Looking Forward

 

Portsmouth  (Away)

Premier League

Monday 18th October 2004

The trip to Fratton Park is never an easy one and even though Pompey have not had as big an impact on the Premiership at the start of this season that they did last time around, they have played fewest game sin the tip flight and have been hit by injuries.  This means that a visit to the South Coast will need the Spurs team to pick up where they left off at Everton and get stuck in.

Harry Redknapp has used his wheeling and dealing skills to the maximum at Portsmouth and players are still due to arrive and leave during the January transfer window if the Press is to be believed.  But his squad is looking a little thread-bare where the injuries have hit the side hard.

In goal, they have the experienced Shaka Hislop, who made a mess of a header at Charlton, but has the advantage of being a tall keeper who can shape up as a big barrier to get past.  Young Jamie Ashdown is a talented prospect, who arrived from Reading, but has yet to feature in the PL.

Among the defenders at Portsmouth is one that has been linked to Spurs.  Matthew Taylor was strongly rumoured to be a hot target for the club to fill the left back position, but the signing of Erik Edman has filled that position.  However, Taylor has not been a regular in the side and his disaffection at this has been noted by sections of the media.  Filling the defensive places have been Andy Griffin, Linvoy Primus, David Unsworth and Dejan Stefanovic. 

Griffin left the North-East to join Pompey and is a hard working wing-back, without being outstanding he puts in a lot of good work off the ball and suffered at St. James' Park for not being a big name, which is much the same story for Linvoy Primus.  A reliable defender who has height and power, Primus worked his way up from Barnet to Reading and then was signed by Portsmouth in 2000.  He has been a good buy with his strength giving the side some bite to get out of Division One.  David Unsworth spent the bulk of his career at Everton, with ill-advised moves to West Ham and Villa in between returning to his old club, but he has settled on the South Coast, making a big contribution to the defence at Pompey.  The ex-Toffee has a powerful free-kick and is always keen to join in at set-pieces.  Stefanovic has top flight experience with Sheffield Wednesday before leaving for Italy, Serbia and Holland.  He may not be ready to take part in this match after suffering a ligament injury, btu he has been instrumental in the success over the last three seasons, with his leadership from the back being a bonus for Harry Redknapp.  Arjan de Zeeuw, the former Wigan and Barnsley central defender has also been in the squad, but has been missing recently with injury, although John Curtis has returned from Barnsley where he has been on loan.

The midfield is packed with players who you will have heard of.   Patrick Berger is the one who hit two goals past us at Fratton last season and scored an outrageous looping shot against Charlton earlier this season from 35 yards out.  While Liverpool decided he was surplus to requirements, Portsmouth have benefited from his services.  He moves the ball around well and with a powerful right foot, he has brought some Premiership experience to the Portsmouth side.  Alongside him, Nigel Quashie is making up for lost time.  He was tagged as one to make it when at QPR, but a move to Forest saw him fail to progress as everyone thought he would.  However, at Fratton Park, he has stepped up his game and is now a regular in the Scotland team.  Determined and hard tackling, his industry in midfield is much needed by the Pompey team.  Conversely, Richard Hughes has yet to hit the headlines, although as a youngster he made the decision to leave Arsenal for Juventus.  Things didn't pan out for him and he ended up at Portsmouth via Bournemouth and has been selected for Scotland too.

There is an African element in the squad as Redknapp has cast his net wide to find talent to add to his squad.  Midfielders Amdy Faye and Aliou Cisse are recognised as two of the more athletic and muscular additions to his squad.  Faye has also been hit with injury, but is now back and showing his determination in the Norwich match by picking up two yellow cards.  Cisse's falling out with Steve Bruce led to his exit from St. Andrews and he found a refuge at Fratton.  A strongly built midfielder, who has the ability to dominate a game, but sometimes fails to get into one.  Harry will be hoping to funnel his efforts into the right direction for the team.  In the wings is 19 year old Valery Mezague, signed from Montpelier, who is one for the future, who is getting a look in now.

