Looking Forward

 

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Premier League

Sunday 25th April 2004

With Tottenham in a rut (and they have got to get out of it) and Arsenal on an unbeaten run, the London derby looks decidedly loaded this time around.

If Tottenham continue to play as they have done recently without heart, without pride, without imagination, they will get thumped.  If they get themselves together, they might be able to put up a bit of a fight.

I'm not convinced of that as they couldn't raise themselves to play Bolton, so I am not sure they think they are in danger of getting relegated, but they are.

I just hope I can last until the end of the game (I have only left early once before and that was because we were losing 1-5 to Wimbledon at the toilet that was Plough Lane).

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham   0     Arsenal   3

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

Unable to obtain an alternative view from an Arsenal fan website.

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Rob Burch (ankle); Darren Anderton (Achilles); Christian Ziege (thigh); Stephen Carr (suspended and back injury)

ARSENAL : Pascal Cygan (ankle); Stuart Taylor (shoulder)

COVERAGE : 
TV :  
Live on Sky Sports 1
7tv (Russia)
MCSA SS3
Galaxie Sport
C+ Deporte 1
PW Sport 4
RTL 5
Sport 1 HU
Diema+
ART Sports 3
TV Sport RO
C+ Nordic
Diema+
Nova TV
(Croatia)
ART Sports 3

MCSA SS3
C+ Deporte 1
Sky Sport 2 (Italy)
C+ Sport (Poland)

Radio :  
Live commentary on BBC Five Live (909 & 693 AM)
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast   (subscription only)

 

 

Tottenham Hotspur  2      Arsenal   2     (Half-time score : 0-2)
Premier League
Sunday 25th April 2004
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  16.05 p.m.
Weather : -  Hot, sunny
Referee : -  M. Halsey (Lancashire)
Crowd : -  36,097
Teams : -  
Tottenham Hotspur : -  Keller; Kelly (Poyet 80), King, Gardner, Taricco (Bunjevcevic 90); Jackson (Defoe 46), Brown, Redknapp (c), Davies; Kanoute, Keane 
Unused Subs : -  Hirschfeld, Ricketts  

Arsenal : -  Lehmann; Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole; Parlour (Edu 68), Vieira, Silva, Pires; Henry, Bergkamp (Reyes 81)
Unused Subs : - Stack, Keown, Clichy

Colours : -   (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  -  Redknapp 64, Keane (pen) 90

Arsenal -  Vieira 4, Pires 36

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  -     Redknapp (foul) 58,     Keane (retaliation) 90

Arsenal -      Lehmann (foul) 90

A typically robust North London derby showed that Tottenham were eventually not going to lay down for Arsenal roll them over to take the Championship and although it was results elsewhere which won the title for them, the comeback Spurs produced, left even their most ardent fans amazed following recent exhibitions.  Taking a point made a point to all the Gooners.

With little mattering to Arsenal than to win the title at White Hart Lane, the squeals that they have no truck with small fry like Spurs any longer fails to ring true.  All the whingeing Gooners on the football phone-ins were all full of themselves (which Gooner isn't) and all made the point about winning the title at the Lane.  So the obsession became more important than actually beating a team to take the title.

A point was good enough for them, but for Tottenham in their current predicament, it was the minimum required, although I failed to imagine we would obtain such a result.  That became ever clearer after just three minutes, when a speedy move from OUR corner saw the visitors score the first goal.  Breaking out of defence, the ball moved quickly upfield to Henry, who squared for Vieira to slide in to score from six yards out.  The pace of the side caught Tottenham out, but they failed to learn from that when the second goal was scored in similar fashion.  35 minutes on the clock and another break saw Vieira take the ball down the left wing, cut it back, getting a lucky deflection off Kelly's back and Pires swept it in from close range.  Nobody tracked back with Pires, leaving him an easy task to score and in the first goal, Redknapp allowed Henry to go past him on the half-way line, where a foul would have halted his progress.  In the same situation an Arsenal player would have had no objection to such a cynical action.

For too much of the first half Tottenham sat off Arsenal too much, with the away side always being first to any loose ball.  Allowing them too much respect allowed them to come at Spurs, much the way Manchester United had here earlier in the season, but when Spurs got after them, things started to turn.  Young defender Stephen Kelly was the only one willing to get stuck into the tackle, while others stood off Arsenal players on the ball.  Vieira got narked after Brown got stuck into him a few times and somehow managed to get away with three (count 'em) elbows to Brown's head ... one a petulant swipe right in front of the ref, but no yellow or red was shown to him.

