Looking Forward

 

BOLTON WANDERERS (Home)

Premier League

Sunday 20th October 2002

After a brief break for international week, Spurs might have the squad bolstered by a few of the first teamers who have been out injured.  But they will face a Bolton side desperate for points as they languish near the bottom of the table.

We know all about Jussi Jaaskelainen, who has stopped more goals than went in against him last season in matches against Spurs.  In front of him, there is ex-Spur Gudni Bergsson, who is in his last season before returning to his law studies (again).  Also, Bernard Mendy has come in this season on loan from France, but has not found it to his ex-France Under-21 manager's liking, who thinks he could have done better for himself.  His participation might not be certain, unlike that of "gritty battler" Mike Whitlow, who will be an almost definite starter, although he could be a more doubtful finisher, because of his raging temper.  Bruno N'Gotty and Paul Warhurst will add height to the back line, but neither has the speed to get back and goal-side if caught out on the turn. Latest loanee, Ivan Campo from Real Madrid, will be in the side and although he is a classy defender, he has yet to fully appreciate the nature of the way football is played in England.  Veteran Simon Charlton has also been favoured by Sam Allardyce in front of some of the other options available.  We should hope that Anthony Barness plays as he scored last season ... for us !!

With Youri Djorkaeff in midfield, there should be a steady supply to the forwards, but this is not always the case.  He can sneak up and nick a goal, but his main function should be to set up those in front of him.  Per Frandsen has a better record in this respect and also is a wizard from the deadball.  Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha is still feeling his way into the Premier League, but is a tricky and skilful opponent, while Gareth Farrelly works hard and can hit a good cross in (to the net if you are David Seaman).  Ricardo Gardner is just coming back from injury and has great pace and is a good finisher, while Kevin Nolan is a powerful young man, who scores regularly and sometimes lets his aggression spill over into the wrong avenues.  

Ex-Spur Chris Armstrong is just getting a look-in and played in their Worthington Cup defeat against Bury and might be on the bench. Dean Holdsworth could start, but is more likely to come on from the subs bench as Allardyce favours a younger pairing up front.  That pairing is Michael Ricketts and Dane Hendrik Pedersen  who has been favoured up front recently, but is not a heavy scorer. Youngster Jonathan Walters, signed from Blackburn under a cloud, is breaking into the first team picture, but again, the manager will probably stick with the more experienced options.

I believe tha there will be more determination about the Trotters this season and it will be harder to break them down, as Allardyce will drill them effectively.  But more than ever, there are more options about Spurs this season ans they should be capable of ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  2  Bolton Wanderers  0

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

 

 

Tottenham  3   Bolton Wanderers  1  (Half-time score : 0-0)
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Sunday 20th October 2002
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  16.05 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, rainy, blustery
Crowd : -  35,909
Referee : -  P. Durkin (Portland, Dorset)
Teams : -  Tottenham : -  Keller; Perry, Richards; Etherington (Poyet 71),  Freund, Carr,  Redknapp, Bunjevcevic, Davies; Sheringham, Keane,  
Unused Subs: Hirschfeld, Doherty, Acimovic, Iversen

Bolton Wanderers : - Jaaskelainen; Whitlow, Bergsson, Charlton, Barness; Djorkaeff (Okocha 75), Farrelly, Nolan, Campo (Dean Holdsworth 77); Ricketts, Gardner
Unused Subs: Poole, Frandsen, Armstrong

Colours : -  Tottenham -  White shirts, Navy blue shorts, White socks with navy blue turnover. 

Bolton Wanderers -  Yellow shirts, Yellow shorts, Yellow socks

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  Keane 52, 73, Davies 90

Bolton Wanderers -  Djorkaeff 63

Cards : -  Tottenham - None

Bolton Wanderers -  Nolan (foul) 45

 
The games against Bolton last season looked a million miles away, as Spurs struggled through the first half and looked decidedly nervy in the second until Simon Davies wrapped up a win in the last minute.

For long periods in the first half, neither side could be satisfied with their efforts in this Premier League game.  Too many misplaced passes left the feeling of too many eggs at Easter - lots of good things, but left feeling slightly queasy by the outcome.  Spurs seemed to be trying to score the perfect goal with too many passes around the edge of the Wanderers area.  Robbie Keane was particularly trying too hard to score, with a couple of efforts that went wide or were blocked, while colleagues were placed nicely to be set up.  His best chance came halfway through the first 45, with Simon Davies long cross from the right finding the Irishman's head, but he didn't get it on target.

Teddy had a couple of good chances too.  One he could not manage to get a header on target from a cross into the box, then Keano slipped a pass through the defence to put Sheringham in, but he went too wide around the keeper and could only get the ball back into the six yard box, where Jasskelainen recovered.  His clearest effort came near the stroke of half-time, when Davies headed back for him to drive a volley well over the top.

It all started so differently, with Ricketts being fouled in the opening minute by Perry and Djorkaeff clipping the free-kick over the bar, without troubling Keller.  The Spurs keeper was called into action to stop a volley from Nolan, but it was an easy save, while h did not get near the ball when Ricketts could only get a knee to a lovely 'wedged' pass into the box from Gardner.

