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Premier League

Saturday 17th April 2010

A win against Arsenal no longer a season makes.  Gone are the days when a win over the Woolwich Wanderers defined our season and now they are just another three points towards our new targets.

With a performance full of energy and tempo, with some fine individual efforts as well as a solid team unit effort, Spurs gave Arsenal no time on the ball and only when they tired towards the end of the game did they look under pressure.  The same will need to apply on Saturday, when Chelsea visit the Lane.

A different proposition, as they are top of the table and in good form coming to the end of a strong campaign.  With a side with less weak links than Arsenal, this will be an even tougher test of Tottenham's resolve and if Aaron Lennon is fit to return, there may be a chink of light with him on one side and Bale on the other pushing the Chelsea wing backs deeper into their own last third. 

The Blues' forward line will provide a sterner test for Dawson and whoever is fit to partner him.  Drogba can be a strong physical presence, but as was proved against Internazionale, he can be made ineffective if he is bullied and maybe our defenders are too nice to do that.  Anelka is quick, but our full backs have pace and could cope with that, although they need to be aware of the movement of the Chelsea front two.

In midfield, Spurs will still be without Palacios, so Huddlestone and Modric will need to put in another heroic effort to match the work-rate of the likes of Ballack and Lampost, along with the creativity of Deco and Joe Cole.  It is possible that given the space, the Tottenham midfield's combination of passing and running with the ball could give the Chelsea back four problems.  There has not been the same confidence in the Pensioners defence, which may come from the dodgy season Petr Cech has been having and with Hilario and Ross Turnbull behind him as back up keepers, you can see that there is not the invincibility there once was there.  Terry plays like a terrier on the pitch and one on heat off it, while Carvalho is a nasty piece of work who gets away with an awful lot and I don't know why referees haven't twigged his lack of subtlety.  Bosingwa is out and Ivanovic is a strong full back, but not as good a defender as the Portuguese international, while on the other side, Ashley Cole's absence has brought Zhirkov or Ferreira into the side.  Neither have proved as good a replacement, so once more, if Lennon is playing, he might make the most of his fresh legs after being out since Christmas.

Having said that, the run that Chelsea are on and the games they have lost lately (mainly to sides who worked hard to stifle their game), mean that they will probably run out winners, although they have lost points to the likes of Hull, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.  They score a lot of goals and with Spurs being more attack minded, it might result in a high scoring match.  I think it might end up ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Chelsea    3

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 - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Wilson Palacios (suspended - second of two game ban); Niko Kranjcar (out - ankle); Danny Rose (doubtful - knee); - (-); 

CHELSEA :  -  Ricardo Carvalho (out - ankle); Ashley Cole (out - ankle); Jose Bosingwa (out - knee); Michael Essien (out - knee); Branislav Ivanovic (doubtful - knee); Hilario (doubtful - groin); - (-); 


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


Tottenham Hotspur   2    Chelsea   1      (Half-time score : 2-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 17th April 2010
Kick Off :  17.30 p.m.
Crowd :   35,814
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Warm, sunny
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
20  Dawson (c)

  3  Bale 
  6  Huddlestone     
14  Modric
  5  Bentley

  9  Pavlyuchenko       (15  Crouch 90+5)
18  Defoe   (17  Gudjohnsen 78)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick

28  Walker
29  Livermore

25  Rose

Chelsea :

  1  Cech

19  Ferreira  (  2  Ivanovic  46)
33  Alex
26  Terry                
18  Zhirkov     

15  Malouda
12  Mikel  (13  Ballack  33)
  8  Lampard
20  Deco
10  J. Cole  (  2  Anelka  46)

11  Drogba

Unused subs: 
  3  A. Cole
21  Kalou
23  Sturridge

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe (p)  15
Bale  44


Lampard 90+2

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Huddlestone (retaliation) 55
Pavlyuchenko (not going back 10 yards)  86  



Alex (dissent) 17
Deco (unsporting behaviour) 55
Terry (foul) 64
Zhirkov (persistent fouling)  80 

Terry (second yellow - foul)  67

Match Report : -  
With a rich vein of league form, Tottenham came into this game against a virtually full strength Chelsea side with injuries in the squad and tiredness in their limbs, but they found the effort for a memorable 2-1 win at the Lane over their Premier League bogey side.

