Looking Forward

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED (Home)

Premier League

Wednesday 29th January 2003

It's another of those games where we have only played the opponents a few weeks previously and with each team having exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle, both will be fresh from not having had to play last Saturday.

Spurs will have trouble with the pace of Bellamy and the power of Shearer, but hopefully the presence of Dean Richards this time might help stop the former England striker.  With Ledley King having Deano alongside him, he looks a different player and at east there is someone who might make an attempt at bossing the defence.

The young midfield of Newcastle has pace and imagination, which means that they will create chances for their forwards.  Dyer, Jenas and Robert can all damage the opposition, but Spurs will need to close them down rapidly and hope that they have a day where we are harder working than them.  Speed is often a problem for Spurs, but this time it is the player and not the attribute and he will be missing after having had an operation.  He is joined in the injury room by the unfortunately always injured Carl Cort (surprised we didn't sign him with his record !), Hugo Viana and Jamie McClen.

The defence has been fairly strong despite losing 3-5 to Man U, but that can happen to anybody !!  Caldwell, Bernand, Dabizas and Hughes have been forming the back line, with Titus Bramble, once a great hope, now relegated to the reserves.  The attempt to try Jonathan Woodgate can only strengthen the defence, but it is doubtful if Leeds would commit the folly of letting him go. 

Given is a good keeper and often does well against Tottenham, but his height is against him, although we now have few players to capitalise on that.

With Simon Davies coming back into form, he could be a key player in the midfield battle and that is where most of the play will be fought out.  If Tottenham can play like they did up at St. James' Park, they should gain a scoreline of ...

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham  1    Newcastle United  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

 

 

Tottenham   0  Newcastle United   1  (Half-time score : 0- 0)
Premier League
Wednesday 29th January 2003
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  19.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, dry
Referee : - D Elleray  (Harrow)
Crowd : - 36,084
Teams : -  
Tottenham : - Keller, Richards, Gardner, King, Carr, Davies, Poyet, Anderton, Bunjevcevic, Sheringham, Keane (Doherty 36).
Unused Subs : - Sullivan, Taricco, Acimovic, Freund.

Newcastle United : - Given, Bramble, O'Brien, Dabizas, Bernard, Kerr (Solano 61), Dyer, Jenas, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy.
Unused Subs : - Elliott, Harper, LuaLua, Ameobi.
Booked:  

Colours : -  
Tottenham  -  White shirts, Navy blue shorts, white socks with navy blue turnovers

Newcastle United  -  Black and white striped shirts, white shorts, black socks with white hoops

Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  None

Newcastle United  -  Jenas (90)

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  None

Newcastle United - Bernard (foul) 89

When things go wrong they really go wrong and they rarely go right for Spurs.  To lose one striker may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness, as Oscar Wilde might say.  And then to lose another through injury early in this  match looked like complete folly, especially when there was no incoming replacement to fill any of the gaps.

But the gloom that surrounded the Lane after a last gasp winner for Newcastle could have been so different had one decision gone Tottenham's way.  The disallowed goal by Poyet was the turning point of the match and left a bitter taste in the mouth, as little that the visitors had done up until then was convincing.

Spurs started well, pegging Newcastle back into their own half.  Gardner had a header over in the first couple of minutes following a spooned attempt by Sheringham, in time honoured fashion, from an Anderton corner.  Davies then pulled a low pass back into the box for Poyet, who had his shot blocked.  It was Davies who then shot the next chance wide, before Spurs had some defending to do, with Richards making well timed tackled in the box on Jenas and Bellamy.  It preceded Barnard's shot from 25 yards, as he strolled through the Spurs midfield, for what was the only chance the Magpies had in the half.

The main news of the half though, was Robbie Keane getting clattered from behind by Bramble.  The former Ipswich defender looks to have put on some weight and Robbie felt the full force of it as he fell holding his ankle.  Despite lengthy treatment, he still couldn't run freely and a wild swing at a volley that ended up as an air shot showed that in the end he had to give way after 35 minutes to Gary Doherty.  This was realistically the end of any chance we had of winning the game.  Doherty has struggled for pace and touch since his broken ankle last season and his defensive show against Everton was not impressive, so we did not expect too much from him playing up front and we were not disappointed.  

It was a poor first half with both teams failing to find a rhythm and losing the ball through no fault of the opposition.  It was as if they were sorry to have accepted the possession and handed it back straight away.

But there were opportunities made by Spurs, which, had Keane been on the pitch, might have made the difference in the result.  Most of them were presented to Gus Poyet, who was playing a more advanced role, as he had done at St. James Park last season.  Seizing on Given's throw-out that hit a defender on the back, he turned and hit the ball all in one movement and was unfortunate that Given made good ground to get back and push it wide, just when it looked like going over him.

His next effort came when Anderton slipped an astute pass into the centre of the Newcastle box and Poyet, making a shrewd run, took the ball and spun to shoot past his marker and Given.  It looked for all the world as clear goal, but the linesman raised his flag to indicate that Poyet had strayed offside.  It was hard to believe and the momentary loss of concentration almost cost Tottenham a goal, with Bellamy breaking into the Spurs box and hitting a shot that caught Carr and then Keller before being cleared.

