Looking Forward

 

BOLTON WANDERERS (Away)

Premier League

Saturday 17th April 2004

With a draw against City, Spurs are still left with a few points to gather to be safe, while Bolton secured their position with 41 points after beating Wolves.  So with more to play for, you expect Spurs to be up for the game, although it must be remembered that this match is away from home.

However, with a Spurs player scoring for the second game running, things are obviously on the up !!  But will the team that is picked be able to compete with the Trotters ?  Pleat is under pressure and his position as Director of Football under threat, so what effect will this have on the caretaker boss ?  One can only hope that whatever happens, the players have it in themselves to get the necessary points total to keep them in the Premier League.

That will be tested at the Reebok, as Bolton have a good record against Spurs there and with some injuries still blighting the Tottenham team, the side will need to show that they are able to battle out for points as well as be able to play their way to wins away from home.  Gus Poyet will probably feature again in a cameo hour long performance, while it must be hoped that Ricketts and Jackson can be fitted in somewhere, with Kelly an almost certain starter in Carr's place.

As for Sam Allardyce's side, Kevin Poole is the back-up goalie behind the regular keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, who is a really good stopper and although he can be rash in coming out of his area and his kicking is poor (although not as bad as KK's), he marshals his defence well in front of him.

Florent Laville is out injured for this match, so Barness, Campo, N'Gotty and Hunt will form the back four.  Anthony Barness is the former Charlton defender who has been a lucky scorer for Spurs in the games between the two sides in recent seasons.   The right back has forced himself back into the team since the turn of the year and has been playing in a defence that has tightened up considerably.  Simon Charlton is the experienced left back at the club, but local product Nicky Hunt has been selected ahead of the former SCBC man, with his ability to forage forward giving him the slight edge.  French central defender Bruno N'Gotty provides a strong aerial presence in the middle of the back four and Fredi's battle with him will be crucial to the outcome of the game, while Defoe's ability to run at people on  the floor might give both N'Gotty and Campo troubles.  Campo is the former Real Madrid man, who has given a calming authority to the Bolton defence, with the ability to bring the ball out of defence and an outlet for someone seeking to move the ball on.  He can be used in front of the back four too, which might provide an opportunity for Emerson Thome to play alongside N'Gotty.  The ex-Chelsea and Sunderland centre half is rugged and physical ... perhaps too physical sometimes, like last week when he almost pulled Wolves' Miller over in the box.  Spurs might be able to play on him, with the way to go through the twin towers in defence is to go around them.  There is also old timer Steve Howey there, who left Leicester this season after moving on from Man City last season.  It would be great if N'Diwa Lord-Kangana played, just to see if his name fits on the back of his shirt apart from anything else !!

Midfielder Kevin Nolan has started to pick up his form this season after a slow start.  The powerful youngster has bags of confidence and no little amount of skill, but has lacked the dramatic impact he had for his side last season, until recently.  He is partnered in midfield by Stelios Giannakpoulos, Per Frandsen, Jay-Jay Okocha or Youri Djorkaeff.  The Greek international is a dynamic worker, who likes to get into the box to support the front two and this suits some of his team-mates, who no longer have the legs to do so.  His consistent inclusion in the side shows how much Allardyce rates him and he can be the one who will win the ball in midfield against Spurs.  Okocha is a highly talented schemer and although he hasn't scored this season (don't talk too soon), he is a creator with skill to open up defences and also an ability to pick out team-mates with unerring accuracy.  He is out of contract at the end of the season, but looks ready to sign a new deal with Bolton come May.  Djorkaeff has just returned from injury and is being eased back into the team, so he is more likely to begin on the bench, but he is another established pro, who can influence a game with his movement and passing.

Per Frandsen is the Danish midfielder who is deadly from free-kicks and set pieces, while he still has the energy to dictate the pace of the game from Bolton's point of view.  It is a must for Tottenham to match the movement and determination of the home side.  Ricardo Gardner is a pacy dribbler from Jamaica, but he has not been a first choice lately and Ibrahim Ba, the French former AC Milan midfielder, could be given a final chance to impress after failing to win over the manager so far.

Up front, Henrik Pedersen has just started to hit a bit of goal-scoring form with three in the last four games.  A strong striker, he can hold the ball up well and although he hasn't looked the deadliest forward in the past, he can hit the ball with a fearsome thump.  Similar in build and also in ability, Kevin Davies has knocked around the Premier League scene for a few years now, but seems to have found some stability at Bolton.  He lacks the vital change of pace to make him a top striker, but he knows where he should be and can poach a goal, as well as hit one from outside the box.  I don't know anything about Ricky Shakes, but Javier Moreno is known to us as he was one player that Spurs were supposed to be interested in a couple of years back.  Another beefy striker, who is good in the air and able to bring others into the game.  Might be another introduced from the bench.

