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Premier League

Saturday 07th May 2011

With Blackpool having comprehensively beaten Spurs in the game at Bloomfield Road in February, this game takes on a new light in that the Seasiders are now looking for a double that might help them stay in the top flight.  Avoiding a one season appearance in the Premier League was always the aim for Blackpool, but after an impressive first half of the season, hopes and expectations became inflated.

How they are able to meet those demands with a current run that has had them on the slide is a task that could make Ian Holloway a legend in the Lancashire town ... well, more than he is already.  That run is five defeats and three draws since that win over us, which was their last victory, although Blackpool are slightly better away from home as they have been at home this campaign.

It was an early penalty that set Tottenham back in the away match, with Blackpool using their pace in attack to catch Spurs out twice more, before Roman Pavlyuchenko hit a last minute consolation.

With Charlie Adam's midfield play grabbing the headlines and the fact that the team score goals, it is at the back where they have been letting them in which has been the biggest cause for concern among the Tangerines faithful.  Goalkeeper Kingson had an outstanding game against us and the defence snuffed out our attack on a day when the Spurs team failed to look up for it.  The Ghanaian could be under pressure for the goalkeeping position as Matthew Gilks and Paul Rachubka is now fit again and they will be hoping to make the start in this match, as Gilks made his comeback last week against Stoke City.  Keith Southern is a determined defender who can also play in midfield and Alex Baptiste is a mobile centre half, but Tottenham should have been posing them more problems, so hopefully in this home match, things will prove more difficult for the Blackpool defenders to solve.  Stephen Crainey, Ian Evatt, Neil Eardley and Craig Cathcart are all honest, hard-working defenders, who are putting everything into their team's efforts to prevent the other side from scoring, but invariably, they do and that should give Tottenham some hope. 

Up front they have a good mix of power, speed and experience, with Gary Taylor-Fletcher a more traditional centre forward, with DJ Campbell adding speed and Brett Ormerod the nous to score from any loose ball in and around the six yard box.  Jason Puncheon has done well in recent games and he is both a creator and scorer, so will need to be shunted into a dead end to stifle his ability to make chances with his pace, while James Beattie might be thrown in to stir things up in the middle of the Tottenham defence with his physical approach, although he is no longer the player he was and the tactic of putting him in might slow down their attack.

In midfield, Blackpool have a variety of players who can cause problems.  Winger Luke Varney has a very good delivery and can find the net from distance with a good shot, while Welshman David Vaughan can operate on the other wing and is a tireless worker along the line.  There is some physical presence in the engine room, with Sergey Kornilenko adding some meat to the side, although he usually comes off the bench.  Frenchman Elliot Grandin has been a regular pick by Holloway and he can use the ball well in tight situations, as can former Spur Andy Reid, who only needs a yard to whip in pacy crosses to tempt the forwards to attack.  Matt Phillips is an athletic midfielder who likes to get up and down the pitch, as proven in the game at Bloomfield Road, where he created a late goal with a burst into the box.

Of course, Spurs know all about Charlie Adam, as they were very close to buying him in the January transfer window, but his loyalty to Blackpool despite not moving on in that window shows that he is an honourable man as well as a very good player.  A dead ball expert, he also possesses a range of passing and a fierce shot off both feet, so he is their star player, who needs to be paid close attention.

Blackpool will be quick off the blocks to try and catch Spurs out, but a good tempo from Spurs, with the ball being moved around rapidly, should take the play towards the Blackpool goal.  If they go one up, it will leave Blackpool having to come out to get something from the game in their current position, as would befit a side in their position, so, the likes of Lennon, Bale and Modric should be able to pick holes in their back line to give the forwards some chances to feed off.

With Champions League qualification almost gone, Spurs are playing for pride and for fifth place .. .depending on whether they want Europa League football.  I think it would be a good idea to qualify for whatever competition we can, as it would be a good blooding for the youngsters if we got into the Europa League and didn't want to tire the first choices.

