Bolton Wanderers (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 1st May 2010

We have been here before haven't we ?  Was it Christmas 1995 when we could have gone second to cement our good first half of the season, but Bolton Wanderers spoiled the party with a 2-2 draw ?

Now with fourth place within touching distance, will it be removed form our grasp when we least expect it ?  Or should we least expect it ?  Bolton are among the teams who are safe, just outside the relegation zone, but may be ready to pull out shock result.  Manager Owen Coyle came here earlier in the season when he was in charge at Burnley and played an attacking game that saw his side unlucky not to go ahead, but in the end they lost out 5-0.  Will he stay with his footballing principles and risk the same happening or will he shut up shop as the likes of Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers did ?

With Tottenham gently welcoming back Aaron Lennon into the side, there may be the possibility of a double wing attack, but the important thing is to set out at a good pace to keep Bolton pegged back.

They have a good goalkeeper in Jussi Jasskelainen, but he does have his moments of madness, where he will rush from his goal and lose his angles or misjudge a shot, but he can be an inspired shot-stopper on his day, so we will have to hope it is not his day.

In front of him Gary Cahill is the big name in the Wanderers defence, but old head Paul Robinson is at full back on one side with his tough tackling reputation and either Jlloyd Samuel, who seems to have fallen out of favour or Gretar Steinsson on the other side of the back four.  Zat Knight usually pairs Cahill in the middle with his height combining with Cahill's determination to make them a tricky combination to get past.  However, they might find it more difficult to deal with the pairing of Pav and Defoe rather than the height of Crouch.  Sam Ricketts

With loanees Jack Wilshere and Vladimar Weiss in the side, the have added youth and creativity, so their presence might boost their attacking options, as the club's record signing Swedish striker Johan Elmander has not been the goal-scorer the had hoped for.  Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic has come in this season, but again has not been prolific in his scoring, although he has hit the target enough to help keep the Trotters in the top flight for another year.  Kevin Davies is an old pro, who knows how to work a centre half and Michael Dawson will need to be cute enough to keep him in check.

The midfield of the opposition is fairly strong, with former Portsmouth left sided midfielder Matthew Taylor dangerous form dead ball situations and long shots, hard working Fabrice Muamba the "enforcer" in midfield, and Chung-Yong Lee a tricky winger on the right.  With options in the shape of Mustafa Riga, Mark Davies and the attacking midfielder Tamir Cohen, Owen Coyle has some choices to be made.

Tottenham need to be focused and approach the game correctly straight from the kick-off, thus ensuring that eight months hard work does not go to waste.  If they do this, then I foresee a good outcome ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    3      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 (out - thigh); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); David Bentley (out - hip); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Jermain Defoe (out - hamstring); Kyle Walker (out - wrist); Danny Rose (out - knee); - (-); 

BOLTON WANDERERS :  -  Gavin McCann (ankle); Sean Davis (ankle); Chris Basham (thigh); Andy O'Brien (knee); Joey O'Brien (knee); - (-); - (-); 


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Tottenham Hotspur   1    Bolton Wanderers   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 1st May 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,852
Referee :  Chris Hoy (St. Helens)
Bolton Wanderers kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild, started in sunshine, but became overcast and rainy
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
King (c)
20  Dawson

  3  Bale
  6  Huddlestone 
14  Modric
  5  Bentley (  7  Lennon 73)

  9  Pavlyuchenko (17  Gudjohnsen 87)
18  Defoe  (15  Crouch 72)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick

19  Bassong
  8  Jenas

12  Palacios

Bolton Wanderers :

22  Jaaskelainen

  4  Robinson     
  5  Cahill
12  Knight
15  Steinsson

  7  Taylor     
Muamba (11  Gardner 78)
32  Wilshere
Weiss (27  Lee 61)

14  K. Davies
17  Klasnic
(  9  Elmander 60)

Unused subs: 
  3  Samuel
18  Ricketts
  M. Davies

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Bolton Wanderers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Huddlestone 38

Bolton Wanderers


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  




Bolton Wanderers

Robinson (foul)
Taylor (foul)
Wilshere (foul) 90 + 3  


Match Report : -  
With an air of nervous static hanging over White Hart Lane, the storm had to break some time and it waited until the players came to walk around the pitch to thank the fans for their support, such was it's determination not to spoil the football.  Even Tom Huddlestone's thunderous shot that eventually won the match was not sufficient to change the weather and whether or not it changes the course of the season as to who finishes fourth we will have to wait and see.

Tottenham are doing all they can to make sure they hold their destiny in their own hands, while also trying to give the supporters heart attacks at the same time.  Some fans seem to be creating their own script with boos when Defoe was taken off and cheers when the previously heralded "Super-Pav" had been substituted.  We all want the team to do well, but in the middle of a vital match, such "support" might easily go the other way.

