28th December 2003
derby at Christmas is almost a thing of the past these days, so
Charlton's visit has become as much of a Christmas fixture as the
tinsel you can't get down from that piece of sellotape in the corner of
the ceiling. Not that it provokes the passion of some London
derbies, but at least it allows you to digest your Christmas over-eating
while not getting too worked up at the game.
Charlton are doing well
in the Premiership at the moment, although the injuries are starting to
hit them, thus taking Konchesky back from Spurs. Their manager is
one who ahs done a great job on a shoestring, thus making others cast
envious glances in his direction ... Spurs included. Curbishley
will be one who is constantly linked with other clubs and Charlton have
become used to this, but at some stage he will want to test his
abilities at a bigger club. How he can get his charges to perform
at top form is a matter of man-management and someone who take son Paolo
Di Canio must be confident in his skills in that direction !!
The recall of Paul
Konchesky from loan at Tottenham means that old friends will meet up at
Christmas - just as it should be. But not only that, but also
Chris Perry will be in the starting line-up after his move from Spurs
following a loan spell at the Valley. The visitors will have some
problems because of injury to Rufus, Rowett, Bartlett, Lisbie and Fish
all missing, with another former Spurs defender Luke Young also likely
to miss out on a return to White Hart Lane. That leaves Chris
Powell, Herman Hreidarsson and Jonathan Fortune to make up the
defence. I can see Powell playing left back, with Hreidarsson
being out on the right; Perry and Fortune forming the central defensive
partnership. Hreidarsson is a tall rangy defender, who can bring
the ball out of the back, while Fortune is more of a traditional
centre-half - big, rugged and no-nonsense. Perry we know
about. A fine marker and interceptor, but his failing is his
distribution. Powell mad e a brief incursion into the England
squad in Sven's early days, but is a solid defender, who likes to get
Behind them, Dean Kiely
will be on his toes and he is a very assured shot stopper and pretty
good in the air for a keeper who is short in stature compared to
some. He usually has a very good game against us !! Back up
in the shape of Sergio Leite, a young Portuguese keeper and Simon Royce,
who has been around for years, but has never really established himself
as a number one anywhere, means they have ability to spare in this area.
In midfield, Konch will
feature on the left, with Bulgarian Radostin Kishishev on the
right. Both are defensive midfielders who can get up and back
well, with Konch able to put decent balls into the area on
occasion. In the centre of midfield, Charlton will rely on the
pairing of Matt Holland and Scott Parker, who are busy and able to
support the front two well. Both are players who were linked with
moves to Tottenham, with Republic of Ireland international Holland being
a hard-working battler and one who breaks well into the box compared to
Parker, who sits between the forwards and defence, picking the ball up
and knocking it about. Parker also has a great shot, as
demonstrated against SCBC recently with two long-range efforts and is
one that Sven is looking at to integrate into the England side. He
is an asset to any side, as he makes the team tick over with his short
passing to keep possession and build play from a seemingly safe
position, as far as the other side are concerned. Other options in
the midfield are (Santa) Claus Jensen is a very good passer and
excellent from dead-ball situations, veteran Graham Stuart who is still
going in the engine room and getting up to add to the firepower in the
side and young Jamal Campbell-Ryce, a pacy wide player, who had a very
successful spell on loan at Orient last season.
With the very quick legs
of Kevin Lisbie missing and Jonatan Johansson just returning from
injury, the front two to face Tottenham will be Carlton Cole and Jason
Euell. Euell has had a turbulent season, with a sending off that
earned him a banishment to the reserves by Curbishley and a rocket from
the crowd after missing some easy chances against Newcastle last
week. He is an athletic runner and a strong forward on the ball,
so he could prove difficult to dispossess and he brings other players,
supporting from midfield, into the game. Cole is on loan from
Chelsea and is one of the players implicated in the rape allegations
from the incident at a West End hotel in September. He played for
the reserves against Spurs at Stevenage a few weeks back and is good in
the air, has good ball skills and knows what position to take up when
play is being built up. He could be a handful, but Anthony Gardner
is capable of marking him well. The other cracker in the box that
Curbishley might pull out at any time is Paolo Di Canio, the maverick
Italian, who is an unknown quantity ... even to those that know
him. A box of tricks, who can explode in a burst of quality or
blow up in your face with a temperamental outburst that literally leaves
you playing with a man light. Always entertaining, but not always
for the right reasons, Paolo is most likely to make an entry from the
With Spurs in dire need
for points, there is a tension that sometimes means that they look edgy
in their build up. Kanoute should prove difficult for Perry and
Fortune to deal with and with Keane dropping deep, this could provide
space for someone to move into. The wide men will need to stop the
channels for Charlton's players to run into and should Richards play, he
will need all his experience to snuff out the threat from Euell.
