Birmingham City (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 4th December 2010

With such a good run of results behind Spurs, they must not make the mistake of letting their good form persuade them that this will be an easy fixture ... because it will be anything but.  Chelsea were the last visitors to St, Andrews and came away with a 0-1 defeat, with Birmingham being very good at home.

Up front, it could be a battle of the giants, with Peter Crouch certain to start for Tottenham and the slightly taller Nikola Zigic being employed at some stage by the Birmingham boss Alex McLeish.  Spurs may choose to begin with Jermain Defoe alongside Crouch, as too often the one man up front has been supported by Rafael van der Vaart, but as the Dutchman is not available for this game, a change to two up top might stop the series of games where Spurs have gone behind before coming back to win.

The main goal-scoring striker at the club in recent years has been Cameron Jerome, who is a big, strong forward, but he has not always used his assets to the best advantage.  McLeish has done well in trying to get him making himself more of a handful for defenders, but too often eh drifts out of the game.  However, on his day, he can score outrageously fantastic goals, like the one at Liverpool earlier this season from about 35 yards out.  Perhaps more likely to feature on the bench will be Matt Derbyshire or Kevin Phillips.  Veteran Phillips still has the knack of being in the right place to score goals and while this may be his last season in the game, the knowledge that he has put behind him in his time at Watford, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion have added to his ability to put the ball in the net from anywhere near the goal.  Over 250 goals at a ratio of one almost every other game is not to be taken lightly.  Derbyshire has been brought back from Greece on loan after he tried his luck there when he was frozen out at Blackburn Rovers.  A pacy forward, who sometimes plays wide, he always looked a player likely to make the grade, with a good record for the England Under-21s, but somewhere along the line, things went awry and he is trying to rebuild his career with the Bluenoses.

Defensively, Birmingham are well-organised in the image of their manager, who propped up the Glasgow Rangers back line for so long.  With keeper Ben Foster in goal, I don't think he will need his i-Pod if we get a penalty from our recent record from the spot, he has a strong, although not impenetrable back four in front of him.  Liam Ridgewell is the lynch-pin in the centre of the defensive line, although Roger Johnson's rise to fame after signing from Cardiff City has seen him become a solid Premier League performer.  Both are strong in the air and in the tackle, but can get caught out by nippy forwards, who they can be turned by and need to concentrate to make sure they track their runs.  Full back Stephen Carr is known to Tottenham fans after spending the bulk of his career at White Hart Lane and Scott Dann has made a name for himself at Birmingham since signing from Coventry City.  Both like to get forward and can be caught out by quick breaks.  Another option could be David Murphy, who is an experienced defender on either flank.

Lee Bowyer scored the winner against Chelsea and is having a late flourish to his incident dogged career.  Always a combative midfielder, Bowyer has added getting into the box as he is showing a little of what was expected of him as a youngster, although he still has the odd flash-back to his former ways.  Keith Fahey has scored some impressive goals for Birmingham, but has been in and out of the side, mainly acting as cover for the former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson, who had a bad time when he made his first trip South of the border to Blackburn Rovers, but has settled better under a fellow Scot at City.  He has a determined energy to push the team forward, but has learned to control that aggression.  The flair in midfield mainly comes from former Gooner Sebastian Larsson, who is good on the ball, can cross well and is deadly with his right foot from a dead or moving ball.  He will probably be twinned in midfield with another ex-Arsenal favourite (until he no longer wanted to play for them, but for Barcelona) Alexander Hleb.  The strong running Belarusian has found his feet at St. Andrews now, after lacking a bit of fitness when he first arrived on loan from Barca, but now he can cause problems with his direct running style and he passes the ball astutely, so needs to be tracked ... possibly by Wilson Palacios.   Craig Gardner has had a new lease of life since crossing the city from Villa and has been scoring too, but an ankle injury might keep him out, although he did make an appearance in mid-week in the League Cup win over his former club.  Other new faces in the midfield are Michel and Jean Beausejour.  Michel came in from Sporting Gijon and has featured sporadically, although he often emerges from the dug-out to come on late in games.  Beausejour has caused a bit of a stir in that he was signed from Club America in Mexico after being shipped around through Switzerland and Belgium from his native Chile.  However, the stocky winger has a reputation of scoring more goals than a winger should, so the Birmingham fans are no doubt keen to see his get into his stride.

With the players available to Tottenham, it will be very much a case of the fit ones who will take to the field, but there are options, with players who have been waiting their opportunity to stake a claim.  Michael Dawson's return is a key boost to the squad and I think that Spurs might be able to edge it by the odd goal if they battle hard enough ...

PREDICTION : -    Birmingham City    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.


