Birmingham City (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 30th January 2010

With Birmingham City having one of their best runs in years, a defeat at Chelsea ended their eight game unbeaten and Tottenham will be looking to go on another unbeaten run themselves after beating Fulham on Tuesday night.  However, the Brum side under Alex McLeish have proved to be a tough side to crack and there are usually few goals involved in their games.

This is often sue to the Birmingham forwards being unable to convert chances, with their leading scorer being Lee Bowyer, who has scored six with Cameron Jerome coming back into the side scoring five just behind him.  Jerome is a strong leader of the line and can score the spectacular goal - like he did at Anfield - while also being in the right place to get the tap-ins.  He will be a test for the Dawson-Bassong partnership, as I imagine that Ledley will not play two games in a week.  Brought in as the record signing for the club, Chucho Benitez has been receiving praise for his performances which contain a lot of effort and some neat skill.  He has hit three goals so far and with the other contributors on the score-sheet mainly coming from midfield.  Scottish striker Garry O'Connor is sidelined at the moment, so the only other option up front is likely to be veteran Kevin Phillips.

Sebastian Larsson can hit a shot and a dead ball, giving him a couple of goals so far this season and he can also play dangerous balls into the box, much like James McFadden, who is instrumental in getting Birmingham moving forward.  Fellow Scot Barry Ferguson is having another crack at the Premier League, having flopped when he played for Blackburn Rovers, but is faring better under former Rangers boss McLeish.  Irishman Damien Johnson can play either inside or wide, but might struggle to find a place on the bench on Saturday, as the midfield has been further strengthened by the signing of Craig Gardner from Aston Villa and he is a dogged terrier in midfield, but obviously didn't fit in with Martin O'Neill's master-plan at Villa Park.  I don't know much about Miguel Marcos Madera, who has only played once for City in midfield this season, although Keith Fahey, who was signed at the start of last season has had the odd game and the Irishman likes to play wide.

One of the inspired signings has been the loan of Joe Hart form Manchester City, with the young keeper staking a place in the England World Cup squad with some outstanding performances.  Another reason why there are not many goals in Birmingham matches.  His confidence has grown with regular games and he has kept the ball out as well as Maik Taylor, who has been almost a permanent fixture on the bench.

In front of Hart, the defence boasts some familiar names.  Ex- Spurs right back Stephen Carr has come out of retirement to feature regularly in the Brummie defence, having a new lease of life and he will be pleased that Lennon is out injured.  In the middle of the back four Liam Ridgwell and Roger Johnson have been a strong partnership, with Scott Dann also being slotted in at left back.  Putting out the same back four had bred an understanding between them and that has helped leaking sloppy goals.  With McLeish being a defender in his playing career, he will want to get that part of his team exactly right.  Former Liverpool and Portsmouth full back Gregory Vignal brings experience, as does former Middlesbrough defender Franck Queudrue, although sometimes he can be hot headed.  Centre-half Martin Taylor might be going on loan to Newcastle United, so he might not be among the playing squad and another ex-Boro man, Stuart Parnaby is also among those who can fill in at full back.

City have a decent home record and Spurs have been playing well away, even without Lennon.  It will mean that this could be a game fought out in midfield and with Palacios and Huddlestone, there might be a need for Tom to dig in and then open up City when he has a bit of space, which might be at a premium.  Birmingham will be looking to keep Spurs tied up by closing them down as much as possible and only the age of some of their players might prevent this.  Although City have had a good run, it might be that the season is starting to take its toll on their squad, thus the need for McLeish to add to his resources with the new money coming in from Carson Yeung. 

All things considered, I think that honours will be even at the end ...

PREDICTION : -  Birmingham City  1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

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


BIRMINGHAM CITY : -  Lee Carsley (out - ankle); Garry O'Connor (out - groin); Teemu Tainio (out - knee); - (-); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - groin); Ledley King (doubtful - knee); Roman Pavlyuchenko (doubtful - groin); - (-); - (-); - (-);


Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:35 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online.
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Radio :  
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 (live coverage)
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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
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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.




