Birmingham City (Home)
Premier League

Sunday 22nd May 2011

Spurs enter their last game of the season with a mixture of emotions, following their experiences in the Champions League and the fact that they have not qualified for that competition next season.  So, needing to better Liverpool's result at Aston Villa on Sunday, they will be hoping for a win to take them into the Europa League if they secure fifth place.  As for our visitors, they will have similar misgivings about the way the season is ending for them after winning the League Cup against Arsenal at Wembley.  Since then, they have suffered in a similar way to us after we beat Chelsea in 2008, when we couldn't pick up a result after that for some time.

Birmingham's recent form has been dismal and their spiral towards the bottom of the league has been a result of their lack of goals and some sloppy performances allowing teams to steal a march on them.  Last season, their ability to win 1-0 saw them do well, but this season a total of 36 in 37 games has left them one goal outside of the bottom three on goal difference.

With injuries hitting them at just the wrong time, the need for experienced heads will be more necessary than ever.  With the likes of Stephen Carr and Barry Ferguson all have lots of games under their belts, but other major players who have done well for the Blues will be missing, such as Lee Bowyer, Alexandre Hleb and Obafemi Martins, who scored the League Cup winning goal are all likely to be out. 

Spurs are said to be interested in Brum's goalkeeper Ben Foster, who they have tracked since his days at Stoke City and he has been getting good reviews this season and has had a lot to do.  With Scott Dann having been missing from the defence, Stuart Parnaby had come in and now he is injured too.  Roger Johnson is a dominant presence in the middle of the back four and Stephen Carr still works the line on the right side, although he is not as quick as he was in his Tottenham days.  Martin Jiranek has been preferred alongside Johnson, but he too has an injury, as does Martin Taylor, so Curtis Davies might take his place there and Liam Ridgewell can play in the middle or on the flank and he is a competitive defender whether on the ground or in the air.

The midfield could be shorn of Bowyer, Hleb and definitely David Bentley, who cannot play against Spurs, who loaned him to Birmingham.  This leaves Ferguson as a lone old head there, although Sebastian Larsson and Craig Gardner both have a lot of Premier League games behind them.  Both like to attack and this may have been some of City's problems, in that the defensive midfielders lacked pace and there has been a lack of protection in front of the back four.  Keith Fahey can come in, but he is another attacking wide player as is Jean Beausejour.  Neither would be classed as players who would dig in just in front of the defence.

And up front, the re-introduction of Kevin Phillips has proved partially successful, as he is a natural goal-scorer and has notched a couple of goals, but he is now 37 and while the instinct for knowing where the goal is may be as keen as ever, his reactions are dimmed with the passing years.  With Cameron Jerome having a less than prolific year in attack and Nikola Zigic also not begin a regular scorer, Alex McLeish has had issues there and now Zigic, Martins and McFadden are all injured, there is a limited choice of players to take on the goal-scoring responsibilities.  Former Blackburn Rovers and AEK Athens striker Matt Derbyshire has been started of late to try to net the goals they desperately need.

For McLeish, this should have been the best season of his career in England, but it is turning into a bit of a nightmare, while Spurs have to match or better Liverpool's result, Birmingham have to match or better those of Wigan Athletic and Blackpool.  People will be nervously listening to the news being transmitted in from other grounds and that can transmit itself to the players when the jitters hit the fans. 

Spurs have been decent at home this season, but have been stifled at times by teams who pack the midfield and defence.  They will want to finish the season in front of their own fans with a flourish, but surely Birmingham have to play with one eye on grabbing a goal somewhere along the line, as, even in games like Blackpool the other week, we got a goal, albeit a late one.  Birmingham might need two to be sure, so if they come out, then Spurs could hit them on the break and that might leave them even more open as they chase the game.  An early goal for Spurs could ensure a result and I think they will run out reasonably comfortable winners, leaving the Blue noses with potentially red faces ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    3      Birmingham City    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 (hopeful - knee); Tom Huddlestone (hopeful - ankle); Bongani Khumalo (out - foot); Gareth Bale (out - ankle); Heurelho Gomes (hopeful - back); William Gallas (possible - calf);  Rafael van der Vaart (doubtful - calf); Steven Pienaar (doubtful - groin); - (-); 

