FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
MONDAY 10th MAY, 1999
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1) CHELSEA 2 (1)
Referee:- David Elleray
Attendance:- 35, 878
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Scales, Campbell, Taricco; Anderton, Freund ( sub Clemence, 81 ), Sherwood, Ginola ( sub Dominguez, 85 ); Armstrong, Iversen
Subs not used:- Baardsen; King; Sinton
Chelsea (4-4-2):- Hitchcock; Ferrer, Desailly, Leboeuf, Le Saux; Petrescu ( sub Di Matteo, 65 ), Poyet, Morris ( sub Goldbaek, 65 ), Wise; Zola ( sub Forssell, 54 ), Flo
Subs not used:-De Goey (GK); Duberry
Booked:- Ferrer, Desailly, Poyet, Di Matteo
This was possibly Spurs' best 90 minute performance of the season, as they were well worth a share of the spoils, and in my view deserved to win for their passion, effort, and domination of possession. Whilst Chelsea were often dangerous up front, particularly through Flo, Spurs only fell to an early sucker punch, and a spectacular equaliser from Goldbaek in the second half.
John Scales made his first appearance for nearly six months, and Luke Young did not even appear on the bench. Spurs enjoyed some early pressure through Ginola and Taricco, before Iversen won a loose ball in the midfield, passing to Ginola on the left, who cut inside to try a right foot shot, which went just wide. Suddenly, Chelsea went ahead with their first attack, as Zola drifted in a free kick from the left across the six yard line. Iversen was tracking Poyet, and Walker was in no man's land, as Poyet was allowed to easily head home.
Spurs were not discouraged however, as they tried to regain the initiative. There were a few more threats to come from Chelsea, as Freund lost out to Zola, who put Flo clear. Taricco lost his balance and fell, and luckily the attack fizzled out. There was plenty of industry from every player on the pitch, and Sherwood sent a pass to Carr, who fed Iversen, who managed to get a decent shot on goal. Although Ginola later won the TV man of the match award, Steve Carr was deserving of the award for me, as he was involved in many penetrating attacks, through his determination, hard running, and skilful passing. He defended well too ! Carr and Anderton combined well on the right, as Carr carried the ball into the area, and could have had a shot. He chose to give the ball to Iversen, whose shot was smothered.
Steffen Freund followed up one of his throws with a useful shot from the edge of the are, which was comfortably held by Hitchcock. On the half hour mark, Iversen, with his back to goal, received the ball from Carr. He cleverly turned, and shot in one motion, but the ball went just over. Whilst Iversen was showing plenty of skill, Armstrong was struggling to impose himself upon the game, although I did see him successfully trap the ball towards the end of the first half !
Flo was getting everywhere; left, right and centre, giving Taricco, and particularly Scales several problems. He had less success with Sol Campbell, needless to say !
Spurs got a deserved equaliser after 37 minutes. Anderton took a short corner, and Ginola took the ball. He sent a low cross into the are, and Iversen neatly flicked the ball into the bottom corner, Flo was sparked by this, and beat Scales with ease several times. Walker was equal to his efforts on goal.
Referee David Elleray had kept his cards in his pocket in the first half, but the game got more spicy after the interval, including a gutsy tackle on Anderton from Wise, that the referee somehow awarded against Spurs. Ferrer was the first in the book for a late tackle on Ginola, who was obviously determined to prove that HE was the best Frenchman on display tonight. I think he succeeded too, as Leboeuf made one or two elementary errors, and DeSailly was lucky to stay on the pitch, as, having already been booked he clearly brought down Taricco unfairly on the edge of the box in the latter stages.
A key factor in Spurs maintaining the tempo was Anderton concentrating on right wing play, particularly in the second half. He and Carr had many successful ventures. After 61 minutes, Chelsea threatened the goal, when Poyet headed a Petrescu cross into Walker's hands. Shortly after that came another corker from Ginola. Some determination from Anderton led to Leboeuf failing to clear properly, and Ginola intercepted. Daveed sent a cracking right foot shot into the goalies left corner. Hitchcock was left standing. Spurs first win over Chelsea in the nineties was on the cards !
Sadly, such a marvel was not to be, as Goldbaek scored a 30 yard wonder goal after 72 minutes. This time it was the Spurs defence that failed to clear too well, and no-one thought of closing down Goldbaek, who nearly repeated his party piece a few minutes later. Spurs went all out for the win, and on this form, will give Manchester Utd a good game on Sunday. Carr's determination allowed Iversen to dummy Desailly, as he let the ball do the work for him. Steff's shot left a lot to be desired however. Anderton crossed for an Iversen header, and Hitchcock was stood behind the line as the home crowd desperately appealed that he had allowed the ball to go over. This was one replay that the jumbotron did NOT show !
Carr was a big threat to Chelsea, as Poyet got his booking for a late tackle. Sherwood, who had another superb box to box game, ran onto a Carr through ball, but fired well over. Towards the end of the game, even Armstrong got in on the act, showing some fine skill with a confident kick over the defender's head, as he ran into the right side of the area. His pass was a little behind Iversen, whose shot was blocked. The ball fell to Anderton, who fired over, under pressure.
After the game, Ginola said that "to draw against Chelsea is like having three points". George Graham said "Next season there are going to be a lot of changes. We definitely need a bigger and more talented squad". Leboeuf claimed that Chelsea knew their chance of the championship had already gone, and that they were playing simply for pleasure.
I should mention that Spurs played in their new home kit, and the evening concluded with the traditional end of season lap of honour, to a terrific reception. This time, the occasion was enhanced by the parading of the Worthington Cup
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