Tottenham did manage to create some chances, although from match reports, you wouldn't have thought we were on the same planet, let alone the same pitch.  Twenty minutes in and a free-kick outside the box was worked square to Redknapp and his low shot was easily fielded by Lehmann.  Jamie did not have a very productive first half with too many passes being hit too long and his legs not looking up to the task, but he knuckled down in the second period and was more effective.  A minute after, the ball was fed wide on the left to Taricco, who hit a shot that curled and dipped over Lehmann, who was well off his line, but fortune was on his side, as it went over the frame of the goal by about a foot and skimmed the top of the net.

Simon Davies had a steady game, but produced a dipping shot from 20 yards that went just over the top and the only other threat on the Spurs goal came just before the break when Bergkamp was through on Keller, but he came out quickly to smother the danger at his feet.  The teams left the pitch at the half-time whistle to boos, although I am not sure who they were aimed at.  It did appear that there was no way back against the machine like efficiency of the Arsenal system, but the watering of the pitch to make it slicker obviously screamed out for Tottenham to play the ball on the turf, rather than look long to Kanoute's head as they had done to little effect in the first half.

The dead ball situations Tottenham had were not utilised to their best advantage and Kanoute smashed a well placed central free-kick way over in the 53rd minute, before Arsenal opened Spurs up at the Park Lane end.  Three passes saw the ball move from one end to the other and the cross ball into the area could not find a red shirt.  When they did pick out Henry, he engineered himself a yard of space on the left and he hit a low shot to Keller's right, but the Yank got down to it and pushed it aside with a good save.

It might have been the turning point for Spurs, as on the hour the passing on the ground laid the ball at Defoe's feet and he found Brown.  Looking up, he pushed it in front of Redknapp to have a hit from 25 yards and his shot flew past Lehmann's late dive and bulged the back of the net.  He hit it sweetly and it was a nice moment for Brown, who got into the game more in the second half, to be a thorn in the side of the Gooners.  With the margin cut to one goal, play opened up as Tottenham sought to get an equaliser.

With twenty minutes remaining, neat passing put Henry in on Keller, but Kasey rushed out to close the French striker quickly and he poked his shot outside the post, but the German custodian at the other end was brought into play, as the Spurs captain tested him from a 20 yard free-kick that brought a fingertip over the top.  Shortly after, the ball went off in front of the West Stand for a throw-in to Arsenal, but Lauren took it quickly, but straight to Fredi.  With the ball at his feet inside the penalty area, he just stopped and looked perplexed.  As confused as the Spurs fans in the stands wondering why he wasn't looking to get a goal for us or set up someone who would.  It looked like Arsenal had been told to give Tottenham a draw or they would not get out alive.  The police that encircled the Spurs fans (except those in the West Stand) obviously thought at 0-2 we were all going to jump on the pitch to try and get it called off !!  The slow-thinking by Kanoute saw him blast the ball at a defender in the end and the chance was gone.

It was almost very costly, as with points still at a premium to pull away from the bottom four, we were almost made to pay, when Gardner gave the ball to Henry, he passed to Pires and his rasping shot bounced off the bar and out to keep the score at 1-2, when it looked easier to score.  I must say that Arsenal's arrogance worked against them as they tried to humiliate Tottenham in front  of their own fans, but their concentration on trying to effect fancy tricks and flicks meant that more often than not the ball fell for a white shirt rather than their precision play in the first half.  One such move almost lead to a goal, but Henry hit a goal-bound shot that bounced to safety off substitute Reyes' heel.

Spurs made one last effort in the last minute to salvage something from the game and a 25 yard free-kick was taken this time by Jermain Defoe, who brought another tip over from Lehmann as it headed towards the top corner.  With the corner played in and being headed out, attention was drawn back to the box when Lehmann was on the floor and a melee broke out in the six yard box.   After struggling to get players apart, the ref consulted with the linesman, who did not appear to have been flagging, but must have seen what happened as the senior official called Keane and Lehmann to him.  He brought out the yellow card for the German keeper and then, putting away the yellow card, he put Robbie's name in the book and we imagined he would produce a red card, but pulled out the yellow again.  With no clear indication of what went on, it appeared the Irishman's caution was for retaliation, but that meant that there must have been an initial offence by the goalie and Mr. Halsey pointed to the penalty spot.  The roar must have been heard miles away, by those Spurs fans how had left minutes before.

