Looking Forward

 

SCBC (Home)

Premier League

Saturday 31st August 2002

The long awaited visit of a big club arrives with more apprehension than a normal man might muster.

Ooooh, we will thrill to the names of Williams, Telfer and Draper.  We will marvel at the history the side bring with them.  Our supporters will swoon at the sight of the ginger hair of their manager, Strachan.  So, let's look at how we will compete with such luminaries.

Firstly, there are some areas of weakness in even such powerhouse sides as SCBC.  Well, they haven't scored too many goals this season so far.  Actually, it's only one.  In three games.  This might be because they are missing top international striker, Agustin Delgado from Ecuador.  He would pep up any attack and he is so out of Tottenham's reach, that they didn't even nearly sign him.  It leaves a lightweight, but nippy pairing up front of Pahars and Beattie.

SCBC's main goal threat might come from midfield, where the Svensson twins, Fernandes and Delap are all quite offensive.  This could leave gaps for Hoddle to fill with players who will exploit the space and push onto the Saints' back four.  While the players in red and white are quite resolute, there are attacking threats from defence in the shape of Wayne Bridge ("you're Spurs and you know you are" anyone ?).  SCBC could field a 4-4-2 formation with Bridge, Lundekvam, Williams and Dodd at the back, in front of either Jones or Niemi in goal.  The new Finnish signing from Hearts might be given the nod even though he claims he will have to fight for his place.  An agile and capable keeper, he might be phased in to replace the ageing Paul Jones.

So, where is the greatest threat ?  Down the right wing, where Bridge might be the supplier for Beattie's head.  Marsden has shown that he has a shrewd head (as well as a balding one) on his shoulders and can still pass well, should players make the appropriate runs.  At the back, we might stumble on the tall shape of Lundekvam, if we play high through the middle.  Best to attack on the flanks and get crosses in behind the defence, with someone (but I don't know who) to get on the end of them.  The back four might lack a little pace, so runners from midfield might give a useful option in breaking into the box at the right time ... see Simon Davies for further evidence.

It's always a tricky time when a big club comes to White Hart Lane, but Tottenham usually rise to the occasion and I consider they will come out on top ...

 PREDICTION : -  Tottenham 2   Southampton 0

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

 

 

Tottenham  2   SCBC  1           (Half-time score : 1- 1)
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Saturday 31st August 2002
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  15.00
Weather : - Dry, sunny, some cloud
Crowd : - 35,573
Referee : -  M. Dean
Teams : -  
Tottenham -  Keller; Thatcher, Richards, Doherty, Taricco (Bunjevcevic 70); Etherington, Redknapp, Acimovic (Blondel 79), Davies; Sheringham, Ferdinand (Iversen 65)
Unused subs : - Hirschfeld, Perry

SCBC -  Jones; Bridge, Williams, M. Svensson, Telfer; A. Svensson, Delap, Fernandes, Marsden; Beattie, Ormerod
Unused subs : -
Niemi, Dodd, Oakley, Pahars, El Kalej

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

SCBC -  Yellow shirts, blue shorts, yellow socks

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  Ferdinand 10, Sheringham (pen) 90

SCBC - Taricco (o.g) 29

Cards : -  Tottenham -  Redknapp (foul) 43, Richards (foul) 55, Ferdinand (dissent) 67

 SCBC -  Marsden (foul) 51, M. Svensson (handball) 90

 
When Simon Davies misses a hat-trick of chances and Spurs still go on to win, ending up the day at the top of the Premier League, then you know that the Gods are with you.

The reason Spurs are there is that they kept going to the final whistle and reaped the benefit of that by getting a last gasp penalty, when the play had been mainly in the other direction for much of the match.  Saints played valiantly in a match that they probably regarded as their Cup final for the season and gave Spurs a few frights.  Big clubs like them don't come along every day, but the yellow shirted tiddlers made an impact on Tottenham.

Beattie hit the bar and Keller made very good reflex saves from Fernandes, Marsden, Bridge and Telfer. The only one he couldn't lay a glove on was Taricco's excellent far post finish following a run down the left by Ormerod that left Richards in his wake.  The visitors approach play was very exact and the passing opened Tottenham up at times, but their finishing was woeful and it showed that the goal here was only their second in six hours of football.

