Bolton Wanderers (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 3rd October 2009


Free scoring Spurs visit the Reebok stadium of rugged defending Bolton Wanderers in a match of contrasting styles.

Tottenham, all attack minded and flowing football against the Lancashire team of manager Gary Megson, that is set up to stop the opposition playing and then grabbing what they can at the other end, normally from set-pieces, with their big side and Ivan Klasnic, who is a big physical lad who let John Terry know he was in a match when he played against England for Croatia, will be a handful in the air. 

With Sean Davis and Joey O'Brien out injured and Ricardo Vaz Te out on loan in Portugal, the Bolton squad is a bit reliant on the players brought in from transfer dealings in the summer and the bulk of Megson's other signings prior to that.  His popularity at the Reebok is not great, but he is doing a steady job there, albeit one which the fans hoped would be more successful.  But then Bolton were punching above their weight for a number of seasons with top half finishes and European football, although this means that the supporters now see the current situation as a drop in standards.

With a solid goalkeeper in Jussi Jaaskelainen and a defence of the highly sought after Gary Cahill, Zat Knight, Jlloyd Samuel and Paul Robinson in front of him, there is a tough back line to break through with their current record of nine goals conceded in seven games showing.  On the other hand, the strike force of Klasnic, Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander have not been that prolific with eight goals in the same number of league matches.  Now that Elmander has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, it might force Megson to play the two fit forwards together with Lee behind them.

Defensively, there are other options in Danny Shittu, who has been touted as a loan transfer target for a number of clubs and Andy O'Brien, the former Newcastle United defender, in the middle of the back four, while at full back Nicky Hunt (a nasty piece of work) has failed to live up to his early promise because of a string on injuries and Sam Ricketts, the signing from Hull City, who can also play in midfield.  Gretar Steinsson has dropped back in the pecking order behind Knight and Cahill, but is a strapping centre-half, who uses his head well at both ends.

The midfield revolves around the dynamo that is Fabrice Muamba, a tall, leggy player who covers a lot of ground and is adept at getting up and back through the middle of the pitch.  Alongside him, he has the attacking option of Israeli Cohen and now the South Korean Chung Yong-Lee, who plays wide right and twists and turns to bamboozle defenders.  On the other flank, Matthew Taylor uses his left foot to great effect and the midfield has a balanced look to it, with Gavin McCann usually starting ahead of the new signing Lee, to give some more bite in the middle of the four.  Mustapha Riga and Ricardo Gardner can also come in to add width on either side, with Gardner also available to fill in at full back.

With Tottenham no imposing their game on teams rather than sitting back and waiting to be pressurised, it is possible that the hoodoo that teams like Bolton have had on Spurs will be broken and a good time to start would be this weekend.  There will be goals and it is unlikely that last week's clean sheet will be repeated, as the expected bombardment of the Spurs penalty area will take place at some time during the game.  However, the confidence in the side should take them to victory as one goal will soon get the home crowd on Megson's back.

PREDICTION : -   Bolton Wanderers  1     Tottenham Hotspur   3

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


BOLTON WANDERERS :  -   Sean Davis (out - knee); Joey O'Brien (out - knee); Johan Elmander (out - hamstring); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Ledley King (out - hamstring); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Luka Modric (out - broken leg); Roman Pavlyuchenko (doubtful - Achilles); Giovani dos Santos (out - ankle); - (-); - (-);


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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Bolton Wanderers   2   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  Reebok Stadium
Saturday 3rd October 2009
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   21,305
Referee :  Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Spurs kicked off the first half.
Weather :  -  Chilly, very blustery.  Rain before the game.
Teams : - 
Bolton Wanderers :

22  Jaaskelainen

  3  Samuel
  5  Cahill
12  Knight
18  Ricketts

  6  Muamba       (19  M. Davies 74)
  7  Taylor  (16  McCann 81)
11  Gardner  
21  Cohen      

14  K. Davies   
27  Lee  (17 Klasnic 87)

Unused subs: 
26  Al Habsi
  4  Robinson
15  Steinsson
24  Shittu

Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

22  Corluka       
19  Bassong
  6  Huddlestone
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon
12  Palacios
  8  Jenas     
21  Kranjcar 

