Bolton Wanderers (Away)
FA Cup Fifth Round

Sunday 14th February 2010

Another away game as Spurs visit their second Wanderers in a week and hope for a different outcome to the trip to Wolverhampton.

Bolton is not a happy hunting ground for Tottenham and the chilly North-West will not be a welcoming prospect, but the team need to turn things around after a run of draws and a defeat, which has seen the charge for fourth place stutter.

With Gary Cahill missing from the home defence, their star man will be out of the reckoning, although we wish him a speedy recovery form the blood clot in his arm.  However, the reshuffling in the back four could help Spurs capitalise on any unfamiliarity there might be between them.  Other absentees are Gavin McCann, who was a tackling presence in the midfield, Jack Wilshire and Vladimir Weiss, both talented youngsters on loan who are cup-tied and striker Ivan Klasnic, who is just starting to find his Premiership feet.

Bolton do not have great depth in their squad, but new manager Owen Coyle will be ready to employ the fringe members in positions that they are accustomed to and know their roles there.  Spurs have found it hard to replace Aaron Lennon while he has been out with his groin injury, but it might be time to mix up the attacking positions, with Pavlyuchenko coming in, as he has proved he can be effective, but at Bolton, he will need to apply himself to more than goal-scoring as  the home defenders will need to be closed down when they are on the ball.

While managers have come and gone over the last few years at the Reebok, you can guarantee that while Kevin Davies leads the line, there will be a physical test for visiting central defenders.  He puts himself about, not always keeping the right side of the laws, but he is a regular scorer against Tottenham, so the defenders will need to be aware of his whereabouts and watch him at set-pieces.  Johan Elmander might start alongside Davies in attack, but he has disappointed since coming in for a record transfer fee.  Strong and a good, powerful runner with the ball, the Swede has scored goals elsewhere and might be ready to start doing so under the new management of Coyle.  The former Burnley boss tried to play a bit of football at Turf Moor and he might yet try the same at Bolton, although it is dependent on the players he has.  Coming in just before the transfer window, it was difficult to make the signings, he no doubt wanted, but there are enough of the playing staff who are good on the ball to change to the style he would like.

The midfield now features Tamir Cohen, who is a nippy attacking player and Chung-Yong Lee, who has pace and skill that he employs in a wide position.  With former Spur Sean Davis still hit by injury, Fabrice Muamba is the tackler, who has some good distribution in that area of the team from a central position.  Although leggy, he covers the ground quickly and loves a tackle, so it will need a resolute performance by the Tottenham midfield, to make sure they do not get out-muscled there.  Matthew Taylor has a dream of a left foot and from dead balls, he can pick out a Bolton head, so his supply needs to be restricted as our midfield chase back to close him down.  Mark Davies is back after the bad tackle on him by Gallas, but he can be a little lacking in discipline in keeping his shape in the midfield, although he has the knack of breaking into the box at the right time.

With Danny Shittu seeming to be on his way out during the January transfer window, I guess he might be regarded as surplus to requirements, leaving the back four of Welshman Sam Ricketts, Gretar Steinsson, Zat Knight and Paul Robinson to start, with options available in Ricardo Gardner, who has played at left back as well as left midfield and Jlloyd Samuel, who seems to have dropped out of contention for a place in the team.  Steinsson is huge and he might match up too well with Crouch for Harry to start with our tall front man, perhaps preferring Pav, who has good movement and touch to beat a bigger opponent.  Robinson has been around for many a year with Premier league experience with both Watford and West Bromwich Albion and while he has just topped 500 career games he is now 31 and it might be that a skilful player up against him might get the better of him.  Knight is tall and gangly, so another how might match up with Crouch, but he is suspect to lose concentration and while dangerous at set-pieces, he can be dangerous in his own box.  Room for exploitation there, as well as against Ricketts, who made a name for himself at Cardiff City, before having an unhappy spell at Hull City.  Now a regular starter at Bolton, he tackles well and likes to drive down the line, where he will be up against his national team-mate Gareth Bale.  It will be interesting to see who gets the better of that battle, but with Bale in great form, he needs to take the game to Ricketts. 

If Spurs can put in a shift like they did at Leeds, it will cut down the ability of Bolton to measure their passes and will meet them at their own game.  It will not be an open game, but Coyle will use the home advantage to try and fire the crowd up, although there will be a large proportion of them being Spurs fans, to try and get his side to build up a head of steam and put the Tottenham defence under pressure.  This might lead to opportunities to hit the Trotters on the breakaway and I think that Spurs can do just enough to progress ...

PREDICTION : -  Bolton Wanderers  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.


