FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER, 2003
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) SOUTHAMPTON 3 (2)
Phillips, 60(Later adjudicated as Gardner o.g)
Referee:- Andy D'Urso
Attendance:- 35, 784
Spurs (3-5-2):- Keller; Richards, Bunjevcevic (sub Postiga, 64), Gardner; Carr, Dalmat (sub Anderton, 46), Redknapp (Capt), Ricketts, Taricco; Kanoute, Zamora (sub Keane, 46)
Subs not used:- Burch; Doherty
Booked:- Redknapp, Gardner
Southampton (4-4-2):- Jones; Dodd (capt), Lundekvam, M. Svensson, Le Saux; Fernandes (sub A. Svensson, 70), Oakley, Telfer, Marsden (sub Prutton, 83); Beattie, Phillips
Subs not used:- Niemi; Higginbotham
...tick...Tick...TICK! The ticking of the clock against Glenn Hoddle gets ever louder, and the pendulum swings away from him, as Spurs confirmed their worst ever Premiership start, whereas the Saints have made their best ever start, finishing the day in fourth spot against Spurs 17th. The lines of the progress of these two teams on the Premiership graph crossed in January this year of course, when Saints beat Spurs twice at home, knocking them out of the FA Cup in emphatic style, as Spurs just got worse and worse till the end of last season. Now, the unbeaten Saints have won for the third time on the trot in this season's league competition, and in their last three games against Spurs.
Southampton are just one of a number of teams that seem to have the Indian Sign against us, although we are incapable of beating anyone at the moment. It's a far cry from March 2000, when Hoddle managed a Saints's side that was ravaged 7-2 at White Hart Lane. That Southampton team featured three men who played today. Jones in goal, and Marsden and Oakley in the outfield. Those outfielders looked journeymen under Glenn, but Gordon Strachan has tuned his team in fitness, style and spirit. The fact is that Spurs were out-classed, out-run, and out-numbered in every department today, and it is happening too often.
Spurs have now lost 7 out of their last 9 fixtures, and 5 out of their last 6 home games. This is nothing short of a disgraceful record, and if it were not a Spurs Legend at the helm, then surely the manager would have paid the price of failure by now.
The Spurs back three was re-arranged as Goran Bunjevcevic took Ledley King's place, but played between Richards and Gardner. Stephane Dalmat got a welcome home debut, playing to the right of Redknapp, with Ricketts continuing on the left side. Both Robbie Keane and Helder Postiga were on the bench, as Bobby Zamora got the nod to carry on beside Kanoute. Saints, like most opponents, played the traditional 4-4-2, which continues to be very effective against us, as the lack of bite in Spurs' midfield is sorely exposed.
Dalmat was looking good on the right, and had a decent effort for Spurs before the visitors took an early lead. Kasey Keller had sliced a clearance from a back-pass, to concede a needless corner, taken by Oakley. Spurs were punished horribly, as Beattie rose to glance a header to the left of Keller inside 3 minutes. For a while, it looked as if Spurs might get back on even terms, as they took the game to the opposition. Taricco fed Ricketts on the left, and Rohan's cross was headed just over by Kanoute.
Dalmat was showing good skills down the inside right channel, but was prone to make errors when called upon to try and resist a counter by the Saints (wearing their yellow away strip). Ricketts was as determined as always, but the time could be approaching when he needs a rest, as too often the required pass does not emerge. However, I must not be harsh on any individual, except the manager, who picks his team, and tinkers with them at will to the degree that they probably all get too confused.
Jamie Redknapp took a quick free kick near the half way line after 13 minutes, sending Carr racing away. The cross was cleared along the line and it was Redknapp who had made the running to put pressure on the defence, crossing the ball, leading to a corner when a defender put the ball into his side netting. This was followed by more good creative play from Dalmat and Ricketts in the middle. Dalmat sent Kanoute away, and Freddie went down under pressure but it was not a penalty situation. Kanoute did play well, and of course was to be rewarded with his fourth goal in 3 starts for Spurs. Bobby Zamora, whilst finishing the half with a super arrowed shot that Jones did well to push out for a corner, was less successful with his ball control today.
