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Match Reports
Spurs v Chelsea, 05.11.06


Spurs scorers:-
Dawson, 25
Lennon, 52

Chelsea Scorer:-
Makelele, 15

Referee: - Graham Poll

Attendance: - 36,070

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, King (Capt.), Ekotto; Ghaly, Jenas, Zokora, Lennon; Keane (sub Defoe, 85), Berbatov

Subs not used: - Cerny; Huddlestone, Davids; Mido

Booked: - Dawson, Ghaly, King

Chelsea (4-4-2):- Hilario; Ferreira (sub Boulahrouz, 46) (sub Kalou, 67), Carvalho, Terry (Capt.), A. Cole; Essien, Makelele (sub Wright-Phillips, 62), Ballack, Lampard; Drogba, Robben

Subs not used: - Cudicini; J. Cole

Booked: - Ferreira, A. Cole, Makelele, Terry, Ballack

Sent off (Second Yellow card):- Terry, 72

It was a champagne day for Spurs, as after 19 years they finally laid rest to one of the longest running, and certainly the worst Premiership hoodoos, as Martin Jol’s sparklers gave the fans a day to remember with a fantastic win over Mourinho’s boys. Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon were the goal-scoring heroes, but this was a great team effort that led to the best atmosphere in the ground since that 5-1 League Cup victory over Chelsea in January 2002. Even most of the West Stand stayed till the end to join in the deserved adulation of the Spurs team, which not only carried on where it had left off on Thursday, but took their performance level one step further to secure the win that put them in the top half of the Premiership for the first time this season.

Martin Jol fielded an unchanged starting line-up after Thursday’s success against Club Brugge, whilst for Chelsea there was no sign of Shevchenko, and Hilario continued in goal, in preference to Carlo Cudicini. Once again Aaron Lennon started on the left, but Jol was to vary his tactics cleverly as the game progressed today against a Chelsea midfield that was fluid. Mourinho paid full respect to Spurs, with all of his big guns in the middle. There was Makelele, as usual in front of the back four, and Essien towards the right flank. Ballack had a role at the head of a diamond, with Lampard to his left. Robben was supporting Drogba up front, but would turn up left and right of him during the game. Robben even had to finish as make-shift right back, when Chelsea went down to ten men for the last 18 minutes, by which time second-half substitute Khalid Boulahrouz suffered the ignominy of being replaced himself, by Salomon Kalou. Boulahrouz arrived in August, and was credited with the ability to play anywhere across the back four, but Robbie Keane made him look like an amateur today, not least when setting up Aaron Lennon’s winner.

Spurs did not help themselves in the very early stages, as they gave the ball away cheaply in the middle – something you can ill afford against quality opposition such as Chelsea. Then, after 2 minutes, Hossam Ghaly made a good run through the middle into the area, before hitting a shot that Hilario picked up all too easily. Spurs were playing towards the Paxton Road goal, contrary to their habit of kicking off towards the Park Lane end. Chimbonda threaded a good ball into the right side of the box, where Jenas chipped a cross that went behind Berbatov and out of play. Lampard had the first shot for the visitors, but hit it miles over the target. After 9 minutes, Lampard scythed down Chimbonda, who nursed an injury for a minute or two, but the offender received only “words” from Graham Poll, who was to give himself a busy day.

After 13 minutes, Robben got behind the defence, and there was no flag, as he raced goalward. Ledley King demonstrated that he is even faster than Aaron Lennon, with a great recovery and a saving sliding tackle to put the ball out for a corner. Sadly, Spurs failed to defend the kick properly, and of all people, Makelele popped up with a 25 yard shot to Robinson’s right corner, to score only his second league goal in 102 such games for Chelsea Spurs remained under pressure, as Dawson was penalised and booked for handball, and the free kick, taken by Ballack, got through the wall, and was saved well by England’s Number One. Drogba then had the ball in the net from close range, but Mr Poll ruled the goal out for a foul. Robinson had had to keep Frank Lampard at bay with another save before that.

