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Premier League

Saturday 13th November 2010

With two straight wins coming into this game, Blackburn Rovers have hauled themselves out from the bottom regions of the table to just a point behind Spurs; a place where most clubs seem to be these days.

Without a win on four Premier League games, but with a fine Champions League record in recent weeks, Tottenham

need to start picking up points against domestic opposition, with Blackburn arriving at White Hart Lane being the last before a run of games involving two of the Champions League opponents and three of the former top four in this country.

Winning at Newcastle United on Wednesday, Blackburn showed a determination not to be beaten.  With players like Jason Roberts, Ryan Nelsen, Michel Sagado and Brett Emerton, there is enough experience there to ensure that the side is driven on.

Roberts has showed in the last couple of games that he is still a striker who can get Premier League goals and one who can exert his physical presence on opposition defences.  With some decent supply, he can make goals out of unlikely positions, through his persistence and strength, finishing well from inside the box.  His partner may be the objectionable El-Hadji Diouf or Ivan Kalinic, a lanky forward who has taken time to settle into English football.  With Mame Diouf, on loan from Manchester United, has been over-looked in recent weeks, but Rovers might come with the attitude of other visitors to the Lane of playing one up front to start off with and if Spurs don't get ahead by a few goals, then they might introduce a second striker to get something out of the match.

The midfield contains the skilful David Dunn, but his legs are not what they were and he finds keeping up with a high tempo more difficult than during his first spell at Ewood Park.  There is a good passing ability with Dunn, as there is with Morten Gamst Pedersen, who can create from a wide area or pop up in any position along the edge of the 18 yard line and pop a goal in with his cultured left foot.  Once more, it would be nice to see him, like other wide midfielders, tracking back towards their own goal rather than heading for ours.  With the battling Grella and Andrews missing, Brett Emerton has had to take on a lot of the defensive midfield work and his runs on the right wing are curtailed because of that.  Defenders Phil Jones, who interests Spurs and one of our former defenders, Pascal Chimbonda, have both been deployed in midfield to try and anchor the middle four (or maybe five for this match), so there is an area there, where they might lack the experience of playing in midfield.  David Hoilett is a youngster coming into the squad for his second season, with an attacking, pacy aptitude and Allardyce might try to spring a surprise on Spurs by fielding a relatively unknown quantity.

The defence would normally be made up of Gael Givet, Christian Samba, Ryan Nelsen and former Real Madrid man Salgado.  Last season Salgado got the run-around from Bale and he might be in for another tough test this time, but with Emerton in front of him, they will double up to prevent the Welshman getting down the line, but that will also tie up a midfielder in the process.  Whoever plays down the middle for Spurs, with it looking like Crouch, as he is the only fit striker we have at the moment, will be up against the giant Samba, who is dominant in the air at the back and up front when he lumbers forward for set-pieces.  it will need a good quality of cross to take him out of the game and low balls into the box might be the order of the day this time around.

Givet has been at Blackburn for a while now and is just settling in.  He has been subject to a couple of red cards since he arrived, but now he seems a more steady performer, with an eye for getting a goal or two.  Nelsen has World Cup experience after his campaign in South Africa with the All Whites and he is another powerful defender who enjoys the aerial side of the game.  Not so quick on the floor, the presence of a Defoe might have made things more difficult for him.

With Spurs having to rely on the same players week in, week out, there is an increase of knocks being picked up and tiredness is setting in.  With Palacios, Sandro and Kranjcar given a chance last Saturday and Bentley on Tuesday, with none particularly shining, Harry has a tough job deciding who might be ready to come in and do the job he needs ... i.e. put in a good performance with the emphasis on getting goals and dominating the other side.  Who will be the one to put in such a performance, I wouldn't like to hazard a guess. 

The potential match-winners we have are all laid up and VDV is tiring with every consecutive game he plays.  Spurs might have to rely on the tried and tested, which should be enough if they take their chances.  So, this won't be a classic, but Spurs should just about edge it although, some of the hard to please fans might not appreciate the gritty way they have to go about getting a victory ...

