Tag Archives: Tottenham Hotspur

Shock Results: West Ham United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur (May 2017)

Goalscorers: Manuel Lanzini 65

Teams:

West Ham United: Adrian, Sam Byram, James Collins, Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Andre Ayew (Robert Snodgrass 84), Manuel Lanzini (Edimilson Fernandes 90), Jonathan Calleri (Ashley Fletcher 89)

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen (Mousa Dembele 67), Ben Davies, Kyle Walker (Kieran Trippier 80), Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama (Vincent Janssen 73), Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son

Referee: Anthony Taylor, Attendance: 56,992

Unbeaten in the Premier League since losing at Anfield in mid-February, Tottenham Hotspur had put up a valiant fight in the chase for the title for a second successive season. They were four points adrift of Chelsea with four games left to play. They had the opportunity to pile the pressure on Antonio Conte’s side with victory on a Friday Night Football trip to The London Stadium.

West Ham United’s debut season at their new home had been underwhelming to say the least. They had lost to all of the Premier League heavyweights on their own patch but they often seemed to bring their ‘A’ game to a meeting with Spurs. They needed to produce a performance for the supporters who had experienced a frustrating campaign.

West Ham were unbeaten in four matches coming into this encounter but still needed another point to be certain of another season in the top-flight. They created the first major opening of the contest but Manuel Lanzini dragged his effort wide of the post. Tottenham’s first chance came on 20 minutes. Harry Kane’s ambitious effort was spilled by Adrian. Dele Alli followed up but his shot was blocked before Adrian recovered and made a good save with his foot to deny Kane. Christian Eriksen tried his luck from distance right on the stroke of half-time but his left-footed drive whistled wide of the far post. It was 0-0 at half-time and already, this looked like a contest where only one goal might be enough.

It duly came in the 65th minute. Aaron Cresswell hung a cross upto the back post and in a fairly messy goalmouth scramble, the ball eventually fell to the dangerous Lanzini at point-blank range. The Argentine made no mistake, drilling his shot beyond Hugo Lloris and it put West Ham into the lead with virtually their first attack of the second half.

It was the home side that were finishing as the better team. A mistake by the usually reliable Toby Alderweireld gave on-loan forward Jonathan Calleri the chance to finish the contest off but he was denied by Lloris. In stoppage-time, the Hammers had another opportunity which was put wide by substitute Ashley Fletcher when he was played through by Robert Snodgrass.

Tottenham had been rattled by the occasion and when Anthony Taylor blew his whistle to signal the end of the contest, the body language of the players said it all. It was only their fourth league defeat of the campaign but one loss too many.

Chelsea now only had to win their next two matches to seal the title. A week later, the Blues had recorded those victories over Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion to regain the crown they’d meekly surrendered in 2016 to Leicester City. For West Ham, this was the highlight of their campaign which eventually saw them finish in 11th position.

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Premier League Files: Oyvind Leonhardsen

Premier League Career: Wimbledon (1994-1997), Liverpool FC (1997-1999), Tottenham Hotspur (1999-2002), Aston Villa (2002-2003)

Oyvind Leonhardsen played for four different Premier League clubs across a nine-year period. His most productive spell was at his first English top-flight club, sparkling as a creative asset in a Wimbledon side that wasn’t always the most attractive, but quite effective in the mid-1990s.

Leonhardsen started his career in his native Norway, playing for top domestic clubs Molde FK and Rosenborg. He was voted Player’s Player of the Year in Norway for 1994 and for several seasons, was considered as the top midfielder in the division. He won 86 caps for his country, winning cult hero status and playing in two World Cup final tournaments.

Joe Kinnear brought him to the Premier League in time for the 1994-1995 season and he impressed constantly on the left-wing for Wimbledon. Across three campaigns, he scored 13 times. Towards the end of his final season in south-east London, Leonhardsen informed the Dons hierarchy that he wouldn’t be extending his contract which was due to expire in 1998. Rather than lose a talented player for nothing, Wimbledon cashed in on his services and he joined Liverpool FC in May 1997 for £3.5 million.

He was initially a regular in Roy Evans’ starting line-up but he never quite found his best form at Anfield. Sometimes, the expectation to deliver seemed to weigh too much on his shoulders. He netted seven times in 37 league games before switching to Tottenham Hotspur in 1999.

