FA Carling Premiership
Leeds United 1 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur
(Half-time: 1 - 0)
|« Liverpool||Manchester United »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate, Duberry, Harte, Bowyer, Bakke (Haaland 85), Jones, Wilcox, Smith, Kewell (Huckerby 68)||Robinson, Mills, Maybury|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Walker, Carr, Perry, Campbell, Taricco, Anderton, Sherwood, Clemence (Nielsen 74), Ginola (Dominguez 78), Korsten, Armstrong||Scales, Young, Baardsen|
|Leeds United||Kewell 23|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Bowyer 50, Kelly 71, Jones 90|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Clemence 29, Sherwood 40, Armstrong 42, Carr 63, Anderton 82|
|Leeds United||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||10||0|
|Jabba||Just about worth the trip....|
|Matt G||Tottenham thoughts|
|Nick Allen||vs Tottenham|
|Mike Sewell||You can stick big Willy up your....|
|The Observer||Harry keeps his Kewell|
|The Guardian||O'Leary talks up a title fight|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds close gap as Kewell sinks Spurs|
|The Times||Fighting spirit keeps Leeds in the chase|
|The Sunday Times||Leeds renew hopes of title|
|Express Sport||Leeds United 1 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur|
|The Independent||Kewell makes most of mayhem|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||He's a Kewell customer|
|BBC||Kewell goal sees off Spurs|
|Carlingnet||Leeds United 1 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur|
I did my best to influence the result by turning up late for the game - it's proved reasonably successful so far this season. I ended up missing the first 30 seconds of the game after an attempt to grab a taxi in town at 2:30 turned into an attempt to grab a quick pint in the Prince of Wales before jumping on an R2 at the last minute. And while I remember, why do all the programme sellers vanish before kick-off?
Against a Spurs side with a list of injured strikers almost as long as Liverpool's - but without any of the depth or spirit of the Anfield team - we weren't expecting a particularly challenging contest and our expectations weren't far from the mark. Spurs' chances amounted to Tim Sherwood's attempted 40-yard chip - which ended up nearly 10 yards wide in the first quarter, Chris Armstrong's clean run on goal - which ended up with the ball missing the crossbar by almost the same margin, and a late scare as a cross from the left bounced twice in the six yard box without being touched by defender or attacker before being whacked clear. True, Nigel Martyn did have to gather the ball from half-hearted long-range efforts a couple of times, but the toothless Spurs attack made our recently off-colour defence look good.
An early "trip" on Harry on the edge of the area (another minimal contact - he really should watch it) gave us a free kick on the edge of the area that Ian Harte put over the bar. Alan Smith had three or four good efforts come close in the first half, including an excellent turn and shoot from the edge of the box and one shot that went over the bar from six yards after he'd found a bit of space for himself. Halfway through the first half - and still 6 minutes away from the first booking - a poor clearance from Spurs was headed back by Jon Woodgate. Alan Smith had been up challenging Ian Walker and was trotting back from an offside position - but he made no attempt to go towards the ball and that left Harry Kewell free to chase the ball with Sol Campbell trailing in his wake. Ian Walker came charging off his line - and was lucky that Harry's header went past his raised arms without making contact, since that would have been an automatic red card. Campbell covered well, but Harry stepped inside him and gently passed the ball into the net.
From here on in, this will read more like a report on a boxing match than a football game. Clemence was the first into the ref's notebook for a disgraceful challenge on Eirik Bakke (I think...), followed 10 minutes later by Tim Sherwood for hacking Lee Bowyer's legs well after the Leeds player had released the ball. Chris Armstrong made it a hat-trick for Spurs just before half-time, and it was beginning to look like they'd be lucky to finish with a full complement.
