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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2001-2002 - Match 20

With many thanks to Brian Judson, without whom this feature would not be possible

Saturday 29 December 2001
Arsenal v Middlesbrough 2-1

Last season, Middlesbrough were party poopers and were the only team to win at Highbury. For a long time it looked possible that the same thing would happen again. Campbell made a terrible hash of a back pass to Taylor but Whelan streaked past Campbell to put the Teessiders ahead. It was not until Pires scored in the 55th minute that Arsenal started to make their dominance count. He unleashed an unstoppable shot that Crossley had no chance of stopping. The Middlesbrough players swarmed round referee Andy D'Urso to protest, claiming Henry had pushed Ince out of the way to prevent him from blocking Pires' shot. Ince was booked for his voluble protests. Arsenal then had a justifiable complaint of their own when Mustoe sent Pires flying in the penalty area and Pires was booked by the referee for diving. It was Bergkamp, coming on as a substitute for Kanu, who created the winner. He cooly picked out a gap in the Middlesbrough defence and Cole eluded his marker to head the ball home.

Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur 1-1

The full report can be read here.

Blackburn Rovers v Derby County 0-1

Christie struck in the 40th minute to break Derby's duck on the road. Before this match, Derby had not won an away match since winning 1-0 at Old Trafford of all places at the end of last season. Christie had already threatened to score at least twice before he struck. Carbone found Christie in the middle of the Blackburn half of the pitch and he raced forward, sending Berg the wrong way. Christie raced into the box and bamboozled Friedel before slipping the ball to the keeper's left. Derby should have had a penalty when Riggott tripped Christie early in the second half but Christie was not quick enough to take advantage and stumbled on a couple of paces before falling over, enough to persuade the referee to wave play on. After the match was over, it was announced that Andy Cole had signed for Blackburn Rovers.

Bolton Wanderers v Leicester City 2-2

This was a game in which three players were sent off and Robbie Savage was involved in two of the incidents. Referee Mike Riley decided that Warhurst had deliberately fouled Savage, when many onlookers felt Savage had made a meal of a fair tackle after 18 minutes. Four minutes later, Ricketts headed the ball into his own goal when Wise had centred the ball from the wing. A minute later, Holdsworth was sent off after clashing with Savage and grabbing him by the neck. Savage was then replaced by Izzet. Deane then increased Leicester's lead when Jaaskelainen fumbled Deane's tame shot over his goal line. Nolan reduced the arrears in the 34th minute when Hendry headed back Charlton's deep cross into the box and Nolan headed the ball behind Walker. Three minutes into the second half, the referee booked Izzet for diving and in the 69th minute dismissed Izzet for kicking the ball away when he had awarded a free kick to Bolton. In injury time, Ricketts equalised for Bolton when he nodded home Southall's cross.

Everton v Charlton Athletic 0-3

The Toffees are sliding towards yet another relegation battle. They are impoverished and unable to spend their way out of trouble. Their players are bickering among themselves and Gravesen has accused the board of being unambitious. So it did not come as a great surprise to see the Addicks winning so easily. Charlton had not won at Goodison Park since 1949 (when Spurs were still in the old Second Division!). It was Stuart, himself an old Evertonian, who put Charlton ahead in the 29th minute. Claus Jensen sent Lisbie away and Stuart slid in to force the ball home with Everton's defence all at sea. Euell added a second in the 68th minute when Robinson dashed down the wing and played a neat pass to Euell, who crashed the ball home. Konchesky completed the rout when Everton's defenders failed to clear the ball when he volleyed the ball home from the edge of the area.

Ipswich Town v Sunderland 5-0

The Tractor Boys continued their recent good form by thrashing Sunderland out of sight. Armstrong put them ahead in the 15th minute when George's centre scuffed Armstrong's outstretched leg and flew into the goal. Gaardsoe added a second in the 26th minute when he climbed above everyone else to head a corner kick from Venus into the goal. A minute later, Armstrong increased Ipswich's lead when Williams failed to clear a long ball and the ball dropped nicely for Armstrong to score with Sorensen trapped in no man's land. George added a fourth after 31 minutes when he intercepted a pass in his own half and back-heeled it to Holland. Holland then flighted the ball into George's path as he dashed upfield and the Nigerian clipped the ball over Sorensen, who had come off his line to narrow the angles. Clapham completed the rout in the 86th minute when he swapped passes with Naylor before smashing the ball home.

