Reading (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 12th November 2006

Without recourse to Bobby Convey and Dave Kitson, the Reading side will be without two players who have a side agenda to do well against Spurs.  Kitson is a life-long supporter and his knee injury will make him miss the club's visit to the Madjeski stadium, but he should be fit when the Royals come to the Lane later in the season.  Also out will be US international Bobby Convey, who Tottenham tried to sign a few seasons back when Glenn Hoddle was in charge.  Everything was lined up, but the Department of Trade and Industry in their wisdom refused to issue him with a work permit, despite players like Tim Howard being allowed in without meeting the criteria that Convey met and had a lot of high profile support.  Spurs' loss has been Reading's gain, but his absence will be a benefit for Tottenham.

Captain Graeme Murty returns and his tough tackling will make things difficult for Spurs.  Out for four weeks, his comeback will be welcomed by the side, who have lost four straight games since the controversial match against Chelsea, when two goalkeepers were stretchered off.  Joining him in defence are the strong centre-half Ibrahima Sonko, good in the air both at the back and in attack; Sam Sodje, the same being true for the head-scarfed one; Nicky Shorey, an attacking full-back, who was highly rated by Hoddle; former Gooner John Halls; Icelander Ivar Ingimarsson, who is another hard man, but one who uses the ball well when he has won it and the marauding Korean defender Ki-Hyeon Seol, who was signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers and likes to get forward to hit rocket shots on goal.

The big US stopper Marcus Hahnemann has developed a reputation for being a good shot stopper, but the use of his hands for crosses and his feet for kicking might not be as good as his ability to beat out shots.  Former Gooner keeper Graham Stack lies in wait in reserve, but he has had little opportunity to take the field from the off.

Steve Sidwell has become a hot property, but one who wants tog et away from Reading, with Charlton Athletic and Manchester City being the options available to him.  He might be better staying off where he is, as he has the knowledge of a good manager and the squad have been brought in around him.  Players like the rangy wide-man Glenn Little and fellow winger John Oster, who is short and has a go at defenders with the drop of a shoulder.  James Harper, like Sidwell, comes from Gooner stock and runs for fun, with the ability to get a tackle in and distribute the ball well.  After the Cech collision, the Chelsea guns were out for Steven Hunt, but he has pace and an explosive shot if he gets the opportunity to use it, while former Aston Villa and Ecuador international Ulysses De La Cruz has been brought in with the view to use his experience and to provide an option wide in midfield..

Leroy Lita has looked a pacy striker for England Under-21 and when he was at Bristol City, with nothing changing during his time since signing for Reading.  He can be both explosive and deadly in his finishing, but can drift out of games if he is shackled tightly.  Kevin Doyle and Stacey Long are both young forwards with a keen eye for goal, with Doyle particularly catching the eye.  His finishing is good and his runs take him into the right areas to get goals.  Long is a wider starter and has an ability to dribble well, but when pushed inside, he can hit the target with regularity.

For Spurs, Berbatov and Keane will probably link up again in attack, with Jenas, Zokora, Lennon and Ghaly returning to start in midfield.  The defence will pick itself, but there is now more competition to fill places when any one of the four drop out.

Martin Jol will want to take the home form into away games now, with teams like Reading playing for their place in the Premiership, but being a team Tottenham should defeat.  With a higher tempo away from home, Spurs could put the opposition on the back foot a bit more and make them play catch up if Spurs go ahead.

I think that the game might see Tottenham's first away win of the season, but it will be a tough struggle to achieve it ...

PREDICTION : -  Reading  1   Tottenham Hotspur   2

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


READING :  Bobby Convey (knee); Dave Kitson (knee); Peter Mate (knee); Aaron Brown (ankle); Simon Cox (broken leg); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Teemu Tainio (hernia); Calum Davenport (groin); Paul Stalteri (knee); Lee Barnard (foot); Anthony Gardner (knee); Pascal Chimbonda (knee); Mido (knee); - (-);


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - 22.30 - 23.20 (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
Planet football - (free - only available when match is on.) click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Reading   3   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 2-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  Madjeski Stadium
Sunday 12th November 2006
Kick Off :  1.30 p.m.
Crowd :   24,110
Referee :  Rob Styles (Waterlooville)
Weather :  -  Dry, sunny, but chilly
Teams : - 
Reading :


Murty (c)

Hunt (Lita 75)
Little (Gunnarsson 86)

Seol (Lita 75)

Unused subs

Tottenham Hotspur :


YP Lee (Huddlestone 68)
King (c)

Zokora (Defoe 68)


Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Shorey 38
Sidwell 45
Doyle 81

Tottenham Hotspur

Keane (p) 25

Cards : -  

Seol (foul) 53  


Tottenham Hotspur 

Jenas (foul) 89 


Match Report : -  
Having performed remarkably well, there is not too much to remark about on this showing by Spurs, who, having taken the lead, rolled over to Reading, who had been having a tough time up until today.