Whatever happens with regard to Europe, much will be determined by the result sin our remaining three games and with Liverpool currently in fifth, we have some catching up to do, which should start here ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Blackpool    1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Wilson Palacios (out - knee); Ledley King (out - groin); Alan Hutton (out - knee); Vedran Corluka (out - ankle); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - hamstring); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Bongani Khumalo (out - foot); - (-);

BLACKPOOL :  - David Carney (out - shoulder); Chris Basham (out - broken leg); - (-); 


ESPN - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (highlights)  Also available online.
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) & Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on on
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>  TalkSport (DAB or 1089MW)

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
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 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.


Tottenham Hotspur   1    Blackpool   1      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 07th May 2011
Kick Off :  5.30 p.m.
Crowd :   35,585
Referee :  Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Blackpool kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Warm, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  4  Kaboul
20  Dawson (c)       
13  Gallas     
25  Rose (21  Kranjcar 90+1) 

11  van der Vaart
30  Sandro
14  Modric
  3  Bale (15  Crouch 64) 

  9  Pavlyuchenko (  7  Lennon 46     

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini

19  Bassong
22  Corluka
  8  Jenas 

Blackpool :

21  Gilks

  5  Eardley     
15  Baptiste
  6  Evatt
  3  Crainey

  4  Southern
11  Vaughan
26  Adam

26  Campbell
41  Kornilenko       (42  Puncheon 46)
12  Taylor-Fletcher  (42  Cathcart 77)

Unused subs: 
23  Phillips
43  Reid
10  Ormerod

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 89


Adam (p) 76

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Gallas (foul)  34
Dawson (handball)  75
Lennon (kicking ball away)  79 



Eardley  (foul)  22
Kornilenko  (foul)  40


Match Report : -  
With this 1-1 draw, which suited neither Spurs nor Blackpool, it showed all that is wrong about the Premier League at the moment.

Too many teams who are hell-bent on survival to the extent that they have little interest in playing and spend too much time trying to run the clock down or spoil the entertainment that can be had.  This was surprising, as all we had heard about Blackpool was how refreshing their approach was to the game having won promotion to the top flight.  How they went out to attack and didn't try to clog.  Well, the reality is quite a different story.

I guess the fallacy that has grown up around Blackpool came from their start to the season, but as it has worn on, with other teams realising their weaknesses, they have become ever more reliant on more prosaic methods to keep their Premiership place.  How Tottenham came out of this game with more cards than the visitors, I am yet to work out.  I am not even sure that referee Lee Probert could explain how that came to be as his control over the game slipped from his grasp within a few minutes of kick off.

Starting with winger Danny Rose at left back, with Gareth Bale in front of him, Tottenham had pace to burn on that side of the team and Blackpool knew it.  A couple of "heavy" challenges on the little man saw the referee speak with the Blackpool players, who were trying to intimidate Rose at the very least, but there were no cards for these bad fouls.

Tottenham had started brightly enough, but there was no tempo about their game and they looked sluggish despite not playing for a week.  Dawson hit a powerful shot a foot over the bar from 25+ yards with six minutes on the clock and then a shot from Bale's low effort from outside the box brought a dive to his left by Matthew Gilks to push the ball wide with 13 minutes gone.  Four minutes later, Modric fired in a drive from just outside the area and a deflection left the keeper rooted, but the ball flew wide for a corner.

It took until 22 minutes for the ref to book Eardley, while others had got away with some dirty play, but his was particularly cynical, just chopping Rose's legs from under him when he easily went past the lumbering defender.  The "physical" side of the Blackpool game was troubling Tottenham, who didn't want to dwell on the ball too long before being clattered.  Frankly, the Seasiders play was decidedly Championship and I, for one, would be happy seeing them back there next season, if this is the rubbish they intend to serve up.

They did have an attack, where Kornilenko got put through, but Gallas got back to put in a sliding tackle that stopped his shot, although the ball ballooned into the air and dropped kindly for Charlie Adam to hit a volley at goal. Heurelho Gomes made a fine one-handed stop down to his left to keep the ball out and Dawson got in the way of Campbell's follow-up.  From that corner, Kornilenko rose unmarked for a free header, but he failed to get behind the ball and it came off one of the corners of his bonce and went over.

