season comes to an end and another year passes with no discernable
improvement in our position. We still lose too many games away
from home, we still have too many players injured, we still wait for a
new striker ...
So Blackburn Rovers come
to town and as the team that put us out of a UEFA Cup pace last season
by beating Tottenham in the Worthington Cup final, the players should
have some gripe to gee themselves up. But how often have we
thought that this season ?? How often have the players left their
minds elsewhere. With Teddy making his last Spurs appearance, will
he want to go out with a bang or like he has been playing lately ...
with a whimper ? Redknapp is back and should show us what we have
been missing. Surely, some of the youngsters will get a look in at
some stage on Sunday ? If not, what have we got to look forward to
It will be hard enough to
get past Friedel anyway, without some strong running midfield to support
Keane, there is little hope to the wee man doing it all himself.
The defence of Lucas
Neill, Henning Berg, Martin Taylor, and McEveley
are not infallible. Neill likes to get forward and can be caught
with players getting in behind him, Berg is still strong, but lacks the
pace he had when he was younger (and that wasn't that quick), Taylor is
tall, but might find Keano a handful on the grass, while James McEveley
has been getting good reviews although he is a raw youth at 17.
Spurs might be able to take the ball further forward on the floor to
cause problems, but could have trouble winning anything in the air in
the opposition box. Falling into the same category as Taylor and
McEveley is Nils-Eric Johansson, while Andy Todd and Craig Short are
more traditional English central defenders, who would make it even more
difficult to get through. They will miss Vratislav Gresko, who has
been playing well while on loan, as a serious injury rules him out of
midfield area is strong in the Rovers side. David Dunn mixes
strength on the ball and in the tackle with good skill and a neat
finishing ability, but he has had his moments with Souness this season
and might be suffering because of that in the background. While
Turkish international Tugay is effective, he often
seems to drift out of matches, leaving the likes of the
workmanlike Gary Flitcroft and Craig Hignett to
make up the running he doesn't always do. The artistry comes from
Duff, who has a lightning turn of pace, all the tricks in the book and
he knows how to get the ball into the onion bag. His impact on the
game and how he is marked will have the defining influence on the
game. Former Liverpool winger David Thompson and ex-Newcastle
wide-man Keith Gillespie are both available on the flanks in midfield to
push forward and support the front two.
the former Manchester United pairing of
Cole has blown hot and cold. Yorke has fallen foul of Souness and
Cole had a spat with the manager too, but they are back in harness,
mostly because Rovers have missed the talents of Matt Jansen all season
after a motorbike crash in the Greek Islands last summer, which nearly
cost him his life. The two are fairly mobile, but the comments
about Cole's finishing came back to haunt us last year and he might want
to end the season with a flourish at Hoddle's expense. Hakan Sukur
has come into the side and might make an impact after his first goals
against Fulham the other week. He had a 'mare of a World Cup and
we hope he does the same at the Lane. Norwegian Egil Ostenstad
could play in midfield or in attack, but he might not be used as he has
been a regular on the bench lately. Italian misfit Corrado Grabbi
might take a bench position too, but that will be the most he will hope
For no other reason than
I think we will score and let some in, I predict that our season will
: - Tottenham 2 Blackburn Rovers 2
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
do you think your team have played this season ?
been a funny season, if we had managed to get results against the bottom
teams we would be in a champions league spot. If you look at our points
taken against the top 4 teams compared with our results against
the bottom four
teams it just doesnít seem to make sense. We did the double over Arsenal
giving us 15 points. Whereas against Sunderland,
we only managed 8 points. When we get the ball down and play we look
like a quality outfit but we are far to inconsistent to be
challenging the top teams.
Who do you think is your best player at the moment ?
Duff, Duff, Duff and DuffÖ..
Which player isn't playing as well in
recent games ?
he really doesnít seem to be arsed. He is our top scorer this season
but really hasnít been up to much
Any exciting new names in the squad
that we should look out for ?
We are very lucky as we have one of the best academyís
in the country. A number of quality players are coming through including
McEveley (recently capped for England U21 at
the age of 17), Gallagher (very promising striker made his first prem
appearance against arsenal), Donnelly (recently scored 4 goals for
England U18ís in a game, not bad for a midfielder). To be honest there
are quite a few who I would expect to see coming through next season.
