Sunday 22nd February 2004
arrival of the Foxes at the Lane would not usually garner a great deal
of interest ... especially as they have a decent record against us there.
But they come laden with ex-Spurs to spice up the proceedings.
Les Ferdinand is in good
scoring form, so will need to be watched, while the return of the
midfield genius that is Steffen Freund means we will have to make sure
he doesn't do what he failed to in all of games for Tottenham ... and
that is score !! One thing Ian Walker has been unable to do is
stop the goals going in, so his main aim will be to keep his sheet clean
at WHL, although after the way the goal shave flowed in recent Tottenham
matches, he might have his work cut out !
Alan Rogers has gone back
to Forest on loan to help them fight their way out of relegation, while
Frank Sinclair, Callum Davidson and Matt Elliott have been out of favour
of late. That leaves lumbering central defender Gerry Taggart,
another ex-Forest defender Riccardo Scimeca, new signing from Kilmarnock
Peter Canero, Ben Thatcher and former Newcastle centre-half Nikos
Dabizas to vie for the defensive berths. There is not too much
there to deter Tottenham, as all are rugged defenders, but with the
movement and pace of our forwards (whichever ones play), they should be
able to stretch them across the edge of the box to make spaces to break
The midfield has a
familiar look with Craig Hignett, Muzzy Izzett, Keith Gillespie, Steffen
Freund, Steve Guppy and Billy McKinlay all having knocked around for a
long time. Lilian Nalis came in from Italy, but apart from a
cracking long range volley against Leeds early on in the campaign, he
has done little and was last seen playing against our reserves, with
highly rated youngster Jordan Stewart, a pacy wide-man, to put in some
fresh legs among the old lags. Again, Tottenham should be able to
dominate here and the only respite that Leicester might get is if Poyet
and Anderton are preferred, as they might be able to rough them out of
The forward line will be
missing new signing Lee Morris, who is injured, as is Marcus Bent.
Then latter is a decent enough goalscorer, while Morris is a hard
working winger, who had been a goal-scorer in the First Division, but is
unproven in the Premiership. Someone who is a proven scorer in the
top flight is Les Ferdinand, so if Deano plays, we might be needing his
aerial resolve, but on the ground, les might leave him standing, so
perhaps Doc would be better matched against Sir Les. Jamie
Scowcroft is a strapping striker, but has been playing off the front two
in midfield for a while now. Deadly at the far post at free-kicks,
hw ill be another one who needs to be picked up at dead ball
situations. Paul Brooker is unlikely to make an appearance, as
Adams has bought him as one for the future, while former Gooner Paul
Dickov is most likely to be Les' partner up front, as he provides the
little in the partnership. Dickov is an annoying type of forward
who never gives defenders a minute's rest, so he will be nipping at
ankles and closing defenders down at every opportunity, but as
long as we can keep him doing that rather than getting the ball in
dangerous positions, we should be satisfied.
Leicester have been
shipping goals lately and since Walker's crisp action to thwart a pitch
invader, he has gone off the boil, leaving Leicester desperate for some
points. As I said earlier, they have a good track record at White
Hart Lane, so nothing should be taken for granted, but the way Defoe and
Keane have gelled instantly gives great cause for hope, despite a week's
break since our latest win. With Kanoute waiting on the bench and
putting the pressure on the front two to do the business, it might spell
trouble for Leicester ...
- Tottenham 3 Leicester City
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
FROM THE OTHER SIDE
has not had time to gain an alternative view of the match.
Jamie Redknapp (not match fit); Anthony Gardner (hamstring); Helder
LEICESTER CITY : - Lee
Morris (thigh); Marcus Bent (hamstring)
TV : Live on Sky Sports 1
SKY Sports 1
ART Sports 2
Sky Sport 2 (Italy)
TV Sport RO
Nova TV (Croatia)
ART Sports 2
C+ Deporte 1
Fox Sports World Canada
Radio : Live commentary on BBC Five Live (693 & 909
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk
(Live webcast - subscription only);
4 Leicester City
4 (Half-time score : 3-1)
|Sunday 22nd February 2004
|Venue : - White Hart Lane
|Kick Off : - 16.05 p.m.
