Blackburn Rovers
Premier League

Saturday 4th April 2009


With a good run under Spurs' belt in the last month or so, it would be typically Tottenham to let one of the bottom dwellers take three points from us.  While it is unusual to win in the North-West (unless we are playing Manchester City), our record against Blackburn has been decent enough.

At the moment, Rovers sit above the relegation haunted teams and should be good enough to stay there, but with a lot of the teams in the bottom half having yet to play each other, there is still the chance that they could be dragged back down into the battle to stay up in the Premier League.

Tottenham should be good enough to take the points if they are at full strength, but Sam Allardyce had a knack of making sure the match was a tough one for us when we travelled North and with Rovers, he will make sure they get in our faces and that the likes of Jason Roberts, Keith Andrews and Christian Samba give Tottenham a physical fight for the ball. 

Paul Robinson left Tottenham after he was not given confidence by Juande Ramos, but he has not been able to recapture the good form he had at White Hart Lane for a couple of seasons before THAT England game in Croatia.  A good shot stopper, he has failed to deal with free kicks, crosses and his angles seem a bit misjudged this season as he has had a lot more work to do playing behind a leaky Blackburn defence.

Andre Ooijer played well for Holland against Scotland and is obviously a good player at international level, but in the Premier League, he has been found dragged out of position and wanting for pace occasionally.  On the other flank Givet has come in on loan from Marseille and may be an improvement, but Stephen Warnock has done well there before being moved into midfield.  The centre of defence is formed by Samba and Ryan Nelsen and both lack pace, but are good in the air.  With none of the Tottenham forwards particularly good in the air, it might be to their advantage to keep the ball on the floor and be nimble around the hulking centre-halves.  Khizanishvili is another option at the back, but he is also getting on in Premiership years and might not be an addition to the speed needed to cope with the Tottenham attack. 

Midfield will consist of Andrews, Aaron Mokoena, Warnock, Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadj Diouf.  Now, Diouf is a striker, who is being deployed behind the front two and that leaves the defensive anchor of either Andrews, Mokoena and Warnock to provide the ball winning elements, while Andrews likes to get forward too.  Pedersen, well, he's there for the unexpected plunge.  When he stays on his feet he can be a tricky winger with a fearsome shot, but with Emerton out injured, it will be down to him to provide chances to the front two.  Tugay is still in the squad, but he is another who's legs won't carry him as quickly as previously, while Carlos Villanueva possesses a deadly free-kick ability, but has been given little opportunity to show it.  David Dunn is still at Rovers too and although injuries have taken their tool on him, he still has the vision to pick out a pass.

Up front there is a lack of depth with the main goal-getter Roque Santa Cruz not being available much since Christmas and the remaining two forwards of choice, Roberts and Benni McCarthy being regular goal-scorers.  Contrasting in style, with Roberts the physical and more English-type striker, with McCarthy being more skilful and deft, they might provide a partnership that could cause Spurs problems, although with King ready to play again, that could help us out in that direction.

The main threat at the moment for Tottenham comes from Aaron Lennon and it will be expected that Rovers double up on him to deny him the ball and space.  However, that should leave space for Luka Modric to play in and bring into the game our two front men, who are most likely to be Keane and Pavlyuchenko, with Bent picking up a knee knock in England training.  Hopefully, the travelling won't have taken too much out of Palacios and Jenas should be raring to go after not being involved in mid-week internationals. 

Talk of Europa is a bit far fetched after our recent flirtation with the bottom of the league, but it does give the side something to play for and Rovers have more to gain, but if they go hell for leather, then it might let Tottenham in.  An early goal for Spurs in the early kick off should mean Blackburn have to come out and then we can hit them on the break again.  A narrow win on the road to continue the rise in the table for Tottenham I reckon ...

PREDICTION : -  Blackburn Rovers  1     Tottenham Hotspur   2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


BLACKBURN ROVERS :  -   Roque Santa Cruz (knee); Brett Emerton (knee); Steven Reid (knee); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Jermain Defoe (foot); - (-); 


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Blackburn Rovers   2   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  Ewood Park
Saturday 4th April 2009
Kick Off :  12.45 p.m.
Crowd :   21,891
Referee :  Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)
Weather :  -  Bright, dry
Teams : - 
Blackburn Rovers :

  1  Robinson

17  Andrews
  4  Samba      
  6  Nelsen
21  Givet

18  Diouf
15  Mokoena (  5  Kerimoglu 63)
  3  Warnock
12  Pedersen (  8  Dunn 26)

30  Roberts (  2  Ooijer 46  )
10  McCarthy 

Unused subs: 
19  Villanueva
24  Treacy

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
39  Woodgate
26  King
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon (  4  Zokora 83)
  8  Jenas
12  Palacios              
14  Modric

10  Bent
15  Keane 

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
  5  Bentley
  6  Huddlestone
  9  Pavlyuchenko
20  Dawson
21 Chimbonda

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Blackburn Rovers

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Blackburn Rovers

McCarthy 82
Ooijer 89

Tottenham Hotspur

Keane (p) 30

Cards : -  
Blackburn Rovers

Samba (foul) 65 


Tottenham Hotspur 

Palacios (foul)  78 

Palacios (second yellow - foul) 80

Match Report : -  
For a usually sensible referee, Peter Walton had a bit of 'mare, making things difficult for both sides and also making it almost unbearable for the fans.  Giving Spurs a dubious penalty is hard for the home fans to accept when the linesman with a much better view clearly indicates he didn't think it was a penalty, but the two quick yellow cards for Palacios resulting in him leaving the action and leaving Tottenham open to attack, was hard and jagged to swallow, when the second one was well crafted by David Dunn, who was on his way down as Palacios came in.