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 : -  Jermain Defoe (out - ankle), Michael Dawson (out - knee & ankle), Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin), Jamie O'Hara (out - back);  Ledley King (out - groin); David Bentley (doubtful - calf); Roman Pavlyuchenko (doubtful - back); Tom Huddlestone (doubtful - ankle); Robbie Keane (doubtful - ankle); Aaron Lennon (out - hamstring); Giovani dos Santos (out - groin); - (-); - (-)

BLACKBURN ROVERS :  -  Keith Andrews (out - groin); Vince Grella (out - groin); Benjani (out - hamstring); Martin Olsson (out - hamstring); Steven Nzonzi (out - hamstring); - (-); - (-); - (-); 


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Tottenham Hotspur   4    Blackburn Rovers   2      (Half-time score : 2-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 13th November 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Assistant Referees :  Mr. R. Ganfield; Mr. A. Newbold
Fourth Official :   Mr. D. Whitestone
Crowd :   35,700
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Dry, chilly
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

  2  Hutton
  4  Kaboul
13  Gallas     
32  Assou-Ekotto

11  van der Vaart   (12  Palacios 85)
  8  Jenas
14  Modric     
  3  Bale   

  9  Pavlyuchenko    (30  Sandro 88)
15  Crouch 

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
22  Corluka
19  Bassong
  5  Bentley 

Blackburn Rovers :

  1  Robinson

27  Salgado  (10  El Hadji Diouf  37      )
  6  Nelsen 
  4  Samba     
  5  Givet 

  7  Emerton
28  Jones
39  Chimbonda
12  Pedersen  (  8  Dunn  63)
23  Hoilett

  9  Kalinic  (30  Roberts  46)

Unused subs: 
13  Bunn
31  Hanley
26  Goulon
41  Mame Diouf

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Blackburn Rovers
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Bale 16
Pavlyuchenko  42
Crouch  69
Bale 75

Blackburn Rovers

Nelsen 80
Givet  89

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Modric (simulation)  25
Gallas (foul)  81


Blackburn Rovers

Samba (handball)  55
El Hadji Diouf (foul) 80   


Match Report : -  
Boos turned to cheers within the space of four days, as Spurs tore into a poor Blackburn Rovers team, who offered little in a first half that could have seen them go into the break 4-0 down, but they kept plugging away and created enough chances in the second period to finish the game 4-2 losers.

Spurs had once more failed to capitalise on the chances they created in a first half when captain Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart played some intricate passing football through the midfield to open up the Rovers defence.  Chance after chance came and went, leaving the crowd feeling a little disappointed at 2-0 at the interval.

van der Vaart was played in a nominally more traditional midfield position in a 4-4-2 formation, with Pavlyuchenko partnering Crouch up front.  With Huddlestone out from taking a knock on Tuesday, Jermaine Jenas came in and with Gareth Bale on the left, the midfield looked solid enough.  The defence and keeper stayed the same as in midweek and needed an improved performance to help the forwards, who were struggling to score.

After the buglers had played the Last Post and the minute's silence had ended, the game got underway and Spurs were on the attack straight away.  An early Bale break on the left led to a corner, as Salgado blocked his cross, but the dead ball situation came to nothing, while Hoilett produced a low ball into the near post from the left, but Gomes grabbed it to prevent a Rovers player latching onto it.  Spurs were determined to pile the pressure on the visitors' goal, with Gallas hitting a 35 yard shot well over and Kaboul hitting a short free-kick at goal, only for it to be blocked for a corner.

Jenas was playing well in the early stages and had a good all-round game, showing what he does best when driving forward with the ball.  He played an astute ball between two defenders to put Bale through, but once more his cross was cut out by Salgado.  It was Jenas' cross from the left which Nelsen intercepted before it got to Crouch, which brought a corner that lead to the first goal for Spurs.  van der Vaart took it on the Tottenham right and with the Rovers defence concentrating on Crouch, Gareth Bale made a darting run to the near post to get ahead of the defenders and power a header on the the accurate delivery past Paul Robinson and his defence to open the scoring in the 16th minute.

Tottenham had a period of pressure with corners keeping the ball at the Rovers end, but they did break out in the 23rd minute to force a save from Gomes, who got behind a curling shot from Jones, some 25 yards out, which may have been going wide, but Heurelho was taking no chances. 

In the 25th minute, Spurs should have had the chance to go further ahead.  Unfortunately, another refereeing disaster imposed itself on Tottenham.  Firstly Pavlyuchenko was baulked by Pedersen as he went for a back-hell from Rafa and then when the ball came out, Luka got to it first and the lunge from Salgado floored the Croatian.  So, two bites of the cherry for the Ancient Marriner to get it right, but his decision ? .... Yes, what else but a booking for Modric for diving !!  What a joke !

It was not his only farcical decision of the day, but when we will get some sort of regulation on these officials ?  They really do affect the outcome of games and not always in the way that it was originally intended that they should.

