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Premier League

Sunday 5th November 2006

Of all the previews I have to write, it is this one that really bores me.  And it is not just the long unbeaten run the Pensioners have over us, but the annoying supposed supremacy Jose Mourinho and his rouble funded spending spree have brought to the Premier League.

The arrogance of the man and the club have made the team that everyone at one time didn't mind, into a side reviled more than Manchester United in their "winning everything" heyday and the pompousness displayed by Arsenal in their pomp.

Buying up the top players in the world does not make you the best side in the world or even in the country.  Chelsea manage to win their games without a great deal of flair, despite the resources available to them, with the press becoming less enamoured at their dour style and supporters of other clubs less impressed than a team who have not been able to call on the gold reserves of a Russian billionaire.

If you think that this is just going to be a rant about the Stamford Bridge side, then think again.  The point of the above is that for Chelsea is does not matter who is available or how is fit, as there is always another high-priced superstar waiting to come in.  While Spurs have spent a significant amount of money (for us) over the last two seasons, we still cannot compete on a  level playing field, because of the money Mr. Abramovich has brought to England with him.

So, not only will Tottenham always be trying to play catch up, but will always be trying to make the Champions League to try to board the gravy train that might narrow the gap, but never entirely close it.

With Petr Cech having suffered a nasty head injury, Carlos Cudicini and Hilario will be battling it out for the gloves, while in front of them the England pairing of Terry and A. Cole will play in a back four with Carvalho and Boulahrouz, while a midfield of Fat Lamplard, Michaels Essien and Ballack and J. Cole will supply the front two of Shevchenko and Drogba.

While the number of current world stars in our side is limited and even more so by injuries, the young side will be together for longer than the current Chelsea team.  But that may not be the case, because when they become big stars, then Chelsea will try to snap them up.  All they can do at the moment is play and learn, with the light at the end of the tunnel being the Champions League place, which might already be beyond us this season.

Having come off the back of a very good win over the Belgian side Club Brugge, Tottenham have one less day to recover, but should give a good account of themselves and might (Graham Poll allowing) grab something from this game.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    Chelsea  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Teemu Tainio (hernia); Calum Davenport (groin); Steed Malbranque (groin); Paul Stalteri (knee); Lee Barnard (foot); Young-Pyo Lee (ankle); Michael Dawson (hip); - (-); - (-); 

CHELSEA :  Petr Cech (fractured skull); Andrei Shevchenko (thigh); - (-); 


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - 22.00 - 23.10 (highlights)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

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




Tottenham Hotspur   2    Chelsea   1      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 5th November 2006
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,070
Referee :  Graham Poll (Tring)
Weather :  -  Clear, dry, chilly
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


King (c)


Keane (Defoe 85)

Unused subs

Chelsea :


Paulo Ferreira (Boulahrouz 46 [Kalou 68])
Terry (c)
Ashley Cole

Makelele (Wright-Phillips 63)


Unused subs
Joe Cole

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Dawson 25
Lennon 52


Makelele 15

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Dawson (handball) 16
Ghaly (foul) 54 
King (handball) 78




Ferreira (foul on Berbatov) 25 
Makalele (not retreating 10 yards) 45
A. Cole  (not retreating 10 yards) 45
Terry (foul on Berbatov) 63
Ballack (pushing Ghaly) 66

Terry (second yellow - ungentlemanly conduct) 72

Match Report : -  
Despite being put under a great deal of pressure, the Spurs team stood up and met Chelsea head on in a titanic London derby which saw the 19 year barren home league run put to bed with a 2-1 win for Tottenham.

It was blood and thunder stuff, with Chelsea picking up the lion's share of the cautions for their poor sportsmanship and general whingeing.  The team seem to feel that they have a divine right to take every decision going and that anything that goes against them is a great injustice.  But in truth, even though they took the lead on the half hour from a fine strike by Makelele, they were outplayed and at times out-passed by a Tottenham team, who were definitely up for it.  Without seeming to be sitting on the fence, there was not one player who did not contribute to the victory today.

When Hossam Ghaly ran at the backing off Chelsea defence early on, things looked promising but his shot was scuffed and was easy for Hilario to hold, but this was a false dawn, as Chelsea started to take a grip on the game.  Frank Lampost fired a shot high and wide, just before he went through Chimbonda from behind and got little more than a talking to from referee Poll.  It was a real surprise that the Spurs right back was able to continue, let alone finish the game.

