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Premier League

Saturday 13th March 2010

With injuries hitting the Spurs squad, it is time for manager Harry Redknapp to get the best out of his damaged players, with the group not quite down to 'the bare bones' but with Lennon out for another few weeks, Woodgate out for the season and King out for longer than he has been for a while, the results might have to be churned out without the finesse of previous weeks.

Tom Huddlestone's passing will be missed and the vacancy to fill in for Lennon and Bentley gives Kranjcar a starting place, while Dawson and Bassong have virtually sealed their partnership at the back in recent matches.

The central defenders will face a battering on Saturday, with Blackburn's side full tall, strapping players, who might be well suited to other forms of ball sports.  Christian Samba poses particular threat from dead ball situations with his height and in his more familiar position in defence, he might be a counter to the use of the high ball to Peter Crouch.  Similarly, his defensive partner Steven Nzonzi is a good 6'+.  Added to the likes of Nikola Kalinic, the Croatian striker, who is also a tall man, who looks to be developing the knack of scoring with 7 in all competitions, for a side who don't score too many goals.  However, it is likely that Modric, Kranjcar and Corluka have all given Harry enough info on him to produce a way of keeping tabs on him.  Muscular Jason Roberts MBE is still able to give a test to any centre-half and El-Hadji Diouf is a test for any manager, let alone an opponent.  His offensive play can sometimes be just that, with his sending off at Aston Villa being a prime example, when he hacked down Habib Beye by the Villa man's own corner flag.  Chelsea loanee Franco Di Santo is a striker with a lot of promise, with the ability to create and score goals, so will he be unleashed against Tottenham ?  I expect that he might be used off the bench, with Big Sam likely to go with the team who got beaten at Liverpool last weekend.

Without captain Ryan Nelsen, Rovers might lack a little organisation at the back, as South African Nzonzi only came in during the January window, but goalkeeper Paul Robinson will have a lot to say about how his defence shapes up.  As the man at the back, he will need to give instruction to them to try and keep out the likes of Defoe, Crouch and Pavlyuchenko.  A good keeper, but one who has been exposed to lots of shots on goal by his defence.  Not that good in the air for a tall and big man, he can be good on one-on-ones, although his angles sometimes give strikers a chance.

With wide men Morten Gamst Pedersen and Brett Emerton ready to whip balls into the box, they lack the devastating pace they once might have possessed, while other midfielders try to chip in, there is more of a attritional aspect to the play.  Keith Andrews and Vince Grella (who might be out injured) enforce the midfield, while the returning David Dunn is a bit more adventurous.  His passing and ability to hit the ball cleanly make him a player to watch.  Yidiray Basturk has come in from Stuttgart, but I don't know much about him beyond that he is a Turkish international and he is yet to play for the Lancashire club.

Other among the Blackburn defence include our former full back Pascal Chimbonda, who has been a regular at Ewood Park and we well know that he likes to get forward - either on the flank or for set-pieces - with Gael Givet having scored his first goal for the club recently, the wide defenders like to push on, so it will be interesting to see how Gareth Bale gets on against them.  Martin Olsson was sent off at the Lane last year, so we didn't see too much of him, but he might feature with injuries in the defence and midfield areas.   Another attacking full back, but one who might have seen better days is Michel Salgado.  The former Real Madrid defender had started quite a few games on the bench, but now has a place in the side, so will he be able to pitch his experience against his fading pace ?  There's only one way to find out !!

Will Tottenham be able to cope physically and mentally with another side who might come for a point and make it difficult to play against them ?  The return of Modric gives Tottenham another weapon rather than the long pass to Crouch and he has proved he can stand up to big midfielders, so I think he might prove the difference between the teams and create the chances for Spurs to take the points ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Blackburn Rovers    0

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (out - thigh); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); David Bentley (out - hip); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); - (-); 

BLACKBURN ROVERS :  -  Lars Jacobsen (out - groin); Ryan Nelsen (out - knee); Vince Grella (out - calf); - (-); 


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Tottenham Hotspur   3    Blackburn Rovers   1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 13th March 2010
Kick Off :  12.45 p.m.
Crowd :   35,474
Referee :  Howard Webb (West Yorkshire)
Blackburn Rovers kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, chilly
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
19  Bassong
20  Dawson  (c)
22  Corluka

14  Modric  (17  Gudjohnsen  88)
21  Kranjcar
  3  Bale

18  Defoe     (15  Crouch 60)
  9  Pavlyuchenko   

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
29  Livermore
  4  Kaboul

Blackburn Rovers :

  1  Robinson  (32  Brown  25)

27  Salgado
  Givet  (26  Di Santo  74)

  7  Emerton  (17  Andrews  62)
8  Dunn
12  Pedersen
15  Nzonzi

22  Kalinic

Unused subs: 
20  Basturk
9  Roberts
23  Hoilett

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Blackburn Rovers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 45+1
Pavlyuchenko 55
Pavlyuchenko 85

Blackburn Rovers

Samba 80

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  



Blackburn Rovers



Match Report : -  
With two goals and an up and down display, Roman Pavlyuchenko showed what good form he is in and with Jermain Defoe notching the first Spurs goal in first half injury time, it was difficult for a Blackburn Rovers side, which was set up in a defensive mode, to get anything from this game.

