Looking Forward

 

DERBY COUNTY

Premier League

Monday 15th October 2001

The Rams have been having a tough time of it lately. Colin Todd and Jim Smith have yet to come up with a winning combination to take the Rams up the table and with Todd taking the reins, his focus will be on tightening the defence in the first instance.

Goalkeeper Mart Poom has always had a good reputation as a sound keeper, but he always seems to me to be hesitant on crosses.  A good shot stopper, yes, but if we can get Les and Deano up there for set pieces, they could trouble him in the air.  In reserve they have the young goalie Andy Oakes, who made a name for himself last season when he came into the side.  Needs a bit of time to gain experience, but could prove a useful player in the long term for County.

Defence is an area where there has been little change recently.  England Under 21 central defender, Chris Riggott has had a lot of pressure loaded on his young shoulders, but has proved he is a solid Premiership defender.  He needed an experienced old head alongside him in the side and has been paired with Danny Higginbotham, the former Man U youngster.  Riggott might have benefited form playing with Taribo West last season, but now he has gone, there are few old stagers in the Derby defence.  It was probably hoped that Bragstad would fit the bill too, but his loan spell last season hints that he will not be a Ram for too much longer.  Horatio Carbonbari is likely to be back from injury and will play wide on one side. He may be one for Spurs to attack and get round to feed Ted and Les, while Con Blatsis (the Australian full back) is also another who could be played on.  Scotsman Brian O'Neill came in from Germany and is more likely to play that the chances we will see the wonderfully named Pablo Mills line up in a Derby shirt.

With the lack of goals at the club for the last couple of seasons, there are question marks hanging over the midfield as a source of supply.  The gifted Giorgi Kinkladze only seems to play when the fancy takes him, which is a shame as he is a classy creator.  Stefanio Eranio left the club at the end of last season, but decided he didn't really want to, so has signed on again, but his pace is a lot reduced these days.  He can, however, pick out a pass when he needs to, but won't do so now, as he has left Pride Park again following the removal of Jim Smith from his manager's post.  Fellow Italian Daniele Daino came in from AC Milan in the summer, but has yet to make an impact.  

The three most likely to appear in the middle of the park are Seth Johnson, Craig Burley and Daryl Powell.  These are players who would run all day if you let them, but their effectiveness in opening up Premiership defences is in doubt.  All of them are dangerous if they get in shooting range, but if the Spurs side can move forward, they can prevent them getting forward to worry the Spurs defence.

With the signing of Ravanelli, there was the hope that he would score the goals to shoot them up the table, but that has not happened on a  regular basis.  Strike partner Malcolm Christie has always impressed me on his appearances against Spurs, with his pace often a worry for our former central defender.  Now he has gone, Christie might not get so much joy from our back men.  Deon Burton is a nippy little forward, who can put away chances well, but he is reliant on good supply from the midfielders in the side to play to his strengths.  Belgian Croatian Branko Strupar has been out of the side with injury and has not been the answer to the side's scoring troubles that the fans thought he would be.  A waste of money is the view of some of them.  He will be unable to take part in this match too.

With two old fashioned Englishmen in charge, expect amore traditional 4-4-2 from Derby and the emphasis will be on hard work.  Having not won a league game since the opening day of the season, the Rams will try and frustrate Tottenham and hit them on the break - mainly through Burton or Christie.  Spurs should be able to apply the right amount of pressure on the visitors to counter their attacking options, with Ziege and Taricco using the wings to force Derby to cover them with their own players.  Three straight defeats in the Premiership would tend to indicate that Spurs will recoup some of the pints they have been deprived of lately.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  2  Derby County 0

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

 

 

Tottenham  3   Derby County  1                               (Half time score: 2-1 )
PREMIER LEAGUE
Monday 15th October 2001
Weather : -  Mild, damp after some heavy rain
Crowd : -   30,148
Referee : -  Mr. M. Halsey (Welwyn Garden City)

Scorers : -  Tottenham   -   Ferdinand 10, Ziege 41, Poyet 90
                  Derby County  -  Ravanelli 15

CARDS

Spurs :   None

Derby County :  Mawene (foul) 32, Ravanelli (foul) 51  

TEAMS 

Spurs :  Sullivan; King, Richards, Perry; Taricco, Freund, Anderton, Poyet,  Ziege; Sheringham, Ferdinand (Rebrov 87)
Subs not used : -  Keller, Sherwood, Thatcher, Davies.

