|PRE SEASON 00-01|
Tottenham Hotspur began their pre-season Friendlies in Sweden while introducing new signings Neil Sullivan, Ben Thatcher and Sergei Rebrov. George Graham began the Friendlies against AIK Skelleftea who were comprehensively beaten by Leeds United 15-3 last season at the same stage, but the result for Spurs was to be a little less emphatic. A double strike from Steffen Iversen and a goal each for Ferdinand and Armstrong sealed a comfortable 4-0 victory over the Swedish part timers. It was Chris Armstrong who opened the scoring with a close range header powerfully beating the keeper. Substitute Steffen Iversen doubled then tripled our lead within the space of 5 minutes, first heading in debutants Ben Thatcher's left wing cross then touching home after Matthew Etherington saw his shot hit the bar. Les Ferdinand rounded of the scoring in the final minute with a another close range effort! It was an easy start for the Spurs players who were finding their feet again after Euro2000!
Their next encounter was against Finnish side Tervarit. This was the team that Sergei Rebrov got off the mark for Tottenham scoring along with Les Ferdinand, Chris Armstrong and Steffen Iversen. Neil Sullivan also had started for the first time in this game and also pulled off a few smart saves, but was later replaced with Ian Walker. Despite all the hype of Rebrov, it was Ferdinand who opened the scoring. A low cross from Chris Armstrong allowed Ferdinand to slide in and touch t home. Armstrong then grabbed Spurs' 2nd heading home from Luke Young. Rebrov finally got off the mark with a crisp strike beyond their keeper after good work form Stephen Carr. Iversen rounded the game off with a last minute header.
Tottenham's final game in Sweden was against Bodens BK. it was a comfortable victory for Spurs as they won by 6 goals to naught! Steffen Iversen continued his impressive goal scoring run with a brace along with Chris Armstrong while Sergei Rebrov and Tim Sherwood completed the goal scoring trend! At the end of the Scandinavian tour, Spurs showed a bit of constancy in their performances. 14 goals scored and 0 conceded is always an impressive feat, but George Graham expressed the importance of the tour. "it's ideal to get them away for at least a week. it's nice to get them away and get them focused, the holiday period is finished and let's get the preparation and the right mentality for the season again, get them thinking along those lines...When you are living together, that is the best place to get ideas of what our targets are for the season."
Spurs returned to England to face Birmingham City in what was to be a much tougher game then expected, but Spurs continued to shine and a glorious piece of link up between Sergei Rebrov and Steffen Iversen combinated in Iversen scoring a stunning curling shot with the outside of his right boot and giving Tottenham the lead. Tottenham managed to hold on to the victory despite Birmingham being more open in the second half, but the lead could and would have been doubled if Sergei Rebrov's superb right footed strike hadn't been brilliantly tipped of by brummy keeper Ian Bennet. But the final score of Tottenham read Spurs 1, Birmingham 0, but today was also the final score on David Ginola. the Frenchman was too sign 24 hours later for Birmingham rivals Aston Villa for £3million. Also leaving Spurs before the Fulham game was Allan Nielsen and Espen Baardsen. Both signed for Watford for undisclosed fees!
Spurs continued their run of clean sheets with a dull 0-0 draw at The Cravern Cottage, home of Fulham FC in Simon Morgan's testimonial! That night was an off night for all the players as they all really did not put in a match winning performance. The only noticeable moment of the night was the substitution of Tim Sherwood! He was ordered of the field of play by the referee and was told that he must be substituted. but other then that, only a string of fine saves from Neil Sullivan were all that we had to sing about. A match to forget I think.
Spurs cruised to a two goal victory over QPR in their next friendly at Loftus Road. A goal each from Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood secured the game in which QPR rarely troubled Spurs. Spurs had at least 60% of the possession and played 10 times better then that of their previous match against Fulham. The team was well organized in midfield and in defence and Rangers only threat came from the impressive Jermaine Darlington. The match saw Simon Davies come on in the second half and give a very impressive performance. It reminded me of one Roy Keane! Ramon Vega was good as well coming back from injury. i couldn't really see a fault in this performance but it's nothing to get carried away with. Both teams never really took off however Spurs were the dominate team! les Ferdinand's opener came from another well carved out attack and he finished sweetly with his left foot. Tim Sherwood's 2nd goal in ore season was a rather more scrappy then polished. It was his last touch that found the ball in the back of the net.
Tottenham continued an impressive run of performances but conceded their only goal against Peterborough United in what was a comfortable 2-1 victory. This game gave us a few points of notice in the build up to the new season. Firstly, Sergei Rebrov got off the mark in England with a cute finish in the near post to give Spurs the lead and then Tim Sherwood finished a superb move with an exquisite lob to give Spurs a two goal advantage, and just as it seemed another clean sheet was on it's way, un happy keeper Ian Walker all but given the number position to Neil Sullivan with a blunder by conceding the only pre season goal against us.
Spurs finished their Pre Season on a high with Steffen Iversen netting his seventh pre season goal! Last Season, Iversen hit 10 Pre season goals and now Steffen has 7 in what has been a challenging, but comfortable Pre Season. Spurs were under pressure in the first half with Spurs losing out in midfield and Arnham were the more dangerous side! But in the second half, George graham got the tactics perfect once again and Spurs ran out 2-0 winners. Iversen, on as a half time sub for Les Ferdinand who put in an admirable performance, scored for Spurs when Clemance won possession back deep in their half, his ball found it's way to Anderton who whipped in a vicious cross and ended at Iversen side and really, from there he couldn't miss. Then with just over 15 mins left, Darren Anderton scored. Rebrov's header was filed to have been cleared and there was Anderton to tuck it home with a controlled left footed strike for two nil. Neil Sullivan was in a mood not to be passed and made a few very good saves. Sergei Rebrov, looking very creative, almost got Spurs' third with a powerful header which at first glance was in! But it went wide somehow and the score remained two, nothing until the final whistle!
Full Time facts!
Top Scorer: Steffen Iversen, 7
Clean Sheets: 6
Amount of goals scored: 21
Amount of goals conceded: 1
Red Cards: 0
Biggest Victory: Bodens (6-0)
Biggest Defeat: None
To read a more Match Reports into all our English based Pre Season friendlies, the go to "in a nutshell"!