Looking Forward

 

SOUTHAMPTON

Premier League

Sunday 9th September 2001

The visit of a big club is always an exciting time at White Hart Lane and this is an exception.  As the South Coast Big Club trek from their homely New Dell to the Big Smoke, Spurs will hardly be shaking in their boots.  We will expect them to bring with them their passionate following ( Rupert "The Bear" Lowe) and their vocal support will be welcomed at the Lane.  Their booing of the Saints as they left the pitch against Chelsea in their first home game at the New Dell was marvellous support.

Of course, they are still looking for a big name manager as Stuart Gray (by name, Gray by nature) is just keeping the manager's chair warm for an internationally renowned coach who has done it all and seeks a new challenge to step in through the pearly St. Mary's Improvident Unfriendly stadium gates.  Their best player hardly gets a game these days and the squad appears to have bolstered by players from Scandinavia and the teams who usually surround SCBC at the bottom of the league.  Their claim that they are a big club has seen Spurs try to head hunt their best header of a football, But Rupee is holding out for big bucks in the big club way of doing things.  In a big world, you sometimes need a big man and they intend to pay him big money to stay in their big new shiny stadium.

In goal they have the big Welshman Paul Jones.  He has a big reputation for shot stopping, but as we have discovered in the past, he is not too big on kicking or crosses.  In front of him, we have the big four in defence of Richards, Bridge, Lundekvam and Dodd.  unfortunately, a big tackle cost the Norwegian his place on the pitch at Elland Road and his chance to play on the big stage at Tottenham.  Just as well, as he hasn't score din 185 games for the SCBC and he would have been odds on to score in this match.  Dodd has said Hoddle had a big influence on him and he is the club captain, so carries a big responsibility, but not in this game as he is likely to be out until the end of September with a knee injury.  Richards, we all know about from the big coverage he has had lately, like getting turned by Smith at Leeds and being all at seas when Hasselbaink had a free header last Saturday.  Bridge is a player that Hoddle rates highly and he might try and tempt him to Tottenham by offering big money for a lad who has a big future.  Also among the defence is Francis Benali, who might get a look-in and you can guarantee that there will be a big fuss about his physical approach to the game.  Another option to replace the big man could be Jo Tessem, who had a good run in the side last season.  Also, Al-Khalej who was a signing from Benfica and is big in Morocco, could step in.  Although he had a summer operation, it is not out of the question for Romanian Dan Petrescu to return if he has had enough fitness training.  His heart is only beating for Chelsea in London he said, so the big distance from there means  that if he does turn out at WHL, he could be in trouble.

Midfield looks well stocked for SCBC and they have a big pool of players to choose from here.  Veteran Chris Marsden has a big gap since his last goal (May 99) and may have to wait for another as he is not been a regular first choice lately, while fellow midfielder Matthew Oakley's was six months before that !!  The summer's big signing of 4 million was Rory Delap from Derby County and the Irishman is an energetic sort, who can get the odd goal.  Much bigger things are expected from Anders Svensson, who cost 500,000 from Elfsborg - a big club in Sweden.  Of course, Big Matt Le Tiss is the big man at the New Dell and he rarely gets a game because he is so big these days.  A talented player, who could have moved to an even bigger club some years ago, he looks likely to retire at the end of the season without realising his true potential.

In the forward department, they have the big hope in the shape of James Beattie.  He scored a lot in a short time coming up to Christmas last season, then faded badly when Hoddle left and the team had big trouble scoring.  He has slipped behind German veteran striker Uwe Rosler in getting a first team place lately alongside Marian Parhars and Kevin Davies has been playing a deeper role behind the front two.  They still have a couple of old stagers there in Stuart Ripley (of Blackburn fame) and Mark Draper (in midfield), with new boy Jacinto from Spain obviously too big for the clubs who are going laces in Spain in the big European competitions. 

Last season saw a dull 0-0 after the big score of 7-2 to Spurs the season before.  This season will be a lot tighter and it is a big match for both sides who are without a win so far.  Plus there is the big incentive of a win over their old tutor for SCBC.  For Spurs there is the big incentive of three points, which they should get ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham 2   Southampton  1

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

 

 

Tottenham  2  Southampton   0                                    (Half time score 0-0 )
PREMIER LEAGUE
Sunday 9th September 2001
Weather : -  Dry, light wind, sunny spells, but cloudy.
Crowd : -  33,668 
Referee : -  Mr. A. Wiley (Burntwood)

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  Ziege 75, Davies 86
                  Southampton   -   None

CARDS

Spurs :   None

Southampton :  None

TEAMS  

Spurs:  Sullivan, Doherty, Bunjevcevic, King, Taricco, Anderton (Leonhardsen 80), Freund, S. Davies, Ziege, Ferdinand, Sheringham.
Unused Subs : Keller, Perry, Rebrov, Etherington.