Despite the gamesmanship adopted by Lehmann, Cole and Vieira to delay the taking of the kick ... and the weak reffing that allowed it, Keano stepped up, with half the crowd not wanting to watch, to bury the ball into the roof of the net past the errant Arsenal keeper.

So, 2-2 it ended with both sides getting a useful point in their differing quests.  Arsenal winning the league did not really bother me one way or another.  It seemed to mean so much more to the Gooners.  I have greater concerns about my own team than to worry about non-achievers in Europe, such as Arsenal.  but then European Champions League always comes second in Arsene's thinking to the Premiership.  Well, it does as soon as you have been knocked out.  And is any Gooner gives you stick about anything, just remind him of my favourite fact about Europe that another Spurs fan brought out on TalkSport this evening.

It may be 43 years since we won the league, but that holds a special meaning for Tottenham, because in 1962 they got into the European Cup.  A time when it was only for Champions.  How many times have Arsenal been in the Champions League ?  Loads.  How many times have they reached the semi-final ?  Never.

Spurs have only been in the European Cup once.  That time they reached the semi-final.

Ancient history, they will say.  Ah, you reply.  But history records what happens and it will record that up until now, there is greater progress by Spurs in the competition than Arsenal have had, however limited our participation.

But those who dream of Europe must await many a long year, but our time will come again.  Not just yet, but it will come.

 

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - STEPHEN KELLY

Hellwyn Ballard

 

POINT TAKEN

 

26.0404

With the Sunday papers full of praise for Arse*al; how wonderful they have played all season and how ironic it will be to win at White Hart Lane and lift the title. We all know that we are years behind that Gooner scum, but we fans will sing our hearts out, and the boys on the pitch will hopefully give them a good game! 

The line ups were announced and thank **** (fill in your own expletive) Doherty was not playing and that Pleat had chosen the defensive pairing that should have been picked since Richards has been injured. Carr was suspended (get used to not seeing him, because he is on his way out of the club) and so to was Ziege. This was a big game for both Jackson and Kelly. 

From our corner they sweep the ball up field and take it to the by line and cross the ball, to be kicked into the back of the net by Vieira. We are losing and itís only two minutes into the game! We came back at them but apart from Tanoís effort on goal we really didnít do a lot and it was no surprise that they scored again (Pires) with a nicely worked move. Half time could not come quick enough. 

Defoe came on for Jackson and the boys started to play and get amongst them. We had a few shots on goal (Kanoute), but it was Redknappís name that would appear on the score sheet. An excellent shot taken just outside the box, beat their goalie. The Scum did hit the bar, but all in all we did put them under pressure. With the clock running down, we had a corner. Three minutes of injury time they informed us. The corner was taken and in a moment the Gooners had surrounded the referee. The German Ďkeeper had man handled and pushed Keane. Who then pushed him back! Yes, it was time to get your handbags out. The ref went and had a word with his lino and his decision was to give their lying cheating goalkeeper a yellow card and Keano a yellow card. He would also award us a penalty. Keane steps up and scores! Two all is the final score. 

We gave an average performance in the first half, but in the second we put them under the cosh. Full of running, was Defoe, Brown and Keane.  Brown I thought really got stuck in and Defoe would have three Arse players around him as soon as he got the ball, so they knew how dangerous he could be. Robbie Keane was, well Robbie Keane. Always wanted the ball and looking to score. King and Gardner played well together. This partnership is the future. 

The scenes after the game will live long in my memory. From Henry taunting the East Stand, showing and kissing his shirt badge to Lauren doing somersaults, in front of the South Stand. This is after they had said that they would not celebrate to excess to avoid trouble. My God, what would they have done if they had celebrated without restraint! No wonder it kicked off just behind the goal in the South Stand. What did the police and stewards expect? Even as I write this over twenty-four hours later, I am still sickened as to what I saw taking place from that team from the dark side on our pitch. 

