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Premier League

Wednesday 16th December 2009

With the disappointment of the defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers now behind us, Tottenham can push forward for the remainder of the season to see where they finish up.  And while all the talk is of being glad there is another game so soon, it could possibly have been abetter one than the equally unpredictable Manchester City.

On their day, they are capable of beating anyone, but equally, they are capable of turning in a stinker of a defeat to the lowliest of opposition.  Sound familiar ??

City are starting to assemble a team worthy of the money being pumped in by the Dubai investors and the Champions League placings will be their target for this season.  it is always likely to happen, but it was a question of whether the team would gel quickly enough.  The erratic nature of their results shows that it is not quite the well-oiled machine the petrol heads behind the club might have hoped for, but they are getting there.

A big miss will be Craig Bellamy, who has been a crucial factor in their better performances and the City side also looks to be shorn of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge, while the terrier in midfield, Nigel de Jong is just getting over Swine Flu, so might miss out too.  But there are enough good players to fill their places and in the rest of the team to keep Tottenham occupied.

From the back, where they have signed a very good goalkeeper in Shay Given through the defence with the likes of Micah Richards, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Pablo Zabalyeta who will probably be the four to face Tottenham.  The full back swill enjoy looking to push on and the use of the ball by Spurs in finding Aaron Lennon will be a major factor in pinning them back and also in terms of the Spurs attacking intent.  With Crouch likely to start, he might find it a tough aerial battle with the two experienced central defenders, but they lack pace and if Defoe gets one-on-one with them, he could benefit from his pace over theirs.

The City midfield is packed with big money signings and Stephen Ireland.  Gareth Barry has found a new lease of life after leaving Villa, with some forceful performances while Vincent Kompany will probably come in for de Jong as the enforcer alongside Barry.  Strong and tall, he can be a formidable obstacle to get around.  Wright-Philips' pace is always a dangerous weapon for City and without that it may be left to Martin Petrov to provide the supply from the flanks, with Stephen Ireland roving behind the front two and linking play between the two parts of the team.  The Irishman is a good creator and also a good finisher and will need to be tracked as he makes runs off the ball into the box.

Up front, there is a choice of Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez or Emmanuel Adebayor.  The former Gooner used to score regularly here against us and this might be in Mark Hughes' mind as he approaches the game.  not in the same sort of scoring form as before his infamous goal celebration against Arsenal, Adebayor is gangly and tall, but he can be kept quiet in games by good marking.  Tevez is dynamic and never stops hassling centre halves or closing down goalkeepers.  His goal-scoring record isn't probably what it should be for someone who is as talented as him, but he is a real nuisance and will run until he drops.  Santa Cruz is a more natural goal-scorer than the other two and has height ands strength on his side.  Still really finding his feet at City after his move from Blackburn Rovers, he is a handful for any defender.

Usually set up in a fluid 4-4-2 formation, City try to play the ball through the midfield and while the hope is that the game will be an attacking, open one, it may be that they have noted how Spurs have crumbled under the pressure of being chased for 90 minutes against Everton and Wolves.  It has been a period where Tottenham's form has plateau'ed out following the big win over Wigan Atheltic, but that must be put behind them now and another good run begun to carry through Christmas and New Year.

I don't think this willbe as open as many consider it will be and that the game will be fought out in midfield, leaving few clear-cut chances for the forwards to thrive on.  It will be down to which side takes them, but I think it might be that Spurs edge it as City are not as potent a threat away from Eastlands.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    1      Manchester City    0

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Ledley King (out - knee); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Jermaine Jenas (doubtful - food poisoning); - (-); - (-); 

MANCHESTER CITY :  -  Craig Bellamy (out - suspended); Shaun Wright-Phillips (out - ankle); Wayne Bridge (out - knee); Michael Johnson (out - knee); NIgel de Jong (doubtful- Swine Flu); - (-); 


