Reading's Last Premier League Match at Tottenham (Preview)





A perfect start to 2013 for Tottenham and every Spurs fan would be three points against Reading at White Hart Lane. Spurs beat Reading in September for Andre Villas-Boas’ first win as Tottenham manager with Jermain Defoe scoring twice. Today Spurs, without the suspended Gareth Bale will be looking to Defoe once more to continue his excellent goal scoring record this season.

The last time Reading were at White Hart Lane in the Premier League was on 29th December, 2007 and it was a 10-goal extravaganza. Spurs won 6 – 4 with Dimitar Berbatov scoring 4, Steed Malbranque and Defoe scored the other goals.

Match Report: 29th December, 2007

“All Hail King Berbatov!”

Tottenham Hotspur 6  Reading 4

Dimitar Berbatov reminded Spurs’ fans of why they so loved him last season. In the enthralling encounter with Reading at White Hart Lane he scored four goals to ensure Spurs took the three points in a 6 – 4 victory that took them ahead of Reading and in to twelfth place in the Premier League table.

The match had started so well for Spurs with Berbatov’s first goal giving them a sixth minute lead, scoring from Keane’s well placed cross. Spurs’ defensive frailties then came into play as Reading equalised following a free-kick after a quarter of an hour. Level at half-time, no-one realised the late Christmas cracker that was to be served up after the interval.

Further defensive woes saw Reading go ahead from a corner and have chances to increase their lead. Berbatov kept Spurs alive when he levelled the score with a powerful shot when a cross from the right fell to him, only for Reading to regain the lead from another corner. Berbatov responded again with his hat-trick scoring a lovely goal from a corner as he got between two defenders and carefully stroked the ball into the net.

Spurs fell behind again as Reading scored on the break. This time it was Steed Malbranque who rifled in a shot to bring the score to 4 – 4. So much excitement as every attack seemed to bring a goal.

Spurs weren’t satisfied and when awarded a penalty for a foul on Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe headed the rebound home after Keane missed his second penalty in a week. To make the victory safe, Dimitar Berbatov powered past a Reading defender to smash home his fourth and Spurs’s sixth for a win that had seemed improbable less than thirty minutes earlier.

Berbatov the enigma showed all his goal scoring prowess and was a constant threat to the Reading defence. Over the past months as Spurs’ season has struggled along, many have criticised Berbatov for his seeming disinterest and lethargic approach, convinced that he was wanting away to Manchester United or some other big club. However, against Reading, he responded in the most positive of ways and reminded Spurs of why they need him to stay and be part of the team that Juande Ramos is building at Tottenham.

Times Have Changed at Tottenham

The opening paragraph shows how things have changed at White Hart Lane since 2007 – ‘Spurs moved ahead of Reading into 12th place”. The match was memorable but while Spurs won the Carling Cup two months later to great excitement, it was not the start of something good for Spurs.

The final paragraph proved to be prophetic with Berbatov leaving Tottenham on the last day of August, 2008 transfer window for Manchester United.

Spurs go into 2013 in 4th place, two points behind Chelsea who play QPR tomorrow, so a win over Reading would take Tottenham back into 3rd place. Reading defeated West Ham United on Saturday and are one place off the bottom of the Premier League. It was only their second win of the season, having defeated Everton in mid-November. They had drawn their previous match at home to Swansea which was their first point since  the Everton game, following a run of 7 defeats.

They have taken only 2 points from their ten away games, drawing at QPR and Swansea. They lost by only a single at Manchester City in mid-December but lost 3 – 0 at Sunderland earlier in the month. Reading have been involved in some high scoring matches this season. They defeated QPR 3 – 2 in the Capital One Cup but then lost 7 – 5 to Arsenal in the next round, after extra time having conceding two goals in the final minutes to necessitate the extra thirty minutes. At home in the League, Reading drew 3 – 3 with Fulham, lost 3 – 4 to Manchester United and 2 – 5 to Arsenal and lost 3 – 2 at Wigan.

Tottenham will be expected to take the three points but will have to break through a Reading defence which has been more resilient in recent matches. Since conceding five to Arsenal, the only goal scored against them in three games was Manchester City’s winner scored in the 92nd minute. Spurs need the application and desire that they’ve shown recently and need to make the most of the goal scoring opportunities that they create.

Gylfi Sigurdsson may get a start against the club where he started his career in England as a teenager. Clint Dempsey could also be a starter in place of Bale or Emmanuel Adebayor who has looked out of sorts this season.

Hoping for another Tottenham win and a good start to the 2013.

Tags: December 2007 Match Preview Reading Soccer Tottenham Hotspur

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