In the 25th minute a neat passing move between Modric and van der Vaart ended with the Dutchman taking a shot from inside the D, but he was stretching and falling, so couldn't get full power behind his effort and Gilks flopped behind the ball to his left to make an easy save.  Just after the half hour, Spurs found some joy down the left with Bale getting to the line, which he had been stopped from doing previously, but his fizzing low cross that flashed through the six yard box only needed a touch with VDV and Defoe just too far away to make any contact. 

Tottenham's frustration with the referee's approach ended with Gallas going into the book for taking Adam out on the touchline and then the Blackpool midfielder popped up 25 yards out to hit a powerful strike on goal, that Gomes had to get both hands behind to beat away.  Straight from that attack Spurs went up the other end and when Rafael played a short pass through to Defoe for the striker to pile the ball past Gilks, it was only the linesman's flag that ruled the goal out for offside.

Two more low balls across the face of goal went untouched by Spurs players and the only thing left in the half to note was a booking for Kornilenko, who took Bale late and off the pitch, leaving the Welshman needing treatment (and it was not to be for the last time). 

At half-time, the disappointing Pavyluchenko was replaced by Aaron Lennon, rumoured to be on his way out of the club after some behind the scenes bust-ups with Harry Redknapp.  It was a chance for the winger to show what he could do.  Unfortunately, he got some of the same treatment as Bale and Rose, but when he had the chance to run at players, often he could cut inside into crowded parts of the last third and then find a wall of orange in front of him.

Whether it was the substitution or the 50th anniversary of the Double celebrations at half time that gave Spurs a bit of edge at the start of the second half, but whatever it was, it was how they should have played form the start.  Keeping the ball on the floor and moving it quickly to a player in space gave Blackpool problems.

three minutes into the half, Lennon played in van der Vaart and he got a shot away under pressure from Evatt, making him out it too high, then Bale shot over after Rafa had pulled the ball back form the dead-ball line.  Luka, who was having a quiet game, danced into the penalty area on the left and just managed to get a toe poke back to VDV, but his attempted chip over Gilks lacked sufficient height to beat the keeper.

Blackpool could not get into the Spurs box and Adam tried his luck from 25 yards and had Gomes scrambling across his box, but the ball went a yard wide.  Tottenham were looking the likelier to score, but like the away game, chances were going begging, with Bale cutting in from the left to the corner of the box to curl a shot wide and then Kaboul's header back into the box from a cross wouldn't come down enough for Defoe to get a proper contact and his attempted overhead kick went over the bar.

Then Blackpool's plan to disrupt Tottenham's formation came to fruition.

I don't expect more protection for our players than any other and I mind if teams get stuck in, as long as it is fairly and that potentially damaging challenges are punished appropriately.  Unfortunately, that did not happen and when Adam stepped down on Bale's ankle, it looked bad from where I was on the other side of the pitch, but looked even worse on TV.  Probert didn't think it worthy of a free-kick and that summed up this excuse for a referee's attitude.  Booking Lennon for kicking the ball away is fine ... it is in the laws, but why not try and stop players getting put out of the game ?  Adam had already had a strop and tried to kick the ball out of the ground when a drop ball didn't go his way, then let go a volley of abuse at the ref.  Action taken ?  None.  And when the game was coming towards full time, did he take any action every time a Blackpool player kicked the ball away ?  No, of course not.  Consistency should be the very least we expect from referees, but it never happens.

van der Vaart tried to curl a shot in, but Gilks read it comfortably, while a corner fell at the far post to Dawson, but the captain's shot went into the side netting.

Blackpool infrequent sorties into the Spurs half usually came to nothing, but just after the hour, a ball in from the right wing by Vaughan to Dudley Campbell's feet saw him hit the ball first time.  Heurelho was already going further across his goal, but managed to stop himself and then the ball from entering the goal by getting a foot on it to divert it wide for a corner.

