|The run has gone
on for too long. The law of averages says that we must beat
Chelsea some time and this time is as good as ever. If some of the
regular first- teamers are back for this one, I am sure that they can
put one over on Hoddle's former club.
The season has not been all plain
sailing for Chelsea. Starting with Gianluca Vialli in charge, he
paid the price for not being as successful as Ken Bates would like him
to have been. To replace him, the Bearded One brought in Claudio
Ranieri from Italy via Valencia; a man who spoke little English, but
that wouldn't matter with the mixed nationalities at Stamford
Bridge. Things haven't been that pleasing for the glory hunting
crowd of Chelsea fans and there has been a lot of division about he
merits of the manager. Even the players appeared to be revolting
at one stage !!
One move that Ranieri has made is
to install Claudio Cudicini in goal and the young Italian has done well,
as long as he doesn't have to use his feet too much. There could
be a weakness in the air and crosses to test him out with our forwards
flying in to meet them might unsettle him. This has left the
hulking figure of Ed de Goey out of favour, but he is a capable keeper
too and his height is an advantage in dealing with shots away from his
body, although curiously, he is not that brilliant in the air. The
rehabilitated Graeme Le Saux and Celestine Babayaro flank Leboeuf and
Desailly in the middle of the defence. Spaniard Albert Ferrer has
fallen out of favour and sometimes Mario Melchiot plays in the back
four, releasing Desailly into midfield. Young English
defender Paul Terry also has played in the defence recently, whereas
left back John Harley has been out of the side.
The midfield section of the team
contains Wise, Gronkjaer, Dalla Bona, Morris, Jokanovic and Poyet.
The Uruguayan Poyet is a typical modern midfielder, playing up and down
the middle of the pitch, he gets forward and scores more than his fair
share of goals. Wise is a short, annoying character and he seems
to have coached Jovanovic, who was last seen raking Don Hutchinson's
head while he lay on the floor. Youngster Jody Morris had a bright
future, but has been overlooked in favour of a young Italian - Samuel
Dalla Bona - who the manager fancies more than the diminutive
Morris. Most interesting of them all is Jesper Gronkjaer, the Dane
who Ajax cashed in on, plays on the flank and has lightning speed.
He can turn a defender and can finish, although his awareness of where
his team mates are around him can be a bit suspect. He could cause
any side problems and needs to be marshalled well if Spurs are to keep
Up front the frightening Jimmy
Floyd Hasselbaink leads the Chelsea line, partnered to best effect by
Gianfranco Zola. The little Italian is highly and technically
skilled and can set up chances with ease. For a small man he gets
a good number of headed goals and uses his experience to be in the right
place at the right time. Hasselbaink tends to rely on strength and
pace to do the damage. Spurs should know about him from his time
at Leeds and from earlier this season, when he scored against us.
Mario Stanic has regained fitness and has played - mainly as sub - but
he is able to score from almost anywhere as his goal early on in the
season against West ham United showed. One player who would have
been a good signing for Spurs - Eidur Gudjohnsen - has scored regularly
when he has played, but doesn't seem to be the manager's first
choice. Although not as pacy as Hasselbaink, he knows where the
goal is and can score from tight situations.
There is a wealth of talent at
Chelsea, but the problem has been harnessing it to produce consistent
performances. Until recently, they were below Spurs in the League
and only their good run has taken them up into the top ten. Having
as bad a time away from home as Spurs, we hope that their trip across
from West London has taken a lot out of them.
PREDICTION : -
Tottenham 1 Chelsea 0
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Tottenham 0 Chelsea 3
- Tuesday 17th
Weather : - Chilly, light
Crowd : - 26,074
Referee : - Graham Barber (Tring)
Scorers : - Tottenham - None
Chelsea - Hasselbaink, Poyet 60, Gudjohnsen 90.
Tottenham: Sullivan, Carr, Doherty, Perry (Gardner
37), Young, Thelwell, Sherwood, Davies (Piercy 75), Clemence
(Etherington 82), Korsten, Rebrov.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Leonhardsen.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Terry, Desailly, Babayaro,
Dalla Bona, Wise, Poyet (Stanic 76), Le Saux (Gronkjaer 67), Zola
(Gudjohnsen 78), Hasselbaink.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Jokanovic.
