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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Spurs 2 - Aston Villa 1

White Hart Lane

02/10/2010

Attendance: 35,871

Glensider at White Hart Lane

Our first trip of the still relatively new 2010-11 campaign down to our capital city, took us to White Hart Lane, North London, home of Champions League new boy's, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Like ourselves, Tottenham have put together a fairly impressive honours list down the years, since their founding in 1882 (as Hotspur F.C.), being the first club in the 20th century to land the coveted League and F.A. Cup double, while in 1963 they became the first British club to win a major European trophy, the European Cup Winners Cup. In modern day premier league times, Tottenham have now forced their way into the lucrative European Champions League, after deservedly finishing in the top four of last seasons Premier League competition, and early results have proved to the doubters that Harry Redknapp's men are certainly not in the Champions League get-together, merely to make up the numbers.

Only time will tell whether the Spurs can sustain a serious push to finish in this seasons top four of the Premier League, while also competing for Champions League glory, but early performances in the latter, allied to an impressive quality filled squad, would suggest that they might just silence their detractors, and enjoy another successful and productive campaign.

Lifted by our two wins since the official arrival of Gerard Houllier, the excellent news relating to the possibility of Ashley Young committing himself to a new four year extended deal at Brummagem B6, and the non too serious news about Gabby's groin problem, we were in fairly upbeat mood as we jumped into the car bright and early this morning, heading south, destination The Streets Of London (excellent Ralph McTell song that, from his 1975 album 'Streets', check it out). With yours truly at the wheel again (well after our rotation policy that saw me land last weeks short drive to the Molinuex, it was the least I could do), my brief today was to be the designated driver and chaperon to my three lifelong buddies, so tonic water was very definitely the order of the day for me. On the upside though I had 'control' of the cd player, and as we hit the motorway to begin our journey down to London, it was Barclay James Harvest who were 'in concert', serenading us with their 1975 album, 'Time Honoured Ghosts'.

In our regular predictions pool, I had gone for the 3-1 Villa victory, while two others went for away wins also, 1-0 and 2-1, while our fourth, less confident companion went for the 2-2 draw. With money on the line, these predictions have to be taken seriously.

It was a wet, overcast afternoon as we arrived in London, thoughts now turning to Gerard Houllier's probable team selection. Funnily enough we all decided that changes needed to be made despite last weekend's victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Dunne back in for Cuellar seemed to be the united decision, while a starting role for Stephen Ireland was also suggested. The thinking was that experience down the years indicates that you should always go with your strongest starting line-up, as opposed to remaining with a line-up that was successful in your previous game. Whether Gerard would agree with our line of thinking though, was an altogether different matter.

Arriving at the stadium our questions were answered, Richard Dunne indeed returning, with our starting line-up reading:-

Brad Friedel, Luke Young, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Stephen Warnock, Marc Albrighton, Stan Petrov, Nigel Reo-Coker, Stewart Downing, Ashley Young and Emile Heskey. On the bench we had, Guzan, Ireland, Carew, Bannan, Sidwell, Clark, and Carew.

There were no empty seats in the away section as far as I could make out, and the traveling Villan's were in good voice as the game got underway, the Villa attacking our end.

There was a great early chance for Pavlyuchenko who headed over from close range following a superb cross from Modric out wide left. The striker really should have done better, leaving us to breath again following the let off, and we responded by getting into the game more, looking comfortable on the ball, and coming forward at every opportunity. The game was delayed for a brief spell when Albrighton accidentally caught Gomes as the keeper came out to collect a through ball, but the keeper was o.k. after taking a short breather, and the game continued.

On the fifteen minute mark we deservedly took the lead, following great work from Emile Heskey out on the right, who chased a ball down the line, outmuscled the Spurs defender, squared the ball invitingly across the face of the home goal, and there was Marc Albrighton handily placed to force home his first premier league goal.

The Spurs lot thought they had won a penalty on twenty minutes, when Pavlyuchenko's shot hit Richard Dunne's hand, but it was clearly not intentional, definitely ball to hand, and referee Clattenburg was most unimpressed. The ball fell to Alan Hutton, who sent his effort into the side-netting, when he too perhaps should have done better.

Ashley Young was rather needlessly booked for a deliberate handball, and we suffered a second blow when Emile Heskey limped off to be replaced by John Carew ten minutes or so before the interval. A blow indeed, because once again Emile had looked a threat, and apart from laying on the opener, had pressured the Spurs defence at every opportunity.


While we didn't look like adding to our lead as the game moved towards the break, Tottenham weren't causing us too many problems, although
Pavlyuchenko wasted another opportunity when he hooked Gareth Bale's low cross wide from just six yards.