Southampton : Jones, Delap, El Khalej, Richards, Bridge, Svensson (Draper 73), Tessem (Murray 82), Oakley, Pahars (Beattie 73), Rosler,   K. Davies.
Unused Subs : Moss, Benali.

With so much brouhaha in the lead up to the match, it was such a let down in terms of a spectacle that the empty seats must have reflected the desire of those who would rather pay 8 and watch on pay-per-view with the added option of getting up to make a cup of tea.

It was only really in the closing stages that Spurs looked dangerous and only then when attacking on the left side of the pitch.  The early exchanges were shared between the teams.  Les tried a tricky manouevre when receiving the ball in the box, but forgot to kick it when Jones smothered his charge.  Ferdinand was the man who all our chances were falling to and another saw him run away from two Saints and hit a shot that went about a foot or two wide of the post.  Bunjy ventured forward with no more luck, while at the other end, Svensson hit a shot well over, but Richards - the centre of attention - headed a corner downwards, which Sully did well to scoop out with one hand before it got near the line.  It was then that a few minutes of pressure centred around the Tottenham goal.  A corner caused a massive scramble with the ball bouncing around before Goran cleared and Kevin Davies' shot from outside the box was half-blocked by Freund, but the ball deflected into the ground and the opposite way to Sullivan's dive.  Luckily, he could readjust to collect the ball.  Then came a cross from the right, which Parhars just failed to connect with as he half-heartedly slid in at the far post.  The same player was braking into the box and chose to have a weak shot at goal, with Rosler and Davies better placed in the area.  Gary Doherty threw a marvellous block to deny a long shot from Tessem and the ball rebounded about 20 yards of the Irishman's shinpad.  Then approaching half-time, Richards headed a long throw over the bar, Rosler did the same making Sullivan stoop to catch the ball and Davies slipped in on the right of the Spurs goal hit a shot way over, when he should really have hit the target.

It was not all Southampton, as Ziege hit a 25 yard free kick over, before a circa 1993 corner was revived and Teddy drove just wide.  Perhaps the best opportunity came when a low cross in from Davies was scooped over his own bar by Bridge, with Les poised to knock it in at the far post.  

An eventful first period, but enough to suggest that there would be goals, but not who to.

The second half was almost totally dominated by Spurs.  However, it was still the 74th minute, when Teddy's sharp shot on the turn forced Jones to a direct save for the first time in the match.  Spurs had played some nice flowing football, but there was either too much passing in the vital areas or the final pass was not up to the job to create a decent chance.  Some result was needed from the build-up and that was how it ended up.  

Taz hit a curling shot a couple of feet over from a promising position on the edge of the Southampton box, before El Khalej, as the last man, denied Simon Davies running through from midfield.  Ziege's forceful runs in the left wing channel were starting to pressurise the Saints defence and Richards and Bridge did well to stop Les getting on the end of them.  It was his cross that lead to Sheringham's shot being saved, but it was only a moment later that the first goal arrived.  Simon Davies hit a fine first time ball on the spin to the left wing area and Ziege picked it up.  He ran on to slide the ball past Jones adeptly with the outside of his left foot.  It was a nicely taken goal.  Ziege never seems to look happy and even celebrating the goal appeared to be more intent on who should be doing what at the re-start !!

Southampton were now desperate and threw Beattie on and Delap and Richards forward in a vain attempt to get something out of the game they so dearly wanted to win.  The young England striker did have a couple of weak shots - neither of which troubled Sully.  These changes left plenty of space for Tottenham to use and breaking out of defence, we caused them some serious problems.  A foul on Teddy let Ziege hit  free-kick about eighteen inches wide of the post, but then a ball through the middle to Sheringham was deftly laid into Davies' path and he ran on past some despairing challenges.  As he got to the edge of the area, it appeared he may have taken the ball too far left, but he slotted his shot low past the keeper for 2-0.  It was what is becoming a trademark Davies goal.  With only four minutes of normal time and four of added time left, it wrapped up the game and Les could have made it even more emphatic if his last minute header from close range, after King's run and cross, had not been stopped by an acrobatic one handed reach by Jones.

