10th February 2001
are struggling to meet the expectation of their fans in their first
season back in the Premier League. It was always going to be a
tough assignment for Joe Royle to keep the Citizens up after such a
rapid rise through the divisions. Some of the signings he made to
try and add experience to the team have not worked (Weah and Wanchope)
and some players have not been able to make the step up without some
Young keeper, Nicky Weaver has had
a tough time without much protection in front of him. A promising
shot stopper, he has been found out a little bit by Premiership forwards
and he will surely be better for the experience. The back line has
been chopped and changed which may not have helped the side perform
consistently. Gerard Wiekens is a strong central defender, who has
performed admirably alongside the experienced Spencer Prior.
Richard Edghill has gone on the transfer list, Richard Jobson has gone
on loan and Andy Morrison has gone on crutches for a long time this
season. Newcomer Richard Dunne from Everton has added some steel
into the back four and former Geordies Steve Howey and Laurent Charvet
have also played a part in the defence. Scot Paul Ritchie has been
used as a wing back but is also a defender first and foremost.
Midfield has been an area that has
been fairly settled. Kevin Horlock has suffered a broken ankle and
will be missing, as will Ian Bishop, who is being touted as another
player on his way out of Maine Road. Danny Granville has played in
this area (or in defence), but regulars Haaland, Jeff Whitley and Danny
Tiatto form the basis of a hard working midfield. Mark Kennedy who
pushes on from the middle could be missing injured and the lack of
creativity in this area means that the forwards feed on what scant
supply they get. Having said that, there are opportunities for
those mentioned to get forward and score.
Leading the line is Paul Dickov
(ex-Gooner), who is a nasty piece of work, but luckily will spend more
time kicking players than the ball. Loan players Kanchelskis from
Glasgow Rangers and Egil Ostenstad from Blackburn could be out to prove
a point, but with Wanchope injured and Weah gone, the class up front is
missing. The lack of goals has cost City so far and they are
pinning a lot of hopes on former Leeds and Coventry forward Darren
Huckerby. He was scintillating when he played for the Sky Blues, but
lost his way at Elland Road (obviously ending up in the pie shop).
He to has something to prove to people. Shaun Goater has struggled
in the top flight after scoring loads for City on the way up, but his
height could give problems and he knows where the goal is. Up and
coming young striker Shaun Wright-Phillips (son of an ex-Gooner) is full
of running and has a few tricks too.
As the season draws on, City will
be looking for every point they can get and especially at home.
With neither side free-scoring on a regular basis, it will, of course,
be a tight one ...
PREDICTION : - Manchester
City 0 Tottenham 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Manchester City 0 Tottenham 1 - Saturday
10th February 2001
Weather : - Wet
Crowd : - 34,399
Referee : - Steve Dunn (Bristol)
Scorers : - Manchester City - None
Tottenham - Rebrov 89
Man City: Weaver, Wiekens (Grant 85), Granville, Howey, Tiatto,
Dunne, Haaland, Whitley, Kanchelskis (Ostenstad 60), Huckerby, Goater.
Subs Not Used: Prior, Ritchie, Nash.
Tottenham: Sullivan, Young, Campbell, Perry (Booth 45), King,
Freund, Anderton (Carr 60), Sherwood, Leonhardsen, Doherty, Rebrov.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Clemence, Thelwell.
How many times have Spurs fallen for the
sucker punch in the last minute of a match ?? Too many, that's how
many !! So, it was gratifying to be on the right end of one for
once, although my heart went out to City who were turned over for the
second week running by the referee. It looked as though there was
no offence when Huckerby hooked the ball home, but Howey could have
pushed Sol into Sullivan. It certainly wasn't Goater, who was
For much of the match Spurs
had their backs to the wall. King got his legs in a twist to
divert Huckerby's cross against the post and it bounced back into
Sully's grateful arms, while other efforts from Wiekens and Kanchelskis
all flew wide of the mark. The best chance they had came when
Tiatto ran half the pitch and crossed for Ostenstad, who should have got
more on his header from a couple of yards out, but flashed it past the
far post. There was more determination about City, who obviously
need the points at the moment, but Spurs did play a little football in
While Rebrov's winner was the
only Spurs effort on target, they did have shots from Sherwood and Young
that went wide and over the goal, while Doherty had a headed chance in
the first half and Booth wasted a muffed clearance by Weaver by lobbing
it off target. When it came (and it had to be the last minute
didn't it ?), the goal was a good one. Starting in our defence, it
was worked from King, through Freund, Young, Booth, Sherwood and
Leonhardsen, who picked out Sergei's clever run. He held off two
challenges to prod it past the City keeper for the winner. 461
minutes of Premier League football without a goal and it wins the first
away match of the season !
Spurs have played
better away from home, but come back with nothing. Although City
will be blue this morning, the luck went Tottenham's way, despite being
denied an early shout for a penalty when Tim was hauled down by Haaland.
For once, it was a happy trip back South for the Spurs fans.
TOP MAN : - LUKE YOUNG
Benny The Ball
|There was an air of inevitability
about the scoreline before the match. Both sides desperate for
points for differing reasons, but the same despair in front of goal had
been afflicting the teams in the run up to the match. Admittedly,
Spurs had got four in midweek and Man. City were denied a win last week
by the linesman's flag, but goals were a currency much in demand by both
The finishing on display
explained why this was so. Only three shots on target in the whole
game, with only one getting past the keeper to count for a goal.
While many go on about the standard of defending going downhill in the
Premiership, the forwards ability isn't too great. Even Man Ure
went through their game against Everton last week without an effort on
the mark. But when Spurs goal did come it was worth waiting
for. Just like the move that lead to Booth's disallowed goal at
West Ham, this one started on the edge of our own box. Some, what
seemed risky, close passing on a heavy, cut up pitch, worked the ball
into midfield, where via Sherwood and Leo it got to Rebrov. It was
a pass from the Norwegian that opened up the City defence and Sergei
showed good strength to hold off a couple of City defenders to slip the
ball under Weaver and in on the stroke of 90 minutes. One shot on
target and one goal. As Joe Royle said that is a pretty good ratio
The defending was a bit ragged at
times, with Perry and King being given the run around by Tiatto and
Kanchelskis, but they stood firm and even rode their luck when Ledley
got a piece on Huckerby's cross and it bounced off the post and out to
Sully. What with the goal mysteriously being ruled out by the ref,
when Sullivan appeared to miss the ball and Huckerby shot home from
close range, it was a grateful team that heard the final
Apart from that one blemish, our
Scots goalie did well with the little that came directly at him, and Sol
was solid and Luke Young was outstanding, making important runs, blocks
and tackles. Doherty moved back from the front after half time and
did well too. Sherwood marshalled the midfield, but still seems
laboured in his running, in contrast to Leonhardsen, who now appears to
be returning to some sort of form. Freund was Freund - even having
a shot that rarely was going to trouble the scorers and Booth came on
for the second half, but apart from wasting the gift offered him by
Weaver's poor clearance, had little else to do but track back.
Rebrov again awaited his chance and if he could only stick one away each
game, then he wouldn't have to do anything else.
Not pretty and not entertaining,
but this result has been a long time coming. If there had been
more of these away wins, instead of draws and defeats, would the jeers
still be following the team around ??