Having said all that, Spurs were in such command of the game and not seriously threatened by Rovers, that they should have been far enough ahead not to have succumbed to two late goals from a side painfully lacking in class or ideas.  There was a feeling that this sub-Bolton side would put up a fight to retain their Premier League status, but they were handed a win by a man who might equally have been off the pitch instead.

The game started with Spurs defending confidently and Gomes coming to punch and catch crosses without too much trouble.  The biggest problem he had early on was a fiercely struck back pass to him from Woodgate, but he managed to get it away before Benni McCarthy closed him down.  In the early midfield tussles, Stephen Warnock was obviously detailed to get stuck in and two late challenges, which required Jenas to leap to avoid injury went unpunished by Walton, although his leniency got less and less as the game went into the latter stages.

The first real chance fell to Blackburn in the 10th minute, as Pedersen's free-kick saw Diouf get ahead of Assou-Ekotto, but he headed his effort two yards wide from reasonably close range.  Most of the threat from the home team came from long throws or balls lumped into the box, with little passing on the ground taking place.  Also, their forwards were so keen to try and get into scoring positions that they were regularly caught offside.

Spurs carved out a chance a couple of minutes after Rovers, with Bent and Keane setting up Modric for a shot, but Warnock got back to block it, but from the corner, the Croatian sent in a near post corner for Ledley King to glance a header across goal, with Keane and Jenas too far away from it to get a vital touch.  Bent had a better opportunity when Gomes threw the ball out to Jenas, who got the ball into midfield and then it found Aaron on the right wing.  Givet did what a number of players did to try and stop Lennon, by placing his body in the way of his run, but the ref waved play on (about the only good decision he made in the game), allowing Palacios to slip the ball into the right side of the penalty box for Darren Bent to shoot low across Paul Robinson, who palmed the ball wide for another corner in the 18th minute.

Bent once more was on the end of a break from the back, but this time he couldn't get enough power in his effort to give Robinson any trouble and then a few minutes later, it was the Tottenham goal which was under threat.  A long throw fell for El-Hadj Diouf at the penalty spot, but his shot was blocked by Assou-Ekotto as it was heading just inside the post.  The long throw was the last action Pedersen was involve din as his knee injury saw him replaced by Dunn and frankly, it might have been better if the Norwegian had stayed on, as his dives don't fool anyone.

Lennon cut inside Givet after Modric had fed the bal to him, but his shot was off target, when he might have blasted it low across the goalmouth and then another opening was created for Corluka on the same side, but he also panicked when in a good position to score and hit his shot wide, with better options available with 18 minutes to half time.

When the Tottenham goal came on the half hour, it arrived from a strange source.  Breaking out of defence as we had done previously, the ball was worked to Aaron Lennon on the right wing.  He cut back and played the ball towards the middle of the penalty area, but before it got there, the Blackburn defender Gael Givet stopped it with his hand just inside the penalty area as Lennon played the bal in from a wide position.  The linesman clearly held his flag down by his side and not across his chest as if indicating it should be a penalty, but Walton pointed to the spot to the amazement of nearly everyone.  it did stop the ball entering the danger area, but the player looked like he was pulling his arm out of the way and not in a John Terry way.

Keane kept calm amid the arguments by the Rovers players who surrounded the referee and then complained about Keane placing the ball ahead of the penalty spot.  The Spurs skipper stepped up and coolly slid the ball wide of Robinson's dive and into the inside of the side netting to make it 1-0.

The goal appeared to help Spurs open up the hosts at will.  A neat bit of interplay between Keane and Modric nearly gave the midfielder a couple of shooting opportunities, but in the end it wouldn't fall for him and he waited to shoot, by which time he was crowded out.  Then, just before the half time whistle, Modric played a corner back to the 'D' where Wilson Palacios hit a volley that looked as though it was on target, but was blocked by the Rovers defence.  There was still time for Woodgate to have a free header at a corner and put it wide, while Blackburn flung a long throw into the box and it was cleared to Warnock, who volleyed it wide.

The second half was mainly a scrappy affair as Blackburn tried to drag Spurs down to their level and took the ineffectual forward Roberts off and put on Ooijer at the back, moving the man mountain Samba up front.  This made it quite obvious what Allardyce intended in terms of tactics for the second period.  A less stylish version of Bolton Wanderers under his command.  I know that Blackburn were desperate to get a win to drag them out of the relegation battle, but goodness, is this what Premier League football has come to.  But then the meagre crowds at Blackburn have little expectation and jeer decisions louder than they cheer goals ... probably because they see more of the former than the latter. 

