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Match Reports
Man City v Spurs, 28.09.03


Attendance:- 46,842

Referee:- Neale Barry

Man City (4-4-2):- Seaman; Sun, Sommeil, Distin (Captain), Tarnat; Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, McManaman (sub Reyna, 84), Sinclair (sub Sibierski, 71); Anelka, Wanchope (sub Fowler, 75)

Subs not used:- Weaver; Bischoff

Booked:- Tarnat, Sun

Spurs (4-4-2):- Keller; Carr (captain), Richards, Gardner, Taricco; Anderton, Bunjevcevic (sub Ricketts, 61), Poyet, Konchesky (sub Dalmat, 78); Kanoute, Keane

Subs not used:- Burch; Doherty; Postiga

Booked:- Gardner

Spurs were lucky. Lucky that Paulo Wanchope was in one of his profligate moods today; lucky that Trevor Sinclair hit a clean header wide when he should have scored; lucky that Kasey Keller was on form as he made a number of saves, which included three one on ones against Wanchope; lucky that Stephen Carr was in position behind Keller to make a goal-line clearance from Anelka's close range shot; lucky to secure their second clean sheet in four days, and lucky to be the first team to prevent Manchester City from scoring this season.

Yes, dear reader, Spurs were as lucky today as the home side were when they were gifted the magnificent "City of Manchester" Stadium, which has enabled them to splash the cash in other directions rather than for re-development. The 48,000 capacity ground was not quite full for this SKY game, but apart from 1500 loyal away fans those present were the same fans who Kevin Keegan castigated for booing their side off in their UEFA Cup tie on Wednesday night, when City ultimately managed a 3-2 win. Perhaps Spurs were unlucky to be up against a City side determined to win their fans over, and to be more resilient in defence.

In truth, Spurs rarely tested the frail Keegan defence and exercised Seaman even less in goal. City were keener, faster and their movement on and off the ball left the ageing Spurs midfield struggling, as once again, Bunjevcevic was given the anchor role, and Gus Poyet was beside him, but hardly evident on the day. Anderton started on the right flank, and the most impressive Spurs man (apart from Kasey Keller) was loan player Paul Konchesky who worked City's weaker right side well.

Both sides lined up in similar style, with Bosvelt having the rearmost role in midfield in the same way as Bunjevcevic for Spurs. There a couple of early half chances for Spurs, as Robbie Keane pulled a 25 yards shot wide of the post, and Konchesky made a passing run down the left, sending a cross too deep, which was retrieved by Anderton, whose return to the danger zone was cleared for a Spurs corner. Then Spurs were on the back foot, as first Keller raced out to his right to clear from Sinclair. Carr made a very dodgy clearance from the right bye line into the pack on the edge of the area, and Anelka pounced with a left foot shot just wide.

On 16 minutes, there was some determined play from Bunjevcevic and Konchesky. The loan player chipped over the defence to Kanoute, who tried to chip Seaman, but the keeper did enough to put Fredi off his stroke and the ball went wide. A poor back pass from Gardner gave Anelka a close range chance which Keller did well to hold at the second attempt.

Gardner redeemed himself to a certain degree, outpacing Anelka, and making a good clearance down the line to Taricco, who gave the ball away. The ball was switched to Tarnat, who chipped the Spurs defence, giving Sinclair his headed chance which was hit with power, but went wide of Keller's right post. Wanchope forced his way past Konchesky from a deep position, and after a lovely back-heeled 1-2 with Anelka, Wanchope was through, but hit a tame shot to Keller.

This was all happening in front of the away section, who were relatively subdued all afternoon, due to a lack of excitement from their team, playing in the new purple third strip. After 28 minutes, Anelka left Richards behind, passed to McManaman, whose left foot shot was well saved by Keller. From the corner, Wanchope headed down for Anelka, just yards out, and his shot was cleared off the line by Spurs stand-in skipper Stephen Carr.

Spurs did manage one more first half chance, when Seaman struggled to push an Anderton free kick out for a corner. Tarnat was first in the book for a foul on Robbie Keane, as he looked to be about to make a piercing run down the right side, but then it was time for the Wanchope-Anelka 1-2, with Wanchope hitting yet another soft shot into Keller's arms. How Spurs reached the break on level terms, I'll never know, and they struggled to get out of their own half afterwards too. Gardner struggled again against Anelka who hit an angled shot across the goal, but wide.

The chances were now coming less regularly for City, as Spurs at least looked more composed at the back. Sean Wright-Phillips hit a shot just outside the post, and then Wanchope was through again on the left of the area. Keller made a great save to touch the ball over the bar for a corner. Shortly after Keller held a low Anelka shot cleanly.

Gardner was booked for a foul on Anelka, whereas a similar foul on Keane on the edge of the City box had gone unpunished. Rohan Ricketts replaced Bunjevcevic, and took up a position on the right wing, as Anderton moved inside. The game lost its rhythm, and perhaps City started to flag, whilst Spurs became more composed as the game moved into the closing stages, when Dalmat replaced Konchesky, and once again showed some good skills. It was Dalmat who cut in from the left and threaded a good ball to Kanoute, but Sommeil just got on the right side of the striker to clear the danger. There was one more good move from Spurs towards the end of the game, as Ricketts passed right to left for Dalmat, whose clip over the defence was subject to an audacious attempt at an overhead kick by Keane.

Both teams moved up a place as a result of this point apiece. In Spurs case that puts them in 17th with just 5 points from their 7 games. I remember an old adage about drawing your away games and winning the home ones. Next week is the time to put that into action when we entertain Everton, 4-0 victors over Leeds today. They also say you make your own luck, and today's point was a good achievement.

Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here

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