They might as well wrap up the
Premiership trophy with blue ribbons and give it to Chelsea tomorrow,
because with refereeing like this, it is a stone bonker that they will
stroll this season. Not because they are better than all the
other sides in the league, but they will get away with murder, as
Styles showed today. The sending off of Mido was the turning
point of the match and swung it decisively in the visitors direction,
after an incident a few minutes before could have seen Essien walk off
the pitch instead of be shown just a yellow card.
frustration following this match isn't that we lost. I can take
that. It was the manner of the defeat and that Chelsea were
second best for periods of the game ... even after we had been reduced
to ten men. They resort to the long ball game, as has been
claimed before and they do not appear to pass the ball well at times
... perhaps because of over-confidence.
said that they exploited the man in black's failings to the
maximum. Mido's removal left a hole in the defence from a corner
and Del Horno's unmarked header might have been where our Egyptian
striker would have been. Gallas was on the far past as the bal
went in, but he missed it and it bounced into the net off the
post. The second goal saw Wright-Phillips' pace wrong foot
Kelly, playing at left back and his cross was mis-hit by Duff and
typically in these games, the ball bounced past Robinson, as he dived
the other way.
But up until the
point where a red card was brandished at Mido, Spurs had the better of
the match. In fact, Mido might have put Tottenham 1-0 ahead,
when he raced past defenders, but shanked his shot well wide. A
further chance came when Dawson rose highest at a corner and put it a
couple of yards past the post and Defoe hit a firm drive with his wrong
foot to make Cech save. Once more, Tottenham's propensity to
concede free-kicks around their area led to a couple of efforts from
Chelsea, but one had the sting taken off it by the wall for Robinson
to take easily, while the other went way over from the boot of Drogba.
first controversial incident came in the 21st minute, with Davids
running into the area to take Tainio's pass, he was tripped by Essien
a yard outside the box. With nobody in front of Davids, it was
difficult to see how the official saw fit to wave a yellow card to the
£24 million man. Red would have been the least that a Spurs
player in the same situation would have received. Yellows came
Tottenham's way in a torrent. Every first challenge resulted in
a card. Drogba pushed the ball past Gardner and then threw
himself at our central defender, because he knew he could not get
it. Yellow card.
first offence brought an even swifter response from the man in
black. A jump - admittedly a full bloodied jump - for a header
with Del Horno saw the Spaniard hit the deck like a sack of spuds,
holding his head. Before he had even touched turf, there was a
short fat man running across the pitch reaching into his back pocket
for his red card. Knowing his previous with Tottenham, I am
surprised that he is still able to take the field for a match
involving our club. Anyhow, it was more a yellow than a red ...
seeing as how he viewed the Essien incident. Someone on the
radio coming home described him as trigger-happy with his cards.
Never a truer word ...
reduction to ten men was going to mean three points for Chelsea, with
Spurs effectively playing for pride, which they did. Carrick's
free-kick brought a diving save right on half-time and that was the
only opening we made after the 25th minute.
was substituted at half-time and Aaron Lennon brought on in the right
midfield berth to add some pace to our attack. And he made an
impact on his full debut for the club. He took a Terry header
out on his chest and couldn't keep his volley down, but later, he ran
onto a Defoe pass and it was only a last ditch effort by Terry that
stopped him getting a shot away from just inside the box.
Michael Dawson improved his England chances with a heavy tackle on
Terry, who needed knee treatment, but came back on and might have
ruled himself out of the internationals next week. Joe Cole
nearly put Stephen Kelly out of football for a long time. His
tackle right in front of the benches was late, over the top and if
anything could be described as "using excessive force in the
tackle" it was this tackle. That would have meant a red
card, but no, the man in black showed yellow ... appropriately,
considering a lot of his decisions today.
knew it was a bad challenge and took Cole off before he got sent off
for another one, bringing Wright-Phillips on. His pace will
trouble many a Premiership defender this season and he made two great
chances for Crespo when he replaced the light-as-a-feather Drogba.
Luckily for Spurs, our England's number one Paul Robinson kept them
out and on the first chance, also got up to grab SWP's low drive as
the ball broke free.
free-kick awarded against Spurs; this time for Andy Reid bringing a
ball down and a Chelsea defender bumping into the back of him, brought
another caution, as Reid was expressing his disgust at the
unbelievable decision in no uncertain terms. Dawson had three
headed chances with one just clearing the bar, as he was pushed
forward to try and salvage something from the game and the last effort
of the match saw Essien poke a shot wide, as Stalteri did well to put
With a minute to go,
Chelsea brought on Huth for Duff and for all the huff and puff about
how great Chelsea are, they fail to show their class. They
played within themselves, because the man in black did all the hard
work for them, including getting in the way on a number of occasions
when Spurs looked like they might break forward. But the
reliance on route one and the insistence in playing the ball back to
the keeper make them a team that will not go down in history as a
great one. Unlike Del Horno and Drogba, who will go down in
history for their going down.
Davids lost his impetus in the second half and looked tired, so the
two week break might have come at just the right time for him.
Carrick did well and Robinson maintains his high standards in goal,
with honourable mentions for Gardner and Defoe, who battled on
outnumbered in attack. But it will need a new signing to come in
up front and Kuyt is the obvious one now, with Mido facing a three
match ban if the card is not rescinded ... but knowing the past record
of this officious official, there is no way he will admit he was
wrong, even though a number of "experts" have pronounced
that it was worth no more than a yellow card. As it was said on
the radio, it is the sort of challenge Alan Shearer has been making
fifteen times a game for twenty years and getting away with. So
why is it that a Tottenham Hotspur player doesn't get away with it ??
MEHSTG TOP MAN :
- MICHAEL DAWSON