Tottenham will find that the defence will be key, as Okocha will no doubt try and run at Kelly and try to get him to commit himself to the tackle, while the bigger forwards will try to out-muscle Doc and Gardner.  The team will have to be strong and show that they are willing to get amongst the Bolton players.  Goals have been hard to come by for Tottenham, with the midfield changing and the supply not as fluent as it was previously, but I think that with Defoe, he will always be able to grab a goal out of nothing.  For that reason, with Bolton not having a great deal to play for now, apart from the fact that they have a thing about Spurs, I believe that it will end up ...

PREDICTION : -   Bolton Wanderers  1    Tottenham  1

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

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE

Unable to obtain an alternative view from a Bolton Wanderers fan website.

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

BOLTON WANDERERS : -  Florent Laville (knee); Ricardo Gardner (knee)

TOTTENHAM : -  Rob Burch (ankle); Darren Anderton (Achilles); Christian Ziege (thigh); Stephen Carr (suspended); Dean Richards (ear virus)

COVERAGE : 
TV :  -  No live coverage
Radio :  No live coverage
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  (subscription only)  

 

 

Bolton Wanderers   2     Tottenham   0     (Half-time score : 1-0)
Premier League
Saturday 17th April 2004
Venue : -  Reebok Stadium
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Bright, mild
Crowd : -  Bright, mild
Referee : -  J. Winter (Stockton-On-Tees)
Teams : -  
Bolton Wanderers : -  Jaaskelainen; Charlton, Thome, Ngotty, Hunt (Barness 77); Nolan, Campo, Djorkaeff (Giannakopoulos 88), Okocha (Frandsen 87); Davies, Pedersen
Unused subs: Poole, Moreno

Tottenham : -  Keller; Kelly, Doherty, Gardner, King; Brown, Davies (Ricketts 83), Redknapp (Keane 62), Poyet (Taricco 46); Defoe, Kanoute 
Unused subs: Hirschfeld, Bunjevcevic

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Bolton Wanderers Tottenham
Scorers : -  
Bolton Wanderers  -  
 Campo 8, Pedersen 66

Tottenham -  None

Cards : -  
Bolton Wanderers  -      Ivan Campo (foul) 71

Tottenham -      Simon Davies (foul) 81,     Mauricio Taricco (foul) 90

There's not an awful lot to say as Tottenham flopped to yet another away defeat, without ever looking like avoiding raking up 18 losses this season ... on a par with those teams at the very bottom of the table.

Right from the start when Pedersen got away and missed the mark by feet, it was obvious that Bolton wanted it more than Tottenham and we were the side who were in more need of the points !! It didn't take long for Bolton to get their first goal, when Campo was allowed to get on to Okocha's pass and hit a 25-yarder past Keller, who seemed to move to it a little late.  Even then, there seemed to be a bad bounce that helped beat Kasey.

The American keeper did better when he managed to get to a Kevin Nolan chip and push it away, before Ledley managed to block Okocha's shot in the 17th minute, when it looked like flying in.  Tottenham's first opportunity arrived in the 10th minute, when Thome lost control and Defoe seized on the crumbs, but could not trouble Jasskalainen in the Bolton goal.

The home side's attacking game was much more fluent than ours and Kevin Davies went close with a smart effort that cleared the goal as well as Keller, which was the same result as when Simon Davies tried to smash a long range shot after cutting in from the wing, but it rose over the top.  Nolan should have done better when he mis-hit his shot straight at Keller and then Davies threatened again with a shot that the defence managed to smuggle away somehow.

At half-time, Pleat substituted the defender Taricco for Poyet, leading to a re-shuffle in the side, but it made little difference.  He was left in Okocha's slipstream as Jay-Jay hit a fierce shot that blazed over the top.  The Nigerian also set up a chance for Campo, when his free-kick bounced back off a wall and the Spaniard hit a shot that couldn't beat Kasey.  But the Spurs keeper had to be on his toes to keep out Okocha's 53rd minute free-kick that took a deflection before Keller changed direction to prevent the ball going into the net with a very sharp save.

On the hour Keane was brought on for Redknapp, but Spurs were still being pressed back, with Kanoute just managing to clear a corner over his own bar and Kevin Davies wasted a good chance in the 63rd minute, when he was through but pulled at his shot, which went across the face of goal and wide.  However, the in-form striker, Pedersen soon made it 2-0, when Gardner let him get past to net from close range after Djorkaeff had put him in.  

