Looking Forward



Premier League

Saturday 3rd May 2003

The meeting of two sides who have blown cold since Christmas not seem like the best end of season fare, but with Boro scoring well at home and Spurs getting the taste for it away, it could surprise in entertainment terms.

Tottenham were not really in it against Man. United, but Middlesbrough have beaten them this season at the Riverside and also upset Liverpool there.  However, they have drawn one (0-0) and lost three of the last four games in a  dreadful run that has left them in the lower reaches of the table.

The keeper Schwarzer is a tall lad, but he doesn't use his height to it's best effect in the air.  His diving and shot stopping is usually good, but handling can be suspect on the ground too.

The defence looks very good on paper.  Southgate, Ehiogu, Riggott, Queudrue and Vidmar are all experienced and pretty good players, but on their day they can be taken apart by anyone.  Riggott has not developed as well as was first thought when he first emerged at Derby and Southgate is getting to the veteran stage.  Ehiogu once was a Spurs target (as was Southgate), but both chose to go to Boro to further their European ambitions.

Midfielders Boateng and Geremi ruled the roost when Boro visited White Hart Lane and I hope that we will put up a bit more resistance this time.  Not sure who Tottenham's ball winner is going to be though ??  Toda ?? Don't think so.  The home side have also had the returning Juninho in the side lately.  A tremendous talent, who has suffered with injuries, he has had rave reviews since getting back into the Boro team.  He's certainly one to watch.  Jonathan Greening is almost a regular (as are Boro players as players Spurs wanted to sign once), while his fellow former Man U team-mate Mark Wilson has slipped form the scene and has been put out on loan.

There are more internationals on show in the forward line with Maccarone, Job and Christie all vying for a place up front.  Christie is a goal getter in the old fashioned mode, while the Italian striker has stuttered since making an initial impact in England.  With Noel Whelan on loan at Crystal Palace, Boro brought in Michael Ricketts (yes, we know what's coming now ...) and he has had a difficult time fitting in.  That will probably mean he will score against us then !!  Szilard Nemeth might have scored against England for Slovakia, but he has been used primarily from the bench at Boro.

There are a few youngsters that coach Steve McClaren has introduced and some old hands like Windass and Colin Cooper are still on the squad should they be required.

I would expect Spurs to be going for revenge after Boro took us apart at home, but the decisive area to win this game will be between Geremi and Boateng and Davies and ????.  I hope that the midfield makes their presence felt and that the chances we make are taken, as it will be nip and tuck, but I believe that we can come home South with a point from the match (if the side can be bothered to play) ...

PREDICTION : -   Middlesbrough  2   Tottenham  2

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



Middlesbrough   5     Tottenham   1     (Half-time score : 3-0)
Premier League
Saturday 3rd May 2003
Venue : -  Riverside Stadium
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -
Crowd : -  30,230
Referee : -  U. Rennie (S. Yorkshire)
Teams : -  
Middlesbrough : - Schwarzer; Stockdale, Queudrue, Ehiogu (Riggott 11), Southgate; Boateng, Nemeth, Juninho, Greening; Christie (Maccarone 46), Wilkshire (Downing 78)
Unused subs: Jones, Doriva

Tottenham : -  Keller; Perry, Gardner, King; Carr, Poyet (Redknapp 46), Bunjevcevic, Davies, Taricco; Sheringham (Etherington 46), Keane
Unused subs: Acimovic, Yeates, Burch

Colours : -  
Middlesbrough  -  Red Shirts, red shorts, red socks

Tottenham - White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks with navy blue turnover

Scorers : -  
Middlesbrough  - 
  Christie 24, Juninho 27, Nemeth 29, Maccarone 52, 76

Tottenham -  Redknapp 61

Cards : -  
Middlesbrough  - None

Tottenham -  Perry (foul) 26, Poyet (dissent) 45, Bunjevcevic (foul) 47

Spurs never travel well to the North-East, but who would have thought this would have happened after Boro's goal drought ??  although the prediction above was for goals, the nature of the defeat left Spurs bitter and Uriah Rennie was the man in the place he loves to be ... at the centre of the controversy.

It was weird, as Tottenham looked reasonably comfortable to start off with and when Ehiogu left the pitch after ten minutes, you thought Spurs might have a chance.  Even more so when Teddy was presented with two chances, but took neither.  Firstly, he hit Taz's cross wide and then turned Southgate with ease, only to hit his shot wide of the target from ten yards out, as he slipped over.  The pitch was wet and greasy, making the ball skid off the turf, but that should have suited Tottenham's style.

