Bolton Wanderers (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 05th February 2011

Both sides enjoyed a 1-0 win in midweek, so will be going into the match on Saturday with spirits high.  Bolton's winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers came near the end, while Spurs managed to defend with great resolve after going ahead in the third minute at Blackburn Rovers.

The match up for the Trotters' visit to White Hart Lane is an intriguing one, with Spurs having found goal-scoring tough of late and Bolton not a side to concede many, while not hitting the net too frequently at the other end either, averaging a goal against for each goal for.

It is always a physical battle when you come up against a team containing Kevin Davies, Paul Robinson and Gary Cahill, although Owen Coyle had got them playing a bit more football.  Having said that, they are not averse to playing route one on occasion.

Robinson has been a tough tackler for a number of clubs over the years and his pace is no longer what it was, perhaps contributing to his disciplinary record, while Cahill is a powerful presence in the middle of the back four, which is why a number of clubs are eyeing his signature in the coming summer.  Gretar Steinsson did a good job on Gareth Bale at the Reebok, even though Spurs did not play well, but he might be missing this time, along with Jlloyd Samuel.  However, Zat Knight will play alongside Cahill and give added height at the back and in attack for set-pieces, when he will cause problems.  In the other full back slot, with Ricardo Gardner missing, Bolton might field Matthew Taylor, moving him back from midfield, otherwise they might have to throw in new signing David Wheater from Middlesbrough at full back or in the middle with Knight moving out wide.  While Sam Ricketts could also come in at full back, the former Swansea man is not always first pick, but might need to be called upon, but with three big men at the back, it calls for midfielders running through or little strikers finding a way through.

The midfield would probably be OK if Taylor did have to drop into defence, with Stuart Holden being a revelation since signing from the US.  A hard worker, he likes to get forward and get on the end of moves, while he accepts there is a defensive side to his work.  Mark Davies is a young midfielder with potential, but also has a dodgy side to some of his play that is a little unnecessary.  A player who usually uses his strength in a reasonable way is Fabrice Muamba, a former Gooner, who has been around, but now works box-to-box with Bolton and allows those around him to play a bit.  Chung Young-Lee is back from Asian Cup duty and could start to give them a bit of width and as he had a god game against us at their place earlier in the season, but Coyle also has Tamir Cohen to consider, although he has been hit hard by the death of his father - Avi, the former Liverpool player.

In goal, Jussi Jaaskelainen keeps keeping Bolton in games, with his stops, but he is still prone to the vital mistake after all these years.  Not that our own keeper is fault free, but there are issues that the Bolton goalie needs to work on, as Spurs might be able to seize on his indecisive cross-taking (although packing their defence with giants means he will not need to deal with too many high balls in the box) and his dealing with one-on-ones.  With Defoe needing a goal, he might be able to get of the mark in the league for this season with the right supply.

The Bolton attack will be lead by two of Davies, on loan from Chelsea Daniel Sturridge or Johan Elmander, who has shown much better form this season than previously at the club.  Sturridge scored the winner on his debut on Wednesday and Davies always scores for Bolton against us, so our central defenders will have a busy time.  However, Bolton sometimes just play with one up top, leaving the striker isolated, which would suit Tottenham, but Coyle is smart enough to play two forwards, to try and tie up some of the Spurs resources.

One prime item on the Spurs agenda must be not to start as sloppily as they did at the Reebok, or at Fulham last week.  While they have been the masters of comeback wins this season, it would be a lot easier to keep the other side out and go ahead and take the game from there.  While they did very well (with a little luck) to hold on against Blackburn, the early goal allowed them to play a game they are familiar with.  Requiring the other team to come forward, this plays into Tottenham's hands, as they are able to hit on the break.

While Spurs are not the free-flowing side they were before Christmas, they still have enough good players to win games and this will be a test of their stamina, as it is the third game in a week and it will be a tough one too.  I feel Spurs are now a different side to previous seasons and might be able to see this one out ...