When a penalty was given to Blackpool (and when I say given, I mean gift-wrapped) for handball by Michael Dawson, the fact that he had been pushed in the back before making contact with the ball went completely un-noticed by Probert and his two blind men ... sorry, linesmen.  But we should not have been astonished by this, as missing pushes on Spurs players throughout the game was the only consistent thing about the officials' performances.

The reason Spurs are where they are in the table is because we have seen too many times this season games where Tottenham dominate and don't win.  So at 0-0, a penalty against us was about par for the course.  And the hype around Adam, who was poor on the day (and to get poorer), made you think it was a formality that he would stick the ball away.  He hit the ball low to Gomes' left and the ball was heading for the bottom corner, until the Brazilian keeper dived to get his hand behind the ball and push it wide for a corner.

Much jubilation and back-slapping ensued, but with a quickly taken corner, the Spurs defence was still hyped up when the ball came in.  Gomes went to punch, the ball didn't go far, so he tried to get it again and in a crowded penalty area, he knocked over the considerable frame of Gary Taylor-Fletcher to concede a second penalty within just over a minute.  This time, Adam put the ball the other side and beat Gomes to give Blackpool a somewhat undeserved lead.  As befits a team playing like Blackpool, their first thought after taking the lead was to take off a forward and bring on a defender.

They needed him as Spurs pressed forward and Sandro failed to repeat his goal of last week with a shot that found the back of the lower Paxton, then Defoe made a yard on the edge of the box, but he was surrounded by Blackpool players to take the sting out his effort and make it easy for Gilks.  With Spurs pushing up and Gallas moving further forward, it left them open to the break and when Campbell pulled across for substitute Jason Puncheon, it looked like that would be it for today, but the striker scuffed his shot well wide and the home crowd breathed again.  The same player had a good opening, but put in an innocuous curler that Gomes grabbed and set Spurs on their way again.

With just over a minute of normal time remaining, but loads to add on for the Tottenham trainer being on the pitch and for Blackpool's time-wasting, Luka Modric played the ball to Jermain Defoe on the edge of the box and moving the ball out of his feet, he hit a shot with little back-lift that rocketed into the right hand side of Gilks' goal from a central position and Tottenham were level.  I had gone along with the wave of praise for Blackpool earlier in the season, but seeing the darker side to their "character", as Adam calls it, I would be happy if it was the goal that robbed them of two points that means they go down.

In injury time, Blackpool managed to injure Danny Rose so that he could not carry on, but there was only one more opportunity for Spurs as they piled forward.  Kaboul crossed from the right to Crouch at the far post and his downward header was met by Defoe, but again, with a crowd of defenders, midfielder and attackers in front of him, he could not get proper purchase on his shot and hit it into the ground, with Gilks right behind it.

At the end, their players probably regarded it as a point well won, but their fans might need to sweat a bit more with games against Bolton and Man U to come.  For Spurs, Man City await on Tuesday and what would have been another decider for Champions League football looks like a straightforward task for City, even though it is only four days before a FA Cup semi-final.

All the above is in my humble opinion, but it is what I feel should be dealt with by the Football Association and while I would wish them to review Adam's tackle, I know full well that Probert will say he saw it and thought that it wasn't a foul. 

I would only guess, but there may be many, many more present there and who have seen it on TV who would strongly disagree.

Burton Bradstock


Fan Reaction : -



Cheeky, cheery Seaside folk ... everyone one  loves them and their bonkers manager Ian Holloway.

Well, I'm afraid this writer doesn't.

What are the most common phrases attached to Blackpool's first Premier League season ?

"Breath of fresh air"
"Attack minded"
"Joy to see football played this way"

I am afraid I wouldn't cross the road to see this type of football; the sort that involves brutal challenges, time-wasting, play-acting and it all carries the faintly stale whiff of cynicism from a desperate manager who would want his players to do exactly what it takes to keep his sad side in the Premier League.

Players cruelly scything down opponents and targeting others for a series of fouls in an attempt to force a change in personnel and team shape is nothing less than a replication of Mourinho's tactics to win against Barcelona in the Champions League and look at the vitriolic response that brought from the watching football world.

