Chelsea (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 30th April 2011

Carlo Ancelotti's team with fat Frank and tantrumy Terry face Spurs at the Bridge with the chase for the title still on for them, as their only chance of silverware this season, while Tottenham chase the victory for the race for fourth place, which might all be done for if they fail to get anything here, while City get points elsewhere.

Chelsea have had a fitful season, with spells of good results and a run where they couldn't buy a win ... which must have surely been an odd situation for Abramovich.

But the latest concerns among the Pensioners have been about the 50 million striker Fernando Torres, who finally popped his cherry against West Ham last weekend to end a barren run of matches without a goal.  I guess that they will be hoping that it has opened the floodgates on Torres' ability to hit the net, but Spurs will need to shackle him to ensure he has no scope to go on a scoring run to the end of the season.  Especially as he has scored regularly against us in the past.

The other attacking options up front have failed to gel with Torres, so Ancelotti has to decide who will partner the Spaniard in a front two.  Drogba has thrown his toys out of the pram when playing with Torres and strops about like a little kid, while Anelka has not been as effective as previously.  Malouda seems to do alright, but is usually employed as a wide midfielder, with Kalou sometimes tucked in behind the forward pair.  The movement of the attacking players at Chelsea's disposal can unsettle defences and pulls players out of position, leaving gaps for the midfield to come through and that is why Lampost has such a good scoring record (well that and he takes all the penalties).  While some of the midfielders get forward, the likes of Essien (if he is fit), John Obi Mikel and Ramieres (who is out injured) are the ones who put in the hard work closing down and tackling to win the ball for the forwards.  Yossi Benayoun and youngster Josh McEachran are different midfielders, with them being lightweight, they are there to be creative more than destructive and their passes can open defences up.

At the back, Petr Cech is having an up and down season, putting in some fine performances, but also looking to be at fault for a few of the goals that the Blues have conceded.  Tall and good in the air, the Czech keeper can be one of the best, but his kicking is not great and his positioning, especially when having to cover ground across his goal is not always the best.  hard to beat, Spurs will need their scoring boots on if they are to get the better of him.

The back four will be missing Alex, but John Terry and David Ruiz have been striking up a solid partnership in the middle of the defence.  Terry we all know about (as Craig Bellamy so rightly once said), while Luiz was a big money buy, who looks well worth the money.  Good in the air at both ends of the pitch, he also has pace and can time his tackles well, as well as use the ball intelligently out of defence.  Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic have taken the other two slots in the back four and the former Arsenal man adds an attacking element from the left side, while Ivanovic is strong and can build up a head of steam once he starts running forward too.  However, with some of the midfield legs ageing, it could leave some uncovered space when they bomb forward and nobody tracks back for them.

Bosingwa, Perreira and Zhirkov are all of a certain type.  Leggy full backs with the propensity to go forward, but their view of the defensive side of their game is not in synch with their manager's who is an Italian after all.

So, can Spurs gain anything from their trip to West London ?

If the defence is tight and if Bale is fit and has scope to get forward from left back, where he will have to operate from but with plenty of grass in front of him, it could be a possibility, although it would need a high ratio of shots to be converted to goals, as I don't think there will be too many chances coming our way.  Without Bale, we might be more difficult to break down, but could lack the spark to cause Chelsea too many problems.  I fear that the inability to score as freely as we did last season might end up costing us this match, although it will be close ...

PREDICTION : -    Chelsea    1      Tottenham Hotspur    0

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


CHELSEA :  -  Michael Essien (hopeful - knee); Ramieres (hopeful - hamstring); Alex (hopeful - hamstring); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Wilson Palacios (out - knee); Ledley King (out - groin); Alan Hutton (out - knee); Vedran Corluka (doubtful - ankle); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - hamstring); Gareth Bale (doubtful - knee); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); - (-); 


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

Premier League
Venue :  -  Stamford Bridge
Saturday 30th April 2011
Kick Off :  5.30 p.m.
Crowd :   41,681
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Matthew Harding Stand in the first half.
Weather :  -  Warm, sunny
Teams : - 
Chelsea :

  1  Cech

  2  Ivanovic     
26  Terry (c)     
  4  Luiz
  3  Cole

12  Mikel 
  8  Lampard 
  5  Essien  (  7  Ramires 57)
15  Malouda  (39  Anelka 73)

  9  Torres (21  Kalou 62  )
11  Drogba      

Unused subs: 
33  Alex
10  Benayoun
17  Zhirkov

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  4  Kaboul
13  Gallas
20  Dawson (c)
22  Corluka (40  Pienaar 78)

  7  Lennon
30  Sandro 
14  Modric
  3  Bale

11  van der Vaart  (  8  Jenas 85)

  9  Pavlyuchenko       (18  Defoe 58)

Unused subs: 
19  Bassong
15  Crouch
25  Rose

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Lampard 45
Kalou 89

Tottenham Hotspur

Sandro 19

Cards : -  

Ivanovic (foul)  38
Drogba (dissent)  49
Terry (dissent)  69  


Tottenham Hotspur  

Pavlyuchenko (foul) 57   



Match Report : -  
Let's get this right from the start.  If Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League (or the Europa League come to that), they have nobody to blame but themselves.  Too many drawn games have cost us.  But the decisions that are going against us are not helping the situation and this is a game that could have been won and instead adds to a long line of games here that have gone against us.  Chelsea won't care, as they laugh all the way to the Champions League, but the look on their faces when they end up with as much silverware as us this season and fail to win the Champions League as they whinge and moan about decisions going against them will be some small recompense.

