Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spurs Stalteri Rubs Salt in City's Wounds

Spurs 2 Manchester City 1

Tottenham manager, Martin Jol, decided to make changes after last week's disappointing performance at Newcastle. In defence Ledley King returned in placed of the suspended Michael Dawson and Paul Stalteri (Pic: right) replaced Stephen Kelly who did not have a good game last week. In midfield Tainio replaced Edgar Davids, while Mido and Keane started as strikers.

Tottenham responded positively to last week's set-back and produced a much improved performance against City who were also hoping to improve on a lacklustre showing last weekend. City had lost four games in a row and their last five away from home and hadn't scored in over four hours.

Spurs started the game in a more upbeat tempo than previously and took the game to City. From a pass from Robbie Keane, Tainio had an opportunity to shoot but delayed and was blocked. Spurs continued to keep up the pressure on a shaky City defence but in an open game, City createed shooting chances for themselves. Spurs should have taken the lead when James was put under pressure and cleared straight to Mido. He was into the City area, with Keane in the middle, but he went wide and was crowded out - a clear scoring opportunity missed. Another defensive mistake presented Keane with a chance but his lob was caught by James. Much of Spurs' good work was coming from Keane and he forced the city goalkeeper into a save which he pushed on to the bar. As the first half wore on, it was starting to look like the Villa game when Spurs has all the possession and chances but couldn't score. A couple of free kicks in dangerous positions went abegging but just before the interval, a long ball was knocked down to Mido by a City defender, he flicked it on to Keane who turned his man and fired in a shot which James blocked, only for Paul Stalteri to follow up to score his first League goal for Spurs. Spurs deserved their half-time lead.

The second half started in similar fashion, with Spurs increasing their lead after 49 minutes. A Carrick corner was cleared but Tainio returned the ball to Michael Carrick and he fired past James to give Spurs two goals in five minutes. This should have been an opportunity for Spurs to push on to produce their best win of the season but City got a given a toe-hold on the game again when the Spurs defence went to sleep and were sloppy in defending a long throw from Distin. The ball was allowed to reach Samaras at the near post who reacted quicker than King and scored.

From then City increased the forward momentum of their game without causing Spurs too many scares. Robbie Keane scored a lovely third 'goal' but it was ruled out for offside. Robinson pulled off one great save and Spurs were grateful for a Lee clearance off the line but in total Spurs had 23 attempts on goal and 19 shots on target, a much more positive approach from them and a good all round team performance.

Late in the game City had another throw from a position close to where the goal came from, but on this occasion Paul Robinson came and claimed the ball confidently. Spurs deserved the win and the three points. They kept David James busy in goal and he made a number of good saves, including saving Anthony Gardner's low shot and then producing a stunning stop to turn Stalteri's deflected shot on to the post.

Gardner played steadily today alongside King while Keane was the inspiration for the first hour, during Spurs best spell of the game.

Spurs continue to hold on to fourth position and thank you Portsmouth for taking two points from Blackburn and thank you Birmingham depriving Wigan of another two points. Now it's over to Manchester United tomorrow.

Team: Robinson, Stalteri, Gardner, King, Lee, Lennon (Defoe), Carrick, Jenas, Tainio (Davids), Keane, Mido.

4th P. 33 W. 16 D. 10 L. 7 For 48 Ag. 33 Pts. 58.

David Pleat makes for an interesting co-commentator with snippets of information about Spurs. Two weeks ago he suggested it was almost certain that Wayne Bridge would be at White Hart Lane next season and today we were informed that he had signed Robbie Keane in 2002. Confirming, what everyone already knew, that it was he who pushed through the signing rather than the manager, Glenn Hoddle who was less than kean about the player. Another piece of news was that Spurs were looking at City's young defender (right back who played in midfield today) Micah Richards. His final remark suggested that Edgar Davids will not be at Tottenham next season. We'll see how accurate his remarks are in the summer.

Tottenham boss Martin Jol:

"This is a great result and we deserved the win even though we did not make things easy for ourselves.
"If it was not for their keeper David James we could have scored five goals.
"The next game is against Everton and all our games are like finals but if we show the same commitment we have a good chance of getting the fourth spot."


No comments:

Post a Comment