|A sparkling display by the
Tottenham side saw off the young Chelsea team, who looked one of the
poorest who had been put out by a club in this competition over three
years or so. Admittedly, their first choice players are away in
Russia for a Champions League game, but you would have thought with
their massive array of talent available, that some of them might have
been given a run-out to keep their hand (or foot) in for the Chelsea
fans who turned out. Mind you, they have little knowledge of who
anyone is, so probably would not have been aware that there were no big
names out for their team.
Having a few of them sitting around me,
they had no knowledge of who the players in blue shirts were nor much
idea about the game and how it should be played. I felt pity for
the young kid with two adults, who was being told that every goal Spurs
scored was offside, every tackle they made was a foul and that if the
first team had been playing they would be beating Tottenham. I was
so close to calling the Social Services !!
Anyway, that wasn't necessary because the
performance Tottenham put on really put Chelsea to the sword.
Some crisp passing and great movement off
the ball saw Tottenham rip the Blues apart without having much to deal
with in defence. Things didn't look too good in the first attack,
when Dean Marney hit a shot 20 yards wide from 25 yards out !!
However, Spurs were soon moving the ball neatly and only the lineman's
flag denied them scoring chances in the first 15 minutes. He did
get four out of the five offside decisions wrong, so you could call that
"consistent", albeit being wrong most of the time !!
The ball was flying across the face of
the Chelsea goal, with Barnard laying one back to Marney, whose shot was
deflected wide, then from the corner, Jackson's cross was a bit too far
beyond Yeates at the far post. It was 25 minutes before Chelsea
had a shot in anger and Burch grabbed Hollands' drive comfortably.
After 28 minutes, Spurs crafted a lead
with a flowing move. Eddie Silva Sousa took a quick throw in near
halfway, to Marney. He had to stretch to head it over the player
closing him down, but then played it wide right to Dilevski, who moved
it on to Ifil to run on to on the wing. He put in a cross with
pace on it across the face of the goal and it took out the keeper,
leaving Silva Sousa the easiest of header fro inside the six yard box to
give Tottenham their first goal.
Chelsea tried to hit back with Tillen's
low drive taken well by Burch, but on the half hour, the ball was fed
out to Mark Yeates on the left wing. He tricked his way cleverly
past the defender and whipped in a beauty of a cross and again, there
was Silva Sousa with his head to double the score and he sat on the
fence behind the goal to take the applause. It was a very good
goal with the passing and movement making the creation a thing to be
Spurs were enjoying the space they were
making and when Taricco, who had a good game (accepting he committed
some of his petty fouls), hit a long ball down the left wing, Lee
Barnard got the ball, played it in to Silva Sousa. He headed the
ball on to Marney on the "D" and his volley bounced just
wide. That was the last serious action fo the first half and Spurs
went into the dressing room satisfied with their first 45 minutes
When they started the second half, it was
obvious that they were not ready to sit back. Yeates immediately
took on two defenders on the left, cut into the box, checked out and
toe-poked a shot that almost caught the keeper out, but he managed to
push it wide. From the resulting corner, Marney hit a volley from
the edge of the box and it was saved by Makabu.
However, in the 49th minute, an excellent
move from back to front opened the way for Tottenham's third goal.
The ball came out of defence, with Ifil
taking the ball across the face of the box and feeding Divelski.
His diagonal pass cleared the Chelsea defender to leave Mark Yeates with
a clear run down the line and his jinking run left the defender in his
wake. He then picked out a perfect cross to find Johnnie Jackson
coming in to head home in front of Makabu from close range.
Winning back the ball from the kick off,
Silva Sousa broke away on the right, pulling the ball back low across
goal and Lee Barnard having to pull wide at the far post could only get
a shot in that went wide, with the keeper out of his goal. Barnard
was also unlucky ten minutes later when Jackson's cross was just behind
him as he shaped to volley. Dean Marney picked off a short Chelsea
pass on the edge of the box and curled a shot that ended up inches wide
of the mark.
With 70 minutes gone Yeates hit a shot
into the side netting, almost catching out the keeper at his near post
and then, four minutes later, Spurs almost scored from a Chelsea
free-kick. The ball hit the Tottenham wall on the edge of their
own box, then Barnard chased down the ball taking it off a defender on
the halfway line. It moved from Yeates back to Barnard on the
right and the goalie's legs deflected the ball wide. The same part
of his anatomy kept Dilevski out two minutes later and just when it
looked as though "Barney" Barnard might get the goal he
deserved, with minutes left, he was again denied by a flailing leg of
Makabu. Kelly had played the ball out from the back, Taricco
played Dilevski up the line and he found Silva Sousa. His pass to
Barnard produced a low shot that flew off the keeper's leg and somehow
went over the bar.
The only threat in the second half came
from a free-kick on the Spurs right which went across the area and Ifil
cleared away at the far post.
Clive Allen has really got the team
playing well now. The newcomers like Dilevski and Defendi are
looking more comfortable and while he lacks constant involvement, Silva
Sousa is doing what he was brought in to do and that is to score
goals. Marney and Jackson were industrious in midfield, with Jacko
doing a bit better than he has been in the first team, while Mark Yeates
provided the skill and "fantasy" to open up the opposition
defence. Lee Barnard worked hard, showed excellent control and
played the role of a target man to perfection, bringing others into play
and hassling the life out of the Chelsea defenders. Ifil and Kelly
had exemplary games, while Taricco looked solid and produced some good
passes out of defence.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MARK YEATES