But will the same happen to Olly and his tangerine clad team ?

Don't be daft.

Media darlings to a man, the manager will give a press conference relating his team's performance in gaining a draw against the established Premier League team at White Hart Lane to a spider crawling up an escalator with a suitcase because it is about to go on it's summer holiday, but can't do so until it reaches a safe level on the moving staircase.  When it does it will unpack, get out the sun-cream and lay out on the sun lounger until June, coming back browner and more relaxed for a second crack at life.

And the papers won't be able to get enough of his homespun nonsense.

Meanwhile the truth about his side will go unreported, with star man Charlie Adam having a mediocre game (Please take note Mr, Redknapp and do not waste our valuable resources in the transfer window on this one paced, over-rated lump).  Additionally, the attacking lacked any sustained pressure and only a dodgy penalty and then a rash moment by Gomes handing them another one meant that their two bites at the penalty cherry brought one goal.

The fact that they couldn't keep Spurs out will, I hope, result in their relegation by two points ... the two they lost here with Defoe's equaliser.

Not sour grapes, just I have had enough of average players giving me a lack of entertainment and if I wanted to go and see the s***e kicked out of someone, I would go and watch rugby or hang around town centres on a Saturday night after kicking out time ... but the latter is how I remember Blackpool on summer Saturday nights anyway.

Matty Rundell

In defence of goalkeepers.

Without going through the season on a game by game basis, let's take yesterday's game, in which Heurelho Gomes didn't have too much to do.

24 minutes - Gomes makes a very good low one handed save to keep out Charlie Adam's volley.

74 minutes - low cross played in to Campbell's feet.  Hits first time shot that Gomes does extremely well to react to, as he was going the wrong way and get a foot on to take the ball wide.

75 minutes - Gomes guesses the right way to dive full length to keep out Adam's penalty.

75 minutes - still pumped up after the penalty save, the keeper goes for a cross, doesn't clear it, then follows up by trying to retrieve the ball and then knocks a Blackpool player over conceding a penalty that this time he doesn't stop.

Just on that evidence, he is 3-1 up.

I leave someone else to do the analysis of our forwards' performances in chances missed to goals scored ratio.

Billy, Wanstead


Trying to cause debate here -- now that a top four finish is almost impossible, am I the only Spurs fan who doesn't want us to finish 5th now and get into that endless  competition called the Europa League ... Thursday nights and Sunday afternoon footie down the Lane next season ... long away games in Eastern Europe, etc., etc.

Let Liverpool have that and let's just go for the league next season and get in the top four again and maybe throw in the FA Cup for good measure ... just a thought.





Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 1 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Everton 2 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Stoke City 3 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 West Bromwich Albion 1 Sunday
Fulham 2 Liverpool 5 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 36 22 10 4 73 34 76 +39
2 Chelsea 36 21 7 8 67 30 70 +37
3 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 68 39 67 +29
4 Manchester City 35 18 8 9 54 33 62 +21
5 Liverpool 36 17 7 13 59 41 58 +18
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 35 14 14 7 52 45 56 +7
7 Everton 36 12 15 9 50 44 51 +6
8 Stoke City 36 13 7 16 46 44 46 +2
9 Bolton Wanderers 36 12 10 14 49 50 46 -1
10 Newcastle United 36 11 11 14 51 52 44 -1
11 Sunderland 36 11 11 14 41 53 44 -12
12 West Bromwich Albion 36 11 10 15 52 68 43 -16
13 Fulham 36 10 15 11 45 41 42 +4
14 Aston Villa 36 10 12 14 45 58 42 -14
15 Blackburn Rovers 36 10 9 17 42 56 39 -14
16 Birmingham City 36 8 15 13 36 54 39 -18
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 10 7 19 41 62 37 -21
18 Blackpool 36 9 9 18 49 71 36 -22
19 Wigan Athletic 36 7 15 14 36 59 36 -23
20 West Ham United 36 7 12 17 41 64 33 -23


Position before the match :  6th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  6th


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