Leonhardsen was a victim of George Graham’s sacking in 2001. He got frozen out of Glenn Hoddle’s first-team plans and went on-trial to Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04 despite having another year to run on his deal at White Hart Lane. Schalke didn’t offer him a permanent deal but like fellow compatriot Ronny Johnsen, Graham Taylor did at Aston Villa. Tottenham allowed him to leave on a free transfer in August 2002 and he moved to the Midlands in a bit to kick-start his career again.

He spent just one campaign at Villa Park before returning to Scandinavia, finishing his playing days in 2007 with Strømsgodset aged 37. Leonhardsen is now working as a youth coach at his former club, Lyn Fotball.

In total, Oyvind scored 30 Premier League goals in his career and impressively, never finished on the losing side whenever he found the back of the net. That is an impressive feat considering the clubs he played for during his Premier League spell weren’t world-beaters.

Premier League Files: Christian Ziege

Premier League Career: Middlesbrough (1999-2000), Liverpool FC (2000-2001), Tottenham Hotspur (2001-2004)

German international Christian Ziege enjoyed a glorious career, winning plenty of honours at a young age and only a freakish injury whilst at Tottenham Hotspur cut short a pretty impressive spell in the Premier League.

A left wing-back by trade, Ziege started his playing career with the mighty Bayern Munich. He made his Bundesliga debut in 1990 as an 18-year-old and spent the next seven years winning three trophies with the Bavarians. These were two Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Cup in 1996. Ziege showed his instincts in attack too, achieving double figures for goals in two campaigns with his 12 goals in 29 matches from the 1994-1995 season being his best individual season, actually ending as Bayern’s top scorer.

Capped by Germany for the first time in 1993, he missed out narrowly on the 1994 World Cup squad but was a prominent part of their success in the 1996 European Championships in England. Ziege scored in Germany’s opening group win over the Czech Republic and was one of the six successful Germans to score in the semi-final shootout success against the hosts at Wembley Stadium.

Ziege was a man in-demand by the summer of 1997. He received offers from Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Newcastle United but with Serie A still experiencing a boom of getting many top players, Ziege elected to move to AC Milan. He spent two seasons at The San Siro but faced stiff competition from Milan legend Paolo Maldini in his preferred position. Ziege did win the Serie A championship in 1999 but struggled to settle in the fashionable Italian city and chose to leave for the Premier League that summer.

His first port of call was Middlesbrough. He impressed hugely in his only season on Teeside, scoring six goals in 29 appearances and winning a recall to the German international setup for their doomed EURO 2000 title defence. After returning from their group stage exit, Liverpool FC made a £5.5 million bid to acquire Ziege’s services. This matched a clause in his contract which meant he had to talk to the Merseysiders. Middlesbrough insisted they’d received offers in the region of £8 million for the player but Christian would ultimately move to Anfield. The FA later found Liverpool guilty of making an illegal approach and in March 2002, fined the club £20,000 and the player £10,000.

Liverpool had an amazing 2000-2001 season, winning three cup competitions and earning UEFA Champions League football. However, the improving form of Jamie Carragher meant Ziege was not a guaranteed starter and he admitted in a FourFourTwo interview that for playing purposes, his move to Liverpool had been a mistake. He said: “Unfortunately I had some problems, problems with the manager [Gerard Houllier] and I still don’t know what his problem was with me. He never talked to me. I realised it was a bad move because I really enjoyed my time playing for Boro.”

Ziege played in the League Cup final victory over Birmingham City, scoring in the shootout but didn’t even make the bench for their sensational 5-4 UEFA Cup final success against Alaves in Dortmund. With a World Cup finals looming in Asia, he needed to leave to retain his national team appeal. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2001 and rediscovered his form from his Middlesbrough days. Ziege scored five times in the Premier League, including a diving header against Manchester United. He linked up well with the likes of Gus Poyet, Simon Davies and Teddy Sheringham as Tottenham reached the League Cup final. Ziege scored in the showpiece but this time, it was a losing cause as Glenn Hoddle’s side lost 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers. His form was enough for him to feature prominently at the 2002 World Cup, reaching the final as Germany lost 2-0 to a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil in Yokohama.

