Tottenham 0 Hull City 1: Geovanni adds to Tottenham crisis

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Another catastrophic result for Tottenham, one which leaves them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, but at least this time the performance was respectable. That is the one glimmer of hope for Juande Ramos and Daniel Levy, Spurs manager and chairman, as they ponder a season which began as a quest for a place in the Champions League and is now focussed on avoiding one in the Championship.

Having gone behind to Geovanni's latest superlative strike Spurs gave a hugely committed performance during which they hit the woodwork twice and would have levelled by half-time but for some magnificent defending. Worryingly, though, for Ramos the tension induced by the team's position seeped in during the second period. Hull were thus able to follow last week's remarkable victory at The Emirates with another north London triumph.

"I am not resigning," said Ramos afterwards. "This is my job. I am the same whether we win or lose." It is usually the latter when it comes to the league in which Spurs have won three games in 19 matches, taking 16 points from 57, since winning the Carling Cup in February. At this stage last season even Derby had twice as many points as Spurs have now.

Yet Levy is no more likely to sack Ramos than the Spaniard is to resign. Not yet at least. A little matter of a £5m-a-year contract, which still has the best part of four years to run, ensures neither will make a hasty decision. It helps that the fans were sanguine, the boos at half-time and full-time being desultory rather than furious, as if they felt the scoreline meant booing was required, but the performance did not merit derision. The one time the support did turn on Ramos was at the substitution of Aaron Lennon, who had been a threat on the right wing. Lennon was, though, beginning to fade at this point, Andy Dawson having finally got the measure of him.

Roman Pavlyuchenko had already departed, the Russian striker limping away with an ankle injury after barely half-an-hour. He will have a scan today. His exit brought on Darren Bent, who in the second half was to miss the best chance to level. Also on the bench was David Bentley. When the £15m midfielder did appear it was to play at right-back, albeit one with an attacking brief, as Ramos chased the game.

All these players worked hard enough to suggest Ramos was speaking truthfully when he said: "The attitude of the players is very positive, in training, on the pitch, when they are working."

Jermaine Jenas led the way, showing imagination and desire, but the best performers inevitably wore amber and black – plus green in the shape of Boaz Myhill whose impeccable handling set the tone for Hull's defending. In front of him Michael Turner was immense at centre-half, Paul McShane made some vital interventions at right-back, Dean Marney and George Boateng were tireless in midfield while Daniel Cousin and Marlon King ran Vedran Corluka and Jonathan Woodgate ragged.

Geovanni played just behind them in an enterprising line-up. His moment came after eight minutes, following Corluka's foul on King. Taking aim from more than 30 yards he bent the free-kick over the wall and into the top left hand corner. Even the giant Heurelho Gomes was powerless. 'Are you Arsenal in disguise?' sang the Hull fans.

Dawson had already cleared away a goal-bound Gareth Bale shot, and McShane blocked Frazier Campbell, as Spurs started in a hurry. At the other end, in a frantic, thrilling half, Marney finished one beautiful passing move by driving against the far post while King brought a flying save from Gomes.

The second half was quieter, but absorbing. Spurs had the bulk of possession but only once did they look like scoring, when Luka Modric, in a rare glimpse of his talent, released Bent after 57 minutes. Bent clipped the ball just past the far post. In a similar position King was later denied by Gomes. "They had a lot of possession and 23-24 shots but the best chances fell to us," noted Hull manager Phil Brown.

After taking 10 points from 12 on the road his team sit third in the Premier League their confidence summed up by their supporters' chant at the final whistle, 'We're going to win the league'.

"We've had a good start but we're still only seven games into a 38-game programme," said Brown more cautiously. Then he added with a twinkle: "It is dreamland if truth be known."

Goal: Geovanni (8) 0-1. Tottenham Hotspur (4-1-4-1): Gomes; Gunter (Bentley, 55), Corluka, Woodgate, Bale; Zokora; Lennon (Giovani, 73), Jenas, Modric, Campbell; Pavlyuchenko (Bent, 34). Substitutes not used: Cesar (gk), M Dawson, O'Hara, Assou-Ekotto.

Hull City (4-3-1-2): Myhill; McShane, Turner, Zayette, A Dawson; Marney, Ashbee, Boateng; Geovanni (Halmosi, 70); King (Folan, 80), Cousin (Mendy, 60). Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Hughes, Garcia, Ricketts.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

Booked: Tottenham Jenas. Hull City Ashbee, Boateng.

Man of the match: Turner.

Attendance: 36,062.

Comments