Leeds started the second half well, but after 5 minutes we had the first of several brawls/handbag swinging competitions. Before I saw Match of the Day, I thought Lee Bowyer was a bit late on Stephen Clemence, but having seen the replay I think he was a bit hard done by (no bias here at all, honest). The replay shows Bowyer going straight for the ball, and Clemence, sliding in from an angle missed the ball by nearly a yard, and as a result found Bowyer's studs connecting with his chest. Needless to say that the first player into the pushing match was Tim Sherwood, closely followed by Ginola, but within seconds all 22 were either pushing the opposition or pulling a team-mate away from a confrontation. Bowyer was booked, but how the rest escaped without a caution is a mystery. Smith and Taricco renewed their friendship from White Hart Lane, with Taricco hacking Smith and Smith getting a late shoulder-to-back challenge on Taricco that somehow appeared to make the left-back's face hurt - or at least that's what he was trying to show the officials.
Michael Duberry had the ball in the back of the net after Kewell's header hit the woodwork - but Harry was offside so the goal was ruled out. You could easily tell Kewell was offside since he was just ahead of Campbell: not too far ahead though - it's always difficult to get a yard clear of someone who has a firm hold of your shirt.
Stephen Carr, Gary Kelly and Darren Anderton all went into the book, Leeds continued to dominate and Spurs continued to look hopeless. In injury time, with the crowd whistling for the end, Ian Harte took the ball into the Spurs corner and was pushed, pulled and slide-challenged by Chris Perry. Harte stumbled and landed with one foot on Perry's chest. Perry attempted to elbow Harte, and the succeeded in punching him in the back of the head. Result: Spurs throw, no bookings. From the throw, the ball went upfield to the sub, Dominguez, who laid the ball off, then curled up in a ball and started to go to ground. As he was on his way down, Matthew Jones ran into the back of him and was booked for his troubles. These last two incidents were the only two that Dermot Gallagher got seriously wrong - he tried to keep the game flowing, but once Spurs were a goal down and it was clear they couldn't score, the stumbles and nudges turned into dives and hacks - and Leeds reciprocated a couple of times.
Good points: Smith made some good opportunities (even if he might have made more of a couple), the midfield looked better-balanced with Jones on the right and Bowyer in the middle. Bad points: if you're going to play a winger like Jason Wilcox, it might be an idea to pass to him now and then....or maybe he needs to get himself more involved when he's not in it. Still, he did get back to defend a couple of times when we needed it, so I guess we can't ask for everything.
You-know-who pitch up at Elland Road next week - we'll need to produce a performance more like the one that went unrewarded at Old Trafford than the ones we've seen for the last few games.
Reading the papers this morning may make you think that Saturdays game, had more punches thrown than in your average Tyson fight, (I think Alan Smith may make a better opponent than Julius Francis) and that there was only the occasional outbreak of football among the mayhem. To be honest it wasn't really that bad and it was pretty inevitable it would be a very "competitive" game with Bowyer and Sherwood in central midfield, there is always trouble between those two.
Most of the niggle around half-time was started by Tottenham but I guess we somewhat fortunate that some of our players didn't see red - probably only saved by the change in ref's instructions. Looking at the highlights Bowyer should probably have been sent off for the foul on Clemence, at the time I thought they collided mainly cos Clemence bottled out of the tackle but Bowyer definitely veered into him. Sherwood and Ginola then started a free-for-all and Kelly and Smith happily joined in, but the ref obviously didn't spot who threw any of the punches as only Bowyer got booked. Interestingly, Kewell was closest to the original incident but just stood and watched as mayhem broke out. Kelly also looked like the last man when he bought Ginola down and could have gone, and at the end lets say Harte didn't make much attempt not to land on Perry's chest studs first, but Perry definitely tried to punch him while Harte was on the ground and should have got a red. So we could have had upto 3 red cards but a sterner ref could have sent a couple of Tottenham players off for persistent fouling and the fact they had more booked than us, probably proves something.
As to the football bits, well another full-house and good atmosphere, though the expected jeering of Korsten didn't really happen, as he seemed to be avoiding the ball and so Ginola's famous falling down routine was getting more attention from the crowd.