The expectation was evident from the off and the inclusion of Ledley King was a surprise, with the City game coming up on Wednesday, but with Kaboul installed at right back and Palacios making way, the side looked a little more balanced, as Assou-Ekotto returned to left back.

Spurs didn't start at a great pace and Owen Coyle's Bolton seem to have learned from Burnley's experience at the Lane earlier in the season.  Passing the ball around, they tried to push Tottenham back, without a great deal of success.  Spurs had a couple of good openings, with Modric firing too high from a good position, followed by Bale's near post cross seeing Pavlyuchenko being put off by Knight's challenge, just as he looked to turn the ball in. 

Referee Chris Foy was having a bit of a mare, awarding free-kicks for the softest of challenges by Spurs players and allowing Bolton's tackles that came through the back of the home players to go unpunished.  With this in mind, it was a major event when he blew the whistle in Tottenham's favour.

On ten minutes, Younes Kaboul, who had a good game rampaging through the Bolton defence from right back, pulled the ball back low to Roman, but he scuffed his shot.  Shortly afterwards, Tom Huddlestone hit a power shot well over the bar.  From a cleared corner, Bale ran at the edge of the box and hit a shot with his right foot, but it was not as powerful as that against Chelsea and Jaaskelainen dealt with it comfortably.  But when Bolton broke, it needed Michael Dawson's diving intervention to deflect a shot wide when Steinsson cut inside from the right to look to sneak one in past Gomes.  The Spurs centre-half's block stopped it even getting that far.

In the 28th minute, it was a typical Bale run from the left that saw him move to the D on the edge of the box, but cut back onto his left foot before thumping a shot that Jaaskelainen did well to turn aside with strong wrists.  With about ten minutes to half time, Bentley went on a run down the right, but Paul Robinson brought him down off the ball and Tottenham were given a free-kick and the Trotters' defender a yellow card.  Bale swung the ball in from the free-kick and the Bolton keeper was stretching and flapping at the ball at the far post to take it out for a corner.  It was taken short to Assou-Ekotto, who the crowd urged to shoot, but unlike a number of his earlier passes, this one found a white shirt and he rolled it into the path of Hud, who thundered his right foot shot first time into the space just inside the angle of post and crossbar to beat Jaaskelainen.  It was a fine strike and one that was typical of what Tottenham needed to break the deadlock in a game that was becoming a little frustrating.

Crosses were being dealt with well by Heurelho Gomes, who elected to punch in election week and did so very well, but the conservative approach by the outfield players, with liberal doses of effort was seeing them labour to achieve their aim.

The second half saw Tottenham attack the Paxton Road end and produced enough chances to win a couple of games, but as has been the way this season, they failed to finish off the opposition and leave us on the edge of our seats.  Pav was trying to do his best to add to the score, with a shot over and a shot wide, but he frustrated his colleagues who considered themselves better placed. 

Chances came Tottenham's way and Bentley got past Cahill before dragging his shot across goal, then Bale set up Hud for another shot, but this time he put it a yard or more wide.  ,

While Bolton didn't really get near the Spurs goal, Matthew Taylor hit a shot just after the hour that Gomes got down to his left to push wide, although it looked like it might be going wide anyway, but was up quickly to grab the ball before anyone got near it.  Straight away Spurs broke and Defoe ran from left to right across the face of the box to hit a curling right foot shot that missed by a couple of feet or so.  Then Kaboul broke down the right and just when it looked as though he had pushed the ball too far and it was going out for a goal-kick, he nicked a ball to the near post and Pavlyuchenko had a free header that he put wide from a couple of yards out.

The next attack came in the 66th minute, when Assou-Ekotto released Bale inside his opponent and he ran into the box at a narrow angle and took a shot with the outside of his left foot that would have gone into the opposite corner, if not for Jaaskelainen getting a touch off his shoulder to take it out for a corner. 

A couple of minutes later, Wilshere broke forward to slip a pass through to substitute Elmander on the left side of the box.  Gomes had raced out to him and he back-heeled the ball into the path of Taylor, who shot at goal, but Kaboul was covering to block the effort before it reached the goal.  It was a nervous moment for the Spurs fans and kept the nails being bitten.  With 79 minutes past, Pavlyuchenko was inches away form converting what would have been a very good goal.  Michael Dawson swung a free-kick from the right side, just ten yards inside the Bolton half, to the left wing, where Gareth Bale volleyed it first time across the face of goal, with the Russian striker half a yard behind the ball and his slide could not connect with it.