East Stand Boy

27.04.04

Residing in my normal seat on the Shelf side, using my copy of MEHSTG to shade my eyes from the blinding sun, there was a strange mixture of inevitability laced with "we can do this !" in the air as the images of the past derbies flashed up on the Jumbotron.  A huge cheer erupted as the infamous Gazza free kick curled and dipped over a hapless Seaman and as the Clown Prince wheeled away barely able to contain the joy and emotion surging through his body I caught myself thinking, "I would sell my soul for that sort of passion from the boys today".  I must say though, I was very impressed with the little sequence that the technicians put together and coupled with the rousing classical music over the top this took the atmosphere up another almost unbearable notch and made the hairs on the back my neck do the can-can.

As the players jogged out of the tunnel I gave the loudest yell of "COME ON LADS!! LET'S BEAT THESE W$%&*£s!!!" I have ever been able to produce from my nicotine inflicted lungs, I could feel the endorphins being released into my bloodstream as the whole week's worrying and teasing at work disappeared into the air of a thousand obscenities as S.Cumball trotted out as if oblivious to the hatred pulsing around the ground for him (running over to the very quiet away end and lamely clapping, then not even acknowledging such an outpouring of feeling everywhere else from the thousands that once worshipped him was very inconsiderate I thought).

The whistle blew for kick off as another eruption of encouragement roared from all sides of the stadium with the exception of a red tinted corner with a few shabbily constructed banners saying something in French (I think this must be the club's official language now), even a goal by Carlton Palmer's French cousin after three minutes didn't dampen the shouting and encouragement as we must have all had the same thought - if ever the team needed a twelfth man it was now (to even things up seeing as the *rse had an extra player dressed in black).  This impressive volume was kept up right until the thirty-fifth minute when that French bloke with the silly little goatee beard slotted home the second, heads were either hanging low or shaking in disbelief at the inept display from the Lilywhites we were witnessing, you could even hear the red and white people in the far corner trying shout about 1971 or something....roll on half time!!!

I can honestly say that half time interval was the most depressed I have felt whilst following Spurs, it was only my sheer love for the club and the fact that I'd paid so much money to be there that kept me in my seat and not on a traffic-free journey back to Essex. I even thought "I'll give it until the seventieth minute and if we haven't scored, I'm off". As if answering my prayers, Jamie Redknapp, up until then non-existent, controlled the ball into space on the edge of the box and let rip with a sweetly hit shot that rifled the back of the net....woooo hoooo something to celebrate!!!! We all spent the rest of the match perched like Meer-cats following the ball as if our life depended on it. Unfortunately our armchair friends back home probably had a better idea about what was going on when the corner came looping in that triggered a frenzy of activity in the opposition's box; Lehmann running around like a headless chicken giving everyone from the Queen Mum to Ledley King a sob story about how 'keepers are so unprotected when it comes to dealing with crosses", Lauren arguing with fans in the North Lower and Henry acting as if a huge injustice was about to be taken against his team. Then the long arm of the law (or the ref) pointed to the spot and the roof lifted as high as the Budweiser blimp as all the fans cheered at the contemplation of nicking a last gasp equaliser against our most despised rivals. Keane kindly obliged and we revelled in the moment as the magical little Irishman cart-wheeled and looked to the heavens in celebration. The last few moments of the match were taken up by players arguing and Spurs thwarting any late Woolwich surges. The final whistle blew and the cheers and hugs all around the stadium took me completely by surprise, it was as if we had won the Premiership! League safety was obviously something playing on everyone's minds.

The scum may have done the unthinkable at WHL this season but at least we can say they didn't beat us, if only those pesky boys in blue from the other side of town could have done their part ...

One more thing, all the four page pull-outs and posters of the scum sitting on OUR pitch with a blow-up trophy that are littered over the papers just confirms what I suspected all along - all football reporters in the Red Top tabloids are Gooners, no wonder their articles are always so crap!

Lee Bradley

27.04.04

With the video sequence and the messianic music before the game, I thought I had arrived

a)  at a Sunderland match by mistake
or
b)  having been transported back in time to walk up the stairs of the East Stand into the blazing sun to face a gladiatorial battle in front of a baying crowd.

Well, b) was half right as I did have to take part, but it must have been like walking into the Coliseum in Rome thousand years back.  With the crowd up for it, it looked like the Spurs players were too ... for about three minutes.  The huddle they went into just before the kick off was an interesting development ... players doing their own motivation that the manager can't be privy to ?  Any effect it had evaporated into thin air, like our marking when Vieira scored.  The crowd were then subdued.  Even more so after the second just on 35 minutes, so it was just a question of how many after that.