In first half stoppage time though Spurs found a way through to level. Van der Vaart climbed above Richard Dunne to nod home after Peter Crouch had headed Pavlyuchenko's ball back across goal, beating James Collins who was stationed on the line.

As the second half got underway, Spurs brought on Lennon to replace Pavlyuchenko, and pushed Van der Vaart into a more central position.

Only a desperate Stiliyan Petrov lunge on fifty minutes stopped the Dutch midfielder from putting Spurs ahead, and then the same player had a shot blocked by Richard the Lionheart, after being set up by Bale. Spurs were slowly but surely getting the upper hand now, although we still looked threatening on the break. Carew though wasn't enjoying the same sort of afternoon that Emile had been enjoying before his departure, and several Villans were getting quite animated about the big man's arm waving and niggling fouling, when he really would have been better employed in keeping the Spurs defence on their toes, and supporting Ashley Young, just as Emile had been successfully doing until his afternoon ended prematurely.

A superb Ashley Young crossed was almost met at the far post by Marc Albrighton, while Crouch spurned a great opportunity to put the home team ahead when he powered a header over the bar, after Huddlestone had flicked on Modric's corner. Easier to score, or so it looked, but the score remained at 1-1.

Fifteen minutes from time though Tottenham went ahead. Crouch knocked the ball down to Van der Vaart, who turned Richard Dunne, and fired past Brad Friedel.

Gerard made a double switch, throwing on Stephen Ireland and Barry Bannan for Stan Petrov and Marc Albrighton, but Tottenham saw the remaining minutes out fairly comfortably.

Spurs won the points due to the performance of the impressive Van der Vaart, and also because their football had more variety to it, something that as we all know, our game has been lacking for a long time now, and something of course that Houllier isn't going to be able to remedy overnight. Heskey's departure hardly helped our cause, and with our lack of options up front anyway, we have to hope that it was more of just a niggle than anything too serious.

I thought that Richard Dunne and Nigel Reo-Coker played well for us, as did Emile until he had to leave the game. There wasn't that much between the teams if you were to remove 'The Flying Dutchman' from the picture, but Tottenham will clearly be extremely delighted that they were able to secure the signing of the player, an individual who looks every inch the talent he undoubtedly is.

Well my friends, I'm sorry that I couldn't provide you with a winning match report as we enter into the international break, but lets not get down on ourselves. It will take time for Houllier to turn things around until we are playing to his preferred style, but there are definite signs of things to come, and by the time Tottenham head to Brummagem B6 for the return encounter, I am sure that we will be more than capable of putting Harry Redknapp's shower to the sword.

Have yourselves a great week, and don`t work too hard. I wont.