For most of the first half, Spurs were pretty non-existent and only Smith really looked like scoring, so inevitably when a goal game it was from … someone else. As Smith jogged back from an offside position, everyone stood still as the ball went back towards the Spurs area and allowed Kewell to run through, nod past Walker and leave Campbell on his arse before side-footing into the empty net.
In the second half, Tottenham were still just not in it and any chances made were by us, Duberry had a goal disallowed for offside and soon after Huckerby was clean through but missed the target. The lack of a second goal did lead to some anxious whistling as the ref refused to tell us how much injury / punch-up time there was to be and we were quite relieved to hear the final whistle.
We didn't play great but we easily deserved to win and Tottenham were so poor I doubt they would have scored if we had finished with 9 men.
Martyn 7 - Largely Bored, couple of good catches / punches from crosses.
Kelly 7 - Solid enough dealt with Ginola well, though lucky to stay on.
Harte 7 - Also played well, probably in his most consistent form defensively ever for us, though free-kicks are endangering spectators at present.
Duberry 7 - One of his better games, though Tottenham's attack was pretty invisible.
Woodgate 7- As above.
Bowyer 9 - Showed exactly why we need him in the middle, he is just so much more involved from attacking crosses into their area, to tracking their strikers back when we were under threat.
Wilcox 7 - Not as productive as recently, but contributes to the overall balance of the team.
Jones 8 - Showed he has the potential to replace Batty eventually by getting stuck in at regular intervals.
Bakke 6 - Not his best game but we look more effective with him and Bowyer switched over.
Kewell 8 - Pretty constant threat, took his goal well.
Smith 9 - Best game of the season, maybe the break he had in January has allowed him to get fully fit at last.
Not sure what we do now for next week - if everyone is back. Batty and Radebe for Jones and Duberry is easy, but who gets left out for Bridges - Smith which would be harsh or do we put Kewell wide and leave Wilcox out and will McPhail play? Fingers crossed everyone is fit though and DOL has to make those decisions.
One other thing - Goal of the Month. It must be rare that the top 3 are goals from the same fixture (Carbone and Bakke from Villa away and Kewell from Villa at home), though surely Kewell's should have won, as Hansen said.
The bottom line to this game is that Spurs came looking for a fight... Got one ... and came second. From the first minute Sherwood et al were kicking lumps off anything that moved - strikes me that there is more than a whiff of a grudge between him and Bowyer especially after this fixture last season when Sherwood stamped on Bowyer's head and got away with it.
On the evidence of what little football was played we are miles ahead of them, GG knows this, and so sent his lot out to kick us off the park. I know MOTD is only highlights and that they will want to show the "positive" side of the game, but showing a bit more of what they were up to might have put some of the "Leeds" violence they showed, into the context of the game. That said Bowyer should have walked for that challenge. And I was surprised to see Big Nige sprint into the middle of it, only to understand when he emerged dragging young Smith behind him - that was the most important thing that Nige did all afternoon.
As for the footie - Well the defence and keeper had next to nothing to do - Korsten was a joke - Ginola was very successfully wound up by Kelly, before losing it and being subbed - has he ever finished a full 90 mins. at Elland Road? Yeah Duberry didn't do anything wrong, but you've gotta judge by the quality of the opposition - I'll feel much easier about Cole & Yorke if Lucas is fit.
Smith had his best game for ages, he looked a real livewire threat, ran Campbell and Perry ragged, and could have had a couple of goals with a little more luck. And he won a lot in the air, which was a bonus. Kewell played his part well, even though - despite his goal - he is not a natural finisher. How dangerous was Walker's challenge for the ball that Harry headed on when he did score?
The most pleasant surprise of the game for me was Jones, who played in Batty's holding role, and after looking a little stunned in the first 15 minutes, really got to grips with the game won a lot of the ball and used it sensibly. He was my MOTM. Whether he'll keep his place if Batty is fit for next week is another matter. I would be worried if Keane set about him.
Bowyer did look more comfortable and was more influential in the middle, Bakke did well enough on the right - the gains and losses between just these two in a toss up for RMidfield and CMidfield, mean that it would have to be Bowyer in the middle every time.
