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Premier League

Sunday 11th May 2008

I have been looking forward to seeing Fernando Torres play all season and with nothing left for either team to play for, it is a match where we can sit back and relax.  It would be nice to finish above West Ham and grab tenth place, but I can't really see it happening.  Liverpool are a good side away from home and have attacking options in Crouch (who might be playing his last game for the Scousers) and Kuyt, who is a strong player who holds up the ball very well, as well as Torres.

Hopefully, John Arne Riise might play and give Spurs a chance, with Berbatov possibly making his last appearance for Tottenham, it might be a sparkling performance from him to leave on a high note.  This would mean a tough afternoon for Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia, who might be playing his last game.  Robbie Keane is in good scoring form and notched twice up at Anfield, so might fancy his chances, if they are provided for him.  Also in defence, there are new signing Martin Skrtel, Steve Finnan and Alvaro Arbeloa.  Czech Skrtel has been finding the transition to the Premier League a little tough, while Arbeloa has been putting in some steady performances at full back, where he has replaced Finnan, who might also be moved on in the summer.  The defence is a tough one to crack, with Pepe Reina behind them being a very good shot stopper, but more questionable about his taking of crosses and positioning.

With Aaron Lennon potentially missing, the wide-men for Spurs will have to work hard against the wide midfielders for Liverpool.  Whether it is Yossi Benayoun, with his prompting passing or Ryan Babel has pace on the flank, our wide-men will need to funnel back and stop their progress.  If Jermaine Pennant plays, Spurs might have an easier time, as he often fails to deliver.  Damien Plessis has been sitting in front of the back four, with some impressive showings as he is integrated into the team.  Tall and rangy, he is a player who will pick off attacks and start the side moving forward.  Steven Gerrard is the main driving force from this area and he is the heartbeat of the team, while Xavi Alonso possesses a fine range of passing and Javier Maschereno doesn't seem to do much in a game, but his presence closes down the opposition and makes a difference to the way Spurs might be able to find their way to goal.

Hopefully, it will be a fitting game to end the season with, with Tottenham having a trophy under their belts to Liverpool's prize of fourth place in the table, but I think the outcome might be a share of the points ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    Liverpool  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 (knee); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Gareth Bale (foot); Aaron Lennon (knee); Paul Robinson (ankle)

Liverpool : -  Daniel Agger (knee)


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Tottenham Hotspur   0    Liverpool   2      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 11th May 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,063
Referee :  Uriah Rennie (Sheffield)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Blazing sunshine
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


Dawson (Bent 75)

Jenas (Huddlestone 46)
O'Hara (Tainio 46)

Keane (c)

Unused subs: 

Liverpool :



Kuyt (Lucas 80)
Gerrard (c)
Babel (Benayoun 59)

Voronin (Finnan 71)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur



Voronin 69
Torres 74

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Hutton (dissent)   



Insua (foul)    


Match Report : -  
In what was another of a long line of games Spurs have had to play after shutting down for summer, Liverpool took two of the chances they created, while Tottenham only had a couple in the whole game, resulting in a 0-2 defeat, with much more interest being focused on what was happening elsewhere on the last day of the Premier League season.

With the sun on their backs, it was a perfect summer's day, but for Tottenham, it showed, once more, how far they have to go to progress to challenge the top four.

The game was lost in poor passing and a lack of urgency in the first half.  Too often possession was given away cheaply or passes were over-hit.  With neither team having much riding on it, neither side seemed too worried about putting in much effort.

Radek Cerny looked as if he was out to impress his new bosses (whoever they might be) at QPR, with a leaping save for the cameras to stop Voronin's hooked effort and then saved a routine shot straight at him from Babel.

Jermaine Jenas had a mare.  His passing was off target and he looked as though he was suffering with the heat.  I must admit, even though I wasn't running about, at times, I felt like I was about to burn to a crisp !!  But then he wasn't alone.  More of which later.