Except that never happened.  The chances came and some were even presented to the Goons, but in their intimitably arrogant manner, they seemed content to try and prove that they were a much more skillful side.  Hard with players like Lehmann, Cole, Parlour and Toure in it.  What Tottenham did in the second half was to get amongst them.  Let them know they were there.  The sight of Henry's pitiful claims for a free-kick because someone had the temerity to tackle him hard but fair was an enduring memory.  He could just not understand how he didn't get a decision !!

Brown's effort was a bit wayward in the first half, but his second 45 was a masterpiece of annoying midfield play.  He sat on Vieira's legs after a tackle, kicked Henry and made Peanut Head concentrate on kicking him more than concentrating on the ball.  Kelly had been tentative, as you might expect a young man up against "the world's greatest striker" (© Arsene Wenger), but he was timing his challenges well and was not over-awed by the experience.  Even though Poyet came on for him later on, it should not be taken as a reflection on his performance.

The finish saw the German keeper get his comeuppance.  Dodgy doesn't come into it, although I can't understand why he didn't see red ... as in card, rather than his usual rage.  Surprised he didn't put the towels out on the deckchairs in the Thompson "Shoot for a Holiday" competition at half-time !!

At the end, we needed the point and upset the rhythm of the visitors enough to get back into the match and cause them a few problems.  Yes, we know they won the title, but we had something to warm the cockles of our own hearts.  If only they could get psyched up like this for every game, we might not find ourselves in such a position as we have this season.

The playing of "The Darkness" at 11 on the Spinal Tap amplifier was a master stroke and full marks to the Stadium manager for adopting the nauseating League Cup style drowning out of any celebrations.  In this case utterly commendable though !!

The sun shone, we edged a point nearer safety and results elsewhere went our way (except at Newcastle).  It's not that they won the title at the Lane, it was more that Chelsea were unable to keep in touch.  As for us, we need to hang onto any coat-tails that we can to drag ourselves a bit further upwards until we have a proper full-time manager in charge.

Peter O'Hanrahanharhan

27.04.04

Now I know that people put a lot of time and effort into making contributions to the site but the bloke who was writing the arse report exactly what planet was he on?

As gut wrenching as it was to see that lot dancing on our pitch going back to 1962 and pointing out that we got to one European cup semi-final is hardly valid point scoring in an argument against the Sarth Londoners.

Go and look at the league table and then scroll down again - yes thatís where we are. This has been a second extremely poor season in a row if we get Antic in or Taylor then we have a date with Barnsley in the non too distant future. Arsenal stepped down a gear and we played above ourselves on Sunday and that is the sad reality.

David Harris
Sydney

 

Other scores this weekend :

Everton

0 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 Aston Villa 2 Saturday
Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 Saturday
Fulham 2 Charlton Athletic 0 Saturday
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 1 Saturday
SCBC 1 Bolton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Birmingham City 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Sunday
Leeds United 1 Portsmouth 2 Sunday
Newcastle United 2 Chelsea 1 Sunday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 34 24 10 0 69 24 82 +45
2 Chelsea 35 22 6 7 61 29 72 +32
3 Manchester United 35 22 5 8 61 33 71 +28
4 Liverpool 35 14 11 10 49 36 53 +13
5 Newcastle United 34 13 14 7 47 34 53 +13
6 Aston Villa 35 14 10 11 46 41 52 +5
7 Fulham 35 13 9 13 49 44 48 +5
8 Birmingham City 35 12 12 11 42 44 48 -2
9 Charlton Athletic 35 13 9 13 44 48 48 -4
10 Bolton Wanderers 35 12 11 12 42 52 47 -10
11 SCBC 34 12 9 13 39 35 45 +4
12 Middlesbrough 35 12 9 14 41 44 45 -3
13 Blackburn Rovers 35 11 7 17 49 57 40 -8
14 Portsmouth 34 11 7 16 39 48 40 -9
15 Everton 35 9 12 14 42 48 39 -6
16 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 35 11 6 18 44 56 39 -12
17 Manchester City 35 7 14 14 48 51 35 -3
18 Leeds United 35 8 8 19 36 71 32 -35
19 Leicester City 35 5 14 16 42 60 29 -18
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 35 6 11 18 35 73 29 -38

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