The Spurs defence were managing to get in the way of most efforts from the visitors, with Dawson doing his last ditch blocking to great effect, with Ledley King also throwing himself in the way of anything that looked like it might be on target.  The Spurs captain was much more skilled in his intervention to deny Robben after 14 minutes.  A long ball over the top found the Dutchman in a suspiciously offside position, but the lineman kept his flag down and as he ran in on Robinson, it looked like he would give Chelsea the lead, but he had not accounted for Ledley's lightning pace that got him back to take the ball off his toe, just as he was about to shoot.  However, cruelly from the resulting corner, the ball was cleared to the edge of the area and Claude Makalele hit a fine shot to the bouncing ball and left Robinson grasping thin air, as the ball hit the corner of the net.

This started a period of play when the Blues could have run away with the game, but a fine save from Robinson to Ballack's curling free-kick after Dawson had handballed kept them out once and then when Robben and the German midfielder linked on the right wing, Lampost's shot was brilliantly tipped over the top from 12 yards by ENO.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto added to his good recent form with an all-round impressive display and his tackle on the box to stop Drogba kept the score at 1-0 and later denied Ballack in similar style.  Spurs did manage to break up the other end, when Berbatov was released down the left and was unceremoniously bundled over by Ferreira, picking up a yellow card for his troubles.  Jermaine Jeans played the ball in with a bit of pace and it was met by Michael Dawson's glancing header that took it out of Hilario's reach and netted the equaliser for Spurs.

The game was tied up, but became quite open, with Ballack hitting a shot well over and Berbatov dribbling into the area and hitting a low shot that the Chelsea keeper pushed aside.  Getting onto the corner, Dimitar and Dawson both went for the ball and as it dropped in a melee, the ball was blocked onto the post and out for a corner by the goalie and a defender.  When it looked like Spurs were in the driving seat, Chelsea hit back and Drogba showed what he can do when he is not falling all over the floor, as he took a free-kick on his chest and held off Dawson well to put an overhead kick narrowly wide of the past with Robbo struggling to get there.

Spurs might have gone in at half-time ahead if Dawson had got a little more on Jenas' free-kick from the right, but it flashed across the face of goal instead.

Ferreira had a hard time against Lennon in the first half, so was replaced by Boulharouz at the interval.  However, seven minutes in, Robbie Keane picked up a ball out of defence on the halfway line and looked as if he had little support, so went on a solo run up the line.  As Boulharouz backed off him, Robbie's footwork bamboozled the Dutch defender and left him on his backside, giving him the time to measure his ball across goal.  The ball came to Aaron Lennon at the far post and with a deft touch from his right boot (yellow ones on show for the first time !!), he manoeuvred the ball onto his left to hit a shot past Hilario to make it 2-1 to Tottenham. 

The game turned on this goal.  It became a bit ragged and there were bookings for Ghaly's arm across Essien (which Mourniho thought deserved a red), Terry's desperate foul on Berbatov from behind and Ballack for pushing Ghaly over with two hands on his chest.  Chelsea also tried to change the course of the game by bringing on Wright-Phillips for Makelele and the hapless Bhoularouz was replaced by the forward Kalou.  It didn't stop Keane going at Boulharouz again and pulling a ball back to Berbatov, who was stretching to make a decent contact and could not get power behind hid effort.

While Chelsea got more possession, they failed to really test Spurs that often and their frustration showed when Terry went for a free-kick with King and getting up from the floor, the Chelsea captain obviously said something that prompted an angry response from many of the Spurs players.  Chimbonda, Zokora and King were all keen to get at him, with Robinson and Drogba trying to keep them off, while Essien took the opportunity to put his hand in Pascal's face. After the face-off abated, Poll called Terry over, even though he had tried to hide behind the big boys to avoid taking his punishment and was shown a second yellow and a red card.  He is an odious character, who, in my opinion, is rapidly becoming the new Tony Adams.

After that Spurs had a few attacks on the break, as they tried to soak up the Chelsea pressure.  Berbatov volleyed way wide from Jenas' corner and later on Defoe ran through onto Ghaly's pass, but could not keep control as he approached Hilario.