Newcastle United v Chelsea 1-2

Solano lost possession of the ball in the Chelsea half and eventually the ball was picked up by Gudjohnsen, who raced past O'Brien, to score the opening goal in the 35th minute. Shearer equalised for Newcastle after 37 minutes when a free kick was awarded to the Magpies. Shearer spotted a chink in the wall and left Cudicini with no chance to retrieve the situation. Gudjohnsen scored what proved to be the winning goal deep in the extra time added to the opening 45 minutes. Elliott misjudged a long ball to allow Hasselbaink to cross from the right for Gudjohnsen to ghost in by the near post and slip the ball beyond Given's reach.

Southampton v Leeds United 0-1

The Saints looked to have done enough to have salvaged a point in their battle against relegation when Bowyer struck in the 88th minute. Leeds had made a terrible start to the game and their cause was not helped when Smith had the ball in the net only to see the effort disallowed for offside. Following his recent troubles in court, Woodgate was paired with Ferdinand at the back and played well. It took a Viduka pass to split the Saints defence as the game approached its end. With the Saints defence momentarily halting to appeal for offside, Bowyer whipped the ball into the net gleefully.

West Ham United v Liverpool 1-1

Sinclair gave the Hammers a 39th minute lead when Defoe cut in from the left touchline and supplied the pass from which Sinclair scored from outside the penalty area. Owen equalised two minutes from the end of the game as Liverpool piled on pressure and he was first to react when there was a loose ball in the West Ham penalty area. It was his 100th League goal for Liverpool. Only Ian Rush (346), Roger Hunt (286), Billy Liddell (229), Kenny Dalglish (172), Robbie Fowler (171), Ian St John (118), Jack Balmer (111) and John Barnes (108) are ahead of Owen. He is young enough to catch Rush if he remains fairly free from injury.

Sunday 30 December 2001

Fulham v Manchester United 2-3

The League champions won their fifth consecutive match. Giggs gave them a 5th minute lead when Keane and Scholes created a chance which Van Der Sar flapped at and Giggs took advantage to push the ball home. Deep in first half injury time, Van Nistleroy added a second when he twice swapped passes with Giggs before scoring. But Fulham instantly struck back when Legwinski reduced the arrears when he headed Malbranque's free-kick behind Barthez. Giggs scored again in the 47th minute when he outpaced Melville to shoot in from the tightest of angles. Marlet's 89th minute goal, when he turned in Brevett's cross, came too late to affect the issue.



Pos              Pl.  W.  D.  L.  For-Ag Pts.
  1  Arsenal     20  11   6   3   41-24   39
  2  Newcastle   20  12   3   5   38-25   39
  3  Leeds       20  10   8   2   30-17   38
  4  Liverpool   19  11   4   4   29-19   37
  5  Man United  20  11   3   6   48-30   36
  6  Chelsea     20   8   9   3   31-16   33
  7  Spurs       20   8   4   8   31-27   28
  8  A. Villa    20   7   7   6   26-25   28
  9  Charlton    20   6   8   6   24-22   26
 10  S'derland   20   7   5   8   17-22   26
 11  West Ham    20   6   7   7   25-30   25
 12  Fulham      19   5   9   5   19-20   24
 13  Everton     20   6   5   9   23-26   23
 14  Blackburn   20   5   7   7   25-25   22
 15  Bolton      20   5   7   8   23-31   22
 16  M'brough    19   5   4  10   18-28   19
 17  S'hampton   19   6   1  12   19-31   19
 18  Derby       20   5   4  11   15-35   19
 19  Ipswich     20   4   6  10   24-28   18
 20  Leicester   20   3   7  10   14-36   16

Cheers, Brian

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