10  Keane (c)  (18  Defoe 67)
15  Cudicini

Unused subs: 
  1  Gomes
  3  Bale
  2  Hutton

16  Naughton
20  Dawson
  5  Bentley

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Bolton Wanderers

white shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks

all navy
blue with yellow

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Bolton Wanderers

Gardner  2
K. Davies 69

Tottenham Hotspur

Kranjcar 34
Corluka 73

Cards : -  
Bolton Wanderers

Cohen (foul) 32 
Muamba (foul) 59 


Tottenham Hotspur 

Jenas (foul) 39
Corluka (foul) 90+1   


Match Report : -  
I don't know what it is about a cold, windy Saturday afternoon in autumn in Lancashire, but I am getting the feeling that it would be better spent elsewhere.  The trips to the North-West are getting almost as bad as the ones to the North-East, with a lack of success and in particular here, where, like Old Trafford, we have yet to win a Premier League match.  Today's performance at least showed a bit of fighting spirit to come back from behind on two occasions, but with a bit more to start with more might have been gained from the meeting with Bolton Wanderers instead of the draw.

With the wind blowing the rubbish around the Reebok Stadium pitch, it looked as though Spurs wanted to blend in, with a slow start and a meek first half that saw the home team dominate, mainly because we let them push onto us and gave them too much of the ball.  The lack of urgency to close down Bolton players and the caution in Cudicini's goalkeeping left the back four tremulous every time he came (or didn't for a ball).  It led to the first goal and a string of free-kicks, corners and throw-ins conceded around the Tottenham penalty area.  It was just asking for it.

Tottenham kicked off and the ball was played long that shot off the wet pitch and went for a goal kick to Wanderers.  From that a throw-in was given away and the ball found Gardner running without a decent challenge to win a header on to Chung Yong-Lee.  The Korean shot at goal from a narrow angle at the far post and Carlo got to it and should have done better than knock it out into the path of Gardner following in and he shot high into the roof of the net to put Bolton 1-0 up inside three minutes.  It was a soft goal to give away and one that left Spurs chasing the game.

Spurs pushed forward, as that might looked to be the best way to keep the ball away from their goal.  Crosses missed out the Tottenham forwards, while any ball into the Spurs box caused panic, with Cudicini's height being against him convincingly getting to many of the balls in.  Starting with Crouch to give the home defence something to think about, the striker headed Kranjcar's free kick wide and then at the other end, Cudicini got a bit of luck, when a neat move between Gardner and Cohen saw the latter shoot and the Italian keeper got something on the ball before Tom Huddlestone hacked it away.

There was a lack of determination in tackles and the ball was hard to judge in the wind, which left passes over-hit and headers mis-judged.  Every time the ball headed towards the Bolton goal, it seemed to come straight back.  25 minutes in and Kranjcar was played in for a 20 yard shot by Jenas, but it was deflected wide and Spurs wasted the corner.  Meanwhile at the other end, Jenas was there to get in the way of Gardner's long range shot and when there was a chance to break away, from a blocked Taylor free-kick, Keane dallied too long on the ball and was caught in possession (something he did a fair bit of today).

Just after the half-hour, Cohen committed a back tackle on Palacios from behind and got booked, while the PL's most fouling player - Kevin Davies - was up to his usual tricks in jumping at players when he has no chance of getting the ball and getting to the tackle a little bit late, but not too late as to persuade referees to book him.  How he gets away with such behaviour designed to antagonise the opposition I don't know.  Anyway, it all led to their downfall, as, from the resulting free-kick, Palacios dinked the ball back in and Crouchy nodded the ball down for Niko Kranjcar to show good balance to shoot home from 12 yards out in the 34th minute.  It was much against the run of play, but what the heck, it is not like Tottenham to score from a free-kick.

Jenas picked up a yellow card and played the rest of the game seeming like he was doing his level best to get sent off.  Meanwhile, Hud just managed to recover his ground to a ball over his head to stop Kevin Davies getting a shot on goal and with three minutes of the half left, Cohen should have added to the Bolton tally when he was played in by Davies, but he could only toe end the ball at goal, but the ball went too high over the bar as he tried to lift it over the keeper.  Right on 45 minutes, a ball over the defence was laid through for Matthew Taylor to chase, but Carlo Cudicini was too sharp out to just beat him to the ball.

