Derby County (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 9th February 2008


With a good performance perhaps deserving of more than a point against Manchester United, it would be just like Tottenham to take their eye off the ball and foot off the pedal against Derby and undo all the good work.

However, with Juande Ramos in charge now, things might be different.  The Spaniard has missed working with the majority of his players this week, as they have been away on international duty.  But he will have worked on getting the players' heads right and with a boost to the confidence by their performance against Man United, they should be ready to face the Rams, who are all but relegated, although they are playing for their futures under Paul Jewell and have drawn their last two matches.

With Stephen Bywater farmed out on loan after claiming he could replace Paul Robinson in the England side, the goalkeepers at Pride Park are Lewis Price and the new signing Roy Carroll, so be eagle-eyed to see if he gets himself anywhere the goal-line !!  Price has suffered with a porous defence in front of him, so Jewell has turned to Carroll for his experience.

The defence that has leaked so many goals this season is now minus a few players because of injury. Danny Mills, Claude Davis, Tyrone Mears and Jay McEveley are all missing and Darren Moore has been ousted after some games in which he was exposed by more fleet-footed opponents.  That leaves Todd, Leacock, Stubbs and David Jones to pick from.  Andy Todd is a rugged defender, who has returned to the club where his Dad made his name, while ALan Stubbs joined from Everton in the transfer window to add some experienced cover in the defence.  Some players will need it, as Dean Leacock has found the step up a difficult one and his positioning and marking have needed a guiding hand to show him how he should defend.

Mile Serjovski an Aussie midfielder has just signed and been cleared to play, while the familiar presence of Hossam Ghaly will have to sit this game out, as he is on loan from Tottenham, but they still have new signing Robbie Savage, as the target for Spurs fans to vent their spleen.  While Ghaly flung his shirt to the floor, Savage managed to fake a flung punch by Justin Edinburgh last time we were at Wembley in a final, as Tottenham went on to win the 1999 League Cup.  Benny Feilhaber, Gary Teale and Laurent Robert will add some width to the Derby midfield, but Feilhaber is unknown, Teale has struggled to make an impact and Robert is back for another try, as he was left without a club at the turn of the year.  A player Spurs have looked at is Giles Barnes, while a number of other Premiership teams have looked at him.  A strongly built midfielder, who has good skill on the ball and is developing a shrewd ability of where to run off it, Barnes looks to have potential, but he has been subject to a couple of lay-offs lately with injury.  His move away from Derby is only a matter of time.

Kenny Miller has scored a few goals in the Premier League now and in the past, but he has found it hard battling away on his own up front, but he has now been joined by Emanuel Villa, the recent signing from Argentina.  How the new striker will shape up, we will find out, but without Woodgate, it might be necessary for someone to keep close to him.  Welsh international Rob Earnshaw was looking to move on in the transfer window, but he is still there and can finish if he is provided with the opportunities, while the likes of Craig Fagan and Eddie Lewis will most likely be on the bench, being players who cut it in the Championship, but have had a tough time in the top flight.  Stephen Pearson, who scored the goal that gave the Midlands side the ticket to the Premier League, has been in the side for the majority of their games, but once more, he has found it hard to make an impact on the defences of opposition sides.

With the players at Spurs knowing they have the rest of the season to salvage something from this campaign, there is a belief starting to build that the changes brought about by the new Head Coach are sinking in and may bring some tangible rewards.  With this forward momentum gathering pace and with Tottenham's attacking strength and the home side's lack of goals, I can see only one result (hopefully) ...

PREDICTION : -  Derby County  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.


DERBY COUNTY :  -  Hossam Ghaly (ineligible); Claude Davis (knee); Tyrone Mears (shin); Danny Mills (knee); Jay McEveley (knee); Lewin Nyatanga (suspended); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Gareth Bale (foot); Jonathan Woodgate (suspended); Darren Bent (knee); - (-); 


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Derby County   0   Tottenham Hotspur    3      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Pride Park
Saturday 9th February 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   33,058
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Weather :  -  Bright, sunny, mild - colder as game went on
Teams : - 
Derby County :