What is the line-up expected to be
Neill, Berg, Taylor, McEveley
Dunn, Tugay, Flitcroft,
What do you
Rovers fans think of Tottenham ?
donít want to get myself in trouble here, but I donít think Rovers
were happy with the way Spurs handled the build up to the Worthy Cup
final last season. Fans and Staff of the club were quoted as saying how
good it was going to be to play in
and Glenda Hoddle
seemed to treat us with a complete lack of respect. Which
made it extra special when we lifted the cup ;)
Spurs player do you like ?
think Keane would be the one player I have been impressed with at Spurs.
do you reckon the score will be ?
we play like we did against West Brom you
will probably beat us 2-0, if we play like we are capable of we may be
able to nick a win. Itís a massive game for us as we need the win to
push for 6th in the league and another season in the UEFA Cup.
TV : Highlights - The Premiership - ITV Sunday night.
Radio : BBC London (94.9 FM) - London
area Live coverage
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk
Tottenham 0 Blackburn Rovers 4
(Half-time score : 0-2)
11th May 2003
|Venue : - White Hart Lane
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Bright, with some
persistent drizzle throughout.
|Referee : - A. D'Urso
|Crowd : - 36,036
|Teams : -
Tottenham : - Keller; Taricco (Ziege 62), King, Perry; Carr, Davies,
Poyet, Redknapp (Toda 70), Etherington; Sheringham, Keane
Unused Subs : - Sullivan, Bunjevcevic, Acimovic
: - Friedel; Neill, Todd, Taylor, McEveley (Johansson 63);
Flitcroft (Dunn 46), Tugay, Hignett (Jansen 76), Duff; Cole, Yorke
Unused Subs : - Kelly, Suker
|Colours : -
Tottenham - All light blue
- Red shirts, black shorts, red socks with black turnover
|Scorers : -
Tottenham - None
Blackburn Rovers - Yorke 4,
Hignett 45, Duff 48, Cole 60
|Cards : -
Tottenham - Poyet
(foul) 33, Taricco (foul)
|Well, what an end to the season.
Another run of two games with players sent off. Two games losing
by four goal margins. And the end of an era.
It al started to go wrong as early as the
fourth minute, when Duff played a low pass in to the edge of our box to
Cole. His back-heel sold Perry and left Yorke clean through to put
his low shot past Keller.
Spurs did fight back a bit, with Keane
weaving his way past McEveley on the right wing goal-line and smashing a
shot that Friedel saved for a corner, but Keano might have done better
pulling the ball back for someone else. Only a very well-timed
Todd tackle denied Etherington an opportunity to get in a shot coming in
onto Teddy's pass, but, from the corner, only the attention of a
Blackburn challenge stopped Perry getting his header on target.
Sheringham also got free at a corner, but, like his defensive colleague,
failed to get the ball to hit the target and the chance was lost.
Up to this point, the ref had pulled up
only Lucas Neill for a booking. Gary Flitcroft had been rampaging
through players with late and studs up challenges without so much as a
word from D'Urso. So, it came as somewhat of a surprise when he
reached directly for the red card, when Gus went in to a tackle with the
Rovers captain. Yes, Poyet did have his studs showing and caught
his opponent on the knee, but his feet were low and there was no
"going over the top", which Flitcroft had been guilty of
previously in the match.
The game effectively ended there for
Tottenham. The game started to be played at testimonial pace, with
Blackburn knocking the ball about well, but surprisingly creating few
chances against the lethargic Spurs side. In fact, the goal from
Hignett volleying home Perry's header that went straight up in the air,
was one of the few direct efforts at Keller in the rest of that
Coming at the end of the first half, it
made things worse for Tottenham. But two minutes after the break,
Duff got on the end of a low cross from Yorke and as the ball got away
from Carr, was left with an open goal to score. Lots of people
left at this stage, but it wasn't the end of the torment for those Spurs
fans who stayed.
Cole headed wide when he should have
scored, Neill struck a fierce volley at the far post narrowly over the
top and on the hour, Yorke went wide to return the compliment for his
fellow striker to scuff home the fourth goal.
While Blackburn played OK, they still
managed to pass the ball off the pitch, even with a man advantage.
Friedel also had to be on his toes, when Keane broke free and hit a hard
shot at the keeper, with Redknapp and Teddy both hitting shots straight
at the lanky Yank. The other American net-minder produced a good
save when Perry daydreamed and left Yorke through on goal, but Kasey did
well to get strong hands to a low drive and beat it away.
