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Premier League

Saturday 18th September 2010

With the way our W run is going, you would say the least likely result is a win, but with two draws and a defeat to our W opponents, it is time to get a win under our belts and push further up the table.  Not that it will be easy against a Wolverhampton Wanderers team, who are drilled to military levels by sergeant major Mick McCarthy, as he leads his lads into battle.

And that is what it will be.  Not in the wimpy way that Arsene Wenger goes on about teams how play against Arsenal, but the McCarthy team believe in honest endeavour and hard work to reap rewards.  Maybe not the most talented bunch of players around, but certainly a side who will run you into the ground and coming after a trip to Germany in midweek, it is not the match that harry Redknapp might have chosen after the first Champions League outing.

However, if Spurs want to be successful, they need to learn how to cope with the games coming thick and fast.  And that is what will happen on Saturday.  From the first half in Bremen, where Spurs controlled play with a slower tempo and good passing, this domestic encounter will be much more bread and butter with no frills and no quarter given.  The team that takes the field will need to be up for it and ready to match the energy Wolves will put in, so it will probably feature some of those who took part in the Spurs XI game on Wednesday to give them a game after not playing on Tuesday.

Shuffling the pack might not be something that is as widely available to McCarthy, so keeping the core of his side on the pitch will be vital to his side's success this season.

Ball-winning midfielder Karl Henry is a formidable opponent in the middle of the pitch and with Zubar, van Damme and Hunt out injured, the bulk of the hard work might have to be done by this local boy.  Alongside him, England hopeful Matt Jarvis will be looking for the opportunity to catch the eye, as he is a quick breaking player, with a good touch and a good finish in his armoury.  On loan from Chelsea, Michael Mancienne is being deployed in midfield, with Dominic Foley joining him.  Wolves' lack of goals might hinder them and it is the lack of a prominent ball-player in midfield that might prevent them getting more strikes on goal.

The reliance on getting the ball up to Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake as quickly as possible hopes to take the opposition by surprise, but might make dealing with it a bit easier than a more sophisticated approach.  It does win a number of dead ball situations and their players can be very dangerous from these. 

Having scored the only goal of the game at the Lane last year from an early free-kick that they then defended with their lives, it was a whipped in cross that eluded everyone and went in at the far post.  Spurs will need to be strong at these plays with Kaboul and Bassong probably chosen to pit their brawn as well as their wits against the visiting side.

The defenders are always keen to get forward for corners and free-kicks, so Jody Craddock got his fair share of goals last season, with Richard Stearman another tall defender who could pose a problem at set-pieces, along with George Elukobi and strikers Steven Fletcher and Marcus Bent both happy to add their presence.  Dave Jones is more of a free-kick taker, hitting the flicked up free-kick on the opening day, while they have a couple of midfielders who could provide decent service in Milijas and Guerdioura.  If they are called upon Bia and Mouyokolo are both big men, who would tower over all the Spurs players, except Crouch.

Spurs might utilise Pav and Keano up front to give Crouch a rest after two games getting battered up front on his own, while it might have been good to give Kyle Walker a game in a match like this, but he went on loan to QPR, so Bentley might come in for Lennon and van der Vaart will probably sit it out.  Whether Sandro gets an opportunity to make his debut remains to be seen ,with Harry perhaps not wanting to risk him in a possibly physical game.  Jenas will continue, with Palacios coming in and Hud possibly keeping his place to try to open Wolves up if they adopt a ruggedly defensive approach.

Spurs have to start gritting their teeth to get points out of these games and need to start doing so quickly.  Of all the games, they might just start with this one ...

PREDICTION : -    Tottenham Hotspur    2      Wolverhampton Wanderers    1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Rafael van der Vaart (out - calf); Jermain Defoe (out - ankle), Michael Dawson (out - knee & ankle), Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin), Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Luka Modric (doubtful - shin); - (-); 

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS :  -  Ronald Zubar (out - hamstring); Jelle van Damme (out - ankle); Steven Hunt (out - foot); Christian Berra (out - suspended); - (-); 


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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:20 Sunday]  Also available online.
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Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online eventually.
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Radio :  
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 (live coverage)
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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
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Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   3    Wolverhampton Wanderers   1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 18th September 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Referee :  Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Assistant Referees :  Mr. J. Flynn; Mr. R. Ganfield
Fourth Official :   Peter Walton
Crowd :   35,940
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, sunny
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

  4  Kaboul  (  2  Hutton 45+1  )
26  King (c)
13  Gallas
32  Assou-Ekotto

11  van der Vaart         (  7  Lennon 86)
6  Huddlestone     
  8  Jenas
  3  Bale

10  Keane  (  9  Pavlyuchenko 69       )
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
37  Pletikosa
19  Bassong

12  Palacios

Wolverhampton Wanderers :

  1  Hannhemann     

32  Foley     
  5  Stearman
  6  Craddock
11  Ward

17  Jarvis   (  2  van Damme 54     )
  8  Henry (c)
Mancienne   (19  Bent 90)
14  Jones

10  Fletcher      (  4  Edwards 58)

Unused subs: 
13  Hennessey
  3  Elokobi
34  Guedioura


Harry Redknapp


Mick McCarthy

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Wolverhampton Wanderers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

van der Vaart (p) 77
Pavlyuchenko 87
Hutton 90+1

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Fletcher 45

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Huddlestone (handball) 41
van der Vaart  (foul) 67
Pavlyuchenko (taking shirt off) 88 


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Foley (foul) 19
van Damme (foul) 84
Hannhemann (dissent) 88 


Match Report : -  
A game in which not a lot had gone right for Tottenham in the first 75 minutes, turned on it's head with a quarter of an hour of attacking promise that was realised with some assistance from a ragged Wolverhampton Wanderers back-line, ending in a 3-1 win for Spurs.