Tottenham came closest to a goal in the first half, when Keane touched back a free-kick to Jamie Redknapp, who had been fouled on the 'D' outside the box.  Jamie knocked the ball up and volleyed inches wide of the keeper's right upright.  Redknapp was also involved as Tottenham did get the ball in the net, but were denied by the flag.  His scuffed cross-shot fell nicely to Teddy Sheringham, who stuck the ball away, but the linesman had indicated he was offside well before.

The over-riding impression in the first period was that Bolton were particularly well organised, but were trying to hit Tottenham on the break at every opportunity.  The pace of Gardner and Ricketts were being utilised to try and cause havoc, but Perry and Richards, both stuck to their tasks very well, preventing either of them having much time on the ball.

After the interval, Tottenham started attacking from the start.  Three minutes in and the ball was cleared from the Bolton box and Stephen Carr, enjoying his return, hit a powerful drive, which Jaaskelainen fumbled upwards and onto the top of the bar.  Ex-Spurs Gudni Bergsson was doing well in the heart of the Trotters defence and he denied Robbie Keane with a finely timed tackle, just as Keane looked like he had run away from the defence to score.

The alarm bells started to ring for Tottenham, when Djorkaeff released Ricketts beyond Richards for a clear run on goal, but he screwed it well wide, when it looked like he was odds on to score.  It sparked Tottenham into the realisation that they had to win this match.  Bunjy got the ball and chipped a great ball to Simon Davies on the right wing.  The Welsh Footballer of the Year could have unleashed a volley, but was aware that Keane was lurking in the centre of the box and played a cushioned  volley to him.  Keane only needed one opportunity to put it away past the goalie.  It was a well worked goal in the old school Tottenham tradition.

Before there was much of a chance to get used to being ahead, Bolton hit back with a neat ball by Nolan dinked to the left side of the box, where Youri Djorkaeff was positioned and he took the ball down, before blasting it across Keller for the equaliser.

It took Spurs another ten minutes to get back on the scoring track.  Prior to this it looked more likely that the visitors would be the ones to score, but after a long period of possession for Tottenham, they managed to find a way into the Bolton area.  Steffen Freund stubbed a pass in to Simon Davies, who put Gus Poyet in on the right hand side of the area, making a run behind the defence.  Having been on for all of two minutes, he showed his experience by pulling the ball low into the near post, where Robbie Keane lashed the ball home off the near post.

It was the signal for Bolton to go for it and this left more space for Tottenham to work the ball around the pitch.  Some nice touches, including some showboating from Freund was good fu, but Tottenham were nearly guilty of over-confidence and nearly got punished when playing football on the edge of their own box.  Two tackles by Richards on Ricketts and Bergsson denied them goalscoring chances.

However, Teddy missed a couple more opportunities - one when Keane released him in the box, but although he got around the goalie, he could not get his shot away or find a team-mate in the box.  The other was a clear header from a pinpoint Davies cross that he got under and headed over the bar.

Luckily, in the end it didn't matter, as Spurs broke in the last minute, with Davies feeding Teddy on the left and Sheringham returned the favour, by putting the ball over the defence to Simon, who took it down and precisely placed his shot in off the left hand post with the keeper stranded.  It was a flattering scoreline, but the amount of passes Tottenham made in the match probably ensured that the scoreline matched the balance of possession.

It was a very good second half performance, with Poyet and Carr coming through it looking good and the movement was better than of late, but the next few games will be sterner tests of our progress, so the level of play must be stepped up accordingly.

The Polyphant

 

WIDE MEN

 

There was a time when Spurs would have choked in a match like this and let Bolton back in to grab something from it.  Yes, it did nearly happen, but thanks to Michael Ricketts' wild shot when clean through, Tottenham took the spoils from the game.  The time in question would have been December 1995 and the 2-2 draw that prevented Spurs going second.  

One of the Spurs scorers that day was Chris Armstrong and now he was sitting, unused, on the Bolton bench.  The other was Sheringham and here he was still out there, but he failed to replicate his feat of that gloomy Saturday seven years ago, spurning the opportunities that presented themselves to him on this afternoon.  If he had, we might have seen a repetition of the big scorelines form the previous season, but in the end, there were enough goals to take Tottenham third and Wanderers to the bottom of the table.

Glenn said that Bolton were a stout side and he was obviously referring to Dean Holdsworth, Okocha and Michael Ricketts, who all seemed to be a bit on the heavy side.  They didn't play badly, but they did not seem to know what they were supposed to be doing.  Throwing caution to the wind and all going forward is all well and good, when you are a few goals up, but the need for points should have made them exercise restraint.  All three Spurs goals started way back in the middle of the pitch and there was little to stop them as they passed their way through the Trotters' defence.