It should have been 2-0 in the 29th minute, as Phil Jones played a short back-pass towards Robinson, but it got nowhere near the keeper and Pav stole in to reach it first and took an early shot with the outside of his foot that went way over the top, with Crouch standing inside him, waiting for a square pass to finish it into an empty net. 

Things then got worse for Pavlyuchenko when Marriner annoyed the Blackburn team this time, with Jenas making a penetrating run into the left side of the Rovers box and Samba falling on him, while the ball ran towards Paul Robinson, but Crouch stuck a leg out to reach the ball first and the keeper pushed him over.  Again, two opportunities to give a penalty and this time Marriner gave it, but from a position in the other half of the ground, it looked a little harsh.  With that in mind, perhaps the interminable length of time Marriner took to explain the laws about encroachment to the Blackburn players, was some sort of penance with Pav standing waiting to take the spot kick, which he eventually was allowed to strike at goal and he missed the target to Robbo's right.

Attacks were exchanged, with Samba heading straight at Gomes and Bale putting a low ball in from the right wing, but it was just too far ahead of the Spurs strikers.  Assuming it must have been for an injury, Salgado made way for El-Hadji Diouf and Chimbonda Moved from midfield to right back.  The Spaniard had been doing OK against Bale and while the former Tottenham defender got the better of Bale the first time he ran at him, after that Gareth had the beating of Pascal.  But it was Gomes who had to come to Tottenham's rescue in the 38th minute, as Kalinic for once used his feet instead of his elbows and turned Gallas and Kaboul in the box, firing a low shot that Gomes blocked and when the rebound fell in Hutton's direction, he sliced a clearance that flew towards his own goal and Bale had to stop Chimbonda shooting on target.

in the 42nd minute, Roman took a pass and turned away from his marker to cross the ball, but it took a deflection off Givet and brought Robinson into action with a hand throw up to knock it away.  However, in the next attack, Bale ran along the left wing and just when it looked like Chimbonda had done enough, but the Welshman got the ball up and over to the par post, where Pav ran in to head firmly past Robinson to make it 2-0.  His "I'm not worthy" bowing to the Park Lane indicated that he knew he should have put Spurs out of sight already, but was grateful for their support.

At the break, the lack of goals across the Premier League showed the importance of taking your opportunities and the 2-0 lead was a satisfactory outcome from the first half, but was still a tenuous lead.

With Rovers bringing on Jason Roberts, on a scoring streak, for the disappointing Kalinic, it was fairly obvious that Blackburn were going to play to his strengths and that would be the early long ball for him to chase and knock our defenders around.  And so it proved from the kick off, but when Tottenham got the ball, they played it well and Bale created a shooting opportunity for Modric to hit an effort wide by a yard.  The Welshman nearly scored the goal of the century when a raking pass from van der Vaart on the right picked out his run to the corner of the box and Gareth struck it firs time, but this time, his aim was off and the ball flew too high.

Five minutes in, Rovers were flinging the ball into the Spurs box and Tottenham had to defend stoically, which they did, preventing Rovers having a clear sight of goal, having to rely on quick breaks to relieve the pressure.  On the hour, one move between Modric and Bale started on the left and ended up with Bale on the right wing, from where he tried to stand the ball up to the far post, but the ball looped up off his foot and went over Robinson and luckily for the ex-Spurs keeper, also went over the bar.  Tottenham continued on the attack and van der Vaart pulled a ball back for Crouch to score, but his shot was blocked by the Blackburn keeper and before you knew it, the ball was at the other end, with Gomes punching out a cross as far as Pedersen, who returned it goal-wards with haste, leaving Gallas on the line to hack the shot clear.  

Spurs were opened up five minutes later, when substitute David Dunn played El Hadji Diouf through on the right side of the box ad Gomes made himself big to beat out the Senegal striker's effort, but it proved to be a vital save, as at 2-1, things might have been a bit nervy for the remainder of the game, but in the 63rd minute Crouch pout the result further in Tottenham's favour.  When VDV put Pavlyuchenko through on the D, it looked like it would be 3-0, but his low shot was beaten out by Robinson's save.  The ball fell to Gael Givet around the penalty spot, but he stumbled on it and before anyone could react Crouch was there to poach a much-needed goal for the team and the player himself.  It is the sort of scrappy goal we need to get better at scoring, but it gave even more breathing space at a time when Rovers looked like getting back in the match.

