Blackburn Rovers (Home)
Premier League

Thursday 10th May 2007

There are few teams who are guaranteed to put up a fight like Blackburn Rovers and having beaten Charlton Athletic 4-1 in their last game at Ewood Park, it will be a good test after our last outing was a 2-0 win over the Addicks at the Valley.  Rovers have added a 2-0 win over Newcastle on the road since their big win over the relegated South London side.

Mark Hughes' side like to think that they are a footballing side and some of their players can no doubt stake a claim to that, but some are made of more rugged stuff.  Luckily, some of them will be absent with injury, which has struck a large number of their players.  With Todd, Savage and Reid all sidelined, they are short in defence and light in midfield.

The hulking frames of Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen will no doubt try to snuff out the threat from Dimitar Berbatov, but the likes of Stephane Henxhoz (lack of pace), Brett Emerton (playing out of position) and Stephen Warnock (lacking a great amount of Premiership experience) will mean the back four looks patched up and may be unaccustomed to be playing together.  They will be yelled at by Brad Friedel, who is a good shot stopper, but can be found out with his angles and his kicking.  Back-up keepers Jason Brown and Peter Enckelman might feature in the club's last game, but one of them will sit this one out.

Emerton might move up to midfield if Aaron Mokoena drops into the back four, but the South African is more likely to feature in midfield, alongside the Turkish international Tugay, the speedy Norwegian Morten Gamst Pedersen and the tricky ex-Gooner David Bentley.  It is a good mix of differing talents, but might also lack the discipline to play as a unit, with two individual wide men and two central midfielders, who lack a great amount of pace.  Anyone running through the midfield (Zokora) might find space open up to do so.

In the forward line, they are best served at the moment, with their thre emain strikers among the goals, much like Tottenham.  Young Englishman Matt Derbyshire, well-travelled South African Benny McCarthy and vastly experienced Jason Roberts have all hit the target of late, with another youngster Paul Gallagher and ex-Monaco striker Shabani Nonda available to play off the bench.

With Blackburn almost out of a UEFA Cup place, but still in with a sniff, they will be fired up by their Welsh manager to give it the whole 110%, but with a performance of passing like Tottenham showed in beating Charlton in parts, the side should be able to see off Rovers.  They will need to close down the wide men and be strong against the two forwards, but the running of Jenas and Zokora might be the difference between the two sides in the end.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Blackburn Rovers  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Young-Pyo Lee (knee); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Dorian Dervite (knee); Mido (groin); Ricardo Rocha (ankle)

BLACKBURN ROVERS :  -  Andy Todd (knee); David Dunn (hamstring); Robbie Savage (broken leg); Andre Ooijer (broken leg); Steven Reid (knee); Zurab Khizanishvili (knee)


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
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)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

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
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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    Blackburn Rovers   1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Thursday 10th May 2007
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,974
Referee :  Rob Styles (Waterlooville)
Weather :  -   Wet
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


King (c)

Malbranque (Ghaly 29 [Keane 60])


Unused subs

Blackburn Rovers :


Nelsen (c)

Kerimoglu (Gallagher 90)
Mokoena (Derbyshire 76)


Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Blackburn Rovers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 67

Blackburn Rovers

McCarthy 32

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  



Blackburn Rovers

Mokoena (foul)
Pedersen (foul)
Roberts 90 (foul)  

Roberts 90 (Second yellow - dissent)

Match Report : -  
A game in which a win would have seen Tottenham go into next season's UEFA Cup saw the team fight back for a point and suffer a fit of pique from one of their own players as Jermain Defoe's goal took the side into the last game still requiring a point.

Blackburn worked hard in the first half and their movement and passing had Tottenham struggling after easing to a win over Charlton Athletic just three days before.  With Spurs having problems putting passes together and the strength of Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts up front, it was a half when they fought to keep in the game.  Rovers displayed their normal physical approach allied with time wasting that started as early as the eighth minute.  In my opinion, they really are one of the most objectionable sides in the Premiership.

Having said that, you had to admire their first half display.  The goal came when Tottenham did not close down Pedersen on the left wing and his far post cross saw Ledley King underneath it and Anthony Gardner was too far off McCarthy, who found the space to head back across Robinson and into the other side of the goal to give Rovers a 32nd minute lead.  Before that Pedersen played a corner short to Roberts and hit the return pass low, but well wide of the goal as he cut in from the right.  Interestingly, a couple of Blackburn players tried too hard to foul Spurs men and ended up coming off worse.  Berbatov showed the way to avoid such challenges, as he performed a quick drag-back to leave Tugay heading in the wrong direction !!  However, Mokoena picked up a yellow card (and should have had a possible two more in the match) for a bad tackle from behind on Malbranque, which ended the Frenchman's involvement in the game.  After Steed had limped on for a number of minutes on came Hossam Ghaly for a somewhat tepid cameo.

From the ensuing free-kick, Tottenham played a highly complex free-kick, which ended up with Friedel grabbing the ball high under his crossbar after a couple of passes saw Pascal Chimbonda get in behind the defence, but only volley it high into the danger area.  When Spurs did open up a good chance, Defoe's far post cross from the right found Anthony Gardner coming in and his stooping header did not carry enough power to threaten Friedel's goal.  Another headed opportunity to Chimbonda ended up straight at the American keeper too.