Up front the African players dominate proceedings.  Lomana Lua-Lua left Newcastle for the South Coast and has been in and out of the side, but he has great pace, although his final ball can be wayward sometimes.  Diomansy Kamara has come in during the early part of the season and is still establishing himself, but looks a strong running striker, who needs to look for the best option available to him rather than trying to score himself all the time.  Along with Nigerian Aiyegbeni Yakubu, they form a partnership who can give defences a lot of trouble.   Yakubu has attracted a lot of attention following his successful 2003-04 season and he has the ability to hold the ball up, turn players and finish it all at the end of it.  Both players will need to be watched carefully as they are capable of winning a game in a moment.  Joining them up front is new signing Ricardo Fuller.  A Jamaican international, he has the power to force his way into shooting positions and he proved with Preston North End that he could get into a good run of scoring.  This persuaded Portsmouth to part with cash for him, although he is on a pay as you play deal because of difficulty passing a medical.

The forwards are the main threat, with the midfield being solid without being spectacular (except for Berger and maybe Berkovic is he is fit).  The side pass the ball well and try and hit the front men early, while the back division is tight, but could be suspect to pace.  Our providing to Fredi and Jermain will need to be better than it has been recently, with the midfield maybe getting some joy breaking through and with Jamie missing against his Dad's team, it could pave the way for Michael Carrick to stake a place in the side and help supply the bullets to the front two.

With all of our games having been tight so far I don't perceive that this one will be any different and so, I will go for ...

PREDICTION : -   Portsmouth  0   Tottenham Hotspur  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

A Portsmouth website could not get back to us before the game with a "View |From The Other Side"

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE  

PORTSMOUTH :  Steve Stone (Achilles); Eyal Berkovic (ankle); Nigel Quashie (calf); Vincent Pericard (knee); Svetoslav Todorov (knee); Hadyn Foxe (broken foot); Dejan Stefanovic (thigh); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Sean Davis (knee);  Jamie Redknapp (suspended); Mauricio Taricco (suspended); 

Coverage

TV :
Sky Sports 1 - Live coverage
FOX Sports World (US) and FOX Sports World Canada - 3pm ET/12noon PT  LIVE
Other countries live coverage click here.

Radio : 
Full commentary on Radio Five Live (909 & 693 MW)
Full commentary on Radio London (94.9 FM)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
Planet football - http://play.www.planetfootball.servecast.net/downloads/sky/spurs_match_new.ram (free - only available when match is on)

 

 

Portsmouth   1    Tottenham Hotspur   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)
Premier League Venue :   Fratton Park
Monday 18th October 2004 Kick Off :  20.00 p.m.
Crowd :   20,121 Referee :   U. Rennie (Sheffield)
Weather :  Dry, chilly
Teams : - 
Portsmouth : 

Hislop

Griffin
Stefanovic
Primus
Unsworth

Berger (Cisse 85)
Quashie
Faye
Berkovic (Fuller 56)

Yakubu (Kamara, 75)
Lualua

Unused subs: 
Ashdown
Taylor

Tottenham Hotspur :   

Robinson

Pamarot
King (c)
Naybet
Gardner (Carrick 73)

Davies
Mendes
Brown (Kanoute 73)
Atouba (Jackson 80)

Keane
Defoe

Unused subs: 
Keller
Ziegler

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Portsmouth Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Portsmouth

Yakubu 63

Tottenham Hotspur 

Cards : -  
Portsmouth

       

 

     

 

Tottenham Hotspur  

       

 

     

 

Match Report : -  
Spurs appeared too ponderous in midfield and too weak on the ball to influence this game, but still created enough chances to win it, although in the end could have no complaints about Portsmouth's victory.

Seemingly unable to find a tempo to stretch Harry Redknapp's side, Spurs stuttered into action briefly and fleetingly, when they should have been exerting more pressure on the home side.  Too many times Spurs surrendered the ball cheaply or got knocked off it by stringer opponents, leaving any hope of getting back into the game remote.

Spurs had started with a bit of composure and a fifth minute free-kick found Ledley's head, but he got it all wrong and it went well wide.  Shortly after Davies hit a side-foot volley from 25 yards that lacked power and Mendes struck a rising shot from the same distance well over.  The pacy Pompey forwards were proving to be a handful for Naybet and Pamarot, while Anthony Gardner was caught in possession on a number of occasions.  Mendes was alert to a run by Davies and found him with a great diagonal ball that Davies met with his head, but it went wide as Unsworth came in behind him.

