have been a bogey team for so long, it's hard to remember who it used to
be before they came along and kept beating us. With a ragged start
to the season, both clubs sit on five points after four games played for
Spurs and three for Chelsea.
Having come off the back
of a Worthington Cup match against Torquay United and with injury
problems in that game and anyway, Spurs will enter the match with tired limbs.
Conversely, Chelsea had a week off after their match against Levski
Sofia was postponed in the wake of the Terrorist atrocities in America.
The goalkeeping position
at the Bridge has been thrown into confusion by Carlo Cudicini's freak
accident walking his dog pre-season, that has ruled him out so far, but
he will be in the squad for this game. More likely to play is Ed
de Goey, the lanky Dutch keeper, who can be inspired on his day, but is
also prone to the odd gaffe. Spurs must test him to find out which
sort of day he is having. Completely out of the picture (unless it
is taken with a wide angle lens) is Mark Bosnich. The former Villa
and Man U keeper has been shunted into the sidings and very rarely sees
the light of day.
In defence, the obnoxious
Frank Leboeuf has gone back to his beloved France and has been
replaced by William Gallas from Marseilles. He has had good
reviews so far and may be more of an attacking force than bald Frank
ever was. He has come in for the young England player, John Terry,
who might find himself out of contention with Ranieri. With the
Dutchman Bogarde ruled out, Babayaro might come in to replace him,
although Graeme Le Saux has been getting the nod for the left back
berth. Albert Ferrer has fallen out with the boss, so will be
unlikely to feature, but Marcel Desailly will no doubt be there in the
middle of defence and is a formidable obstacle to get past. Mario
Melchoit can give the Blues an option on the flanks, with his ability to
link with the attack at any time. If Spurs are to have any joy
getting past these players, they will have to do so with quick passing
on the ground and try and manouevre the ball wide to take on the full
backs, who might also be caught out pushing up.
The only two injury
problems lie in midfield with Di Matteo, who is still coming back from
breaking his leg a year ago, and the forward Ambrosetti. There is
plenty of cover with flying Danish winger Gronkjaer, England Under-21
international Jody Morris and new £11 million signing Frank Lampost
junior. This is a hell of a lot of money for a player who his own
fans at Upton Park did not rate highly. Undoubtedly a good player,
but is he worth the money ? You will have your opinion.
Lining up alongside him in the middle of the park will be Petit (who
turned down the chance to be playing this match in a white shirt) and
his former Barca colleague Boudewijn Zenden, the black belted flying
Dutchman on the wing. The pace that he and Gronkjaer have could
give Spurs lots of problems and if they can get crosses in once they
have got past the Tottenham defence, Ledley and Bunjy could be in for a
lot of aerial action. Samuele Dellabona, who nearly joined the
Milan clubs in the summer, is the engine room of the midfield and needs
to be shadowed, although his place has been taken by Mario Stanic, the
Croatian international or Jokanovic, who is skilful but slow.
The major threat (to the
Spurs goal and the Spurs defenders health and safety) is Jimmy
Hasselbaink. The powerful Dutch striker is fast and powerful, so
if Ledley wants a test of how to deal with different forwards, he is as
different as he will find. Eidur Gudjohnsen is not getting a look
in and has been linked with a move to a number of clubs, but he is a
good goalscorer in his own right. Then of course there is
Gianfranco Zola. The little Italian has proved a real boon for
Chelsea, making and scoring goals in his time at Stamford Bridge and
even though he is coming to the end of his career, he is still a player
who can turn a game and one who needs to be watched very
So, if that hasn't
explained why we haven't beaten Chelsea in 11 years, I don't know what
will. But as Glenn says, this Spurs team is almost all new
personnel from last time we were up against the Pensioners, so we start
with a clean sheet. Let's hope we can keep it or at least keep one
goal ahead of the visitors.
Sheringham's link play
will be vital and we need Les to be on top form to hold the play up
while support arrives. With Poyet suspended and the injuries
hitting hard, Tottenham will have to make the ball do a lot of the work
and not give Chelsea space to run into. The fluidity of their side
means that almost anyone can arrive in the Spurs box, so alertness and
hard work will be the basis of trying to overcome the West London side.
PREDICTION : -
Tottenham 2 Chelsea 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
Chelsea 3 (Half time score:
|Sunday 16th September
|Weather : - Bright, sunny,
|Crowd : - 36,037
|Referee : - Mr. S. Dunn
Scorers : - Tottenham - Sheringham
Chelsea - Hasselbaink 45, 80 (pen),
(dissent) 79, Freund (dissent) 79, Ferdinand (dissent) 81
Chelsea : Desailly
(foul) 23, Gronkjaer
(dissent) 64, Le Saux (foul) 74, Lampard (foul) 78, Lampard (ungentlemanly conduct) 90 - second yellow card
King, Perry, Bunjevcevic (Thelwell 59), Taricco; Anderton, Ziege,
Davies, Freund (Rebrov 85); Sheringham, Ferdinand.
