Looking Forward

 

CHELSEA

Premier League

Sunday 16th September 2001

Chelsea 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In defence, the obnoxious Frank Leboeuf has gone back to his  beloved France and has been replaced by William Gallas from Marseilles.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 carefully.  

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.

 

 

Tottenham  2    Chelsea   3                          (Half time score:  0-1)
PREMIER LEAGUE
Sunday 16th September 2001
Weather : -  Bright, sunny, light wind
Crowd : -   36,037
Referee : -  Mr. S. Dunn  (Bristol)

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  Sheringham 66, 90
                  Chelsea   -   Hasselbaink 45, 80 (pen), Desailly 90

CARDS

Spurs :   Sheringham (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

TEAMS 

Spurs:  Sullivan; 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 game.

The first 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.

It 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.

The 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.

For 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.

Spurs 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.  

Just 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.

Tottenham 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 referee.

What 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 ANDERTON

WYART LANE

 

DUNN OVER

 

There 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.

With 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Then 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.

Sully 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.

As 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.

Steve 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.

Anyway, 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.

Bunjy 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').

Freund 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.

So, now Spurs have to play at Sunderland without two central defenders and Niall Quinn is waiting.

STEVEN GREENWOOD

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