BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 23RD OCTOBER, 2010
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (1) EVERTON 1 (1)
Van der Vaart, 20
Attendance:- 35, 967
Referee:- Mr. M. Jones
Assistants:- Mr. M. McDonough (not as per programme)& Mr. A. Madley
Fourth official:- Mr. M. Oliver
Spurs (4-4-1-1):- Gomes; Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Ekotto; Lennon (sub Pavlyuchenko, 69), Palacios (sub Sandro, 46), Modric (Capt.), Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch
Subs not used:- Cudicini; Bassong; Jenas, Kranjcar; Keane
Booked:- Palacios (foul), Van der Vaart (Dissent), Sandro (foul)
Everton (4-4-1-1):- Howard; Neville (Capt.), Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman (sub Beckford, 84), Heitinga (sub Hibbert, 78), Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov; Cahill; Yakubu (sub Saha, 62)
Subs not used:- Mucha; Duffy, Gueye, Baxter
Crouch firing blanks here!
Spurs fans endured another day of frustration, as David Moyes’ disciplined and composed team complied with their game plan, thwarting Spurs, and gaining an equal share of the points. In truth, neither goalkeeper had to make any spectacular saves, and apart from the goals which came within minutes of each other, there was little to admire in the way of sharp-shooting, as Peter Crouch struggled to get any strength in his shots, or power in his headers. In this sense at least, Crouchie was firing blanks! Mind you, he does get the assist for Van der Vaart’s fifth goal of his short Spurs career.
Rumour had it that Wilson Palacios only played today because his mother was in town this week-end! True to his word as reported in The Sun, Harry started with Palacios beside skipper for the day Luka Modric, whilst Tom Huddlestone was rested completely. Palacios lasted 9 minutes before getting a booking, and was wisely replaced at half-time by Sandro. Mrs Palacios also disappeared at half-time. Sandro also saw yellow in his 45 minutes, and it is quite amazing that Spurs got three yellows as opposed to Everton’s one. The young referee seemed to miss or allow quite a lot of heavy challenges from The Toffees, and also ignored two or three Crouch appeals for penalties, much to the anger of the home crowd.
Both teams were set in similar fashion, with Van der Vaart behind Crouch, whilst Cahill supported Yakubu. Phil Neville played at right back to counter Bale, and was assisted in his task by 22 year old Seamus Coleman. Bale was indeed neutralised in comparison to his superb performance in The San Siro. Everton managed to pack the midfield, get men behind the ball whenever not in possession, but also still got forward to good effect enough to keep the Spurs defence on their toes.
Younes Kaboul made a welcome return next to Gallas, and it was great to see Aaron Lennon starting, even if we were to be disappointed when he was chosen to be replaced by Pavlyuchenko after 69 minutes. Some element of the Spurs threat disappeared thereafter.
The game was preceded by a one-minute applause in memory of the recently deceased Eddie Baily and Mel Hopkins, and also in honour of Bill Nicholson who passed away six years ago to the day. The applause was given by Everton fans alongside the home crowd, and those Spurs legends present stood smartly along the touchline.
Once again Spurs started by playing towards the Paxton End, and this might have worked against them with Gomes in the sun for the second half. He did not seem to be flustered though. The game resembled a chess match for a while, with neither team wishing to give any quarter, and Spurs failing to break down Everton’s stubborn resistance. Palacios got his booking for a foul on Yakubu, as the Everton striker threatened to break clear of the Spurs defence. After 10 minutes, Gomes got down well to his right to hold a Cahill shot from 25 yards.
At the other end Bale was cynically fouled by Neville, and a free kick conceded, although there was no card for the Everton Captain. Spurs’ attack fizzled out from the free kick which passed over the danger zone. Two minutes later after a Bale cross, it was Palacios who passed cleverly to Modric whose shot was saved by Howard for a corner. There was a sublime flick by Van der Vaart for Modric in a subsequent attack, but Modric’s cross/shot was cleared.
Spurs conceded a dangerous free kick, and Gomes lined up his wall, taking up a logical central spot for a keeper. He hardly moved and definitely had no chance with Leighton Baines’ superb kick to the keeper’s top left corner. Spurs were soon back on terms though, and Van der Vaart started the move with a pass back to Hutton. Hutton hit a deep cross which Howard fumbled; Crouch bundled and Van der Vaart had a simple task to finish from one yard out.
After 27 minutes, Modric surprised Howard after a little run inside from the left, by hitting a powerful shot with his right foot, which passed just outside the post. Palacios sent Hutton away with a good ball, and when the right back crossed, Crouch was squeezed out by two defenders, collapsing and appealing to no avail for a penalty. Bale got injured in a heavy challenge by that man Neville, and this time, not even a free kick was given. Bale hobbled off and soon came back on. Just before the break Crouch headed another Hutton cross into Howard’s arms.
On came Sandro for Palacios, and within two minutes, Bale did get past Neville with a clever ball through his legs. The ball was offered once again to Crouch who took it into the box, but hit his left foot shot wide across the goal. Sandro sent Lennon away with a great diagonal ball, and this was when Coleman saw yellow for a cynical challenge. Crouch had another chance after 53 minutes, and it might even have been a defender’s foot that got the final touch that was easy for Howard to save and hold.
Lennon was replaced by Pavlyuchenko, and Harry Redknapp decided to try Bale down the right, with Van der Vaart operating from the left, and two strikers up front. Immediately Bale was involved in an attack down that right flank, and the ball reached Crouch who yet again hit a weak shot. Everton consolidated through their substitutions, and there was only one moment shortly before the end when the game did become temporarily a bit stretched. Both Van der Vaart and Sandro had half chances which were cleared.
Everton had done their job and Spurs had to be happy with just the one point. It took them to an overnight third place, but with Man Utd and Arsenal playing tomorrow the position is likely to change. I think our players need the week’s rest before next Saturday’s game at Old Trafford!
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