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 (out - groin); Luka Modric (out - appendicitis); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Gareth Bale (out - back); Younes Kaboul (out - knee); William Gallas (doubtful - hip); - (-); 

BOLTON WANDERERS :  -  Joey O'Brien (out - knee); Sean Davis (out - knee); Gretar Steinsson (doubtful - knee); Ricardo Gardner (out - thigh); Jlloyd Samuel (out - hamstring); - (-);


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


Tottenham Hotspur   2    Bolton Wanderers   1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 05th February 2011
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   26,197
Referee :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild, light rain
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
13  Gallas
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto

11  van der Vaart  (40  Pienaar 46)
  8  Jenas     
12  Palacios (21  Kranjcar 78  )
  7  Lennon

18  Defoe
  Crouch (  9  Pavlyuchenko 73)

Unused subs: 
  2  Hutton


Bolton Wanderers :

22  Jaaskelainen

  4  Robinson
  5  Cahill     
12  Knight
18  Ricketts     

  7  Taylor   (10  Petrov 77)
16  M. Davies     
  8  Holden   (  6  Muamba 87)
  9  Elmander   (27  Lee 68)

14  K. Davies

Unused subs: 
31  Wheater
19  Moreno
17  Klasnic

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Bolton Wanderers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

van der Vaart (p)  6
Kranjcar  90+2

Bolton Wanderers

Sturridge  55

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Jenas (foul) 69  



Bolton Wanderers

Ricketts (foul)  8
Cahill (simulation)  58   
M. Davies (foul)  64


Match Report : -  
A bizarre game that saw  three penalties awarded, two not given and only one of them scored, but Niko Kranjcar stepped off the substitute's bench to fire a winner in injury time to give Tottenham the three points that keep them in touch with the leading pack.

With Michael Dawson back in place of Sebastien Bassong, Spurs took to the field otherwise unchanged from the starting line-up against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday, with Bolton lining up to match Tottenham's 4-4-2 formation.

Spurs kicked off and started attacking from the off.  A couple of crosses into the box came to nothing before one of many Bolton fouls gave Tottenham a free-kick on the left wing, which Rafael van der Vaart took.  After the ball was headed goal-wards at the near post by Michael Dawson, the Bolton keeper Jaaskelanien kept it out, but batted the ball down in the six yard box, where Vedran Corluka swung at it and got it to got at goal.  However, his effort was stopped by Kevin Davies' outstretched arm and referee Clattenburg pointed to the spot.

Rafael van der Vaart took the ball and the responsibility of taking the spot-kick and dispatched it high to the keeper's right to put Tottenham ahead.  As it was, the action was only just beginning.

With Bolton having re-started, Spurs won the ball and made their way up the left wing, where Aaron Lennon cut in and pushed the ball past Sam Ricketts, who could only take his legs form underneath him.  A second penalty was awarded within as many minutes, with van der Vaart once more taking the ball.  While the Bolton players tried to hold play up, the Dutchman coolly sent the ball into the same spot in the net as before and wheeled away to celebrate.  But Clattenburk pointed to the spot again, making Spurs re-take the penalty because of encroachment.  Re-spotting the ball, Rafa tried to go for the same place a third time, but pushed his shot too wide and an injustice was done to Spurs.

The flow of the game was generally towards the Bolton goal and Lennon cut inside in the 18th minute to drag his shot a yard wide, while Corluka's long ball into the box picked out Crouch, who lofted the ball over Zat Knight, but it wouldn't come down quick enough for him to have a shot and Ricketts got the ball away from him.  Bolton's first real threat came in the 21st minute, when Matt Taylor swung in a cross from their left wing and Johan Elmander rose above Gallas to head powerfully against the face of the crossbar.  The visitors began to press and Sturridge had a couple of opportunities with Dawson closing him down on the right of Tottenham's box to make him shoot into the side-netting at the Park Lane end, while the Spurs skipper got a block in on his shot as he wriggled free in the area.