After Christmas, play is
never that tight and therefore, I think there will be goals and they
will be shared ...
- Tottenham 2 Charlton Athletic
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
How do you think your team have played this
Given that we have been without what
would have been four first choice players for most of the season we have
done suprisingly well. The style of play has been different as
well. Too many times we have been prone to "lumping it"
but the amount of passing on the ground has actually been a bit of a
shock to anyone who has seen Charlton over the last few years.
Who do you think is your best player at the
Easy. Scott Parker. In a
midfield that is pretty much at full strength Scott has been well worth
his place in the Charlton and England sides. He has won us games
with his play and saved us defeats with his goal line clearances.
He has lost the reckless aggressiveness that used to blight his game and
is showing an incredible maturity in many situation. All he really
needs to do is score a few more goals. If they are like the two he
scored at Southampton a few weeks ago then even better.
Which player isn't playing as well in recent
Jason Euell has blown hot and cold so
far, but his appearance against Newcastle showed some of his old skill
and ability, albeit without actually scoring.
Any exciting new names in the squad that we
should look out for ?
Those who you wouldn't have seen in
Charlton colours would be Matt Holland and Hermann Hreidarsson from
Ipswich who have both quietly exceeded all expectations, especially
given the low price tags attached to them.
Oh, yeah, the other, and probably most exciting player seen at the
Valley in a long while has to be the one and only Paolo di Canio.
Something happens when he steps onto the pitch. The crowd and
players alike get a lift. Opposition players seem to give him too
much respect and stand well off him. His passion for the game is
totally infectious, and if we can get another season out of him he will
become another Valley legend.
How is Perry fitting in ?
I was never a fan of his until I actually
saw him playing for us. He has got on with the game in a
no-nonsense style and, other than a couple of costly errors has
pretty much impressed most Charlton Supporters.
And where do you stand on the Konchesky
If he's wearing the red and white and is
seen to be putting in all the effort he can then I will fully support
him. It's a shame that things have turned out for Paul the way
they have. It was going to be difficult for him to displace Chris
Powell, and after Hreidarsson came along it would have been even more
difficult to get his "favoured left back position".
Personally I think Paul plays better in midfield and one thing we need
at the moment is a left winger.
As for his comments about it being "horrible" to return to
Charlton, I simply believe he has been misquoted. Having had first
team football at White Hart Lane it would be difficult for anyone to
return to being a reserve team member.
What is your line-up expected to be ?
Kishishev Perry Fortune
Holland Stuart Parker
What do you your fans think of Tottenham ?
You're harmless enough. The only
problem I think most fans have with you (or at least those who pester
the Saturday night phone-ins), is the perception that you are such a
successful club and that you deserve success purely because of your
history. Admittedly our own trophy cabinet is somewhat sparsely
populated (understatement of the year?) but your own recent record is
hardly worthy of mention, especially given your fan base and financial
The one Spurs fan who really annoys me
though is that bloke Danny who bashes the drum. He's almost as
good a drummer as he is a guitarist....
Which Spurs player do you like ?
Robbie Keane - we really could do with
someone like him who has the natural ability to score goals from just
about anywhere. Swap him for Konchesky?
What do you reckon the score will be ?
Our away record this year has been fairly
solid. I think we'll score a couple and this time you won't come
back to claim a point like you have done in recent meetings. A
first win for Charlton since early November by 2 goals to 1.
Thanks to Kevin
"Goodbye Horse" fanzine and website
Davies (hip/thigh); Christian Ziege (thigh); Dean Richards (knee); Jamie
Redknapp (knee); Darren Anderton (calf); Stephen Carr (suspended)
CHARLTON ATHLETIC : -
Gary Rowett (knee); Richard Rufus (knee); Shaun Bartlett (ankle); Luke
Young (ankle); Kevin Lisbie (ankle)
TV : No live coverage.
Radio : No live coverage.
