Chelsea (Home)
Premier League

Wednesday 19th March 2008

Any repeat of the performance at Eastlands on Sunday will lead to a different result from the Wembley meeting of these two sides.  That afternoon is slipping into the distant memory as the team apparently give the impression that the rest of the season has little significance.

The Spurs team need to take Ramos' words about playing for their places to heart, as the performances have dropped off and they need to start showing some form to take into next season. 

Injuries might strip the 16 of some familiar starters, but the big names will still be prominent and will be expected to play their part for Spurs.  On Chelsea's part, they will face the Gooners on Sunday, but might not be able to rest players, as the win they seek in this match would put them level with Arsenal on points after 30 games each.

There will not be a repeat of Grant's mistake of playing Drogba and Anelka up front together and expect Joe Cole to be on the pitch from the outset.  The lack of goals from Chelsea when compared to the two teams above them is a result of the team grinding out results, with a string of 1-0 wins to their name.  They will be hoping to cash in on Tottenham's weakness at set-pieces and also will be getting players coming through from midfield to break in on goal, where Radek Cerny might get another chance if Robinson cannot overcome an ankle injury.

The Chelsea defence can be vulnerable, as the full backs leave defending in second place, while they also leave lots of space in behind them when they roam forward.  I think Lennon might start with instructions to use his pace to get beyond the two full backs in blue.  Cech might return after an ankle problem, but whoever is in goal will need to be tested more than Spurs did to Joe Hart on Sunday.

If the team play as they are capable of playing, then I think we will get something out of the match, but better use of the ball by Zokora, Jenas and Malbranque from midfield will be needed to give the front two something to feed on.

With it being a London derby and the revenge issue on the agenda, Spurs will need to produce a Wembley like performance to get something out of the match.  If they aren't that bothered, I can see it finishing ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur   1      Chelsea   2

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Gareth Bale (foot); Ricardo Rocha (groin); Younes Kaboul (knee); Ledley King (calf); Paul Robinson (ankle); Robbie Keane (knee); - (-); 

CHELSEA :  -  Petr Cech (sprained ankle); - (-); - (-); 


Highlights (Sky Sports 1) - after the coverage of Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
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Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   4    Chelsea   4      (Half-time score : 1-2)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Wednesday 19th March 2008
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,178
Referee :  Mike Riley (Leeds)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Robinson

28  Hutton
38  Woodgate
26  King (23  Bent 68)
  2  Chimbonda

25  Lennon
  8  Jenas (22  Huddlestone 46)
  4  Zokora
15  Malbranque

  9  Berbatov
10  Keane

Unused subs: 
12  Cerny
  6  Tainio
20  Dawson

Chelsea :

23  Cudicini

20  Ferreira (  7  Shevchenko 90)
  6  Carvalho
26  Terry (c)
  3  A. Cole

  5  Essien
  4  Makelele
  8  Lampard
10  J. Cole (13  Ballack 82)

11 Drogba
21  Kalou (33  Alex 71)

Unused subs: 
40  Hilario
24  Wright-Phillip

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Woodgate 12
Berbatov 61
Huddlestone 75
Keane 88


Drogba 3
Essien 20
J. Cole 52
J. Cole 80

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Keane (dissent)  
Huddlestone (diving)



J. Cole (dissent)
A. Cole (foul)   


Match Report : -  

With eight goals, it seems churlish to complain that Spurs missed one right at the death, but it would have been a fitting comeback and some recompense for the appalling refereeing of the game by Riley, who spoiled a perfectly good game. 

Well, that and the fact that I have never seen a 5-4 to Spurs in a competitive match, so I was robbed of that and Tottenham of two more points, which would have come in handy for us and would have left Chelsea out of the title race.

When Spurs conceded an early free-kick in the territory that Drogba scored from at Wembley, it looked ominous.  But the wall did it's job and blocked the shot, even though the Chelsea striker wanted handball, when it hit someone's head.  When it was crossed back into the six yard box, it found Jenas running back towards his own goal and Drogba coming in behind him to head home.  The early goal caught Spurs lacking concentration to defend the second phase of the attack.