The way Spurs were playing the likelihood of a point was the least we should have taken from the game.  Coasting at 1-0, with Chelsea struggling to put much together, one severely flawed decision by Andre Marriner and his myopic assistant put the home side right back in the game and from that moment, there was only going to be one winner ... and that was offside.  Thanks the other linesman.  Hopefully the Premier League will be suspending them from their duties as they are clearly unable to satisfactorily carry them out to a suitable standard.

If the human eye is not capable of telling if a ball is not totally (i.e.100%) over a white line or if the last man is beyond the last man before the goalkeeper, perhaps technology is needed.  I would have thought referees would welcome it and then they wouldn't get as much stick for such inept performances as this.

Tottenham had started the game well, with some comfortable passing of the ball, along with a few crosses into the box and Pavlyuchenko getting a chance on the left of the box when Luiz slipped, but he dragged his shot across goal and not close enough to Bale who was in the middle.

13 minutes in a foul, centrally located but some 35 yards from goal saw Didier Drogba line up a shot.  It should have been straightforward, but the effort dipped and was hit with great power, leaving Gomes to just about get a fingertip to the ball, but whether it made much difference as the ball smacked against the crossbar and away.  Gomes had a busy few minutes, with a low save to stop a weak Torres shot and then he was out at the Spaniard's feet to get to the ball first.  Heurelho was then diving to his right to hit the ground to stop Malouda's shot as he cur inside Kaboul just inside the area.

Spurs were looking for some respite, when they won a throw-in on the left wing.  Bale shaped to take a long one into the box, but threw it short and square to van der Vaart and he lifted the ball over his left shoulder to Sandro, who was running in behind him.  With one touch, the Brazilian moved the ball out of his feet and then smashed a shot that had Cech beaten as it flew into his top right corner in the 19th minute.  The keeper did well to get a touch on it, but it came past Modric's head and flew like an arrow into the net to give Spurs a lead.  Sandro raced to the bench, only to be berated by Harry for leaving his post in front of the back four and in no uncertain terms was told to get back there and stay there.

A couple of corners caused Tottenham problems, with first Gomes having to tip a powerful, but straight header from Essien over the bar and then Drogba flicked the ball on at the near post and Torres was unmarked at the far post, but stooped to head it low down and only succeeded in getting it over the bar and onto the top of the net.

Michael Dawson was doing his excellent job of blocking shots and winning the ball in the air, but then, out of nothing, Frank Lumplard hit a shot that dipped on Gomes at the last minute, but he should have stopped it, rather than letting it slither through his arms and legs to roll behind him towards goal.  As the ball agonisingly approached the line, the keeper reached back and got a hand on it to drag it back towards him and in a moment's confusion, it looked like he had succeeded, until the ill-placed linesman told the ref it was a goal by racing back to the halfway line.  Marriner, who was also not in a position to see if the whole ball had gone over the line took his lineman's advice and gave the goal ... right on half-time.

The Spurs players were furious and without any discussion with the linesman, Marriner gave goal that would have done Stuart Atwell proud.  It is one which should ensure he never referees one of our games again.  But then we thought that with Clattenburg.

Anyway, the half-time break was upon us and when Spurs came out, they looked a shell of the side they were in the first half.  For the first fifteen minutes of the second period they gave it a go, but from the hour mark onwards, Chelsea piled pressure on in waves, with Tottenham looking to have lost the art of keeping possession and of holding players off.

Spurs were reliant on the ground-eating effort of Sandro, who produced a fine tackle on Ivanovic as he entered the box and the midfielder took the ball cleanly, while Gomes had to get everything behind a Drogba free-kick from 40 yards out that was once more hit like a cannonball.  Although he beat it right back in front of goal, Kalou, who had just come on, could not get a good contact with it as it was coming at him too quickly.

Ramires and Kalou had come on for Essien and Torres, while Defoe had replaced Pavlyuchenko just before the 60 minutes mark.  JD had a shot when he cut in from the left, but it was deflected out for a corner and Rafael took a free-kick that hit the wall when he should have played the ball into the box.

Back in our box, Chelsea once more shouted for a penalty when Malouda hit the ground after Kaboul took the ball off him from the side, but he got the ball first and then Lumplard hit a shot across goal when well-placed.  Spurs had to re-arrange further when Corluka pulled a hamstring and Bale dropped to left back, with Pienaar coming on in the left midfield slot.