Derby County :  Feuer; Riggott, Higginbotham, Mawene, Valakari; Johnson, Powell, Murray (Kinkladze 61), Burley; Ravanelli, Burton (Christie 70)
Subs not used : -  Elliott, Boertien, Oakes.

As the previous home game had been so one sided to Tottenham in the first half, so this was more or less throughout, although Spurs did enough to give us an uncomfortable time until the final knockings of the match.

With Ted firing a curling shot wide from the edge of the box inside the second minute, the tone was set for a performance that saw Tottenham pass the ball well, but fail to finish off their good approach work.

Four more minutes gone and Ziege found himself on the end of a perfect ball in from Sheringham, but his volley went over the bar, as another did later in the half.  On the balance of play, it appeared that Derby had failed to turn up !!  They showed little ability to pass and retain the ball, as Spurs pushed forward constantly looking for the opener.  We all thought it had come in the eighth minute, when Teddy was denied by the assistant referee's flag.  He was adjudged offside when he stroked the ball home, even though it looked like he was behind the ball when Les squared it to him, after failing to convert a chance himself.

The Rams' relief was short lived as Ledley King strode forward and slammed a shot at the Derby goal.  It was blocked by a defenders body and fell for Christian Ziege to put the ball back across the six yard box hard and low.  It skidded off the wet turf and with defenders coming in, they knew they had to be careful about conceding an own goal.  Therefore, it found it's way to Les coming in at the far post and he shot home into an unguarded net.

Taking the lead and having all the game so far, Spurs started to get a little sloppy.  A Ziege back pass fell to Burton, who weakly shot straight at Sullivan, while the same forward had a good opportunity, only to hit an even softer drive at the Scots keeper from a central position.  A break by Ravanelli, behind and across the back three, was tracked by King and he tried to shepherd the Italian out to his left of the goal, but as the Derby forward went to turf, he slipped a shot between King's legs and past Sully into the bottom corner of the net.  To say it was against the run of play was an understatement and it was looking like Spurs would be frustrated in their attempt to gain full points form this game.  

However, the home side kept moving forward and Les, Ziege and Sheringham all forced the American keeper into action.  Poyet was especially involved.  He mistimed one run to get on the end of a Les knock down (or was it supposed to be a header on target ?) and injured himself when he and not the ball ended up in the net !!  Another run got on the end of a Taricco cross and flashed a header off the top of the bar.  He had a part to play in the second goal, five minutes before half time.  He won the ball and skipped away from a challenge on the right wing, before feeding Teddy infield.  The England forward looked up and produced a slide rule pass inside the full back for Christian Ziege to run on to and stroke past Feuer with the outside of his left foot to restore Tottenham's lead.  It was a similar goal to the one he scored against SCBC  and took him to the top of the goalscoring pops for Spurs.

The second half was more of the same really.  Sheringham, Freund, Poyet and Ziege all had efforts stopped by Derby defenders throwing themselves in front of the ball for all they were worth.  The Spurs forwards were still making inroads and a foul on Poyet produced a centrally located free kick that Ted sent wide, but not far wide, of the post with the keeper left standing.  Taricco had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring, but dwelt on the ball, allowing a defender to close him down and a powerless shot was the result.  With all this pressure, Spurs then started to give the ball away unnecessarily.  Derby brought on Kinklaze and Christie to beef up their midfield and forward lines, but although they were on top for 15 minutes in terms of possession, they failed to produce a worthwhile shot on target.  With Sullivan drawn into rushing from his goal to dive at Christie's feet, there was rare action in the Tottenham goalmouth.  It was a nervous time and whether the implications of the Man U game were playing on their minds, I don't know.

