Looking Forward

 

CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Home)

Premier League

Sunday 28th December 2003

A London 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 forward.

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 bench.

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 ...

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham  2     Charlton Athletic   2

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

How do you think your team have played this season ?

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 moment ?

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 games ?

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 situation ?

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 ?

Kiely
Kishishev     Perry    Fortune    Hreidarsson
Holland     Stuart     Parker     Jensen
                      di Canio
Euell

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 situation.

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

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

TOTTENHAM : - Simon 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)

COVERAGE : 
TV :  No live coverage.
Radio :  No live coverage.
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast    (Subscription only)

 

 

Tottenham   0      Charlton Athletic   1     (Half-time score : 0-0)
Premier League
Sunday 28th December 2003
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, dry
Referee : -  P. Durkin (Poole)
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

Charlton Athletic : -  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)
Tottenham Charlton Athletic

 

Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  None

Charlton Athletic -  Cole 69

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  Gardner (foul) 34

Charlton Athletic -  None

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 dangerous.

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

Kirk Hammerton

 

... AND NUMBER

 

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 midfield.  

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 !!

Gareth Davey

 

Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 3 Fulham 0 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Leicester City 2 Sunday
Chelsea 3 Portsmouth 0 Sunday
Everton 1 Birmingham City 0 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Leeds United 1 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2 Sunday
Middlesbrough 0 Manchester United 1 Sunday
Newcastle United 0 Blackburn Rovers 1 Sunday
SCBC 0 Arsenal 1 Monday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 18 15 1 3 38 13 46 +25
2 Arsenal 19 13 6 0 35 12 45 +23
3 Chelsea 19 13 3 3 36 16 42 +20
4 Charlton Athletic 19 8 6 5 27 22 30 +5
5 Fulham 19 8 4 7 30 26 28 +4
6 Liverpool 18 7 5 6 28 21 26 +7
7 Newcastle United 19 6 8 5 26 22 26 +4
8 SCBC 19 7 5 7 18 15 26 +3
9 Birmingham City 18 7 5 6 16 20 26 -4
10 Aston Villa 19 6 6 7 19 23 24 -4
11 Bolton Wanderers 19 5 8 6 20 28 23 -8
12 Everton 19 6 5 8 23 25 23 -2
13 Manchester City 19 5 6 8 27 27 21 0
14 Blackburn Rovers 18 6 3 10 26 29 21 -3
15 Middlesbrough 18 5 6 7 14 18 21 -4
16 Portsmouth 19 5 4 10 20 28 19 -8
17 Leicester City 19 4 6 9 28 31 18 -3
18 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 19 5 3 11 19 29 18 -10
19 Leeds United 19 4 5 10 18 40 17 -22
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 3 5 10 16 39 14 -23

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