Looking Forward

 

COVENTRY CITY (Away)

Carling Cup

Wednesday 24th September 2003

Coming on the back of Glenn Hoddle's sacking, Spurs face the team that our previous manager made his last Tottenham appearance against and the team that our interim manager David Pleat lost to in the 1987 FA Cup final.

But the teams have passed a lot of wind and water since then.  Spurs have struggled to regain the style that the 1987 team played with (even though they won nothing) and Coventry have suffered financial stricture and relegation to the First Division.  The lack of money finally saw the Sky Blues go down to the Nationwide after a number of close shaves, but when the drop came, the club struggled to go close to go regaining their top flight status.

They have picked up with their only couple of wins this season coming in the last three games against Stoke City and manager-less Reading.  Other than that they have drawn a couple and lost two so far.

With relegation came the usual loss of their top players.  They have a selection of reserves from other clubs and players who have come through their own ranks to form their side.

In goal, there is Shearer, with the French former Liverpool goalie Pegguy Arphexad in reserve.

Defence includes Steve Staunton, brought in from Aston Villa to bolster the back-line with some experience, alongside the former Palace man Richard Shaw at left back.  Man mountain Mo Konjic is still there at centre-half, while forgotten Palace and Boro full back Dean Gordon is still knocking around, but is still prone to getting injuries too easily.  Andrew Whing has been a squad member of late and has come up through thre ranks and made his debut last season.  Mansouri

The left side of midfield has featured Stephen Warnock, who can also play at left-back while on his season long loan from Liverpool and ex-Celt Michael Doyle has broken into the team this season, where he partners Claus Jorgensen impressed while at Bradford City and Bournemouth, scoring regularly from midfield. Transfer-listed and injury prone Keith O'Neill is still there, while fellow Irishman Barry Quinn has come from the youth system at Highfield Road, but has also joined O'Neill on the transfer list. Youssef Saffri, the Moroccan midfielder is described as a defensive midfielder, but is more well known for scoring some long range goals and might leave a space in pushing forward to exploit.  Even manager Gary McAllister still pulls his boots on sometimes to add some much needed class to the midfield.

Well travelled Dele Adebola has been sapped up from Palace to play alongside one ex-Arsenal youth teamer - Graham Barrett, who replaced another - Jay Bothroyd, who unsurprisingly left for Perugia.  Republic of Ireland Under-21 Barrett has a fearsome shot and is trying to prove a point by dropping down a division, so needs to be watched, as he will see this as a big opportunity to show the watching public what he can do.  The other forward who was brought in this summer was Andy Morrell from Wrexham, who is another who specialises in spectacular goals.  Julian Joachim, who used to be a speedy winger with Leicester City, is still there, but is not a regular first pick in the forward line.  Cameroon and former Sheffield United striker Patrick Suffo signed in the summer, but has a bad boy reputation as one of the players sent off in the infamous Blades game that got abandoned when they were reduced to six players through dismissals and injuries.

As far as Spurs are concerned, Keane and Kanoute might start up front to torment Robbie's old team.  Gus Poyet, Jonathan Blondel and Johnnie Jackson are added to the Spurs squad to give it some experience and youth, while I am sure Pleat will shake up the team a bit to put his spin on the side.  Konchesky will probably not be allowed to play as he will be cup-tied for Charlton otherwise and without Redknapp, the midfield will probably look hard-working in their outlook.  Many of Pleat's purchases will feature in the next few weeks no doubt, so we must hope that the effect of having a new manager has the same result as it has on other teams and we start picking up results.

Having beaten Coventry in the FA Cup there two years ago, I think Tottenham will have too much ability and if they really didn't want to play for Hoddle (as has been said by some), we should see exactly how they  can play.

PREDICTION : -   Coventry City   1     Tottenham   4

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

We had no response from a Coventry City website in answering our questions.

Players unavailable ...

