have had a hard time of it over the last few years. Allegedly £10
million in debt, their buying strategy has had to be borne on the back
of selling their better players. With the prospect of a new ground
in the King's Dock area of the city on the horizon, perhaps things might
be changing for the Toffees, but they have struggled to make more more
than a challenge to avoid relegation over the last four seasons and will
be hoping to stabilise in mid-table this season.
With young hopeful Jug
Ears Jeffers leaving for the other club in North London and the drawn
out departure of Michael Ball to Glasgow Rangers (still in the balance
as I write), mean that they have lost two of their talented youngsters,
with only free signing Alan Stubbs and £4.5 million Canadian Radzinski
brought in from Belgium arriving in their place.
With what they have left,
they will have to try and produce a consistently high level of
play to ensure that they are not dragged down into the relegation
zone. There is an embarrassment of riches in the goalkeeping
department. Myrhe is one who Spurs tried to get to come to White
Hart Lane to cover for Sullivan without luck and he is a sound
goalie. Paul Gerrard is the first choice, but has been known to
have lapses at times. He's a big lad, but appears to fail to
dominate his box on crosses and Spurs could capitalise there.
Unfortunately, the £3.3 million signing of Steve Simonsen from Tranmere
Rovers has not been the success he hoped for and Everton are looking for
a buyer for his services. A talented young keeper, he may find it
possible to thrive in a first team somewhere.
With the aforementioned
Ball bouncing out of Goodison, the defence has been left with little
true quality. Stubbs did well in Scotland for Celtic, as did
Clelland for Rangers and Weir and Naysmith for Hearts, but alongside
Pistone (formerly of Newcastle), Unsworth and Steve Watson (both bought
from Aston Villa), there is quantity but not the other necessary
Q. They will play tight and as a unit as there is a method in
Smith's defensive play, but the running off the ball will test the
concentration of the men who are there to protect their keeper.
Only Xavier stands out from the crowd and that is only because of his
bizarre hair style !!
Again in midfield, the
story is the same. Gemmill, Pembridge, Alexandersson, Gravesen,
Nyarko. All well known names now, but not the line-up that would
have the opposition quaking in their boots. Sadly, the one player
in this area who would is the one who isn't able to. Paul
Gascoigne - a Spurs favourite - is now a shadow of the player he once
was with more problems than appearances on the pitch these days.
His off-field traumas have left him drained and it is sad to see him
this way. I would be so happy if he could get it together on the
pitch again - even if it was against Tottenham, because in his heyday,
he was a terrific player.
With Cadamateri out of
favour at Everton, the bulk of the responsibility for scoring goals has
fallen to Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell. With Ferguson on the
treatment table most of the time, Campbell has borne the brunt of the
Toffees goal-getting and has done so well. However, the thinking
behind the purchase of Radzinski is to give him the option of a
partner. Ferguson is the big(ger) target man for Campbell to play
off or Rad can come in and play off Campbell. It's mix and
match. Idan Tal came in at the end of last season and scored a lot
of goals in Israel before joining the Merseyside outfit and Joe-Max
Moore has also scored a good ratio since his introduction into English
football, but against top defenders, they may make little impact.
For Spurs and Everton,
this will be two games in three days at the start of this season, so
expect a few tired limbs out there . This may mean mistakes occur
towards the end of the game, but I am confident enough to think that
Tottenham's movement and passing will create enough chances to put
Everton away ...
PREDICTION : -
Everton 0 Tottenham 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
(Half time score 0-1)
Monday 20th August 2001
|Weather : - Cool, but humid
Crowd : - 29,503
Referee : - Mr. D. Elleray (Harrow)
Scorers : - Everton - Ferguson (pen.)
Tottenham - Anderton 45
(foul play) 24, Ferguson (dissent) 50, Weir (foul play) 60
(foul play) 63,
(dissent) 64, Ziege (dissent) 65,
Poyet (foul play) 67
Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, S. Watson (Moore 74); Alexadersson (Tal 80),
Gemmill, Gravesen (Unsworth 44), Pembridge; Campbell, Ferguson.
