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Premier League

Saturday 16th January 2010


An enforced break might not have done Spurs much good, as a number of players are still suffering with injury, although some might have benefitted from the rest.

Facing Hull City, who are fighting to pull themselves away from the relegation berths.  Having had a slight resurgence before the winter break, Phil Brown's team will be looking to upset Tottenham and continue their movement up the table.  They will have looked at the teams who have done well against Tottenham recently and we can expect them to pack the midfield and utilise every second of the game to prevent Spurs having the ball; legally or illegally.

The lack of goals has been causing the Tigers to lose out, with Daniel Cousin not really doing the business nor has Caleb Folan.  With Geovanni being used sparingly, his free-kicks and ability to shoot powerfully has been mainly used from the bench.  Nick Barmby is no longer the player we used to see at White Hart Lane, but is used to link the midfield with the front line, meaning his effectiveness is limited.  Newcomer Jozy Altidore is rough around the edges, but he has shown brief glimpses of talent for goal-scoring and will need to be marked with great care.  The signing of Jan Vennegoor of Hesslink from Celtic might seem a bit desperate, but given chances, he will pop up in the right place.  So far, his finishing has been a little rusty, but he might be a decent freebie.  Other options include Craig Fagan and Richard Garcia, who have both come up with

The big miss for Hull will be Jimmy Bullard, whose return from prolonged injury kick-started a little run of results.  Driving forward from midfield and presumably a positive influence in the dressing room, his absence will be felt in the amber ranks.  No doubt Dean Marney will want to make a point to the Spurs crowd if he is chosen to replace Bullard, with the annoying Stephen Hunt as well as Ghilas and Halmosi, who are not regulars, but have good skill on the ball and an eye for goal.  Brown might well go with giant Seyi Olofinjana, in an attempt to counter Wilson Palacios' tigerish tackling.  With Stoke having packed their side with big men, it might be seen by the Hull boss as a way of thwarting Tottenham's attacks. 

The defence features former Tottenham centre-half Anthony Gardner, who has been given a tough time, along with Michael Dawson's brother Andy at left back, who has been scoring goals - at both ends - recently.  Both are settling into a fairly regular back four, which will bring a better understanding of playing together.  Zayatte is a little rash in his challenges sometimes and a bit of trickery might commit him, as could Paul McShane or Ibrahim Sonko, on loan form Reading.  Spurs have the players to play around Hull and for once, the presence of Gardner at the back might preclude the inclusion of Crouch as a target.

Goalkeepers Matt Duke and Boaz Myhill have both been hit by a number of balls flying past them, making them a bit shell-shocked, but there are saves in both of them and I hope that they regain their form, but only after this weekend.

As for Spurs, they need to continue playing the way they had been before the freeze and stay patient, but realise that a high tempo will put the opposition under pressure and peg them back.  The return of Luka Modric has been vital in the way the team were playing and with Niko Kranjcar also in great form, the midfield is really clicking.  It will be a scrappy game and a tough one, but if Spurs play to their potential, they will win.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    3      Hull City    1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); David Bentley (doubtful - calf); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - groin); Jermaine Jenas (doubtful - groin); Alan Hutton (out - groin); Ledley King (out - knee); - (-); 

HULL CITY :  -  Jimmy Bullard (knee); Ian Ashbee (knee); Jozy Altidore (out - compassionate leave); - (-);


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


Tottenham Hotspur   0    Hull City   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 16th January 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,729
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Damp, rainy.
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
19  Bassong     
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

14  Modric
12  Palacios      (  8  Jenas 55     )  
21  Kranjcar  

18  Defoe    (15  Crouch 62)
10  Keane (c) 

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  5  Bentley


Hull City :

  1  Myhill

  3  Dawson
  5  Gardner (c)
24  Zayatte
  6  McShane

11  Hunt
10  Geovanni  (29  Vennegoor of Hesselink 75)
  Barmby         (17  Kilbane 65)  
  7  Fagan 

14  Garcia    (19  Mouyokolo 83)

Unused subs: 
12  Duke
23  Ghilas

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Hull City
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur


Hull City


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (foul)  52
Bassong (foul)  59
Huddlestone (foul)  68
Jenas (foul)  87


Hull City

Barmby (time wasting)  29
Fagan (foul)  86


Match Report : -  
Some games you can have loads of chances and nothing goes in. Some games you can have loads of chances and nothing goes in.  Some games you can have an exciting encounter with both teams wanting to go forward.  Some games you have a boring match with only one side willing to play the game. 

While this wasn't necessarily a boring game, the lack of application to take a full part in the game by Hull City resulted in a one way procession of chances for Tottenham, most of which were stopped by in form Boaz Myhill to bring a about a 0-0 score-line.

Tottenham didn't need a goalkeeper in form and at times, they probably didn't need a goalkeeper at all, with the Yorkshiremen rarely threatening a goal and leaving Gomes without a meaningful save to make all afternoon.  Their attack consisted of Garcia blundering around up front, with his nearest effort on goal being a volley from outside the area that went off for a goal kick.

Last season, I had a soft spot for Hull.  Upsetting everyone, (including Spurs at the Lane), they breezed into the Premier League with a brand of flowing, devil-may-care football that took them to third position for a while.  That changed when they started struggling and produced a number of gritty performances, which just about kept them up.

At the start of this season, they were being roundly beaten by most sides and have ground out some results in the last couple of months, but this showing was a nasty and cynical display reminiscent of Bolton under manager Phil Brown.  Time-wasting from an early stage and employing Cambridge United/Wimbledon style denigrates all the goodwill they earned last term.  With their slow-motion tactics bringing a warning from the referee, he then booked Barmby for taking too long at  the next throw-in and then proceeded to ignore the remainder of the games time-wasting, including the magnificently banal Craig Fagan showing true professionalism in taking the ball into the corner to waste time ... in injury time ... in the first half !!

