dented expectation of last Sunday behind us, we face a League match with
Sunderland. The North-Eats side have been sinking like a stone
lately, with only one win this year so far and that coming against
strugglers Derby County.
Losing last Sunday too,
the Black Cats will be looking to make amends for their derby defeat at
the hands of Newcastle United, but might find Spurs in determined mood
after their loss to Blackburn. In recent weeks they have also lost
to Man U, Middlesbrough, Everton, Ipswich (0-5) and to West Bromwich
Albion in the FA Cup. It has been a torrid time for manager Peter Reid,
who has done so much for the Mackems, but now is getting stick from his
own fans as the team struggle to make things work on the pitch.
The club's best win this
season came on Boxing Day, when they went to Blackburn and won
3-0. In fact, their away form has just about outstripped that at
home, but a good result is usually followed by a couple of bad ones.
Missing on Saturday will
be the knee victims Emerson Thome, John Oster and Gavin McCann, while
Julio Arca has a groin injury that will keep him out and a knock on Paul
Thirwell's ankle makes him an absentee for this game too.
In goal Thomas Sorensen
now has the gloves back, after suffering injury earlier in the
season. He's a pretty good shot stopper, but lacks confidence in
the air on crosses. The Dane is also not the best footballing
goalkeeper, so might fluff a few clearances. Jurgen Macho has
stood in for Sorensen and has acquitted himself well. He's prone
to the odd lapse, such as the cross that Christian Ziege floated over
him for the second goal at the Stadium of Light.
At the back, new signing
Joachim Bjorkland brings experience from Venezia and Sweden, but has
only played one game so far and might be a bit unused to the style of
play the Mackems employ. Alongside him, the tall Jody Craddock
fits into the middle of the back four. Good in the air and strong
in the tackle, Craddock is a pretty good player to have, but his
positional sense is slightly lacking on occasion and his man can slip
the marker. In central defence, George McCartney has done well
this season, coming in as a youngster, but playing a solid role when
called upon. Stanislav Varga has never realised the potential Reid
thought he was capable of and although a huge man, his lack of ability
to turn quickly and his lack of concentration have made him a peripheral
figure in the side. Darren Williams has been on the bench lately
and can be played anywhere in the back line. On the flanks, Bernt
Haas and Michael Gray are good going forward, but do leave space behind
them to let the opposition wing backs into. Neither would be
classed as the greatest defenders and it could be that Ziege and
Taricco/Davies make the best use of the areas they vacate.
Another Swede dominates
midfield and that is the former Gooner Stefan Schwarz. Having scored
against us earlier in the season, he will be looking to do the same
again, but he is more noted for his aggressive play than his fierce
shooting. Winger Kevin Kilbane plays wide on the left of midfield
and can show how quick he can be. He has been one of the players
who has taken some stick recently, but he is a good creator and can
finish moves as well, if he finds himself in the right place. Two
newcomers in this area of the pitch are Jason McAteer and Claudio
Reyna. McAteer joined from Blackburn and has added industry to the
creative style of former Glasgow Rangers and USA man Reyna. Both
can go past a man and get into the box, but Tottenham will have to work
hard to pin them back in midfield. They are tireless in the amount
of work they do and the old legs of Poyet and injured limbs of Anderton
might struggle to keep up with them. Thomas Butler has had to
settle for a substitutes role, but can be a ball winner in midfield if
Up front ids the man that
Glenn Hoddle covets. No not Niall Quinn, but Kevin Phillips.
The diminutive striker has the happy knack of knocking in the goals, but
seems to find it hard to do so at the Lane. Long may that continue
unless he exchanges his stripes for the white shirt of Spurs. A
good mover off the ball, his first touch is usually very good and he
will take a shot at goal from wherever he is, knowing instinctively
where the goal is. He could provide a challenge for Ledley after
last week's final. Quinn will need to be marshalled well by
Richards and a tough, physical and aerial battle is in the
pipeline. Knocking the ball down for the little Englishman is the
main threat from Sunderland. The long ball out of defence to turn
it into attack is what we will see the most from them. Added into
the mix is Cameroon forward Patrick Mboma, who has signed on loan for
the season. Experienced in France, Italy and Japan, he offers a
powerful alternative to Quinn and he has a fierce shot on him too.