BIRMINGHAM CITY :  -   Nikola Zigic (out - knee); Martin Taylor (out - shoulder); Scott Dann (out - hamstring); Obafemi Martins (out - groin); David Bentley (out - on loan from THFC); Enric Valles (out - ankle); James McFadden (out - knee); Alexandre Hleb (out - knee); Lee Bowyer (doubtful - hamstring); Martin Jiranek (doubtful - ankle); Stuart Parnaby (doubtful - groin); - (-); - (-); 


Sky Sports 2 & HD2 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.25  (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
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
>  TalkSport (DAB or 1089 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   2    Birmingham City   1      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 22nd May 2011
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,119
Referee :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, warm, sunny
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

  4  Kaboul
20  Dawson (c)
26  King
25  Rose

  7  Lennon
14  Modric
30  Sandro
  6  Huddlestone  (21  Kranjcar  83)

18  Defoe
  Crouch  (  9  Pavlyuchenko  39  )

Unused subs: 
  1  Gomes
22  Corluka
32  Assou-Ekotto
  8  Jenas
12  Palacios

Birmingham City :

26  Foster

  2  Carr (c)
  5  Johnson
32  Davies
  6  Ridgewell    

  7  Larsson  (14  Derbyshire     )
  8  Gardner 
12  Ferguson     
18  Fahey

10  Jerome

Unused subs: 
  3  Murphy
20  Valles Prat
25  Mutch
27  Redmond
30  Asante

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Birmingham City
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Pavlyuchenko 49
Pavlyuchenko 90+3

Birmingham City

Gardner 79

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  




Birmingham City

Ferguson (foul)  45
Ridgewell (foul)  51
Derbyshire (simulation)  86


Match Report : -  
With the season going to the last kick in typical Tottenham style, a goal from the right boot of Roman Pavyluchenko gave Spurs fifth place in the table and automatic qualification to the Europa League and condemned Birmingham City to relegation on points rather than on goals scored, as had been the case just before the 2-1 win was sealed.

Spurs were well worth this win in a weird game that saw Birmingham needing a win to be realistically safe from going down, but not appearing to want to make any attempt to go for the three points.  The lack of attacking intent perhaps sums up why they are going to be playing Championship football next season, with few efforts to cross the halfway line in the first half and their first shot on target that Cudicini had to save coming in the 71st minute.

As for Spurs, they did what they have come to do best.  Have the majority of the play and struggle to put teams away.

Two goals from substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko settled the game, when Spurs should really have been making City keeper Ben Foster, widely tipped to be a target for Spurs in the summer, work a lot harder.  Shots went wide and crosses over the intended target, leaving the visiting defence relatively comfortable in coping with what problems we posed.

Harry Redknapp had a couple of enforced changes to make, as injuries to Steven Pienaar and Rafael van der Vaart meant starts for Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe.  While Spurs had the early possession after kicking off, it took until the 10th minute before we managed to get a save out of Foster.  Crouchy took the ball down in the box and slipped it to the right where Sandro moved forward to a narrow angle and fired in a low shot that took the keeper by surprise and he had to kick the ball out for a corner with his feet at his near post.

Twice Tommy tried trademark shots from outside the box and twice blue shirts rushed him to block his efforts, but Sandro hit a shot on the turn on the left hand corner of the area to bring a tip-over save from Foster with 14 minutes gone.  Tottenham were moving the ball forward through the midfield, but the build-up seemed a little slow, allowing Birmingham to get men back behind the ball and without the high tempo, they failed to get in behind them that often.  Modric was probing with his runs and passes, as the Blues allowed Tottenham all the ball in their own last two thirds, while they presented massed ranks in their own last third, making it difficult for Spurs to make too many openings.

Rose flashed a cross with nobody alert to touch it in after Defoe managed to turn a pass from Modric into the path of Crouch, who hit a low shot that went wide.  Lennon's cross was won by Crouch and Defoe got his head to it, but Foster took the ball easily low to his right, although our lanky striker had got battered by Johnson and Davies as he went for that ball in the air, requiring him to receive treatment and then have to go off, with Pav coming on in his place.

With a couple of minutes to go to half-time, Kaboul marauded down the right and hit a cross that looked reasonably harmless, but Foster had to throw up a hand to push it out, as it looked like it somehow might creep past him.  With the whistle imminent, Modric found some space in a central position and he hit s shot that thudded straight into Foster's stomach.

Half-time came and went with the successful women's team showing off their League trophy, but thoughts were more concentrated on scores elsewhere to see if Liverpool were doing better than us (they weren't) and for the results among the bottom-dwellers to see if the Bluenoses were staying up (they were).

