Bolton Wanderers (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 23rd September 2007


Bottom of the table Bolton sounds a bit better than the position they usually hold over us when we play them, which is in the top six.  There change of manager hasn't paid off at the moment and Little Sam (Sammy Lee) has yet to fill big Sam's shoes.

There was a lot of transfer activity ay the Reebok this summer, as there usually is, with many players arriving on free transfers or for relatively small amounts.  Abdoulaye Faye left to follow Allardyce to St. James' Park, while a host of players arrived.

Defender Jlloyd Samuel was picked up from Aston Villa, Danny Guthrie is on loan from the Liverpool reserves midfield and highly rated Norwegian striker Daniel Braaten signed from Rosenborg.  Also coming in were Fulham forward Heidar Helgusson and a winger Tottenham were continually linked with during the last nine months, Christian Wilhelmsson of Nantes.  Both have experience in top league, with Wilhelmsson having been on loan at Roma last season. 

With a large number of players coming into the squad, it may well be that they have yet to gel together, with international week coming so early in the season, it disrupts the process of bonding a team together when an influx of personnel come into the club.

One of the danger men is Nicolas Anelka, who has pace and a powerful strike.  His links with a move to Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City show that he is still a much sought after commodity in the Premier League.  Bolton still have established players such as Nicky Hunt, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Kevin Davies, El-Hadji Diouf, Stelios, Gary Speed, Ivan Campo and Kevin Nolan, but there is not the same organisation there from last season.

Obviously, after a bad run that has seen them pick up only three points, Bolton will be keen to make a start to their revival at home and Tottenham have historically found it a hard place ot pick up points in the past.

Boosted by their UEFA Cup win and having rested Robinson, Jenas and Berbatov, they are better served in having had more players get on pitch time, but we will have to hope that Martin Jol shows some bravery in selecting Defoe ahead of Keane, as he looks more likely to score at the moment.  His sharpness and hunger might make the difference here.

Bolton will try to ensure they don't concede and Spurs will hope for the same, although we rarely look like keeping a clean sheet.  I think both sides will score, but if Tottenham can get it together, I take them to come out on top.

PREDICTION : -  Bolton Wanderers  1   Tottenham Hotspur   3

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


BOLTON WANDERERS : -   Jlloyd Samuel (hamstring); Ricardo Vaz Te (knee); Stelios Giannokopolis (groin); Blerim Dzemaili (knee)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee); Anthony Gardner (ankle); Wayne Routledge (ankle)


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Bolton Wanderers   1   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  Reebok Stadium
Sunday 23rd September 2007
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   20,308
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Weather :  -  Mild, rain earlier
Teams : - 
Bolton Wanderers :

22  Jaaskelainen

11  Gardner
  5  Meite
31  A. O'Brien
24  J. O'Brien

  4  Nolan (18  Alonso 70)
  6  Speed
  8  Campo
  9  Davies

39  Anelka
21  Diouf (10  Wilhelmsson 78)

Unused subs: 
26  Al Habsi
  2  Hunt

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1 Robinson

  2 Chimbonda
20 Dawson
33 Rocha    
32 Assou-Ekotto    

15 Malbranque
  8 Jenas
  6 Tainio  (25 Lennon 80) 
  4 Zokora

  9 Berbatov   (23 Bent 73)
10 Keane (c)

Unused subs: 
12 Cerny
  3 Y P Lee

22 Huddlestone

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Bolton Wanderers

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Bolton Wanderers

Campo 40

Tottenham Hotspur

Keane 35

Cards : -  
Bolton Wanderers



Tottenham Hotspur 

Assou-Ekotto (foul) 45
Rocha (foul) 70  


Match Report : -  
A point is something which might have been regarded as a good return from a visit to the Reebok in times gone by, but things are different now and the draw moved us nowhere in the table other than confirming our 18th position in the drop-zone.  It is a little early to be talking about relegation, but it is an indication of how far we are dropping behind the teams who have started quickly rather than any sign that we will be going down come May.

The worrying aspect of all this is that we are not taking the chances we are creating.  There were enough efforts which warranted a decent attempt on goal, which slipped through our fingers, but not Jaaskelainen's.  Ten shots on goal, with seven on target and eleven corners in an away match should yield something more than a single point against a tame Bolton side and one which was frankly woefully short on invention.  Relying on the high ball into the middle of the Spurs defence and long-throws and set-pieces worked for them, as a solitary Ivan Campo managed to get on the end of one and nod the ball into the net, but the creativity was limited and I would imagine that some players must be finding it difficult to play in this Trotters side.

The decisions of the officials left a lot to be desired as well.  Not just because the game was not allowed to flow, but also because the decision making was poor on both teams.  I do not have any knowledge of Mr. Marriner's background, but would suggest that he might not have played the game, as his interpretation of a foul, just because a player falls to the ground (and this is players on both sides), was not one which is widely accepted.

Without a number of players from Thursday's win over Anorthosis, Spurs once more had to adapt to the new personnel.  Teemu Tainio came back into the team and did what he does well.  Run around, get in the way and trying to break forward.  Jenas did what he does well.  Give lots of energy, but occasionally, frustratingly, gives the ball away cheaply.  Rocha did what he does well. Throws himself in the way and cleared one inviting ball in the six yard box when no-one else wanted to touch it, but he gives away a dangerous number of free-kicks around the penalty area, which teams like Bolton thrive on.  Zokora did what he does well, motor up and down the pitch, trying a shot that will not hit the corner flag and then producing a sublime chip for Jenas in the lead up to the goal.