BOLTON WANDERERS :  - Gary Cahill (out - blood clot); Sean Davis (out - knee); Chris Basham (out - knee); Ivan Klasnic (out - calf); Jack Wilshire (out - cup-tied); Vladimir Weiss (out - cup-tied); Gavin McCann (out - ankle); Joey O'Brien (out - knee); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - hip); Ledley King (doubtful - knee); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Luka Modric (doubtful - illness); Michael Dawson (doubtful - ankle); Younes Kaboul (out - cup-tied); Kyle Walker (out - cup-tied); - (-); - (-);


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

FA Cup Fifth Round
Venue : -  Reebok Stadium
Sunday 14th February 2010
Kick Off :  1.30 p.m.
Crowd :   13,569
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Weather :  - Chilly, dry
Teams : - 
Bolton Wanderers :

22  Jaaskelainen

  4  Robinson
15  Steinsson
12  Knight         (31  A. O'Brien 63)
18  Ricketts

  6  Muamba
  7  Taylor         (
21  Cohen 88)
11  Gardner
27  C-K. Lee   (16  M. Davies 74)

14  K. Davies  
  9  Elmander

Unused subs: 
  Al Habsi
  3  Samuel
25  Holden

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
26  King  (c)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

14  Modric   (21  Kranjcar  63)
12  Palacios      
  6  Huddlestone      
  5  Bentley

18  Defoe        
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
19  Bassong
  9  Pavlyuchenko
25  Rose
17  Gudjohnsen
30  Dervite

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Bolton Wanderers

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Bolton Wanderers

Davies 34

Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 61
Cards : -  
Bolton Wanderers

Knight (foul)  44
Taylor (unsporting conduct)  45 + 2


Tottenham Hotspur 

Huddlestone (foul)  17
Palacios (foul)  24
Defoe (unsporting conduct)  45 + 2


Match Report : -  
Having taken a battering in the first half, Spurs battled back against Owen Coyle's Bolton Wanderers, to bring the Trotters back to White Hart Lane for a replay in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.

While there was still the physical element to Bolton's play, there was also a mixture of passing on the ground and good movement off the ball.  However, their reliance on set-pieces became their undoing, with Gomes equal to Matthew Taylor's shots and the defence standing up reasonably well to the aerial attack from corners, free-kicks and throw-ins.  For Tottenham's part, they were not in the first half, with Bolton closing them down as soon as they got the ball and there were only a couple of note-worthy efforts on the Bolton goal in the first period.

The home team started quickly.  Tottenham were thankful that Michael Dawson was alert to the danger when an eighth minute cross came in from Lee on the right wing and he threw himself in front of Elmander's shot to get a touch and take it wide.  Spurs had some good fortune in the first half and some of the second, when a lot of the chances dropped for Elmander, Knight and Muamba, who wasted the openings with wildly taken shots.  Muamba did get one on target with a volley from Dawson's clearance, but it was straight at Gomes and Elmander was put away in the left hand channel of the penalty area, but instead of steadying himself, he rashly shot first time and hit the crowd with his effort.  Spurs made a foray into the Bolton half after 12 minutes and Bale was pushed inside by Lee and Ricketts, but the Welsh defender hit a right foot shot that had power, but not direction.

Once more Wilson Palacios' reputation earned him a booking, when referee Phil Dowd (usually one of the more sensible refs, but who lost it early on today and failed to be consistent throughout) showed him yellow when he should only have had a free-kick given against him rather than that and a caution.  From it, Taylor, placed just right of centre, curled around the wall to try and catch Gomes out, but the Brazilian keeper was alert to it and dived to his left to push the ball wide, with 25 minutes gone.

In typical cup0tie action, Spurs took the play to the other end and won a corner, which Crouch flicked on and Ledley King got to with his foot, but it was taken wide by a deflection off a Bolton defender, giving Spurs another corner.  This time, it was pulled back outside the box to Tom Huddlestone, who hit a full-bloodied volley, but it was wayward in it's aim.  In a little spell of pressure, Crouch shot wide and Bentley won a header against Robinson at the far post to Bale's cross, but could not get much power behind it and it was easy for Jaaskelainen.

Against the run of play, Bolton took the lead in the 34th minute.  While Bentley was off the pitch getting a new shirt and treatment for a bloodied nose, Bolton broke upfield.  So, by the time the Spurs winger was back on, the home team had time to progress to Tottenham's last third.  Elmander was slipped through on the right side of the box by a clever ball from Lee, with the Swede pulling a low cross back to , but the ball fell to Kevin Davies and he took an early shot that didn't have a great deal behind it, but was placed well enough to hit the net.

Spurs had been slow to react to things up until now and needed to sort themselves out quickly.  A flowing move saw Bentley put a low ball into the goalmouth and Ricketts slid in to put the ball over the top, but it could have gone anywhere.  it all got a bit silly just before half-time, as Knight got booked for hitting Bale late and then both Taylor and Defoe got yellow cards for a running argument they were having.  At the interval, Clive Allen and some of the Spurs coaching staff had hard words for Dowd, about Bentley not being allowed back on the pitch, although the official claimed that he had already signalled him back on and they had not seen it.

