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Thread: Chelsea 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
31-08-2008, 06:02 PM #1
Well bloody hell! Even the most optimistic of Spurs fans can't have expected that. Be honest, you just can't have! I certainly didn't, and going into the international break we finally have our first points on the board and we're not bottom of the pile!
Terrible traffic meant we were ten minutes late into the ground. What is it about motorway traffic and rain? As soon as you get a few drops the red lights start blinking on and you get stuck. Pah!
On the way up I was pleased to hear that Gunther would start and with Gio on the left and Lennon on the bench, bloody Bentley would finally play on the right side. Not to mention Zokora would not be penned in at right back. About bloody time too. Unsurprisingly no Berbatov. Evidently he didn't even travel. I was one of his staunchest supporters of course. Always saying we should forgive him his apparent lack of effort because of what he offered overall. Now I just can't wait to see the back of him. Indeed, it would come as something of a disappointment if he's still here come Tuesday! Really never thought I'd say that.
Anyway, ten minutes late in meant, as I gathered later, that we missed seeing Chelsea go close and also ourselves.
As the first half settled down it was clear we would be having to soak up plenty of Chelsea pressure. The reality was that Chelsea were going to dominate possession for long periods of the game and even with the far more balanced look of our side, we were going to be second best in midfield.
Most of the Chelsea play was going through Deco. There is no doubt about it. He is a quality player. Tremendously composed on the ball. Strong enough not to get knocked off by a couple of challenges. And not bad in terms of picking out his own players. Fingers crossed that in the weeks to come we see Modric doing that and more.
The two managers out of their seats during the first half
Still, for all of Chelsea's pressure, clear cut chances were not all that forthcoming, although at least a couple of times they should've taken the lead.
When they eventually did it was down to a really poor challenge by Jenas in the middle. Instead of sliding and at least breaking-up the play, he attempted to run through the playerr and nick the ball, but failed. A long-range shot that crashed against the bar required a clearing header from Woody for a corner, and from there came the Chelsea goal. Belletti at the near post. Bloody hell. Didn't he score that 35-yard screamer back in January against us as bloody Boateng just backed off and backed off and backed off?!
Looking at it I just thought to myself - "Near post corner and we concede - just not good enough". And it wasn't really, but probably didn't come as a surprise to too many people.
Pathetic sight of swathes of empty executive seats
Still, with fifteen minutes of the half still to go, plenty of time to get ourselves back into it. Or plenty of time to concede more.....
We weren't really getting ourselves back into the game and Chelsea were still dominating, but it looked like we'd go in a goal down.
Bloody brilliant, then, that we didn't! The goal was a tad fortuitous when it did come, but it was a top notch finish.
Modric - playing in the right position, advanced in the centre of the pitch rather than sitting behind the centre halves - showed determination to win a ball on the edge of the box and the ricochet off either Lampard or Terry (can't remember), fell to Bent (who had won the header for Modric to challenge for in the first place). Steadied himself and fired low into the far corner.
Get in! The massed ranks of Spurs fans erupted as we equalised right on half time! Undeserved? Yeah. But who was going to complain about it?!
All our best results in recent years against Chelsea have come from us going behind. That win in the Premier League at The Lane when Lennon won it. The Carling Cup. The four-four last season. Maybe, just maybe, today's result would follow the same route? Certainly as the half-time whistle blew the chants were of "Just like at Wem-ber-lee! Just like at Wem-ber-lee! Just like at Wem-ber-lee!".
The start of the second half saw us start badly. A ball from the centre of the pitch played by Zokora (I think) towards the right wing, bisecting, perfectly Gunther and Gio.
Not long after Ashley Cole - dirty little so-and-so - ran through on the left, into way too much space and fired low and hard across. Seemed to miss the goal by a whisker and thankfully there were no Chelsea players sliding in. Close shave very early on.
However, it wasn't a sign of things to come. Even with a very strange period of about ten minutes at the start of the second half where we had Gio and Bentley both on the left wing with Bale pushing forward - what the hell was that all about?! - we began to assert ourselves much better in the middle of the pitch.