Internet : www.spurs.co.uk
Live webcast (Subscription only)
0 Charlton Athletic
1 (Half-time score : 0-0)
|Sunday 28th December 2003
|Venue : - White Hart Lane
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.
|Weather : - Cold, dry
|Referee : - P. Durkin
|Crowd : - 34,534
|Teams : -
Tottenham : - Keller; Kelly, Gardner, Richards, Taricco
(Mabizela 89); Jackson, King, Poyet (Postiga 81), Ricketts (Zamora
72); Keane, Kanoute
Unused Subs : - Hirschfeld, Doherty
: - Kiely;
Kishishev, Fish, Perry, Hreidarsson; Parker, Holland, Euell, Konchesky;
Johansson (Cole 46), Di Canio
Unused Subs : - Royce,
Stuart, Powell, Fortune
|Colours : - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
|Scorers : -
Tottenham - None
- Cole 69
|Cards : -
Tottenham - Gardner
So, the bad run goes on and having
witnessed this Jekyll and Hyde display, it is hard to know what to think
other than the fact that Tottenham will be playing in the Nationwide
next season. The first half showed what they are capable of going
forward and the second, the capabilities lacked conviction and the
errors made by the manager came to the fore.
From the start Tottenham seemed more
alert than they had been at Fratton Park, but the chances came and went
without any joy in front of goal and there are only five teams who have
scored less goals than us in the PL now.
Keane looked lively in the first period,
but as the game went on and he dropped deeper, things didn't seem to
happen for him. He held the ball too long on some occasions and on
others tried some trickery that just wasn't read by others. His
early drive flew off Fish for a corner and Kanoute rose well, but
couldn't get his header on target as the ball came over. The
determined efforts of Johnnie Jackson were appreciated by the crowd and
his left wing crosses flew into the Charlton area, but there were few
Spurs players there to get on the end of them. In the end, he took
it on himself to try and break the deadlock with a fierce left foot
volley from a header on by Poyet. He met the ball well, but it
missed the post by about two yards in the end.
Keane had an opportunity when through on
Kiely's goal, but his Republic of Ireland team-mate was too aware of his
technique when one-on-one and came out to stop him getting the ball past
him by using his legs. While Keller was having a quiet time of it,
he had to be sharp on 22 minutes, when he was faced by Johansson, who
had sprung the offside trap to run on to Di Canio's lobbed pass.
Kasey came out, went back and when the Finn hit a strong shot, the Spurs
keeper managed to get a palm to the ball and keep it out.
Unfortunately, it went straight back to Johansson and he lobbed the ball
towards the goal with the keeper left on the floor. It all
happened in agonising slow-motion and the ball was going across the open
goal and did so by just about six inches too much, as Richards rushed
into try and clear it away if that was necessary.
Spurs were coming as close as they have
done lately to laying siege to an opponent's goal. Keane twisted
and turned in the box and his low shot was held by Kiely, who then had
to turn in the air to tip over the top a good header by Kanoute from
Ricketts' cross. Kanoute then threatened the Charlton goal again
with a volley from the edge of the box which dipped too late and skimmed
the roof of the net. Poyet was to come even closer, when from
Jackson's next corner, he met it with his head and the ball was aiming
for the far post, but Parker was stationed on the line to chest the ball
out. Gus was obviously trying to inspire the team in attack as he
produced an overhead kick that flew just over the top as Ricketts was
again the supplier with a cross from the right. The young
midfielder was guilty of snatching at a chance just before the break,
when Parker attempted a cross-field pass across the face of his own
penalty area and it hit someone's arse, falling to Rohan inside the
box. However, he completely mis-hit the ball and it bobbled wide.
The score-line did not reflect the way
the game had gone, but Spurs could have been a goal down, so things
could be worse, but after the break that was the way things went.
Bringing on Carlton Cole for Johansson, Charlton produced a more direct
mode of play, with Cole giving Gardner a real tough time. However,
Spurs pressed in the opening stages and two free-kicks played into the
box were only half-cleared and for Spurs, it was unlucky that they fell
to Taricco and Ricketts, who both could not get over the ball to keep
their shots down.
Next thing you know it's 0-1 !!