The second half saw Spurs attacking their preferred Paxton Road end, but the first action came at the Park Lane, where Fahey found himself with a shooting opportunity seconds into the 45 minutes, but he pulled his shot very wide of the goal.  When play moved to the other end Defoe forced Johnson into blocking his shot and Sandro put in a cross that Foster took well, but on 49 minutes Danny Rose's ball in from the left found Roman, about 30 yards from goal.  The pass had gone through Gardner's legs and arrived with the Russian, who strode forward a couple of paces and picked out a precise curling shot that went around Johnson and left Foster looking at the ball as it went inside his left hand post.  As frustrating as Pav can be, he can produce sublime moments like this (as well as explosive ones, like his volley at Bolton) that mark him out as a classy goal-scorer.  You just wish he did it a bit more often.

With that goal and results elsewhere, things were changing at the bottom of the table almost by the minute.  But rather than being reliant on news coming in, Birmingham should have been making sure they were masters of their destiny.  Their overly cautious approach meant that they now had to open up and try and get at least one goal ... something that might be difficult after the season they had been having with less than a goal a game and something that McLeish had recognised might cause them problems if they played too open.  But circumstances dictated that was what they needed to do.

However, they had some Spurs attacks to deal with first.  Defoe made a dart inside from the left, as he can do and hit a shot that hit Davies and flew wide, then from the resulting corner, Lennon played the ball to Huddlestone and it was quickly moved on to Modric, who from the left side of the box hit a low shot that Foster dived to save.  Pav was shooting on sight now and struck one wide and one over.

Meanwhile, there was a moment of concern at the other end, when Ledley got back to cut out a cross and from the corner to the far post, Johnson headed down, but wide, only for Ferguson to be standing on the goal-line just wide of the goal and instinctively knock the ball back across goal, where it took everyone by surprise and without time to react.  So, it took until the 64th minute to raise anything like a threat on the Tottenham goal.

The game was opening up a bit and Sandro sent Lennon away on the right wing and he sprinted 50 yards away from the Blues defenders and set up Tom Huddlestone for a shot from just outside the box, but he didn't quite get it right and it curled away from goal about a yard wide.  Play switched ends and a clear shooting opportunity for Gardner in the 71st minute saw the midfielder drill his shot into Cudicini's midriff from 25 yards out, then, in the next minute, Pav did the same with Foster at the other end, while in Birmingham's next attack a corner came out to Fahey, but he hit a shot a couple of feet wide of the Spurs keeper's goal from outside the area.

But it was another corner, in the 78th minute, that resulted in Birmingham scoring.  It was headed out by King to Ferguson on the edge of the box and his shot was blocked as Danny Rose charged it down, but the ball dropped inside to Craig Gardner, who drilled it on the half-volley through a crowd of players and past Cudicini to hit the bottom left hand corner of the Italian's net.  The blue corner of the ground turned into a jumping mass of joyous fans, who had seen their team pull themselves out of the bottom three, at the same time as other fans elsewhere in the country were probably burying their heads in their hands as the news came through.

Spurs looked like their inability to score had been undermined by the opposition breaking their habit of their own inability to hit the net.  Birmingham had obviously got the taste for it, as three minutes later, a free-kick from 25 yards was hit at goal by Gardner and with Cudicini seemingly beaten, it glanced off the top of the crossbar on its way over the goal. 

Birmingham didn't know what to do, with the results of the other teams threatened by relegation were changing all the time.  Spurs attacked and Sandro couldn't quite get a decent contact on Lennon's cross that came in chest high and Defoe couldn't quite get on the end of it at the far post with six minutes to go.  There was a scare for Spurs, with Derbyshire going down around the box, but Clattenburg pointed to give a free-kick against the Brum player for diving.

News filtered through that Wolves had scored and although still losing, they would be staying up on the number of goals scored, over Birmingham.  Substitute Kranjcar was looking for what might have been a farewell goal, but was firstly denied when blocked by Davies and then hit one powerfully wide. 

Into added time, Johnson rose again to head a corner, but Ridgewell could not get there at the far post and it looked like the chance had gone for Birmingham and that was confirmed in the third minute of added time, when Rose won the ball on the left and it went forward to Pav out wide.  The striker cut inside and with nothing much on, struck a 20-yard shot that flicked off Fahey and dipped over Foster, hitting the underside of the crossbar on the way in to give Spurs the win that secured fifth place and ensured that Birmingham would be relegated.