With six minutes of normal time left, Bale played in a pacy corner to find Crouch's head and he put his header down into the ground and it bounced up and was headed off the line by Chung-Yong Lee.  With four minutes left, Robinson played a long free-kick into the Tottenham box and while it was headed out at the second attempt, it dropped to Taylor on the edge of the box and he chested it down and hit a volley that Gomes was alert to and dived to his left to parry away, when it looked like it might bring Bolton an equaliser.

In the 89th minute, it looked as though Spurs might get a free-kick as Lennon was kicked down form behind, but Foy did not give it and Crouch picked up the ball on the right to weave past two defenders and get into the box, where he produced a shot that might have beaten the goalie had he put some more power behind it, but Jaaskelainen dived to his right to smother the effort.

With every missed chance, the pressure added to Tottenham's task, so with added time of three minutes to play it did not help things, when Gomes jumped to pretend to take a long free-kick that cleared everyone and was going off for a goal-kick and came down holding his groin.  He needed treatment and with three subs already used, he had to carry on, with his participation in Wednesday's crunch match in the balance. 

However, Spurs did the right thing in trying to keep the ball up near Bolton's goal and when Jaaskelainen muffed his clearance from a back-pass, Lennon took the ball down on the right, ran into the penalty area and could have shot, but laid it left to Gudjohnsen, who side-footed the ball the way the keeper had just come from, but missed by a yard, when he should have at least hit the target and made the goalie work.

As it turned out it didn't matter that much, although the goal difference might have come in handy, with the final whistle going shortly after.  Much to the relief of players and crowd.

As the news came in that Manchester City had beaten Aston Villa 3-1, it leaves the game on Wednesday poised to be crucial in both clubs' seasons.  Villa and Liverpool (virtually) are out of the running, leaving the hard work to start all over again at Eastlands.

The team will need to put in two more top performances to keep fourth place.  Can they make it ?  Let's see, shall we.

the polyphant


Fan Reaction : -



How many matches back is it since any one of our strike force has scored a goal.

All four of them seem to have dried up.  Goals are coming from all other quarters EXCEPT the strikers.

Very worrying for next Wednesday against Man City.

m freedman

A win hard earned against a resilient Bolton side, who wanted to put in a good performance and have a go, but once more, the old failing of not taking our chances could have come back to bite us ... and might yet do so. 

WIth all disrespect to Bolton, it was only Bolton, so missing chance after chance might not have had a great bearing on outcome, but try the same against City in Wednesday and fourth will be slipping away.  They have enough players to finish chances and we will be lucky if they decide to be so profligate.

Pav was pretty bad today.  You could see that he wanted to score, but when the better chances came his way, he was off target.  Defoe got little decent service and lacked the height to trouble Cahill, who got away with fouls on the little striker, but the one chance he made for himself saw him go close.  Both Eidur and Crouchy should have scored when they came on, so it was Hud we had to rely on to score a scorcher from 25 yards.

But it is good that the midfielders are contributing goals, while worrying that the forwards are not.  Hopefully, they are saving them all up for the last two games and then they will be our heroes again.

benny the ball







Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 2 Burnley 1 Saturday
Manchester City 3 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Portsmouth 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Stoke City 0 Everton 0 Saturday
Fulham 3 West Ham United 2 Sunday
Sunderland 0 Manchester United 1 Sunday
Liverpool 0 Chelsea 2 Sunday
Wigan Athletic 2 Hull City 2 Monday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Arsenal 1 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 37 26 5 6 95 32 83 +63
2 Manchester United 37 26 4 7 82 28 82 +54
3 Arsenal 37 22 6 9 79 41 72 +39
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 36 20 7 9 64 37 67 +27
5 Manchester City 36 18 12 6 72 43 66 +29
6 Aston Villa 37 17 13 7 52 38 64 +14
7 Liverpool 37 18 8 11 61 35 62 +26
8 Everton 37 15 13 9 59 49 58 +10
9 Birmingham City 37 13 11 13 37 45 50 -8
10 Blackburn Rovers 37 12 11 14 40 55 47 -15
11 Fulham 36 12 10 14 39 41 46 -2
12 Sunderland 37 11 11 15 47 54 44 -7
13 Stoke City 36 10 14 12 33 44 44 -11
14 Bolton Wanderers 37 9 9 19 40 66 36 -26
15 Wigan Athletic 36 9 9 18 36 69 36 -33
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 8 11 18 32 57 35 -25
17 West Ham United 37 8 10 19 46 65 34 -19
18 Hull City 37 6 10 21 34 75 29 -41
19 Burnley 37 7 6 24 38 80 27 -42
20 Portsmouth 37 7 7 23 34 65 19* -31

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the weekend :   4th


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