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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premiership Season
for 2002-2003 - Match 37

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

Saturday, May 3rd, 2003
Aston Villa v Sunderland 1-0

The only goal of the game was scored by Allback in the 80th minute. Sunderland played their best football since Mick McCarthy took over as manager. They were unlucky not to share the points. It was Gudjonsson who provided the pass from which Allback scored.

Blackburn Rovers v West Bromwich Albion 1-1

Blackburn had been hoping to qualify for the UEFA Cup. Things looked good when Duff put Blackburn ahead in the 11th minute. None of the Baggies defenders stood in his way to stop him as he raced through their defence as if it was not there. Koumas equalised for the Baggies in the 54th minute when he robbed Flitcroft and hared for the Blackburn goal. He unleashed a shot that came off Neill's leg and flew into Friedel's goal.

Fulham v Everton 2-0

The hopes of Champions League football for Everton disappeared as a result of two bizarre goals. Stubbs conceded an own goal in the 34th minute when he lobbed the ball over Wright, who was well off his line, into his own goal. Wright conceded an own goal in the 43rd minute when Malbranque's free-kick brushed Gravesen's studs and flew around before the ball squirmed under Wright and over the line. Everton had their chances in the second half but Ferguson, Campbell and Rooney spurned the best that came their way.

Liverpool v Manchester City 1-2

The Reds look like failing to qualify for the Champions League as it all rests on their final match .... at Chelsea, where they do not have a very good record. It had all looked to be going well as Baros put them in front in the 59th minute when Diouf provided the pass from which Baros scored. Disaster struck when Trarore clipped Anelka in the penalty area. Anelka duly converted the penalty in the 74th minute. Anelka then snatched the points for the Sky Blues in the 90th minute when Benarbia and Wright-Phillips created the chance for Anelka to reduce Anfield to stunned silence.

Manchester United v Charlton Athletic 4-1

An imperious performance by Manchester United! Beckham put them ahead in the 11th minute when he took a corner which flew into the Charlton goal. Jensen snatched a 13th minute equaliser when Keane made a mess of a pass back to Carroll, who miskicked the ball out to Jensen, who made the most of the chance. Ruud van Nistelrooy then took charge of events. In the 32nd minute, Beckham took a corner and the Dutchman headed home. The Reds extended their lead when Solksjaer flicked the ball in for van Nistelrooy to turn over Kiely in the 37th minute. The final goal by van Nistelrooy was scored in the 53rd minute after Beckham had played a long pass forward for the Dutchman to fasten on to and slice through the Charlton defence.

After the match, Beckham was very emotional as if he was waving goodbye to the Manchester United fans. If he is leaving, that can only mean he will be heading for Real Madrid.

Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur 5-1

As is my normal custom, I am NOT commenting on this disgraceful rout except to say HODDLE OUT! Ed: I usually edit out Brian's regular comment on Spurs games, but couldn't help myself!Read the match report here, if you dare!

Newcastle United v Birmingham City 1-0

The Magpies grabbed the win that confirms a Champions League place for them next season. The surprise was that there was only one goal. Newcastle made life difficult for them by spurning lots of chances. Finally, Vlana grabbed the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute. Bellamy was upended as he broke through the Blues defence. Vlana took the resulting free kick and settled the match.

Southampton v Bolton Wanderers 0-0

The Trotters achieved what they had come for in forcing a goal-less draw. The Saints were the better team but they could not break down the Bolton defence. Bolton became more adventurous late in the match as they tried to snatch a late goal.

West Ham United v Chelsea 1-0

The Hammers continue to argue they can survive. They fought long and hard and Chelsea wilted in the sunshine. Midway through the second half. Brooking, the stand-in manager, sent him on as a substitute. Di Canio scored the most valuable of all his goals for the Hammers in the 71st minute. Cole fed Sinclair on the right and his low cross was diverted into the path of the Italian striker. From four yards, Di Canio could not miss! It sparked off amazing scenes of celebration but the fact remains West Ham must win again next weekend and hope Bolton do not win.

Sunday, May 4th, 2003
Arsenal v Leeds United 2-3

The Gooners finally ran out of luck! They HAD to win this match to keep their title hopes alive. But it was Leeds who struck first when Kewell scored in the 5th minute. Kewell was released by along pass from Wilcox. Bringing the ball under control, he quickly whipped the ball behind Seaman. Arsenal took a while to emerge from the shock of falling behind but Henry struck in the 31st minute. Parlour unleashed a shot that Robinson could only parry and Henry was the first to react and head the ball into the Leeds goal. Three minutes into the second half, Leeds were awarded a free-kick. Harte took the kick in the 48th minute and it took a slight deflection off Cole before flying into the net. Bergkamp equalised in the 63rd minute when Henry sent Pires away down the left. Pires found Bergkamp who whipped the ball into the net. But Leeds were not done. Viduka scored in the 88th minute to ensure Leeds were safe.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2003
Arsenal v Southampton 6-1

The Gunners ran amok in their final home game of the season. The manner of the way Southampton lost would have reduced Sir Alex Ferguson to apoplexy had the points still had a bearing on the title. Parlour broke through in the 9th minute and Jones could only parry his shot. Pires was on hand to whip the rebound behind the prone goalkeeper. Pennant scored in the 16th minute following a series of passes between Henry, von Bronckhorst and Pennant fired home. A little later, Kanu took a corner that had been conceded. Henry centred the ball and Pennant headed home in the 19th minute. Pires made the score 4-0 in the 23rd minute when Parlour, Kanu and Henry swapped passes before Pires drilled the ball behind Jones. Henry created the fifth goal from which Pennant netted the ball. Tessam reduced the arrears in the 35th minute when Bridge centred the ball and Tessam slid in to force the ball behind Taylor. Pires completed the rout two minutes after half-time when he curled in a 35-yard shot.

	
      FA Barclaycard Premiership  

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

 1 Man Utd   37 24  8  5 72-33 39  80 C
 2 Arsenal   37 22  9  6 81-42 39  75 
 3 Newcastle 37 21  5 11 61-46 15  68
 4 Chelsea   37 18 10  9 66-37 29  64 
 5 Liverpool 37 18 10  9 60-39 21  64
 6 Everton   37 17  8 12 47-47  0  59 
 7 Blackburn 37 15 12 10 48-43  5  57
 8 Man City  37 15  6 16 47-53 -6  51
 9 Spurs     37 14  8 15 51-58 -7  50 
10 M'brough  37 13 10 14 47-42  5  49
11 So'pton   37 12 13 12 42-47 -5  49
12 Charlton  37 14  7 16 45-56 -11 49
13 B'mingham 37 13  8 16 40-47 -7  47
14 A. Villa  37 12  9 16 41-44 -3  45
15 Fulham    37 12  9 16 40-50 -10 45 
16 Leeds     37 13  5 19 55-56 -1  44
17 Bolton    37  9 14 14 39-50 -11 41
18 West Ham  37 10 11 16 40-57 -17 41
19 West Brom 37  6  7 24 27-63 -36 25 R
20 S'derland 37  4  7 26 21-61 -40 19 R

Cheers, Brian

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