Berbatov's low cross diverted into his own net by the hapless Meite, although he was saved by a linesman's flag for offside.

It didn't hold Tottenham up for long, as Berbatov challenged Faye and as the ball dropped, he dragged it away from the fallen defender and fed Keane, who had Lennon on his left, but hit an early shot with the outside of his foot, forcing a save from Jaaskelainen.  However, he could only knock it down in front of him and Jermaine Jenas ran in to knock the ball in with his knee to make it 2-0.

Spurs had taken the initiative and closed down Bolton well, winning the ball regularly.  With a good ball out to Lennon on the left, he ran inside and played the ball across to Chimbonda on the right wing.  A neat one-two with Tainio saw the right back maraud down the line and pull the ball back into the six yard box, where Robbie got free at the near post and flicked the ball past an unguarded keeper, with Berbatov waiting behind if there had been a miss by Keane.

It was a flowing move with neat passing and a great finish that gave Tottenham a three goal lead and still just under 70 minutes left !!  Berba laid a long pass from Zokora back into Keane's path and his first time shot flew past the left hand post by a yard.  However, Keane's next interaction saw him off with a red card for the first time in his career.  Lee had knocked a header over his own bar as Diouf came in and from the corner, the ball was helped off the line by Keane and Speed stepped up to convert the penalty to give Bolton a glimpse of hope, as they looked at the next two thirds of the game against ten men.

While Spurs looked to reach the half-time interval without any further goals against, they also pushed forward with Berbatov laying the ball into Tainio's path and he shimmied past one player and hit a shot that caught Campo that went off for a corner.

At the break, we all thought that Spurs needed to attack Bolton and not sit back and invite them onto our defence.  Starting the half, it looked like Tottenham would defend their past third, with the aim to break when they could.  The reality was better than that, as Spurs should really have racked up another four goals at least in the second half in which Bolton made Robinson save only twice.

In this half the whole Tottenham team played well, but Berbatov was truly outstanding.  His forced an early save when he took the ball down skilfully and struck a 25 yard shot that dipped just in front of Jaaskelainen, who pushed it aside, then he rose above Meite to power Jenas' free-kick just over the bar.

The Tottenham defence stood firm.  Rocha did well in the air and Dawson was everywhere, while Chimbonda stemmed anything that came down our right and Lee was dogged in defence and did well to get forward up the line too.  Bolton's physical approach saw them earn four yellow cards, when it could easily have been eight or more and I was left to mull over which was more of a mystery ... how Speed got away with two bad fouls, Hunt three and Nolan constantly mouthing off at the match officials or how Graham Poll is on any official's list anywhere.  Surely Hunt's two footed lunge at Zokora was worthy of red on it's own.  But Poll decided not.

Still Anelka made Robbo grab a header and to dive full length to push away a low shot in the Amazing Sulk's only contributions to the game, while Vaz Te had two headers when he came on; one flicked over and the other headed back across goal, but it floated wide by a yard.  When Spurs broke they could have finished Bolton off, with Zokora and Malbranque both choosing the wrong option of pass when we had the visitors outnumbered at the back.

Berbatov chased down a long ball, flicked it over Campo's head tight on the dead ball line, ran round him to get it and laid it back for Jenas to thump first time and Jaaskelainen saved it with his chest and when it bounced out to Steed, he could not get full force on his shot and the keeper did well to make a follow-up save and push the ball around the post.   Malbranque was also denied when Campo got a touch on his shot to deflect it over the top

However, it was all academic at the end when Jenas got the ball on the edge of our box, fed Berbatov, who picked out Malbranque down the line.  He held onto the ball long enough for Lennon to outpace Hunt into the six yard box and he hit Steed's low cross past the keeper, although he got a hand to the ball. 

The 4-1 score-line was not unfair to Bolton.  They were niggly, sluggish and looked unable to string a decent move together.  Their continual harassment of the match officials was deplorable and their cynical fouling was not properly punished by the referee in my opinion.

I thought the team might tire in the second half, but they kept going and they pushed Bolton back in the style that showed we are better going forward and going at teams than sitting back and trying to defend too deep.  If they can play like this in most of the remaining games, then a UEFA place form a league finish is not out of the question, but consistency will be the key.

We will be without Robbie for the next game, but hopefully, that will give Defoe the opportunity to take up where he left off in the scoring stakes.  All in all, a grand day out.



Reaction : -



Little did we expect a game against the time-wasting, cynical fouling, ankle-tapping, shirt-pulling Bolton to be like this.

A three goal opening burst left them left chasing shadows and reaching for the towel to throw in.

Poll offered some succour by sending off two goal Robbie Keane and letting them back in with a penalty, but a superlative performance from Dimitar Berbatov and excellent performances in supporting roles by the rest of the side who all deserved some awards.

Bolton themselves needed an award for the least likely team to go down without a goal against ten men.  In fact, they were lucky to get away with a 4-1 thrashing ... anything approaching 10-1 would not have been out of the realms of belief.

Martin Jol finally had the conviction of his beliefs and the attacking threat kept Bolton pinned back and allowed the defence a break every time our midfield did.

Dawson was awesome, but Lee, Chimbonda and Rocha all did really well as Bolton tried (and failed) to make use of their extra man.  Luckily, Anelka and Diouf didn't link together at all and Spurs had a much more effective strike force of one.

Tainio battled away and linked play, while Zokora put in an energetic performance from box to box, as did Jenas.  Lennon was a constant threat through to the 90th minute, when he raced into the box to get on the end of Malbranque's well weighted (and well waited) pass to score the fourth Tottenham goal.

A great week that has made the "Jol Out" crowd look a little daft to say the least.  Three wins.  Ten goals for and two goals against. 

A week is a long time in football !!





Other scores this weekend :
Charlton Athletic 4 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Fulham 1 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Liverpool 4 Sheffield United 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 2 Reading 1 Saturday
Watford 0 Everton 3 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 3 Portsmouth 0 Sunday
Wigan Athletic 1 Newcastle United 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 28 22 3 3 65 19 69 +46
2 Chelsea 27 18 6 3 48 19 60 +29
3 Liverpool 27 16 5 7 44 19 53 +25
4 Arsenal 26 14 7 5 48 22 49 +26
5 Bolton Wanderers 28 14 5 9 33 32 47 +1
6 Reading 28 13 4 11 42 36 43 +6
7 Everton 28 11 9 8 36 25 42 +11
8 Portsmouth 27 11 8 9 37 29 41 +8
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 28 11 6 11 36 40 39 -4
10 Blackburn Rovers 28 11 4 13 33 38 37 -5
11 Newcastle United 27 10 6 11 34 36 36 -2
12 Middlesbrough 28 9 8 11 32 34 35 -2
13 Aston Villa 27 7 11 9 28 33 32 -5
14 Fulham 28 7 11 10 30 43 32 -13
15 Manchester City 26 8 6 12 20 32 30 -12
16 Sheffield United 27 8 6 13 24 40 30 -16
17 Wigan Athletic 27 7 5 15 28 44 26 -16
18 Charlton Athletic 28 6 5 17 24 47 23 -23
19 West Ham United 28 5 5 18 18 45 20 -27
20 Watford 28 3 10 15 16 41 19 -25


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