Subs not used : -
Keller, Leonhardsen, Etherington.
Chelsea : De
Goey; Desailly, Le Saux, Terry (Gallas 45), Melchoit; Zola (Gudjohnsen
88), Petit, Gronkjaer, Lampard, Zenden (Jokanovic 81); Hasselbaink.
Subs not used : - Bosnich, Morris
We should all be used
to bad refereeing, but this is something else. With the score 1-1
and Spurs on top, one false decision by the officials cost Spurs the
half was instantly forgettable, with neither side creating a great deal
and often turning over possession to the other side. Anderton's
20th minute shot, after good set-up play by Sheringham, from the left
hand corner of the box forced De Goey into a low save. Sullivan
had hardly anything to do, but he did miss a punch from a corner, which
came back to haunt him later in the match.
was from a blocked shot in injury time at the end of the first half that
Chelsea took the lead. Lampost jnr. chased it into the box and as
Sully came out to block him, he pushed it past him. Sullivan was
aware that the England midfielder might go down, so pulled out, leaving
him to chip the ball back into the box, where it found Hasselbaink at
the far post. It was a soft goal to concede and one that Spurs did
not deserve to let in.
second half started much brighter for Spurs. Les smuggled the ball
down for Teddy to have a shot and it smashed against the bar so hard
that it whizzed past De Goey and rebounded to the edge of the
area. It looks like the woodwork at Tottenham will be severely
tested this season.
the second match running, a Spurs player departed the field on a
stretcher, with Bunjy getting a facial injury after a clash with ...
guess who ... Hasselbaink. Just when it looked as though things
were conspiring against Tottenham, Sheringham
did bring the scores level. He shot home low
past De Goey, after good work from Ferdie, who knocked down Perry's long
ball for Simon Davies to slip Ted in. His first effort was blocked
by the keeper's body, but he followed up to strike his left foot shot
wide of the man on the line.
were on top at this stage, but the astonishing decision by Steve Dunn
rocked Spurs fans, who could not believe it when he pointed to the
spot. Even after consulting a linesman, he would not change his
mind and his decision cost Spurs points. I am not saying that we
would have gone on and won the match, but we were gaining ascendancy and
this let Chelsea back in. Just as at Everton a couple of weeks
ago, two players were booked for arguing and when the Dutchman took the
penalty, Sullivan got a hand to it. He pushed it onto a post, it
rebounded across the goal, hit the other post and dribbled over the
line. Hasselbaink's celebration in front of the West Stand (his
first had seen him perform in front of the Park Lane Spurs fans) was not
appreciated by Glenn Hoddle. He indicated that the Pensioner had
stubbed his toe and that there was no doubt in his mind that it was not
a spot-kick. But then, players are paid to win games and there
would never be a chance that Hasselbaink would own up to not having been
fouled in a million years.
when it looks like all is lost Spurs do the unexpected. Teddy got
on the end of Les' low cross and scored, sweeping in from about six
yards out. Taricco overdid his celebrations, running around with
his shirt waving above his head and Spurs looked to have salvaged a
point. As the game came to it's ninety minute mark, for the second
time in the match, Lampost was tackled in the area and went down under
challenge by Ledley King. The ref waved away appeals for a penalty
(this time) and Perry pointed an accusing finger at the former
Iron. He took exception to this and as the ref ran away, not
wanting anything to do with the incident, Lampost got up and pushed
Perry in the face with his hand. There then ensued some more
pushing and shoving, so when the ball went out of play, the linesman who
was trying to even things up, called the ref over. After a short
discussion, Lampost received his second yellow of the afternoon and
departed. Le Saux, who is becoming the spitting image of an
Arsenal player, went whingeing to the ref and having been already booked,
he should have been done for dissent again and walked.
lost their composure and started racing around flying into tackles,
which didn't really require it. One such move left the ball off
for a corner and when it came in, Gudjohnsen on the near post flicked
on, with Sullivan nowhere and Desailly headed home at the far post,
where he arrived unmarked. It knocked the stuffing out of Spurs
and the game tamely ended, before the fireworks started at the final
whistle. Taz and Le Saux squared up, Hasselbaink and Ferdinand
shaped up for a heavyweight duel and many Spurs players surrounded the
should have been an exciting game remembered for the right reasons in a
week when dignity and honour has been uppermost, descended into chaos
and nastiness to leave a bad taste in the mouth. The one who was
supposed to be maintaining justice ended up as the one who started a
war. I trust that this will not be the way the other major events
of the week turn out.
|MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DARREN
is enough injustice in the world as it is without Steve Dunn imposing
more on us, even if it is on a much smaller scale than elsewhere.