Drogba was lining up another free-kick, this time on the edge of the box, but instead of a shot, he pulled the ball into the penalty area around the penalty spot, where Terry swung at it, but did not get a decent contact, leaving the ball travelling slowly for Gomes to grab hold off on the ground.  But then, the next time Drogba scuffed a shot across the box and it looked like it was going off for a throw-in, Solomon Kalou was on hand to control it and then toe-end it into the unprotected net with one minute left on the clock.  Kalou had been offside twice in the move, once when it was first played forward to Drogba and then just before he took his first touch before finishing.  Another goal ... another duff linesman.

Kaboul had two headers from two Pienaar corners at the end, but neither hit the target and the whistle went on a dismal day for the refereeing team and by implication Tottenham.  How many times are we going to get stitched up like this ??  Too many by the looks of it.

Champions League qualification looks a long way off now and with Liverpool on a run, they might catch us for fifth.  While it was a very good performance against the current league champions, it showed how far we still need to progress and how close we might be to that, but will it be put back two steps if the wrong players (from our point of view) want to leave ?  But then, it doesn't matter who is playing for you when you get decisions like those made by Marriner and his henchmen today ... you just can't beat it.

Paul, Cheshunt


Fan Reaction : -



No matter how good your team is you cannot beat the officials decisions - Spurs can feel very hard done by as if you go by the letter of the law  both Chelsea goals should not have stood but they were given and that's that.

Our chances of playing in Europe next year are now very thin , but to be honest when you look at the table as it stands now Spurs have lost an amazing 15 points to the bottom four clubs this season. Teams we should be rolling over with ease with our attacking football but somehow fail to put to the sword - THIS is where our European bid has failed this year and not some dodgy linesman decision.

Having said that with Man City AND Chelsea trying to buy their way to success yet again (50 million and one goal ... great return Torres) and Arsenal and United getting gate receipts from 60,000+ crowds each week, we have pushed these so called big clubs all the way.  None of the top four have done the double over us this season and to think a few years back we were looking over our shoulders at the bottom four and fearing relegation.

Its now all about the players, will they be loyal enough to stick with us for another season without European footy - a couple of top strikers and play makers to be signed in the close season, and maybe without Champions League or Europa matches to worry about we can make a full assault on the league.

After all, like I said, if we had not dropped those points against the bottom four this season we would be sitting on 70 pts now - and it would be United and Chelsea who would be looking over their shoulders.


Well, first it was a goal that was so far over the line, then lasagne and this time a goal where the ball didn't even cross the line.  What will they think of next to stop Spurs getting into the Champions League ?

But then what will Tottenham do to make sure they get there next time ?

Goals have been missing from our game this year and it was only to be expected, with clubs realising that we are a good scalp to claim.  No more 9-1s or fives or fours, as teams clam up and stop us playing.

Those games that we had turned from draws into wins in the previous season have gone back to being draws and there have been too many of them.  That has cost us as much as the games we have lost.

And do we have to replace the keeper ?  Gomes has made a few gaffes this season, but that it not the sole reason we are where we are.  The defence has made mistakes, the midfield has gone missing sometimes and the strikers have missed chances.  Where are we going to get a better keeper without blowing most of our budget on him ?  The Atletico Madrid keeper is being talked about as a 22 million goalie and Neuer of Schalke in the realms of 19-20 million.

Anyone in this country who is good enough and available to come in and take over ?  Shay Given ??  Well, he will be on big wages and wants Champions League, so he might stay where he is for another year.  Ben Foster ?  Any better than Gomes ?  Scott Loach ?? Seems to have gone backwards at Watford.  I can't readily think of anyone else outstanding who could come straight in and do a job for Spurs.

Harry ahs work to do over the summer, but with the wrangles over the Olympic Stadium, you just wonder how much of our club funds that will soak up.

The Funky Phantom







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




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 35 21 10 4 71 33 73 +38
2 Chelsea 35 21 7 7 66 28 70 +38
3 Arsenal 35 19 10 6 67 36 67 +31
4 Manchester City 34 18 8 8 53 31 62 +22
5 Liverpool 35 16 7 13 54 39 55 +15
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 34 14 13 7 51 44 55 +7
7 Everton 35 11 15 9 48 43 48 +5
8 Bolton Wanderers 35 12 10 13 48 48 46 0
9 Stoke City 35 12 7 16 43 43 43 0
10 West Bromwich Albion 35 11 10 14 51 65 43 -14
11 Fulham 35 10 15 10 43 36 42 +7
12 Newcastle United 35 10 11 14 49 51 41 -2
13 Sunderland 35 10 11 14 39 52 41 -13
14 Aston Villa 35 10 11 14 44 57 41 -14
15 Birmingham City 35 8 15 12 35 52 39 -17
16 Blackburn Rovers 35 10 8 17 41 55 38 -14
17 Blackpool 35 9 8 18 48 70 35 -22
18 Wigan Athletic 35 7 14 14 35 58 35 -23
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 35 9 7 19 38 61 34 -23
20 West Ham United 35 7 11 17 40 63 32 -23


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


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