It looked like it might be a long night, especially when Robinson dived to keep out Drogba's low shot, but could only push it out to Joe Cole, who netted, only to find himself flagged (rightly) offside by the linesman.

Jermaine Jenas was getting the bird for not making the most of a couple of free-kicks we had, one hit too long and one not clearing the first man, but his third was lucky.  As his 12th minute cross  reached the centre of the goalmouth, Jonathan Woodgate rose so high it looked as if he must have taken a ride on Drogba's back, but his header was firm enough to leave keeper Cudicini helpless.

In a game that was surprisingly open for a London derby, Chelsea almost went back into the lead when Joe Cole's low ball across the face of goal was missed by Kalou with the goal at his mercy in front of him.  It was only temporary respite, as Joe Cole ran at the Tottenham defence, in the 25th minute who backed off him and allowed him to play the ball to Drogba who looked offside, while Essien snatched the ball off the striker's toe and lifted the ball over the advancing Robinson

Jenas had been relatively quiet on the ball, but his run into the area ended with his shot hitting Drogba, who needed treatment for about the nineteenth time), then he was left on the floor when Lumpoflard hacked him down, only for Riley to wave play on.  When the ball ended up with Drogba and his shot was saved with a dive by Robinson, it might have been a time for the referee to take come action.  Chelsea seemed to have lost their rag and Mr. Girls Aloud perpetrated a high and late assault on Alan Hutton just before half time.  Chelsea players gathered around the official, the Dutch Chelsea coach started getting a bit over-heated and Cole was finger pointing all over the place.  A yellow card resulted, which was not the correct decision by Riley, whatever he says or does.

The break might have acted to allow some of the players to be last.

As the ball was worked across the Tottenham goal. Spurs failed to intercept and when it reached Joe Cole on the right of the area, with 51 minutes gone, he dinked his shot off the keeper and into the net.

1-3 down looked like the game was going to Chelsea but things started to turn around when, on the hour, Huddlestone played a corner into the area and Berbatov rose highest, leaving Terry humiliated and Cudicini out of position who could only try to reach it after it looped up and over him to pull a goal back. 

Riley continued to give free-kicks and one a couple of minutes after the goal was scored, it was a flop on the right wing that saw Chelsea given another free-kick.  It almost completed the argument about the destination of the points, but rumours that Drogba has to be held up at the toilet, least he should crash onto the porcelain looked like they might be true, as he hits the turf more regularly than Red Rum's hooves in it's racing days.

As the Ivory Coast forward smashed it at goal from the Chelsea right wing, it felt like it would go in, as the game was going that way for Spurs.  However, Robbo palmed the free-kick away to a point outside the box and the trouble passed.

The ball moved to the Chelsea end and when Berbatov supplied Keane, the striker took the ball down and spun to hit a shot that Cudicini was quickly out to block the effort.  Still the game ebbed and flowed, with the ball moving swiftly from one end to the other, Essien played a pass to Joe Cole, who measured his shot, but it thudded back off the post and out of harm's way.  Then Lennon broke to set up Malbranque, who pulled his shot wide.

Changes were starting to be made and Ledley King made way for Darren Bent, leaving Robbie Keane to drop a little deeper, while Chelsea took off Kalou for Alex as they sought to sit on their lead.  Perhaps Spurs got the better of the change, with the ability to push onto another defender, with one man taken out of the visitor's attack.

Huddlestone broke onto a through pass and sensing a Terry "challenge" coming, evaded the tackle and got a booking for his trouble.  Keane's move almost paid off, with a run into the area to get on the end of Berbatov's through pass, although Robbie failed to connect with the ball.

Again, it was only two minutes until the chance came.  A corner on the left was taken by Aaron Lennon, but it was headed out and dropped for Hud on the right hand side of the penalty box.  Tom took a moment to steady himself and drilled a shot back past the defender and keeper to hit the inside of the net on the other side of the goal.

Coming back level with 15 minutes left meant that there was still time for more goals and unfortunately, the net one went to the Pensioners.  A free-kick came to nothing and the ball was cleared for a throw-in.  From this the defenders lost their concentration and the ball was laid into Joe Cole's path to hit s shot that Robinson could not save.

