OPPONENTS Norwich City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Wednesday 30th January 2013
VENUE Carrow Road






As a loyal servant to Spurs, you wouldn't wish ill to befall Chris Hughton as he is doing a good job at Norwich City, but Spurs do need a win and the Canaries are dropping out of the sky like a stone at the moment.  On top of that, they were knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Luton Town on Saturday and all the ingredients are there for another shock result.

Certainly, there will be geed up for this match and Spurs must make sure that they are in the right frame of mind to approach it with confidence of their recent good run and the knowledge that chances will come.  The only real problem is who will stick them away ?  Jermain Defoe is said to be ready to start for Tottenham, but he is not 100% fit and the attacking department is a little bare in his absence.  With Emmanuel Adebayor still at the African Cup of Nations and Harry Kane at Norwich and not able to play for either side in this game, Spurs will have to line up with Clint Dempsey as the lone star striker once more.  It is not a role that he would choose, but he has been scoring goals from there and he needs dome help.  A two pronged attack would be better for Tottenham, but when we are struggling for one forward, that might be too much to hope for.  Options cold be employed in starting Jon Obika or even playing Bale through the middle up front, with a roaming role.

But Bale's pace down the flank along with Lennon on the other side are our main attacking threats, with more expected of them than they produced at Leeds.  Space might be at a premium, but with the full backs pushing on, this loads up the wide positions and gives opposition defenders (and defending midfielders) a problem, as they don't know if they should show them outside or inside, with a Spurs man available in either position.  There are plenty of hard-working midfielders in the Norwich side.  Wes Hoolihan, Bradley Johnson, Johnny Howson, Andrew Surman and Alexander Tettey.  Anthony Pilkington and Robert Snodgrass are the creative ones who look to hit Grant Holt or Steve Morison quickly up front.  Both are strong enough to hold the ball up and both can score with feet or head.  Simeon Jackson provides something different, as he is a nimble striker who likes to run at players.

The defence has been getting a bit of a hammering lately.  Without John Ruddy in goal, Mark Bunn has come in between the posts and has done reasonably well, but his communication with his back four might still be in the learning stage, as they have been porous in the last six league games.  Sebastien Bassong is a player we know and he has had a new lease of life at Carrow Road, being the best defender this season.  Good in the air and leading as captain, Seb looks the player we first signed from Newcastle United.  Steven Whittaker came in from Glasgow Rangers and hasn't picked up his game to the Premier League level yet , while Michael Turner has been struggling to find his best form since his move from Sunderland.  Russell Martin has had a decent season, but has gone off the boil a bit lately,  with Leon Barnett missing out on regular starts this season. 

Norwich might pack the midfield to try and stop the rot, which would make things even more difficult for Spurs.  No space in midfield and no striker up top could cause Spurs untold misery.  Teams are preparing in the Stoke style to frustrate us and we have to make sure there are enough options available to open Norwich up through different avenues.  I think that the home team might just stifle the life out of striker light Spurs to earn a draw.

PREDICTION Norwich City    1     Tottenham Hotspur   1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.
Striker Steve Morison might be missing with a thigh injury and goalkeeper John Ruddy's hip injury will rule him out of this game.  Sebastien Bassong's calf injury should have cleared up to allow him to play against Spurs.
Younes Kaboul and Sandro are both still out after suffering knee ligament damage, while they could be joined on the sidelines by William Gallas, whose calf injury, picked up on Boxing Day, has only allowed him to train in the last week.  There are question marks over Jermain Defoe's participation as he has a hip injury that was aggravated in training last week and rumours abound that he might need surgery on it, but he should feature.  New midfielder Lewis Holtby will travel to Norwich with the squad too.

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Norwich City  1 (1)     
Premier League
Wednesday 30th January 2013                             
Venue :  Carrow Road
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kick off  19:45
Hoolahan 32 Bale 80
Garrido (foul on Bale) 36 
Holt (foul on Walker) 60
Snodgrass (foul on Assou-Ekotto) 70
Hoolahan (kicking ball away) 75


Holtby (dissent) 79



Crowd :   26,818 Weather :  Very windy, chilly
Referee :  Neil Swarbrick (Preston) Assistant Referees :  J. Brooks; A. Halliday
Fourth Official :  Andy Woolmer -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the River end in the first half.
Norwich City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
28  Mark BUNN

  2  Russell MARTIN
  5  Sebastien BASSONG
  6  Michael TURNER
18  Javier GARRIDO     

27  Alexander TETTEY

  7  Robert SNODGRASS
  4  Bradley JOHNSON
14  Wes HOOLAHAN (c)  (  8  Johnny HOWSON 81)
12  Anthony PILKINGTON

  9  Grant HOLT

Unused subs: 
42  Lee CAMP
  3  Steven WHITTAKER
24  Ryan BENNETT
17  Elliott BENNETT
15  David FOX
10  Simeon JACKSON

  25  Hugo LLORIS

28  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON (c)

  8  Scott PARKER
19  Mousa DEMBELE

  7  Aaron LENNON (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 87)
  2  Clint DEMPSEY (23  Lewis HOLTBY 71     )
11  Gareth BALE

18  Jermain DEFOE

Unused subs: 
13  William GALLAS

Manager :  Chris Hughton Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Aviva Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :  Errea Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

The typical match of two halves, not necessarily dictated by the wind, but it had a big effect, as Spurs had to come form behind to get a point at Carrow Road with a 1-1 draw.

While Norwich relied on brawn, Tottenham lacked a little brain and with only a not fully fit Jermain Defoe up front, struggled to break down a determined Canaries back line until Gareth Bale took matters into his own hands.

Both teams showed changed from their FA up exits, with Norwich making eight changes to Tottenham's three from the starting line-up.