Good defending from Perry and Richards prevented much reaching Keller.  Deano was particularly dominant in the air, which is what we bought him for, while Perry was back to his best.  Chris showed his anticipation by sticking a leg in front of his opponent and intercepting the ball before it reached it's intended target.  While it looked as though it was his fault for the goal, the run by Djorkaeff was well timed to receive a delicately chipped ball in from Nolan.

As far as the Tottenham goals were concerned, they were a long time coming.  Robbie had missed a couple of good openings in the first half, including a wayward header, when free in the box.  Teddy also was off target more often than we expect from him, and it was Jamie Redknapp's free-kick, which he teed up for himself to volley just wide, which was the best of the bunch.

Into the second half and Bunjy got more licence to roam forward and it was just after Carr's well kept down shot was touched up onto the bar by Jaaskelainen, that the Yugoslav picked out Simon Davies with a diagonal pass from left to right.  While a lot of players might have tried and ambitious volley from where he was (and would have had to have been van Basten to convert it), Davies was alert to the fact that Keane had made a run into the middle of the box, so he pushed the ball in his direction for Robbie to sweep home.

Bunjy was moving the ball well and among the many passes leading to the second goal, perhaps the most important was that from Steffen Freund.  Getting the ball with yellow shirts around him, with seemingly nowhere to go, he dug out a little pass to Davies, who put Poyet into the box.  Experience showing in his look up, he squared the ball along the floor for Keano to run towards him and hit the ball across himself and past the keeper.  It went in off the post, but there was a great deal of pace in that shot that was difficult to achieve with little weight on the first pass from Gus.

Anthony Barness didn't get his own goal this time, having scored for Tottenham in the last two games at the Lane, although he came close with his header that didn't miss by much.  Many players were going close, as everyone wanted to make a name for themselves.  Bolton were having the opposite problem, with no-one really testing Keller with shots on target.  There was a period where Tottenham might have conceded, but they took the game with a nice move in the last minute.  Davies' goal started with Farrelly slipping and letting the Welshman have the ball just outside his own box.  He ran forward and Robbie Keane's astute move took players away from Sheringham, who received the ball from Simon.  With Keane the focus of the Bolton men, Teddy picked out Davies with another diagonal ball to the same position he had set Keane up from earlier.  This time, he took the ball down with one touch, steadied himself and hit a well weighted shot just in off the upright.  He had been quiet in the first half, but had come alive in the second.

The scorers took most of the headlines, but Jamie Redknapp was instrumental in the midfield, as was Steffen Freund, who found time to produce an outrageous back-heel when Spurs were enjoying a particularly long period of possession.  He even had a shot, which was only ten feet over !!  Poyet had little to do, but what he did, he did very well.  He offers something different to the Spurs side.  Unfortunately, Etherington failed to produce his best form, with defenders doubling up on him to deny him space and time, but when he did get those two things, he could not produce a telling cross all game.  Matty has the talent, we have all seen that, but he needs to be more consistent with his supply and turn that good play into goals.

Stephen Carr's return also livened up the afternoon's entertainment.  He got stuck on and bombed forward, making a strong right hand side of the team with Davies in front of him.   Meanwhile Bunjy was having perhaps his best game for the club.  His use of the ball was excellent and the lack of penetration through the middle of the Tottenham team allowed him to concentrate on the offensive side of his game, rather than being pushed back on the defensive.

A slow-burner of a victory, but hopefully one that will light the flame for the coming games against the Premiership top brass.  Maybe then Spurs will be able to shine, with a bit more polish !!

Kirk Hammarton

 

 

Other scores this weekend :

Aston Villa  0    SCBC  1    (Monday)
Blackburn Rovers  5   Newcastle United  2
Charlton Athletic  1    Middlesbrough  0   (Sunday)
Everton  2   Arsenal  1    
Fulham  1    Manchester United  1   
Leeds United  0     Liverpool 1
Manchester City  0    Chelsea  3    
Sunderland  0     West Ham United   1   
Fulham  0    West Ham United   1  (Wednesday)
WBA  1    Birmingham City  1  

 

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Liverpool 10 7 3 0 20 8 24
2 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 25 11 23
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 10 6 1 3 16 14 19
4 Manchester United 10 5 3 2 13 7 18
5 Middlesbrough 10 5 2 3 13 6 17
6 Chelsea 10 4 4 2 18 12 16
7 Blackburn Rovers 10 4 3 3 16 12 15
8 Fulham 10 4 3 3 14 10 15
9 Everton 10 4 2 4 13 15 14
10 Leeds United 10 4 1 5 11 10 13
11 Newcastle United 9 4 1 4 14 14 13
12 SCBC 10 3 4 3 7 8 13
13 Birmingham City 10 3 3 4 11 12 12
14 West Ham United 10 3 2 5 10 16 11
15 Aston Villa 10 3 1 6 6 10 10
16 Charlton Athletic 9 3 1 5 8 13 10
17 WBA 9 3 1 5 8 16 10
18 Manchester City 10 2 2 6 7 17 8
19 Sunderland 10 2 2 6 4 14 8
20 Bolton Wanderers 9 2 1 6 9 17 7

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