|Weather : - Very cold,
windy, but dry
|Referee : - N. Barry
|Crowd : - 35,218
|Teams : -
Tottenham : - Keller; Carr (c), Doherty, Richards, Taricco;
Davies, Brown (Kanoute 79), King, Jackson (Anderton 62); Keane, Defoe
Unused Subs : - Burch, Dalmat, Poyet
: - Walker; Taggart (Davidson 50), Thatcher, Dabizas, Nalis,
Guppy, Scimeca, Freund, Ferdinand (Bent 79), Scowcroft, Dickov (Sinclair
Unused Subs : - Coyne, Stewart
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Tottenham - Brown 6, Defoe 13, 89, Keane 28
- Doherty (o.g.) 9, Ferdinand 51, Thatcher 74, Bent 79
|Cards : -
Taricco (foul) 84
Taggart (foul) 46,
Dabizas (foul) 57,
Scowcroft (foul) 71,
Dickov (foul) 77
Never a dull moment with Spurs is there
?? Sometimes you just wish there were and this was one of them,
when three points against Leicester would have set us apart from the
bottom half of the table and helped propel us towards the heady heights
of the European qualification places.
With too many goals flying in our own
net, the time was ripe to tighten up at the back, while letting our
forwards do what they do best. But while that might have been
partly true in the first half, the second was pure hell from a defending
point of view. Richards had done most things simply before the
break and Doherty had recovered from ticking one past his own keeper,
but when the obligatory goal went in within five minutes of the half
time interval, then the jitters set in and we presented Leicester with a
procession of goals their general play didn't really deserve.
Not that Spurs had to be at their best to
take a 3-1 lead inside half an hour. The back four had already
been embarrassed when Dickov turned between Richards and Doherty as the
ball was allowed to travel beyond them, but Keller made a brave block
with his body. A minute later and Michael Brown had opened his
Spurs goal-scoring account with a fifth minute free-kick that bounced in
front of Walker, but the former Spurs goalie helped by diving under the
ball and getting a hand to it as it flew into the net.
"You're Spurs and you know you are" chorused the Park Lane !!
It didn't take long for the comedy
cock-ups to start at our end. Again Doherty let a long ball bounce
and with Dickov buzzing around, he stretched out a Ginger Pele leg and
poked the ball past Kasey, despite the keeper's best efforts to stop it
going in for an equaliser after 9 minutes.
Then Tottenham went up the other end and
a neat move involving Davies and Keane ended with the Welshman setting
Jermain Defoe free in the 18th minute and as he ran into the right side
of the area, he looked up, saw Walker ill-positioned and hit the ball
across him to make it 2-1.
Robbie Keane was determined to get in on
the act and although Walker denied him, he nearly spilled the ball at
Davies' feet. He only had to wait until the 29th minute, when
Taggart was pressured into a back-pass that Walker picked up, giving
Tottenham a free-kick 16 yards from goal. Teams never score these,
but the ball hit the wall from Jackson's drive, it was half cleared,
before dropping out to the right of the goal, where Keano was waiting
and his low drive ripped past Walker, leaving him with no chance.
Almost equally as keen as Keane to score
was Steffen Freund, returning for what he thought might be a dream
scoring performance. His shooting has got no better since he has
been away and two efforts ended up in the North Stand; the second being
at least closer than the first that was about 20 yards wide !!
Kasey Keller had to be alert to keep out
an effort from Dickov, who was having a running battle with his equally
abrasive marker Taricco. It was obvious that at some stage the ref
would be required to bring out a card to them. The half ended with
Jackson bringing Keane into play with a neat knock-down and his shot was
pushed away by Walker for a corner, which Tottenham dithered over and
ran out of time to take.
The dithering was symptomatic of what was
to come. Lack of decisive action caused Tottenham's own
downfall. The last thing Spurs wanted to do was to let one in just
after the break ... so what happens ?? Five minutes in and Johnnie
Jackson refuses to use his right foot to dispatch the ball into Row Z
and gets caught spinning around trying to manouevre the ball onto his
favoured left foot, allowing Les Ferdinand to hit past Keller from the
edge of the box. It was again, blindingly obvious, that Les would
score on his return to the Lane ... as much as Freund wouldn't !!
Tottenham started to rock. A long
cross was headed narrowly wide, when Scowcroft got on the end of it,
while Keller was rooted to his line. A goalkeeper who dominated
his box would have annulled the danger by making the cross his in the
first place. Similarly at the other end, Walker was all at sea
with a great cross whipped in by Defoe, that fell to Gary Doherty, but
his header sailed over the bar.