With twenty minutes gone, Juninho showed what he was capable of, with a free-kick just wide with Kasey scuttling across his line, then in the next minute, we were behind.  Perry was another victim of the turf, as he slipped when Nemeth turned him in the box, but Keller stopped his low shot.  Unfortunately, it fell invitingly for Christie to make no mistake with from short range.

One minute on and one more goal against and the match was only going one way after this incident.  Nemeth ran away through the middle, with Perry in pursuit.  Perry did appear to make contact, but whether it was deliberate was questionable, whether it was in the area was not.  It should have been a free-kick outside the box, but Rennie showed Perry the red card.  Keller did everything but stop Juninho's spot-kick from going in, as it spun off his hand and stopped on the goal-line, with the Brazilian getting there first and stopping before punting it over the line as Spurs defenders eventually followed-up.

Keller denied the Boro midfielder another goal, by tipping the ball around the post, but from the corner, the ball was fired into the box, King's thigh got in the way and it dropped in front of Nemeth to score the third.  Five minutes of mayhem had left the game out of Tottenham's reach, but they hit back with Carr testing Schwarzer from a free-kick and following some Keane magic, Teddy had a shot from close-in stopped by the Aussie keeper.

Rennie proved he was no stranger to making a name for himself, as he booked Bunjy before the break ... for having the ball kicked at him as a Boro player tried to take a quick free-kick.  Then Poyet got involved with Boateng and received a yellow card for his trouble.

Hoddle played his new trump card at half-time ... the double substitution.  Matty came on for Teddy and Redknapp for Poyet.  I am sure that if such changes had been made earlier in the season, we would not be in the league position we are.

Not that it did much good, as we were 0-4 down within five minutes of the restart.  This time, it was of our own making.  Gardner and King played the ball along the edge of the area and King was robbed by Nemeth.  He put it into the path of Maccarone, who finished past Keller.  Kasey had better luck soon after as he stopped Wilkshire's free-kick and when Tottenham did get one in range on the hour, Jamie stepped up to curl one in past Schwarzer, just in the top corner.

Spurs were getting opened up with great regularity though.  Maccarone shot wide, Nemeth hit the post (although he looked offside), Keller saved Juninho's shot and Greening and Wilkshire shot over the top.  Spurs just couldn't cope, but they did get a bit of luck, when Wilkshire's shot hit both posts, Keller's back and went out for a corner.  It wasn't to hold out for long though.  With fifteen minutes remaining, Juninho slipped a pass through to Maccarone for his second, put under the diving body of Keller.

Right up to the end, Middlesbrough were creating chances and Macarone missed two opportunities to get his hat-trick, while Tottenham were missing a whole load of things.  Determination, organisation, dedication, imagination.  In fact, anythign that ends in -ation.

Maybe by next week, we will have a new team of players, who might just show some of those things and give us some expectation for next season.


Barry Levington




Reaction to follow



Other scores this weekend and midweek :


2 Leeds United 3 Sunday
Aston Villa 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 1 WBA 1 Saturday
Fulham 2 Everton 0 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Manchester United 4 Charlton Athletic 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Birmingham City 0 Saturday
SCBC 0 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Chelsea 0 Saturday


6 SCBC 1 Tuesday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester United 37 24 8 5 72 32 81
2 Arsenal 37 22 9 6 81 42 75
3 Newcastle United 37 21 5 11 61 46 68
4 Chelsea 37 18 10 9 66 37 64
5 Liverpool 37 18 10 9 60 39 64
6 Everton 37 17 8 12 47 47 59
7 Blackburn Rovers 37 15 12 10 48 43 57
8 Manchester City 37 14 6 16 47 53 51
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 37 14 8 15 51 58 50
10 Middlesbrough 37 13 10 14 47 42 49
11 SCBC 37 12 13 12 42 46 49
12 Charlton Athletic 37 14 7 16 45 55 49
13 Birmingham City 37 13 8 16 39 47 47
14 Aston Villa 37 12 9 16 41 44 45
15 Fulham 37 12 9 16 40 50 45
16 Leeds United 37 13 5 19 55 56 44
17 Bolton Wanderers 37 9 14 14 39 50 41
18 West Ham United 37 10 11 16 40 57 41
19 WBA 37 6 7 24 27 63 25
20 Sunderland 37 4 7 26 21 61 19


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