At long last Spurs were involved in an uneventful match which saw no
goal and little excitement, as they came home with a point from Everton
after a rare 0-0 draw.
else to get worked up about, it was Jonathan Woodgate's strong defensive
performance in defence that won applause, while Pascal Chimbonda was the
one who was a target for home fans and he got the bird from them.
Chris Gunter was drafted in at left back,
while Tom Huddlestone was deployed in the centre of defence once more
and he put in a very good showing.
In the early stages, Woodgate was head
and shoulders above young Everton forward Victor Anichebe. The new
Spurs signing won a lot in the air and he also showed that he was
capable of blocking shots and runs when the ball was on the floor.
As Tottenham continued to give away free-kicks around the penalty area,
Woodgate had plenty of practice in heading the ball away and it looked
as though Everton's best chance of scoring might come from a set-piece.
Nuno Valente got perhaps one of the
biggest cheers from the Toffees fans when he stuck one on Chimbonda and
got away without getting a caution. But then we should have
guessed, because after the performance by referee Andre Marriner in the
game at home against Fulham on Boxing Day, I had hoped that he would not
be officiating on our games again. No such luck !
Cerny fielded everything shot at him.
He easily caught a curling effort from Baines and dived to keep hold of
Andy Johnson's volley on the turn. Howard plucked out a home-made
overhead kick by Steed Malbranque at the other end, while just before
the break, Berbatov got the ball presented to him by captain Phil
Neville and wasn't able to get a shot away. In between Johnson
fell in the box ... no change there then ... but for once, the ref got
it right, because although Hud's knee caught his trailing leg, it was a
With the Spurs crowd in good voice,
singing songs of going to Wemberlee, while Everton lost out in the
semi-final to Chelsea. The home crowd had been silenced by the
Spurs performance in the first period, with the most often noise coming
out of their areas of seats being the groan.
They started the second half well, but
the Arteta cross from the right wing flew at knee height across the
front of the goal, with nobody there to apply the goal touch.
Berbatov might be due for a transfer window move to Goodison Park, as
Neville kept providing him with the ball and when he played it this to
to Robbie Keane, the Irishman could only cut inside to try a tame shot
that Howard caught easily.
At the back, Gunter was having a good
game and he looks a little leggy, but he has pace and seems aware of
where he should be on the back line, before he was replaced by
Kevin-Prince Boateng. Another youngster, Jamie O'Hara was doing a
good job in midfield, tracking back instead of his normal attacking
game. It was a side that had been thrown together a bit, but they
knuckled down and worked hard for each other.
Cerny was holding his end up with a brave
rush out to deny Johnson, who was put in by Anichebe and shortly after,
Tommy got his body in the way of a shot from Lee Carsley that flew off
him for a corner and then did the same to Anichebe.
When Boateng came on, he seemed to inject
a bit of tempo into the Spurs game and some short passes got the team
moving forward. However, Carsley was driving his won sid eon and
he got on the end of a cross to put a header over and then tried a shot
from way out that went way over !!
Kevin looks like a player who can pick
out a pass and when he threaded a ball through to Aaron Lennon, the
winger put in an early ball for Berbatov to control and shoot, but
Jagielka managed to get something on the shot to take the sting out of
Similar to Everton's claim in the first
half, Joleon Leescott tried to get a foot in on Steed Malbranque on the
edge of the area, but only succeeded in stamping down on the Spurs man's
foot. You see penalties given for it, but you do for what
Huddlestone did in the first half too. On this occasion, the
official waved play on again.
As the game drew to a close, Spurs found
the pace of Lennon a potent weapon to hit Everton on the break. He
produced a cross from the right wing onto Dimitar's head, but he could
not control the header and Howard took the ball without any trouble.
He brought a foul from Valente, who had already been booked and should
have seen red, but the ball ran on to Malbranque, but the midfielder's
pass to Berbatov did not have the requisite weight and was picked off.
Then in the very last minute of added
time, he raced away and with him and Berbatov in attack against two
defenders, he passed to the Bulgarian, but he was unable to get around
Jagielka, who robbed him and the ball came off the striker for a
A point at fourth placed Everton looks a
good return on paper, but with the game lacking many major influential
players and some of those who did play (i.e. Jenas) looked tired,
leaving the game a shadow of what it might have been.
However, both teams suffered with
absences and both teams settled for a point at the end of the game.
Tottenham's pluses came from those
players who were new to the team or new to their positions. O'Hara
and Gunter did well enough to justify Ramos' faith in them.
Woodgate showed he can do a job for Spurs, with him taking turns with
King to play alongside Dawson I would imagine. Huddlestone playing
alongside Woodgate looked comfortable in that position and his size and
passing make him an asset in defence.
Promising signs, which need to be turned
into reality by magic Juande.
Starting on Saturday then ??