Tottenham had a great deal of the first half in terms of possession and chances, but failed to make the most of them, in what was rapidly becoming a replay of last season's home game with Wolverhampton.  A good start was what Harry was after and from the kick off when Rafael van der Vaart, on his home debut, hit a cross that found Gareth Bale, the ball just failed to find Peter Crouch with the knock down.  .

In fact van der Vaart was very involved in the early stages, forcing Hahnemann into a hurried kick out as he closed him down and then put in a dangerous cross for the right wing that Robbie Keane could only head up into the air.   There were shouts for a penalty from the Old Gold section in the 10th minute when Matt Jarvis outpaced Benoit Assou-Ekotto on the right side of our defence and then pulled the ball back as William Gallas, another home debutant, slid in and the player fell over him.  Referee Mike Jones was unimpressed, although they are the sort of incidents you sometimes see given.

Spurs were using the pace of Bale against Foley on the left wing and after King's ball up to Crouch's head found Keane, his shot was blocked, but then the Welshman came into his own.  One low cross didn't fall right for Keane in the heart of the penalty area, then Foley finally lost patience with being given the run-around and fouled Gareth to earn a booking, before Bale was back defending to head out a free-kick from Jarvis. 

Jenas, who was having a good game, winning tackles and using the ball well, picked out a pass to the left wing inside the full back and Bale brought Hahnemann out to block his shot, but the ball fell to Keane, who swivelled to shoot at goal, only to see that Foley had got back and thrown his body in front of the Irishman to divert the ball away from goal.  A similar move ended with Bale putting a cross that was too high for Crouch to reach and then his presence caused a panic amongst the Wolves back four on the half hour.  BAE's ball into him was headed up in the air by Craddock and as it dropped van der Vaart, who showed great skill in taking the ball down with one touch and hitting a powerful volley with his second to force Hahnemann to throw up a hand to keep it out with a good save.

Hahnemann was soon at it again, when three minutes again, when Rafael fed Bale and his cross was perfect for Crouch to rise and head towards the top left corner of the American's goal, but he reached up to tip the ball over the bar with a very good stretching save.  Another repeat of the move saw Crouch try to set-up Keane with a header down, but the ball didn't find it's intended target and then Bale made Hahnemann save from a free-kick, but it wasn't too difficult for the Wanderers goalie.

Six minutes before the break, Bale got away on the left once more (Is this getting boring ? Ed. : - No !), providing a cross for Keane's head, but although he had a clear header, he directed it too far wide of the goal and too far in front of Crouch, who was moving into the far post area.  Then right on half-time, Spurs went behind.  Kaboul, who had a shot saved low at the post a minute or so earlier, was visibly troubled by a leg problem, causing him to limp and when Foley was freed from his shackles of Bale's forays forward, he got to the line, pulled a low ball across the face of the six yard box and Cudicini failed to get out to it, Fletcher had run beyond Younes (who had been playing him onside) and then pulled out to tuck the ball away from a couple of yards out.  It was simple goal that Spurs had been suckered into and the cross should have been closed down at source, while Cudicini might have done better to stop it getting past the near post too.

Alan Hutton replaced Kaboul straight after the goal and although there was time for Bale to hit a shot from ten yards outside the box, it went wide of the mark and half-time brought some murmurings from the Tottenham fans, who were still to see a home goal scored this season.

Spurs started the second half as they had started the first, with Jenas making a burst forward, only to be stopped by a Craddock tackle, then Alan Hutton cut in from wide right and curled a left foot shot that Keane jumped over and missed the far post by inches with Hanhemann rooted to the spot.  Meanwhile substitute Jelle van Damme came on for Jarvis, which blunted some of Wolves' attacking intent, but the sub struck a shot that flew over the top from long range.

In the 57th minute, Ledley King stepped forward from defence and played in van der Vaart, who curled a shot just wide of Hahnemann's right hand post and then Keane threw himself at a Bale cross to scissor-kick the ball equally as close to goal, but the effort appeared to fly off his shin rather than the laces of his boot.  A number of changes around the hour mark saw Pav come on for Keano, who had missed a number of chances that dropped to him and then Rafael got booked for a bit of a naughty tackle on van Damme, who in turn got a yellow card for clattering Cudicini later on.

Spurs were racking up the corner count and Bale put one in that was cleared out and Tom Huddlestone hit a shot that was blocked away to Bale again and his cross in picked out King, but he couldn't get a good connection on the ball to take it towards goal.  Then the final 15 minutes (plus time added on for stoppages) began !!

