Tottenham never seem to learn from their mistakes in previous games and
the lack of a killer instinct cost Spurs two points at Ewood Park, as
Blackburn Rovers came back to grab a draw and could have walked off with
all three if the referee had not turned down a definite looking penalty
Spurs started well and
Dawson flicked on Jenas' early free-kick making Friedel make a save, but
when the ball went up Tottenham's end, all hell broke loose.
Cerny, in for the injured Paul Robinson (who officially has an ankle
injury), rushed out to clear when Chimbonda let a through ball run to
the keeper. His clearance didn't go far enough and only succeeded
in reaching Andre Oojier, as it hit David Bentley. The Dutchman
crossed, but luckily, Cerny had recovered his ground and he managed to
punch the ball away from danger.
It was Tottenham who took the lead, with
a well worked goal. Malbranque and Jenas worked a good position on
the left and the midfielder, back after an injury and illness, played
the ball through to Dimitar Berbatov standing a couple of yards out.
He applied the finishing touch with an outstretched leg to put Spurs
The movement from the players was causing
Blackburn problems and the home side lacked their usual "tenacious"
approach. The same combination that made and scored the goal
almost made it 2-0, but the striker failed to take the ball under
control and then Berbatov was put through on Friedel by Malbranque, but
his shot struck the American goalie's chest and was cleared with 18
minutes on the clock.
As usual, Spurs fans were getting a bit
jittery, as we know that one goal is never enough ... or that sometimes
two or three might not be enough either. While Blackburn were
crap, there was always the possibility that they would find a move to
drag themselves back into the game. Or it doesn't always have to
be a move of their own making. When Hutton tried to head the ball
out and it hit Morten Gamst Pedersen, the winger saw the ball drop
kindly for him to lash a shot at goal that fortunately was straight at
The frustrating part was that we had
enough possession and opportunities to add to the lead, but wasted them.
Jenas makes good runs, but doesn't always pick the right thing to do at
the end of them and Lennon gets past his man so easily because of his
pace, he should be making more of the space and time he has to add to
his assists total. Blackburn just couldn't live with him and it
would have been a great chance to show what he is truly capable of, but
once more that didn't happen. Games like this should be the ones
that Ramos comes away impressed from.
Well, if he wasn't going to get rid of
Pascal Chimbonda before, he might now, as he gifted Blackburn the
equaliser. He failed to get close enough to Bentley to make him go
the way he wanted and let him get past him and feed Pedersen, who had
the simple task of putting the ball past Cerny with a side-foot from
around the penalty spot. I know Chimbonda is playing out of
position at left-back, but his defending is laissez-faire to say the
least. He might need his normally active agent to find him one of
the moves away from White Hart Lane he keeps going on about.
At this point, Rovers had been given
hope, where little before existed. They made some chances before
the break, with Roque Santa Cruz being set up by Jason Roberts to fire a
shot straight at Radek Cerny and the Czech had to move smartly to read a
free kick from Bentley just before the break, which he caught well.
The only half chance Spurs had was when Lennon got a yard on the edge of
the box and smashed over the bar.
The half-time break once more came with
Tottenham supporters wondering how the game was not already won, as has
happened a number of times this season. It was hoped that it
wouldn't end up like last week's game by the time the final whistle
With Woodgate and Dawson in the centre of
defence, it should have been an opportunity to develop some
understanding between them, but Michael showed he is still suffering a
bit of a nightmare run. he got completely under a through ball (as
he did last week) and Roberts was through on Cerny, only for Walton to
bring play back for a foul ... which it wasn't. But then, Nelsen
was having an equally torrid time and when Dawson hit a long ball
through, the Kiwi could only nod it down to where Dimitar was standing
and he took the shot first time, on the volley, but Friedel was equal to
it and saved well. Cerny made a similar save a minute later as
Roberts struck the ball on the turn.
Lennon was sent away up the line by
Zokora and his deep cross found Malbranque. Steed took the ball
down and tried to curl it around the tall keeper, but he got hands to it
and managed to get up quickly to take the cross when Lennon got to the
ball. Nelsen did pick up enough to stop Berbatov putting Tottenham
back in front, when he managed to get across the Bulgarian as Steed's
cross came into the goalmouth.
Things were starting to get a bit
desperate for Rovers as Santa Cruz went down easier than Derby County in
the box and the ref twigged what was going on, so gave him a yellow
Tom Huddlestone came on for Steed and
Chimbonda was replaced by Gilberto, who is a more natural left-back,
while Benni McCarthy was brought on for Pedersen to run at the Tottenham
defence. But it was Lennon who came in from the left touchline to
hit a shot at goal that Samba had to get in the way of to prevent going
in. And when Bent came on for Keane, it didn't quite have the
desired effect, with Bentley rushing into the area and Gilberto looking
like he left a leg stuck out to bring him down. Referee Walton
looked in a good position to see what happened, but waved play on, when
I might have been upset if such a decision had gone against Spurs (and
it has and I have).
Cerny repeated his save from Bentley's
free-kick of the first half and then was left without anything to do
when the same player hit a rising shot way too high. Bent also
brought Friedel into action, but could not get a decent contact as he
turned on a through pass into the box, then Jenas put a free-kick in on
goal, but the home goalie made an easy save.
As the game went into added time Lennon
once more had a shot blocked by Samba and at the other end, Santa Cruz
stayed on his feet long enough to shoot for Cerny to push the effort
round the post.
In the end the draw was a fair result,
but even before the game got to the stage where Blackburn had a good
shout for a penalty, Tottenham should have made their superiority pay
and make the gap between the two sides sufficient to not be bridged.
With some of the games we have coming up, the team need to perform and
practice their ability to finish teams off, so that when they come
across that situation next season, we don't see points slipping away
like we did today.
I suppose that now we are at 40 points
and the way other results went today, we are all but safe from
relegation. Maybe that thought will allow the players some freedom
to play better than they have since we won the League Cup.