Throughout the years, he developed a reputation as a fearsome direct set-piece taker. This was demonstrated in the North London Derby of December 2002 at White Hart Lane. Less than two weeks later, his career was nearly cut short after two dramatic matches in a few days.

First, despite setting up two goals in Tottenham’s 3-2 victory over Manchester City, he was sent off for two bookable offences in the closing stages. On Boxing Day, he suffered a similar fate in the 2-2 home draw with Charlton Athletic. However, it was the aftermath that left more than his footballing life in the balance.

In the FourFourTwo interview, he revealed: “I was close to dying. I was playing for Tottenham against Charlton and I got a knock on my thigh. It wasn’t a big kick but my leg swelled up really badly after the match. I was in massive, massive pain. They operated on me, and I can’t remember too much about the next few days because they put me on a lot of medication to help relieve the pain. They told me if we’d left it another 30 or 45 minutes, they would have had to cut off the leg as otherwise I would have died.”

Ziege left Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2004 and returned to Germany to finish his career with Borussia Mönchengladbach. A persistent ankle injury restricted him to 13 appearances only and in October 2005, he announced his retirement.

Christian has gone into coaching since. He has had spells as manager of DSC Arminia Bielefeld and SpVgg Unterhaching, worked as a coach with the German international junior sides and moved to coach in Thailand in December 2017. However, he departed by mutual consent after just two games.

Great Goals: Cesc Fabregas – ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur (October 2009)

At the peak of his powers, Cesc Fabregas was one of the best midfielders in the world. Although he has gone on to achieve Premier League titles with Chelsea, it was his goalscoring prowess with Arsenal which made him such a wonderful player.

On North London Derby day in October 2009, Fabregas produced one of the finest solo goals in Premier League history. Arsenal had just gone 1-0 ahead in the 41st minute through a Robin van Persie goal from close-range. Directly from kick-off, Tottenham squandered possession and Fabregas punished them ruthlessly.

The Spaniard evaded three challenges and as Vedran Corluka started to close him down, he finished smartly into the bottom corner of the net. The defending might have been suspect from Spurs but Fabregas’ quality for this goal simply couldn’t be overlooked.

Arsenal won the game 3-0 but Tottenham would get their revenge with arguably, an even better strike in April 2010 from a Premier League debutant.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur (May 1999)

Goalscorers: Les Ferdinand 24, David Beckham 42, Andy Cole 47

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, Ronny Johnsen, David May, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes (Nicky Butt 69), David Beckham, Ryan Giggs (Phil Neville 79), Teddy Sheringham (Andy Cole 45), Dwight Yorke

Tottenham Hotspur: Ian Walker, Stephen Carr, Justin Edinburgh, Sol Campbell, John Scales (Luke Young 70), Steffen Freund, Tim Sherwood, Darren Anderton, David Ginola (Jose Dominguez 9), (Andy Sinton 76) Steffen Iversen, Les Ferdinand

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 55,189

On the final day of the 1998-1999 season, Manchester United needed to win to secure the championship. They started the day one point clear of reigning champions Arsenal and faced the Gunners bitter rivals in Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. Tottenham had only won once in their last 17 league meetings against Manchester United and the Red Devils were unbeaten in 30 matches in all competitions since losing at home to Middlesbrough before Christmas. Many before kick-off thought victory would be a forgone conclusion but it turned into a nervy afternoon for the home faithful.

Alex Ferguson’s first big decision came before kick-off as he elected to start with Teddy Sheringham ahead of Andy Cole. Immediately from the outset, the home side seeked to take control and nearly took the lead in fluky circumstances. Ian Walker’s attempted clearance was charged down by Dwight Yorke and the ball spun onto the post, back into Walker’s grasp.

Spurs suffered another blow when the Player of the Year, David Ginola disappeared from the contest after just nine minutes because of injury. The visitors hadn’t showed any attacking instincts in the opening 20 minutes. So, it was a big surprise when they took the lead. From Walker’s goal-kick, Steffen Iversen flicked a header on and Les Ferdinand beat Ronny Johnsen to the loose ball. Ferdinand’s effort managed to beat a scrambling Peter Schmeichel in his farewell Old Trafford appearance before he moved to Sporting Lisbon on a free transfer.

