The sight of Allan
Nielsen in the Watford starting line-up brought back memories.
Both of the last time that Tottenham won something and also how far he
has fallen since then. He failed to make a significant impact on
the Spurs midfield and although he was no worse than anyone else on
their side, he did not stand out either. Tottenham played nice
triangles around their opponents and held onto the ball well, despite
the crude attempts of Robinson to deny them possession.
Of all the Watford players, the
two who made you remember them were Hyde and Gayle. They showed
effort and some skill, but they could do little on their own, so few of
the attacks they prompted came to nothing as the final ball was
poor. Having had a lot of changes and being hit by injuries, you
can't help but think that Watford might struggle to stay in Division One
There was a poor turn out by the
home support for a long serving member of their staff. Nigel Gibbs
has been at Vicarage Road for 20 years and for that alone he deserves
his big day. With Spurs totally filling their end, it was
disappointing that Watford fans left great gaping holes in their
seating, when tickets were reasonably priced when compared to those for
our home friendlies against Celtic and Lazio. Loyal servants like
him will not be often rewarded in this way, as players won't stay at on
club for so long in the future.
The height of the differences
between the two sides was highlighted when the Spurs subs warmed
up. Teddy Sheringham signed autographs for the hordes of fans at
the front of the stand for about 15 minutes, while Tim Sherwood and
Christian Ziege had to be called away by the fitness coach to make their
entrance onto the pitch, much to the dismay of the supporters still
waiting for their signatures. At the other end, one small child
ran down to the Hornet mascot (who, it was rumoured, is a Spurs fan) at
the trackside in front of the home fans.
The match was traditional
testimonial fare, but Watford seemed intent in kicking Tottenham to let
them know they were there, with Dyche having a real go at Qu Bo for
going down in the box. Not sure how much "Kevin"
understood of that !! The game turned when Teddy and Ziege came on
and the two of them created more chances in their time on the pitch than
in the previous 60 minutes. Ziege's cross was met by Bo's head and
Sherwood was on hand to force home the fumble by the keeper with minutes
remaining. He was back on familiar ground and the second biggest
cheer from the Watford supporters was for the return of Richard Johnson
(who we didn't even know had been away), to face his former side, where
he played as a junior.
There were other chances, but
they are covered above, so I will take the lead from other
correspondents and go through the side, player by player ...
Neil Sullivan : Not a
lot to do, but made a good double save from Hyde in the second
half. Misjudged coming for a long ball in the first minute and
might have conceded a goal, but other than that, a quiet afternoon.
Christian Ziege : Made
the difference when he came on. Pinpoint crossing made chance
after chance, one of which led to the goal. Showed no rustiness
from the World Cup and will be given more time on the pitch in the
Ronnie Henry : Another
solid show, using the ball well and looking strong in the
challenge. Ronnie can only get better as he fills out a bit.
Paul O'Donoghue : Henry's
regular U-19 partner came on for ten minutes at the end and did
well. Looks calm and could be another useful central
Ben Thatcher : Only
lasted ten minutes or so, therefore difficult to comment on his
performance. Did what he had to, except for cutting out the long
ball in the first minute.
Gary Doherty : Played
at the back this time and looked more at home. Best of the bunch,
as he looked happy on the ball and when challenged, did not flinch.
Johnnie Jackson : Another
energetic display, where he got forward to support the strikers as well
as covering back. Could be one to get a chance if Davies is
injured as the engine of the midfield.
Oyvind Leonhardsen : Another
decent enough showing, but not enough to guarantee a first team
place. In the right place to get the ball away early on and did
play the ball well, but in the Premier League he might not be as
Jamie Redknapp : Showed
excellent range of passing. Made the ball keep turning and hit
some pin point cross-field passes too. Had a shot just miss and if
fit, will add a new dimension to the side.
Rohan Ricketts : Looked
willing to "give and go" and get into the box, but must be
more decisive in his final pass. Made chances for others, but you
feel he has goals in him, if he has the confidence to shoot.
Passes well and good on the ball to hold off opponents.
Diego Bortolozzo : Languid
and Latin, he made it all look easy, but when riled he can put his foot
in. Robinson seemed to dislike him instantly, but he could have a
role in the future. Not a first choice just yet, but blessed with
lots of skill.
Tim Sherwood : The
anti-hero/hero made a big thing of loving the badge when he
scored. Mixed reception, but many think he was only saying what
everyone was thinking anyway. Did more than he usually does, but
it was only Watford.
Matthew Etherington : Showed
good pace and good skill, but once again his crossing is not up to the
level of Ziege's. Perhaps not fair to compare, but he must make
the final ball count more often. Also, he appears to lack
confidence in running directly at his man. Whether this is because
he knows there will be nobody up with him, I don't know.
Sergei Rebrov : Looked
like you or I out there. Not part of what was happening and seemed
like someone who desperately wanted to be somewhere else. Feel
sorry for him, but haven't a clue what will happen to him.
Teddy Sheringham :
Difference was apparent when he came on. Linked well and played in
colleagues for chances. Hit the post and was a persistent worry
for their defence. May be best used fresh from the bench this
season more often than starting.
Qu Bo : Not as impressive
as his debut at Palace, but showed good speed and good awareness.
Bearing in mind he has come to a foreign country and has only been here
a few days, he could do well. Not sure if he will have the
strength to sustain a full Premier season yet, but looked to have a good
head on his shoulders. Nearly got on the scoresheet and ended up
making the goal. Worth £500,000 of anyone's money.
Benny The Ball