Gomes had to be alert to deny Hoilett's 25 yard drive and Robinson also saved well from Pav, who was put in by JJ, but his shot was pushed away by the keeper in the 73rd minute.  However, a minute later, Alan Hutton, who had an impressive game, got away on the right and put in a ball that van der Vaart did well to bring down, but did not have time to do anything with, as Bale took a shot that seemed to take an eternity to cross the line, with the early take leaving Robinson stranded and the ball hit the net to make it 4-0 with his second of the match.

With just over a quarter if an hour left, Spurs could let the game progress as they had been playing and look for more goals, but what happened is what usually happens when we think that we are comfortably leading a game.  We nearly let it go with the opposition coming back into the game.  Diouf put a free header wide from Emerton's swung-in free-kick and although Jenas went on a long run into the right hand side of the box, his finish was pulled wide. 

With ten minutes to go, another free-kick caused a bit of panic in the Tottenham defence and while it was cleared twice, it didn't go far enough, only reaching Dunn about 25 yards out.  His shot was flying about three inches above the ground and going wide, until Ryan Nelsen got a touch on it to divert it past Gomes and in for 4-1.

That almost became 4-2 when Gallas got in the way of a shot from Dunn and the ball looped high into the sky and when it came down, Gomes had to back-pedal to tip it over the bar.  And the same was true when Hoilett set up Diouf, whose shot was cleared off the line by Kaboul. Harry brought on Palacios for VDV and Sandro for Pav to try and shore up the midfield and to stop Rovers progressing forward, but in the last minute of normal time, another ball was bombed into the box and when Spurs didn't get it clear on the edge of their box, this time it was Givet who drove it back past Gomes with interest, making it 4-2.

The fourth official showed five minutes of added time and what might have been a worrying time passed reasonably untroubled.  In fact, Spurs might have scored again as first a long through ball was chased by Bale, but was thwarted by Robinson racing to the right edge of his area to punch the ball as he approached the line, which he may had slid past had he grabbed the ball.  Secondly, Jenas made a driving run forward after picking off a cross field pass and he took it to the left side of the box, so not onto his best foot, but, just as he was about to pull his foot back for the shot, Jones stretched out a long leg to make a finely times tackle.

When the game ended, the three points were warmly welcomed on a chilly day.  The team had put in a very good first half and a good second half, with some good personal performances all through the team.  Nobody had a bad day and that is what has to happen if the side are to press their claim in the top four once more. 

There are few teams who could have made Blackburn look so ordinary, as they always put in a lot of leg-work, but Spurs floated around them, with VDV and Modric running the midfield for long periods of the game.

The three points were important with the programme of games coming up - Arsenal, Werder Bremen, Liverpool, Birmingham, Twente Enschede and Chelsea.  What we need to do is turn in three very good performances against three of the top English clubs, to beat Birmingham and to continue our good European form, beating Bremen if possible to ensure qualification for the knock-out stages.

At the end of that little passage of the season, we can take stock of where we are and where we might finish.

Barry Levington

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Fan Reaction : -



Once more a referee who makes erroneous decisions spoils a decent game of football and makes decisions which cannot be appealed.

Blackburn might have rightly been up in arms over the penalty awarded against them, but Modric's booking is not subject to appeal (as Bentley's isn't from Tuesday) and they will have to carry them forward, even though the referee has been shown to be wrong using TV evidence.

Spurs might equally question how they were not leading by more at the break, with chances going begging and Pav missing from the spot.  Chimbonda had something to say to him while he was lining up to take the spot-kick, but referee Marriner was too busy getting players back behind the 18 yard line to notice the gamesmanship being played out around the penalty spot.

And the ref almost cost Spurs dearly.  Hutton went rampaging forward in the second half, only to be brought down, but Marriner went to blow by putting the whistle up to his mouth, before comically keeping it going past his mouth and scratching his head instead.  Not so funny was the move breaking down and play continuing with Blackburn breaking away and Gallas having to kick the ball off the line.

It is about time something was done about refereeing.  Whether that be video evidence or relegation and promotion for refs, who seem too comfortable to make these sort of mistake son a seemingly weekly basis, safe in the knowledge they will be back taking a Premier League game next week.

Luckily, Spurs cashed in on some good approach play and some sloppy second half defending by Rovers to take the points, which with the run of games ahead, puts three more in the bank.

Trevor Morgan

My main gripe with the referee is his pernickety insistence on making sure all the Blackburn players were out of the area and warned about encroachment and then, when Pavlyuchenko missed the penalty, he failed to make the kick be re-taken, as a number of Rovers players were in the box.

Another example of referees not having the courage of their conviction

East Stan








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



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

Position before the match :  7th
Position after the match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  7th


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