31  Carroll

  5  Leacock     
  8  Stubbs
23  Moore (17  Todd  11)
  2  Edworthy  (
  7  Jones  78     )

11  Fagan
44  Savage  (
21  Sterjovski  74)
25  Pearson
28  Barnes

14  Miller     
  9  Villa

Unused subs: 
  1  Price
10  Earnshaw

Tottenham Hotspur :

12  Cerny

  2  Chimbonda
22  Huddlestone
20  Dawson (  5  Kaboul  14  )
28  Hutton

15  Malbranque
  8  Jenas
17  Boateng  (
24  O'Hara  46)
25  Lennon

23  Bent  (  9  Berbatov  )
10  Keane (c) 

Unused subs: 
  1  Robinson
44  Gunter

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Derby County

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Derby County


Tottenham Hotspur

Keane 67
Kaboul 81
Berbatov (p) 90

Cards : -  
Derby County

Leacock (foul)  40
Miller (foul)  58
Stubbs (dissent)  69
Jones (foul)  90


Tottenham Hotspur 

Chimbonda (unsporting behaviour)  49   



Match Report : -  
With boos ringing around the ground every time Michael Dawson and Jermaine Jenas touched the ball, the small town attitude of the Derby County fans might be better suited to the Championship, where they might enjoy the passion of the East Midlands derby against Nottingham Forest, as this 3-0 win for Spurs pushes the Rams closer to the drop.

Spurs struggled with a changed side to gain any pattern to their play and Derby were in with a chance until the team clicked with O'Hara coming on for the disappointing Boateng and Robbie Keane being the main beneficiary of the supply that started to flow.

An early surprise was the inclusion of recent injury victim Darren Bent in place of Dimitar Berbatov.  The summer signing was only returning to training this week, so perhaps his lack of match fitness and the lack of a decent supply in the first half explained his subdued performance.

Derby worked hard to stop Tottenham playing.  Losing Darren Moore after 11 minutes might have helped their cause, as he is not the most mobile of footballers and he might have been given the run-around had he stayed on.  As it was Stubbs had an uncomfortable afternoon against the Tottenham strikers.

Bent had the first Spurs shot on target, but Carroll easily held onto it at the second attempt, but a minute later Robbie Keane made the former Manchester United goalie scrabble the ball around the post with an effort from the edge of the area.  The corner produced a shot from Huddlestone, but it went wide.

County's first shot came as we neared the quarter of an hour mark and Cerny was equal to it, but shortly after, Michael Dawson had to leave the field injured and Younes Kaboul replaced him in the middle of defence alongside Hud.  Kaboul did OK today, perhaps learning from his previous mistakes.  He kept things simple and took few chances at the back. 

Miller worked Cerny with a left footed shot into the keeper's chest and while the Spurs players were conceding free-kicks around the box, Derby did not have the quality of delivery nor on the end of them to cause any real damage.  Cerny came for crosses well and the defence (virtually all the team at some stages) dealt well in the air with them, as we are a fairly big team now ... height-wise.

The best chance of the half fell to Giles Barnes, but when put through on the edge of the box by Pearson, with only Cerny to beat, he tried to stroke it past the keeper with the outside of his right boot and pushed the ball wide of the goal as well as the goalie.  It was the Rams' big opportunity.  Miller hit a shot wide five minutes after Barnes set the tone, but at the other end, Kaboul struck a close range shot that Carroll saved well.  Jenas struck a shot too high when the ball found it's way to him from a corner, but a series of fouls, including a booking for Leacock, punctuated the rest of the half.

O'Hara's introduction had two effects.  It gave Spurs the option of someone who could pass the ball accurately and perceptively.  It also gave them the presence of a player who will snap at the ankles.  He did this a little too often and was lucky to escape without a booking, as he must have been hauled up four or five times for fouls, which others appeared to get a caution for.

But he moved the ball around, linking play and kept the Derby players chasing the ball.  Chimbonda got narked when Fagan caught him on the back of the leg and got a booking for confronting the sub-standard County midfielder.   Fagan did manage to get a shot on target and Radek held it, as it was nothing more than a regulation save.  From that Alan Hutton, who continually joined in the attack today, found himself bearing down on goal from the right wing, but it went to his head a bit and instead of steadying himself, he let fly and the ball went wide.