Birmingham City   1   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  St. Andrews
Saturday 30th January 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   27,238
Referee :  Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Birmingham kicked off and played towards the Gil Merrick stand end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Cold
Teams : - 
Birmingham City :

25  Hart

  2  Carr    
14  Johnson    
  6  Ridgwell 
15  Dann

  7  Larsson  (18  Fahey 58)
12  Ferguson
  4  Bowyer        (17  Michel 65)
16  McFadden     

11  Benitez
12  Jerome

Unused subs: 
  1  Taylor
20  Queudrue
27  Vignal
22  Johnson
33  Gardner

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
26  King  (c)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

14  Modric
12  Palacios
  Bentley (  8  Jenas 89)

18  Defoe          (10  Keane 78)
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  2  Hutton
21  Kranjcar

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Birmingham City

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Birmingham City

Ridgwell 90+1

Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 69
Cards : -  
Birmingham City

Johnson (dissent)  55 
Bowyer (foul) 62  
McFadden (foul) 83
Carr (foul) 88
Michel (foul) 89


Tottenham Hotspur 

Palacios (foul)  60
Defoe (handball)  75



Match Report : -  
Whenever you face a Birmingham team these days you know it will be tough to score against a well-organised defence and hard-working midfield, but you also know that the Bluenoses won't score many either.  With harry sticking with the team that started on Tuesday against Fulham, Bentley had another chance to show what he could do and Gareth Bale was hoping for the pay bonus of a second win on the trot.

Birmingham had the opening chance when the ball was played back to Bowyer, who scuffed his shot into the ground from just inside the area.  Then a cross from the right found Luka Modric, who took the ball down and hit a quick shot that flew inches wide of Joe Hart's right hand post with the goalkeeper left standing.

An even better opening should have seen Birmingham take the lead, when Benitez turned Dawson well on the edge of the D and only had Gomes to beat, but hit a shot straight at the Spurs keeper in the middle of the goal, with little power behind it.

Bentley showed what he can do on the half hour, with a couple of step-overs and a shot to the near post that Hart push aside for a corner, although a minute or so later, Palacios was in a similar position on the right of the box and blazed way over the bar.

The last quarter of an hour of the game saw some corners for each side, which failed to find an attacking head and the game fizzled out into the half-time interval.

The second half saw Tottenham start on  the attack, with the ball moving regularly towards the home goal.  Bentley struck a drive in at the near post following Bale's long cross from the left, causing Hart to fumble and pounce on the loose ball before Defoe.  Spurs almost had a good break when Bentley won two tackles, one on halfway and the other on the right wing, giving him possession to play in Corluka, but his prod to his left only found the sideline. 

Palacios lost the bal in attack, but then got back to win it and fed Modric, whose pass through the Brummie defence found Defoe.  Jermain took the ball across the edge of the box from the right and couldn't get a shot off, so left it for Peter Crouch, who could only shoot wide under pressure.  With 55 minutes gone, Bentley bent a cross towards the near post and Defoe just missed it for a defender to head the ball away for a corner.  From that, Bentley pulled the ball back for Hud to have a shot on the volley from outside the area and it may have been arrowing into the net, had it not hit Roger Johnson on the way.

Child referee Attwell made a schoolboy error, when he gave a free-kick against Palacios for a foul on Bowyer as he went through to the edge of the box, when the Spurs midfielder didn't touch him.  Not only that, but he gave a yellow card for the offence too.  Luckily, McFadden hit the wall with the free-kick to bring some justice to the situation. 

Gareth Bale continued his fine form with a run and cross from the left that Crouch stooped to flick on and Defoe was directly behind him in the middle of the goal to half-volley in from 10 yards out.  It was a goal that came when Spurs were dominating, but were finding it hard to break down the dogged Birmingham defence, but Bale's good wide play and Crouch getting his knees dirty to glance the ball on at the near post caused confusion in the home team's defence to allow Defoe the space to shoot home.

Birmingham responded by putting Benitez through and looking suspiciously offside, he was allowed to go on and shoot at goal, but Michael Dawson threw a great block to take the ball out for a corner off his side, despite the shouts for handball.  Dann's header from the corner went wide and Ferguson tried a couple of shots that didn't trouble Gomes, leaving Spurs to defend, although they kept giving Birmingham the ball, notably when Crouch passed it back towards his own goal and McFadden had a shot that was powerful, but off target.

Jermain's involvement was curtailed by his replacement by Robbie Keane, just after the referee had booked the scorer for handball on the halfway line.

McFadden came very close to conceding a penalty when he brought down Bentley as he raced past him, but it was just outside the area and he got a yellow card and Spurs got a free-kick.  Bale took it from the right hand corner of the area and it hit the wall and went off for a corner.  From that, Tottenham worked it short and Modric almost got away in the area, until a tackle brought another corner.  That came to nothing and the last ten minutes were a bit backs to the wall, with some desperate defending and not being able to get the ball clear.