He could be looking to earn himself a permanent move, so might be
putting in an extra 10%. With Lilian Laslandes going on loan to
Cologne, they are a bit light on strikers, but the three will combine to
make their front line in this match.
With Sunderland desperate
for three points and Spurs looking to get some points under their belt
to move up the League, it will be a hard fought contest, but in a game
of few chances, if Spurs take theirs this time, they might come out on
- Tottenham 2 Sunderland 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
(Half time score: 1-1)
|FA PREMIER LEAGUE
|Saturday 2nd March 2002
|Venue : White Hart
|Kick Off : 3.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Clear,
|Crowd : - 36,062
- Mr. R. Styles (Hampshire)
Scorers : -
Tottenham - Poyet 31, Ferdinand 63
Sunderland - Mboma 45
: McAteer (dissent) 88
: Sullivan; Thatcher, Richards, King; Taricco (Gardner 89),
Davies, Sherwood, Poyet, Ziege; Sheringham, Ferdinand (Rebrov 76)
Unused Subs : - G. Kelly, Leonhardsen, Etherington.
: Sorensen; Haas, Craddock, Bjorkland (Schwarz 58), McCartney;
Gray, Reyna (Williams 55), McAteer, Kilbane; Phillips, Mboma (Quinn 72).
Unused Subs : - Macho, Bellion
: White shirts, navy blue shorts, navy blue socks
: Red and white striped shirts, white shorts, white socks
There was little
different in this match to the one that we lost on Sunday. Scruffy
play, lack of chances taken and Teddy, for the bulk of the game, playing
like a man out of step. But Sunderland failed to accept the
chances that came their way and that made the difference in the end.
started early, when Mboma, making hid debut, played in McAteer, who set
up Phillips. The fact that the Irishman was a couple of yard s
offside passed the linesman by, but luckily for Spurs, Phillips
continued his poor scoring form at the Lane by pulling the shot
wide. Spurs hit back with Sheringham popping off a left foot shot
at the keeper and Simon Davies, in from the start, crossed low from the
right for Les, but the big striker missed the ball altogether under
pressure from a defender. Les did better shortly after, when he
put Gus in on goal and from the penalty spot, he stuck out a leg as
Sorensen closed on him, but he could not get it on target and it whizzed
past the post. Poyet was at the heart of the action in the next
Spurs attack with a cheeky back-heel that tries to divert Ziege's low
ball into the net, but the goalie was wise to it.
took the lead in strange fashion, when a Ziege corner was whipped in and
as a King header hit a Sunderland back, it fell to Poyet, who managed to
bundle it over the line from close range. It was an untidy goal,
but at least it ended up in the back of the net. Which is exactly
where the ball should have been a minute or so later, when Christian
again crossed, but this time driven in low. Unfortunately, it missed out
Sheringham, who was running in, but got to Les at the far post and as he
was leaning back, the ball ended up hitting the underside of the
Videotron screen, thus making Les the first player to hit it in the time
it has been installed. It looked like being another one of those
days for the number 9.
almost matched him, when Les ran on and laid the ball square for
Sheringham to blast the ball over the bar with only the keeper to
beat. Both of them looked in desperate need of a goal and Ted took
the captain's prerogative with free-kicks in trying to get on the
scoresheet, but only got one on target. Ziege's crossing from the
left was proving a rich supply line and when Richards headed over when
given a free far post header, it looked as though the missed chances
might cost Tottenham again. Especially, when on the stroke of
half-time, Mboma managed to take a ball that went over Richards' head
and beat King to it to shoot low past Sullivan. It was only the
second chance he had in the half, with the first a diving header that
went wide and Spurs had been suckered again.
keeping of Sullivan was causing some concern, as he seemed determined to
stay rooted to his line and not come out at all, even to the extent that
in the second half, he ran back towards his goal rather than come out to
challenge Mboma and it was left to Richards to tackle him, prompting
calls for a penalty form the Black Cats bench. On the other hand,
he did produce a good save from the Kilbane to put his header
over the bar.