The game seemed almost destined to slip
away from Tottenham when Scowcroft went in for a tackle on Taricco,
studs up and over the top, which earned him the red card. The
reduction to ten men could only mean on thing ... the Man. City Cup tie
all over again !! So the goal that came from a corner (conceded
when Keller failed to some for a cross) was no surprise to pull it back
to 3-3. The shocking thing about the goal was it was scored by Ben
Thatcher !! He never did that for us, but he became the second
ex-Spurs to get his name on the score-sheet.
The fact that Leicester managed to take
the lead was annoying, but not unexpected. More fannying about
with the ball at the back saw Doherty sell Keller short with a
back-pass, which Dickov made fall for substitute Marcus Bent, who
knocked it in to give the Foxes an unlikely lead.
3-4 down, so that was it. Ten
minutes left and Kanoute thrown on for Brown in an attempt to boost the
firepower available. King drove in low, as did Carr, but both
times Walker kept the ball out. Dickov and Taricco finally
exhausted the ref's patience and got their yellow cards, with Dickov
lucky not to get another shortly after to see red. And that led to
the game changing with a Leicester substitution. Adams took Dickov
off before he got sent off and brought on defender Frank Sinclair.
This seemed to upset the massed ranks of
blue shirts in the Leicester defence and a perfectly judged forward pass
by King, just over Thatcher's head dropped at Defoe's feet. Before
almost anyone knew what had happened, he had lashed it past the kneeling
Walker into the roof of the net to grab Spurs a point that perhaps their
second half performance did not deserve.
Although Doherty had a last gasp header
go over, the Tottenham crowd were grateful for the point in the
end. Anything more or less would have been embarrassing for
entirely different reasons, but again it highlighted the need for
tactical decisions to be made earlier in the game and also for the side
to show some fortitude in such situations. It might be three weeks
before the next game, but the time they get out on the training pitch to
work on defending cannot come too soon.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JERMAIN DEFOE
|The goal-fest that is Tottenham
Hotspur these days keeps us "entertained" as Mr. Pleat puts it
!! I don't know about him, but I will need to see a doctor.
But then I would rather see a decent defender or two in the way of the
opponents' attacks !!
The game at WHL these days
resembles some 1950s replay of flat capped crowds being thrilled with
7-6 score-lines with little or no heed paid to stopping the thing going
in the net. Hell, we got so score-happy that we even started
putting them in our own net. And when we weren't doing that, we
were setting them up on a plate for Leicester City.
For this game I took a different
view of proceedings thanks to some tickets from my kind friends in block
23a. I thought this was some Harry Potter-ish Platform 9½ style
invention, but it turned out to be a nice sector in the corner of the
East Stand/Paxton stands, where we had a good view across the
pitch. In fact, it turned out to be a bit of a nostalgic visit for
me, as this was where I used to stand on the Shelf when I was a lad and
going down to the toilets, in the way I used to thirty years before,
made me realise how much I miss the old raised terracing. Standing
there the night we won the UEFA Cup for the first time ... and annoying
all those Spurs fans around me with my constant singing ... it all seems
so far away these days.
Still, the nostalgia soon was
wiped away when Spurs hit the net early on, thanks to Michael Brown's
bending, bouncing free-kick and Walker's half-hearted attempt to push it
wide. Then The Doc gave the Foxes a tonic with an indecisive
moment when he wasn't sure whether to let the ball go or leave it for
someone else, so decided to stick it where it can't do any more harm ...
in the back of his own net !! Keller got closer to this one than
any of the three others he let in though. His lack of domination
of his box is a desperate worry, as he is capable of shot-stopping
really well, but he doesn't come for corners (i.e. Thatcher's goal) and
his kicking is poor enough to make players want to put the ball exactly
where he wants it ... or in some cases exactly where he doesn't.
Things all seemed well with the
world when Simon Davies' elaborate flick set Defoe away and his low shot
was excellently placed, after a quick look up noted Walker had
positioned himself too close to his near post. Walker's nightmare
was complete when he picked up a back-pass from Taggart without
detecting it was such. The ref punished the crime and not many
teams score from these sort of situations, so it was no surprise when
Jackson's drive hit the wall and brown's follow-up was also
blocked. The weak clearance, however, fell to Keano, who was
poised just off the action, waiting for the ball to come in his
direction. His drilled effort ripped past Walker for 3-1.
