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Chelsea v Spurs, 12.01.2000

FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
WEDNESDAY 12TH JANUARY, 2000
CHELSEA 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)

Chelsea scorer:-
Weah, 86

Referee:- Neale Barrie

Attendance:- 34,969

Teams:-
Chelsea (4-4-2):- De Goey; Lambourde, Le Boeuf, Thome, Harley; Petrescu, Di Matteo, Wise, Terry; Poyet ( sub Sutton, 55), Flo ( sub Weah, 55)

Subs not used:- Cudicini(GK); Morris, Ambrosetti

Booked:- Wise

Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh; Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence, Ginola; Armstrong, Iversen

Subs not used:- Baardsen; Young; Nielsen, Fox; Dominguez

Booked:- Armstrong, Sherwood, Iversen

Having taken the game to their opponents, and camped in their half for much of the first half, giving De Goey the more challenging saves to make throughout the game, Spurs ultimately surrendered to the power and strength of Chelsea loanee George Weah, who kept the bench warm till the 55th minute. Weah scored a headed winning goal with only four minutes left to play, and although Campbell's header was saved on the line from De Goey, there was insufficient time for Spurs to get the draw they deserved. The statistics regarding our failure to beat Chelsea roll on, and the record now stands at 21 games. To add to the pain, Chelsea have taken our sixth place in the league.

Darren Anderton returned to the team for the first time since August 21st, when we momentarily topped the table. There was no sign of Taricco ( presumed injured), and Zola was not even on the bench for Chelsea. The game started in tentative fashion, but after 5 minutes, Iversen won a corner, taken by Ginola, from which Campbell nearly nudged the ball across the line. Soon after that, Ginola sent a beautiful through ball for Armstrong to run onto on the right, but the striker fired over the corner of the goal.

Spurs were adventurous, and threatening down both flanks through Ginola, Anderton, and Carr. Chelsea were making little headway into the Spurs half of the field, due to some tenacious tackling from Sherwood and Clemence, and confident defending from the back four, but notably Sol Campbell, who kept Flo well under control.

Chelsea's first real threat came after 16 minutes, and it was Flo who made a zig-zag run into the box to be thwarted by Carr, who cleared for a corner. Five minutes later, Ginola fell in the box under a dual challenge from Le Boeuf and Lambourde, but the referee was unsympathetic to the Frenchman's appeals. Anderton then won a corner on the right, taken by Clemence. Unfortunately, of all people the ball fell to Justin Edinburgh, who had the space and time to pick his spot, but he hit the ball wide. Therefore, his league goal tally for the club remains at one.

Spurs failed to make the best of dead ball situations, and on one counter attack, Le Boeuf got into the box, only for Sol to come to the rescue. An Anderton left foot 25 yard strike was held comfortably by De Goey. Then on 40 minutes, De Goey could only parry another Anderton long shot. Iversen followed up, but his effort too was saved by De Goey, and pushed round for a corner. Petrescu did an Edinburgh at the other end, and failed woefully when he had the time to measure a shot.

My son, Gregory commented that we played like the home side in the first half, but Chelsea stepped up a gear or two in the second. Four minutes into the half, a Wise free kick was touched goalwards by Terry, and Walker received the ball standing behind his line, and perilously close to conceding a goal, but he held the ball just in front of the line.

Iversen came deep to collect from Sol Campbell, and tried a long low shot, which gave the Chelsea keeper little trouble. Chelsea threatened again, on the break, and Di Matteo found Flo on the left, whose short cross was reached well by Walker. Then, with 55 minutes on the clock, came the appearance of big Liberian striker Weah. The Chelsea team seemed to gain new strength, and Spurs composure slackened, as passes went astray, and panic set in too often.

Harley crossed from the left, and again Walker bounced the ball down so forcefully, that he nearly put it into his own net! Anderton had another crack at goal, and a long range left footer was deflected; nearly deceiving De Goey, but the big keeper managed to save for another Spurs corner. Perry performed some heroics to keep Weah at bay, only for the ball to fall to Di Matteo in space, but Walker held his shot.

Le Boeuf again was a potent attacking force, as he beat both Armstrong and Perry on the Spurs right flank, then curled a right foot shot just round the far post, with Walker beaten. There were 8 minutes left, and the omens were there, as Chelsea found more and more space. The winning goal came with just four minutes left. Sutton passed back to Lambourde, working on the right, his pass pierced the defence, and Wise was unmarked inside the area to put a cross over for Weah to beat both Carr and Clemence and head home. Campbell had been drawn out to approach Wise.

In the dying moments, Ginola's right field corner was headed goalward by Sol Campbell, 12 yards out, but De Goey gathered the ball on the line between his legs. There was a melee as Sherwood and others tried to force the ball over the line, and it is a bit of a mystery why Iversen got booked.

Despite the result, I take confidence from the performance, and look forward to my trip to Goodison Park on Saturday.

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