BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 5TH OCTOBER, 2008
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0) HULL CITY 1 (1)
Referee: - Rob Styles
Attendance: - 36,062
Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Gunter (sub Bentley, 54), Corluka, Woodgate, Bale; Lennon (sub Giovani, 73), Jenas (Capt.), Zokora, Modric; Pavlyuchenko (sub Bent, 34), Campbell
Subs not used: - Cesar; Dawson, Ekotto; O’Hara
Booked: - Jenas, Lennon, Bent, Campbell
Hull (4-3-1-2):- Myhill; McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson; Marney, Ashbee (Capt.), Boateng; Geovanni (sub Halmosi, 70); Cousin (sub Mendy, 60), King (sub Folan, 81)
Subs not used: - Duke; Hughes, Garcia, Ricketts
Booked: - Ashbee, Boateng
Pressure, possession, then desperation
It would be a little re-assuring to be able to write that the un-thinkable happened yesterday at White Hart Lane, when Phil Brown’s Hull City subjected us to a fifth league defeat in 7 games, and a third home defeat in four games. However, such a description cannot be applied to this Spurs side. You have by now seen the “Titanic” headlines referring to our previous worst start of the 1912-13 season, but perhaps more significantly this was the worst start by any Premier League team after 7 games since Crystal Palace in 2004. Even last year’s Derby; Charlton the year before, and Sunderland in 2005 had a win under their belt by this stage of their relegation seasons. Perhaps the only crumb of comfort is that Everton had three points three years ago, and escaped the drop. One of Spurs’ many problems is that they are losing games against the teams we were supposed to be able to beat! We still have home and away games against Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal amongst other tough opposition. The game at The Britannia Stadium in two weeks time has become so crucial to ouhopes of retaining top flight status.
I give all credit to Hull, who withstood the early pressure and snatched an early goal thanks to yet another cracker from Geovanni, shrewdly signed from Man City in the summer. This is a side high on confidence, after their win last week at The Emirates. They did not come just to defend, setting an adventurous line-up with Cousin and King up front supported by Geovanni, whilst our former player Dean Marney, Ashbee and Boateng grafted behind. Hull is a bit of an outpost, but they brought a full quote of support with them, who sang their hearts out and had a fantastic day. The Spurs support was somewhat neutered after the bad press of the last week, and re-inforcement of messages from THFC to try and stem abusive chanting.
Much as Spurs might have dominated possession, they crucially failed to deliver enough telling balls, and test the Hull goalkeeper sufficiently. As time wore on, the Hull players were first to so many midfield balls, and the lightweight Spurs midfield failed to dominate. The strikers too have to be held accountable for failing to control balls that were delivered to the right areas. I thought our back four was fairly solid, and that goes for Gomes too, who did have to make a few more telling saves.
The first half was really entertaining, as Spurs played with determination to succeed, having plenty of possession and pressure. Sadly this turned into desperation in the second half, as Spurs gradually lost their composure, and looked less and less like scoring.
Spurs gained an early corner through Chris Gunter, taken by Jenas and fired goalward by Gareth Bale. The shot was blocked, and an end to end pattern began, with Gomes having to save soon after from George Boateng. Loanee Paul McShane (playing at right back) hit a cross which was smartly headed behind Woodgate by Danny Cousin. Geovanni’s shot went over the bar in front of the Paxton End. Aaron Lennon got a good ball into the 6 yard area, and both Campbell and Pavlyuchenko had efforts blocked and saved.
Hull too the lead after Corluka was adjudged to have fouled Marlon King. Geovanni hit an un-stoppable kick above the wall and perfectly into Gomes’ top right corner. The pressure was now well and truly on the home side. Bale hit a free kick which Lennon hit weakly goalward – easily held by Myhill. Jenas won and took a quick free kick which he pushed through to Fraizer Campbell, but his shot went above the angle of the goal.
Spurs were once again the victims of cynicism, when Ashbee brought down Lennon on the advance. Bale took the free kick which was tipped onto the bar and out of play for a corner. After 25 minutes, Luka Modric was in a good position on the edge of the box, and went down, but Styles saw no foul. I have to admit I thought that Modric had missed a kick, but those closer clearly saw an infringement.
Gomes had to save a good effort by King, but could only parry it. Marney was threatening, but the ball was cleared. A clever free kick by Bale, curled around the wall, was easily held by Myhill. Pavlyuchenko fell victim to an early knock and had to be replaced by Darren Bent. Lennon made a good run inside leaving two or three defenders behind, before feeding the ball to Campbell, whose effort was held. At the other end, Dean Marney hit a good shot that beat Gomes, but rebounded off the far post. Boateng got booked for dissent over a styles decision, and then Gomes had to save again – this time from a powerful right footed shot by Marlon King. Hull made a good break down the left, and Cousin received a good ball, looked as if he was getting goal side, before Jenas put in a saving tackle. Following a Spurs corner, Woodgate was still in the Hull area when the ball fell to him, and he hit a goal-bound shot that got deflected against the post. It just wasn’t going to happen for us.
Ten minutes into the second half, Juande Ramos took off Gunter for Bentley, who did play at right back, albeit concentrating on attack. Spurs best chance though came from a Modric pass. Bent was a little slow to realise he had beaten the offside flag, and his shot beat the keeper but passed harmlessly across the goalmouth. Fraizer Campbell looped a header onto the top of the net from a Bentley cross. Lennon passed inside to Jenas who set up Bent, who took too long to hit his shot when he should have put it away. The shot was easy for Myhill. Jenas then got into a shooting position, but passed up the option to score, trying to tee up Campbell, who failed.
Juande Ramos was subject to more derision from his own fans when he chose to replace Spurs best player, Lennon, with Giovani Dos Santos, who tried but could not improve Spurs chances of scoring. In fact, Hull had better chances, as Halmosi fed King who was one on one against Gomes from a sharp angle on the left. Gomes saved. Another good Spurs chance fell to Modric, after work by Giovani and Campbell. However, Luke fired the ball into the ground and over the bar. Spurs hoped for a penalty when Campbell was brought down just inside the box, but Styles was not even following the ball at this stage.
There is so much gloom and despondency about Spurs’ predicament, which is of course understandable, but having written this report, and reflected upon the chances we did create, then maybe with more confidence and application, the necessary recovery can soon begin.
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.
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