Game #4915

Season | 2005-06 |

Matchday | #27 |
League Game | #23 |
Premier League Match-week | #23 |  
Manager Game | #113 |
Saturday, 21 January 2006
Premier League | Away | Tottenham Hotspur | White Hart Lane | 36,243 |  

Game Summary

Manager | David O’Leary | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Graham Poll | 
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 0-0 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | DWWLD | 

League Position | 15th | - |

Line Up |

GK Thomas Sörensen |
LB Aaron Hughes |
RB Mark Delaney |
CB Olof Mellberg |
M Gavin McCann |
M Gareth Barry | 
BOOKED | 82' | 83' | SENT OFF | 83' |
M Steven Davis |
M Lee Hendrie |
W James Milner |
F Milan Baroš | 
SUB OFF | 80' |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | BOOKED | 58' |

Substitutes |

F Luke Moore SUB OFF | 85' | for F Milan Baroš | 80’ | 
FB Jlloyd Samuel for F Luke Moore | 85’ | 

Unused Substitutes |

GK Stuart Taylor
CB Liam Ridgewell
M Craig Gardner

Cards | 

 Yellow | Juan Pablo Ángel | 58’ |

 Yellow | Gareth Barry | 82’ | 83’ |
 Red | Gareth Barry | 83’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.47 | 

Oldest Player | CF Juan Pablo Ángel | 30.27 |

Youngest Player | W James Milner | 20.06 |

Match Report

The Guardian

Monday 23 January 2006

Match report by David Lacey

Great Dane tugs on Tottenham’s lead 

Tottenham are not quite all there. This is not a comment on their sanity, for under Martin Jol Spurs are now sounder in mind and body than they have been for some time, but rather a measure of their playing resources which, while adequate, could do with a little more depth - or, strictly, more attacking height, a lack of which was one of the main reasons why Tottenham could do no more than share a scoreless draw with Aston Villa on Saturday. Another was an outstanding display of goalkeeping by Thomas Sorensen combined with obdurate, disciplined defending by Villa as a whole.

With Arsenal already beaten at Everton Spurs took the field knowing they had an opportunity to open up a gap of six points between themselves, in fourth place, and their North London rivals in fifth. While the draw put them beyond Arsenal’s immediate reach Tottenham’s failure to score was frustrating for their followers, given the amount of possession Jol’s team enjoyed and the shots on target they achieved.

Sorensen notwithstanding Spurs would probably have won had they managed to establish the sort of lofty, muscular presence near goal which had enabled West Ham to come from behind to beat David O’Leary’s side at Villa Park the previous weekend. But the only forward capable of doing this at present was resting up by the Nile, having helped Egypt beat Libya in the African Nations Cup on Friday.

Mido’s rising stock at Tottenham went up a few points more in his absence. Spurs missed his ability to win balls in the air, keep possession under pressure and, not least, the weight of his presence in the goalmouth. The Villa centre-backs, Olof Mellberg and Mark Delaney, were less troubled by the pinpricks of Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe than they had been by the broadswords of West Ham’s Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood a week earlier.

Jol knew what was missing. “Against a defence like Villa’s you need somebody who is strong physically and we played directly in flashes,” the Tottenham manager reflected. The brightest spots were provided by Teemu Tainio, the only Spurs player to provide a frequent threat in the penalty area.

While Sorensen made spectacular stretching saves to keep out shots from Keane, Michael Carrick and Michael Brown, a substitute and a target for Fulham, all came to him from a distance and at the sort of height goalkeepers like.

Tainio’s finishing, on the other hand, carried a greater element of surprise, such as when he caught the Villa goalkeeper off his line on the half-hour, forcing Sorensen to make an arch-backed save, or the moment late on when the Finn’s lunging shot was thwarted by the Dane’s quick reflexes. O’Leary did not set out purely to defend. He had Lee Hendrie and James Milner to give Aston Villa width with Gavin McCann and Steve Davis seeking to support the strikers, Milan Baros and Juan Pablo Angel. Early in the match, with Baros coming deep to gain possession before trying to link up with Angel, Villa’s attack had possibilities.

Before long, however, they found themselves having to defend for long periods with little hope of catching Tottenham on the break.

“When teams come to Spurs these days they know they are in for some hard work,” O’Leary observed, and none worked harder than his centre-backs.

Gareth Barry, too, gave an exceptional performance on the left of Villa’s defence only to be undone in the closing minutes when, fearful of the superior pace of Aaron Lennon, who had replaced the concussed Jermaine Jenas, he fouled the Tottenham winger twice in quick succession and was already walking off as Graham Poll showed him a second yellow card followed by the red.

Spurs’ next three opponents are Fulham, Charlton and Sunderland, from whom they should take enough points to stay in the top four. But until Mido returns, and unless they sign somebody else before the window shuts, they will remain light up front.


*Man of the match* Thomas Sorensen (Aston Villa)