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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Alan Hansen's column
Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring against Portsmouth
Three points for Spurs on Sunday was a lot more important than the quality of their performance

Tottenham's win over Portsmouth on Sunday was vital - in my opinion it was a must-win game.

Jermain Defoe scored a crucial penalty after Chris Foy penalised Pedro Mendes even though Didier Zokora blatantly dived.

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp was spitting blood - and quite rightly so - but for Tottenham an incident like that can turn your season.

If there is an element of fortune or luck you have to grab it and not feel sorry for the opposition.

After all, Spurs went into the game in the bottom three of the Premiership table.

They had not been playing all that badly but were not scoring enough goals and thus not getting the results.

In those circumstances a team will take a result from anywhere and against anybody.

If you are struggling for form early in the season it is sometimes very difficult to pinpoint what is going wrong.

It is never easy to come into training after a defeat and the confidence factor comes into play.

When the Tottenham players report back for training after beating Pompey the atmosphere will be a whole lot better than last week and that will have a positive all-round effect.

The sale of Michael Carrick to Manchester United in the summer was a major loss but they still have a lot of good players.

Their manager, Martin Jol, is honest, bright and enthusiastic and last season they played a lot of good football.

I think they will finish in the top six but raised expectations can be dangerous.

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina
The decision against Pepe Reina on Saturday was the most appalling I have seen in a long time

All fans are greedy - they want more, they want better and, in the case of Tottenham, they want Champions League football - but it is not always that easy.

Spurs just missed out on the Champions League last season but I think that the big four will remain Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool for a considerable period of time.

Teams might occasionally finish in the top four - such as Everton did a couple of years ago - but that is not the same thing.

The incident at Spurs saw Redknapp raise the issue of video replays.

I am still not in favour of them but I have to say that there have been a lot of incidents so far this season when the officials have got important decisions totally wrong.

Look at the weekend's action - the Zokora dive, a handball that was not given against Arsenal's William Gallas and the decision that went against Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

The Spanish keeper was adjudged to have handled outside his area at Bolton by linesman Andy Halliday.

Everybody makes mistakes and I don't think there is much of a problem when we are talking about an incident that is difficult to call even when you have watched a replay of it numerous times.

But the Reina decision on Saturday was the most appalling I have seen in a long time because Halliday was only 20 yards away.

It is the sort of mistake that you cannot believe an official has made.

Quite simply, referees and their assistants must make fewer blatant mistakes, the sort that everybody in the ground can see is wrong.

Finally, it was great to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring twice for Manchester United on Sunday.

It was debatable at one point whether he would ever play again so to see him back and scoring again is fantastic.

I think that everybody in football, regardless of their loyalties, is happy for him.



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Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

SEE ALSO
Bolton 2-0 Liverpool
30 Sep 06 |  Premiership
Charlton 1-2 Arsenal
30 Sep 06 |  Premiership
Tottenham 2-1 Portsmouth
01 Oct 06 |  Premiership


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