Looking Forward



Premier League

Friday 18th April 2003

With both teams hit by injuries, the line-ups will probably be much changed form the previous meeting at the turn of the year at Maine Road.

City are without their long term injured Haaland, Wanchope, Tiatto, Weaver, Mettomo and with Berkovic out Algerian Benarbia will come in to replace him in midfield.  Djamel Belmadi, a national colleague of Benarbia, has been dogged by injury since he too arrived to prove his worth on loan, but it hasn't worked out for him.

Goalkeeper Schmeichel is well known to al Premiership watchers and is coming to the end of his career, with his retirement being announced for the end of the season.  He will want to go out on a high with as many clean sheets as possible.  I am not sure that is possible with the light blue defence in front of him !!  He has had little challenge, as Nicky Weaver has been out injured for so long thatmost people have forgotten about him and Carlo Nash didn't have the best of luck when he came into the side.

Niklas Jensen, Kevin Horlock, Sylvain Distin and Gerard Wiekins are not the most formidable back line, even for the decimated Tottenham forward section.  Wiekins has done well, but lacks pace, while Distin must be wondering why he chose to leave Newcastle.  Jensen looks good going forward and Northern Ireland international Horlock has a good strike rate from free-kicks, but with defending a necessity, he may be found wanting.  With former Toon favourite Steve Howey and Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne also in the club's roster of players, it still doesn't scream "shut-out" to you.  Lucien Mettomo could provide a dominating presence if he plays, but one of many other loan players - David Sommeil - is more likely to feature.  Strong and athletic he might inject a little pace into the side's defence.

A youngster called Joey Barton is set to play in midfield and we know little about him save for the fact that he was supposed to have had a pretty good game against Boro last time out, in what was a dull, dull, dull match.  With former West Ham United escapee Marc Vivien-Foe alongside him, there will be a physical presence, but he has not been making his presence felt this season and although he has nicked a couple of goals, he is not the finisher that City need in midfield.  Sun Juhai will run and run all day if necessary, but he cannot run a midfield on his own as he is industrious, but not all that creative.  With Berkovic out, Benarbia is in and he showed in a brief substitute's appearance that he can be a creator and cause the keeper trouble with his own efforts.  Horlock might be pushed into this area of the team should injuries rule any more players out.

Patrick Anelka and Robbie Fowler have been paired as the Blue Mooner's Dream Team in attack.  It hasn't quite hit it off yet, but they might provide problems with Anelka's pace and movement and Fowler's finishing.  We will have to hope it's not on this day that it happens.  Shaun Wright-Phillips can play up front, but is usually placed in the hole behind the front two.  Other options used from the bench now that they are both fit again are tall Shaun Goater, who ahs a very good scoring record and takes chances however they come to him and Jonathan Macken, who has been unlucky since he arrived at Maine Road from Preston and has been hit by injury.  With Darren Huckerby on loan to Notts. Forest, the four main forwards will be available to pick from, with Mario Vuoso not seriously in contention for a staring place in the line-up.

Altogether Man. City have spent a lot of money on not a great deal of quality.  Many players will be moving off and more will come as Keegan has a revolving door policy about players in his team.  However, the side will be unable to develop on the surprise element that they brought with them this season and they might get found out sooner than they think.

While everyone says that games against Manchester City are open and full of goals, I don't believe that this one will replicate the previous encounter.  I did have us down for a 2-0 win, but Man City will get a consolation goal that will be scored from the penalty spot, conceded by Kasey Keller for knocking over a marauding forward moving away from goal.

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham  2    Manchester City  1

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



Tottenham   0       Manchester City   2                  (Half-time score : 0-2)
Premier League
Friday 18th April 2003  (Good Friday)
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Sunny, clear, very hot
Referee : -  M. Riley (Leeds)
Crowd : -  36,075
Teams : -  
Tottenham : - Keller, Carr, Taricco (Perry 46), King, Gardner, Bunjevcevic (Toda 46), Anderton, Poyet (Acimovic 73), Davies, Sheringham, Keane
Unused subs: Sullivan, Iversen

Manchester City : - Schmeichel; Dunne, Sommeil, Distin, Jensen; Benarbia, Foe, Wright-Phillips, Barton; Fowler (Macken 82), Anelka
Unused subs: Nash, Sun, Horlock, Goater
Colours : -  
Tottenham  -  White shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks with blue turnover

Manchester City  -  Laser blue shirts, white shorts, laser blue socks with dark blue turnover

Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  None

Manchester City  -   Sommeil 3, Barton 22

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  Poyet (foul) 16, Carr (stepping on opponent) 88

Manchester City -  Richard Dunne (foul) 33, Joey Barton (foul) 41, Shaun Wright-Phillips (foul) 52

At least it was good to hear Hoddle speak out about the "unacceptable" performance the team put in today in losing to Manchester City.  He was in agreement with fans about how the team played, but unlike the supporters, he has the ability to do something about it.  We just sit ... although not in silence.