The half-time team talk needed something and while Spurs have been predominantly better in the second half of games this season, it was necessary to up the tempo and the energy considerably to get back into the match.

However, it started much like the first half, with Elmander getting away on the right to cross and Gomes to take it acrobatically, while a Kevin Davies shot just caught the inside of Dawson's thigh to go wide for a corner, with Gomes already diving the other way.  The Swedish striker had another effort coming in from the right, but hit the side-netting and it signalled a change in Tottenham's play.  Ten minutes into the half, a high cross from the right by Bentley to the far post found Crouch climbing and for once he didn't have a free-kick given against him, as he rise above Jaaskelainen and headed over him onto the bar, but there was no Spurs player handily placed to knock it in.  All game long, Dowd had given decisions against Crouch when he had players climbing over him or one in front and another behind to restrict his movement.  In fact, the decisions through the 90+ minutes were odd, with foot up given on a couple of occasions, but not in the box ... perhaps unsurprisingly. 

A minute later and the woodwork was shuddering again, as Palacios made a surging run form midfield, leaving players behind him and hitting a shot that deflected off Robinson's foot and looped over Jaaskelainen onto the bar once more.  Five minutes later, Spurs were level.  A ball down the line by Modric found Bale and the defenders showed him inside once too often and he took them on, bursting into the box and pulled the ball back to the penalty spot, where Defoe took a touch and smashed the ball powerfully past the Bolton keeper with the aid of a slight deflection.  It was a goal that didn't look like it was going to arrive, but like the one in the first half, it looked as tough it would be coming soon.

From that point on, Tottenham had control of the game.  in the 65th minute, Bale put another ball in, that took a flick off a Bolton player and ran back into the path of Wilson Palacios, who was running onto the ball and hit it firs time, going for power and not precision, resulting in the ball going very quickly over the bar.  A minute later and Defoe set up Kranjcar to fire a shot at goal from outside the box, but the Finnish goalie was equal to it and got enough on it to take the ball out for a corner.  Then in the 70th minute a bouncing ball fell to Crouch in the Bolton box.  As he tried to bring it under control, he flicked it up and on into the middle of the goal, but Ricketts, who was close to him, put an arm up and the ball hit it, resulting in Dowd giving a penalty.  As far as Spurs were concerned, this was another bad decision, as we have missed enough spot-kicks already this season and with our most competent penalty-taker plying his trade in Scotland, it was left to Huddlestone to step up to take it.  he never really looked comfortable and his stuttering run-up indicated he wasn't sure what to do with it.  As it was he hit it at a good height for a keeper to get and not far enough into the corner of the goal, so Jaaskelainen had little trouble diving to push it out and then nobody got onto the end of the rebound, which was cleared.

Still Spurs attacked and Defoe was close to winning the tie for Tottenham when he struck a powerful shot from outside the penalty area, but the keeper was once more equal to the effort and then Bale drove a ball powerfully across goal and Crouch reacted quickly to get a touch on it with his head, but the ball went wide once more.

Into added time both sides had late chances, with Muamba slicing his shot well wide when it looked threatening for a moment and then Defoe struck a dipping shot that had Jaaskelainen rooted to the spot, but luckily for him the ball went wide and that was about that.  All back to the Lane in about 10 days time for a replay.

Should Spurs have won this game ?  On the first half showing, they were lucky to only be one down, but the second half was theirs and they should have tested the keeper more, as the Bolton midfield tired from their first half exertions and the defence shuddered when attacked either from wide positions or through the middle.

Something must be done about the penalty situation, as it is costing us wins in games too often now.  With the chance to go through being spurned, it will give Spurs another game they probably could have done without, but that will be the same for Bolton, who are in a more precarious position that us, as they need league points and quickly.

For Spurs, this is another route into Europe, but unless we finish teams off, we might find only home comforts next season.

kirk hammerton





Fan Reaction : -



What is it with Spurs and penalties ?  Since the penalty shoot-out at Wembley against Manchester United, things seem to have gone from bad to worse and with Keano away at Celtic, the art of penalty taking has gone.

Surely, someone like Bentley or Jenas can imagine it is s free-kick and try to bend it into the net, but this might end up with the ball ballooning over the bar.

Let Daws take them.  He looks like a no nonsense type of penalty taker, with a straight run up and a hammer of a shot.  And being captain most of the time now, he would relish the task.

graham poll-dancer



Other FA Cup Fifth round scores this weekend :
Crystal Palace 2 Aston Villa 2 Sunday
Derby County 1 Birmingham City 2 Saturday
Chelsea 4 Cardiff City 1 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Southampton 1 Portsmouth 4 Saturday
Reading 2 West Bromwich Albion 2 Saturday
Fulham 4 Notts County 0 Sunday


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