Tottenham's players showed little of their fighting spirit of last Sunday.  Too many failed to put in the required effort to fight off the non-stop nagging of the Reading players and it is not hard to see how they have done so well under Steve Coppell.  But, having taken the lead and having had a large share of the possession without looking in trouble, Tottenham managed to go into the break 1-2 behind.

Hossam Ghaly, who sometimes looks like the most cultured midfielder we have, too often played loose passes or failed to track back.  When Sidwell took the ball off him with ten minutes gone, the ball was fizzed across the face of the goal and luckily for Spurs, with no hooped shirt there to convert it.  Spurs countered this with a goal chalked off for offside, when Keane shot as a ball was cleared, with Ghaly coming out, was clearly beyond the last defender.

A better opportunity came when Keane played in Ghaly and he went round the keeper to pull the ball back for DImitar Berbatov, who hit a shot that was kept out by Reading captain Graeme Murty on the goal-line.  But it was a short stay fo execution, as two minutes later, Spurs took the lead.  Keane and Berbatov linked again and the Irishman's ball into Ghaly saw him take a touch and as he went past Sonko, the Reading defender took his standing foot and a penalty was given,  Keane coolly strolled up to fire the spot-kick past the keeper, who went the wrong way.

Fifteen minutes later, some slow closing down cost Spurs dear.  Maybe a hangover from the rigorous two games every four days schedule they are currently in, but when the ball was played across to defender Nicky Shorey on the left, Dawson failed to get to him quick enough and his presence only served to unsight Robinson and the shot beat his hand into the net.

Berbatov failed to score, but showed flashes of what he is about and a clever bit of footwork created a chance and he fired in a low shot, but it was straight at Hahnemann. At the other end, Reading won a corner and from it, Spurs failed to take their positions quickly enough and when the ball came in Sidwell snuck in behind Zokora to poke the ball into the net from a yard out.  It was a very sloppy goal to concede and not one that Spurs have been used to giving away of late.

So, from a goal up to 1-2 down at the half-time interval.  All of our own making and leaving a tough task in the second period.

The Reading crowd were decidedly Second Division, with boos for Spurs players every tie they touched the ball after they had been fouled, which was frequently.  Indeed, while originally giving Stephen Hunt the benefit of the doubt about the Petr Cech incident, having seen him play, he is a player who involves himself in the nastier aspects of the game in my view. 

Jenas fired a low shot well wide after Aaron Lennon laid the ball into his path, then Berbatov headed Ghaly's cross straight at Hahnemann.  Jol had decided that enough was enough and Keane came off for Defoe to replace him, while Huddlestone took the place of the uninspired Zokora.

The changes failed to make much impact, as Robbo had to keep out Doyle with a sharp low save.  But with 12 minutes left, Spurs created a couple of good chances.  Firstly Ghaly struck a fierce volley as Ingimarsson's header dropped to the far side of the area, but it went across the face of the goal, while Lennon weighted a fine pass through to Jermaine Defoe, who fired for the near post rather than go across the keeper and his effort went into the side-netting.

Like the game at Liverpool, within seconds, the ball was in Tottenham's net.  Hahnemann's kick out was flicked on by Lita, finding Doyle, who struck a shot despite the presence of Ledley King with him and it flew past Robinson's left hand.  It was a direct goal and one which should have been prevented.

Even then, there was time for both sides to strike the woodwork.  Lita arched a header that had Robbo diving at his near post, but the ball cannoned off the outside of the post and off.  Breaking at the other end with three minutes left, Jermaine Jenas played Defoe through and his shot on the turn across Hahnemann hit the inside of the far post and bounced across the goal and away.  But Lennon won the ball back and Dimitar hit the ball to him way over the top to sum up his day.

Too many Spurs players looked mentally tired and physically tired, while Reading had the benefit of not playing midweek, but if Tottenham are to be successful, they will need to cope with playing the amount of games they are now.