The Manchester United fans had a sense it might not be their day. Walker made two great saves to deny Paul Scholes in quick succession. Seconds later, David Beckham put a header over the crossbar from point-blank range. His frustration was clear. He knew he should have scored. Persistence was the key to this performance and three minutes before half-time, the league leaders finally managed to find a way through Walker and Tottenham’s defences.

Scholes tackled Tim Sherwood who felt he had been fouled. Referee Graham Poll disagreed and Scholes continued his run, picking out Beckham. This time, the England international made no mistake with his finish, launching his strike into the top corner for his ninth goal of the season. As things stood, Ferguson’s Red Devils would regain the Premier League title from Arsenal who were drawing 0-0 at the same time with Aston Villa.

At half-time, Cole was introduced for Sheringham and two minutes into the second half, the substitution had the inspired impact. Gary Neville found Cole with an incisive ball. Staying onside, the forward’s control was devastating and he lobbed the ball over the advancing Walker. It felt like redemption for him after missing all the guilt-edge opportunities on the final day in 1995 at Upton Park when Manchester United lost the title to Blackburn Rovers.

Tottenham had given it a good go and Arsenal got their goal to beat Villa but it was all in vain. For the fifth time in seven seasons, Manchester United were Premier League champions and the first part of the historic ‘Treble’ was signed, sealed and delivered.

Shock Results: Newcastle United 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur (May 2016)

Goalscorers: Georginio Wijnaldum 19, 73 PEN, Aleksandar Mitrovic 39, Erik Lamela 60, Rolando Aarons 84, Daryl Janmaat 86

Teams:

Newcastle United: Karl Darlow, Paul Dummett, Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Steven Taylor, Jack Colback, Cheick Tiote (Jonjo Shelvey 62), Moussa Sissoko (Jamie Sterry 84), Andros Townsend, Georginio Wijnaldum (Rolando Aarons 76), Aleksandar Mitrovic (SENT OFF)

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker (Nacer Chadli 71), Eric Dier, Ryan Mason (Tom Carroll 45), Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son (Josh Onomah 45)

Referee: Anthony Taylor, Attendance: 52,183

There was meant to be a sense of gloom around St James’ Park on the final day of the 2015-2016 season. Midweek results meant Newcastle United had already been relegated before this fixture against Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham had enjoyed their best-ever Premier League season and could secure the runners-up spot with a positive result on Tyneside. In the end, this turned into one of the most surprising scorelines of recent times.

Despite their impending demise from the top-flight, Newcastle were unbeaten in five matches and the fans showed their support towards Rafa Benitez, who was in-charge but mulling over whether he wanted to stay and be the man to guide them in the Championship. His side made a good start and after 19 minutes, took the lead. Aleksandar Mitrovic assisted Georginio Wijnaldum who scored his first goal in 16 Premier League matches. Tottenham simply didn’t look up for the fight. Golden Boot winner Harry Kane was left chasing shadows all afternoon.

Mitrovic was putting in an all-action display. The Serbian, who had scored in the win at White Hart Lane in December 2015, doubled Newcastle’s lead six minutes before half-time. In doing so, he scored the 1000th goal of the 2015-2016 Premier League campaign. Not even Sunderland fans paying for a plane to fly over the ground during the match, saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen Prem Tyne to Go’ could dampen the spirits of the home supporters.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men did flicker into life early in the second half and Erik Lamela managed to reduce the deficit, finding the back of the net on the hour mark through Karl Darlow’s defences at his near post. Moments later, Newcastle were down to 10 men. Mitrovic was shown his second red card of the season for a dangerous lunge on Spurs full-back, Kyle Walker.

That should have prompted a proper fightback from the visitors. Instead, they folded in alarming fashion. Moussa Sissoko drove the hosts forward from midfield. The Frenchman was upended in the penalty box by Jan Vertonghen after 73 minutes. Wijnaldum coolly dispatched the penalty to take his league tally for the season to 11 goals – all coming on home soil. Tottenham heads completely dropped after conceding this goal and the gloss on the scoreline was added by late efforts from substitute Rolando Aarons and right-back Daryl Janmaat as Newcastle said farewell to the Premier League for at least a season in fitting fashion.