Spurs fans were gutted and Chelsea's started giving it large.

When they brought Michael Ballack on for Joe Cole, the main threat disappeared.  A sustained period of pressure built up on the Chelsea goal and Cudicini prevented Darren Bent converting Woodgate's flick on, but gave away one of ten corners we had to Chelsea's one !!

With only two minutes left on the clock, a long ball hit Ferreira and as it fell, Robbie Keane swivelled and struck a well controlled half-lob.  As it arced over Cudicini, the crowd were ecstatic and the policy of sitting on what they had was starting to go sour on Chelsea.  it was a marvellously improvised piece of finishing and while Keano might not be a goal poacher, he is a supreme goal taker.

It was time for Grant to panic and bring on Shevchenko for Ferreira, but the move hardly saw the Russian touch the ball.  Spurs kept pressing on and using the right wing, they made inroads in wide positions.  As the game went into the final minute of time added on, Lennon's run at the defence, followed by a back-heel to Malbranque saw the midfielder feed Berbatov.  Dimitar held the ball, dragged it away as Alex slid into a tackle and missed.  He stood with only the goalie between him and an unlikely winning goal, eight yards out.  But Cudicini stood firmly in his set position, waiting until the last moment to move, so that the forward has to make the first move.  The keeper did well, as Berbatov fired a shot on goal, but it was far too close to him and the ball came out off a very strong hand Cudicini and the final whistle blew.

If only ... but a point before the game would have been welcomed and even more so at 1-3 down, so we felt as though we had lost, while still feeling like we had won.  if that makes any sense.

The benefits are that we have come out of the game with a point against a top three side and shown good character.  If only we could stop letting the goals go in in the first place.

With Pompey coming to the Lane on Saturday, I guess it would be more goals again !!  Hopefully more in the right end than the wrong one.



Reaction : -



Read Wyart Lane's view on the match at Times Online's Fanzine Fanzone
Without wanting to sound too greedy, Berbatov's miss at the end of the match really shows us that we need to make sure we finish teams off. 

With another comeback ensuring a point, it does raise some questions about our defence, as we once more let in four goals and some soft ones at that.

But if the comeback deprives Chelsea of a challenge for the title, then it will all be worthwhile.  My particular favourite song of the night was "You're Going To Win F All"  How often have we been seriously be able to sing that at them recently, knowing we have silverware in the bag ??

Credit for Ramos for getting his substitutions right whereas Grant got them all wrong and looked more froggy than usual at the end.  While Mourinho was a peacock, Grant is a toad and comes over like that in his press appearances.  A man of little grace and a thick accent, which probably does not endear him to the Chelsea fans.

But if he keeps up like this in Tottenham matches, we won't mind, as we are a run of two games unbeaten against them now.  Only another 24 to go !!









Other scores this mid-week :
Manchester United 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 30 22 4 4 61 15 70 +47
2 Arsenal 30 19 10 1 58 22 67 +36
3 Chelsea 30 19 8 3 53 22 65 +31
4 Liverpool 30 16 11 3 55 21 59 +34
5 Everton 30 17 5 8 47 25 56 +22
6 Aston Villa 30 13 10 7 52 39 49 +13
7 Manchester City 30 13 9 8 36 34 48 +2
8 Portsmouth 30 14 8 8 44 31 47 +13
9 Blackburn Rovers 30 12 10 8 39 37 47 +2
10 West Ham United 30 13 7 11 33 35 43 -3
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 30 9 9 12 58 51 36 +7
12 Wigan Athletic 30 8 7 15 26 40 31 -14
13 Middlesbrough 30 7 10 13 27 44 31 -17
14 Newcastle United 30 7 8 15 31 57 29 -26
15 Reading 30 8 4 18 35 57 28 -22
16 Birmingham City 30 6 9 15 34 46 27 -12
17 Sunderland 30 7 6 17 26 48 27 -22
18 Bolton Wanderers 30 6 7 17 28 45 25 -17
19 Fulham 30 4 11 15 27 49 23 -22
20 Derby County 30 1 7 22 14 64 10 -50



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