Losing points like this might well cost us a place in Europe next season, let alone our five match unbeaten run.  We can't afford slip-ups like this again ... although it might be too late to get a UEFA Cup place through a league placing this season already.




Reaction : -




I think that Jol must now ring the changes following such a toothless display.

Lee Young-Pyo should never play for Spurs ever again and until Chimbonda returns, Ifil should get a run in the right-back slot.

Ghaly is a hard worker but has more than a touch of the Michael Brown's about him.  The lanky Egyptian is just not good enough at this level.  Huddlestone should be
recalled immediately, with Zokora pushing up in a more-advanced, Lampard-like role.  I've said for awhile that the Ivory Coast man is uncomfortable in the holding role
and is not the natural successor to Carrick.  Huddlestone is, however, and deserves
another run. 

Despite his heroics against Chelsea, Jenas continues to blow hot and cold, which isn't acceptable.  It may be time for a spell on the bench for Jenas, with Malbranque or Murphy coming into the side on the left, switching wings with Lennon. 

Assou-Ekotto had another shaky game and it might be time that Ziegler gets a recall.  In attack, Keane is blameless, but Berbatov was a disgrace.  Defoe continues to play like a man that's resigned to leaving the club, possibly in January, as proved by his costly misses.

If fit, Mido should also be recalled immediately. 

Jol must wield the axe and show these overpaid clowns that they're expected to earn their keep.

S J Wightman

I don't know what team S J Wightman watches but I don't think it's been Spurs lately - granted the display on Sunday was a disgrace, but to pick holes in people who've only being playing in the Prem a mere three months is an absolute disgrace, surely he's a cloak and dagger Gooner?

While I agree with him about LYP and Jenas, he must surely be blind if he thinks Mido is better than Burby, the guy is just sheer class and oozes silky skills with every touch, Mido might have been a better bet against Reading though with his physical presence but if Jol HAD changed the side and lost we'd all have cried foul anyway.  Assou-Ekotto looks like a very good find, he's settled in surprisingly well and seems to have the same
blend of attack/defence skills as Chimbonda, so giving the team excellent balance and to replace him with a player who simply doesn't even want to play in English football seems illogical.

Ghaly is finding his feet as we saw against Chavski and is definitely one who I've been impressed with this season, give him a chance. Contrary to popular belief - Huddlestone is not the Messiah, although I think that after 60mins Jol should think about replacing Zakora with him - as he seems to fade quite badly towards the end of games and relies on Jenas' energy to help him out.

The side had a bad game, no doubt after the result against Chavski they thought it would be a cake-walk and they've all learnt a sore lesson, but this is no time to start nit picking at individuals who simply haven't had the time to settle in let alone prove what they can do.

Keep the faith and accept this is a new team with five new players -  as always with Spurs there will be ups and there will be downs but the future looks grand !

Come on you Spurs

Alan O'Brien

Disgraceful !!!!




Other scores this weekend :
Chelsea 4 Watford 0 Saturday
Everton 0 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Manchester City 0 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Fulham 1 Saturday
Sheffield United 2 Bolton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 3 Charlton Athletic 2 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester United 1 Saturday
Arsenal 3 Liverpool 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 12 10 1 1 27 5 31 +22
2 Chelsea 12 9 1 2 22 7 28 +15
3 Arsenal 11 6 3 2 19 6 21 +13
4 Aston Villa 12 5 6 1 15 9 21 +6
5 Bolton Wanderers 12 6 3 3 12 11 21 +1
6 Portsmouth 12 6 2 4 17 10 20 +7
7 Everton 12 4 5 3 16 11 17 +5
8 Wigan Athletic 11 5 2 4 16 14 17 +2
9 Liverpool 12 5 2 5 14 15 17 -1
10 Fulham 12 4 5 3 13 16 17 -3
11 Reading 12 5 1 6 13 18 16 -5
12 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 12 4 3 5 9 14 15 -5
13 Middlesbrough 12 4 2 6 10 16 14 -6
14 Manchester City 12 3 4 5 7 14 13 -7
15 Blackburn Rovers 12 3 3 6 10 16 12 -6
16 West Ham United 12 3 2 7 9 15 11 -6
17 Sheffield United 11 2 4 6 7 16 10 -9
18 Newcastle United 12 2 3 7 7 14 9 -7
19 Watford 12 1 6 4 9 17 9 -8
20 Charlton Athletic 11 2 2 7 7 15 8 -8


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