Coventry City -   

Tottenham Hotspur - Christian Ziege (thigh), Kazuyuki Toda (calf), Ledley King (hamstring), Jamie Redknapp (knee), Simon Davies (groin)

COVERAGE : 
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Coventry City   0      Tottenham  3      (Half-time score : 0-2)
Carling Cup - Round 2
Wednesday 24th September 2003
Venue : -  Highfield Road
Kick Off : -  19.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Chilly, clear
Referee : -  M. Jones ()
Crowd : -  15,474
Teams : -  
Coventry City : -  Shearer; Shaw, Konjic, Staunton, Warnock; Safri, Suffo (Barrett 46), Doyle (Jorgensen 46);  Mansouri; Adebola, Morrell 
Unused Subs : - Arphexad; Whing; Davenport

Tottenham : -  Keller; Carr (c), Richards, Gardner, Taricco; Anderton, Bunjevcevic, Poyet, Blondel (Ricketts 62); Keane (Postiga 79), Kanoute
Unused Subs. : - Burch, Doherty, Dalmat

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
  
Coventry City       Tottenham    
Scorers : -  
Coventry City  -  None

Tottenham -  Kanoute 13, Keane 23, Ricketts 85

Cards : -  
Coventry City  -  Shaw (foul) 58

Tottenham -  Carr (foul) 33, Gardner (foul) 78

As usually happens when a new man comes in to take charge, the result reflects more on the player's attitudes than the manager's and so this proved, with Tottenham seeing aside the timid challenge of Coventry City.

It could have started before the first goal, had Gus taken Keano's flick instead of letting it get away from him, but equally, Spurs might have conceded when Adebola turned away from Richards with consummate ease and wasted the opportunity created.

The first Spurs goal started deep in their own half, as the ball broke to Bunjie outside the centre circle and his through pass was touched into Fredi's path by Keane.  Kanoute's pace outstripped the lumbering Cov defenders and as the keeper went to ground early, he swept the ball to the feet end and low into the net.  Within five minutes, Coventry had probably their best chance, when a high ball was played down the right hand side of the box and Anthony Gardner ducked under the ball, which held up, leaving Adebola a chance to lift it over Keller.  Luckily, he didn't get proper weight on his shot and Richards nipped in to knock the ball away from the goalmouth.  Deano had looked slow all night, but improved in the second half, as did Blondel, who was making a nervous first start for Tottenham.

A smooth passing move opened Coventry up, starting with Anderton, whose pass was laid off beautifully by Keane for Poyet to hit first time, but he opted for power and not precision, thus firing the ball over the top, when a large area of the goal was invitingly open.  The next goal came along a couple of minutes later and with Coventry sitting off Spurs, they could really make their passing hurt City.  Fredi received the ball and put the ball left to Keano, who let the pace of the ball beat his marker and then guided it away from Stuanton.  His Republic of Ireland team-mate caught him up, but Robbie twisted away from him, leaving him in space to guide a left foot shot across the confounded keeper and in for number two. 

Spurs kept up the pressure and Keller had to field a quickly taken free-kick, but there was no real venom in Staunton's effort.  Tottenham went through a little phase of giving away silly free-kicks around the area, including one that Carr got booked for, but the goal shad produced a low-key atmosphere at the game and the 4-4-2 formation added a little bit of security to the fragile Spurs side when they started the match.  It worked a treat when Poyet released Blondel on the left wing and his low ball into the area was just to far ahead of Kanoute with the goal at his mercy.  Poyet could have wrapped the tie up before half-time, when Anderton's cross from the right wing found him in acres of space and his header produced a fine save from Shearer in goal, although it could have been better placed, while the follow up, with the keeper on the ground should have been put in, but Gus hit a combination of the keeper and the post to keep the ball out !!

The biggest cheer the Sky Blues got all night was when a player of theirs, Doyle I think, played a pass with the outside of his boot !!

The break brought two changes from Coventry, but Spurs continued in the same vein, although they had to play a bit more on the break this half, with the home side trying to get back into the match.  Carr tried to let the ball run for a goal-kick, but it was nicked off him and Adebola was baulked just when he tried to shoot, then approaching the hour mark, Jorgensen hit a drive from 28 yards out and Keller held it near his post.  Morrell had a shot go miles wide, as did Barrett, who did seem to want to show his Arsenal pedigree against Spurs.

Kanoute was denied an goalscoring chance when Keane put him through and the ref blew for handball, but a moment later, Anderton sent Ricketts into the right channel and as he tried to dink it past the keeper, he rushed out to block the shot.  Then the same two played a one-two and Ricketts landed his delicate chip just on the roof of the net.  he looked keen to score after coming on as a sub.  Postiga also entered the action, probably as Pleat thought he might break his duck against Coventry, but his first involvement was to slip a pass through to Kanoute, who was denied by the goalkeeper's dive at his feet.  Ricketts was the provider for Kanoute's header, but it just cleared the bar, so when Rohan got the ball from Treacle, just inside the City half with five minutes to go, you thought time might be running out.  But the midfielder took the ball from the right side, infield across two defenders and hit a shot that the keeper got a hand to and bounced down off the crossbar, finally nestling in the net.  Ricketts first goal for Spurs was celebrated with some glee and a lot of badge kissing (which I don't like personally).