From the opening seconds of the game, when Ledley King knocked a header up in the air for Anelka to strike the ball wide of the target, it was going to be one of those days.  We wouldn't have scored if we had still been playing now and only creating two clear cut chances against a side who play as openly as City, is a disgrace.  

It looked like a team playing for a UEFA Cup place against a team on a bad run of games.  But the one who was the better turned out to be the other side in reality.  A goal from a corner is always hard to take, because in practice, defending set-pieces should be a training ground regular session.  But when Sommeil was left alone ... he didn't lose his marker, he was just standing there with nobody near him ... Hoddle should have been distraught.  It was so basic as to make you wonder what goes on at Spurs Lodge in midweek.

It took 10 minutes for Sheringham's shot from Keane's knock-down to bring a save from Schmeichel, but although he had to reach to get to the effort, he wasn't fully stretched.  It was in the 48th minute when he was next called into action, holding a Poyet shot and then he was required to get his gloves dirty in the 73rd minute, spreading himself well to block Keane's close range shot.  In between and after that time, he lapped up the sunshine and wondered if this is what retirement would be like.  Perhaps Thomson's could have provided him with one of those deck-chairs they use for the half-time competition !!

If it hadn't been for Keller, the score could have been greater.  His finger tip save from Wright-Phillips stopped it being 2-0, but when Gardner was robbed of the ball and Anelka got through on goal it looked like that might be the score.  The ex-Gooner shot so badly across the keeper, that Keller was surprised by the scuffed shot and could only knock it out to him and he chose to square it to Fowler, who passed onto Barton.  On the edge of the box, he shot and although Keller got a hand to it, it only diverted it past King on the goal-line.

Man. City ran the half, moving and working for each other, while Spurs continued to knock long balls forward without the players supporting any other to build moves that might open the Citizens up.  So, expecting Hoddle to give the side a rocket at half-time, we were all surprised when Toda and Perry arrived at the touchline to replace Bunjy and Taricco after the break.  Surprised, because Hod doesn't make half-time substitutions and surprised because Taricco seemed to be doing OK. Bunjy being replaced wasn't such a shock as he was having a mare.  His passes were going astray, he won no tackles that I can remember and the crowd were getting on his back.

The second half was quieter, with Fowler bringing a falling save from Keller and the ball pinging across the American's box quite regularly, while at the other end , Spurs huffed and puffed, but never really got close to a goal.

Toda's performance was interesting.  He played better than he had done for the reserves, but showed no real pace, positional play nor an eye for goal, with his one shot going Freund-like way over the bar.

At the moment, it is hard to get the awful realisation of the result and performance out of my head, but I hope in time, that this will be one match that I will not remember too much detail of.


Barry Levington




How many of the Spurs fans who left early are going to be coming back next season ??  It's a big decision when you are paying such big money to watch such a big pile of crap.

What were people thinking about when not marking a player at a corner ??  Why do we always have to try to pass the ball with the outside of the foot ??  Why can't our players run into space to receive the ball like the opposition did ??  And when they do, why is it that we can't put a pass in front of a player when he is running ??  Why can't we keep things simple.

The side looked like they had been thrown together and told to play as a team .. without any idea of how to do it.

Carr and Davies just make each other play badly when they are on the right.  That is the only reason I could see for Hoddle switching Simon to the left in the second half.  Although I could not see why he brought on Toda, when we needed someone up there to help Keano.  Toda might be the darling of a thousand flashbulbs and might ensure that the Lane gets sold out for the remaining two home games, but what did he contribute on the field ??  Perhaps Tottenham see playing him as a suitable way to pay his wages or he is on commission for the added numbers he brings to the game.