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Tottenham Hotspur   3    Manchester City   0     (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Wednesday 16th December 2009
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,891
Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Manchester City kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Cold, raining
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto   (  3  Bale  90+5)
19  Bassong
20  Dawson (c)
22  Corluka

21  Kranjcar          
  6  Huddlestone
12  Palacios     
  7  Lennon

18  Defoe     (  8  Jenas  90+2)
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  2  Hutton
14  Modric
  9  Pavlychenko
10  Keane

Manchester City :

  1  Given

  2  Richards
  4  Onuoha
28  Toure
16  Sylvinho     

  7  Ireland
34  de Jong        (17  Petrov  71)
18  Barry
10  Robinho  (14  Santa Cruz  59)

32  Tevez       
25  Adebayor

Unused subs: 
12  Taylor
  5  Zabaleta
33  Kompany
40  Weiss

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Manchester City
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Kranjcar  37
Defoe  54
Kranjcar  90+3

Manchester City


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (foul)  66
Kranjcar (foul)  71  


Manchester City

Sylvinho (foul)  61
de Jong (foul)  69
Tevez (foul)  90+3   


Match Report : -  

Spurs beat Manchester City 3-0 in a game that seemed to be easy, but I am not sure how.  City failed to turn up in the all guns blazing style they show at home, but away from Eastlands they are a different kettle of fish and frankly they stunk the place out with their lack of incisive play, which belies their record of only two defeats all season.  However, that might be explained by the large number of draws they have taken part in. 

With Robinho’s effort that had to be tipped over the top by Gomes in the first half and the Spurs keeper having to make two saves in the last five minutes, it must have been a chilly night for the Brazilian.  The lack of clear cut chances was further exacerbated by the good play of Sebastien Bassong and Michael Dawson in the middle of defence.

For the first 20 minutes, City ran the midfield with Spurs struggling to keep up with the short passing of Gareth Barry and tigerish play of Nigel de Jong, but the passing was mainly sideways and the tiger in the Dutchman’s tank ran down as the effects of the Swine Flu he had been suffering kicked in.  The moaning from the Spurs fans started as early as the first minute and I feared the players would be charging into the crowd to sort of their gripes, but gradually Tottenham eased their way back into the game and began opening up the City defence. 

Aaron Lennon had got away down the right and pulled a low ball back to Kranjcar, but the midfielder shot way over from a good position.  The first goal came from another good cross from Lennon, who had a reasonably quiet first half.  He got a bit of space and put in a long cross from the right wing onto Peter Crouch’s head and his header was stopped by Stephen Ireland, who tried to chest the ball down.  He did manage that, but only for Niko Kranjcar to be on the spot to shoot home past the static Given from inside the six yard box. 

Goal two came from a route one move.  Gomes launched a long free-kick towards Crouch’s head from ten yards inside the Spurs half and the striker’s knock down into the box was hopelessly missed by Toure, who flung a flailing leg at the ball without getting near it.  Poised to strike behind him was Jermain Defoe, who in a situation where he didn’t have time to think about it, did what he does best and prodded the ball first time to Given’s left, as the keeper was back on his heels. 

It was only in the last five minutes of the game when City pushed forward and brought Heurelho Gomes into action.  First the Spurs goalie had to dive to his right to get good hands on Martin Petrov’s free-kick and push it to safety, then three minutes later, he smothered Ireland’s low drive.  City’s best chance came when a ball into the penalty area found Adebayor sliding in unmarked but the ex-Gooner could only put his effort high into the Park Lane end. 

Inside injury time, Vedran Corluka won a corner and it was taken short by Kranjcar to Lennon.  The winger touched the ball inside the full back to the Croatian, who had run around the defender, he took the ball past one more player inside the area and as Given closed him down, he toe-poked the ball through the goalie’s legs for a hilarious ending to what had started as a battle between two sides vying for fifth place. 

While not in the sort of passing form that saw off Wigan Athletic in such resounding style, the team dug in and worked hard enough to track the runs of the City players and they made sure that there was little getting through to the Tottenham goal.  With City playing a more expansive game than the likes of Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, there was always the chance of getting something from this game and the three goals from probably a total of 12 yards out, indicates that the nature of the goals do not have to be classics to win matches. 

