28th October 2000
|For too many years Spurs have been unable to overcome
their Pensioners Hoodoo. With things at Stamford Bridge in
turmoil following the sacking of Gianluca Vialli and the introduction
of Claudio Ranieri, it could be a good time to cash in. It won't
be as easy as that, as having been knocked out of the UEFA Cup by
Switzerland's St. Gallen (who ?) they will be trying to re-establish
their position in the Premier League to ensure qualification for
Europe next season. The pressure on the club from outside
financial sources means that they were required to win something big
this season and now that does not look likely. Vialli got the
bullet because he failed to shoot the West London side to the Premier
League title, so will the FA Cup be good enough should the new coach
win it ? Drawing with Man U was a good result, but losing 0-2 to
Leicester and going down at Bradford hint at some inconsistency which
has plagued their challenges in recent seasons.
There are a panoply of stars at Stamford Bridge now. All
familiar from big matches throughout the summer and since. Le
Saux, De Goey, Desailly, Hasselbaink, Flo, Bogarde, Zola. But
with Poyet currently out through injury, Di Matteo having suffered a
triple break of his leg and Stanic struggling to get back after a
muscle pull, the side may feature some other names we haven't heard
of. Melchiot looks good going forward, but he is yet to be noted
for his defending, while Wise will be lucky to stay on the pitch from
midfield where he moans and kicks (and pulls hair, pinches inner
thighs, punches, etc).
Having sold on the hapless Sutton, Flo is the other player who has
been constantly disregarded, but can be crucial to their
success. His skill on the floor, as well as in the air, makes
him a handful for any marker and now he appears to be more in favour
with the new coach, he might link up with Hasselbaink to cause
mayhem. The worry with Chelsea is their defence. Panucci
has been on loan from Inter Milan, but could be gone by the time this
match comes around, but others are suspect and if Tottenham can shake
off their goal-scoring lethargy, they could capitalise.
PREDICTION : - Chelsea 1 Tottenham 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
0 - Saturday 28th October 2000
Goalscorers : Hasselbaink pen
13, 87, Zola 39
Attendance - 34,966
Chelsea - DeGoey, Babayaro, Leboeuf,
Desailly, Ferrer, Melchiot, Poyet (Flo 64) Wise, Della Bona, Zola, (Jokanovic
Subs not used - Cudicini, Bogarde,
Tottenham Hotspur - Sullivan, Carr,
Young, Perry, Vega, Sherwood, Freund, (Davies 80) Anderton,
Clemence, Ferdinand, Korsten, (Doherty 80)
Subs not used - Walker, Thelwell, King
Another wasted away trip. The pattern of
the game went something like; Spurs knock it about, Chelsea score.
Spurs knock it about, Chelsea score. Spurs knock it about, Chelsea
score. It is becoming a familiar theme. The reason is that this
Spurs side are sluggish and slow in their approach and lack any
sharpness around goal and they have Coco the clown at centre back.
Luke Young replaced the injured Ben
Thatcher. Freund came back from flu for Leonhardsen and with Rebrov
injured also there was a rare appearance up front by Korsten.
Apparently Willem had scored four goals for the reserves in their
six nil midweek win. It must have been very poor opposition.
It was a miserable afternoon weather
wise with steady rain increasing as the afternoon wore on. The East
Stand at Chelsea provides no real protection against the weather so
most Spurs fans got a soaking to add to their disappointment and
frustration. Rather than build more on the West Stand, Mr. Bates
would do well to invest some funds in the fast dilapidating East
Spurs started well. An early through
ball by Anderton found Korsten beating the Chelsea offside trap. He
cut across his marker and hit what looked a spectacular dipping shot
which De Goey palmed away. It was only when you saw the replay you
realised it was hit straight at the keeper. Shortly afterwards
Korsten linked up well with Ferdinand and Les held off Desailly to
hit a shot along the ground which De Goey again did well to palm
away. It was now time for Ramon Vega (Coco) to make his key mistake
of the day. He seems to make one in every game: Charlton, Coventry
etc. As he went to head clear a high cross he came under challenge
from Poyet. For some inexplicable reason his arm went up and palmed
the ball away. The referee awarded a penalty. Realistically he was
not going to give a foul against Poyet, so Hasselbaink struck home
from the spot and the Spurs heads went down.
were starting to look beaten. They had a good effort created by
Ferdinand who chased down De Goey. Korsten was not able to
finish and scuffed his effort.