Chelsea’s Ferreira saw yellow for a cynical foul on Berbatov inside the Chelsea half, as the star striker was about to make headway down the left flank, and justice was delivered perfectly, when Michael Dawson rose to glance a header across the goal past Hilario from Jenas’s free kick. This was Dawson's very first goal for the club. Soon after that Ferreira got away with another foul on Robbie Keane. A free kick was awarded, but the challenge could easily have got Ferreira sent off. From this free kick, Berbatov cut inside and into the box on the left side, and forced a save at the near post. From this corner, there was a bit of a scramble, and it was Ledley King that got the last touch on a shot, again turned round the corner. Terry was injured in this melee, and had to stay off the pitch for Spurs next corner. Spurs and their fans were starting to smell blood, and Lennon had by now been switched to his natural right side to challenge Ashley Cole.

However, Chelsea nearly took the lead again, thanks to clever work by Drogba, who had his back to goal, but turned and shot a fraction wide with his right foot. Spurs had perhaps their best chance to take the lead in this half, thanks to great work by Lennon squeezing his way through three defenders, and finding Keane with his cross. Robbie got good connection, but headed over the bar. Berbatov might have been more clinical. Keane tried to make amends with a cheeky driven 40 yarder, after Ghaly had passed back to him from the left. Spurs won another free kick on the right side, and despite his warnings, Messrs Cole and Makelele refused to move back the extra yard that Mr poll was demanding. They both saw yellow, but the kick was still taken without them moving back.

The second half started with Ferreira replaced (temporarily!) by Boulahrouz, but Jose Mourinho was to be thwarted by a great tactical move by Martin Jol. Aaron Lennon stayed on the right to taunt Ashley Cole, and it was Robbie Keane who primarily worked the left flank, with Ghaly given a free role in the midfield. Keane was given the ball deep in his own half, after more Spurs defence, and off he went with Boulahrouz in tow. As he got to the area adjacent to the 18 yard line, Keane toyed with the Chelsea defender, and literally left him on the floor as he crossed powerfully. The ball was deflected onward by a defender, and reached Lennon on the right side of the area. Lennon shimmied to his left, and hit a great shot with his left foot across the keeper’s right hand into the net for a great goal. This was the perfect response by Lennon to Martin Jol’s comments after his missed chances last week at Vicarage Road.

Ghaly and Terry had gone into the referee’s book before Mourinho added a striker for a defensive midfielder, replacing the scorer with Sean Wright-Phillips. To be honest, Wright-Phillips made no impact. It’s no wonder that rumours of a Chelsea bid for Lennon were abound in today’s press. After 63 minutes, Keane was operating to good effect on the left side of the penalty area, chipping a short ball to Berbatov, who just could not get any power on his shot. Ballack saw yellow for dissent, and Spurs fans cheered off Boulahrouz, recognising the great demolition job that Robbie Keane had performed.

A Jenas free kick was cleared, but then came a melee at the other end, after a Chelsea corner. It looked like Terry was involved chiefly with Ekotto and Chimbonda, and the referee saw fit to show Terry the first red card of his career. Mr Poll also decided that Ledley King was worth a yellow for what looked like a clean tackle from behind. This was only Ledley’s sixth booking of his career, one of which was at Chelsea in September, 2004

Despite the reduction to ten men, it was Spurs that spent most of the remainder of the game on the defensive, and Kalou forced Ghaly off the ball, before hitting a good curling shot that was saved by Paul Robinson. Drogba passed inside from the left to Lampard, whose shot went over the bar, with an alleged deflection from Ledley, and three minutes before the end of the 90 minutes, Robben was found in space and hit a shot that beat Robinson but rebounded off the far post. Jermain Defoe had replaced Keane for a cameo at the end, and had one chance – called offside, but Spurs had to hold on for four minutes of added time, before the whistle blew and history was made. The stadium rocked as it hasn’t rocked for four years.

All of Spurs players were heroes today. Of those not specifically mentioned above, I would credit Chimbonda for being immense at the back. He won so many crucial headers, and of course plays a full part in Spurs attacking play. Berbatov’s support and hold-up play is superb, but every Spurs player was a hero at some point. Let’s hope they can sort out the away hoodoo soon!

Spurs have gone tenth in the table, and are set up for a good run. Mind you, they are unbeaten in 9 games already!

· In Defence of Graham Poll
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.

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