Spurs then had to defend, as Ledley lost possession and a fortunate break of the ball took it into Yakubu's run into the box and his low shot was athletically palmed out by Robinson, with the rebound blasted goalwards, but over by Berkovic.  Robbo also had to dive on a Quashie shot that flew in low from 25 yards.  Portsmouith were moving the ball about well and opened Spurs up with a ball into Yakubu, after Gardner had lost it, but his first touch was way too heavy and it went into the keeper's grasp.

On 23 minutes, Yakubu got away on the left wing and laid a ball back to Berger and a combination of the defender's block and Paul Robinson's tip over gave the home side a corner.  Had Lualua been keener to get a strike on goal rather than try to juggle a high ball, Spurs might have been behind, but Gardner did well to knock it away as it bounced up.  That chance was set up by some crisp passing, which is just what Spurs were missing.

The home support, which is always reported as being fanatical was silent for long periods and it was really only after the goal that much was heard apart from that accursed bell ringing non-stop.  They all got excited as the half hour approached and a free-kick found Stepanovic's head and Robinson had to reach to palm it out and he was hit by Lualua as he did so, but was OK to continue.  Simon Davies was finding it necessary to come inside from midfield and Spurs were losing the width that he had offered early on.

Five minutes later, Spurs had their first effort for a while, when Keano hit a 25-yarder low and wide, but an Atouba back-heel sold his team-mates, leaving Berger a run across the face of the box and a foul gave him a  free-kick in a dangerous position.  His first effort hit Michael Brown on the arm as he closed it down and referee Rennie gave another free-kick for handball, five yards nearer the goal.  This time, the wall did it's job and from the first ten minutes when Spurs got all the decisions, now it was Portsmouth's turn.

With 45 minutes gone, Spurs had their best chance with their best move.  Jermain Defoe played a one-two with Robbie Keane and as the England striker eyed a shot, he lost sight of the ball and hit an air shot.  Just five yards out, had he hit it, you would have backed the ball to have gone in.  Right on the half-time whistle, Spurs got a free-kick 25 yards out and Keane hit it in with curl and it flew just outside the angle of goal and crossbar.

The interval looked like it had not affected Spurs, as they came out attacking.  Davies ripped a cross into the box, across the face of goal, but Thimothee Atouba could not quite reach it at the far post.  He had a strange game, with some sublime tricks and other good passes, but other times, he looks so ungainly that he beats himself.  Spurs almost fell behind when Lualua out-paced Naybet on the left, as they had tried on previous occasions and the pull back was to Berkovic on the edge of the box and he got his shot all wrong, letting Spurs off the hook.

Luckily for Spurs, Defoe looked sharp and he struck a shot when Brown, Mendes and Davies had worked an opening, but a deflection into the ground and a save by Hislop saw it go over the top in the 54th minute.  Straight after, a free-kick from Brown was met by Gardner and although Primus deflected it, the ball hit the post and Defoe was first onto the rebound, but his effort was blocked too.

Defoe was also just too high by about a foot, when he hit a shot with no discernable back-lift, following some more neat passing.  Just before the hour Berger was put into a shooting position by some good passing and he pulled his shot well wide.  In the next Portsmouth attack, in the 63rd minute, they scored.  A break on their right saw Lualua dink a neat cross up from the by-line and Yakubu threw himself at it and headed in from two yards out, having lost Naybet easily.  It was a well worked goal, but Tottenham failed to close Lualua down quickly enough.

Santini threw on Carrick and Kanoute for Gardner and Brown, but I might have been inclined to take Atouba off, as he was leaving gaps on the left of our midfield.  It gave Spurs a bit of pep and Davies slung in a cross that Fredi headed wide before Atouba went down heavily after a challenge by Lualua and was stretchered away.  You never know with Thim, as to whether is he badly hurt or not, but his knee was the focus of attention, so we might be light on the left come Saturday with Edman still excluded.  On came Johnnie Jackson and he almost opened the Pompey defence in the 89th minute.  Playing in a low ball to Robbie, the first time shot brought a low save from Hislop.  

With injury time running out, a Carrick cross was headed on by Kanoute and it hit Griffin's hand in a similar incident to Brown's earlier on, but of course, no referee would give such a decision in the box.  Jackson followed it in anyway and his shot was blocked for a corner, which came over to Naybet, but he glanced it wide.  Portsmouth were desperate for the win and played the ball into the corner for the remaining three minutes, spoiling what was a good performance by them.