The lack of Jackson's right foot
lead to him being tackled by Freund and the ball fortunately diverted
into Ferdinand's path for him to slot the ball past Keller and it was
game on. I think Freund would have liked to have scored in this
match, even though he said he wouldn't celebrate, but his dodgy
mullet-style hairstyle was more in keeping with Leicester than
Tottenham. les showed he still has the ability to unsettle
defences, but seeing him and Richards run for the ball made the others
look like they had been digitally added to the scene, moving at a
different speed to the two old timers. Les had avoided being
knocked out and Deano won a lot in the air, but on the ground, he is
suspect (number one).
At 3-2, Scowcroft went for a ball
on the touchline in front of the dug-outs and he brought his studs down
on Taricco's shin, with the ball having gone some moments before.
Micky Adams said the following day that Taricco needs to be sorted out,
as his acting got Scowcroft sent off, making reference to Taz being
Argentinian, which is almost tantamount to racism or xenophobia at the
least. We all know about Taricco's antics and none of us like to
see them, but in this instance, I would not have thought that Scowcroft
had much to complain about and Adams would have done better to keep his
own counsel (seeing as the same day he received a £500 fine and a
warning about his future conduct from the FA over an incident when they
played Birmingham). The reaction of the Spurs players indicated
that it was a bad tackle and if Adams is so sure about the way Taricco
conducts himself and would tell him that there is no place for those
actions, I look forward to his public pronouncement about Paul Dickov's
part in the proceedings. From the start it was obvious that both
he and Taricco were winding each other up and it was a red card waiting
to happen. Neither got one, but Dickov came closest with two bad
tackles ... only one of which saw a card produced. perhaps it was
for the best. I wouldn't have wanted us to play a team who had
gone down to nine men.
With ten they went from 2-3 down
to 4-3 up. A corner went unclaimed by Keller and Thatcher went
unmarked by any defender, running in for a free header past the prone
keeper. Then Doherty decided to play a ball back to Keller when it
would have been better dispatched into the crowd, but Dickov got there
first and bent picked up the pieces to knock in the fourth goal.
Cries of "We want Ledley at the back" rang out to prick
Pleat's pomposity in playing him in midfield, but then one moment and
you could see why the stand-in manager does that.
Picking up the ball 25 yards out,
Ledders clipped a precise ball over the Leicester defence to
Jermain. The ball came down off his thigh and like lightening it
was past the helpless Walker and in off the underside of the bar to make
it 4-4. Previous to this the high ball policy to our little men up
front had only succeeded in bouncing the ball back in the direction of
In the end we were glad of the
point and the visiting fans must have been sick to lose two points in
the final furlong, but the same old problems keep recurring and
something must be done to sort it out. We might escape with it
against the likes of Pompey and Leicester, but come the Man Us and
Chelseas, we will get slaughtered. The new manager ,whoever he is,
will be watching this from afar and I am sure will have players in mind
to put it all right.
Mind you with the score-keeping
of the Tottenham Hotspur website we might not need new defenders,
because despite recording the score as 4-4, it put five goals down for
Spurs and three for Leicester. Doherty's own goal was added to the
Tottenham tally !!
PS In an article in
the Independent on Sunday interviewing Stephen Carr he said "One
thing's for sure, we'll never take it for granted if we're ever three-nil
up again. We'll never think, 'That's it, it's over' because it ain't ever
over, even against 10 men." Hmmm !!
alone in thinking that David Pleat is just as inept as his predecessor
when it comes to reacting to changing circumstances?
In each of the nightmare games where we have had a big lead and thrown
it away, it seems to me that the manager must go in at half time and
simply say "well done lads, keep it up". Surely any
manager worth his salts should be thinking about what his opposite
number will be saying and doing, anticipate a change in tactics and
prepare his team accordingly. This just doesn't happen. Nor do we
appear to have any leadership on the pitch when the going gets tough.