Defeat here for Pochettino’s side, coupled with an Arsenal win over Aston Villa meant the Gunners finished above Tottenham for the 21st successive Premier League season. Benitez signed a three-year contract to stay on at Newcastle in the summer of 2016 and would guide them back to the Premier League for the 2017-2018 season.

Premier League Rewind: 8th-10th April 2017

Results: Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Watford, Manchester City 3-1 Hull City, Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley, Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool FC, West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Southampton, West Ham United 1-0 Swansea City, AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea, Sunderland 0-3 Manchester United, Everton 4-2 Leicester City, Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal

The 2016-2017 Premier League season had been dominated by Chelsea for the majority of the campaign. Antonio Conte’s side came into this round of games still seven points clear of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, despite a recent slip-up at home to Crystal Palace.

The Blues knew that Tottenham would continue to crank up the pressure and for a while, Mauricio Pochettino’s side could close to within four points of the table-toppers as they kicked-off on 8th April earlier than Chelsea. They comfortably dismissed Watford 4-0 at White Hart Lane, despite missing the injured Harry Kane. Dele Alli scored the pick of the goals and Heung-Min Son continued to show his growing importance with two goals.

That was Spurs’ sixth successive victory but once again, Chelsea found a response. They dispatched AFC Bournemouth 3-1 at The Vitality Stadium in the teatime kick-off to go seven points clear again with just seven games left to play. Marcos Alonso’s sublime free-kick put the game beyond the home side.

Despite having played more games than both Manchester clubs, Liverpool FC had the points on the board and consolidated third spot with a hard-fought 2-1 success away at Stoke City. Jon Walters had put the home side into the lead with his customary goal against Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp needed two superb saves from Simon Mignolet to keep his side in the contest. Then, quick-fire strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino turned the game completely around. Since losing to Leicester in late February, Liverpool were now unbeaten in six games, winning four of these matches.

Both Manchester clubs recorded expected victories. Manchester City beat Hull City 3-1, who were relying solely on their home form to try and keep them in the Premier League. A day later, Manchester United cruised past a sorry Sunderland side 3-0 at The Stadium of Light. We didn’t know it at the time but this would turn out to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s final-ever Premier League goal. The Swede picked up a serious knee injury in a UEFA Europa tie against Anderlecht less than two weeks later and wouldn’t score again at this level before moving to the LA Galaxy in April 2018.

Sunderland were looking doomed but Crystal Palace were going in the right direction. Sam Allardyce’s side had now won four of their last five games and were six points clear of the bottom three after a fabulous and well-deserved 3-0 victory over a lifeless Arsenal. The Gunners put in one of their most insipid displays of recent times, leading to Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher calling them “cowards.” Their top-four chances were hanging by a thread.

Elsewhere, Craig Shakespeare tasted defeat for the first time as Leicester City interim boss. The reigning champions lost 4-2 in an exciting clash at Everton, who had drawn level on points with Arsenal, despite having played two games more.

Swansea’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham United at The London Stadium saw them remain in the bottom three and without a win in five matches. That win ended a four-game losing run that the Hammers had endured and effectively guaranteed Premier League football in their new home for another season. It was also looking bleak for Middlesbrough who drew 0-0 with Burnley and were still without a win for caretaker boss Steve Agnew, who had succeeded Aitor Karanka a month earlier. Boro were now six points adrift of safety and had scored just 22 goals in 31 matches.

What else happened in April 2017?

  • Prime Minister Theresa May catches everyone by surprise and calls a snap general election for Thursday 8th June.
  • A hijacked lorry is deliberately driven into crowds in Stockholm. Five people are killed, including one British national.
  • In boxing, Anthony Joshua beats Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium to become WBA World Heavyweight Champion.
  • Former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough centre-back Ugo Ehiogu suffers a cardiac arrest at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground. He dies a day later, aged just 44.
  • According to the National Grid, Britain goes a full day without using coal power (21st April) to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.
  • TV actor and author Tim Piggott-Smith, who won a BAFTA for Best Actor in 1985, dies aged 70 in Northamptonshire from natural causes.
  • John Middleton makes his final appearance on the ITV soap opera Emmerdale after 21 years. His character Ashley Thomas dies after being diagnosed with incurable pneumonia.