BIRMINGHAM CITY :  -  Craig Gardner (doubtful - ankle); Martin Taylor (out - shoulder); James McFadden (out - knee); Alexander Hleb (doubtful - calf); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (out - groin); Giovani dos Santos (out - groin); Michael Dawson (out - knee and ankle); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Rafael van der Vaart (out - hamstring); Jermaine Jenas (out - calf); Younes Kaboul (out - hip); David Bentley (doubtful - calf); Robbie Keane (doubtful - ankle); - (-); 


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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
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Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (highlights)  Also available online.
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Radio :  
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 (live coverage)
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If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

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please click here and see if there are any such facilities who have contacted MEHSTG in the area near to the ground.

Birmingham City   1    Tottenham Hotspur   1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue :  -  St. Andrews
Saturday 04th December 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :  25,770
Referee :  -  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Birmingham kicked off and played towards the Gil Merrick stand in the first half.
Weather :  -   Chilly, sleet/rain
Teams : - 
Birmingham City :

26  Foster

  6  Ridgewell     
15  Dann
  5  Johnson
  2  Carr  (c)

12  Ferguson
  4  Bowyer  (  7  Larsson 72)
  8  Gardner 
23  Beausejour  (  3  Murphy 81)

10  Jerome
18  Fahey  (19  Zigic 60)

Unused subs: 
  1  Taylor 
28  Jiranek
17  Michel

14  Derbyshire

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton
19  Bassong 
13  Gallas (c)
32  Assou-Ekotto

  7  Lennon
12  Palacios     
14  Modric
  3  Bale

18  Defoe  (  9  Pavlyuchenko 78)
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
15  Pletikosa
0  Dawson
22  Corluka
21  Kranjcar
30  Sandro

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Birmingham City

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Birmingham City

Gardner 81

Tottenham Hotspur

Bassong 19

Cards : -  
Birmingham City

Ridgewell (foul) 18


Tottenham Hotspur  

Palacios (unsporting behaviour)  36


Match Report : -  
Starting with two goalkeepers on the bench, Spurs managed to let slip a lead against Birmingham City, when Gomes had just received treatment for the after effects of a save and left St. Andrews with a single point instead of all three.

Partnering Jermain Defoe with Peter Crouch up front, Spurs started brightly, with an early opportunity falling to Crouch, who took a cross from the right wing at the far post on his chest and volleyed at goal, with Foster turning it around, although it was probably missing the target anyway.

Five minutes into the game, Lee Bowyer put Stephen Carr in on the left side of the Spurs penalty area and the full back was looking to score against his old team, but instead found the crowd behind the goal.

Sixteen minutes in Crouch played Defoe in around the penalty spot, but as he tried to manoeuvre the ball onto his right foot, three players shut him out, but the ball ran to Wilson Palacios 25 yards out and his shot was on target, but was deflected wide.  The next attack saw Bale dragged down by Ridgewell, who got a booking and conceded a free-kick on the right side of the pitch.  Bale swung the ball in and Foster dived forward at the far post with Crouch, but could only punch the ball back in front of his goal and Sebastien Bassong was grateful for the opportunity to lash the ball into an empty net. 

Spurs continued to press and won a succession of corners, but failed to make much from them, although Birmingham were being opened up with ease and looked uncomfortable dealing with the corners as they came in.  Crouch has a good chance when a Lennon cross went over Johnson's head, but he took the bal on his chest and then his arm before shooting wide.

On the half hour, the home team had their first effort on goal, but Beausejour's header went wide with Gomes not required to cover the attempt.  But they came closer when a quick free-kick was played to Craig Gardner in the middle of the Spurs half and he stepped forward to shoot at goal, but the shot went wide with Gomes diving to cover the shot this time.

Crouch should have doubled the lead when Hutton played Modric into the right channel of the box and his ball inside found Crouch, but his first touch took the ball too far away from him and a Birmingham defender made off with it.  A spat between Gardner and Palacios, who went down under challenge from the Blues midfielder, who in turn thought he was play acting and tried to drag up off his feet, saw both go into referee Friend's book.

Bowyer managed to turn Palacios a couple of minutes before the break, but having done that, he struck his shot wide and high into the Tottenham contingent behind Gomes' goal.

With no changes during the break, the two teams took to the field for the second half, as Birmingham looked to get back into the game.  With the game taking place in chilly conditions anyway, things got worse, as the temperature dropped and Sleet began to fall.

From one attack at the Spurs end, with the ball behind Jerome, Spurs broke and Defoe let go a shot from inside the box that flicked off a defender, which caused Foster to dive to push it away for another corner when the ball was going off target anyway.  A first chance for Birmingham in the second half came when a cross was headed by Gallas, but it went across goal and Gardner got a clean header to the ball, but only found Gomes, with perhaps the first Brum effort on target.