The only one of the Hull players who I would have time for is their keeper, who made five stupendous stops to deny Spurs and earned his side a point they barely deserved.  His time-wasting has tempered my praise for him, but he proved that he could move quickly enough when he wanted to by making double stops in both halves and moving quickly enough to stop other good chances.

Spurs started the game going forward without really threatening to score, with Hull having a slim chance halfway through the first period, when Fagan crossed for Garcia, who rose, but made no real effort to get a good header on the ball and it went wide.  Shortly after, referee Atkinson spoke to Hull captain Anthony Gardner about his team's continual slow taking of dead ball situations.  Low and behold, the next throw-in and Barmby shaped to take it, then decided to leave it for someone who had trotted a long distance to take it instead.  He was livid when he got a yellow card, but having just been told about it, there can be little to have the hump about.  The fact that he tore a strip off the ref might have warranted another yellow on top of the time-wasting one.

On 38 minutes, Wilson Palacios made a move on the right wing and cut in to the edge of the area to hit a low shot that Myhill could only push out into the middle of his goal.  Robbie Keane was there and reacted to it first, hitting a good shot, but the keeper got off the floor and threw himself across goal to get hands to it and push it over the bar.  It was a remarkable save, much like Jim Montgomery's save in the 1973 FA Cup Final for Sunderland against Leeds.

Into added time at the end of the first half, Fagan's tactics didn't work, as Spurs gained possession and a through ball by Modric was stepped over by Keane, leaving Defoe in the clear to run in on goal and as Myhill came out, Jermain tried to push the ball past him with the outside of his right foot, allowing the goalie to throw up an arm and keep the ball out to keep the game scoreless at the interval.

The second half went much the same way, but with Spurs applying even more pressure to the crowded Hull penalty area.  Cries of handball went up early after the restart, as Bale's shot from a cleared corner hit Andy Dawson and the referee and linesman kept the game moving.  it is strange that later in the game, when Hull were bumping, boring and shirt-pulling in the box, that any incident that would be a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch, suddenly gets over-looked in the penalty box.  When McShane almost cuddled the ball while shielding it on the floor from the Spurs players, it was surprising when nothing at all was given.

Defoe did well to pick a pass to Luka Modric in a packed penalty box and the little midfielder hit a shot on goal that Myhill stopped, but once more let out of his grasp and Keane rushed in only to see his follow-up shot blocked by the prone goalie.  it was a little harsh for everyone to think Keane should have scored from a yard out, but the keeper was right on top of him and did well to use his body to keep the ball out with his face.

Hull's only real chance in the game came in the 57th minute, when Nick Barmby was put through in the right hand channel in the area, leaving his a shot on goal from an angle, but he failed to test Gomes and hit the side-netting, much to the hilarity of the Park Lane Spurs fans, who mocked the City supporters, who thought they had scored as the net rippled.

Peter Crouch's introduction to the game added a new dimension to the Tottenham attack and it was one they played to for the rest of the match.  Immediately, Defoe and he linked to see a Crouch volley go into the ground and  wide, but the tall striker was instrumental in setting up Modric's 74th minute header, when he knocked a cross down for the Croatian to head on target and Myhill once more had to dive to stop the ball.

Four minutes later, he stopped another shot from Modric, when the ball ran clear after Defoe went in for Corluka's near post cross, with the ball being kept out by the keeper's hand, which was what happened when Crouch got onto the end of a Kranjcar cross from a free-kick.  A free header inside the six yard box was flicked on and the keeper was lucky it was straight at him and at a good height to push out.  Crouch was put away on the right hand side of the box and hit s shot at the near post rather than crossed it in for Defoe or Kranjcar, but the keeper was there again to beat the ball out for a corner and from that the ball dropped for one last shot, but it was behind Bassong and went off target.

With what seemed like about 25 shots on goal, Spurs could not find a way past the goalkeeper, even if they could find a way past the Hull defence.  The visiting team celebrated like a cup final (just like Stoke and Wolverhampton) and Spurs will have to hope they strike it lucky when they go to Anfield on Wednesday and that Reina doesn't turn in a similar goalkeeping display.

graeme parsons


Fan Reaction : -






Other scores this weekend :
Chelsea 7 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Everton 2 Manchester City 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Burnley 0 Saturday
Portsmouth P Birmingham City P Saturday
Stoke City 1 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 West Ham United 0 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Fulham 0 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 2 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 21 15 3 3 52 18 48 +34
2 Manchester United 21 15 1 5 48 18 46 +30
3 Arsenal 21 14 3 4 55 23 45 +32
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 21 11 5 5 42 22 38 +20
5 Manchester City 21 10 8 3 42 30 38 +12
6 Aston Villa 21 10 6 5 29 18 36 +11
7 Liverpool 21 10 4 7 38 26 34 +12
8 Birmingham City 20 8 5 6 20 18 32 +2
9 Fulham 21 7 6 8 26 24 27 +2
10 Everton 21 6 8 7 30 34 26 -4
11 Stoke City 21 6 7 8 19 26 25 -7
12 Blackburn Rovers 22 6 6 10 23 39 24 -16
13 Sunderland 20 6 5 9 27 34 23 -7
14 Wigan Athletic 20 6 4 10 23 44 22 -21
15 Burnley 21 5 5 11 22 43 20 -21
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 5 4 11 17 38 19 -21
17 West Ham United 21 4 7 10 28 37 19 -9
18 Hull City 21 4 7 10 20 42 19 -22
19 Bolton Wanderers 19 4 6 9 26 38 18 -12
20 Portsmouth 20 4 2 14 18 32 14 -14

Position before the match :   5th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  4th


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