While Deco had looked assured in the first half dictating the game, in the second he didn't get as much time or opportunity to do the same. It was due, at least in part, to Zokora hassling and harrying. At least in part to us managing to keep the ball much better - or rather, just to get the ball! And least in part to the fact that Chelsea just didn't look as good.
Whereas in the first half there was a bit of dread every time Chelsea came forward, in the second it felt far less fraught. Far more comfortable.
A couple of substitutions helped to balance the side further. Lennon was thrown on in place of Gio, Tommy replacing Gunther. That meant yet another right back. This time Jenas! Strangely, that led to it being probably his best performance of the season! Maybe we have found his best position if he does play?!
Lennon's introduction was presumably to give us some pace on the right. Huddlestone's to strengthen in the centre and give us more options for passing now that we were actually seeing more of the ball.
The best move of the game soon after saw us move the ball the full length of the pitch on a counter-attack that started on the edge of our own box. A lovely flick by Lennon just inside our half, the ball being moved forward down the right, slid in for Tommy who had run almost the length of the pitch in support, and his shot was deflected away for a corner. Oh if only! Could've been contender for goal of the season. Ah well.
Another substitution saw O'Hara thrown on in place of Bentley - who spent as much time on the left wing as he did on the right. Still don't understand that.
As the mintues ticked away Chelsea resorted to lumping the ball long at every opportunity and almost without exception, Woody and Ledley handled it with ease.
In fact, in the late stages the attacks that looked more likely to lead to a winner were ours. One particular opportunity saw us win a free kick on the left that Bale - sadly - could only hit the wall with. A goal there could've spelled a very different result.
As it turned out though, it finished a goal apiece and no doubt about it, the travelling Spurs fans were pleased.
Well deserved celebrations
The second half performance was very, very good. Easily the most solid of the season. Maybe not the best. Maybe not one that saw us create a boatload of chances. But easily the most solid.
A much better balance to the side with Zokora playing where he should, Gunther starting at right back, Bale at left back, and Modric playing in an advanced midfield position. Bentley even started on the right wing! Although that didn't last more than about forty minutes.
Zokora in particular I think had a good game. Yeah, we can all see he's not a world beater, but please play him where he should be played and at least he'll offer us a lot more! He was constantly chasing down, hassling Chelsea, and always willing to come back to pick the ball up and attempt to run with it. The mind boggles what sort of player he'd be if he could actually shoot!
While I still think Bale can offer significantly more on the left wing than at left back, right now, I'd rather see him playing as part of the back four. He's miles better than BAE and we have sufficient options on the left wing for the overall contribution to the side to be much better with that combination.
Modric too saw more of the ball and was able to help create far more than we've seen in the previous two games. A couple of lovely bits of skill late on, flicking the ball past two Chelsea players, show that he still has plenty more to offer.
In addition, I've got to say, as strange a technique as Gomes has, he's a lot more effective a keeper than we've seen for a long time between the sticks at The Lane. Late on he was coming time after time and safely gathering balls high in the air. It got quite repetitive. To the extent that had he fluffed one it would have been a real surprise. Now try telling me we've had that feeling for the last few years!
It wasn't all good of course. There were still some strange formations during the game - none more so than when we had three down the left and only Gunther down the right in the second half. Just didn't get that. And as for Jenas at right back, well, it worked, but I wouldn't feel confident if I saw that too often.
The most glaring deficiency, though, was undoubtedly one up front. Again, it just didn't work, and the introduction of Pavlyuchenko can't come soon enough. So many times the balls was hit high for Bent and even when he did win it, who was going to get onto it? We weren't exactly going to be pouring forward from midfield, so the flick or two he did get fell safely to a Chelsea player. It was actually more effective when he failed to win the header and it came back into midfield from a Chelsea player to at give us a chance to win possession!
Special mention should also go to the referee. He was rubbish. I mean really rubbish. The most shocking decision was deep in the second half when Modric ran clear, pushed the ball one side of Terry and went to go the other, only for the Chelsea thug to take him out. OK, so Modric went down in a heap and made a lot more of it than he should, but how the ref (was it Howard Webb?) could possibly make the gesture of a ball as if to say Terry had won it when the ball was miles away from him..... well..... There were at least two or three more poor decisions. Suppose we should expect it away from home, eh?