It was a super performance against a team top of the table and seemingly unbeatable over the last few weeks (unless you are Inter Milan that is).  But Harry Redknapp devised a plan that saw his patched up team take the game to Chelsea, close them down in vital areas and let them have the ball before they reached the final third, where they had trouble penetrating a solid Tottenham defence superbly marshalled by captain Michael Dawson, who must surely be in Fabio Capello's mind and even more so when compared to the performance of the current England central defence and Chelsea captain John Terry.

Terry had a torrid afternoon, suffering the wrath of the Spurs crowd, much as Campbell had on Wednesday.  Conceding a penalty and then picking up two yellow cards to make a red, were just reward for his curtailed involvement.  My own personal view of Terry is that he is a despicable man.  His arrogance on and off the field show him to be an example of the worst what modern footballers can turn into.  He argues with referees, berates opponents and then when he gets sent off claims he twice got the ball, where in truth, he got nowhere near to before taking the man out of the game.  In fact, he could quite easily have been booked in the first ten minutes, when Defoe turned him and the Chelsea defender pulled him back by his shirt.  Not that he would probably have seen it that way.

But his frustration probably was borne of the booing he received from the Tottenham fans and the way that the Spurs side were playing pushing Chelsea back and not allowing them the upper hand that they are so used to.  Roman Pavlyuchenko and Defoe linked well to provide a shooting opportunity for the Russian, but he could not keep it down.  In the seventh minute, Florent Malouda found some space 20 yards out and drove a shot to Gomes' right, but the Spurs keeper continued his good recent form with a dive and a good palm away from the danger zone.  When Spurs got away at the other end, Bale was released by BAE, who lifted the ball over Paolo Ferreira and the Welshman beat Cech to the ball as the keeper rushed to the edge of his area, but could not get any weight on his effort to take the ball over the goalie and it was hacked away.

Bale's next burst into the box saw him go to ground following Mikel's challenge on him and referee Dowd waved play on.  However, when a corner resulted and Bentley put a low ball into the box after it had been cleared, Pav missed the ball and it bounced up in the six yard box to find Terry leaning into the ball with his arm to concede a penalty in a manner he has got away with previously.  The quandary for Tottenham was who would take it after a number of missed shots from the spot.  Defoe grabbed the ball and hit to high to Cech's right as the keeper went left.  A priceless lead that Spurs would need for later in the game when they would surely tire.

Expecting a response, it was Tottenham who pressed onwards.  Pavlyuchenko made himself a yard and struck a shot from just outside the area that was just creeping under the bar until Cech tipped it over, then just before the half hour, Modric ran Chelsea down the left wing and his low pass into the box found Bentley at the near post and the Spurs winger flipped the ball up and his his shot on the volley, but it went wide from about eight yards out.  Kaboul then had a free header from a corner and put it over the bar, while at the other end Chelsea soon had the ball in the net, but Malouda had been flagged offside some time before the ball crossed the line.

With two minutes to half-time, Tottenham doubled their lead and it was the influential Gareth bale who did so.  Playing a neat one-two with Pavlyuchenko tight to the line on the left wing, the Spurs wing-back looked second favourite to reach the ball before Ferreira, but he used his pace and then held off the Chelsea defender to turn him inside and strike a low right foot shot that went in at Cech's near post to give Spurs a 2-0 lead.  It was a margin which was almost reduced before the break, as in the minute following the re-start, Chelsea broke forward and from Zhirkov's left wing pull back, Frank Lampost was standing on the penalty spot and hit a full-bloodied volley that Gomes dived to his right to stretch and turn away with a pair of strong wrists.