As for Chelsea, Robbo dived to push aside a shot from Kalou as Ghaly got caught in possession on the edge of the Spurs box, King's challenge caused Lampost to fire over the bar and then Robben curled a shot from outside the right corner of the area to strike the upright and the ball bounced out and away. At the end, it was Tottenham pushing onto the ten men of Chelsea and the whistle came as a relief, but not a huge relief, as it was a game you didn't want to end.  Not just because Spurs were winning, but it was a fascinating mixture of styles and approaches that made for a great spectacle.

Now in the top half of the table, this result should inspire Spurs to push on and upwards both in the league and the cup competitions.



Reaction : -



Not Just A Good Result

As results go, the Spurs victory over Chelsea will, I believe, prove to be a turning point in the history of Tottenham Hotspur.  

Long have the Spurs faithful been subjected to false dawns and unrealistic expectations of a Tottenham team that flatters to deceive year after year.  

The result against Chelsea is a significant event in the development of the team.  The Tottenham team, full of youthful exuberance and wise heads has been experiencing European football for the first time with the current squad.  Add to that a significant improvement last year in terms of league position, which just illustrates the squad's growing confidence that Tottenham will be a true power in the Premiership. 

What Tottenham fans like myself crave more than anything else is respect. 

We want, and need, to be regarded as one of the top teams in the country. A team opponents fear to play and expect to lose to.  We need to make ourselves the number 5 of the premierships top four. 

The Chelsea result proved that  

            a) We can compete with the best.

            b) We can beat the best.

            c) We will only lose to the best. 

The Tottenham team is fast becoming great.  But what of the the league position I hear you cry.  Tottenham's league position is very ordinary and may lead to an imprecise view of the team.  Consider the following and make your own mind up.  We have played 16 games so far this season and lost four of those games.  Not great statistics on face value I grant you, but consider that three of those losses were in the first four games, and you begin to realise that Spurs have only lost 1 game in the last 12 played.  Spurs have scored 18 goals in that time and conceded just 7 (3 in the only loss to Liverpool and 4 in the other 11 games).  Essentially the issue with the Spurs league position is the away form.  Only one goal scored (o.g. by Angel vs. Aston Villa) and 8 conceded.  But this run of form is about to change.  We have a run of games now away for White Hart Lane, starting with Reading on Sunday and if we can cure the away malaise then the upper reaches of the Premiership are within our grasp.  

The Chelsea result has cemented a mental toughness in the team that anything is possible, that we are great and other teams need to fear us.  All Spurs fixtures from now on will reflect this new confidence.  It is the reason that fans and players celebrated as they did, it made us all realise what we are about to achieve.  Respect. 

This result is a step up, we are at a new level.  We have broken the mental barrier of playing and beating one of the so-called top four.  No more will fans bemoan the bad luck, refereeing decisions or down-right dishonest play of other teams that has prevented a win of this magnitude for so long. 

It is broken, we have done it, we have finally done it.





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



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 11 9 1 1 26 5 28 +21
2 Chelsea 11 8 1 2 18 7 25 +11
3 Bolton Wanderers 11 6 2 3 10 9 20 +1
4 Portsmouth 11 6 1 4 16 9 19 +7
5 Arsenal 10 5 3 2 16 6 18 +10
6 Aston Villa 11 4 6 1 14 9 18 +5
7 Everton 11 4 5 2 16 10 17 +6
8 Liverpool 11 5 2 4 14 12 17 +2
9 Fulham 11 4 4 3 12 15 16 -3
10 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 11 4 3 4 8 11 15 -3
11 Wigan Athletic 10 4 2 4 13 12 14 +1
12 Reading 11 4 1 6 10 17 13 -7
13 Blackburn Rovers 11 3 3 5 10 15 12 -5
14 Manchester City 11 3 3 5 7 14 12 -7
15 West Ham United 11 3 2 6 9 14 11 -5
16 Middlesbrough 11 3 2 6 9 16 11 -7
17 Watford 11 1 6 4 9 13 9 -4
18 Sheffield United 11 2 3 6 5 14 9 -9
19 Newcastle United 11 2 2 7 7 14 8 -7
20 Charlton Athletic 11 2 2 7 7 15 8 -8



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