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The Journalist

Writer: Glensider Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 3 2010

Time: 8:49AM

Your Comments

Cheers glensider. The only match report I read when we lose which is a great compliment to your writing skills. I enjoy the day out through your eyes!
Thomas Holte
Know I shouldn't really be scouring a Villa site as a long-suffering Spurs fan, Glensider ... but I can at least use the excuse that I now live in the Midlands! Have to say, I enjoyed reading your review, which seemed balanced & fair to both sides. I only base my opinion on reading several reviews from other sources as well. Sounds as though a draw would have been a fairer result by all accounts had it not been for a certain Mr Van de Vaart! Match of the Day's highlights definitely gave that opinion. Also judging by those edited clips, I can fully understand why we were reportedly interested in Ashley Young, who seemed to inspire all the quality incisive work Villa did on the break. Has there been much of a change in Villa's play since Houllier arrived? Good luck for the rest of the season ... that is until the return at Villa Park!
Schotty
Thanks mate. Superbly written again.
Revdpete
very much agree and also think that Dunne did play well, some have slated him for mistakes but without him... and the commentators seemed to agree... we'd have been potentially a few down. Think a draw would have been a fair result but quality tells out and as Schotty says, VdV is class!
The Fear
Yep. VDV made the difference today. We deserved the win, but that's not to say Villa didn't have any chances to claw back the points. But for the love of god, what is Carew missing right now? Why wasn't Delfouneso put on when it became clear Carew was struggling? I'm assuming Delfouneso was available, of course.
DubaiSpur
I'd like to congratulate you on a very fair review, save for the failure to mention that Collins should have walked for bringing down Lennon. I agree that Pavlunchenko should have taken several chances for us, and that we were so much better playing one up and VdV off .... shame it isn't possible to say the same for you after Heskey went off - Carew now seems to be rather past his sell-by date, I'm afraid. Having said all that it was a good game and you will only get better this season, I feel.
tommyharmer
Great report as ever. It's massively disappointing to hear the comments about Carew. As others have said, its clear GH doesn't fancy him much down to the very fact he swapped him for Baros. It would seem Houllier's arrival has sparked Heskey in to life while also sounding the death knell for Big John. I hope I'm wrong and Mr H can weave his magic on Carew but so far it doesn't sound too promising does it? Good to see Albrighton get his first Prem goal. So glad he's a Villan through and through because other clubs will be sniffing around before long. HANDS OFF CITY HE'S OURS!!
Adam Deuce
DubaiSpur, what is Carew missing? legs, it would appear. Great read again Glensider, I don't know how you produce so much detail, you must make excellent notes, which is an achievement in itself seeing as you are also enjoying the day as a fan and the designated driver and DJ, not to mention the obvious research into the history of our opponents, your hard work is much appreciated
ant1ant1
Disagree dubaispur how did you deserve the win? We had as much chances as you did....VDV had moments of magic but without him would it have been different? i think so...You did have him though but even with him the result could of gone either way, someone who knew what they was talking about could of claerly saw that, a draw would of been fair it was end to end stuff...We dominated you at some parts and visa versa, both played well but you had a player that champions league gets you. If you compete for champs league this year then we have got too as you are no better than us.
P.Avfc
i believe that Albrighton would have been a good addition to our side last season. Pleased we have got him now of course. Are we missing out on the Fonz too? Fans views may be mixed about whether he is ready yet - but surely he is 100% ready to be tried given there is no risk - as the available alternatives already consistently fall short of tghe mark. Nothing to lose, and at least then we'd know. Fonz and Barry Bannan along with Mark could grace our team along with our experienced defence and hard tackling new signing Hokey Cokey being the springboard for a skilful fast young Villa team going forward playing football on the deck. This was impossible a few months ago - now I feel it is one of the possible outcomes of the way forward. Fingers crossed.
stennyvilla
I dont think fonz is ready to be honest, i had high hopes for him but when he has been given a shot he hasn't really set the stage alight which albrighton has done and bannan and clark have both shown they can...I would send him out on loan, but we definately need a striker in jan, heskey might have got his form but will he keep it up? can he produce goals every week? Carew atm looks like he is done and gabby is going downhill + under the knife at the moment so we have 1 striker who went off injured at spurs, lets hope it is just a dead leg...If not i would give A.Young a go up top and put ireland behind him...On paper that is terryfying but man city's team looks good on paper doesn't mean they are.
P.Avfc
Mr G, a pleasure as always, when I fail to attend an away match I await the G report with baited breath, knowing I will receive a fair view of the match from the away end. Many thanks.
steff_the_villan
Thanks GS, as usual an entertaining and informative read from a man who has witnessed many more performances by the heroes in claret and blue than I.... not saying you are that much older than I am just perhaps a little more committed to the cause and long may it continue
fatloser
I guess you are the same Glensider who made numerous detrimental comments about Spurs in the pre match debate. You're comments in the second paragraph are somewhat of a contradiction. Maybe its done to appease Spurs supporters to what you really think and that in truth you are also a detractor.
RichmondSpur
There's only one Glensider RichmondSpur. I dont feel the need to appease any rival supporters, and certainly not supporters of THFC. I go to a game, support my team, return home, and put into words what I have witnessed, hoping that my fellow Vital Villans will read and maybe even enjoy my ramblings. I try to portray in words my views as to how we performed in that particular game, and while I am admittedly extremely pro-AVFC, I try to be fair and just in my 'reporting'. I'm not a professional writer, just your average Villan, who like my friends on this site, wants to see the claret and blues progress and succeed. Thanks for taking the time to read my article, I'll put you down as a new fan of my utterings.
glensider
"There's only one Glensider" that's possibly the most self indulgent chant I've ever heard ;)
Phartman87
Great report as always GS. Richmond, perhaps you fail to grasp that we can dislike a team but still be objective in the actual report of a game, perhaps you can learn something here, always happy to educate the lesser mortals :)
Trekker
AHA glensider great response to RichmondSpur lol funny, At the end of the day guys i fell we all know this season is gonna take time to get going for consistancy, just hope we have a cup at the end be nice, stuff the champs league places i want silverware!!!
ClivetheVillan
Good review, fair enough..VdV really was our difference between 1 and 3 points..
1AaronLennon
.....................walking in Glensider wonderland !!!!! Top drawer as ever mate.
Mat777
Was anybody else completely unimpressed with MOTD's coverage of our match. They showed just TWO Villa attacks in the whole segment. Albrighton's goal being the first and Ash's cross that Carew or Albie couldn't turn in. Fair enough they highlighted in the analysis that it was in fact an end to end game and there were times we were getting six men forward but the coverage made it seem like it was all Spurs.
JayVFC
I'd say that, with VDV scoring both of your goals he was the difference between you getting 0 and 3 points. Great review yet again GS, thank you very much.
Charizma
Thanks for all the kind compliments gentlemen (never actually mind the criticisms either). My pleasure, I assure you.
glensider
 

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