Whilst still just one goal down, Spurs were showing some spirit, and even Bunjevcevic showed the necessary determination in the middle with Stephen Carr, leading to a good move again through Dalmat. Kanoute reached the bye-line on the right, but neither Zamora or Ricketts could make capital of his cross. After some indecisive head-tennis in the Spurs half from Redknapp and Gardner, Kanoute showed the strength to carry the ball and feed Carr, who cut inside and hit a left foot shot into Jones' side netting.
Then Dalmat was holding his hands up in apology as Phillips made a run and hit a right foot shot just wide of Keller's right post. All the stuffing was knocked out of Spurs two minutes before the break. Beattie had possibly fooled referee D'Urso into a free kick when he seemed to run into Ricketts. Le Saux shaped up to take the kick, ran over, and Beattie hit a superb right foot shot into Keller's top left corner. It was unstoppable, and it was Beattie's sixth goal of the season.
At half-time, Hoddle understandably replaced Zamora with the very welcome Robbie Keane, but more mysteriously, put Anderton on for Dalmat who had impressed the home crowd. In fairness, Anderton did okay, but the changes did nothing to deter Saints advance, as it was them who threatened to score in the opening minutes. First Keller struggled a bit to hold a high ball, then Marsden had a go, before Keller was fully tested by a Le Saux free kick.
Spurs just weren't getting the ball to Robbie Keane, desperate to impress. Taricco lost out in the middle to Fernandes who raced away down the right, crossed to Phillips who should have scored from close range but grazed the top of the bar instead.
It sounds like sour grapes, I know, but Mr. D'Urso seemed to favour the visitors, who were allowed to man-handle at will. At last, D'Urso gave Spurs a decision, and Anderton's ball from the right was cleared as far as Taricco, whose return was headed wide by Kanoute. Then Anderton had an exciting 1-2 with Keane, advancing into the area, but hitting a chipped shot that Jones caught with ease.
Keller failed to hold another long-range effort from Le Saux, but the ball fell clear, and after 57 minutes, Hoddle decided it was time for Bunjevcevic to step out of the back three and be part of a four in the middle. Sadly, no-one seemed to understand that there was a need to "police" the right flank, and after a Spurs attack broke down on the left, Southampton countered with Spurs floundering and acres of space for Marsden to advance at will, pass to Le Saux, whose cross was converted by Kevin Phillips.(Later adjudicated as Gardner o.g)
Spurs did get one goal back within two minutes, but even then I suspect that Robbie Keane got away with an offside just inside the Saints' half, as he left the defence behind and crossed for Kanoute to fire home from close range. Bunjee was soon replaced by Postiga, as Spurs tried all-out attack. Anderton's chip was headed down by Kanoute, Postiga returned and Kanoute shot wide from the right side of the area. Dean Richards then headed wide an Anderton free kick.
There was farce as D'Urso stopped play with Kanoute on the ground (not with a head injury), and Ricketts on the ball on the edge of the Saints' area, and two more Spurs players beside him with only one defender. Not only did the referee stop this goal-scoring chance, but although Kanoute had not required treatment, he also had to leave the field whilst the free kick was taken.
Postiga looked fresh, and must surely hope for more starts from his manager. Kanoute headed the ball down in the 81st minute, and Helder hit a cracking shot saved by Jones. Phillips had a glorious opportunity to put the visitors 4-1 up, when Richards floundered in the middle and Phillips was on his own on the right side of the box. His shot rebounded off the bar. By now it was too late to affect the result, but in the last minute, Anderton's chip was headed down by Kanoute for Ricketts who chipped over the bar.
Apart from Swindon, every team that Glenn Hoddle has managed has improved under subsequent management, and I include England in that equation. With or without Hoddle, Spurs must improve and rapidly. I fear it must be without him. It is a spooky fact that Glenn played his last competitive game for Spurs against Coventry in the 1987 Cup Final. Let's hope Wednesday night's fixture at Highfield Road is not his last as manager.
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
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