|Who would have
thought that Ipswich would be around the top of the table come Christmas
time ? Ipswich fans that's who !! But seriously, I don't think
even they would have considered their side as a top six team at this
stage of the season, but full credit to them. They are where they are on
merit and have played some decent football along the way. George
Burley has crafted a side likely to be comfortable from relegation,
which was probably their first priority this season.
The forward line has been
functioning very well, even without David Johnson scoring
regularly. Marcus Stewart has found the Premier League to his
liking and Alan Armstrong marked his debut for the Town against
Southampton with a double. Scowcroft has also got three goals this
season, while other forwards have been having a hard time of it.
Goals have also come from Holland in midfield and Wilnis from defence,
where he plays alongside former Spur Jamie Clapham. Many are
touting him for the troublesome England left back slot and many would
perhaps rather see him than Thatcher in that position for Spurs, but he
is an attacking full back, who can also slot the ball away.
In the centre of defence, Herman
Hreidarsson has lined up with John McGreal to provide a tall and
powerful combination. Standing in front of Richard Wright, they
have stopped lots of the aerial attacks, while Wright remains one of the
most promising keepers in the country. Mark Venus has also been
featuring in defence and has the knack for popping up at set-pieces and
blasting free-kicks when they are in range of a strike on goal.
Youngster Titus Bramble had been interesting Spurs for about a year
before he broke into the first team with a bang. A big, strong
central defender, he has the confidence of youth to move forward with
the ball and has jumped into the England Under-21 set-up in double quick
time. Another White Hart Lane star, John Scales could be ready to
return to first team action against Spurs after being out injured (don't
laugh). Gary Croft, now let off his electronic tag from prison),
may feature if injuries are sustained.
The midfield of Ipswich's side is
where all the hard work is done. Matt Holland is a box to box
player who can make things happen. His prompting and coverage of
the pitch would make him a real asset to any side. Jim Magilton
has been around for years and despite his Gazza mannerisms and approach
to the game, can be very effective in terms of creating and taking
goals. Jermaine Wright, signed from Crewe Alexandra, has been a
shrewd purchase, as he too can arrive in the box to get on the end of an
Ipswich move. Richard Naylor has had few chances this season, but
as he proved in the play-off final last season, he has the temperament
for a big occasion.
Without doubt, this will be a good
match. A lot will depend on what has gone before in the Christmas
games running up to this fixture, but despite being painfully inept away
from home, I think Spurs might just prefer to play against a team who
try and play football than approach the match with a "points at all
PREDICTION : - Ipswich Town
0 Tottenham 1
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Ipswich Town 3
Tottenham 0 -
Saturday 30th December 2000
Weather : Cold, bright.
Crowd : 22,234
Referee : M. Messias (York)
Scorers : Ipswich Town - Goals: Stewart 9,
Armstrong 62, Clapham 88.
Tottenham - None.
Ipswich Town : R. Wright, Bramble,
Hreidarsson, Wilnis (McGreal 82), Venus, Holland, Reuser, J. Wright, Alun
Armstrong (Johnson 80), Scowcroft, Stewart (Clapham 85).
Subs not used : Branagan, Croft
Tottenham Hotspur: Sullivan,
Campbell, King, Thelwell, Perry, Anderton, Korsten (Rebrov 80),
Clemence, Sherwood (Davies 80), Leonhardsen, Doherty.
Subs not used : Walker, Gardner, Chris Armstrong
is the only way to describe this latest away defeat at Portman Road.
Graham apologised to the Spurs fans after the game for the performance.
The apology was justified, the performance abysmal. George should also
apologise for his team selection. I know he has some injuries, but based
on the principle if they are fit enough to sit on the bench then they
are fit enough to play there can be no explanation why he started with
Doherty and Korsten up front and Rebrov and Armstrong on the bench. Gary
Doherty is a young player of some promise. He will not develop and learn
his trade by being thrust into this Spurs team to play alongside
Korsten. Willem Korsten has yet to prove he is a Premier Division
footballer. He does not jump, is one paced and looks totally
disinterested in what is happening. His only attribute is a good left
foot shot, but he rarely works to get himself in a position to use it.
He is lazy and made a negative contribution to the Spurs cause in this
game. Rebrov clearly needs to familiarise himself with the pace and
physical nature of Premiership football and he won’t do that on the
bench. So George, for the second consecutive game, you got it wrong
are a well organised team who work together and for each other. Against
Spurs they were given the space they required. There was hardly a tackle
made in anger. There was not one yellow card, nor was one justified. If
Spurs are to change their away form they need to start by competing and
getting stuck in. They played this game like they did not care. Perhaps
they don’t care. The manager George Graham is certainly unpopular with
the fans. The skipper Sol Campbell refuses to talk about his future and
looks likely to leave the club at the end of this season. Not what I
would describe as inspirational leadership. One of our most capable
players Darren Anderton is also out of contract in a few months time and
has yet to agree his future.