With a win putting Spurs two points behind Aston Villa, it makes Saturday’s trip to Blackburn Rovers another important game; one which the players need to continue the good away form in.

sid e. netting


Fan Reaction : -



I was as much surprised as anyone at the ease of this victory.  Were Spurs at their best or did city just not turn up ?  I think it was more of the latter, but after giving xmas gifts ... sorry points away to Everton and Wolves, I wasn't complaining.

Spurs are just like an oddly wrapped xmas present you just don't know what the hell your going to get.  Maybe I'm too hard on the team, when you think where we was this time last year, I'm very pleased overall with our position.  Here we are already on 30 points and approaching the halfway stage of the season, but its a strange league this year after all we are only three points above Birmingham !!

I keep thinking if only we had beaten Stoke and Wolves at home and Jermain had smashed in the penalty against Everton we could be on 38 pts now and sitting in second place, though I'm a bit confused with football at the moment as it seems finishing fourth is now THEE success.  Financially, I guess it is, but at what cost to the other competitions even the UEFA / Europa cup or as some call it the Channel 5 cup seems not worth winning to some sides.

What would Spurs supporters really want ?  To finish fourth and no silverware every year or say win the FA Cup/Carling Cup regularly but finish eighth or so ?

IF (and its a big if) Spurs get in the Champions League do you really think we would go far.  Even at 2-0 last night City did have chances to make it a nervous finish and but for the linesman not seeing Dawson's handball in the area it may have been a nail biting finale ... again.


I am a bit worried if Harry Redknapp thinks was the best 90 minutes the team have played this season. 

Too often possession was given away and the decision making in and around the City box was poor.  It was only that we took a few of the chances that came our way and that City didn’t look as though they were that bothered that meant we came out with three points.   

The defence played well and Gomes saved the shots that they had on target, but the way the crowd got onto the midfield was a bit annoying, as City’s engine room was quite effective in not giving Tottenham time on the ball and they often had to move the ball backwards to keep possession.  More teams are realising this is the way to play against Spurs, so it is necessary to understand that keeping the ball and being patient are virtues which might be needed to get results like tonight. 

Making the most of the ball that we do have might also help achieve the aim that Harry has for a top four finish, but there is a long way to go yet this season. 

the heathrow spur








Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Tuesday
Bolton Wanderers 3 West Ham United 1 Tuesday
Manchester United 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Tuesday
Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 2 Tuesday
Burnley 1 Arsenal 1 Wednesday
Chelsea 2 Portsmouth 1 Wednesday
Liverpool 2 Wigan Athletic 1 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 17 13 1 3 42 14 40 +28
2 Manchester United 17 12 1 4 37 14 37 +23
3 Arsenal 16 10 2 4 41 20 32 +21
4 Aston Villa 17 9 5 3 28 14 32 +14
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 17 9 3 5 38 22 30 +16
6 Liverpool 17 8 3 6 34 23 27 +11
7 Birmingham City 17 8 3 6 18 17 27 +1
8 Manchester City 16 6 8 2 29 24 26 +11
9 Fulham 16 6 5 5 20 17 23 +3
10 Sunderland 17 6 3 8 22 24 21 -2
11 Stoke City 16 5 6 5 15 19 21 -4
12 Blackburn Rovers 18 5 5 8 17 30 19 -13
13 Burnley 17 5 4 8 21 35 19 -14
14 Wigan Athletic 17 5 3 9 20 38 18 -18
15 Everton 16 4 5 7 22 30 17 -8
16 Hull City 17 4 5 8 17 34 17 -17
17 Bolton Wanderers 16 4 4 8 23 33 16 -10
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 4 4 9 15 31 16 -16
19 West Ham United 17 3 5 9 25 34 14 -9
20 Portsmouth 17 3 2 12 15 26 11 -11


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the mid-week :  5th


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