When everyone is fit it'll be interesting to see - you'd have to have Batty, Bowyer and probably Bakke - O'Leary clearly rates McPhail - so if you have him, then Kewell goes up front, and you're only left with one "forward" - Bridges.
The goal: A long clearance reached Woodgate just in our half, he headed it back into the Spurs half, Smith was running back from an offside position - but was deemed to be "not inteferring with play" - Kewell ran on to the ball and headed it away from the charging Walker, into the box, stepped inside leaving Campbell(who had a rotten game) on his backside, and rolled the ball home. Lovely.
MARTYN -7- did nothing wrong - had little to do.
KELLY -7- excellent on Ginola -always worth the entrance fee to see a defender dealing with Daveed in a "professional" manner. Getting warmed up for Giggs.
HARTE -6- solid - didn't see Sicknote coming forward at all - lousy shooting.
WOODGATE -7- solid
DUBERRY -7- solid
BAKKE -6- a bit in and out
JONES -8- excellent force in the middle holding the game together for us.
BOWYER -7- more influential than of late - should have been red carded.
WILCOX -6- worked hard all game. little effect going forward.
SMITH -8- dynamite -different again from the Smith we've been seeing all season - Perry and Campbell are not mugs.
KEWELL -7- good goal - little else, but was on the receiving end of a lot of "attention".
HUCKERBY - 4- continued to prove himself a waste of space - still I bet he was great in the playground.
HAALAND's main achievement was not getting booked.
ref - had no control of the game - and didn't let on how much injury time he was playing, but I'm sure it was at least 7 minutes.
All-in-all a good warm up for next week. What odds on there being 22 men on the pitch at the end of 90 minutes next Sunday?
Really enjoyed the game, even if it wasn't a great one for the purists. Action/incident packed (esp. 2nd half) and contrary to the biased press reporting (inc. MOTD) it was pretty much even-stevens in the aggro stakes, both sides giving it some - only it was Spurs doing the theatrics.
We deserved to win, probably by a goal or two more - I think had we scored again in the first half we'd have walloped them.
Nice to see Scum lose (as ever) and it's going to be something of a roller-coaster next week, lets hope we can do it, if only to take advantage of our game in hand to keep apace of Liverpool and Arsenal (we'd go 9pts clear of 4th place) and I somehow think that the home games against Chelsea and Arsenal are going to turn out more important than next Sundays since there's still 14 games to go. (BTW Liverpool are away to scum next - a draw would be very nice)
Martyn: - 7, Generally quiet, did the extra-time job of keeping everyone over-anxious with a dodgy collect.
Kelly: - 7, Good job on Ginola (esp. off the ball) although he was fairly lucky to stay on.
Harte: - 7, Solid game, as usual. Unlucky with a free kick, blasted one sky-high when crowd sang that Newcastle were 3 up.
Duberry: - 7, His best game to date and one which suited him. Very solid and suprisingly composed.
Woodgate: - 7, Solid, reliable, unruffled.
Jones: - 7, Miles better than his last start against Villa. Battled/tackled well.
Bowyer: - 8, Was everywhere as usual and lucky to stay on.
Wilcox: - 7, Increasingly confident that this will prove an excellent signing.
Bakke: - 7, Got stuck in more than I've seen him do. Quiet 1st half.
Kewell: - 8, Tormented the Spurs defence, scored a blinder, could have scored more but faded 2nd half.
Smith: - 9, Hassled and tormented Sol Campbell, unlucky not to score and a constant thorn in their side.
Haaland: - 6, Worked hard when he came on.
Huckerby: - 6, Found it difficult against an off-side happy defence.
Ref: - 6, Generally I'm amazed he kept everyone on the pitch, but I'm glad he did. Some bad decisions, particularly the length of injury time played (7mins?!)
Crowd: - 8, This kind of match tends to produce a good atmosphere and on Saturday it was no different. Excellent.
And it caught on when we started it. 'Two greedy bastards' didn't though.