With former Spurs and Chelsea striker from the 1950s and 60s Bobby Smith entertaining the crowd at the break, there was also some amusement to be had when the teams lined up to kick off the second half.  With Chelsea having brought on Ivanovic for the run-ragged Ferreira and Anelka for Joe Cole, when they were about to kick off Drogba started to limp around holding his groin, which he appeared to have injured earlier in the game fouling Bassong.  He limped off and with all three Blues subs on the pitch, it looked like they were going to have to continue with ten men, but Dowd waited until the Ivorian was fit to continue and then the second half started.

The pace of the game was relentless and Roman played a pass from inside the centre circle through the Chelsea defence for Defoe to race through on goal.  He got away form the defenders and only had Cech to beat, but he slightly telegraphed his intentions and the keeper smothered his shot with a dive to his right and kept Chelsea in the match.  Lampost had been responsible for two late tackles before he clattered into Huddlestone after the ball had gone and a bust-up then kicked off with a number of players getting involved.  This helped Lampost escape censure and it was Hud and Deco who were yellow carded for their part in what followed the former West Ham man's challenge.

The game was getting slightly stretched and Pav brought Cech into action with a save at his near post and then Chelsea got away and Zhirkov almost sliced the ball over Gomes and into the net by accident, but only resulted in it going wide for a goal-kick.  Pav once more showed good determination in getting under a bouncing ball and getting goal-side of Terry to run at the D on the edge of the box, but the Chelsea captain brought him down from behind and got a yellow card from Dowd in the 64th minute.  From the free-kick, Bale struck the ball over the top, but when he broke down the left wing  two minutes later, Terry could not get to him in time and ended up bringing him down, as the wing-back headed for the dead ball line.  Dowd had no doubt that it was a second yellow in quick succession and the disgraced former England skipper took the long walk to the dressing room at the Lane for the second time in his career moaning that he got the ball twice.  Watch the replays ... the camera doesn't lie in most people's worlds.

So down to ten men and with Tottenham rampant, surely this was the best chance for Spurs to wrap up the game, but they failed to do so.  Not for the lack of chances, but for the lack of clinical finishing that let them down at let moments and left the Spurs crowd on the edge of their seats.  Kaboul's cross in the 68th minute came off Zhirkov and forced Cech to back-pedal to tip over the top and then a 74th minute Defoe free-kick bounced back off the wall to Bentley, who nonchalantly dabbed a lob over Cech who had moved forward and did very well to get back to push the shot over the bar.

But the lack of a third goal gave Chelsea some heart and with a quarter of an hour to go, Ivanovic stepped forward to thrash a 25 yard shot dipping inches over Gomes' crossbar.  The game was going from end to end and when Bale's shot was saved low down at his near post by Petr Cech, the next attack saw a great piece of defending by Michael Dawson, who must have impressed the watching Fabio Capello, as he slid across Drogba's shot to take the ball out for a corner, when it looked like it might have beaten Gomes if it had got past the Tottenham central defender in the 83rd minute.  Zhirkov almost set up a goal for Alex, but the Brazilian's header hit Tom and bounced kindly into the keeper's arms.

Three minutes fro the end of normal time, Gareth Bale popped up in the right hand channel to race through and out-pace Zhirkov, getting his body between the defender and the ball and as he tried to flick a left foot shot past Cech from a narrow angle, the ball rolled agonisingly past the far post by inches and then with three Spurs players breaking on one Chelsea defender, Bale crossed into the heart of the six yard box for Pav to simply volley past the goalie, but the striker got it all wrong and the ball went wide.

It looked like time was running out for the ten men, but with Spurs tiring from their hectic schedule, in the second minute of added time, Ballack broke down the right and his low, early cross took out the Spurs defence and Lampost slid in to net his shot with three minutes still remaining.  It was a re-run of Wednesday night and it left a nervy couple of minutes to see out, which could have been less strenuous had Pavlyuchenko finished a move set up by Bale and the Russian took the ball around Ivanovic in the area, then, as Cech came out to close him down, he flicked the ball past him, taking the shot early, but once more, he missed the right hand post by a very narrow margin.

With some keep ball in the corner, time was run down and another well-deserved victory was Tottenham's, leaving Chelsea's title aspirations hanging by a thread, as Man U had beaten Man City 1-0 earlier in the day.  So, Tottenham moved back into fourth and have a week off before they meet United at Gold Trafford.

