Game #4712 

Season | 2001-02 |

Matchday | #6 |

League Game | #1 |
Premier League Match-week | #1 |  

Manager Game | #162 |

Saturday, 18 August 2001

Premier League | Away | Tottenham Hotspur | White Hart Lane | 36,059 | 

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Dermot Gallagher | 
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 0-0 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | WLWDD | 

League Position | 14th | - |

Line Up |

GK Peter Schmeichel | 
FB Mark Delaney | 
BOOKED | 48' |
CB Olof Mellberg | DEBUT |
CB Alpay Özalan | 
LB Alan Wright | 
M Hassan Kachloul | 
SUB OFF | 81' |
M George Boateng | BOOKED | 36' |
M Lee Hendrie | 
M Paul Merson | 
F Darius Vassell | 
SUB OFF | 74' |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | SUB OFF | 63' |

Substitutes |

W David Ginola for CF Juan Pablo Ángel | 63’ | 
M Mustapha Hadji for F Darius Vassell | 74’ | 
M Steve Stone for M Hassan Kachloul | 81’ |

Unused Substitutes |

GK Peter Enckelman
M Gareth Barry

Cards | 

 Yellow | George Boateng | 36’ |

 Yellow | Mark Delaney | 48’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 27.67 | 

Oldest Player | GK Peter Schmeichel | 37.78 |

Youngest Player | F Darius Vassell | 21.19 |

 On this day 18 August 2001 

Swedish international centre back Olof Mellberg made his Villa debut aged 23 after joining from Racing Santander earlier this month for a fee of £6,120,000.

Match Report

The Guardian 

Monday Aug 20, 2001

Match report by Martin Thorpe

Ginola ready to weigh in with his side of story

David Ginola is due to hold a press conference some time this week to share his latest thoughts on the relationship between body fat and the scales of justice. 

His agent Chantal Stanley refused to explain what would be said. But it is bound to be more entertaining than this game between a very average Tottenham side and an Aston Villa team who look incapable of ever rising above the ploddingly competent. 

To be fair, it would have taken one hell of a game to upstage the story of Ginola’s threat to sue his manager John Gregory for calling him overweight. Especially with the added spice of the involvement of Cherie Blair in her role as a top employment-law barrister. 

To match that plot Tottenham would probably have had to play like the Double-winning side of the 60s before Villa overhauled a six-goal deficit despite having three players sent off. 

But in his mazy dribble towards the law courts dear old Ginola appears to have overlooked a rather strong defence. By all accounts he gave one of his best Villa performances after Gregory’s presumably calculated jibe and, at the time, Ginola was reported as saying he held nothing against the manager for his comments. 

In assessing how much weight to attach to this wobbly tale, the likes-to-be-loved Ginola will no doubt also be worried that when he came on as a substitute here, he was booed by Villa fans who once adored him.

It was the nostalgia-obsessed supporters of his old club Spurs who applauded, even though their hero’s arrival could have harmed their cause. It did not because Ginola did not play that well. Perhaps he needs to be goaded more often. 

Either way, Gregory was conciliatory afterwards. “Ginola still has a future at the club,” he said. “I don’t want to lose people who can help us win games.” 

The same goes for Villa’s £6m Croatian striker Bosko Balaban, who should learn on Thursday whether he has been granted a work permit. Gregory’s forward crisis was evident here when for a time Ginola and Moustapha Hadji played up front. 

A new midfielder is also on Gregory’s shopping list to add to the purchase of the central defender Olof Mellberg, whose impressive Premiership debut kept Peter Schmeichel largely unemployed. 

As for Tottenham’s new intake, Gus Poyet was behind much of Spurs’ domination of the first half before he tired and Goran Bunjecevic was competent at the back. But Christian Ziege struggled to impose himself. 

Glenn Hoddle confirmed he will make a second offer for the Southampton defender Dean Richards this week as Spurs try to cope with the loss of Sol Campbell. Meanwhile Les Ferdinand joined a long injury list on Saturday. Perhaps this partly explained the sort of unprogressive performance for which George Graham was often criticised. 

The closest Spurs came to scoring was Gary Doherty’s late volley against the bar while Villa’s Hassan Kachloul, making an otherwise disappointing debut, headed against the post in a second half dominated by the visitors. 

That should put them in good heart for tomorrow’s Intertoto Cup return against Basle. A place in the Uefa Cup beckons and to compete at home and abroad Gregory needs a quality squad, Ginola included. 

*Man of the match:* Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa).