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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2002-2003 - Match 32

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

Saturday, April 5th, 2003
Aston Villa v Arsenal 1-1

The Champions were very disappointing, playing fitfully. Perhaps they were thinking of next weekend's FA Cup Semi-Final? Whatever the reason, there was little to enthuse about in the first half with Villa clearly out of sorts. Ljungberg finally made the breakthrough in the 56th minute when Bergkamp slipped a pass through to Gilberto, whose shot was parried by Enckleman. The ball rolled loose to Ljungberg, who scored his first goal since November. Just as it looked as if that solitary goal would give the Gunners the points, Toure conceded an own goal in the 71st minute. Cygan failed to clear a Hitzlsperger corner, Allback forced the ball goalwards and Toure sliced the ball into his own net.

Bolton Wanderers v Manchester City 2-0

The Trotters grabbed three more priceless points in a game in which Manchester City should have performed better. In the 24th minute, Schmeichel upended Djorkaeff but Okocha missed the resulting penalty by firing the ball wide of the left hand post. Pedersen grabbed the first goal for Bolton in the 32nd minute when Okocha laid on a pass for Pedersen to score. Campo secured the points for Bolton in the 52nd minute when he headed home a Djorkaeff corner. Thereafter, Bolton rarely looked like being in trouble.

Charlton Athletic v Leeds United 1-6

Things are looking up for Leeds. They look too good to slip into trouble. Kewell put them ahead in the 12th minute when Viduka's centered ball was nodded on by Smith to the unmarked Kewell who swept home. Harte then scored from the penalty spot in the 34th minute when Rufus pulled Smith down. Viduka made the score 3-0 in the 42nd minute when Smith provided the pass from which Viduka lashed the ball home. Euell then scored from the penalty spot in the 45th minute when Radebe upended Parker. Viduka added a second goal to his tally in the 53rd minute when Smith again put Viduka through. Viduka then scored from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick in the 56th minute after Young brought down Smith. Kewell completed the rout in the 76th minute when El-Khalej lost possession in his own half and allowed Kewell a free run on goal. The Leeds fans were roaring, "ARE YOU WATCHING VENABLES?" Afterwards, some of the Leeds players said they had not been able to understand Venables' tactics whereas Peter Reid was keeping things simple. Alan Curbishley was angry with his side's poor display and refused to defend them publicly.

Manchester United v Liverpool 4-0

This was as one sided a match as you will ever see. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored from the penalty spot in the 5th minute, after Hyypia had tugged him off balance as he threatened to open the scoring. Hyypia was promptly dismissed as he was the last defender before Dudek. Ruud van Nistelrooy again scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute but I thought referee Mike Riley made the wrong decision as it seemed to me that Biscan and Scholes collided as neither seemed to be aware the other was there. Giggs added to the score-line to score his first home goal in two years when he broke through in the 78th minute. Solksjaer completed the rout in the 90th minute when he drove a low shot behind the despairing Dudek.

Middlesbrough v West Bromwich Albion 3-0

The Baggies are virtually down and out, stranded a long way from the safety zone. Christie put Middlesbrough ahead in the 36th minute when he latched on to a pass from Job, ignored the better placed Geremi and drove the ball home. The Baggies defended as best as they could but Greening added a second goal in the 78th minute. He swapped passes with Juninho and fired the ball behind Hoult, Nemeth sealed the points for the hosts when he scored in the 87th minute. Again Juninho played a valuable part in the build-up.

Southampton v West Ham United 1-1

How the Saints failed to take all three points is something that is a minor mystery. Beattie grabbed the goal that put the Saints ahead in the 44th minute when Ormerod worked the ball out to Marsden on the left wing. Marsden hooked the ball to the middle of the goal area where Beattie beat Brevett to the ball to hook it past James. Defoe equalised in the 83rd minute after West Ham had been battered at times. Johnson took a long throw. The ball bounced around in the Saints 6-yard box and Defoe reacted faster than the Saints defenders to hook the ball home.

Sunderland v Chelsea 1-2

The Black Cats are now virtually dead and buried. They were, however, very lively and never gave up fighting. Thornton put them ahead in the 12th minute when Stewart got to the bye-line and forced the ball to be deflected by Melchiot into the packed goal mouth. Lampard tried to head the ball clear but it ran to Thornton, who controlled the ball before smashing it past Cudicini. Zola equalised in the 52nd minute when his shot was deflected behind Sorensen by the unfortunate El Karkouri. Cole grabbed the winner in the 85th minute when he spun very rapidly on to a Hasselbaink pass to hammer the ball into the Sunderland goal. Thornton almost snatched an equaliser when his shot clipped a post and bounced the wrong side of it.

Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City 2-1

Read my full report here

Sunday, April 6th, 2003
Everton v Newcastle United 2-1

Rooney gave Everton the lead in the 18th minute when he headed the ball behind Given from a corner flicked on by Weir. Robert equalised for Newcastle in the 40th minute when he scored with a cannonball shot from a free-kick. Having played well in the latter stages of the first half, Newcastle produced an awful display in the second half. Their defence imploded and it was only because Everton were equally poor they failed to take advantage of the failings of the Magpies. Unsworth scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute when Woodgate made a clumsy challenge on Campbell. (Ed: There was controversy over referee Neale Barry's decision not to award a free kick against Graveson for his high challenge in midfield against Bernard. Play was allowed to continue, which led to the penalty decision)In the dying seconds, Richard Wright made a great save to deny Bramble equalising for Newcastle. Sir Bobby Robson conceded the championship was not heading for St James' Park after the match.

Monday, April 7th, 2003
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers 0-4

Fulham were completely humiliated by Blackburn. Although Saha and Malbranque were close to scoring early on, Fulham never looked convincing. Dunn put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot in the 37th minute after the ball had struck Clark on the arm in the penalty area. Sukur added a second in the 42nd minute when Finnan failed to clear a cross from Neill and the Turkish international sidestepped the Fulham defence to score. Duff extended the lead of the visitors in the 53rd minute when Cole held off Finnan before squaring the ball to Duff, who easily slipped the ball beyond Taylor. Sukur completed the rout in the 54th minute when he turned inside Finnan and slipped the ball under Taylor.

	
      FA Barclaycard Premiership  

Pos.         Pl. W. D. L. F-A. GD Pts

 1 Arsenal   32 20  7  5 67-34 33  67 
 2 Man Utd   32 20  7  5 55-27 28  67
 3 Newcastle 32 19  4  9 55-37 18  61
 4 Chelsea   32 16  9  7 59-32 27  57 
 5 Everton   32 15  8  9 41-37  4  53 
 6 Liverpool 32 14 10  8 47-35 12  52
 7 Blackburn 32 13 10  9 42-37  5  49
 8 Spurs     32 13  7 12 45-45  0  46 
 9 Charlton  32 13  7 12 41-45 -4  46
10 M'brough  32 12  9 11 42-35  7  45
11 So'pton   32 11 12  9 35-34  1  45
12 Man City  32 12  5 15 40-51 -11 41
13 Fulham    32 10  8 14 35-44 -9  38 
14 Leeds     32 11  4 17 44-46 -2  37
15 A. Villa  32 10  7 15 34-38 -4  37
16 Bolton    32  8 11 13 36-47 -11 35
17 B'mingham 32  9  8 15 30-44 -14 35
18 West Ham  32  7 10 15 35-54 -19 31
19 West Brom 32  5  6 21 21-50 -29 21
20 S'derland 32  4  7 21 20-52 -32 19

Cheers, Brian

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