June 8 2007
November would be a busy month for Spurs as they competed in the Premiership, Carling Cup and the UEFA Cup. Seven matches would be played in total including the visit to The Lane of Champions Chelsea and tricky away tie in Germany against Bayer Leverkusen,
Tottenham Hotspur: A seasons review 2006/07
Part 4. November.
Thursday 2nd November 2006. Club Bruges (H)
Spurs continue their fine start to the group stage of the UEFA Cup with this fine 3-1 win over the Belgium side Club Brugge. Despite going 0-1 down to a fine Salou Ibrahim goal after 14 minutes Spurs rally and are back on level terms within 3 minutes. A floated free kick into the Bruge penalty area was headed upwards by Chimbonda and Berbatov was there to volley home from 16 yards. Spurs then proceeded to dominate the match and this continued into the second half. The breakthrough came after 63 minutes when Berbatov volleyed a superb pass into the path of Robbie Keane who made no mistake in making the score 2-1. The game was rounded off by Man Of The Match Dimitar Berbatov when he headed home Hossam Ghaly's centre after 73 minutes. Another superb performance in Europe and a good warm up for Jose Mourinho's Chelsea who would be next to visit the Lane.
Spurs performance rating: 8/10
Entertainment rating: 8/10
Sunday 5th November 2006. Chelsea (H)
The hoodoo was broken. On an afternoon of high drama Spurs finally managed to record a league win over their London rivals at White Hart Lane for the first time in 19 years. With both teams playing at an incredible tempo is was the Blues that took the lead. A corner was only cleared to the edge of the Tottenham box and there was Claude Makelele to return the ball with interest into the bottom left hand corner of Spurs' goal with only 15 minutes on the clock. But Spurs did not buckle. In fact their resolve was deepened. Ten minutes later and White Hart Lane erupted as Michael Dawson scored his first goal for the club to level the scores. Berbatov was fouled on the left hand side of Chelsea's box. The resulting free kick was whipped in by Jemaine Jenas. Dawson rose above all else and got the important touch to send the ball into the Chelsea net. The frenetic pace did not slacken into the second half and the goal that most inside White Hart Lane craved came 7 minutes after the restart. Robbie Keane teased and tormented the ineffective Boulahrouz on the left before leaving the full back on his rear. Keane's cross then found the on rushing Lennon at the far post. The diminutive winger took a touch inside his marker and then shot past the despairing lunge of John Terry. The ball whistled into the back of Petr Cech's net and the World as we knew it exploded. Let's just hold that image for a minute, shall we...
Chelsea huffed and puffed to try to get themselves back into the match but Spurs held firm. Terry was sent off for a second book able offence and Robben hit the post with 2 minutes left on the clock but Spurs and their supporters were not to be denied. The final whistle sounded and the fireworks above the West Stand signalled party time. Jose Mourinho and John Terry, ever the graceful losers, tried to blame everyone for the defeat except the real culprits of their downfall. Those culprits were the team in white shirts. Just once fellas it would be nice if you acknowledged that you were outplayed and outfought by the better team on the day. But then again I don't care. We won, you lost, ner ner ner ner ner.
Spurs performance rating: 10/10
Entertainment rating: 8/10
Wednesday 8th November 2006. Port Vale (H)
Spurs just edged past Port Vale in this Carling Cup match. Vale took the lead in the 64th minute through their top goal scorer Leon Constantine. Spurs huffed and puffed and finally blew in Vale's defence with only 10 minutes left on the clock of normal time. Huddlestone whipped in a free kick from 35 yards out on the left and it evaded everyone and went straight in via the Vale right post. Despite many attempts at goal Spurs could not get the winner so the match went into extra time. Once again Huddlestone was to prove the difference with a shot from the edge of the box in the 99th minute which was deflected past the Port Vale keeper and into the back of the net. Defoe rounded the evening off by turning in Phil Ifill's cross two minutes into the second period of extra time. Spurs were through to the next round but they had to work hard to overcome plucky Port Vale. Not one that will linger in the memory.
Spurs performance rating: 5/10
Entertainment rating: 3/10
Sunday 12th November 2006. Reading (A).