Gus wasn't finished, as he took the ball down from Stephen Carr's cross and swung at a volley that went wide of the goal, but the chance of the match fell to Jermain Jenas at the other end.  Shearer got through into the area and hit an angled drive that Keller did well to palm out.  unfortunately, it fell to Jenas, who with an open goal in front of him shot past the post.  However, next time Spurs were not so lucky.  A move down the right wing fed the ball into Bellamy in the area.  He fired in a shot that Keller kept out again, but the ball came out to Jenas, who managed to scuff the ball past Kasey and it trickled agonisingly over the line with just 35 seconds of normal time left.

When in injury time, a last chance volley fell to Doherty, he pulled the ball across the goal and wide, leaving the Spurs crowd to gasp their frustration and leave for home with little hope of a European place on such a showing.  With Keane likely to miss matches now, with Ferdinand and Rebrov gone, with Iversen out injured for this match (and he will get more knocks before the season is out - both verbal and physical) and with just two more days of the transfer window left, it appears that the forward line will be paper-thin for the remaining three months of the season.  That is our Achilles heel, much as it has been for a few years now.  We all thought Keane was the start of that becoming a thing of the past, but no.  ENIC might yet show that it stands for "Economists Now In Charge".

East Stan

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DEAN RICHARDS

 

DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS

 

I am not sure which was worse on the night.  The decision to disallow Gus Poyetís goal; the refereeís insouciance concerning the elbow by Shearer on Gardner; the Police decision to mess up the traffic flow away from the match or the decision of the Highways Agency to close off the slip road onto the M11. 

In the end, one of the three shots I remember Newcastle getting on target crept over the line for a winner 35 seconds from the end.  It was an agonising way to lose, because, although we hadnít exactly sparkled, there were enough opportunities for us to take the game with the chances that were created.  It brought home yet again that there is a desperate need for a goal-poaching forward and with Keane getting a kick on his ankle, that need has increased dramatically.  Knowing this, other clubs with forwards to dispose of in the last few days of the January Sales will increase their price because of our necessity. 

With the loss of Keane, our most effective means of scoring disappeared too.  With due respect to Gary Doherty, he is no Robbie Keane.  Even though Keano completely missed his kick in the first half, another volley opportunity for an equaliser came near the end, but Doc hit his shot wide of the target.  Not that he was alone.  Gus had a few chances.  One hooked wide, one over the top and a lob from a poor Given clearance, acrobatically tipped wide by the keeper, while diving backwards.  His best chance came with a ball through the middle and he turned his man to shoot home.  We all celebrated, but the linesman seemed to be on a mission to wave for everything that looked vaguely offside.  Having turned his man, Gus would appear to have been on-side, unless the defender was the World 10m speed sprinting record holder. 

The decision making was odd all evening.  Elleray conducted the match with common sense, talking to players who mis-timed challenges without malice and letting play go when he could, but there was one occasion when Spurs were breaking into the box when he pulled up the game for a Tottenham free-kick.  I suppose you canít win them all !!  The one that he did miss was Shearerís elbow aimed at Gardnerís head.  I could see it and the ref appeared to be well placed, but didnít whistle.  In fact, not whistling when Bunjy was fouled in mid-pitch nearly cost Tottenham as Bellamy broke and had his shot blocked.

For all the effort that the team put in, they failed to make the most of what they created.  It was another example of failing to beat a team above us, despite putting up a good display against them.  Slipping back in the European place race means we will have to put a strong run together.  Only the board putting their money where their mouth is will give the side the impetus they need.

So, come on Glenn, show us the signing !!  

Burton Coggles

 

 

Other scores this mid-week :
Bolton Wanderers 1 Everton 2 Tuesday
Chelsea 3 Leeds United 2 Tuesday
Middlesbrough 2 Aston Villa 5 Tuesday
Sunderland 0 SCBC 1 Tuesday

Liverpool

2 Arsenal 2 Wednesday
Manchester City 4 Fulham 1 Wednesday
WBA 0 Charlton Athletic 1 Wednesday
West Ham United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Wednesday

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 25 16 5 4 54 27 53
2 Newcastle United 25 15 3 7 41 31 48
3 Manchester United 24 14 5 5 40 24 47
4 Chelsea 25 12 8 5 44 25 44
5 Everton 25 12 6 7 32 30 42
6 Liverpool 25 10 9 6 34 25 39
7 SCBC 25 10 9 6 28 23 39
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 25 11 5 9 35 35 38
9 Manchester City 25 11 4 10 36 35 37
10 Charlton Athletic 25 10 6 9 31 32 36
11 Blackburn Rovers 24 8 10 7 31 28 34
12 Aston Villa 25 9 5 11 27 27 32
13 Leeds United 25 9 4 12 33 32 31
14 Middlesbrough 25 8 6 11 29 29 30
15 Fulham 24 7 6 11 24 31 27
16 Birmingham City 24 6 8 10 20 32 26
17 Bolton Wanderers 25 4 9 12 25 41 21
18 West Ham United 25 4 8 13 28 48 20
19 Sunderland 25 4 7 14 16 35 19
20 WBA 25 4 5 15 17 36 17

 

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