Saturday's substitutions further support my views that David Pleat has
lost the plot a little. In a game which cried out for someone to
hold the ball and play it out of defence, why send on an obviously not
yet fit Darren Anderton and not Stefan Dalmat (who did so well against
Leicester last time around)? With all due respect to him, I would
have bet my life savings that Darren Anderton was not going to be
the man to calm the ship in those circumstances - I have seen too many
big occasions in the past where he has failed to stand up and be
Further evidence of Pleat's own 'loss of form' follows on from his
transfer dealings. We are shipping goals through a defence and
goalkeeper that I suspect would struggle in a lower division, let alone
the premiership (lets hope we don't find out). So when the
transfer window opens what does he do....buy another striker.
Now I'm not saying Defoe was a bad buy - far from it, what a start, he's
already a firm favourite with the fans. However, he did not
address the very big problems we have at the back. It also
highlights the previous bad choices and wasted cash on Postiga (another
Rebrov = failure in the making?) and Zamora (obviously out of his depth
in the premiership). As for the foul up over Robinson .. did he not know
the league rules to start with?
Anyway, continuing what I started above, we haven't strengthened the
defence. So, we go into the Leicester game having gifted nine
goals in the previous three games with an England centre back in the
team ... playing in midfield! Result - another four
conceded! The fans, the England Manager and the player himself all
think he should be at the back but Pleat knows best! Even then and
having started like that, with Richards and Doherty so clearly
struggling and the team desperate to get back in it, the long awaited
substitution sees Kanoute come on (good choice) but Brown come off (bad
choice). Why on earth not move King back into defence, keep Brown
on the pitch (he was doing ok) and pull off one of the awesome duo
(actually I'd have taken both off - it wouldn't have made any difference
they were so bad). There was no shape to start with,
the substitutions made it worse instead of better.
Now I am a Spurs fan to the end but come on David and co, the fans are
entitled to be fed up to the back teeth with the same old problems week
in and week out. Pleat makes some useless and flippant comments in
the press about 'Groundhog Day' and wanting to see the film to see what
its all about. Better to be serious and use the time to do some
work watching films of teams that can defend and then going out on the
training ground and sorting this mess out !!!
another fiasco this afternoon wasn't it ?
We were all over them in
the first half and should have had more than three goals to show for
it. Walker was spilling the ball like it was a hot cake (no
Then comes the dreaded
second half and Leicester seemed a totally different team thanks to our
own generosity. I cannot make out what is said at half time (wish
I was a fly on the wall), but at times we seemed as bad as
Leicester's first half. Jackson has to learn you do not mess about
in front of your own goal, also Doc must measure his passes
better. That was two points we have thrown away today and bearing
in mind our fixtures that are left you cannot see many wins at this
moment. I also think that Dickov should have seen red for the foul
on Taricco as a second booking.
... we do need a proper Captain, as I do not see Carr giving the
team any encouragement especially when they are under the cosh by the
re-watched the Leicester game I came up with a few different reasons as
to why we are playing the way we are at the moment.
Firstly, whilst we have a great strike
force shouldn't defending start at the front, I'm not slagging Keano or
Defoe. I mean God knows where we would be without them, but I
always remember Ian Rush harassing the crap out of defenders so much so
that other teams would not get out of Liverpool's half. Keano is a
great player but I sometimes think he tries to much with the ball, Defoe
also looks genuine class next to Keano, but how long will either of
these two stay if we carry on the way we are.
Midfield is a problem. I'm right up
there with Ledders at the back with Tony, Brown is doing a good enough
job in the middle, we should have put in a bid for Butt to go alongside
him. Simon Davies looks like he's getting back to form and it would be
good to see Rohan get another go.
So to the back, what a mess; but my main
point is this, did anyone notice that the whole second half was played
down Taricco's side of the pitch. Everyone is doing it now, so why
did Pleaty take Jackson off and bring on Dazzler, when he could have
taken Taricco off and put Johnnie there ? No point in going into
detail about Dean and The Doc, they had a shocker and I would say that
at least The Doc knows he did.
In the summer Keller, Richards, Taricco,
Anderton, Poyet have all got to leave, possibly even Carr who I don't
think is a natural leader. We need someone in there to put the
wind up our players, something like Roberts used to do when he was
Whilst we are an entertaining side (for
the neutral anyway) and nowhere near as boring as Liverpool, the players
need to know who the new boss is, we do as well. We have got an
excellent young squad that now needs fine tuning and then we can start
to believe in our team again, because every week that lot up the road
get further away from us.
Sean The Yid, Hong Kong
this weekend :
|FA Cup Fifth