Then came the away goal and Roberts hit a low shot that our Robbo got down to well on a wet surface, while some diffident defending let them in again and McCarthy's shot had to be blocked by Ledley.  As crosses started to come into the goalmouth, Dawson and King headed them out and Robinson had to come for one and chose to punch, while taking Samba out with him.  As in similar games, Spurs failed to get Lennon into the game and he looked unwilling to get stuck in and was muscled out of a few runs.  Ghaly's passes were lacksidaisical and under-weighted, leaving him the object of some derision from the crowd.  More of which was to come.  However, he did manage to hit the target with Tottenham's best chance when a ball was blocked and flew into the air, allowing him to volley it at goal, making Friedel save.  Too often, the Egyptian and others tried to play a difficult ball over the middle of the defence, but on a wet pitch, there was no hope of getting any back-spin on the ball.

The appearance of Nayim in the half-time break brought shouts of "Nayim from the halfway line" as he talked about his time at Spurs and that goal against Arsenal.  Last time he caused such a stir at the Lane was when the cameras focused on him when we were playing Bolton one Christmas with the chance to go fourth in the table.  With fifth possibly at stake on this and Sunday's results, it was a case of deja vu.

Into the second half, Tottenham had to press more and whether Blackburn ran out of steam or whether it was just them being pushed back, Tottenham enjoyed more territorial domination and used the flanks a lot more.  Aaron cut inside from the left to hit a low shot that Samba blocked and Ghaly nearly played in Defoe, but he was given offside.  With the pressure building, Rovers got reckless with some of their challenges and when Pedersen brought Defoe down as he prepared to shoot, he got a yellow card and Spurs got a free-kick.  As Berba shaped up to take it, we all hoped he would reproduce the West Ham dead ball, but Friedel managed to push it up and then grab the dropping ball. 

Having played a couple more directionless balls and not shown much effort to gat back and win the ball, Martin Jol decided that Robbie Keane was the man to spark a revival for Tottenham, at the expense of Ghaly.  The Egyptian trudged towards the dug-out and then produced his most incisive piece of action of the night when he ripped off his shirt and threw it onto the running track.  He went off down the tunnel, with Jol standing stonily looking in the opposite direction and the half-naked sight of his back will probably be the last we see of Ghaly, as sections of the crowd sang "You're not fit to wear the shirt."

It almost looked a bad move as a long free-kick to the far post saw Samba creep in behind Gardner on the left to head against the bar from a narrow angle.  Luckily for Spurs, the ball bounced to a place where no Blackburn player strayed.  Pedersen also fizzed a low cross into the Spurs goalmouth, but there was again no Rover making his way into that zone.  For Spurs, it was fortunate, which was borne out a minute or two later, when the equaliser came.  Tainio was instrumental in winning the ball and Keane opened up the defence with a ball into Berbatov on the right side of the box.  He made a yard by shimmying past the defender and struck a low shot from a tight angle, which Friedel could only parry as it shot off the wet turf, leaving Defoe sniffing it out and the easy task of putting it into an empty net.

With 24 minutes left, Tottenham started to go for the winner.  Michael Dawson made his way into the opposing penalty area and headed one and shot one wide, while Robbie Keane was making inroads into the Blackburn area.  He dinked a neat pass through to Defoe and as Friedel came out to him, he took the ball away and tried to set up Dimitar, but he was crowded out.  It did leave Rovers with the chance to break and Pedersen had two chances with a volley that he tried to replicate van Basten's European Championship final goal, but hit the West Stand instead, then he was denied by Chimbonda's header as he came in behind the Spurs right back.

As the game moved into added time, there was a frantic finale.  Chimbonda moved forward on the right, cut inside and played Robbie Keane in.  Standing inside the area, he turned unmarked and struck a shot past the Blackburn keeper, only to see it hit the post full on and bounce back out into Friedel's arms.  It was definitely a case of if only !!

With seconds remaining, Jason Roberts made a rash tackle on Defoe from behind and earned a yellow card.  He kicked the ball away, but Rob Styles did nothing about that (as he had failed to do from the early stages when the red shirted visitors did that on regular occasions).  As the wall lined up, I am not sure if Roberts knocked the ball away again or whether he said something out of turn, but either way, it was an ill-advised thing to do, as the yellow came out again for the second time in a few seconds and was followed by a red card.

Arguments ensued, so when the time came for Berbatov to take the free-kick, the moment had gone and the ball floated over the top and with it the chance to seal a win.

With both sides hitting the woodwork and having the best of a half each, perhaps a draw was the fair result and it keeps the interest going into the final game.

With the crowd taking the total number of fans through the turnstiles at White Hart Lane past the one million mark, it will take a few more on Sunday to see if the team can make it back into the UEFA Cup.  With 102 goals scored this season, we might need a few more Sunday too.





Other scores this weekend :
Chelsea 0 Manchester United 0 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 37 28 5 4 83 26 89 +57
2 Chelsea 37 24 10 3 63 23 82 +40
3 Liverpool 37 20 7 10 55 25 67 +30
4 Arsenal 37 19 10 8 63 35 67 +28
5 Everton 37 15 12 10 51 35 57 +16
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 37 16 9 12 55 53 57 +2
7 Bolton Wanderers 37 16 7 14 45 50 55 -5
8 Reading 37 16 6 15 49 44 54 +5
9 Portsmouth 37 14 11 11 45 42 53 +3
10 Blackburn Rovers 37 15 6 16 49 51 51 -2
11 Aston Villa 37 11 16 10 41 39 49 +2
12 Middlesbrough 37 11 10 16 41 48 43 -7
13 Newcastle United 37 11 9 17 37 46 42 -9
14 Manchester City 37 11 9 17 28 42 42 -14
15 Fulham 37 8 15 14 37 57 39 -20
16 Sheffield United 37 10 8 19 31 53 38 -22
17 West Ham United 37 11 5 21 34 59 38 -25
18 Wigan Athletic 37 9 8 20 35 58 35 -23
19 Charlton Athletic 37 8 9 20 32 58 33 -26
20 Watford 37 5 12 20 28 58 27 -30



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