The remaining 24 minutes featured little from Tottenham and the lack of commitment was depressingly familiar now.  Frankly, it's just not good enough.  And whoever wants to come to White Hart Lane to be our manager must realise that they have a big job on their hands.  It is a big job, but not because we are a big club, but because we are in a big mess.  One point from 18 at this stage of the season proves that.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  KASEY KELLER

Pete Stachio

 

AWAY DAZE

 

17.04.04

Are we going to get some pride back and start playing like a proper team as opposed to a third rate reserve side ?

Mike ... Portsmouth Spurs fan for 40 years

18.04.04

It is Sunday morning and I am sitting here reading all the usual reports from the press, websites etc.  It doesn't make for enjoyable reading, Another gutless, passionless performance from Spurs.

I think I have gone beyond the ranting and raving period and have now slipped into a quiet nervous disposition.

Pleat finally admits that we are in a " relegation dogfight ."  The man's a genius !

We don't have a manager (Pleat isn't, as he as told us as much, so we can't hold him responsible for the crap we have endured of late !); We don't have a midfield; We don't have a defence; our team is passionless; We have players who don't give a toss as they will be gone in the Summer.  All in all we THFC are in a pretty sorry state.

Still we can look forward to next Sunday when I will probably wish I was being mauled by lions rather than sitting in Paxton Rd watching the Arse win the league.

The shambolic thing about Tottenham that really annoys me is that nobody wants to take responsibility.  I just wish that somebody at Spurs would stand up and be counted and give a feeling of unity to the club that we all care about !

Pleat just waffles through every post-match interview with the usual mind boggling Pleatism's that Stephen Hawking would struggle to unravel.

Levy lies like a cheap rug ! Please name me one club in the entire world that would be stupid enough to go virtually a whole season without a proper manager (Still Mr. Levy will be pleased with the fact that it has saved the club a couple of million on manager's wages).  It is also a total insult to all of us paying fan's to basically write off an entire season, Personally Mr. Levy 595 (Paxton Rd season ticket) is a lot of money for me to just throw down the toilet.

Finally we get to Mr. Jamie Redknapp (Club Captain).  This bloke really takes the biscuit. This is the bloke who was lying on a beach when the rest of the lads were slogging it out on the pitch.  Bin Laden has made more appearances than this boy !  Hopefully he will dawdle off to Portsmouth in the Summer and they can pay him not to play.

I just hope to God that Leeds don't put in a good run in the last 4 games. Blackburn at home is a Cup Final for us and a win will allow us all to sit back, write our cheques for the new season tickets and look forward to the arrival of our new TOP CLASS manager !

Peter Liddon

18.04.04

Is there anyone out there who can give me any words of comfort at the present time ?  I can't see us getting anything out of the next two games i.e. the Gooners and then away to Villa.  That'll leave us on 38 points with two games left.  

Our last home game will be make or break against Blackburn (remember last year's 0-4 reverse?!) and I just can't see us avoiding defeat this time with them on the up.  That'll take us to Wolves on the last day and with our dreadful away form and the (admittedly slim) chance that Wolves will still be in with a shout of staying up makes it a nightmare last day fixture.  It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we'll pick up nothing from the last four games.  

That'll leave us stuck on 38.  Leeds will probably beat Pompey next week to take them to 35 and with three more games it's possible/probable they'll overtake us.  Portsmouth and Blackburn will do enough as, unlike us, they can't stop winning and although City are struggling too, I don't trust them to go down quietly, as they've got enough about them to sneak a win or two.  Are we doomed ?

I accept that perhaps I am worrying like hell and it'll end up ok, but can someone out there please say something to reduce my present levels of anxiety ?! Thanks.

Jason

18.04.04

Dear MEHSTG,

Is it just me, or should they consider ditching Pleat for the last four games ?

The man has never achieved anything in the game.
His 80's Luton team although attractive to watch, nearly went down in '84 and choked in two F.A Cup semi's.
His 1987 THFC team were a joy to watch, but failed to deliver on all fronts when chasing the treble.
Then in the 1990's, he masterminded Leicester and Sheff Wednesday's relegations.

His public comments are curious and insane.  Surely the players have lost respect for him ?  Why does he pick King at left-back and not centre-half ?  Why does he overlook Ricketts and Jackson ?  Why has he dropped our top scorer Keane ?  Why does he persist with Keller & Doherty ?