Poyet slid in to block a ball into the area and could only manage to put
it out for a corner. The effort from the corner kick was cleared
but Holland headed it down and as it bounced up Keller pushed it away
for another corner. Replays showed it was going wide anyway, but
Kasey wasn't to know that. From this corner, Spurs allowed Cole to
get free and his header flew in off the top of Stephen Kelly's head on
the post. Once more Tottenham get done from a dead-ball situation
Pleat decided that changes were necessary
and he brought on Zamora for Ricketts, when Poyet had been down with an
injury a few minutes previously. So Bobby was detailed to play in
midfield, while Charlton made use of the space available to them and
Parker hit a shot form the edge of the box, that Keller had to push over
the top to protect the Spurs goal. As the game went on it looked
like the away side were more likely to score, with Cole missing the ball
as it passed across the face of the goal about two yards out and then
the defence doing well to hold the score at 0-1 as both Parker and Cole
had chances to convert a loose ball in front of the Tottenham
goal. Even at the death, a low Cole drive had to be stopped by
Kasey's outstretched leg.
So, Charlton maintain their record of not
being beaten in the PL at WHL, deservedly so. Tottenham had more
chances, but failed to convert them, trying too often to score the
beautiful goal, whereas we can do with winning ugly at the moment.
But where the next point will come form is anyone's guess.
Persisting with Poyet is detrimental to the midfield and the supply into
the front two in the second half dried up. Even when Kanoute had
two opportunities to deliver into the area from the right wing, he chose
to try and set someone up running in from midfield, whereas a ball into
the area between the keeper and defence would have been a lot more
It is not a good time to be a Spurs
supporter, but someone who is a Spurs supporter who can change things
needs to act soon, before it is too late.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - JOHNNIE JACKSON
|The cold weather and the cold fare
put before us in this post-Christmas derby match proved too much for
many Spurs fans, some of whom couldn't even be bothered to run up for it
in the first place. The sight of empty seats is becoming a common
occurrence at the Lane.
But the most worrying aspect of
today's defeat is the fact that the numbers game will now kick in.
35 points earned in the calendar
year of 2003.
11 defeats - the most in the
Premiership this season.
19 games left - to get 40 points
(the commonly accepted survival level) we must win at least seven games
and pick up one more point.
2003 - the worst number of
all. A year that is horribilis as it is annus.
The game itself saw one bright
spot and that was the performance of Johnnie Jackson, who provided a
stream of quality balls into the box from the left wing in the first
half, but in the second, the team chose to ignore him on that flank and
thus he faded out of the game. Stephen Kelly turned out for the
first time at right back in place of suspended Stephen Carr and showed
he is not a bad player. He made some mistakes - luckily none were
costly - and looked a little nervous, but who wouldn't coming into this
side at the moment.
No Dalmat, Anderton, Ziege,
Davies or Redknapp meant that our midfield still features Poyet, but
Ricketts did OK, while King is not a midfielder, but made the most of it
in there until he took a knock and Taricco kindly played the ball
straight to him, while he was still getting up from the kick.
Defensively, we need to bring in
Konchesky in the transfer window, then we can ditch Taricco. He
looks ill at ease on the left and will not get a look in on the right,
so why not sell him to some needy side to raise some money for new
recruits ? Every time he runs up the left and goes outside, you
know nothing is going to happen and when he comes inside, the ball
invariably is too "narrow" to create any danger in the
opponents penalty area. Konchesky is more content at left back and
being naturally left footed would give the team some balance, especially
if Ziege does ever come back and could play in front of him.
Knowing someone was behind him would mean Christian could not have to
concern himself with running back to defend. Richards is also
worrying in that he gets outpaced far too easily. His running
style has developed a staccato nature, which means other players eat up
the ground on him and he never looks particularly fit. Perhaps we
might see Doherty given a run out in the FA Cup to give Deano a rest ?
Four forwards ended up out on the
pitch wearing a white shirt at the final whistle. Zamora and Keano
played in midfield and Postiga and Kanoute up front, but by then the
shape of the team had gone and there was little coming in from
Pleat's substitutions are getting
more and more obfuscating. Mabizela's entry a minute from time was
a nonsensical replacement. What could he possibly do in that time
? Why make a change at that stage when the player you bring on is
a holding player and not an attacking one ? Would it have
not been better to bring him on when Poyet went off, to try and firm
things up in midfield ? We all want to see what he is capable of
but in more than one minute. And anyway, he is of to Africa for
the Nations Cup soon, so would it not have made more logic to have
played him in games a while back to assess his ability ?
I am afraid I have given up
trying to work out what is happening at Tottenham or how Pleat's mind
works. All I know is that the evidence of my own eyes tells me I
am not sure where the next point is coming from, let alone the next 22
we supposedly should be aiming for to avoid relegation. Can 2004
be worse than 2003 ? Well, we are going to find out pretty soon !!
this weekend :