The blue shirted players sank to the ground and when they got back up, there was only just time to kick off, but the final whistle went before the shot from halfway got even halfway to Cudicini's goal.  The fans in the blue corner were stunned.  But to their credit, they found their voice and gave their club a vocal support that some teams might have turned into boos (even those who finished fourth).  The Spurs fans showed their admiration with a round of applause for the Bluenoses, who were defiant in defeat.

So, much as he had done back in July in Bournemouth, Pav hit two goals and Spurs ended up winning, but this win means much more than the first pre-season game.  It means European football, albeit in the Europa League (and that perhaps says much about Tottenham that we are now disappointed with being in this competition) and it also means that we don't have to rely on entering it through the Fair Play League and going through the qualifying competition that seemingly starts next week !!  it will allow Tottenham to have a pre-season, before a gruelling campaign in the Premier and Europa leagues get underway.

So, a sunny end to the season with the players collecting their club awards and wandering around the pitch, with some who will be doing it for the last time and some we need to be doing it again in years to come.

Have a great summer ... it will soon go !!

Burton Bradstock


Fan Reaction : -



For Birmingham City, it was a goal that brought about their worse nightmare, but for Tottenham it salvaged European football from a season that looked like the Champions League had taken it's toll.

Pav sparkled with a couple of goals and Luka Modric showed why he deserved the Members Player of the Year award.  Ledley (He's Only Got One Knee) King looked in control at the back, with Daws showing the same form he has shown for months now, as the Tottenham team looked good in possession, but still really miss a killer instinct to finish off their passing moves.

Pavlyuchenko did finish off Birmingham, who looked less interested in going forward than trying to hold out for a point, but when you are struggling, sometimes, it is true that attack is the best form of defence.  However, for Brum, their attack contains Jean Beausejour, possibly one of the worst players to grace the Premier League.  Any team that has the likes of Barry Ferguson and Keith Fahey in, I would suggest may be guaranteed a struggle in the top flight.  Neither showed any great determination to get their team the result they needed, with the closest Ferguson coming to it, was when he scythed Younes Kaboul down with a late tackle.

Spurs will have to prepare for a long season starting in July with pre-season matches, but at least there is some European football to look forward to and it might give the youth a chance to shine.

Unfortunately for Birmingham, the sun has temporarily set on their Premiership tenure.

Stan Chun

For all the Spurs fans moaning about not getting Champions League football next season, just look at what was happening in one corner of the Park Lane. 

Relegation could spell the end for the Midlands club, as they won the League Cup and probably never thought they would go down.  Financially, they might be in a perilous position and they need to sort that out, which will probably mean losing all their better players and in the process losing their best bet of getting back into the Premier League.

While the Europa League might not be the greatest competition to be in, it is a darn sight better than the Championship.

Gavin, Finchley




Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 0 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Manchester City 2 Sunday
Everton 1 Chelsea 0 Sunday
Fulham 2 Arsenal 2 Sunday
Manchester United 4 Blackpool 2 Sunday
Newcastle United 3 West Bromwich Albion 3 Sunday
Stoke City 0 Wigan Athletic 1 Sunday
West Ham United 0 Sunderland 3 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Blackburn Rovers 3 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 38 23 11 4 78 37 80 +41
2 Chelsea 38 21 8 9 69 33 71 +36
3 Manchester City 38 21 8 9 60 33 71 +27
4 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 71 43 68 +28
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 38 16 14 8 56 47 62 +9
6 Liverpool 38 17 7 15 59 44 58 +15
7 Everton 38 13 15 10 51 45 54 +6
8 Stoke City 38 13 7 18 46 48 46 -2
9 Bolton Wanderers 38 12 10 16 52 56 46 -4
10 West Bromwich Albion 38 12 11 15 56 71 47 -15
11 Fulham 38 11 16 11 49 43 46 +6
12 Newcastle United 38 11 13 14 56 57 46 -1
13 Aston Villa 38 12 12 14 48 59 48 -11
14 Sunderland 38 12 11 15 45 56 47 -11
15 Blackburn Rovers 37 10 10 17 43 57 40 -14
16 Wigan Athletic 38 9 15 14 40 61 42 -21
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 11 7 19 44 63 40 -19
18 Birmingham City 38 8 15 15 37 58 39 -21
19 Blackpool 38 10 9 19 55 78 39 -23
20 West Ham United 38 7 12 19 43 70 33 -27


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


Back to homepage