It's not that the players are not good enough, but it is putting it all together to produce the best mix and the best end result.  I am not sure that we have that at the moment.  With Defoe sat at home, you have to worry about when he will get an opportunity, surely not against Middlesbrough in the League Cup ??  Jol said Keane scores vital away goals.  True enough, but Jermain, given the right service could score equally as many and hit a double at the Reebok back in 2004 in a League Cup tie.

Confusion spread among the crowd at the naming of the team faster than it runs through our defence as a dead ball is played into our penalty area.

For Tottenham to be successful and for Jol to stay in a job, it is necessary to pick up points from games such as these.  The murmurs of dissent at the final whistle from the home fans (such as they were, there were so many empty seats) signalled that they felt we were there for the taking, but that they were unhappy with their team's showing.  The lack of killer instinct has cost us already this season and did again today, as Bolton got away with it.

Their smash and grab style is effective against fragile teams like Spurs, but you feel there might be a longer road for them to travel than Spurs this season.  Having said that, there are still aspects of our game which need addressing.  Berbatov said in the newspapers this morning that he loves playing beautiful football.  We, as fans, love to watch beautiful football, but not at the expense of a few wins here and there.  Last season and in the one before, there was about the right mix to get us fifth place.  This season, as has happened at Chelsea, to get a winning formula with the entertainment factor rising up towards 100% is no easy task.

At the moment, Spurs are neither one thing nor the other.

Some desperate defending saw us stop Bolton.  Dawson put a Davies cross over his own bar and later Rocha blocked Nolan's effort, but too often, as we saw at Sheffield United last season, set-pieces cause us no end of problems.  In truth, Robinson hardly made a decent save today and not because he was poor, but because everything that came his way was knocked away and Bolton could not manufacture anything to test him.  When they did score, it was Campo rising above Rocha to head home Diouf's free-kick.  It was a cheap free-kick won by Diouf and suckered the referee, who failed to give each side a penalty during the second half.

The closest that got apart from that was a header just after the break from Nolan that looped wide.

Spurs had many more openings, but could not close out the game (another well-worn scenario that doesn't need re-writing).  Blocks from Miete and Andy O'Brien denied Berbatov and Malbranque, as the Frenchman had the best opportunities for Spurs.  He had a long range lob blocked by the same player and then, late in the game, Jaaskelainen punched out, but only to the edge of the box and Steed volleyed back, but just too high.

Tainio curled a shot wide when he strode forward in the first half and Dimitar Berbatov was denied by a good save, when he threw an acrobatic volley at a deep cross.  The goal that was scored was well-worked.  Zokora dinked a ball over the defence for Jenas, who timed his run well and hit a good shot that the goalie did well to keep out.  Berba's first go was blocked, but, as the ball dropped, Keane was onto it with a volley that beat the defence and hit the back of the net.

Too many of Tottenham's efforts on goal failed to sufficiently test the keeper or defence and this is something that must be addressed.  Converting a higher ratio of our chances into goals will help secure points and if that means Jol biting the bullet and bringing back Defoe, then that is what he will have to do.

It takes a big man to do that and I believe Martin Jol is a big man.





Reaction : -



So, Martin Jol thinks Spurs got a bit of a bashing at Bolton (not some sort of crude euphemism there) ?  In the past, it might have been much worse and in terms of what we came out with, it was better than last season.

I can't help think that we need to be a bit more positive.  That is not in terms of attacking play, but not going into a game thinking we are going to get bumped about.  We have strong enough players to give as good as they get and while I do not advocate doing so in and around the box, the ease in which we gave the home side free-kicks, with them falling over a stuck out leg, surely, it would have been well-earned if they had taken a whack.

Our players need to be willing to stand tall, not to be bullied.  Look at Terry.  Look at Ferdinand.  Look at Carragher.  They don't take any crap from forwards.  neither should our defenders.  I don't want them to go out and kick the opposition off the pitch, but to "let them know they are there" (as the parlance from the older days of the game dictated).

Davies is an old man.  Campo is an old man.  Speed is an old man, but we made them look good.  We should have been closing them down and to push them back rather than le them dictate the play towards our goal.

With the ability to create chances, we are currently lacking the ability to finish them off.  Defoe's name was sung with gusto by the Spurs fans, as was that of Jol, which produces somewhat of a dilemma.  If push came to shove, who would the fans choose ??

At the moment, I guess we need Jol, but Defoe's finishing could be the one thing that keeps the Head Coach at Spurs.  But it is about getting the mix right.  Keane and Defoe don't always work well together.  Defoe and Berbatov could work, but isn't really given much of an opportunity to see how it pans out.  Bent is still settling in and it is not sure who his best partner would be.

So, the perfect chance to test things out is coming up either against Middlesbrough on Wednesday or against Anorthosis in the second leg of the UEFA Cup tie.

Who will play ?  Let's see how brave Jol can be ??




Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 5 Derby County 0 Saturday
Fulham 3 Manchester City 3 Saturday
Liverpool 0 Birmingham City 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 2 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Reading 2 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Aston Villa 2 Everton 0 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Portsmouth 1 Sunday
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 0 Sunday
Newcastle United 3 West Ham United 1 Sunday



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

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