Iconic Moments: Farewell White Hart Lane (May 2017)

Tottenham Hotspur supporters bid an emotional farewell to the ground they’d called home for 118 years. In total, White Hart Lane had hosted 2,533 competitive Spurs matches and also staged England international matches on occasion. They had collected a host of fantastic memories.

The final day saw Manchester United visit and Tottenham win 2-1 with goals from Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane. Although Wayne Rooney scored the final goal at the ground for the Red Devils, this result secured Spurs’ best-ever result in the league table since 1963. They also went through their final season at their traditional home unbeaten; winning 17 of their 19 Premier League matches.

Afterwards, some of Tottenham’s most iconic players from down the years were part of a farewell ceremony that took place. Demolition work on the stadium began the following day and by August 2017, the last visual part of White Hart Lane had been removed.

Tottenham have played their home games at Wembley Stadium in 2017-2018. Construction work is in progress for Tottenham to move to a new stadium with an estimated capacity of 61,000 for next season with the new stadium being built on the current site instead of moving elsewhere.

Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal (April 2004)

Goalscorers: Patrick Vieira 3, Robert Pires 35, Jamie Redknapp 63, Robbie Keane 90 PEN

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Kasey Keller, Anthony Gardner, Stephen Kelly (Gus Poyet 79), Ledley King, Mauricio Taricco (Goran Bunjevcevic 90), Johnnie Jackson (Jermain Defoe 45), Michael Brown, Jamie Redknapp, Simon Davies, Freddie Kanoute, Robbie Keane

Arsenal: Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Lauren, Kolo Toure, Gilberto, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour (Edu 67), Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp (Jose Antonio Reyes 80), Thierry Henry

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 36,097

The 134th North London Derby was always going to be a passionate and feisty encounter and for Arsenal, this was the opportunity to wrap up the 2003-2004 Premier League title. Still unbeaten and with just five Premier League games to go, they were closing in on becoming ‘The Invincibles.’

Chelsea’s defeat in an earlier kick-off to Newcastle United meant Arsenal only needed a point to secure their third Premier League title and unbeaten in their last eight North London Derbies, they made a searing start, taking the lead against Tottenham inside of three minutes. From a Spurs corner which was poorly taken by Johnnie Jackson, Arsenal launched another devastating counter-attack, led by top goalscorer Thierry Henry. Henry picked out Dennis Bergkamp, who squared the ball across the face of goal for skipper Patrick Vieira to slide into the back of the net.

Tottenham were not certain of avoiding relegation just yet and they simply couldn’t live with a masterclass from their opponents. 10 minutes before half-time, Vieira set-up Robert Pires who scored for the third successive season at White Hart Lane. Apart from a Mauricio Taricco effort, David Pleat’s side threatened very little in the first half and he needed to change things tactically in the second half.

Jackson was sacrificed at half-time and Jermain Defoe was brought on and he had a big contribution in Tottenham pulling a goal back. He took on Kolo Toure in the 63rd minute, before finding Michael Brown. Brown shifted the ball across the park to Jamie Redknapp and the skipper produced a fantastic effort that spun into the bottom corner beyond Jens Lehmann. It was an enjoyable moment for a player who had been dogged by injuries throughout his career.

Arsenal had chances to wrap the game up. Pires smashed the crossbar after Anthony Gardner had carelessly conceded possession. As stoppage-time got underway, Lehmann got involved in an unnecessary confrontation with Robbie Keane from a Brown corner which had struck the crossbar. Referee Mark Halsey needed some guidance from his two assistants and they judged Lehmann had fouled Keane.

The penalty was given and Keane made no mistake to ensure Tottenham did claim a point which virtually guaranteed their Premier League survival. However, it didn’t stop the Arsenal celebrations at the full-time whistle from the supporters and the players. Their 13th league championship was definitely the sweetest. Wenger’s men survived the final four matches to become the first team since 1888 to go through a top-flight season without losing and securing their place in immortal history.

Premier League Files: Pascal Chimbonda

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Tottenham Hotspur (2006-2008, 2009), Sunderland (2008-2009), Blackburn Rovers (2009-2010)

Frenchman Pascal Chimbonda played for four Premier League clubs across five years, turning out most recently in the top-flight for Blackburn Rovers. Unquestionably, his best season was his maiden campaign where he was one of the stars at Wigan Athletic during their debut Premier League adventure.