IS an away win on the cards ?  Well, anything is possible and with the team in such good form all over the pitch, it cannot be ruled out, but it will need another mighty effort from the players to try and cement the fourth place berth for another week.

purcell cole


Fan Reaction : -



Without a scrap of evidence that Spurs had been in a two hour game at Wembley and a gruelling derby against Arsenal, they overcame a Chelsea side who won at half pace against Bolton in midweek, after beating Aston Villa at Wembley in regulation time.

They failed to cope at all with the powerful running of Gareth Bale, who exploited the space on his side by getting one on one with the full back and making hay when he got into a shooting or crossing position.  Also, Chelsea could not get through the two banks of four set up in front of them, with the front two also running back to close down their players.  The fact that they only had something like eight shots in the match shows Tottenham did a good job in preventing them playing their way through the defence, as they usually like to do.  The whole of the back four deserve praise, but Michael Dawson was immense.  His sliding interception of Drogba's shot in the closing minutes was straight out of the Ledley King training manual and he must surely be a cert for South Africa ... especially after Fabio Capello's view of proceedings from the West Upper told him that Terry is a liability and will be even more so come the World Cup finals, when refs will not officiate in an English manner.

Defoe showed great courage to step up to smash home the spot kick and gave Tottenham the lead following Terry's trademark "keeping his arm next to his body to make a bigger obstacle without moving his hand to the ball" tactic.  It is about time that referees twigged what he does, as Michael Dawson has had penalties given against him for such (and one at Fulham saw him sent off).  Bale's goal was the result of a neat one-two with Pav and the athleticism of the Welshman took him away from Ferreira before turning him inside out to shoot home low past Cech at the keeper's near post.

The midfield saw Huddlestone and Modric working hard to counter the Chelsea midfield and also find time to spark Spurs attacks, with Hud's passes and Modric's intelligent running with the ball. 

Coming after the disappointing FA Cup semi-final defeat, perhaps the squad now know that fourth is all there is to play for and are going for it.

With the remaining games for us and Manchester City looking pretty even, it might come down to the match with them at Eastlands, which might become a play-off for the last Champions League spot.

the funky phantom

A pre-match interview with Wyart Lane can be found at (the bottom row one from the end - in 1960s navy away shirt). 
Apologies for my appearance, but I was at the start of having a dreadful cold !!



Other scores this weekend and mid-week :
Birmingham City 0 Hull City 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Everton 3 Saturday
Fulham 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Manchester City 0 Manchester United 1 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Bolton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Burnley 1 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Aston Villa 2 Sunday
Wigan Athletic 3 Arsenal 2 Sunday
Liverpool 3 West Ham United 0 Monday
Hull City 0 Aston Villa 2 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 35 24 5 6 86 32 77 +54
2 Manchester United 35 24 4 7 78 27 76 +51
3 Arsenal 35 22 5 8 78 39 71 +39
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 34 19 7 8 62 34 64 +28
5 Manchester City 34 17 11 6 69 42 62 +27
6 Aston Villa 35 16 13 6 50 35 61 +15
7 Liverpool 35 17 8 10 57 33 59 +24
8 Everton 35 14 12 9 57 48 54 +9
9 Birmingham City 35 12 11 12 35 43 47 -8
10 Fulham 34 11 10 13 35 37 43 -2
11 Stoke City 34 10 13 11 33 37 43 -4
12 Blackburn Rovers 35 11 10 14 37 53 43 -16
13 Sunderland 35 10 11 14 46 53 41 -7
14 Bolton Wanderers 35 9 8 18 38 63 35 -25
15 Wigan Athletic 34 9 8 17 32 64 35 -32
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34 8 10 17 30 53 34 -23
17 West Ham United 35 7 10 18 41 60 31 -19
18 Hull City 35 6 10 19 32 72 28 -40
19 Burnley 35 7 6 25 37 74 27 -37
20 Portsmouth 35 6 6 23 29 62 15* -33

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.


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


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