Then six minutes before half time came
the second Chelsea goal. The horrible Dennis Wise outwitted two
Spurs players wide on the right. He found time to whip in a cross.
Hasselbaink stole in front of his marker Perry and flicked the ball
on with his head. Zola got in front of his marker Young and headed
home. Bit of a common theme there; getting in front of Spurs
10 years and 22 games since we have
beaten Chelsea and now two nil down at half time. Only an eternal
optimist or a fool could see Spurs fighting back. There were not
many of either amongst the travelling fans who began to vent their
frustration and anger on George Graham. The second half was more of
the same. Chelsea hit a post through a Melchiot header from a
corner. Hasselbaink hit wide after Sullivan had cocked up a
clearance. With three minutes left Hasselbaink was given the freedom
he needed to shape up and he hit a curling shot past Sullivan for
the third. Spurs never looked like scoring and trooped off at the
end well beaten to howls of derision from both sets of fans. It's
hard to see when we will next win an away game at the moment, let
alone beat Chelsea.
It was then suggested over the PA system
that Spurs fans remain in their seats for fifteen minutes. Not
entirely sensitive to the fact that we were all soaked and had just
seen our team humbled. For some strange reason some of the exits
were blocked, but others were open and Spurs fans left in droves.
Outside the policing became farcical. As Spurs fans left they
mingled with Chelsea fans leaving the East Stand. Both sets of
supporters were then confronted with a Police cordon of vehicles and
Police in riot gear. I and a Chelsea fan next to me asked why the
police were doing this and the reply from an officer carrying a riot
shield was that they wanted to filter the fans out whatever that may
mean. A recipe to incite even the most mild mannered and I am sure
there were many incidents as a result. Overall a bloody awful day
and the ticket only cost £32!!
I can't even think of a Spurs man of the
What is realistically to be
a) we play away ?
b) it is Chelsea we are
There could only ever be one
outcome at the moment. And, lo and behold, that was the
result. A defeat. Ignominious. Little to come out of
it that was positive.
The fact that Tottenham
started brightly, only makes it more galling that every time Chelsea
broke, they looked like scoring. And that they did, firstly,
thanks to Vega's handy interception. Secondly, because our
defenders were slow off the mark and were beaten to headers and thirdly,
because nobody closed Hasselbaink down and Sullivan couldn't get down
quick enough on the wet surface. Even when Melchoit hit the post
from a corner, there was no meaningful challenge on him.
And that corner came about
because Sherwood failed to release the ball early enough and got caught
in the centre circle, leaving Chelsea free to break again. Anderton was
also at fault in this respect. It is particularly frustrating
watching this and while everyone says it is easy to see what is on for
the players when you are watching , don't those same players get paid
huge sums to know what is going on around them. I'm sorry, but
there appears to be no cohesion amongst the side and players seem
reluctant to accept possession. Surely, if someone has the ball
and an opponent is coming towards him unseen, aren't team mates supposed
to shout "Man on!" ?? That was what I was taught at
school. Also, players are supposed to move to give the player on
the ball an option to pass to. That is what is taught on the Spurs
"Football in the Community" courses. What goes on during
the week at Spurs Lodge you start to wonder ?
Korsten looked the most
lively player on show, which admittedly wasn't saying much, but
still. As for the rest, there appears to be no motivation to give
100% for the team. It is like they are beaten before they even
step out on alien turf. Will Spurs ever win away again ?
Don't hold your breath.
Marco van Hip
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