It looked like Tottenham had extended the lead in the 28th minute, when Jermain Defoe got his head to the ball in front of Knight, as van der Vaart's low cross caught out the Bolton defence.  And it should have been 2-0 when Crouch got onto Assou-Ekotto's pass and dallied a little before getting his shot away and didn't get the chance to, as Robinson nicked the ball off him.  Then, just ten minutes before the break, Wilson Palacios started a run from halfway and ended it with a shot from the edge of the box that lacked sufficient curl on it to beat Jaaskelainen.

In the rest of the half, there was only a van der Vaart free-kick that beat the wall but was caught high in the top corner of the goal as an attempt on goal, but as Crouch went into the box, another handball saw Clattenburk point to the spot, but the linesman's flag had been raised for some time for offside and the ref had to go over to speak to him to find out what he should do ... so little did he have a clue as to what was going on.

With former MEHSTG contributor Gareth Dace appearing at half-time to talk about an academic scheme run by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Steven Pienaar was warming up ready to come on for van der Vaart.  It started out looking a good move, as Spurs pressured Bolton without testing them too much and then in the 55th minute it all went wrong.  Dawson had a chance to play the ball away from a tackle on the halfway line, but chose to try and play a short ball to Pienaar that sold him short.  The ball was taken away by Mark Davies, who ran at the middle of the Spurs defence and slipped a pass out to his right to Daniel Sturridge, the loan player from Chelsea, who struck a low shot that went through Gomes, who might have done better to stop it.

Things looked like they might get even worse, as Cahill took a pass through into the box, but as Benoit came in to tackle him, he went down looking for a penalty, which brought a whistle from Clattenburk.  But for once, his decision went in Tottenham's favour, as he booked the England centre-half for diving.

Pienaar's benefit to the side started to show as he took the ball up-field whenever he got hold of it an kept the ball well.  He set up Defoe for a shot that the Spurs striker put over the top when he might have done better concentrating on hitting the target.  Jermaine Jenas had another good game, being unlucky not to get on the score-sheet after he hit the post with Jaaskelainen beaten following a foul on him after a long run into the heart of the Bolton half.  A minute later, the Bolton goalie as quickly off his line to block Pienaar's shot after he had been put in by Defoe.

Fifteen minutes to go and it was almost a repeat of the Bolton goal, as Holden this time freed Sturridge on the right, but this time Dawson made a great challenge to stop his shot.  Then the keeper did well to stop Defoe's shot and Holden then got out to Corluka, who looked like he might score when Lennon laid the ball into his path.

There was four minutes of added time, as part of the time-wasting by Bolton was identified by the referee as well as all the substitutions.  Spurs had thrown on Kranjcar for the limping Palacios and two minutes into the extra minutes, Spurs own the ball and played it up to Pavlyuchenko, who was on for Crouch.  Pav touched the ball out to his right to Kranjcar, who took the ball back inside Knight and from 22 yards out, he struck a shot that left Jaaskelainen grasping at thin air as the ball hit the net.

Just before the goal, there had been a loud cheer for Newcastle's comeback to 4-4 with Arsenal after being 0-4 down, but the crowd roared louder than for a long while when Niko's shot went in to almost guarantee three points. 

With the rest of the game being played out with Spurs trying to play keep ball, Bolton went down with a whimper.

Having had the chance to be 2-0 up in nine minutes, only to be denied by the referee, it was another great display of the resolve of the Tottenham team to keep going until the end to get what they want.  With a few players out on their feet, it was a performance that shows this side has the hunger to get success and the response after the capitulation at Fulham shows some character.  It will need to be carried on through the remainder of the season, as it gets tighter at the top of the table.

Charlie Mason


Fan Reaction : -



How many times do you see penalties have to be re-taken for encroachment ?  Not as many times as encroachment happens, that's for sure.  So, why is it, whenever we have a match refereed by Clattenburg, we always seem to end up talking about him, rather than the football we have seen ?

Could it be that is the way he wants it to be ... especially after being shunted off the referee's list for a couple of years for dodgy off field financial deals ?

At no time yesterday did he have the plot, so he couldn't really have lost it.

