Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. October 16, 2021
Barclays Premier League
Tottenham (5-0-2, 15 points, 2nd) vs. Dover (4-2-1, 14 points, 3rd)
White Hart Lane, London, UK
Betting Odds: Tottenham: 4-5 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Dover: 3-1
Past Meetings: 3W 2D 2L
Tottenham is a club we've had some decent success against, considering their size, with points in five of seven matches. They were VERY disappointing last year, likely suffering from Continental hangover, to finish 12th on the Premier League table, their worst finish in 17 years. They didn't spend much in the offseason but made a couple of key free transfer signings, most notably cultured striker Bas Dost from AS Monaco in France (my first Champions League opponent) - Dost has been a prolific scorer in his long career and has 3 goals already for Spurs in six matches this year. Gareth Bale is still a great player but he's 32 and this looks to be an aging club that hasn't really done enough to bring young blood in. That said, they're off to a great start this year and sit second on the table behind Manchester United. With no continental play ahead, they can solely concentrate on their league matches.
I have a big Champions League match coming up in three days at home against CSKA Moscow so I'll be careful about our players' fitness. Despite having two weeks off, many of my key players have returned from exhausting international matches and I'll be resting a few of those players today in order to make sure they're fully fit for our midweek Moscow match. Neil Cairney and Salim Loucif will both miss their first starts of the season but will be on the bench. Starting in their place will be Shaun Spall, who has been excellent in limited minutes so far and Jozef Kuciak. Giorgos Gesios also played two games for Greece recently and will be on the bench in favour of Shanon Andrea, our leading goal scorer so far. I've had success using a one striker formation against Tottenham but I'm going to go with my flat 4-4-2 Counter mentality, as it's worked well against bigger clubs so far this year.
Dover: 4-4-2 Counter
GK - I. Wilke
D - R. Gaucho, C. Contreras, R. Hamon, J. Kuciak
M - A. Bamba, S. Spall, A. Rocca, G. Bolis
S - S. Andrea, W. Rooney
Bench - S. Loucif, P. Tjiuoro, Mancini, N. Cairney, C. Murray, K. Kalfas, G. Gesios
Tottenham are in a 4-2-3-1 with two DMCs, a formation I've never seen from them before. Looks pretty tight - we've always had lots of goals scored in games between us but they are obviously trying something new under manager Rafa Benitez, who has been with the club for just under a year now. I tell the lads this is a winnable game and pull aside Andrea (I have faith) along with Rocca and Rooney (Pick up where you left off) for personal chats.
4' - We clear a corner but the ball is worked back outside to Gareth Bale. He sends a pass into Bas Dost and his quick shot is saved by Wilke.
7' - OH MY. On a routine looking play, well, as routine as one can look when we're in their area, Arsene Bamba outworks two Tottenham defenders and passes to Andrea, who is MAYBE two yards from the goal line. He has the net at his mercy and shoots RIGHT AT their goalkeeper Matthieu Dreyer. Incredible chance blown!
12' - On a play that looks way offside, Spurs right midfielder David Hollett is fed a long ball and he's in on goal but Wilke makes the tough save.
14' - Bamba with a nice pass up field to Andrea and he gets off a shot that is saved by a sprawling Dreyer.
27' - Dost beats a tackle from Rayane Hamon and storms into the area before shooting just wide. We're fortunate there.
32' - Tottenham seem to be controlling the majority of play here and a ball comes through the area to midfielder James McCarthy but he shoots right at Wilke and the chance goes for naught.
A few corners but no more real chances. Gianluca Bolis gets hurt right at the end of half but can shake it off.
HALFTIME - We're somehow dominating possession, holding 56% so far but are being outshot slightly 11-10 (4-3 on target). Bolis is at around 60% effectiveness so I pull him out at half for Kostas Kalfas. I tell the team I'm pleased and pull aside a few players for personal chats. I kept getting notices from my assistant about Claudio Contreras being "nervous" so I tell him I have faith in him. I also tell an ineffective Wayne Rooney to "Prove a point" and tell on-coming Kalfas to "pick up where you left off".
Tottenham have moved to a flat 4-4-2 to start the second half.
65' - Tottenham are definitely controlling play in the second half but thankfully there have been no dangerous chances. Rooney is playing poorly and is tired so I bring in Giorgos Gesios. Maybe we can find a goal here but I'm going to stick with the counter attack mentality.
89' - Crazy but no chances until a wild back and forth scene where Gesios is chasing a ball down field and the Tottenham keeper was almost at the half way point in the field, retreating furiously back toward his net. Gesios couldn't get to the ball in time and Spurs clear back up field and Dost is all alone on Wilke and he makes a brilliant save. Wild!
90' - Cameron Murray is on for Arsene Bamba. Three minutes of injury time…lets play for the draw.
Dull second half but we'll take the point on the road with a less than full lineup.
Tottenham 0 - 0 Dover
Man of the Match - Rayane Hamon (8.3)
Other Dover Notables - Ingo Wilke (7.2), Jozef Kuciak (7.1), Claudio Contreras (7.2), Renato Gaucho (7.2), Kostas Kalfas (5.9), Wayne Rooney (5.8)
Attendance - 36,310
Tottenham controlled the second half but couldn't break us down - possession was dead even for the game and they outshot us 19-15 (5-3 on target). Rayane Hamon was excellent and named man of the match. Claudio Contreras had a great bounce back half to get a rating over 7.0 and our whole defence played great. Jozef Kuciak always steps up when I need him to, a great thing to have from a depth player. Rooney was non-existent and Kalfas, who came on as a sub at half, is too slow to make a difference out wide by the looks of it. Still, a good point against excellent opposition and even better, we did it with Neil Cairney and Salim Loucif on the bench the entire game.
-- There were some BEATDOWNS in other Premier League play. Chelsea smoke Southampton 6-0 away and United win by the same scoreline at Old Trafford over Blackburn. Sheffield Wednesday continue to play well, beating up on Everton 4-1 and Man City finally get back on the winning track, defeating Reading 2-0 away. Sunderland also win and that pulls them level on points with us but their better goal differential knocks us down to fourth place after eight matches.
Dover U18 Team Update
-- Our U18s beat up on Kingstonian 5-0, with Gregoire Lambert notching a hat trick. Emmerson Harvey and Pete Smith notched single markers.
-- Zoltan Bardi is back to light training and almost set to return to full training after missing close to three months with a torn hamstring. It will likely take him quite some time to regain match fitness but it will be great to have him back. I can do more things tactically with him available, as he's equally adept at playing striker or an attacking midfield spot just behind the striker. We're struggling for goals this year somewhat and his return will help. We also get word that U18 striker Gregoire Lambert will miss three weeks due to an injury picked up in training.
-- We have a big Champions League tilt at home versus winless CSKA Moscow.
Last edited by NoSkillz : 02-02-2014 at 10:31 PM.