There is little that I can say about this
Tottenham performance that would do it justice. There was little
to say about the style or pattern or effort in Spurs' game. The
shouts of "Hoddle Out" might be a bit premature, but there
needs to be some acute analysis of what has gone on since Christmas at
THFC, with injuries only part of the problem. Sherwood has had his
say, but there needs to be some soul searching from within.
It's gonna be a long, lonely summer.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - ROBBIE KEANE
|No star names
Too many injuries
Too few players showing any passion
Too few players putting in enough effort
Too few players who should be in the team
And that's only a start !!
We need to replace about five and
bring in a total of about ten players if we are to do anything better
than this season.
This loss was just one of many
that Tottenham have committed, without putting up much of a fight.
With one of the older players sent off, it could have been worse if it
had been a Davies or Keane. It is hard enough playing a match with
the likes of Poyet and Sheringham starting, but to lose another player
through a sending off, just makes it impossible to contest a match with
the current line-up.
Coming home from the game, I
heard Everton fans saying that Tottenham were a disgrace to lose 1-5 at
Boro and 0-4 to Rovers. This ,mainly stemmed from the fact that
they missed out on a UEFA Cup place because of the result today, but it
is where you end up over a season that counts. We are lucky to be
where we are, with the results we have achieved since Christmas, but
Everton are where they are because they could not beat Tottenham in the
two League games this season (how ever bad they think we are). And
they didn't have to play the last hour of each of their last two games
with ten men.
With a gap of six points between
us and Bolton, we are nearer the bottom than the ten points that
separate us from the UEFA Cup spot filled by out opponents. But it
is a thin line either way and which way that will go next season depends
on what Hoddle and Levy come up with between now and July. It's
not long and they need to work quickly and work smart.
It was the third goal that
signalled a flurry of season ticket books flying onto the pitch.
Not sure they would have been thrown before today, what with the
exorbitant cost and other games still to be played. The main worry
about this action was that Christian Ziege might slip on one and be out
for another five months. It was easy to understand the frustration
of the fans, as we caved in with ten men again. I thought you were
supposed to make it harder for sides when you had ten men ?? Not
us though !! Blackburn wandered about and scored at will.
Just the four conceded was a bit of a result really.
But the crowd brought out the
"You're not fit to wear the shirt" chant, along with some
booing every time Matthew Etherington went near the ball after he had
put another cross into the crowd and responded to the stick with a
gesture. Probably won't be seeing him in a Spurs shirt again
The "lap of dishonour"
at the end took a long time coming. Maybe Hod was tongue-lashing
the team in the changing room ?? Some hope !! He sent out
Taz, Bunjy, Poyet and Ziege to take the crowd's cheers and the others
followed a few minutes later. Sheringham lapped up every second of
it, taking it all in for posterity's sake, while Steffen Freund made it
a more memorable affair, dishing out number 4 "Freund" shirts
to all corners of the ground and having "Thank You All"
printed on the front of his own shirt worn over his clothes. Some
players were missing - Blondel for example, but others were there to
make up the numbers, such as Bowditch, O' Donoghue, Henry and Burch.
Players like Etherington and
Iversen have failed to show continued good form in a Spurs shirt and
thus reach their potential, while Sullivan will be fed up playing second
fiddle to Keller, Thatcher has dropped out of the picture (even when he
is fit), Toda isn't the answer and the mistakes made with Bunjy and
Acimovic cannot be repeated. New players should be young and
hungry or more experienced and better than what we already have.
The manager will also need to
look at how he wants the side to play. Hoddle has tinkered with
things this season and they have not really worked. True, he has
been hampered by injuries meaning he has been unable to play a settled
side, but the squad needs to consist of players who can slot in, should
first choice players be unavailable. His use of substitutes needs
reviewing. From using none, to using two at half-time, to trying
to bring on Acimovic when we are 0-4 down and in the last minute does
beg questions of what he is trying to achieve with them.
Most crucially, is the
non-appearance of any youngsters in the squad for the last four
games. With no hope of getting into Europe, you would have thought
he might take the chance to give a few a taste of the Premiership in the
final meaningless games. They might have added a little bit of
fight to the side and with something to prove to the manager, actually
tried to get things moving on the pitch. Where does it leave our
options when trying to sell the club to young stars, if they are not
going to get the opportunity in the first team ??
The only good thing about this
match was the new Spurs kit, which is a simple and neat strip. It
did pass my mind that they should have held it back until the first game
of next season and that might have encouraged a few more season tickets
to be sold !!
this weekend :
||West Ham United