WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (Away)
Saturday 15th May 2004
With relegation confirmed for the Old Gold club, the last game of the season will see the pressure lifted and the desire to go out with a bang. With Tottenham having won their last home game, it could be a tight game and much will depend on how Spurs can pitch in against what will be a determined Wolves team.
Dave Jones' team have had a good home record and have had some good results against some of the top sides. Not that Tottenham are one of the top sides these days. But the Midlanders play a pacy game with the ball got out side early ... like the Wolves sides of the 1950s. Spurs midfielders will have to work hard to nip out the supply and Pleat, in his last game in charge of the side, will need to pick a team that can stem the tide.
Wolverhampton have replaced Michael Oakes in goal with Paul Jones, formerly of SCBC. Oakes has always struck me as a sound keeper, but the idea of David Jones to bring the goalie of the same name he knew him from his time at the New Dell was to try and keep the Wanderers up in the Premier League. It hasn't worked, but it has had little to do with the keepers.
The ageing ex-Man U man Denis Irwin has been a regular with 28 matches played at left back and his experience has helped out, but after suffering the drop, he will be retiring after this game. Sunderland sold Paul Butler and Jody Craddock to Wolves when they went down and the centre half pairing have great height at the back and going forward for dead ball situations. In contrast, former Gooner Oleg Luzhny has featured only four times this season for the Molineux team. He might have to play on Saturday, as regular right back Lee Naylor has a knee injury, but is recovering fast.
In midfield, the side have had their most consistent player in Alex Rae, who rumours might suggest will be on his way to Glasgow Rangers. He is a tough-tackling ball winner and has shown this season that when he concentrates on his football, he can be a good passer and finisher. The same goes for Paul Ince, who is considering another season with the club, despite his disappointment of not captaining the side to safety. Another aggressive midfielder, but perhaps his best days are behind him, although he still shows the desire to drive the team forward. Scot Colin Cameron has shown that he has the ability to move the ball quickly and to run with the ball himself, while Shaun Newton has continued to show the busy midfield work he always demonstrated with Charlton. Both could cause problems running at the Tottenham defence, with Cameron more likely to operate centrally, with Newton on the flank. That is also where you will find Irishman Mark Kennedy, who has got pace and a trick to see him around markers, but he has lacked consistency in his delivery, causing frustration with team-mates and fans alike. One bright spot for the club has been Henri Camara's integration into the side after a slow start. The Senegal international has scored some cracking goals and his all-round contribution to the side has impressed. It will be important to Wolves if he stays next season to help them retain their Premiership position.
Kenny Miller has found it hard to replicate his goals scored last season in the First Division. Two in seventeen is not the return that Dave Jones was expecting from him, but he still is a good forward, with the ability to find space away from his marker in the box. Signing Carl Cort from Newcastle came a little too late for Wolves, as he has slotted in well and has scored five goals in eleven matches. Tall, rangy and able to hold up the ball well, Cort had an injury ridden time at St. James' Park, so was looking for a good run in the Wolves team and that is what he has had and proved his danger in the last third. Steffen Iversen is another injury hit player and it is no surprise to Tottenham supporters to play only 11 games. What has been a surprise is that he has scored four goals in those few games. I suppose he will play and score ... although I said that in the first game against Wolves this season and he didn't play ... as he was injured !!
With Spurs hoping to get something from this match to pull away a little further from the bottom, the side might well be playing for a place at the club under the new manager ... whoever he will be and whenever he arrives. They have failed to respond to Pleat's promptings and the end of the season can't come quick enough for them. However, as they showed against Blackburn, they can put together a decent performance and one more this season would not go amiss for the travelling support, who have suffered so much this season.
PREDICTION : - Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Tottenham Hostpur 2
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
FROM THE OTHER SIDE
What do you think
of Wolves' performances this season ?
do you think is your best player has been this season ?
player didn't live up to expectations ?
a season back in the First Division coming up after the summer, so you
think the club will be able to keep the side together or even add to it ?
match of the season for you ?
away trip ?
is the line-up expected to be ?
Spurs player do you think will give you most problems ?
do you reckon the score will be ?
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS : Dean Sturridge (hamstring); Nathan Blake (neck); Matt Murray (broken foot); Joleon Lescott (knee); George Ndah (knee)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Rob Burch (ankle); Darren Anderton (Achilles); Mauricio Taricco (calf); Stephen Carr (ankle); Simon Davies (shin)
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk Live webcast
|Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Half-time score : 0-1)|
|Saturday 15th May 2004|
|Venue : - Molineux|
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.|
|Weather : - Hot, sunny|
|Crowd : - 29,389|
|Referee : - S. Bennett (Orpington)|
|Teams : -
Wolverhampton Wanderers : - Jones; Irwin (Craddock 90), Okoronkwo, Butler, Naylor (Rae 72); Newton (Ganea 61), Ince, Cameron, Kennedy; Camara, Cort
Unused subs: Oakes, Iversen
Tottenham Hotspur : - Keller;
Ziege, Gardner, King, Kelly; Yeates, Brown, Redknapp (c), Ricketts
(Kanoute 72); Defoe, Keane (Poyet 88)
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Wolverhampton Wanderers - None
Tottenham Hotspur - Keane 34, Defoe 57
|Cards : -
Wolverhampton Wanderers - Ince (diving) 28, Ince (kicking out at Redknapp - second ) 68
Tottenham Hotspur - Redknapp (kicking ball away) 78
With two opportunistic goals, Tottenham recorded their fourth away win over the season and ended up sending Wolves, who were reduced to ten men, to the bottom of the final Premier League table of the season.