"Twenty" and "four"
were two words I had hoped not to use in this report, but still, our
regular lack of a win against the Pensioners was
on the cards as soon as the referee decided to hand them out to
Korsten. It was a rash challenge having only been booked about 10
minutes previously, but he had his feet low on the grass, he was late,
but it was not intended to hurt Melchiot and the rain that was falling
had made the pitch a little slippy. However, the match official
was intent (more than Korsten meant) on producing a card as soon as it
happened. Such instant decisions can only spoil games and although
Spurs might not have got anything from the match, the dismissal almost
ensured that. The remainder of the game was spent chasing the ball when
Chelsea had the man advantage, despite Dennis Wise raising an arm into
John Piercy's face when he made a challenge on the little irritant late
Prior to the game there was a
minute's silence, which was well observed by both sets of supporters,
for the referee who collapsed and died at Southend United's game on
Monday. The game itself started off in a strange manner.
Both sides were giving the ball away and it was Chelsea who settled
first. Sullivan was forced into flying save from Hasselbaink (who
didn't even get a corner for it) and Le Saux. Spurs didn't really
show much in the first half, only a Rebrov shot which went way over the
bar and when Davies' hooked shot over his shoulder had Cudicini
scrambling across his goalmouth, but it went wide of the upright.
Tottenham's play was a bit ragged and the marking for Chelsea's first
goal must be questioned. A straightforward corner saw Hasselbaink
get to the ball first and head home past Sullivan. It was just the
precursor to Korsten's sending off and then Chelsea taking it easy
before knocking in a quality goal in Poyet's volley from Le Saux's
excellent low, pacy cross and then Gudjohnsen scoring past Sullivan in
There is still
along way to go to catch up a team like Chelsea, let alone Arsenal and
Manchester United. It would have been more of a guide to how we
are doing had we had a full team out, but the way things have gone for
about five years now that may never happen. Purchasing during the
summer will be Hoddle's number one priority and hopefully, he will have
seen enough of the team in action to know which players to bring in to
blend with those at the club already. The second half of this
match showed how difficult it is for the team to hold onto possession,
as that was what was necessary when they had only ten men. With
another decent midfielder who can create chances, the team may do a lot
better. But that is for next season as we still have four games to
get through with a rapidly diminishing squad.
|The crucial moment in this match
came when Graham Barber the referee produced a second yellow card for
Willem Korsten just before half-time. One nil down already, there
was to be no way back for Spurs as Chelsea then proceeded to knock the
ball about with ease. Let's face it Korsten is hardly a hard
man. In most games he rarely gets up a head of steam, let alone
have to let it off. He's a pussycat, Willem !!
Still we were already 0-1 down
and not looking like we would trouble Cudicini in the Blues goal, as it
was the 66th minute that he first had to get his knees dirty. An
acrobatic overhead swipe by Davies in the first half had been the
closest threat prior to that and his effort had slipped just past the
post. The only real effort worthy of note in the second half
came from Rebrov, whose shot was straight at the Chelsea keeper.
At the other end Hasselbaink was
the main threat, although Anthony Gardner did well against him, using
his pace to good use after he came on. He notched the first with a
reasonably easy header, then hit a curving shot past the post, before
losing out on a one-on-one with Sullivan in the second half. He
finished off the game with a shot almost over the South Stand, when the
ball took a wicked bobble, just as he was preparing to shoot alone in
the box. Apart from him, there was little direct threat form any
other Chelsea player, so maybe that has been their problem this
season. It just so happened that the injury to Perry meant that,
with Doherty up front, there was little cover for the defence. The
midfield battled away, but really were given the runaround as Zola
showed what class he has and how we ever passed up the opportunity to
take him is a mystery only to be solved by Scully and Mulder.
For Spurs, as usual, Neil
Sullivan was the star. His string of excellent saves kept the
score down to three and kept his reputation as a reliable keeper
intact. Apart form him, very few shone, but in the climate of 10 v
11, that would have been very difficult anyway. It was
disappointing that once again the referee chose to enforce the letter of
the law on some occasions and allow some to escape scot-free on
others. The inconsistency is what annoys fans more than
While there was a minute's
silence for the relatively young referee who died (showing that we are
all mortal), there were few moments of peacefulness for the one running