first goal came early in the first half. Thelwell was exposed by Holland
and caught the wrong side. The cross came in and found Ipswich attackers
queuing up unmarked to put the ball away. Stewart obliged. Strangely
enough Ipswich did not add to their tally before half time. Spurs did
not have a single goal attempt in the first half.
first attempt on goal from Tottenham came after about 55 minutes. It was
a feeble effort by Doherty from the edge of the box, which Wright saved
easily. It was memorable because it brought a standing ovation from the
Spurs following. This was followed by a Spurs chant of “Shot on target, We had a shot on target…..” and then a
chorus of “Can we have another shot?” Not ideal encouragement
for the Tottenham team, but an accurate reflection of the frustration of
the Spurs fans.
after the hour came the inevitable second Ipswich goal. Again the Spurs
defence was exposed as Armstrong steered in a low cross. Eventually
Korsten had a left foot shot which Wright easily saved, but Ipswich were
in total control and they hit the woodwork twice, including a
spectacular overhead kick by their centre half Titus Bramble. The third
goal came from substitute and former Spur Jamie Clapham. He had only
just arrived when he found himself unmarked with an easy tap-in. This
was after a clear offside that the Assistant Referee missed leading to
the cross. The disappointment was it didn’t really matter. The
scoreline could have been worse but for some good saves by Sullivan.
Spurs players left the field dejected. They need to have a long hard
look at their performances and toughen up and play with pride. The next
away game is at Orient. Defeat there is not beyond the realms of
possibility for this side and would be a disaster for the club. With
Sugar now out of the firing line the fan's wrath is all aimed at George.
He needs his players to play for him.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - NEIL SULLIVAN
|Another ineffectual display away from White
Hart Lane really showed up the deficiencies of the Tottenham team who
were comprehensively out manoeuvred by the home side. Ipswich were
faster to the ball, better passing throughout the game and their players
moved intelligently off the ball. After yesterday's demand by
Stephen Carr for Sol Campbell to declare what his intentions were, I
don't think it will be necessary for him to reveal exactly where he will
be on New Year's Day or who with. This Spurs team is going to win
Too many players who appeared to be in
good form last season are struggling desperately this time. Perry
is less than half the defender we always faced when up against
Wimbledon. Sherwood is a shadow of the player he was last season
as he gives away possession, misses tackles and ambles about the
pitch. Leonhardsen runs around, but to little effect.
Anderton was guilty of giving the ball away on many occasions today and
his crosses were rarely onto a white shirt. Even Sol himself might
have lost some of the potential suitors for his hand (and feet) with a
display which saw him lose his man for two of the goals. GG will
point to the fact that we had to play a lot of youngsters because of the
injuries suffered recently, but the real problem lies deeper than
that. Their relative inexperience is not an excuse he can use to
pass off another disappointing performance. It comes down to the
basics not being employed by the team.
Korsten came in to partner Doherty up
front, with them looking like fish out of water for the majority of the
match. Korsten looks like he is the sort of player who expects
things to fall to him rather than have to make them happen, while
Doherty might well turn out to be a better centre half than forward -
his touch certainly seems more suited to the position further back in
the team. King was a spectator for most of the time as the ball
by-passed him, with clearances hit forward more in hope than accuracy
and when he did get into the game, there were precious few options for
him to use the ball. Thelwell had a tough task, especially in the
first half when he was left unguarded on their left wing, where they
capitalised on the man out of the play. Davies was given 10
minutes or so at the end when he came on for Rebrov, but neither had
much opportunity to do anything of note. What Spurs need to do, is
dig in and battle with the other side away from home. Then when
they get the ball, make space and use it - something that Ipswich did
Going one down in 8 minutes didn't help,
but the Ipswich players were queuing up at the far post to score when
Stewart scrambled the ball in past Sullivan. From that point the
outcome was virtually assured as Tottenham never looked like opening up
a hard working unit who were unlucky not to be more than one up at half
time. In the second half, only the bar stopped Spurs being taken
to the cleaners, but even then two more from Alun Armstrong and Clapham
finishing low crosses into the box made it a comprehensively depressing
day out (aren't they all) for Spurs. Even the fact that there were
two offsides in the third goal can't disguise the fact that Spurs were
never in it. What they need to be is more like Ipswich. Not
too many intricate passes, but play the ball in to feet and get up to
support the player with the ball. One of their most dangerous
players was Hreidarsson in the first half.
For all the supposed skill and experience
in the Tottenham side (even with others out), there was little on show
and it was a shoddy showing that can only damage all the hard work done
at home. It is down to the manager to make Spurs hard to beat,
even if they are not going to win away from home. I know there is
no magic wand, but we are getting rolled over by virtually everyone and
we still have some very difficult away games to come. By starting
to get a team who can work hard would be a good start, but they must
play for each other and work together to hold the ball and open up the
other side. If the video of this match is played back on Monday
morning, they should watch how the Town players did it.
Benny The Ball