For Spurs, it had started brightly, with Acimovic making Jones save from a volley and then his curling corner, long to the far post, was headed into the six yard box by Teddy, where Les knocked it goalwards.  Marsden's pathetic attempt to stop it on the line was more than woeful and Tottenham had the lead.

Davies and Redknapp had opportunities before SCBC got level with the oggie.  Tottenham had allowed Fernandes too much space and time on the ball during the first half, but he had failed to make a lot from it.  They continued to do so in the second period and he also failed to get the support from his front two that his prompting deserved.  Spurs looked susceptible when the Frenchman ran at them and they failed to cope very well with that aspect of his game, but luckily, his shots were slightly off target and his passes failed to be seized on by his colleagues.

As for Spurs, they never stopped going forward to their credit.  Simon had one chance get stuck under his foot, but recovered to make his national goalkeeping mate Jones save with his feet, then he put the rebound over the top.  In the second half, he had a drive skim the surface and go just wide of the far post, with Jones diving at his feet to deny hi a third time.  Both Richards, Sheringham and Doherty had headed chances in the second 45, with Deano's going agonisingly wide of the post, right in front of the fans who used to chant his name.  How sweet would that have been ?

At the other end, Tottenham did have to defend strongly, but they managed to break up many of the SCBC attacks on the edge of the box.  A breakaway by Matty saw the ball deflect off a defender's leg and just fly wide of the far post, with the goalie stranded.  Etherington took a knock from Telfer, but it was Acimovic who was substituted by Hoddle, with young Jonathan Blondel coming on in his place.  Not much had been seen of the Belgian, but he looks like he is comfortable in possession and in the ten minutes available to him, he showed that he is not afraid of getting stuck in either.  When he did get possession, he sprayed a lovely ball out to Davies on the left and his run ended with a low shot into the box.  Iversen was alive to it and prodded it goal-wards, where it hit the post and returned to him.  His second effort was goal-bound, until Michael Svensson dived to stop the ball going in with his hands and a penalty was awarded, with the Swede getting a red card into the bargain.  There was much debate among the visitors about the penalty, which lead to a considerable delay, but Sheringham strode forward to smack it low into the bottom left hand corner of the goal and gave Spurs a lead that was not to be taken away.

The day that had started with our new signing Robbie Keane being greeted with cheers ended with the team being cheered off as leaders of the Premiership.  The SCBC players who remonstrated with the officials as they went off were not hard done by.  There had been other appeals for penalties for hands, but he had waved them away.  In fact, many of Mr. Dean's decisions were idiosyncratic and inconsistent.  Since when has a player jumping for the ball and winning it in the air over a player who bends himself double been a foul ??  Well, only for the first half, because the ref decided that what had been a free kick in the first period was not in the second !!

But today was about Spurs.  Not just winning against the odds today, but also of our future with a new forward in tow.  Shame it wasn't two new strikers, but then we can't be greedy, can we ?  Well, not until January now anyway !!

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  KASEY KELLER

Burton Coggles

 

TOP SPOT

 

Top of the league is not a position that Tottenham are used to and the nose bleed territory nearly lead to an upset today.  However, steady Teddy scored from the spot (something he has been prone not to do in the past) to give Spurs the win over lowly Saints.

Teddy wore the captains armband as usual and his performance two cameos.  His assist in the first goal and sticking away the penalty after a long delay were his major contributions.  To be truthful, they were the best things that Teddy did in the match.  His passing was off target and his finishing was too, but then if what he does do is so crucial to the final outcome, perhaps we can bear that.  Against better teams, conceding possession might hurt us more than it did against Southampton.

The game started well for Spurs, with a couple of shots before Les poked the ball home from inside the six yard box to put us 1-0 up.  Shame no-one was there a little later, when Thatcher's low drive was parried by Jones and fell to ... open space.  I sincerely trust that Robbie Keane will fill that particular gap when he gets playing for us.  Despite his "Hotspurs" gaff, we should welcome him with open arms, because his movement will drag opponents all over the place and create more space for his fellow Spurs.  Also, he has pace and this must be used to it's full in our play.