Why does he send them out with no fie in heir bellies.  We are the softest touch in the Premiership.  Teams and players of less ability work harder, and achieve so much more.  George Graham summed up the mess 100% after the Everton game on Premiership Plus.  We might not have liked the man, but I'd rather he was in charge for this precarious run-in.

In the summer ENIC must then account for their actions.  Appointing a useless caretaker like Pleat for eight months.  Claiming a manager was sorted for next season, and now desperately trying for anyone.  You can see in the summer, the weeks ticking by and no appointment being made.  And relegation would mean financial ruin, as they've already gambled with the finances.

I really do believe instead of misleading us about the big manager, they should sort out this season's mess.  We cannot win away, the Gooners could be a massacre and we don't have a great record against Blackburn.  I can see us getting two points to finish on 40.  Leeds and Man City could well get 41 points with their run-ins?

A stressful few weeks ahead.

Kevin Coaker
Hertford

19.04.2004

I honestly don't understand how Pleat comes to work with a straight face every Monday morning.

Ledley King is a terrific young central defender. He plays there for England, but not for Tottenham. How many goals have we leaked this year through the middle? Two from Docherty last week, a howler from Gardner this week.

Why does Keller keep his place?His kicking is pitiful, his distribution non-existent, he is often culpable on set pieces, never takes command of the area and every second game or so he lets in another soft goal (usually away), the heads drop, the defence gets jittery, game over.  Tim Howard got dropped for one mistake (albeit a big one) and United pushed on with their season and are now in a Cup final. That's called management - making shrewd, hard choices that can inspire those around you. 

We have barely scored in two months and yet Ricketts and Dalmat are rooted to the bench. In some matches Pleat has picked as many as six or seven natural defenders.  We have lost as many times as Wolves and been held scoreless 14 times. The collapse against Man City in the Cup was probably the most embarrassing moment in club history.

I had to laugh when Pleat recently recited his won-loss record to the media, throwing in the cup results to make it seem like he's won almost as many games as he's lost since that fateful day in September. The last manager to treat the fans so contemptuously was George Graham, but you expected that from Graham and he's never managed again.

The real problem (once we pick up a point or two) is how with eaching passing result, with each horror show on our travels, any prospective manager must be thinking just how a big a job is this? Frankly it's huge. We need a new keeper, a left back, at least one central defender and a minimum of three new midfielders. 

Finally I can't wait for the team selection against Arsenal. Eight, nine defenders possibly? As always, I hope we win. But I can't see it even being close.

Tim May

19.04.2004

We appear to be have reached a major crossroads. Relegation would be a nightmare although with Joe Lewis in second place behind Abramovich in the Sunday Times 100 wealthiest 'sports' people, financially we could cope. Better still we survive and we do get a top notch manager. Not Antic, not O'Neil and not Curbishley or Ranieri.

With 12 points left to play for and relegation a real possibility a win on Sunday is a MUST and what better time to do it. Perhaps Pleaty will bring his Luton tapes out !!

Martin

 

Other scores this weekend and midweek :

Arsenal

5 Leeds United 0 Friday
Blackburn Rovers 1 Leicester City 0 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 1 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 0 Everton 0 Saturday
Liverpool 0 Fulham 0 Saturday
Manchester City 1 SCBC 3 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 Manchester United 0 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Middlesbrough 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Manchester United 2 Charlton Athletic 0 Tuesday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 33 24 9 0 67 22 81 +45
2 Chelsea 34 22 6 6 60 27 72 +33
3 Manchester United 34 22 5 7 61 32 71 +29
4 Liverpool 34 13 11 10 48 36 50 +12
5 Newcastle United 33 12 14 7 45 33 50 +12
6 Aston Villa 34 13 10 11 44 40 49 +4
7 Charlton Athletic 34 13 9 12 44 46 48 -2
8 Birmingham City 34 12 11 11 40 42 47 -2
9 SCBC 33 12 9 12 38 33 45 +5
10 Fulham 34 12 9 13 47 44 45 +3
11 Middlesbrough 34 12 9 13 40 42 45 -2
12 Bolton Wanderers 34 11 11 12 40 51 44 -9
13 Everton 34 9 12 13 42 47 39 -5
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 34 11 5 18 42 54 38 -12
15 Blackburn Rovers 34 10 7 17 48 57 37 -9
16 Portsmouth 33 10 7 16 37 47 37 -10
17 Manchester City 34 7 13 14 47 50 34 -3
18 Leeds United 34 8 8 18 35 69 32 -34
19 Leicester City 34 5 13 16 41 59 28 -18
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34 6 10 18 33 71 28 -38

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