Anyway, the tactic started off well for Rovers, with Samba knocking on a free-kick and Diouf getting there to hook a shot well over the top.  The game descended into a string of stoppages for free-kicks and off-sides, but the referee failed to see two off the ball incidents when Mokoena knocked Palacios to the floor, with the second a clear elbow to the head of the Honduran.  That might have been worthy of a red card on it's own, but then Walton was keeping his powder dry for later.  Allardyce must have seen the writing on the wall for the South African midfielder, as he replaced him before he got sent off and brought on Tugay.

Samba got booked for a crude foul, which again was no more than he had done earlier and could have been his second.  Consistency was not the referee's strong point today (but what was ?).

Tottenham were getting in behind the full backs and Lennon and Jenas were knocking crosses along the six yard box, but there was nobody there to capitalise and the one goal lead was looking precarious as we went into the last quarter of the match.  Modric had a shot blocked and Diouf managed to somehow head wide when he got to a low cross into the six yard box.

Spurs were holding the Rovers efforts well and looked like they would claim the three points for their stylish performance, Walton took a hand in swaying the game in the other direction.  A foul on Dunn by Palacios brought a yellow card, which was a little harsh in light of what had been going on before, but obviously Walton's memory or concentration was going.  What came two minutes later was more than harsh, as Dunn ran infield from a wide position with the ball and as Palacios came in to challenge, the Blackburn midfielder threw himself before Wilson got to him and he even consciously did not stick out a leg.  But Walton went trigger happy, as he had done for the penalty and went straight to his pocket for a second yellow and then a red.

It left Spurs with ten minutes to see out the threat of high balls into the area with ten men.  However, within a minute, Samba played a shot across goal and it wasn't going in, but McCarthy was just played onside and he knocked the ball in from close range to equalise.  Zokora then replaced Lennon and it was a little too late to help out the defence and once more, like in the Jol days, it removed the greatest threat to Blackburn, which we could have done with as the final minutes arrived.

Gomes was right behind an overhead kick that Samba attempted when the ball was knocked down for him and then the Spurs keeper was equal to a fierce drive Warnock struck after a low ball in from Andrews, with the Brazilian diverting the ball over the top.  It was only a brief relief as the corner was played in low and went through a pack of players at the near post to find Ooijer standing a yard out with no-one to stop him nudging the ball in for what proved the winner.

It is dubious to suggest that had there been any consistency, then the substitute Ooijer would not have been on the pitch, as twice he brought down Bent in cynical fashion.  While Blackburn fans will claim it was what Palacios did, the punishment was not the same and the result was adversely affected because of the referee's poor decision making on the day.

The defeat still leaves Tottenham needing three points to be safe, but Spurs will need to make sure of results without having to rely on referees doing what they are paid to do properly.






Reaction : -



Just got in from seeing Blackburn steal, nick ... call it want you want three points from Spurs.  How on earth did we lose this game ?  We dominated 80% and was much the better side. Granted the penalty we got was lucky, but the sending off was just as debatable.

Spurs need the killer instinct.  At 1-0 we should have pressed for the second.

To say I'm disappointed is an understatement, as we were far the superior side yet ended up with nothing.  This is what makes me so angry with Spurs.  We beat Villa and Chelsea then lose to rubbish Northern teams like Blackburn.  The very least we should
have got is a point.

Yet again, it's a set play that makes us end up with nothing and shows the gap between being a mid table side to a top six side.

God I hate this game (and Blackburn).


Read Wyart Lane's view at the Times Online Fanzine Fanzone by clicking here.


Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 2 Manchester City 0 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 4 Middlesbrough 1 Saturday
Fulham 0 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Hull City 0 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Chelsea 2 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Stoke City 2 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Everton 4 Wigan Athletic 0 Sunday
Manchester United 3 Aston Villa 2 Sunday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 30 21 5 4 52 20 68 +32
2 Liverpool 31 19 10 2 55 21 67 +34
3 Chelsea 31 19 7 5 51 17 64 +34
4 Arsenal 31 16 10 5 50 28 58 +22
5 Aston Villa 31 15 7 9 45 39 52 +6
6 Everton 31 14 9 8 44 31 51 +13
7 West Ham United 31 12 8 11 37 35 44 +2
8 Wigan Athletic 31 11 8 12 30 32 41 -2
9 Fulham 31 10 10 11 30 27 40 +3
10 Manchester City 31 11 5 15 46 39 38 +7
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 31 10 8 13 37 36 38 +1
12 Bolton Wanderers 31 11 4 16 36 45 37 -9
13 Stoke City 31 9 8 14 31 47 35 -16
14 Blackburn Rovers 31 8 10 13 35 50 34 -15
15 Hull City 31 8 10 13 35 52 34 -17
16 Sunderland 31 8 8 15 29 41 32 -12
17 Portsmouth 30 8 9 13 32 46 33 -14
18 Newcastle United 31 6 12 14 36 51 29 -15
19 Middlesbrough 31 6 9 16 22 46 27 -24
20 West Bromwich Albion 31 6 6 19 26 57 24 -31

Position before the match :  11th
Position after the match :  11th
Position after the weekend :  11th

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