Tottenham's first threat on goal came on the quarter of the hour, as Jenas made a run on the right, played the ball to Berbatov and he back-heeled it across the goal area without looking and Reina made it to the ball before Robbie Keane, who was some way away.  Ten minutes later, O'Hara sent a corner over and Berba rose to head it at goal and Reina moved his feet well to get a strong palm to the ball and knock it wide.

Referee Rennie was doing his best to let the game go Liverpool's way, with Mascherano's foul on Hutton worthy of a yellow card from most other officials.  The Argentinian didn't seem to do much, but prompted play and occasionally hit a pass out of play !!  When Babel hit a shot wide from 25 yards out, it summed up the lack of quality shown in the first half.

The now obligatory draw for the Opus took place at half time with Martin Chivers being the lucky celebrity.  Tainio was hurriedly called inside from warming up on the pitch and then Huddlestone too, as Ramos took off Jenas (supposedly for an injury) and O'Hara as a tactical move.

With Benitez moving things around without making any substitutions, Liverpool often seemed to have four in attack, but more often appeared to have eight in defence.  Maybe that was because Spurs players seemed less than willing to make forward moves and thus were outnumbered too easily.

Almost immediately, Zokora was hit by a Gerrard tackle and needed attention, but he managed to continue.  The Liverpool and England midfielder looked keen to get on the score-sheet, hitting shots from almost any distance at almost every opportunity.  Five minutes after the interval, Cerny did well to dive low and block a shot from Gerrard from inside the area.  When play got into the Liverpool area, Tainio went down under challenge from Carragher, but the cries for a penalty were little more than hopeful words, as Rennie did not show the slightest inclination to give it.

The crossing from Tottenham, especially from set-pieces was very poor.  Few made it beyond the first man and when they did, they were just put into an area, rather than aimed for a Tottenham head.  It is something that will need to be worked on once the management know who's head they have to aim for.

Tommy dinked a pass over the top of the visitors' defence, but Keane wasn't able to collect it before Skrtel nicked it off him, while Voronin failed to test Cerny too hard when well-placed.  Tainio would have been away down the right wing, had Insua not cynically taken him out and then had the cheek to indicate to the ref that it was his first tackle.  Even Rennie wasn't going for that one.  Tainio's introduction in midfield saw him get into some good positions, but fail to deliver a decent final ball ... again, something he was not alone in.  When Steed Malbranque, who had a good game, took the ball from a poor Carragher pass, he drove it to Keane and the ball across the box was intended as a shot despite his protestations to Berbatov that it was intended for him (and Tainio beyond him) to run onto.

Hutton was finding good space on the right wing and was keen to get forward, but he does go down easily and the ref thought so, when it was a foul by Insua again and he protested too much in Rennie's eyes, so he got booked too.  Seems like you can foul but not complain !!

Cerny was having a quieter time of it in goal, but Gerrard's 25-yarder landed on the roof of the net, with Cerny having it covered, while Steed got on the end of Hutton's long cross at the other end to strike a volley goal-wards.  Unfortunately, it hit a defender and went off for a corner.

But when this set-piece didn't pay off, Liverpool broke away and Torres knocked the ball on, beating Dawson to it, into the path of Andrei Voronin to steer underneath Cerny from the edge of the six yard box to give Liverpool the lead, after he had held Hutton off.  They had probably been the better side, but that wasn't hard with Spurs on post League Cup auto-pilot.  But it was such a cheap goal to give away.  Two minutes later Voronin went off with defender Steve Finnan coming on.

Spurs could have hit back, as Dimitar Berbatov suddenly decided to take part in the match.  Taking down Tainio's through ball, he took a touch as Liverpool defenders backed off and struck a dipping shot from inside the right hand corner of the box and Reina arched up to tip it over the top.