Chimbonda began his professional career with Le Havre in 1998 spending five years with them before joining Bastia in 2003. Following the latter’s relegation from the French top-flight in 2005, Chimbonda turned down the chance to go to Marseille and signed for Wigan Athletic on a three-year contract. The Latics paid just £500,000 for his services and he would become one of the bargains of the 2005-2006 season.

He featured in 37 of the club’s 38 matches as Wigan finished 10th in the table. He scored twice, including a dramatic late header to beat Fulham in October 2005. Chimbonda’s excellent performances saw him voted into the PFA Team of the Year in the right-back position, beating off competition from title-winning Paulo Ferreira of Chelsea and Manchester United’s Gary Neville. However, he left Wigan in fairly distasteful circumstances.

Feeling he could progress and the club couldn’t, he handed in a transfer request on the final day of the season after Wigan’s 4-2 loss at Highbury to Arsenal. The hierarchy at the JJB Stadium were furious, considering he had signed a new contract only a few months earlier. Wigan set a high asking price and after a summer of lengthy negotiations and several bids rejected from Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, Chimbonda eventually moved to Spurs on the August transfer deadline day.

He started well enough for Tottenham under Martin Jol, starring in their first-ever Premier League triumph over Chelsea in November 2006 despite playing the majority of the game with a knee ligament injury. His first goal for the north Londoners came against Fulham to salvage a 1-1 draw in January 2007. He won the League Cup in 2008 but missed the crucial spot-kick which saw Spurs knocked out of European competition by PSV Eindhoven.

In the summer of 2008, he moved to Sunderland along with his Tottenham colleagues at the time, Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio. He featured just 13 times in the Premier League for Sunderland and a return ticket to Tottenham came in January 2009 as Harry Redknapp looked to reshape his squad. However, he only figured three times in the league for Redknapp and was moved on that summer to Blackburn Rovers.

His only Blackburn goal came in October 2009 and meant he went down well with supporters. It came in a Lancashire Derby victory over Burnley. He was the regular right-back in 2009-2010 for Sam Allardyce, playing 24 games. He lost his place though for the following season to the experienced Michel Salgado and his final game for the club was part of a 7-1 hiding at the hands of Manchester United in November 2010. Blackburn agreed to terminate his contract two months later.

Since then, Chimbonda has played in the lower leagues for Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster Rovers, Carlisle United and AC Arles-Avignon. Currently, he is turning out for Washington FC who are playing in the Northern League Division One. Chimbonda signed for them in October 2017.

Premier League Files: Hamilton Ricard

Premier League Career: Middlesbrough (1998-2002)

Hamilton Ricard has become one of football’s globetrotters. His career has taken him across the world and he has played football in no fewer than nine different countries, including spells in Bulgaria, Japan, Ecuador, Cyprus and China.

Ricard first came to be noted for some impressive displays in the Colombian international setup, notably in the 1997 Copa America. He was the top scorer in the Colombia main club league in the same year with 36 goals. In March 1998, Middlesbrough manager Bryan Robson took a chance on him, signing him for £2 million. Ricard initially struggled to adapt to the physicality of English football and it took a while for fans to warm to him on Teeside.

However, he won them over with some impressive individual displays on Boro’s return to the Premier League in the 1998-1999 campaign. Ricard was the club’s top scorer with 15 goals. Highlights included an impressive brace in a 3-0 away win at Tottenham Hotspur in September 1998 and scoring inside 30 seconds of a 3-1 victory over Wimbledon in April 1999. That would remain the quickest goal scored by a Middlesbrough player at The Riverside Stadium for the next 11 years.

He amassed double figures again in the 1999-2000 campaign as Robson’s side comfortably established themselves as a mid-table team in the top-flight. Hamilton enjoyed playing at White Hart Lane. He added another two goals to his total on the north London ground in April 2000 as Middlesbrough won 3-2.