Spurs travelled to Reading for their first visit to the Madejski stadium and for the first 24 minutes they dominated proceedings. Tottenham took the lead when a Hossam Ghaly took possession of a fine Robbie Keane pass only for Sonko of Reading to crudely bring the Egyptian down inside the box. Keane stepped up and tucked the penalty away and after that it was all downhill for Spurs. Woeful defending saw Reading go into a 2-1 lead before the break with Shorey and Sidwell scoring. Spurs tried in vain to get back into the game in the second half and the closet they came was when Defoe hit a post. Seconds later and Reading had counter attacked and scored again through Doyle to make it 3-1 with 10 minutes to go. A truly horrendous match which highlighted the defensive problems that would plague Spurs all season long.
Spurs performance Rating: 1/10
Entertainment rating: 3/10
Sunday 19th November 2006. Blackburn Rovers (A)
Spurs travelled to Ewood Park for a ‘Super Sunday' match and just shaded the game despite sharing the points. Spurs well comfortable when in the 23rd minute Tugay scored with a speculative long range effort. Once again Spurs found themselves behind and despite a number of efforts on Brad Friedel's goal we were being denied. The equaliser came just past the hour mark and in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Ghaly found himself inside the Rovers penalty area. As he lifted the bouncing ball over Tugay the Turkish midfielder attempted a tackle that missed. Tugay's trailing leg caught Ghaly's standing leg and the Egyptian went down inside the box. Referee Dowd pointed to the spot and after consulting with his linesman sent the Rovers man off. Defoe dispatched the penalty with aplomb and Spurs were back on level terms. Despite being a man to the good Spurs failed to press home their advantage and with the clock ticking down the last drama of the day was when Ghaly challenged for a high ball and caught a Rover's play with a trailing arm. Ghaly was then dismissed and it looked at the time as if Martin Jol was also sent off. Clarification later from the Referee deemed that this what not the case. A dour game.
Spurs performance rating: 3/10
Entertainment rating: 1/10
Thursday 23rd of November 2006. Bayer Leverkusen (A).
Spurs left their Premiership troubles behind to return to European action. For Dimitar Berbatov is was a quick return to the club he left in the summer to join Spurs. Leverkusen were one of the stronger sides in the group and an away tie in Germany was never going to be easy. Most supporters would have happily taken a draw before the match started but thankfully the team went one better than that and came away with all three points. The key moment of the match happened in the 36th minute. After some nice passing in midfield Robbie Keane released Aaron Lennon on the right. His cross was whipped in low and hard, evading both defenders and goalkeeper, and found Berbatov at the far post unmarked for a simple tap in. Whilst Spurs had the majority of the chances the closet either team came to scoring again was when Schneider crashed a shot against Robinson's post in the closing stages of the second half. The final whistle went and Spurs had won 1-0 and confirmed their place in the knock out stages of the tournament.
Spurs performance rating: 7/10
Entertainment rating: 6/10.
Sunday 26th November 2006. Wigan Athletic (H)
Despite starting the match well Spurs were forced onto the back foot halfway through the first half when Henri Camara scored for Wigan. The goal seemed to spark Spurs into life but they had to wait nearly 20 minutes before drawing level. Berbatov fed the ball into Defoe inside the Latics box and with a twist and a turn Defoe created the space he needed and lashed his shot past the hapless Kirkland in goal. Two minutes later and Spurs took the lead. A fine turn on the edge of the box bamboozled the Wigan defenders allowing Berbatov to place his shot high into the Wigan net for 2-1 on the stroke of half time. Spurs dominated proceedings in the second half but it was not until the 92nd minute of play that Spurs extended their lead. A bright counter attack finished when Aaron Lennon drove home the ball from 10 yards to make it 3-1.
Spurs performance rating: 6/10
A busy November program was then concluded with some fine results at home tempered by some poor performances away in the league. Spurs continued to march on impressively in Europe and another round of the Carling Cup was (just) negotiated successfully.
Next up: December. 9 matches packed into 31 days starting with Tottenham's first ever visit to Arsenal's new stadium, The Emirates.