Unused subs : - Simonsen, Chadwick
Sullivan; Bunjevcevic, King, Doherty; Ziege, Anderton, Freund (Clemence
77), Taricco; Sheringham, Iversen
Unused Subs : - Keller, Thelwell, Davies, Perry
|With a goal lead at half-time, somewhat
against the run of play, the Spurs side looked set to extend their
unbeaten run at Goodison Park, but the referee had other ideas to give
the home side have more of a chance.
It was a contentious performance by Mr.
Elleray, who is more used to telling off schoolboys at Harrow, but ruled
the roost with his red cards. Poyet looked genuinely surprised and
I reckon he had a right to as the foul was only worth a yellow, while
Doherty looked devastated after having given away a penalty according to
the ref and then getting a red card for his trouble. No wonder
Sheringham and Ziege got booked for arguing, although they should know
better than to expect a match official to change his mind. The
decisions really took the attention away from a game that promised much,
but, like Saturday, didn't deliver.
The game saw chances at both ends, but
neither goalkeeper was troubled by shots directly on target.
Alexandersson struck a rising drive from the edge of the box against the
bar, while Gerrard suffered a case of the jitters on a Taricco cross
that the goalie fumbled just behind the incoming Sheringham.
Iversen was through on goal twice, but as he bore down on the keeper, he
was too wide to have a decent angle and pushed the ball past the post on
both occasions. At the other end, Everton's reliance on the high
ball into the box left Spurs with neck ache and Ledley King with an
experience he will not forget. However, he withstood the battering
that most central defenders get from Duncan Ferguson and came out of the
match with a lot of credit. He was probably preferred there to
Bunjevcevic as the Yugoslav does not have a lot of experience of playing
against the likes of Fergie and he was pushed out wide left on the
defence. It was a position he didn't look all that confident in
and he was subject to that flank being the focus of the Toffees'
attacks. He stuck at it though and a couple of times made inroads
into the opposition box and passed very well.
It was a bit of a shock when Spurs
scored. Starting just inside his own half, Darren Anderton began a
run that saw him swap one-two's with Poyet and then Sheringham - once,
then twice, before prodding the ball through for Iversen, who was just
onside. He shot, but the keeper smothered the ball, which run away
from him to the feet of the on-running Dazza, who gleefully poked the
ball home from inside the six yard box. The team looked relieved
to have scored their first goal of the season and perhaps it was this
euphoria that almost made them subject of the old cliché that you are
never more vulnerable than when you have just scored. The Blues
broke away more or less straight from the kick-off and a cross from
their left reached Alexandersson on the edge of the box unmarked.
His first time volley skidded along the floor and under Sullivan, but
before the ball got to him, the ref's whistle had blown for a mystery infringement.
No-one was quite sure what he had blown for and it was a cause of debate
at half-time. As was the awful tackle that Taricco perpetrated on
Thomas Gravesen's right leg. Tano was over the top and stuck his
studs into the Dane's shin, apparently leaving him with a gaping
wound. It was not something that Spurs fans want to see and it
left a bad taste in the mouth, as the referee again missed the incident
(despite having a clear view) and did nothing.
After the break, the referee seemed
intent on balancing things up. His failure to dismiss Taricco was
more than salved when he got out the red card for a non-foul by Doherty
on Campbell, who goes down easy for a big man. So a penalty and a
player light with the scores equalised. Then a minute later Gus
had a rush of blood and was joining Doc in the Goodison bath as Elleray
tried to play keep up with his card tally. It was then back to the
walls stuff. Every ball cleared brought a collective sigh of
relief, but knowing it was going to come back, it was the ball being
passed away to a white shirt that got the biggest cheers. In fact,
the Spurs contingent made a lot of noise tonight and although the home
fans were getting excited as they piled players and hail Mary's into the
Spurs goalmouth, they rarely got singing. Funnily enough, Spurs
had the best chance of the half before the red card mayhem, with Gerrard
again flapping at a Tano cross and this time it went beyond him to
hit Iversen in the stomach and wide of the target. He just simply
didn't read the flight of the ball - a cardinal sin for a striker, who
should be exactly where the ball is going to drop.
The defence held out with the help of the
remaining players left in front of them, but they were helped by
Everton's one-dimensional attacking theory. It wasn't easy for Spurs,
but the lack of variation made it bearable. They must have been
delighted to walk off with a point after the preceding half hour.