First things first: we are lucky to have got rid of the bungmeister. We'd be where Spurs are if he'd stayed. Of the team that played of Saturday only Haaland (less than 10 mins) was brought to the club by him. Of those missing, only Hopkin was. Arsenal under GG used to play boring football and get involved in brawls on the pitch. Under him we got really niggly, negative, and nasty and got involved in brawls on the pitch. Now Spurs, once a footballing side, are like Arsenal c 1993 - nasty, mid-table, boring, negative and get involved in brawls on the pitch. And GG blames the opposition, the ref, the players, anyone but himself.
Saturday was a typical GG away performance against superior opposition. Two kickers in central midfield, defend in depth, hope for something on the break, niggle, shirt tug, mouth off, dive, and target whoever has a card to see if you can get them sent off. Not pleasant to watch.
Our lot did well. The telly highlights didn't show some of the challenges by Spurs (even Anderton) that were pretty much as dangerous as Bowyer's. Nor did they show both Kewell and Bakke limping off after persistent heel kicking and clipping by their markers. We tried to play some football, and in the twenty minutes after the goal should have buried the game. Smith played well enough, but missed a number of chances. Kewell's goal was superbly set up with his ball control, but he also fluffed a one on one a little later. On another day it could have cost us points.
Bowyer's move to central midfield certainly had an impact. We wasted more opportunities to set runners away than for a long time. He ran around a lot, he got involved in much snarling and other battles with Clemence and Sherwood but was far from his best. Each time I see Wilcox I think that he looks better and better value. Bakke was the pick of our midfield. He is learning quickly how to cope with this sort of game. Kewell was very effective for half an hour and then got kicked out of the game. Smith, braver or more foolish, kept coming back for more and gave as good as he got. Huckerby came on, got caught offside nearly as much as Smith, and put in one excellent cross where three months ago he'd have run all the way to the right wing before losing the ball on the way back across.
At the back we looked solid. Korsten didn't get a look in. Armstrong occasionally looked like he might get in a position to miss. Ginola dived and whinged. Kelly seems to cope with his type better than he does with the pace of Overmars, Camara or even Sunderland's winger or than he did with the unpredictability of Carbone. Harte had another solid game, though his shooting has been better. Woodgate and Duberry looked, well, majestic. They seemed to have a better understanding than in previous games, probably from their having played together more. Shame that Kewell's offside got Duberry's goal disallowed. Martyn had little to do.
Considering we were missing four starters, and that we missed MacPhail's ability to pick the right pass in midfield to set up attacks, and that Spurs set out to be difficult to beat, we did alright.
We'll need to be less profligate in front of goal next week.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 13/02/2000.
The babes are in the hood, Manchester United's neighbourhood to be precise, and they are not going away without a fight. This win secured by Harry Kewell's tenth goal of the season leaves Leeds just three points behind the Premiership leaders from Old Trafford.
And guess who is coming to play with David O'Leary's babies next Sunday morning - Manchester United, of course. O'Leary still insists on referring to his young players as being barely out of kindergarten, but the way they survived this ill-tempered match showed they can last the course and mix it with the big boys.
When Leeds are snarling, the whole of Elland Road snarls too and it will again be the place to be next weekend.
© Guardian Media Group plc
Copy from Football Unlimited of 13/02/2000.
As David O'Leary ponders those imminent decisions which will shape both his own and his team's short-term destiny, he would be well advised to adopt the fatalistic, almost whimsical, demeanour of the last manager to take Leeds to a league title.
Howard Wilkinson, for all his image as some sort of befuddled extra from an Alan Bennett play, and the personification of Yorkshire stubbornness, never had any problem in spotting the enemy.
In good times and bad Wilkinson never once hesitated to point the finger in the general direction of the opposition when asked to list the hurdles in front of his own team. From his perspective it was all so very simple: the problem was always the quality of the other guy's players. That was the harsh, undeniable fact, everything else was supposition or fantasy.
© Guardian Media Group plc