He was right with all three penalties he gave Spurs, but with the last one, didn't feel the buzzer that the linesman's flag sends to him to let him know he had given offside.  And he felt it OK in the first few minutes, when Kevin Davies went in with excessive force on BAE, who had to jump up to avoid having his ankles taken.  Clattenburg stopped the game, when Defoe was away and failed to go back and book Davies (who then proceeded to carry out at least three more bookable offences - including the handball for the first penalty, which harshly could have been considered a red), so you couldn't say that he was trying to play advantage for the third penalty ... as that would only be an inconsistency in his game if true.

He might have got the penalty for Bolton wrong, as you have seen them given, so to book Cahill was perhaps a little on the strong side, although the central defender should have gone in the book for a number of other fouls or abuse he hurled at the ref.  Paul Robinson is a regular in the referee's notebook, but somehow stayed out of Clattenburg's despite a crude tackle on Lennon from behind.  And Holden absolutely clattered BAE when a corner came in without even a free-kick given against him.

He wasn't helped by his linesman, who wanted to give a corner for a Sturridge mis-kick that went off behind the goal and seemed to fail to have a grip on the duties he was supposed to be carrying out

In my opinion, it was a poor display by all three officials and it spoiled an otherwise exciting match.  And while Clattenburg probably likes everyone talking about him, he must go on the theory that there' only one thing worse than people talking about you ... and that's people not talking about you ... even though what people are saying might not be nice.

As it was, Spurs once more had to rely on a injury time goal to take the points and while it is always said to be the sign of a good side that they keep going until the 90+th minute, the problems we are having at the moment are down to the loss of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to injury and illness.  With those two in the side we possess an attacking threat with pace and a player who is clever at dictating the tempo of play and creating chances.  At times yesterday, it looked like we had lost any imagination we might have started with.

When Kranjcar came off the bench, it didn't really inspire, as he has done little to show he has been worth a place in the side, but full credit to him, he came on and scored a goal out of nothing to get the win and tellingly, he disappeared straight down the tunnel afterwards ... perhaps not feeling part of what had been going on over the past five months.

Still, winning when you are not playing well is the sign of a side developing a resilience to go on to better things.  There is still a lot to play for this season and perhaps going out of the  FA Cup might give the players a chance to concentrate on the two competitions that are left.  We might not win them, but we have to try and get what we can out of them before the season's end.

Mickey Jenkins






Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 2 Fulham 2 Saturday
Everton 5 Blackpool 3 Saturday
Manchester City 3 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 4 Arsenal 4 Saturday
Stoke City 3 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 4 Blackburn Rovers 3 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Manchester United 1 Saturday
Chelsea 0 Liverpool 1 Sunday
West Ham United 0 Birmingham City 1 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 25 15 9 1 57 26 54 +31
2 Arsenal 25 15 5 5 54 27 50 +27
3 Manchester City 26 14 7 5 42 22 49 +20
4 Chelsea 25 13 5 7 46 22 44 +24
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 25 12 8 5 36 28 44 +8
6 Liverpool 26 11 5 11 34 31 38 +3
7 Sunderland 26 9 10 7 32 31 37 +1
8 Bolton Wanderers 26 8 9 9 36 37 33 -1
9 Stoke City 25 10 3 12 31 32 33 -1
10 Blackburn Rovers 26 9 4 13 34 42 31 -8
11 Newcastle United 25 8 7 10 40 38 31 +2
12 Fulham 26 6 12 8 28 28 30 0
13 Everton 25 6 12 7 33 34 30 -1
14 Aston Villa 26 7 8 11 30 45 29 -15
15 Blackpool 25 8 4 12 38 49 28 -11
16 Birmingham City 24 5 12 7 24 33 27 -9
17 West Bromwich Albion 25 7 5 13 31 48 26 -17
18 Wigan Athletic 26 5 12 9 26 44 26 -18
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 25 7 3 15 26 43 24 -17
20 West Ham United 26 5 9 12 27 45 24 -18


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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