Wolves came out like a team determined to prove a point after their relegation was confirmed last week. In the first few seconds, Ince lobbed a high ball in for Keller to tip over the top, Kasey caught a mis-hit shot by Camara in the second minute, as Wolves pushed on. It was the lively Rohan Ricketts who got Tottenham back moving in the right direction, when he drove a shot over the top in the third minute.
It was a spell around the tenth minute that almost caught Spurs out, but some fine saves by Kasey Keller kept Tottenham in it. His first dive was to push away a towering Cort header away, then Keller managed to touch another Cort header onto the bar, which King then cleared away, and then a 15th minute Irwin free-kick hit the outside of the post, although the Spurs keeper looked to have it covered, if it had sneaked six inches the other way.
Free-kicks were coming thick and fast. Ziege curled one that Jones took without too much trouble and then with Ince trying to get a penalty by throwing himself in the area, Tottenham got the free-kick and Ince got a yellow card for his trouble. Another dead ball situation saw Redknapp hammer a shot straight down Jones' throat.
On the half hour Ricketts hit a sweet volley that Paul Jones had to do well to turn over the top, before Yeates slipped a great pass through to Robbie Keane who took the ball into the box, had his first shot saved and then went past Jones to knock it in for another goal this season against his old club. However, the home side struck back with Kennedy firing in a long range shot that Keller took comfortably and then in injury time, Ince powered a Newton cross with his head goalwards, but Kasey didn't have to move to take the ball.
In the early minutes of the second half, Robbie Keane almost seized on another chance, but Jones came out to smother the ball and took Keano as well, leaving him on the floor for a few moments, while Irwin (playing the last match of his career) cleared to safety.
Cort was being dangerous at both ends. He knocked on a free-kick and Newton got in on it, but snatched at his shot that ended up wide. It was Carl Cort's woeful back-pass which was never going to reach Paul Jones that saw Jermain Defoe nipping in to intercept and take it skillfully around Jones to put the ball into an empty net for 2-0.
Ince showed a typically "Guv'nor" type attitude in getting sent off for being entangled with Redknapp and kicking out at him, thus earning a second yellow card. He displayed even more attitude when it took some of his own team-mates to shepherd him off the pitch after he wanted to give the ref a piece of his mind.
Strangely, Wolves pushed forward after Ince's dismissal ... perhaps knowing of Tottenham's inability to play against short-handed sides. Substitute Ganea slipped the ball into the box and just as Cort liked like he might pounce, Stephen Kelly nipped into take the ball away. The Romanian nearly made his own mark in the 74th minute, when he hit a 35 yard volley that dropped with relief on the top of Keller's net, as he back-pedaled to get there.
Jamie got needlessly booked for kicking the ball away, before Fredi got into the game after replacing Ricketts, who was quieter in the second half. Michael Brown, who did a lot of the dirty work in midfield, put Kanoute in, but he didn't get a clean contact on it and Jones fielded it easily. The Wolves goalie had to move a bit sharper to get to Fredi's next effort. Yeates produced a perceptive pass to the Malian striker and his drive got a flick off Butler and Jones managed to fall and stop it with his feet.
Two late substitutions saw players given the chance to take the cheers of the crowd. Denis Irwin finished a fine career as he went off a few minutes from the end and Gus Poyet was given a last few minutes in a Spurs shirt, coming on for Robbie Keane. Of course, Christian Ziege also made his last appearance for the club, but he was afforded the whole 90 on this occasion. The real story should be about Mark Yeates who made an accomplished debut alongside his more well-known team-mates, showing some lively work and some good passing ... something everyone who has seen him in the reserves will know about.
Another substitute Rae for Wolves warmed Keller's hands with a long range effort. There was just enough time for one more go at goal, as Tottenham played keep ball and then Poyet and Ziege linked up for the final time to set up Defoe to fire in a low drive that Jones just managed to get a touch onto and direct it onto the goalpost before the match official called time on Wolverhampton Wanderers stay in the Premier League. Although it was a brief one, I, for one, hope they come back soon, as they have a great stadium and excellent fans. It's just shame about the local constabulary.
The noise on the day was tremendous, from both sets of fans and although there was the unnecessary escorting of fans to the station after the match, which spoiled what had been a good away trip, I hope to witness more of the score-line on our trips next season, once a manager is installed who can get us to be more resilient away from home.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - ROBBIE KEANE
|Relief that it is all over for
another (poor) season.
But it will all start again soon enough, but who will be in charge and who will wear the shirt next season ?
As usual, we will be the last to know.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Aston Villa||0||Manchester United||2||Saturday|
|Blackburn Rovers||1||Birmingham City||1||Saturday|
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