A free-kick dropped to Huddlestone and his shot was palmed wide by Carroll, with the resulting corner falling to Aaron Lennon on the edge of the penalty area, but he could not control his volley, which went way over the top.  A hangover form the Old Firm thing in Scotland saw Miller hack down Hutton and earn a booking, with another problem for Derby arriving with Dimitar Berbatov coming on for Bent.

When the first goal came it was a controversial one, among the Derby fans at least.  Having let in so many this season, I am not sure why they got so hot under the collar.  Huddlestone's ball from tight to left saw Berbatov jogging back and leaving the ball for Malbranque.  Cutting inside from the left wing, Steed put in a low shot that would have crept in at the far post, but Carroll got a hand to it, only diverting it into the path of Robbie Keane to tap home form inside the six yard box.

Having found it hard to get the first, the game opened up and had Spurs used the ball properly when inside the Rams penalty area, the score could have been many more.  Berbatov twice had chances and put one wide, while the other brought a save from the Derby goalie after Jenas had also made Carroll dive to stop the first effort.

When another attack brought another corner, Lennon put the ball in and although half cleared, Chimbonda ducked to nod it to Younes Kaboul, standing on the penalty spot and he took one touch to get it onto his left foot and then drilled it in past the keeper and a man on the line. 

Blocks by Chimbonda and Huddlestone denied Sterjovski and Miller., before two quick fouls saw substitute Jones enter the referee's book.

As the game slipped into added time, Keane broke on the right and tried to play the ball into the heart of the penalty area, but Alan Stubbs moved his arm tight to his side to stop the ball getting past him, bringing a whistle and a finger pointing to the penalty spot from the match official.  Given the chance from 12 yards out, Berbatov strolled up and as Carroll went one way, the ball went the other and Spurs had won 3-0.

The score-line might look harsh from Derby's point of view, but they are not a Premier League side at the moment.  They are in a limbo where they know they are going down and while they are trying to do well, they neither have the personnel nor the confidence to make it that hard for the opposition.

It is a shame, because Paul Jewell believes in the right way the game should be played.  Maybe relegation will allow him to regroup and form a side capable of coming back to fight for their place.  I hope so, as he is an honourable man.  But his side were dismantled by some good passing and hard work by Spurs.

Ramos has got the team believing in themselves and the success they might be able to achieve.  There was a time this game might have been the banana skin we would have slipped up on, but not now.  If they can keep going and get a run of results, we might not even need that InterToto Cup place !!





Reaction : -


In days gone by, this game might have seen Tottenham fail to take points from a bottom dweller like Derby, but today's performance looked like a more resolute Spurs side, with a determination to do well despite the best efforts of Derby to disrupt the flow of Tottenham's football.

It took a while, but the patience and the craft in the goals showed that their is a belief that the team can progress further before the end of the season.






Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 4 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Everton 1 Reading 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 Fulham 0 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2 Sunday
Arsenal 2 Blackburn Rovers 0 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 26 19 6 1 54 18 63 +36
2 Manchester United 26 18 4 4 50 14 58 +37
3 Chelsea 26 16 7 3 38 17 55 +21
4 Everton 26 14 5 7 41 23 47 +19
5 Liverpool 25 11 11 3 40 17 44 +23
6 Aston Villa 25 12 8 5 47 32 44 +15
7 Manchester City 26 12 8 6 34 29 44 +5
8 Portsmouth 26 11 8 7 36 26 41 +10
9 Blackburn Rovers 25 10 9 7 32 33 39 -1
10 West Ham United 25 10 7 8 30 23 37 +7
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 26 8 8 10 48 41 32 +7
12 Middlesbrough 25 7 7 11 22 37 28 -15
13 Newcastle United 25 7 6 12 28 46 27 -18
14 Sunderland 26 7 5 14 26 45 26 -19
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 6 7 13 26 35 25 -9
16 Wigan Athletic 26 6 5 15 23 40 23 -17
17 Birmingham City 26 5 7 14 25 38 22 -13
18 Reading 26 6 4 16 30 53 22 -23
19 Fulham 25 2 10 13 23 42 16 -19
20 Derby County 26 1 6 19 13 55 9 -42


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