With time running out, Postiga had a shot deflected over the top and Adebola and Jorgensen both went close for the home side, but in the final analysis, it was a comfortable win for Tottenham, played in lots of space and given time by the Nationwide side.  Sunday will be a different matter entirely, but at the moment, Spurs are through to Round Three !!

Special mention should be given to Darren Anderton, who put in a hard-working performance that laid the spadework for the team to build on.  He covered a lot of ground and although nearly gave a Fulham style pass away in a dangerous position, he made up for it with a lot of attacking passing too. 

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DARREN ANDERTON

Willie Old

 

Freedom

 

A win against a First Division team in a cup competition shouldn't be something to go overboard about, especially when they give you the freedom of Coventry to play your football.

And that was the key.  Hoddle would not be where he is today if had seen his side afforded the space to perform their passing and movement like a training match, as this game turned out.  The two goals in the first half were prime examples.  The ball given away cheaply, loose marking and closing down and two passes that cut through the defence put first Kanoute and then Keane through to administer the finish the passing deserved.

Keane's goal did involve a bit more than Fredi's, as Robbie had to take on a  couple of defenders, before shooting across the keeper, whereas Kanoute was in a leg race with nobody near him and the keeper made his decision on where to put the ball into the net easy, by going one way far too early.  Before the game Coventry manager Gary McAllister said the gap between the First Division and the bottom of the Premier is not that big ... well, I think this proved it.  Where Fulham and SCBC did their homework and learned to shut Spurs down, City left them to roam wherever they wanted to.

Spurs looked more compact with the 4-4-2 system Pleat began with and although Blondel did not sparkle like he can, he did not try to escape from his defensive duties and tracked back, making fouls on a couple of occasions.  When he did run out of steam, his replacement stuck one in the net and one to his old club with some serious badge worship.  Yes, Rohan Ricketts announced his arrival with a 50 yard run and shot that might have been kept out by a better keeper, but it showed his willingness to run with the ball, something few other midfielders want to do at the moment.  Anderton put in a lot of effort in midfield, both in defence and attack, while Gus got into good scoring positions, but his legs won't carry him up and back all that much these days.

The major worry of the night was the hesitancy in defence.  Gardner is lacking a dominant performance from Richards alongside him, mainly because Deano appears to be suffering with his injury.  He isn't moving freely and gets caught trying to be too close to opponents, thus getting turned too easily.  Both defenders were beaten in the air quite regularly and it was fortunate that Coventry hardly had a shot on goal.

A good result, as it will boost confidence and please the fans who travelled to Highfield Road, but the test of how much difference Pleat has made is just about to come.

Stanford Rivers

 

Other scores this round :
Blackpool 1 Birmingham City 0 Tuesday
Bolton Wanderers 3 Walsall 1 Wednesday
Bristol City 1 Watford 0 Tuesday
Cardiff City 2 West Ham United 3 Tuesday
Charlton Athletic (won 8-7 on pens) 4 Luton Town 4 Tuesday
Crystal Palace 2 Doncaster Rovers 1 Tuesday
Everton 3 Stockport County 0 Wednesday
Hartlepool United 1 WBA 0 Tuesday
Leeds United  (won 4-3 on pens) 2 Swindon Town 2 Wednesday
Leicester City 1 Crewe Alexandra 0 Tuesday
Middlesbrough (aet) 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Wednesday
Notts. County 2 Ipswich Town 1 Tuesday
Oxford United 1 Reading 2 Wednesday
Portsmouth 5 Northampton Town 2 Tuesday
Rotherham United 1 Colchester  United 0 Tuesday
Scunthorpe United 2 Burnley 3 Tuesday
Sheffield United 0 QPR 2 Tuesday
Stoke City 0 Gillingham 2 Tuesday

Sunderland

2 Huddersfield Town 4 Tuesday

Tranmere Rovers

0 Nottingham Forest (win 4-1 on pens) 0 Tuesday
Wigan Athletic 1 Fulham 0 Tuesday

Wolverhampton Wanderers

2 Darlington 0 Tuesday
Wycombe Wanderers 0 Aston Villa 5 Tuesday

 

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