game that saw unbeaten Spurs facing pointless Norwich City failed to go
to form as the Canaries feathered their defensive bed to keep Spurs at
bay and leave with a clean sheet and a point.
lost both their previous games, Norwich exhibited a defensive
organisation that yelled "They shall not pass." Rapidly
eight or nine players back behind the ball, City made it hard for
Tottenham to break them down. Conversely, they were unable to get
into the Spurs half that often and therefore, the threats to the
Tottenham goal were limited.
opened up brightly, passing the ball well, with much of the play
eventually revolving around the skills of Sean Davis. Coming back
from injury, this
was his first game back and he played the whole 90 minutes, looking
strong and hungry. While some have spoken about him leaving the
Lane, his injury plagued time here has not allowed the Tottenham fans to
see his best and at his best he can be a commanding midfielder.
While Daniel Levy collects young English midfielders like most of us
collect Nectar points, Davis could be a useful member of the squad to
cover the player similar to him in that area of the team.
O'Hara has also impressed since coming to Spurs and moving up to the
He has the odd aberration in giving the ball away
in situations where there is no pressure, but he has a cracking shot and
fizzed one over the top just four minutes in. Recent signing from
Wigan Athletic Jason Jarrett hit Norwich's first attempt on goal over
the bar from a free-kick after Marcel McKie had committed a foul on the
edge of the "D" of the Spurs area after five minutes.
O'Hara then hit back in the very next minute taking a neat lay-off from
Lee Barnard, playing as a lone striker, then moving into the penalty
area to hit a shot that City keeper Joe Lewis saved well.
international call-ups and injuries causing Clive Allen to shuffle his
pack, the side turned out with four at the back, Brown and Davis sitting
in front of the back four, then Jackson between Aaron Lennon and O'Hara
sitting just behind Lee Barnard. The system might have been a
trial for the first team's upcoming match against Liverpool, as they
have a limited number of forwards available.
the experience of Davis and Brown in midfield, the ball was moved about
well and when Davis played a straight ball into Lennon on the edge of
the Norwich box, he laid it off to Michael Brown on the right hand
corner of the area. taking the ball inside, he hit a left foot
shot that went just too high. That was after 19 minutes, but the
game then got a bit bogged down with moves breaking down for both sides
and the referee interrupting play with his whistle for some dubious
and the next incident of note happened in the 35th
minute when Ifil cleared the ball from inside his own six yard box when
Norwich got forward to put a low right wing cross in.
closest Spurs came to a goal was in the 38th minute, as Johnnie Jackson
took a short free-kick to Sean Davis and his drive from 22 yards crashed
back off the crossbar. Two flashpoints saw the referee at the
centre of controversy just before half-time, when each side had grounds
for complaint. In the 43rd minute, Ifil played the ball into the
right hand channel to Lee Barnard and the striker got there ahead of his
marker, who crashed into him and sent him to the turf. The ref
waved away claims for a penalty and Clive Allen, allegedly in trouble
for comments to the ref at the first team game on Saturday, voiced his
displeasure. Straight away, Norwich also had a shout for a
spot-kick. Marcel McKie, who had an otherwise exemplary game,
clattered Martin in the area, leaving him needing treatment and leaving
the referee needing ear plugs as the City bench berated the officials.
interval saw no changes to the sides and it took seven minutes for the
first attack on goal, when Norwich worked a neat one-two leaving
Cave-Brown in on goal, but he could not get a good contact on the ball
to get it past Burch. Our own Brown was keen to get on the
scoresheet, as he took a short corner on the left wing from Jackson
three minutes later, cut inside the box and struck a low effort that was
heading just inside the post, but Lewis was equal to it.
he had another go from 25 yards out, after being fed by Ifil, but the
keeper again denied him with a good palm over the bar. The
resulting corner was played to Jamie O'Hara at the far post, where he
lobbed the ball back and it narrowly missed going in at the right hand
was Brown again with a 25 yard effort that brought another save, after a
good passing move from back to front, as Spurs upped the tempo of the
game and passed crisply and progressively. However, Tottenham
almost got caught when O'Hara gave the ball away mid-pitch and Norwich
broke away, but Henderson put in a weak shot wide at the end of
it. On the hour, Daniells played a one-two on the left of the box
then curled a shot that was goal-bound, but the keeper pushed it out to
Lennon, but the winger drove the rebound over the top.
replaced O'Hara with Kieran McKenna and he did well in midfield,
creating a ball-winning presence. With twenty minutes remaining,
Spurs broke from the back and Davis put Brown in on the edge of the box
and Lewis made another good save, blocking the midfielder's drive with
his feet. As the corner bounced around the box, it came out to
McKenna, but the Norwich defender Quaye put in a crunching tackle to win
the ball. A couple of late chances saw Barnard and McKenna hit
defenders with their shots.
the game was coming to an end, blonde floppy haired midfielder Robert
Eagle hit a shot out of the blue from 30 yards that saw Burch beaten,
but the bar came to the rescue and the ball flew out to safety.
the final analysis, a draw was about the right result at the end.
Although Norwich's main ambition was to stop Tottenham than create
themselves, they did that well and Spurs did not have the ability to
break them down to score the goals their build-up play deserved.
way Tottenham set out to play this match produced a lot of attacking,
but the lack of support alongside Barnard meant that when he dropped out
wide, the crosses that got into the box failed to find a target, as not
another white shirt had got into the danger area.
It will need more forward running from the midfield if it is to be tried
in the Premier League. Perhaps the watching Martin Jol and Chris
Hughton were observing Lee Barnard as a possible partner for Defoe up
front. After all, reserve matches are there to try out these
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MARCEL