The 59th minute saw Peter Crouch wriggle away from two players in midfield before electing to play the ball to his left for Defoe, instead of releasing Lennon to his right and the Spurs forward was bundled off the ball.  A corner a minute later, brought about another one and another one, which Crouch won, but headed off target.  The tall forward flicked on and Defoe made the ball his on the right, before cutting infield and letting go a left foot shot that went a yard wide, but straight away substitute Zigic won a high ball and the pieces were picked up by Gardner, who shot way over the bar.

As is often the case with Tottenham games, the referee was handing decisions to the opposition and one free kick when Crouch got sandwiched, ended with Gallas blocking a shot from Jerome when the ball broke free.  After a bit of midfield sparring, Bale crashed a 73rd minute shot at goal from a narrow angle on the left, forcing Foster to block it at his near post, while Jerome hit a long range shot a long way over the bar when unmarked.  Spurs brought Pavlyuchenko on for Defoe and almost immediately a long free kick found it's way through to RIdgewell in the box and he took a touch into the middle of the box and only Heurelho Gomes' rush out to block with his body stopped it being 1-1.

But a couple of minutes later, after Gomes had received treatment for the blow he took from the shot, a long ball was slung in from the left to Zigic, who won a header on the right side of the Birmingham attack, knocking the ball into the middle and Gardner ran in to make the ball his, heading it down past Gomes into the bottom corner of the goal to equalise.

Going into injury time, David Murphy caught Alan Hutton late with a tackle putting his studs into the Scotsman's ankle, but Hutton got up and as Murphy went to go past him, barged into him.  Both players could easily have seen red, but the ref just had a Friend-ly chat with them and the game went on.

And that was the last moment worth comment in the game, as Birmingham's change of tactics paid dividends for them with long balls into the area earning them a point.  Spurs have only themselves to blame, as they out-played the home team in the first half, but failed to make more of their dominance, leaving them open to the chance of Birmingham getting an equaliser.

Full marks to Harry for starting with two up front, as it worked for the team, but they have to do better, although the freezing conditions added to the difficulty in the second period.  A useful away point, which could have been more, but Birmingham were always going to put it about at some stage of the match and Spurs, with the cold weather, might have been less than determined to go and ram home their advantage.  On such performances are all sorts of things decided.

Brian O'Hanrahanrahan


Fan Reaction : -



I think I preferred it when we went behind.

Stan Chun

What was interesting in this game, is that Birmingham changed the way they played and seemed to have a Plan B, while Spurs didn't really have anything similar.

Harry brought on Pav for Defoe, but his usual change from one to two up front couldn't be altered when he started with two in attack.

The options in attack are limited at the moment, with Keane out (and seemingly on his way out) and with Defoe being the best partner for either of the two taller strikers.  Without van der Vaart available to play off the one man up front, Spurs are a little one-dimensional and can be snuffed out with relative ease.

Thus, if Keane is going, Redknapp needs to bring in a forward who is different to those we have already.  Someone who can bring something as an option to the table and one who can be able of creating his own opportunities.  Today we saw Crouch suffer from a bad first touch and let chances slip away from him.

Anyone who we can attract who can make a goal out of nothing will be most welcome as one more today would have been enough to put us out of Birmingham's reach, but like our old failing, we are not killing games off.  Especially when we need to.

keith beach







Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 2 Fulham 1 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Blackpool P Manchester United P Saturday
Chelsea 1 Everton 1 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 2 Stoke City 2 Saturday
Sunderland 1 West Ham United 0 Sunday
West Bromwich Albion 3 Newcastle United 1 Sunday
Liverpool 3 Aston Villa 0 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 16 10 2 4 34 18 32 +16
2 Manchester United 15 8 7 0 37 18 31 +19
3 Chelsea 16 9 3 4 30 11 30 +19
4 Manchester City 16 8 5 3 21 12 29 +9
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 16 7 5 4 25 22 26 +3
6 Bolton Wanderers 16 5 8 3 28 23 23 +5
7 Sunderland 16 5 8 3 20 18 23 +2
8 Liverpool 16 6 4 6 20 19 22 +1
9 West Bromwich Albion 16 6 4 6 23 27 22 -4
10 Stoke City 16 6 3 7 21 21 21 0
11 Blackburn Rovers 16 6 3 7 21 25 21 -4
12 Newcastle United 16 5 4 7 24 25 19 -1
13 Blackpool 15 5 4 6 23 29 19 -6
14 Birmingham City 16 3 9 4 17 19 18 -2
15 Everton 16 3 8 5 18 20 17 -2
16 Aston Villa 16 4 5 7 17 27 17 -10
17 Fulham 16 2 9 5 16 20 15 -4
18 Wigan Athletic 16 3 7 6 13 28 15 -15
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16 3 3 10 17 30 12 -13
20 West Ham United 16 2 6 8 14 27 12 -13


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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