In truth, the Rafa Benitez theory about Blackburn being a physical side didn't shine through on this showing.  They were willing to pass the ball around, albeit with a lack of penetration and they proved easier to get past than several of the sides who have visited the Lane this season.  The main thrust of Tottenham's attacks were up the left wing, where Redknapp and his team had spotted a weakness in the presence of former Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado.  Dawson planted some fine passes to Bale beyond the Spaniard from about 50 yards away to set Gareth on his way.

It was a ploy which should have borne fruit long before the added two minutes at the end of the first half.  Bale's crosses did not always find their man, but were always asking questions of the Blackburn defence.  An early cross found Robinson take the ball at the near post and set David Dunn on a counter attack, but the now tubby midfielder got half the length of the pitch and into the Tottenham box before running out of steam and slowing down, allowing Palacios time to catch him with a sliding tackle to take the ball cleanly.  Blackburn could also have had a good chance when Morten Gamst Pedersen curved in a free kick that Samba got highest to, but failed to connect, with the goal in front of him.

It was a warning to Spurs, but one which was rarely reproduced.  The closest they came to threatening the Tottenham goal again came when former Spur Pascal Chimbonda went down the left and pulled the ball back to Martin Olsson, but fortunately for Spurs, the midfielder failed to realise the speed in which he had to get his shot away and Sebastien Bassong got across to thwart the effort by blocking it away.

It wasn't just Bale raiding up the left flank, as Assou-Ekotto nicked the ball away when Salgado played an under-weight pass and broke into the box.  The Spanish international could not touch him, so BAE got to the dead ball line and pulled the ball back for Pavlyuchenko at the far post, but the ball had flicked off a defender and took a long while to come down, leaving the Russian a wait for his volley, which he scuffed into the ground in the 16th minute.  Four minutes later and Bale provided a similar chance at the near post, but Roman was too far ahead of the goal to be able to turn it in.

With 25 minutes on the clock, ex-Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who had been serenaded with "England's Number One" from his former fan club in the Park Lane, suddenly fell to the ground holding his leg.  After some treatment, he limped form the field with what seemed to be a calf muscle problem.  His replacement, Jason Brown, ran on to a chorus of boos form the Park Lane ... just because he wasn't Paul Robinson.  He got a volley of "England's Number Seven" ... even though the goalie was Welsh !!  His stick from the crowd continued into the second half, when someone in Paxton blew a hooter every time Brown took a goal kick or cleared the ball !!

On the half hour, a fine ball from Dawson, angled over Salgado from his own half gave Bale a run into the area and he slid the ball across the face of goal, with Defoe just a little bit behind play to get a touch, then Givet almost put it past his own keeper when Assou-Ekotto got through on the same touch-line.  With 36 minutes gone, Defoe was slipped through by a cute Modric pass and he smashed the ball low, but Brown got down to it to keep it out, although Defoe had the last laugh of the half.  A corner on the Spurs left wing was taken by Niko Kranjcar and Corluka rose at the near post to flick it on into the six yard box, where the predator Defoe was lurking at the near post to prod home from a couple of feet out.  It had looked like the goal wasn't going to come, as Rovers packed men behind the ball, but a goal from a corner, a most unusual source, was most welcome as the whistle went for the interval.

On the restart, Tottenham continued to push onwards.  Pavlyuchenko was being swarmed all over by Samba, but managed to chest the ball back to JD, who hit the ball first time on the volley, but it went a long way wide.  Blackburn were pressurising Tottenham, without really posing too much of a problem for Gomes, but Spurs broke in the 55th minute, with Modric bringing the ball through the middle of the pitch.  He passed through to Defoe, who played it right o Pavlyuchenko, although the ball was a bit behind him.  The Russian broke his stride to pick the ball up, shifted it wide of his marker and struck a powerful shot from 20 yards out that dipped as it reached Brown and went under the keeper to end up in the net.  It was noticed that just before the goal, the Blackburn goalkeeping coach had delivered some water to Brown, by trotting around the track to the back of the goal after 55 minutes.  That goalkeeping coach was none other than Bobby Mimms, so he must have taught his keepers all he knows about diving over the ball !!

Two was not enough for Tottenham, as they continued to attack.  Modric had two chances, but lacked conviction in his finishing, while Bale had two penalty appeals knocked back by Howard Webb (no surprise there), as Salgado and Pedersen brought him down.  Strange that the ref didn't book Bale if he thought there was no contact though !!