Three points were the main target for today's game, but for the handful of travelling Southampton fans, this will become a familiar tale of not being good enough.  The side lacks a lot and with Richards their outstanding player likely to be on his way out of the club, they have little left to seek succour from.  Still, I'm sure Rupert didn't worry about them as he tucked into his fine wine and good food at Spurs expense. At least he got something out of the day.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  STEFFEN FREUND 

Pete Stachio

 

 SOUTH COAST RUPERT AND THE  ASHEN FACED JERKS

 

No goals and no points before the game; No goals and no points after the game.  Those are the stark facts that face the South Coast Big Club.  Their chants of "A Small Club In London" and "Stand Up If You Hate Hoddle" all rang a little hollow when you consider their position.  Even little psychological twists that the visitors tried to unveil were to have no effect.  The wearing of Arsenal style warm-up tops and a Manchester United style kit did not phase Spurs.  In fact, they should have done their homework more carefully, as Spurs do well against those sides at home.

There was little to suggest that the day was like any other until the "Hoddle Is Judas" banner was unfurled by the Saints fans.  What is wrong with them, can't they spell S. Cumball ??  Their little club battled bravely with the mighty Spurs and kept them at bay for 75 minutes, before Christian Ziege shook himself out of the lethargy that had afflicted him for most of the game to take the ball into the box and hit it low past Jones from the left.  He looks like he can be an excellent player when he gets himself going, but most of the time he doesn't look like he can give a monkey's.  Teddy was playing like he did just before he left Spurs the last time - giving the ball away and generally strolling around, but he did play considerably better in the second half, making things happen.  To his credit, he linked up better with Les than anyone else has in the last two years.

Les looked totally out of it.  His touch was off and he was getting all the decisions go against him and seemed like he was just a little off blowing his top.  He did persevere though and was unlucky to be denied his place on the scoresheet by a fine save from Jones right at the end.  With Teddy playing deep, it was hard for Les to play up on his own.  

There was little to get Ledley King flustered at the back, apart from the songs of praise floating down from the seats.  He is a fine player now and can only get better.  Doherty had a couple of dodgy minutes, but he played well, winning lots in the air and bringing the ball out well.  Taricco had a fairly quiet match for him, with no controversy !!  He worked up and down the right side, had a shot, but did not provide the quality of cross required to hurt other teams.  Bunjy did well, heading the ball away well and bringing it out on the floor too.  He even got forward to have a shot - albeit a weak effort.  Freund is an enigma.  How can someone so slow get into the Spurs team ??  He does seem to do enough to prove his worth though and even managed a back-heel in this game !!  Anderton worked very hard and committed a lot of fouls in this match.  He also used the ball pretty well and, while lacking pace, he could be a useful member of the squad.  He should try and work something new out with Teddy rather than keep using the corner-kick routine they have had for about 7 years.

Sullivan didn't have a lot directed straight at him, but he caught some tricky crosses, saved a couple of weak shots and when it came to stopping the most difficult effort - a header down from Richards - he did so expertly, knocking the ball away from the goal as well as the oncoming forwards.  But really, the match was about Simon Davies.  In for the suspended Poyet, he did everything we know he can do and everything that was asked of him.  He tackled, passed, ran and scored.  This lad can go a long way and even his post-match interview on TalkSPORT was classy.  One who must surely feature in the team on a regular basis to get us where we want to be.  Do you reckon he has any brothers ??

Spurs took along time to realise that there was nothing to be gained from pumping long balls onto Dean Richards' head.  Perhaps they were trying to make him look good, so us fans would welcome his signing.  He still looked slow and although a threat at set-pieces, we could do with waiting on Anthony Gardner to return, who will be a better player in the heart of our back four than Richards.

So, Southampton came with nothing and left with nothing.  There chairman was asked what the score was and S. Cumball was told where he could be inserted.  The long spell of "Glenn Hoddle's Blue and White Army" told the Saints fans what they were missing.  It wasn't great and we took a long time to break down an ordinary side, but sometimes you do.  It's what you have at the end that counts.

Rupert was probably left to depart Tottenham ready to complain about the defeat to the FA by saying that it was unfair that we had a better team than him.  He'll learn eventually.

BILLY IDLE

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