Meanwhile, Poyet rose to head another one wide and dived to meet a low cross, but was blocked out.  Anderton sent a long range effort just over the bar, thanks to a deflection and Sergei Rebrov (on for four minutes as a substitute) had two chances. On both occasions he got efforts on target requiring Feuer to save.  With Spurs fans wanting the final whistle to come, Mawene slipped over when in possession as he was closed down by Poyet.  The big midfielder struck the ball first time and produced a prodigious lob that went over Feuer (not mean feat as he is about 7' tall) and dropped into the top corner of the net.  His shirt removal and subsequent throwing up in the air, showed his joy at his first league goal and his first at White Hart Lane.

For all the nice passing and possession had by Spurs, you had the feeling that at 2-1, it would only take another slip for Derby to get back on terms.  It was a joy to see Spurs play this way, but as Hoddle said after the match, the lack of chances being taken could cost Spurs.  Luckily, not against Derby, but up against better teams, it could be very wasteful.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  STEFFEN FREUND

Pete Stachio

 

PASS THE DERBY

 

The new style Tottenham won this match as easily have they have any other in recent years, but the lack of finishing power meant that it was a long time coming.

The cheers that greeted each completed Spurs pass towards the end of the match meant two things.  One that the crowd were behind the side and secondly that the Derby side would be ready to break a leg to get it back.  Humiliation hurts.  The way Tottenham went about beating Derby was the way we want to see them play football.  The watching Dave Mackay, who graced both sides in his time, must have been transported back in time to his playing days at White Hart Lane.  But what we would have given for a Bobby Smith or a Greaves, as with them in the side, the scoreline could have doubled Blackburn's win over the Hammers.  The chances that went begging were numerous and Spurs let the Rams off the (meat) hook as they were hung out to dry.

The start looked like Spurs meant business with Ted's drive just wide and the disallowed goal.  Ziege's part in the goal (and the rest of the game) really showed how good he can be when he is in a side that he can play in and he can give 100% to.  His low skidding cross was one that defenders and keepers hate, but Les Ferdinand loves and it was one he stuck away.  Sir Les has been playing well, but the end result has not been there for him.  With Rebrov in the wings, he has to add to his part in the build-up play by scoring as the team are now spreading the goals throughout the side, but he needs to chip in with his fair share.

The fact that Ravanelli got County an equaliser was against the run of play.  Ledley got caught out as the Italian flung out a leg and directed the ball across Sully into the far corner.  It stunned Spurs and the crowd, but they went back to playing their game and got another goal before half-time, with Ziege calmly steering Teddy's delightful defence splitting pass into the goal.  It was a classy goal all round and one that typifies the effect that Hoddle has had on the side.  While Teddy has the nous to open the tightest of defences, for the majority of the game he gave the ball away too much with clever flicks when there was a perfectly simple alternative on.  Yes, we will cheer when it comes off, but when we are 2-1 up for the majority of the second half and a third would have killed the game off, we need to take a practical view.

Poyet was all over the place, but in a good sense and his link play with Taricco down the right opened the Derby left flank to pass them by.  Tano has settled into the role vacated by the injured Carr, although on more than one occasion on the night, Carr would have rifled in a shot on goal, whereas Taricco tends to try and pass the ball on.  With the play almost all at the Derby end, it could have caused Sullivan to lose concentration, but he was alert when required to stop Christie by plunging at his feet.

Luckily for Spurs, Steffen Freund had the run of the midfield.  Daryl Powell tried to scare him early on with a late challenge, but Freund shrugged it off and strutted around the middle of the park as if he owned it (which he did).  Cross field passes, back-heels, drag backs.  He had it all - even a shot that was charged down.  When Kinkladze came on, it was Stef who crunched him in a tackle that left the Georgian holding his back and that was the last we saw of him.

While leaving Spurs fans hoping that Derby didn't manufacture another freak equaliser, the team left the best for last.  As the clock ticked into injury time, Mawene slipped over and the ball rolled away from him.  Gus strode forward and without thinking lobbed the ball into the night sky, from where it dropped like a shooting star into the net after it's parabola arced over Feuer in the Derby goal.

Once again, Spurs got three goals, but failed to get true recompense for their dominance.  The whole team played very well, with no-one being able to be singled out for criticism.  But the side must learn that the currency of points is goals and they need to be goal rich to reach the Land of Milk and Honey.

Peter Brownswood

 

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