You can't complain about the outcome, but Tottenham's shape looked wrong and even though Spurs had quite a lot of possession, the ease in which we were deprived of it is worrying.  We will face a similar approach from Saturday's visitors to White Hart Lane and the Wednesday after when Bolton face us in the League Cup.  Will Jacques be able to come up with a new game plan for those two matches ?  It should not be too hard, but the team will need more resolve to eek out some points and progress in the knock-out tournament.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  LEDLEY KING

Burton Bradstock

 

THE BELLS, THE BELLS

 

19.10.2004

Am I alone in wondering how in the last three games we haven't been able to muster more than a handful of chances. 

Last night against Portsmouth, yes Portsmouth, we created so little that as in the report we cannot complain.  Yes we could have pinched it, but we are Tottenham, super Tottenham and we should be able to conjure a great deal more than we have against the likes of Norwich, Everton and Pompey.

What infuriates me is that in Defoe we have a player itching to score a shed load of goals.  Comparisons with Greavsie may be premature, but I really think he has the ability to score 30 Premier League goals in a season.  

Unless we create the chances for him soon we may well see him score those goals ... in a royal blue shirt. 

Nuff said?

Martin

19.10.2004

Well, before I start my rant I'd like to make it clear that I'm not Santini bashing or being defeatist because of one bad result - It's football and it happens.  I am however baffled by the way we played.  It was a terrible performance that wouldn't have looked out of place from last season's side.  A total lack of width and creativity left us with no answer to a reasonably average Portsmouth side, and what did Jacques blame it on ???  Lack of players.  It's an excuse that Tottenham fans have been used to over the last 10 years and to be honest, I'm kinda fed up with it.

We've currently got a decent size squad and considering the amount of money we've spent over the summer we should have no problem plugging the gaps in the squad.  So what's the answer ?  To be honest, I don't know. 

What I do know is that now we've shored up the defence, it's time to concentrate on the attack.  In Freddy, Robbie and Jermain we have the makings of one hell of a strike force but I feel we may be lacking a playmaker of Ginola, Hoddle, Gazza quality.  Someone who can rip defenses to pieces and provide quality passes to the front men.  Simon Davies is superb (when he gets the ball), but I'm not sure Atouba has quite the right qualities.  That's not to say that I dislike him.  He's obviously a very good player and I've been quite impressed with him.  I'm just not sure if he's the RIGHT player.  Brown is a dead loss if you ask me and I don't think he is worthy of a place in the squad.  

So who should we turn to ?  Well, I was very impressed with Ricketts last seasons and I think he is the right type of player to improve our attacking prowess and I think Jackson at his best could sort out the left hand side.  The problem is, I don't think Santini is very Attack minded.  

So, where does that leave us?

Any ideas?


Professor Chaos

 

Other scores this weekend :

Arsenal

3 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Birmingham City 0 Manchester United 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 4 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
Everton 1 SCBC 0 Saturday
Fulham 2 Liverpool 4 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Norwich City 0 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 1 Newcastle United 1 Sunday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 9 8 1 0 29 8 25 +21
2 Chelsea 9 6 2 1 8 2 20 +6
3 Everton 9 6 1 2 10 7 19 +3
4 Bolton Wanderers 9 4 3 2 14 11 15 +3
5 Middlesbrough 9 4 2 3 16 12 14 +4
6 Manchester United 9 3 5 1 9 7 14 +2
7 Liverpool 8 4 1 3 14 8 13 +6
8 Newcastle United 9 3 4 2 17 14 13 +3
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 9 3 4 2 5 4 13 +1
10 Charlton Athletic 8 3 3 2 9 11 12 -2
11 Portsmouth 8 3 2 3 12 11 11 +1
12 Manchester City 9 3 2 4 9 7 11 +1
13 Aston Villa 9 2 5 2 11 12 11 -1
14 Birmingham City 9 1 5 3 7 9 8 -2
15 West Bromwich Albion 9 1 5 3 8 13 8 -5
16 Fulham 9 2 2 5 10 17 8 -7
17 Norwich City 9 0 6 3 7 14 6 -7
18 Blackburn Rovers 9 1 3 5 7 21 6 -11
19 SCBC 9 1 2 6 6 12 5 -6
20 Crystal Palace 9 1 2 6 8 15 5 -7

Back to homepage