A Wolves move broke down and Alan Hutton picked up the ball about 20 yards inside his own half.  He ran into the space in front of him and making a Ricky Villa run towards the Wolves penalty area, he nudged the ball past Ward to get to the dead-ball line, only for the defender to slide in and upend him leaving the referee no option than to point at the spot.  Grabbing the ball, van der Vaart picked up the ball and put it on the spot, stepping up confidently to stroke the ball to the keeper's right as he dived left to make it 1-1. 

While it was an obvious penalty, it had been that sort of game that if the referee had waved play on, you might not have been surprised, but it spurred Tottenham on.  Hud shot straight at Hanhemann after Bale had crossed for the big midfielder to have a go at goal, with a break at the other end almost seeing Kevin Doyle, who had been relatively quiet, get on the end of Ward's cross at the near post.  Jenas linked well with van der Vaart, providing the Dutchman with a shooting opportunity in the 82nd minute, but he just dragged it wide of goal.  Once more play switched to the other end and Crouch did well to get in the way of van Damme's shot, with Tottenham's response to be to take Rafael off to great cheers and bring on Aaron Lennon for the last five minutes (plus time added on for stoppages).

The referee aided Spurs, when a little passing phase for Wolves ended with one of their players bumping into the ref and the ball falling kindly for Huddlestone, who passed wide tight to Lennon, who then exchanged passes with him again.  The winger headed for the line and pulled back a high cross into the middle of the box, which was cleared, but only to Hud, who hit a half-volley.  His effort hit Karl Henry and dropped in front of Roman, who calmly picked a spot wide of Hanhemann to side-foot the ball into net and Tottenham into the lead.  Pav obviously enjoyed his goal, as he stripped off his shirt, ran over to the corner flag, planted his shirt on it and pulled the flag out of the ground to wave it around like a flag !!  Referee Jones was not so impressed and produced a yellow card for the Russian, but also gave one to the visitors' keeper, who was guilty of dissent.

As the game entered added time, Alan Hutton once more went on a run from the halfway line.  This time, he cut infield and toe-poked a pass towards Peter Crouch from the edge of the box.  However, Crouch had made a move wide and the ball was heading towards two Wolves defenders.  One of whom was Stearman, who was beseeching the keeper to come for the ball, but Hahnemann was on his line.  As he came for it, Hutton had continued his run and Stearman feared he would nip in, so he cleared the ball, but only succeeded in finding the frame of Hutton right in front of him and the ball looped off the Scots full-back and went high over the advancing Hanhemann, dropping into the net behind him to hand Alan his first Tottenham goal.  It wrapped up an unlikely, if not undeserved 3-1 win.

For all Mick McCarthy's bluster about the team playing some good football, he might be internally seething that his side were not as physical as they had been played up to be in recent weeks.  A return of three yellow cards and no points, isn't what he is used to from his Wolves teams.

For Spurs, there was some justice in their belief in playing their own game and persisting with their attacking game, with the use of Bale instrumental, but van der Vaart showed what a difference he made to the team.  Jenas did well alongside him and Hutton was a revelation with his runs from deep on the right.  Lennon also made the most of his cameo and showed a bit of the form he displayed last season.

Three points, three goals and a glimmer of the style that might take the team forward.  With Arsenal on Tuesday and West Ham on Saturday, we will soon find out how it fares in the hustle-bustle of the London derbies.

paul lewis

Match sponsors -
Match ball sponsors Lindley Group
Match programme sponsors -
Match shirt sponsors -
Match pennant sponsors Coinford Construction



Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 1 Bolton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 1 Fulham 1 Saturday
Everton 0 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Stoke City 1 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Sunderland 1 Arsenal 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 3 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 4 Blackpool 0 Sunday
Manchester United 3 Liverpool 2 Sunday
Wigan Athletic 0 Manchester City 2 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 5 5 0 0 21 1 15 +20
2 Arsenal 5 3 2 0 14 4 11 +10
3 Manchester United 5 3 2 0 16 9 11 +7
4 Manchester City 5 2 2 1 6 2 8 +4
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 2 2 1 7 5 8 +2
6 Newcastle United 5 2 1 2 8 6 7 +2
7 Fulham 5 1 4 0 7 6 7 +1
8 Aston Villa 5 2 1 2 6 9 7 -3
9 Blackpool 5 2 1 2 8 12 7 -4
10 West Bromwich Albion 5 2 1 2 5 9 7 -4
11 Sunderland 5 1 3 1 5 5 6 0
12 Bolton Wanderers 5 1 3 1 7 8 6 -1
13 Birmingham City 5 1 3 1 7 8 6 -1
14 Blackburn Rovers 5 1 2 2 5 6 5 -1
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 5 1 2 2 6 8 5 -2
16 Liverpool 5 1 2 2 4 7 5 -3
17 Stoke City 5 1 1 3 5 8 4 -3
18 Wigan Athletic 5 1 1 3 2 13 4 -11
19 Everton 5 0 2 3 4 7 2 -3
20 West Ham United 5 0 1 4 3 13 1 -10


Position before the match :  11th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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