The 2000-2001 season was not his finest as the competition for striking places increased. The likes of Noel Whelan and Alen Boksic were now at the club and Ricard lost his automatic starting spot. There were still flashes of brilliance though. In January 2001, he scored one of the Goals of the Season in an FA Cup third round tie away at Valley Parade against Bradford City. Three months later, he scored the third goal to seal a surprising 3-0 victory over Arsenal which handed the championship title to Manchester United.

Steve McClaren’s arrival in the summer of 2001 saw Ricard fall further out of the first-team picture and he moved to CSKA Sofia on a free transfer. He scored 33 goals in 115 appearances during his four years at Middlesbrough and was crowned as the club’s Player of the Year in 1999.

Life has been tough since leaving England. In December 2002, he was involved in a car accident that killed a 17-year-old passenger and five years later, was sentenced to a prison sentence for the incident which he hasn’t served yet. He last played for Colombian club Cortulua in 2013.

Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Birmingham City (December 2007)

Goalscorers: Gary McSheffrey 24 PEN, Robbie Keane 50 PEN, 53, Cameron Jerome 62, Sebastian Larsson 90

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Pascal Chimbonda, Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul (Tom Huddlestone 46), Gareth Bale (Lee Young-Pyo 75), Didier Zokora, Steed Malbranque, Aaron Lennon, Darren Bent (Jermain Defoe 46), Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane (SENT OFF)

Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, Johan Djourou, Stephen Kelly, Rafael Schmitz (Stuart Parnaby 63), Liam Ridgewell, Daniel De Ridder (Mikael Forssell 66), Fabrice Muamba, Mehdi Nafti, Sebastian Larsson, Gary McSheffrey (Olivier Kapo 77), Cameron Jerome

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 35,635

Birmingham City had a new manager in the dugout for their trip to White Hart Lane in December 2007. Alex McLeish had left his position as the Scotland boss to take over the vacancy in the Midlands following Steve Bruce’s departure for Wigan Athletic. His side travelled to Tottenham who were on a six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions under their new manager Juande Ramos. Both teams had goals in their armoury. Cue a Premier League classic.

Tottenham did all of the early pressing and should have taken the lead on numerous occasions inside the opening 25 minutes. Maik Taylor deflected a shot away from Darren Bent and when Bent and Keane combined brilliantly, the Irishman should have scored but hit a terrible shot that went well over the crossbar. Birmingham silenced the home faithful by taking the lead against the run of play. Gary McSheffrey broke down the left-hand side and was tripped in the penalty area by Younes Kaboul. Phil Dowd had no doubts in awarding the penalty. Kaboul’s mistake was fully punished when McSheffrey convincingly beat England goalkeeper Paul Robinson to score the first goal of the McLeish era.

It was a lead they’d hold until half-time but Ramos changed formation and personnel for the second half. Off went Bent and Kaboul and on came Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe. Within the first eight minutes of the second half, Spurs had turned the deficit into an advantage. When Berbatov went to ground in the Birmingham penalty area, Dowd pointed to the spot for the second time in the afternoon. Keane made no mistake to level the scores on 50 minutes. Three minutes later, the Tottenham talisman had his 12th goal of the season in all competitions, finishing comprehensively after Huddlestone’s cute ball into the box evaded all Birmingham defenders. The margin could have been greater. Taylor made a brilliant save to deny Gareth Bale from a free-kick and then Berbatov hit the post after Rafael Schmitz made a mess of a clearance from another surging Bale cross.

However, Birmingham kept plugging away and got a shock equaliser. Cameron Jerome forced his way into the penalty area and drilled a low shot past Robinson. In the 68th minute, the home side were reduced to 10 men. Two-goal hero Keane became the villain when he was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Fabrice Muamba. Whilst it was a poorly-timed tackle, many in the ground were surprised by Dowd’s decision to send the forward off.

The ebb-and-flow to this match continued. Birmingham substitute Mikael Forssell hit the crossbar and Schmitz had to clear a Berbatov effort off the line. Just when it looked like the honours were going to be shared, a winner arrived right at the end. Berbatov was robbed of possession and Sebastian Larsson tried his luck from 25-yards out. It was a spectacular shot that flew into the top corner and ensured a winning start for McLeish in a breathless contest.

Birmingham completed the league double over Tottenham in the season with a 4-1 success in March but they’d finish in the bottom three come the end of the 2007-2008 campaign.