at the other end, Spurs continued to spurn the chances they
created. Sheringham was the worst culprit, with a great free
header from Ziege's cross and he failed to hit the target with the goal
yawning in front of him. Gus did the same and even Taricco chose
to try and find someone in the box rather than hit a shot at the goal
when through on the edge of the box late on.
by then Spurs were ahead. Sheringham pulled a peach of a pass out
of his locker, to find Ziege running through on the left, almost without
looking. The German took the ball towards the keeper and as he
came out, he returned the compliment of last week, by dragging the ball
back for Les to side-foot into an empty net. For a moment, it
looked as though he might hit the man on the line, but Ferdie managed to
steer it in for what turned out to be the winning goal. Ziege's
unselfish contribution was a major part of the goal, as was Teddy's
was another chance for Spurs, when Davies blasted well wide and then
Phillips wriggled free at the other end, but slid his shot off target
Not a great
game, but an important one to win in terms of league points and getting
ready for the FA Cup tie next Sunday. Again Thatcher had a sound
game, with Ziege a constant threat. Poyet looked keen to put in
some effort to make up for last week, as did Ted, but his flicks were
not finding their intended players and the concession of possession made
it hard for any flow to get going. Taz played well down the right
and was unlucky to go off injured at the end. His attacking play
was very good and his defence pretty good too.
think a better performance will be required against Chelsea, but the
need to match them for work-rate will be uppermost. Davies will
provide some young legs and there will have to be some serious chasing
to make sure that we don't allow them space to play. Let's hope
that a similar result ensues.
|MEHSTG TOP MAN :
- MAURICIO TARICCO
|The Black Cats don't have a lot of
luck these days. They must have been over-run by some team a while
ago !! They failed to capitalise on the offside position that
McAteer found himself in, when Phillips didn't raise his stock by
missing the target from the edge of the box with no-one but Sullivan in
front of him.
Apart from that, they had the
luck of the bounce with their goal that came of Ledley and behind him to
fall nicely for Mboma to score his first goal for Sunderland. How
often does that happen against Spurs ? However, King wasn't at
fault, more Deano's error as he got under a cross, leaving Mboma to pull
off him at the far post. His poor position here and a missed
header at the other end made him look worse than he really played, as he
did better when Quinn came on. Thatcher was strong in the tackle
and actually read the game well, making some good interceptions.
He does come from the Chris Perry School of Distribution though.
As for going forward, Tottenham
benefited from the inclusion of Simon Davies in place of the injured
Darren Anderton. He gives Spurs much more energy and fluidity when
making forays into the opposition's half. He might not have a
trick to get around a defender, but neither has Dazza these days.
Simon showed today that he can match Teddy for fancy flicks, which on
the day DID find his team-mates. He also offers an option for
players to pass to when they find themselves confronted with an
opponent. His run down the left wing in the second half looked
promising, but the three Sunderland players in front of him put an end
to his dash. He is a fine player, who has been brought on well,
but now deserves his place in the team by right.
The game was not a brilliant one,
but, as everyone who watched the Worthington Cup Final on TV told me,
looked an exciting one because of all the goalmouth action.
Tottenham's passing game was hampered by the bobbly nature of the pitch
and while Sunderland tried to play more football than they have on
recent visits to White Hart Lane, they did not have the precision of the
final pass to carry it off. They seem to have lost something over
the last couple of years and it could be the competitive challenge in
midfield of Hutchison and with it, the characteristics of a typical
Peter Reid side.
Sullivan had little to do apart
from pick the ball out of the net just before half-time and to arch
backwards to save from Kilbane's darting header. Ziege was finding
lots of space again and provided good service into the box, but as
usual, we failed to cash in on all the chances we made. Our
percentage on target stats compiled by Opta must be plummeting faster
than Sunderland down the league table.
In the end, we got the points,
deserved them, but did not shine. With next week's FA Cup tie
being make or break for the season, I hope that the team do play better
or at least convert a higher proportion of the chances we create.
Otherwise, we might feel like it is 24th February all over again.