The second half started with Bolton kicking off and pressing on goal.  Cudicini had to take a cross at his near post to stop any further threat and then ten minutes into the half, Lennon broke inside from the right wing and hit a low shot that Jaaskaleinen pushed out to Palacios ten yards out from goal, but it came quickly and Wilson could only hit his shot wide.  Tom blasted hopefully high and handsome from 30 yards out and Crouch tried to curl a long throw from Corluka past the Finnish Bolton keeper, but put the ball wide instead.

With 35 minutes left, a Wanderers corner was headed over by Gary Cahill, with no string challenge to his jump, but then Spurs hit back with Jenas thumping a shot wide from outside the area and Harry Redknapp decided that more goal threat was needed, so brought on Jermain Defoe for Robbie Keane.

The change had almost the immediate, but opposite result that Harry might have hoped for.  A decent move involving a chest down from Gardner, a neat bit of skill from Lee, who back-heeled the ball for Tamir Cohen to lift a far post cross to Davies, who got on the end of it with Assou-Ekotto not realising he was attacking the ball behind him.  It was an untypical Bolton goal and one which again arose from sloppy defensive work.

It left Tottenham 21 minutes to get something out of the game.  Within three an equaliser almost came when Defoe's shot was spilled out by Jaaskelainen, who could not hold it and Crouch pounced to shoot low, but the ball caught the underside of the keeper's thigh and bounced down into the ground and up onto the underside of the bar and out.  It was only a brief respite for the Trotters, with Spurs launching another attack that saw Kranjcar play a long corner and Corluka rise at the far post to put a header back over the goalie and into the net to make it 2-2 in the 73rd minute.

There were chances for both sides in the closing stages.  Cudicini did enough to stop a header from Matt Taylor; Lennon's shot was thought to have hit Mark Davies' arm, but play was waved on and BAE struck a shot well off target; Defoe played a delicate cross form the right into Crouch, who took a touch, then shot only to see Jasskelainen out to block the effort at the near post and with three minutes left, Defoe struck a shot wide when well placed.  Klasnic had a late shot that went wide across goal and Gardner headed a cross back into the danger area, but nobody was there into injury time.  Even then, as the final whistle was poised, Kranjcar put a corner into the Bolton box and the ball bobbled around, with Spurs players claiming handball.  But in the final analysis, Spurs will be pleased with a point in the end, having played for the bulk of the first half with little shape nor a great deal of intelligence.

The same game last season saw Spurs lose out in the last minute after coming back to 2-2, so perhaps there is a positive to take form the result and although they rode their luck, they did stick at it, but will need to put in more effort against teams like Bolton (and there are a few) in the Premier League, otherwise, they will drop more points that might hinder their intended final finishing position.

east stan




Fan Reaction : -



To read Wyart Lane's view on the Bolton Wanderers match on The Times Online Fanzine Fanzone, click here.




Other League scores this weekend :
Burnley 2 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Hull City 2 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Manchester United 2 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Arsenal 6 Blackburn Rovers 2 Sunday
Chelsea 2 Liverpool 0 Sunday
Everton 1 Stoke City 1 Sunday
West Ham United 2 Fulham 2 Sunday
Aston Villa 1 Manchester City 1 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 8 7 0 1 18 6 21 +12
2 Manchester United 8 6 1 1 19 8 19 +11
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 8 5 1 2 19 12 16 +7
4 Manchester City 7 5 1 1 15 8 16 +7
5 Arsenal 7 5 0 2 24 10 15 +14
6 Liverpool 8 5 0 3 22 12 15 +10
7 Aston Villa 7 4 1 2 10 6 13 +4
8 Sunderland 8 4 1 3 16 13 13 +3
9 Burnley 8 4 0 4 7 16 12 -9
10 Everton 7 3 1 3 9 11 10 -2
11 Stoke City 8 2 3 3 6 10 9 -4
12 Wigan Athletic 8 3 0 5 8 15 9 -7
13 Bolton Wanderers 7 2 2 3 10 11 8 -1
14 Fulham 6 2 1 3 6 8 7 -2
15 Birmingham City 8 2 1 5 5 8 7 -3
16 Blackburn Rovers 7 2 1 4 8 15 7 -7
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 2 1 5 7 14 7 -7
18 Hull City 8 2 1 5 8 20 7 -12
19 West Ham United 7 1 2 4 8 11 5 -3
20 Portsmouth 8 1 0 7 4 13 3 -9


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd

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