Comparing results to those of last season, so far we have lost three
points against Everton, one at Old Trafford and now two against Fulham.
The 0-0 draw showed Spurs are still mis-firing and are desperate to find
their goal-scoring touch, as we have a not so grand total of two in five
matches after this goal-less showing.
With a Fulham side, who looked less likely
to score than us, the game should have been a winnable one, but the lack
of movement and clinical passing lead to few clear cut chances being
carved out. Mido struck the post from a narrow angle and Niemi
saved well from Assou-Ekotto and Defoe, before a ball did beat him from
a far post Chimbonda header, but Boa Morte was there to head off the
With all the chances and corners Spurs
had, they rarely threatened the goal seriously, leaving the Fulham
keeper with a relatively quiet afternoon. His defence in front of
him did well and the Cottagers pulled as many midfielders back to help
them out too. This provided safety in numbers, which Spurs lacked
the wit and pace to break down. Too often the ball was held up and
knocked back, without the outlet of Aaron Lennon to speed down the wing.
It was a little disjointed in approach
from Tottenham, but some sloppy play they demonstrated might have left
them even worse off. In the first minute Jermaine Jenas gave a
loose pass, much to the groans of the Spurs crowd, then Didier Zokora
had to nick the ball away from Queudrue just as he was about to shoot.
Then the defence backed off Brown, leaving Michael Dawson to block his
shot. Then Clattenburg (yes ... that Clattenburg) failed to call a
foul on Zokora and John got a shot on goal, which Robbo got down for.
I thought that perhaps the UEFA Cup tie
and the travelling had taken it's toll, but in a prolonged spell of
pressure, Spurs started to rack up the corner count, but couldn't get
past the massed ranks of the Fulham back line. Keane had a volley
blocked, then was beaten to the ball after he chested down Jenas' pass.
Mido spun onto Chimbonda's cross and his shot was blocked, while Tainio
hit a volley well wide as Spurs looked for a break-through. It
nearly came when Jeans put a low ball into the edge fo the area to
Tainio and his swinging shot was dragged wide of the right hand post by
a yard or two, when he could have caught out Niemi if it had been on
Dawson was making a nuisance of himself
at set-pieces and missed narrowly when he had a shot from Jenas' low
cross and then headed a free-kick from the same midfielder wide.
While many see only bad in Jenas, he was having an effective match on
the right wing, producing another quality cross which found Benoit at
the far post, where he cut inside onto his right foot and hit a low shot
that Antti Niemi kept out with his chest.
Clattenburg had decided the time had come
to dish out a few cards. Chimbonda fell over as he ran through and
Clattenburg showed him a yellow for diving, which I think refs should do
if they decide there had nto been contact ... as long as he is
consistent over the season, I will be happy with that. To even
things up within a minute, he had cautioned Boa Morte.
In my view Clattenburg is one fo the
poorest refs in the Premiership. Some issues that reinforce my
view are ...
His lack of yellow card for Queudrue pushing Zokora right in front of
Letting Boa Morte walk off towards the half-way line, when being
substituted, instead of leaving the pitch by the nearest point. I
am afraid I don't pay good money to see someone walk fifty yards ...
even if he did have a fractured cheekbone
His desire to play advantage (which is a good thing), but he is inept in
not being able to do it in practice (or the real thing come to that)
The way he holds yellow cards up to the recipient ... it's like he has
just picked them out of a smelly toilet as he deigns to touch them with
just two fingers
He did blow the whistle for half-time
well and the two teams trooped off for their respective team-talks.
Did they go something like this ... ?
Jol "Carry on playing like you are and
the goals will come. Get the ball out wide and aim for Mido's
Coleman "Get everyone back behind the
ball. If we get to into their half, take it to the corner flag."
And so it proves, but Spurs could not get
the goal. They got a yellow card when Mido dived in to try and
head a cross in, but stuck his hand out and Clattenburg considered that
it was a deliberate attempt to cheat. To balance things up, a
minute later Bocanegra was booked for a cynical foul on Murphy.
When Fulham broke down the right wing in
the 54th minute, it was like Andy Johnson's goal all over again.
However, this time Dawson made a timely tackle to stop McBride getting
there first. When play moved to the Fulham goal, Tainio floated a
cross out to the left and Mido ran in and lashed his shot fiercely at
goal. Unfortunately, the shot bounced back off the post, with
Niemi looking shocked.
A confrontation between Zokora and
Queudrue happened when the ex-Boro man declared that our Ivorian had
thrown himself, rather than the defender putting a leg out to impair his
progress. Defoe touched the ball aside to Assou-Ekotto, with the
left back's left-footed shot flying not too far over the top.
After 66 minutes, Clattenburg showed a
yellow card to Danny Murphy for his foul on Rosenior. This time
Clattenburg decided not to even things up.
Robinson was nearly caught out, when
Queudrue struck a 45 yard free-kick towards one side of the goal, as
Paul had drifted to the other side and had it been on target, I am not
sure the England number one would have got to it.
As the game went on, the chances became
fewer for Tottenham, with Defoe hitting a free-kick well wide, but then
the best opportunity, when a long Keane corner was headed back at the
far post by Pascal Chimbonda, with Boa Morte rising to head the ball off
the goal-line, when it looked like it might creep in near the top
corner. The Portuguese player ended up with a fractured cheekbone,
which was a shame. Jermain Defoe tested the Fulham goalkeeper
again, when he hit an early shot to force Niemi to dive low at his post.
The goalie's task was easier as the
clocked ticked towards injury time, when Dawson rose high to head at
goal from just on the edge fo the box, but could not test the Finn.
Then it was Robinson's turn to keep the ball out. In the 88th
minute, Radzinski's left wing run went unchallenged and his square pass
to Volz was struck cleanly and firmly, bringing out a good save to beat
the ball out by Robbo. However, without goals of our own, we will
always be susceptible to the late effort that might take all the points
The final agony was deep into injury
time, as Zokora put a free-kick to the far post and King jumped t o head
the ball, but only succeeded in taking it away from Chimbonda, who was
coming in behind him with a good run on the ball.
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon
in more ways than one. Michael Brown came back to run around
knocking people over, get in people's face and to take the ball into the
corner flag near the end of the match. Spurs' midfield lacked a
cohesive blend. Assou-Ekotto moved up to take the left side
passes, while the others changed places well, but there was not the
fluidity that we saw last season. I thought Jenas had a good game,
as did Zokora. Up front, both Keano and Mido struggled, but the
defence stood firm and played pretty well as a unit.
With an away trip to Anfield next up, it
will be another test of how we can bounce back.