It took until 15 minutes from time for Allardyce to throw on a second forward in Di Santo to partner Kalinic.  Palacios had to intervene with a sliding tackle almost immediately to stop the ball reaching Di Santo in a good position and from one corner, Gomes ended up punching the ball off for another corner.  From this one, the ball got to Samba at the far post, with Gomes trying to get through too many players and the Rovers centre half seemed to be climbing, but managed to head the ball into the top corner to pull a goal back at a time when it looked like Spurs might wobble.  It seemed clear that the visitors would use the aerial supremacy of Samba and Nzonzi, so Harry brought on Crouch to try and counter this ploy.

Spurs dropped deeper and almost invited Blackburn onto them in the last third, with Crouch stationed in the middle to head anything away. However, five minutes from the end, a foul by Samba on Pavlyuchenko, 30 yards out on the left gave Bale the chance to fire one in and he picked out the fouled player at the far post.  Unmarked, you could almost have put your money on him converting a volley from eight yards out, but he swung with his left, with which he missed earlier and the ball got stuck under his feet, dribbling into the six yard box.  It was kicked out, but only to Wilson Palacios, who flighted a ball to the far post, where Peter Crouch was waiting, but as he jumped with two defenders, the ball went beyond him.  Luckily, Gareth bale had seen the ball coming and adjusted his position to play the ball across the six yard box on the half volley and Pavlyuchenko had stayed alert despite missing the first opening to run in to tap the ball home for 3-1 to Spurs.  It was another striker's goal, the like that we don't get enough of.

Blackburn thought that they had got a goal back again when the ball was played up to Di Santo and he swivelled to smash the ball beyond Gomes from the edge of the box, but Webb  blew his whistle and ruled it out for handball as Dawson had bumped into the striker, who swung the ball around with his hand to shoot home.  Within a minute Tottenham nearly got their fourth, with a free-kick aimed for Crouch, but Brown came and could not get to the ball, which was knocked sideways and Pavlyuchenko volleyed towards an empty net, until Samba stuck out a leg to take the ball over the bar to deprive the Russian of his hat-trick.  If it had been anyone else (apart from Nzonzi), they may not have been able to reach the ball.

The final whistle went with Spurs still looking for goals, as Brown finally did well to beat away a powerful drive from Bale as he broke into the area.  It was a comprehensive display from Spurs, with just a little uncertainty around the Blackburn goal, but the three points from a game like this will boost confidence and set them up for the final run-in.

Stoke will provide a similar test next week and a similar performance and result will be most acceptable !!

burton bradstock


Fan Reaction : -



While this game was too easy for Spurs, with Blackburn only putting up limited resistance, there was still an element of doubt about the result when it got back to 2-1.

It was interesting to hear Big Sam bleat about not getting two penalties in the game.  They were hardly appealed for at the time by the players, so odd that he had a prime view from the front row of the West Stand Upper.

While he continues his petty sniping at Benitez, he doesn't get on with Wenger either.  Perhaps they visit the same optician though, as Allardyce failed to mention that Spurs should have had two nailed on penalties when Bale was sent crashing right in front of Howard Webb, who maintains his vendetta against Tottenham.

Or maybe he just knows how crap we are from the penalty spot and didn't want to put Spurs fans through the agony of another penalty miss !!

He is rapidly becoming the new Mark Clattenburg.

benny the ball




Other scores this weekend and mid-week :
Birmingham City 2 Everton 2 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 4 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
Burnley 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Chelsea 4 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Hull City 1 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Stoke City 0 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Fulham 0 Sunday
Sunderland 1 Manchester City 1 Sunday
Liverpool 4 Portsmouth 1 Monday
Wigan Athletic 1 Aston Villa 2 Tuesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 30 21 3 6 70 24 66 +46
2 Chelsea 29 20 4 5 69 27 64 +42
3 Arsenal 30 20 4 6 71 33 64 +38
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 29 15 7 7 53 28 52 +25
5 Liverpool 30 15 6 9 49 30 51 +19
6 Manchester City 28 13 11 4 53 36 50 +17
7 Aston Villa 28 13 10 5 39 22 49 +17
8 Birmingham City 29 12 8 9 30 31 44 -1
9 Everton 29 11 9 9 46 42 42 +4
10 Fulham 29 10 8 11 32 32 38 0
11 Stoke City 29 8 12 9 28 33 36 -5
12 Blackburn Rovers 29 9 7 13 31 48 34 -17
13 Bolton Wanderers 30 8 8 14 36 54 33 -18
14 Sunderland 29 7 10 12 37 45 31 -8
15 Wigan Athletic 30 7 7 16 28 59 28 -31
16 West Ham United 29 6 9 14 37 49 27 -13
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 29 7 6 16 23 47 27 -24
18 Burnley 30 6 6 18 31 63 24 -32
19 Hull City 29 5 9 15 27 61 24 -34
20 Portsmouth 29 5 4 20 25 61 19 -26


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the weekend :   4th


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