a run stretching back 12 years since we last beat the Pensioners, it is
unlikely that this sequence will ever be broken as long as Spurs suffer
the bad luck they did in this match. For not only did a dodgy
penalty get awarded against them, but Bunjevcevic went off on a
stretcher with a fractured cheekbone. His absence in the Spurs
defence didn't help in defending the last minute corner that gave
Chelsea their winner.
first half gave no indication for the all action second period to
come. An Anderton shot, a couple of tame bookings and
Hasselbaink's goal right at the end of the half, against the run of
play, made it fairly standard fare.
second half started with Teddy rattling the bar from the edge of the
box, while Sullivan was little troubled as the visitors struggled to
string together passes. Then Sheringham equalised at the second
attempt, set up nicely by Davies, who once again had an impressive game
against some illustrious opponents.
came the turning point of the match. Spurs
fans, who were too busy laughing at Hasselbaink kicking the turf when
there was no Spurs player near enough to touch him, were appalled to look up to find
Steve Dunn giving a penalty. his ineffectual assistant referee
gave no assistance, claiming not to have seen it and saying that he
didn't give the penalty. We all thought he was there to help
!! If it was a foul, then why, when
Hasselbaink was in on goal, did no Spurs player get sent off ??
One for Mr. Dunn to muse on we think. So for the second time this
season, we have been the victims of a dubious penalty decision. If
these things even themselves out over the length of a season, then we
have some real pearlers to look forward to.
nearly saved the penalty, just failing to get enough on it to knock it
onto the outside rather than the inside of the post, but it went in and
Spurs lost it for a while after. They were trying to even the
scores of the decision and not the goals. Bookings started to come
more frequently. Sheringham and Freund showed dissent (perhaps on
video evidence, the penalty will appear not to be one and therefore,
these two bookings can be annulled as they were not showing dissent,
just telling the truth) and went into the ref's book, while Lampard
dived in on Davies late and got a yellow too.
time ticked away, Ted stroked home Ferdinand's low ball into the six
yard box and Spurs were level. With five minutes of added time to
play, Lampard went into the Spurs penalty area and tumbled spectacularly
after Ledley went in to tackle. Under normal circumstances, this would
not have mattered a great deal, but it wasn't the first time he looked
as though he was trying to win a penalty when no contact had been made,
so Chrissie Boy let him know what he thought of him. Frank,
without his Dad around, has had to learn to stick up for himself, so he
stuck one on Perry. The referee, who was trying to keep up with
play as it broke away from the Spurs goal, didn't see what went on, but
that was no surprise with what had gone on throughout the match.
The same assistant ref gave him a running commentary on the incident and
Lampard got his second yellow and a red to match. In
reality, he should have had a yellow for diving in the box and a
straight red for raising his hands. Inconsistency strikes again.
Dunn had not excelled during the game. In my opinion, he was too
slow to keep up with play, had no intention of letting play flow and was
too keen to react to the appeals of the players rather than make his own
decisions. Twice he left players on the floor after clashes of
heads while play went on; a cardinal sin in the referee's unwritten rule
book, as the game should be stopped straight away. It even took
him a while to realise that he should move a free-kick forward 10 yards
after Gronkjaer had been booked for dissent.
down to ten men, Chelsea got a late corner that was headed in at the far
post by Desailly, who rose unmarked with most players at the near
post. The goal was a stunner and the Spurs fans were silent as the
players held their heads. It was a basic mistake to make and after
we had been reduced to ten men last season, we should have made sure
that concentration was uppermost.
was doing well before he went off, looking untroubled against the
muscular Hasselbaink. Ziege was getting skinned by Gronkjaer in
the first half, but in the second, he got to grips with the Dane and won
most of his tackles. He also provided some good crosses into the
box and some that evaded everyone. Taricco was a curious mixture
of good forward play and dodgy defending. I am still not sure how
effective a defender he can be, as he does seem temperamental (with the
accent increasingly on the 'mental').
won the ball convincingly in midfield, but tried to be too clever on
occasion, while Anderton battled back when required and also passed very
well. Davies was all over the place. His youth and vitality
made up for some of Les' less than energetic closing down of Chelsea
defenders. Les tried hard, but his poor first touch lets him down
and he had a couple of chances that went woefully wide. In
contrast, Ted hardly wasted a ball and was in the right place at the
right time to get his goals. It is the Sheringham we want to see
and while I can understand his omission against Torquay, I am at a loss
as to why Sergei was on the bench. I am sure that his pairing with
Sheringham must be allowed to develop, with one of them playing further
forward than the other (it doesn't matter which), to allow Tottenham's
attacking play more potency.
now Spurs have to play at Sunderland without two central defenders and
Niall Quinn is waiting.