It all crumbled when the fourth official showed five added minutes to play.  A long cross from the right went over everyone and it was picked up by McFadden outside the corner of the area.  His deep cross saw Jerome climb between King and Bale to head back across goal to the far post, where Ridgwell ran in to volley in unmarked from close range.

Inspired by the late goal, Birmingham moved forward and slung more crosses into the Tottenham box, while at the other end Jenas shot well over the top and Palacios almost found Keane with a well judged pass, but it had just a little too much weight on it, leaving the Irishman unable to collect it.

The final whistle brought great cheers from the home support, perhaps indicating that they knew they had got away with it today, with Spurs, once more, unable to capitalise on the chances they made.

the polyphant





Fan Reaction : -



With a late equaliser, Birmingham City spoiled what would have been a good result for us.  Having played well and restricted Birmingham to only a few chances - a couple of which they should have scored - Tottenham created a good goal from Bale's cross on the left that Defoe thumped home from just in front of the penalty spot.

However, the game had just entered added on time and we showed why they might not get that fourth place they want.  A cross to the back stick was headed back to the other side of the goal, where Ridgwell - a defender - had come up and netted a volley from close range.

The last time we were pressing for fourth place last minute goals cost us a load of points, so the concentration needs to be there for the 90 plus minutes of the match.  With Harry saying that Kaboul is a good defender, but that his concentration let's him down, it doesn't fill me with confidence that his addition to the squad now will help us get the Champions League place we want.

marco van hip

We seem to be obsessed with this 4th place spot -- truth of the matter is at this moment in time we are just not good enough to
a) make fourth spot and
b) do anything in the champions league competition if we did get in it.

Look at our record against the so called big four in our league.  It's poor to say the least - Harry puffs and rants at late goals, but we just don't seem to learn.  Had we been more ruthless and clinical instead of playing the "Tottenham way" we should have a least 10 more points then we should have now.  Look back at Stoke at home -- Wolves at home - Everton away with last gasp miss of the spot kick and now Birmingham.

No, the truth is we just don't cut the mustard when we need to at the moment.  Sixth or seventh will be our finishing position.  We might finish fifth just as we did with Jol and look what we did to him.

PS  We won't have a better chance of getting to the FA Cup final this year either or will that fourth place carrot rear its head again.


Having watched the full game on Football First, I have to say how frustrating it is that once again we manage to dominate a game, yet drop two points and have to settle with one.

How many times has that happened ?

We should've wrapped this up with Modric & Crouch missing easy chances to put us two nil up, but once we scored, we again sat back and invited them onto us and they scored due to awful defending by Corluka, which is not what a CL team does.

What is it with us, we can't keep a lead even when we're two up (Everton), so all this talk of a CL spot is 'pie in the sky' until we stop conceding late goals, we will never reach the CL.

paxton mark



Other League scores this weekend :
Burnley 1 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Fulham 0 Aston Villa 2 Saturday
Hull City 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Liverpool 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday
West Ham United 0 Blackburn Rovers 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Everton 1 Saturday
Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Portsmouth 0 Sunday
Sunderland 0 Stoke City 0 Monday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 23 17 3 3 57 19 54 +38
2 Manchester United 23 17 2 5 56 20 53 +36
3 Arsenal 24 15 4 5 60 28 49 +32
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 24 12 6 6 45 25 42 +20
5 Liverpool 24 12 5 7 42 26 41 +16
6 Manchester City 22 11 8 3 44 30 41 +14
7 Aston Villa 23 11 7 5 31 18 40 +13
8 Birmingham City 23 8 7 7 22 23 34 -1
9 Everton 22 7 8 7 31 34 29 -3
10 Blackburn Rovers 24 7 7 10 25 40 28 -15
11 Fulham 23 7 6 10 26 28 27 -2
12 Stoke City 22 6 8 8 19 26 26 -7
13 Sunderland 22 6 6 10 27 37 24 -10
14 Wigan Athletic 22 6 4 12 24 47 22 -23
15 West Ham United 23 4 9 10 29 38 21 -9
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 5 6 11 29 44 21 -15
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 23 5 6 11 19 40 21 -21
18 Burnley 23 5 5 13 23 46 20 -23
19 Hull City 23 4 8 11 22 48 20 -26
20 Portsmouth 22 4 3 15 19 35 15 -16


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

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