Spurs were much indebted to Keller's saves again, as he denied three or four good opportunities for the visitors to get goals.  His stop with his fingertips from Telfer's volley (coming in at the far post unmarked) was perhaps the pick of them and he is having a very good season so far.

Tottenham were tormented by Ormerod up front, who twisted and turned past Doherty and Richards regularly, but couldn't find the net.  It showed we really missed Anthony Gardner today.  Ant's pace really does make up for some of the positional errors our defence make and his distribution would have been welcomed as sometimes Deano looked like he was still play for the other side, he passed to them so often !!

Apart from the own goal, which he couldn't do anything about with Beattie breathing down his neck (oooh, err !!), Taricco played solidly and had his usual running feud with baldy Marsden.  Thatcher was firm in the tackle, but got caught out by Ormerod a couple of times, while the Doc did well in the middle of defence this time.  Sometimes he must wonder where he is !!

Redknapp had a quiet time in midfield, perhaps the games are catching up with him a bit and Acimovic got caught out as the Saints players got back to tackle him as he dwelt on the ball.  He has yet to adjust to the pace and style of the Premier League, but he showed a willingness to tackle back and also to make a nice turn to link with his team-mates.  It was only a shame that when it opened up in front of him and he had a chance to hit a shot in the first half, he chose to pass wide.  He did strike one later, but it flew just over.  Similarly, Fernandes, who ran the game for them, fired a fierce shot in on the Spurs goal in the first half from 30 yards, that flew inches over. Beattie got closer in the second half, hitting the bar from the edge of the box.

Les worked away, but his touch was off, even though he was in the right place for the goal.  You hope that Keane, watching from the West Stand, might have seen where he will be to get on the end of the chances we made.  Bunjy did OK when he came on and although not the most physical of players, he does get in the way, Iversen got into the box for the penalty to be earned and Blondel showed a neat touch and good vision in the short time he had on the field.  He looks to open up the play and also found the referee noticing his challenges, but they were genuine and not nasty.

At the end of the match, a cheer of relief had gone up, as we have been here before (Bolton at home December 1995) and failed.  Without playing our best or with our best players, Spurs had beaten SCBC and stepped into top spot in the table as Teddy hit his spot kick home.  With the new addition waiting in the wings and some injured/absent players coming back, the slump we suffered last Christmas might not recur this year.

Kirk Hammarton

 

Other scores this weekend :

Birmingham City  2    Leeds United  1   
Bolton Wanderers  1    Aston Villa  0   (Sunday)
Chelsea  1     Arsenal  1   (Sunday)
Liverpool  2    Newcastle United  2  (Monday)
Manchester City  3    Everton  1
Middlesbrough  1    Blackburn Rovers  0  
Sunderland  1      Manchester United  1 
Manchester United  1     Middlesbrough  0  (Tuesday)
WBA  1    Fulham  0
West Ham United   0   Charlton Athletic  2   

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts
1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 3 1 0 6 3 10
2 Arsenal 4 2 2 0 10 5 8
3 Liverpool 4 2 2 0 8 4 8
4 Manchester United 4 2 2 0 5 3 8
5 Leeds United 4 2 0 2 7 4 6
6 Chelsea 4 1 3 0 7 6 6
7 Charlton Athletic 4 2 0 2 6 5 6
8 Manchester City 4 2 0 2 4 5 6
9 Blackburn Rovers 4 1 2 1 3 3 5
10 Middlesbrough 4 1 2 1 3 3 5
11 Sunderland 4 1 2 1 2 2 5
12 Everton 4 1 2 1 5 6 5
13 Fulham 3 1 1 1 6 4 4
14 Newcastle United 3 1 1 1 6 3 4
15 Birmingham City 4 1 1 2 3 5 4
16 Aston Villa 4 1 0 3 1 3 3
17 Bolton Wanderers 3 1 0 2 3 6 3
18 WBA 4 1 0 3 4 9 3
19 SCBC 4 0 2 2 2 6 2
20 West Ham United 3 0 1 2 2 8 1

 

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