It didn't help, as from the resulting corner, Tottenham saw Liverpool sweep forward and the ball was fed left to Fernando Torres.  He is a strong young man and a direct runner with the ball, so if Berbatov does go (which after a performance like this it looks like he might and I hope he does with him not being willing to put in a tackle to put at threat any move away from White Hart Lane), please can we have someone like Torres to replace him ?  The Spaniard took on Dawson on the outside, but with the Tottenham defender giving him too much space, Torres went left and prodded a right foot shot under Cerny for the second goal.  It was all too easy.

Dawson immediately made way for Bent and Spurs dropped Keane back into midfield and moved Zokora in at the back.  Cerny needed to be sharp, as inexplicably, Alan Hutton headed a Liverpool cross towards his own goal and the Czech keeper dived up and across to grab it and save more blushes.  Jonathan Woodgate had a steady game and although he is slow, he gets back and makes up the ground, which he did to rob Torres in the left wing position and then he made a good block to a Gerrard shot in the area.

With 79 minutes gone, Torres got the ball on the edge of the box and lazily lobbed a shot that caught Cerny off his line and luckily for Tottenham bounced behind off the top of the crossbar.  With the game almost done, Gilberto finally strode forward and knocked a cross to the far post, where Teemu knocked the ball back into the area and Keane and Bent were both denied.  Cerny was still on his mettle, as he kept out Benayoun's drive and did enough to put off Torres, as he tried to back-heel a low cross in at the near post.  Only a long range effort straight at him by Gerrard remained to be executed and then it was all over for another season. 

Too many players out there today were going through the motions.  I find it hard to accept that they were playing to orders, because of they were, we have chosen the wrong coach.  We should show that we want to be winners by wanting to win every match.  Too often since the League Cup Final, the team look like they are happy to take whatever comes their way, rather than making something happen.  With new players coming in, they will need to settle and it might have been made easier, if the bulk of the team who are here now, had been putting Ramos' ideas into practice.

But despite the poor nature of the game, I can feel a little better, as I came out of the ground with a better colour than I went in with.  Mind you, it is an expensive way to get a tan ... and how much more expensive we will probably find out in the next day or so !!



Reaction : -



Birmingham have won 7 games all season.

2 of those 7 were gifted to them by Spurs  (25%)

The Tottenham team and management should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.



Read Wyart Lane's last match report of the season at the Times Fanzine Fanzone by clicking here.




Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 4 Blackburn Rovers 1 Sunday
Chelsea 1 Bolton Wanderers 1 Sunday
Derby County 0 Reading 4 Sunday
Everton 3 Newcastle United 1 Sunday
Middlesbrough 8 Manchester City 1 Sunday
Portsmouth 0 Fulham 1 Sunday
Sunderland 0 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Wigan Athletic 0 Manchester United 2 Sunday
West Ham United 2 Aston Villa 2 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 38 27 6 5 80 22 87 +58
2 Chelsea 38 25 10 3 65 26 85 +39
3 Arsenal 38 24 11 3 74 31 83 +43
4 Liverpool 38 21 13 4 67 28 76 +39
5 Everton 38 19 8 11 55 33 65 +22
6 Aston Villa 38 16 12 10 71 51 60 +20
7 Blackburn Rovers 38 15 13 10 50 48 58 +2
8 Portsmouth 38 16 9 13 48 40 57 +8
9 Manchester City 38 15 10 13 45 53 55 -8
10 West Ham United 38 14 10 15 42 50 49 -8
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 38 11 13 14 66 61 46 +5
12 Newcastle United 38 11 10 17 45 65 43 -20
13 Middlesbrough 38 10 12 16 43 53 42 -10
14 Wigan Athletic 38 10 10 18 33 49 40 -16
15 Sunderland 38 11 6 21 36 59 39 -23
16 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 10 19 36 54 37 -18
17 Fulham 38 8 12 18 38 60 36 -22
18 Reading 38 10 6 22 41 66 36 -25
19 Birmingham City 38 8 11 19 46 62 35 -16
20 Derby County 38 1 8 29 20 89 11 -69


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