Two games, two draws, but the side is yet
to play. Some fitness problems and some players still not finding
their best form, but a win at Blackburn on Saturday would help boost
confidence and give them something to build on.
|MEHSTG TOP MAN : - LEDLEY KING
BENNY THE BALL
|What else do you want from a match
?? Three points and a decent referee perhaps ?? This game
was packed with incident, but it left you with a good feeling that Spurs
managed to hold out for a point and also an emptiness that an
experienced referee had spoilt a Premiership match in such a fashion.
He missed Taricco's awful
over-the-top tackle on Gravesen, which nobody could have moaned about if
he had received a red card. He missed the fact that Doherty did
very well to shepherd Campbell (what is it with that name) away from
danger and not give away a penalty, only to find that the Irishman had a
penalty awarded against him. And a red card was waiting once he
had got up. Then came the second of two red cards in two minutes
for Spurs when Poyet lifted his leg across Watson a the ball was pushed
past the Uruguayan. It was a rash challenge and was quite
unprofessional whether or not he should have got a red card as
brandished by David Elleray. It looked high and that was probably
why the ref did so. The official also managed to conjure up an
offence when a cross reached Alexandersson at the far edge of the
penalty box and he volleyed home. Sullivan might not have tried as
hard as he would have done, had he not heard the early whistle.
In between the spotlight being on
the whistle happy man in black the action ebbed and flowed with Everton
pumping high balls into the Spurs box regularly to try and find the head
of Duncan Ferguson. He did win a few in the first half, but most
of the headers flew harmlessly to Sullivan. Alexandersson had
already given Spurs due warning when he fired a far post shot against
the angle of bar and post and Spurs were lucky it bounced out and was
cleared. Spurs had nearly gone into the lead early on, when a
cross from Taz on the right was fumbled by Gerrard and the ball went
behind Sheringham. The keeper did the same thing in the second
half, when the ball dropped behind him and hit Iversen, who wasn't
reading the situation quickly enough and instead of trying to poke it in
with a part of his body, it bounced off him and a foot wide of the post.
The Norwegian had two chances as
he ran through the Toffees defence in the first period, but dragged both
wide. It was only when Anderton exchanged passes with Poyet and
then Ted twice, before slipping the ball through to Ivo, that Spurs took
the lead. Even then, his shot was saved and Dazza had had the
presence of mind to follow up and stuck it into the net from three yards
out. It was almost straight from the re-start that Everton had
their goal disallowed for a foul on a Spurs defender, which was news to
just about everyone in the stadium.
In the second half, Spurs did not
really threaten the Everton goal seriously and the pay was going towards
the Spurs goal, although little forced Sully to make a save. The
penalty was the turning point, as it led to two sendings off, two
bookings and the equalising goal. After Spurs were reduced to nine
men, Everton rarely looked like scoring. Their tactic of flinging
crosses in to the big man were thwarted by Ledley King and most of their
efforts on goal were high and wide.
Tottenham's problem was that even
when they had eleven man, they kept giving the ball away. The
disciplined passing that had been displayed in pre-season matches went
out of the window as short balls found only blue shirts and players did
not get back quick enough to defend. That left big holes down the
Spurs left that Everton exploited, especially as Bunjy was played as the
left of the back three - not his usual position. Teddy was one of
the main culprits, but he was not alone. I can understand the
thought behind clearing the ball as far away as possible when they were
up against it at the end, but it just kept coming straight back.
Surely, it would have been better to try and hold the ball in a position
further up the field. Easy to say, I know, but at least then it
might have been kept away from the last third of the pitch nearest our
We all expected Poyet to get sent
off at some stage (the way he had been "enforcing" in the
friendlies), but not quite like tonight. Gus didn't have his best
game even before the red card, while Anderton buzzed about, but was
mostly ineffective. Iversen made some strange choices when he had
the ball and seemed to be lost in the movement of the rest of the
team. The defence were about the best part of the side and worked
tirelessly to defend what the team had. Only Taricco should hold his
head in shame. He never seemed like that sort of player and full
credit to Glenn in not taking the Wenger way out by saying he DID see it
and told the player that he was not happy about tackles like that.
This is the sort of honesty we want coming out of all parts of the club,
not just the team management.
In the end, you had to be glad
for a point, but the implications of Elleray's actions will hit us in a
few weeks if he does not review the punishment dished out to the Spurs
players dismissed after watching video evidence.