Tottenham almost took an early lead with Turner leaving the ball to run through to Bunn, but it didn't go as fast as he thought it was going to and Defoe closed the keeper down.  The ball cannoned off the Spurs striker and could have gone anywhere, but it went off about eight yards wide.

Playing with the wind behind them, Norwich had the advantage in the first period.  Clearances from Lloris were barely reaching the halfway line and the ball kept coming back towards their own goal.  Clearances were not getting far from the defenders either and with long balls being played forward, Turner and Bassong were winning most things in the air.

The attacks had mainly come from Norwich when a ball down the right saw Snodgrass get there before Parker and his deep cross was headed back by Holt to Pilkington.  The winger picked out a square ball to Hoolihan who side-footed home from eight yards out.

Anther break five minutes later saw a similar ball down the right played in low by Martin, but Bassong was pushing Vertonghen and couldn't get to the bal anyway.  Spurs had to wait until three minutes before the break before their second shot on target, with Lennon slipping Defoe into the box and his first time shot was beaten out by Bunn, bouncing away from Dempsey and Bale, who were following in.

At the start of the second half a poor defensive header by Vertonghen allowed Norwich possession and a low cross in was just missed in the six yard box and the ball went wide of the far post.  Five minutes in, Spurs put together a good passage of passing and while it was difficult on a bobbly pitch, the move ended with a shot by Bale from outside the box that took a deflection and Bunn saved diving to his left.

With Spurs pressing but not getting too far, they gave Lewis Holtby 20 minutes as a sub on for Dempsey.  He showed a nice first touch, putting Lennon away on the right, but his low cross was cleared with difficulty by Bassong.  His passing was finding Spurs players in space and it was only the final ball by others that stopped Tottenham getting efforts on goal.  Holtby was picked out as the one player the referee was going to make a name for himself with, as he got a yellow card for dissent having had a free-kick awarded against him for a tackle that wasn't even a foul.  It summed up Swarbrick's night.  Not a Premier performance by a Football league referee.

As it was, the free kick lead to Tottenham's goal.  A ball played forward to Defoe was laid off inside to Bale who was ten yards inside his own half.  In a flash, he was in the Norwich penalty area, having out-stripped three Norwich defenders - who couldn't even foul him - and then he powered the ball past Bunn from 12 yards out with the outside of his left foot to bury the ball in the back of the net.

A minute from the end, a ball to Sigurdsson from Bale a saw Gylfi hit a 22 yard shot that looked like it was in, but Bunn  reached to his right to five and push the ball wide.  From the corner, Bale got a header in at the near post that was blocked away.  Benny had a shot headed over and the corner saw the keeper get underneath it, but there was nobody in a white shirt on hand to take advantage.

It was a very basic performance by Norwich.  One borne of the need for points and to stop a bad run, but the fact that the referee let Holt's persistent whinging go when he booked Holtby, let Tettey's attempts to foul players without quite being good enough to and letting Holt get away with a  scything tackle on Walker with a yellow after he didn't like the fact that Parker had won a tackle against him, just made Spurs' task even harder.  Norwich's second half performance was that of a team destined to lose more points than they will get playing this way.  And it is not that their ridiculous fans deserve any better.  Giving Parker stick for Tettey kicking him high on the knee; shouting handball for everything that hit a Spurs player anywhere on their body and generally showing a lack of knowledge of the laws of the game.

But then, our own problems are ones that the board need to answer in the next 24 hours.  New additions are needed and the team need to appreciate that at this stage of the season, a lot of teams below us are now realising what they need to do for the remaining games.  We have to match their desire and find ways of being inventive.  Holtby showed the way in that respect and for one making his debut, he looks like he has a big future at the club.

Barry Levington



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What you thought
The Funky Phantom Did you mean that Norwich fans didn't have a knowledge of the laws of the game ... or that they don't recognise bits of the human body when they see them ??

Oh ... well, they are from Norfolk I suppose.

- -.


Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 2 Tuesday
Queens Park Rangers 0 Manchester City 0 Tuesday
Stoke City 2 Wigan Athletic 2 Tuesday
Everton 2 West Bromwich Albion 1 Wednesday
Arsenal 2 Liverpool 2 Wednesday
Fulham 3 West Ham United 1 Wednesday
Manchester United 2 Southampton 1 Wednesday
Reading 2 Chelsea 2 Wednesday
Sunderland 0 Swansea City 0 Tuesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 24 19 2 3 59 31 59 +28
2 Manchester City 24 15 7 2 45 19 52 +26
3 Chelsea 24 13 7 4 48 23 46 +25
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 24 12 6 6 41 29 42 +12
5 Everton 24 10 11 3 37 27 41 +10
6 Arsenal 24 10 8 6 48 29 38 +19
7 Liverpool 24 9 8 7 42 30 35 +12
8 Swansea City 24 8 10 6 34 27 34 +7
9 West Bromwich Albion 24 10 4 10 34 34 34 0
10 Stoke City 24 6 12 6 25 30 30 -5
11 Sunderland 24 7 8 9 27 31 29 -5
12 Fulham 24 7 7 10 36 41 28 -5
13 West Ham United 24 7 6 11 27 36 27 -9
14 Norwich City 24 7 9 8 25 40 27 -15
15 Newcastle United 24 6 6 12 30 42 24 -12
16 Southampton 24 5 8 11 31 42 23 -11
17 Reading 24 4 8 12 30 45 20 -15
18 Wigan Athletic 24 5 5 14 27 45 20 -18
19 Aston Villa 24 4 8 12 20 46 20 -26
20 Queens Park Rangers 24 2 10 12 18 39 16 -19


Position before match :  4th
Position after match :  4th
Position after the mid week :  4th


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