So, one apiece and finally we get points on the board. It was a really good second half performance and a well deserved point.
It will be interesting to see the comings and goings in the next day or so. From here on the shape of our season will truly be decided.
Last edited by funster; 31-08-2008 at 10:45 PM.
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31-08-2008, 06:11 PM #2
good report! analitycal and all. interesting to read. agree on last point
31-08-2008, 06:19 PM #3
I agree also the referee was a wan*er. I told you all that we would win or get a good result! COYS this is the turn around for the season.
31-08-2008, 06:50 PM #4
The Chelsea goal should have been offside & therefore we should have won! Cole was blatantly played offside by our back 4 when Essien struck & it not being given resulted in their corner from which they scored!
Deco did not look too great today at all & the whole Chelsea team looked average in the 2nd half. We could have won it if we'd had more to offer up top.
Bale makes me laugh. Every time he gets knocked down, he gets back up and makes sure his hair is in the right place!!! Lol!
Howard Webb was the Ref & Terry clearly clothes lined Modric. I can see why he didn't jump straight to his feet!. The commentators said Terry couldn't get out the way, but he had to raise his arm just to make sure he took Luka out!
I think Bent deserves an extra mention for his performance after he bagged the goal. He was obviously low on confidence prior to that & was at fault for their goal. After that tho he looked a different player. He was still completely isolated up top as was clear to everyone but he was much more alive. Fighting for the ball & linking up better with the midfield than any other time this season. i don't think its been easy for him so far so I think he did good & it was a great finish that made the big orange keeper look even more foolish!
Is Cech sponsored by Dyno-Rod?
Another poor decision from Webb was when we were attacking & had just taken a corner. The ball came back out wide & O'Hara challenged Cole & blatantly WON the ball! Cole rolled around like the complete fairy he is & Webb blew for a foul! Ridiculous!
Last edited by basskadet; 31-08-2008 at 07:06 PM.
31-08-2008, 07:18 PM #5
Yeah, just seen some of the highlights on Sky for the offside. Bit tricky to tell from my position - as you'll be able to tell when I post the photos!
Deco I disagree on. Thought he looked very, very good first half, but as I said, wasn't given the opportunity to do the same second.
Bent did indeed link better today than at any other time in the season so far. Due in large part to us bloody pushing our midfield - and Modric in particular - much further up the pitch! If we want Bent to deliver anything we have to do more of that, but he really, desperately needs a player alongside, otherwise all those flicks he's going to win (!) will be for nothing.
31-08-2008, 08:12 PM #6
Really enjoy your match reports every week.
I thought Tom H made a big differience when he came on in the 2nd half . He was unlucky not to score after our best move of the match.
31-08-2008, 08:49 PM #7
31-08-2008, 10:00 PM #8
i was well impressed with the team today , we were very thin upfront and were lucky to get the goal but how nice is it to have a team that is not all front and has a strong midfield and defense and hopefully a very capable strike force soon .
ps im pissed off with the pundits always criticising the team before during and after the game .
andy gray !!! go f... yourself .
01-09-2008, 04:55 AM #9
01-09-2008, 07:32 AM #10
Andy Gray is a complete f^$$wit. At his best for Villa in the late seventies, mediocre to average after that. Incredible that he has become the mouthpiece of football coverage on Sky with monkey man Richard Keyes.
Bizarre that he is considered such a tome of footballing knowledge by the pundits. There is no quantity of electronic television tools and captioning devices that could ever make me respect what he has to say.
01-09-2008, 10:20 AM #11
Really enjoyed this read (even more so becasue of the result)
Please Please Please Ramos, play Gunter and Bale at full backs all the time. The two Welsh teens are great!
01-09-2008, 12:19 PM #12
02-09-2008, 03:04 PM #13
gud performance lads...........tatics were spot on and for once this season their was organization in the team...lets crack on from here