With the team not functioning well, the players should be changed around to give the opportunity to others who might be hungrier or willing to put in a bit more effort.  For the younger ones, it will be a chance to see how they do in the Premier League.  And let's face it, if we put out a young team and lose, but they have given 100%, then who will boo them ??  Especially next week, when we are likely to lose anyway and if we do not many Spurs fans will care, as it means Man U will be one step closer the title.

As for the players, well, Anderton tool a knock in the second half and that was the best thing about his game.  He fails to impose himself on the other side and is happy to deliver balls in from deep that don't hurt them.  He can't out-pace a marker and there are few things to commend his game when he wanders around like he did today with no aim.

Simon Davies didn't have a good game and Hoddle needs to sit down and analyse why he has dropped from the high level of performance he set at the start of the season.  Is it because he has to contend with Carr on his flank ??  Has he been burned out by being expected to play every game while still relatively young ??  

Gardner and Ledley looked uncertain at the back, especially in the first half and without an experienced colleague alongside them, seemed to be jittery on the ball.  Richards seems to be getting the injury bug and only when Perry came on did the defence seem to firm up a bit.

Far too many of Teddy's pieces of fancy footwork came to nothing and it must be time he faded from the scene, as he will surely not get the contract extension he craves.  

Poyet was not effective or even a nuisance today.  Time to hop on the bus, Gus.  

Giving too much space to the opposition and not tackling.  Just drop off the key, Bunjy.  And go on a free.

Not sure of your best position.  You just slip out the back, Doc.

And as for the manager ... Glenn needs to find a new plan.

Kirk Hammarton

And more reaction ...

See "How Bad Was That ??" by Matthew Lyons by clicking here.
Well, what can you say about that performance!!!
I'd have asked for my money back (if I'd paid for watching on TV), but at least you could've turned the TV off, unlike the thousands who had to sit and watch that rubbish.
What is it with Spurs?
They show no interest at all, with too many players 'past their sell by date', who are only interested in collecting their 30 grand a week, while Teddy's dreaming of life in Lisbon and is 'playing' like he's waiting for the private jet to arrive and whisk him away.
The whole team played appallingly, and was in stark contrast to Man. City, who were hungrier, faster, tackled (have you got that Bunjy?) and showed greater appetite for the game than we could.    

And what's happened to Stephen Carr?

He seemed like a lost little boy yesterday (perhaps he's waiting to see if he joins the Scum in the summer) and the same with Simon Davies, he's not been the same player since he was linked to Man. Utd.

Come half time, 2-0 down, we were expecting to see a striker on, alright, it was only Iversen, but what do we get ?  Perry & Toda, followed by that other 'balsawood Balkan' Acimovic.

What was Glenn trying to do by taking off Treacle, and playing Simon on the left, when we all know he's better on the right !
If Hoddle thinks that we're ready for Europe, forget it.
There should be some serious 'culling' of players this summer, and some might say, why not start with the manager?

Paxton Mark

Usually, I can write about Spurs games, but when the team can't be bothered, why should I ??

The Polyphant



Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 2 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 West Ham United 0 Saturday

Charlton Athletic

0 Birmingham City 2 Saturday
Everton 1 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Fulham 2 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 0 Arsenal 2 Saturday
SCBC 3 Leeds United 2 Saturday
Sunderland 1 WBA 2 Saturday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester United 35 22 8 5 66 31 74
2 Arsenal 34 21 8 5 71 36 71
3 Newcastle United 34 19 4 11 58 45 61
4 Chelsea 34 17 9 8 61 34 60
5 Liverpool 34 16 10 8 51 36 58
6 Everton 34 16 8 10 44 40 56
7 Blackburn Rovers 34 14 10 10 44 40 52
8 SCBC 33 12 12 9 38 35 48
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 34 13 8 13 47 49 47
10 Middlesbrough 34 12 10 12 42 37 46
11 Charlton Athletic 34 13 7 14 41 48 46
12 Manchester City 34 13 6 15 42 51 45
13 Aston Villa 34 11 8 15 38 41 41
14 Fulham 34 11 8 15 37 47 41
15 Birmingham City 34 11 8 15 33 44 41
16 Leeds United 34 11 5 18 48 51 38
17 Bolton Wanderers 34 9 11 14 37 48 38
18 West Ham United 34 7 11 16 37 57 32
19 WBA 34 6 6 22 24 53 24
20 Sunderland 34 4 7 23 21 56 19

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