Match Preview: Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur
Ewood Park, Blackburn BB2, Lancashire (Capacity 31,363)
Saturday 19th December 2009, Kick Off 15:00
Premier League, Match 18
Blackburn Rovers: 12th in Premier League, 19 points from 51
Tottenham Hotspur: 5th in Premier League, 30 points from 51
Referee: Peter Walton
Assistant referees: Trevor Massey & Bob Pollock
Fourth official: Andy Woolmer
Blackburn Rovers host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 19th December looking for their first win in seven matches, not counting their penalty shoot-out victory after a 3-3 drawn game against Chelsea in the Football League (Carling) Cup Quarter Final. Despite their indifferent Premier League form, Rovers have remained fairly steady in 12th place for several weeks now but goals have been hard to come by this season for the Lancashire side and they've only averaged one for every League game played so far. Last time out, Rovers went down away to Birmingham 2-1 with New Zealander Ryan Nelsen scoring.
Spurs come into the game fresh from a very impressive 3-0 home win over Manchester City which boosted the club's confidence after several disappointing results which has seen the North London club drop from third to fifth in the table. Niko Kranjcar scored twice against City with the third coming from man on fire Jermain Defoe, who now has 14 goals to his credit this season, 13 of which came in the Premier League. Defoe's strike partner for the City game was Peter Crouch, who contributed two assists.
Honours between Blackburn & Spurs are almost even during the Premier League Era with Rovers having won 11 to Spurs 12 matches with 7 matches drawn. Last season, Spurs beat Rovers 1-0 at White Hart Lane with a Roman Pavlyuchenko goal while Rovers won at Ewood Park 2-1 with goals from McCarthy and Ooijer while Robbie Keane scored for Spurs. In the only major domestic Cup Final between the two clubs, Rovers beat Spurs 2-1 in the 2002 League Cup Final at Wembley.
The history of the two clubs goes back to the time Blackburn Rovers won the first of three consecutive FA Cups in season 1883-84 and the youngsters who played for Tottenham Hotspur at the time cancelled their match that day to watch the Final. They were so impressed with Rovers that they adopted their kit of blue and white halved shirts as their own (a special edition replica of this shirt was worn to celebrate Tottenham's 125th Anniversary).
Blackburn have three players currently receiving treatment - Vincenzo Grella for a thigh muscle strain, Brett Emerton for a groin strain and David Dunn for a calf muscle strain. There's a good chance all three will be fit to face Spurs on Saturday.
Blackburn's team will probably feature two former Tottenham players - goalkeeper Paul Robinson and defender Pascal Chimbonda, while Tottenham's squad includes former Blackburn winger David Bentley.
Harry Redknapp reports that Luka Modric is out of Saturday's trip to Blackburn. The midfielder returned to action with a 30-minute stint off the bench against Wolves last weekend after three months out with a fractured fibula. He remained on the bench for Wednesday's win against City and Harry said this morning that he won't be travelling to Ewood Park.
"Luka's got a bit of a ankle problem and he won't be fit for Blackburn," said Harry. David Bentley is also a doubt with a calf strain. "He's also struggling," added Harry. "To be honest, he's very, very doubtful." Ledley King returned to training on Friday after his recent knee problem but Harry confirmed that he's not in contention to face Blackburn. However, he is expected to return to action over the Christmas period. Jonathan Woodgate (groin) and Carlo Cudicini (pelvis, wrist) remain sidelined.
• This is the 104th meeting between these sides. Tottenham have won 44 to Blackburn's 36.
• There have been six red cards in the last eight Premier League meetings between Blackburn and Spurs, including one in each game last season.
• Blackburn are without a league win in five outings. But they are unbeaten in their last seven at Ewood Park, since an opening-day defeat to Manchester City.
• Sam Allardyce's side have managed just one goal in their last five Premier League matches.
• This is Rovers' 600th Premier League game, and their 300th at Ewood Park. They have won 150 of those.
• Jason Roberts has scored 149 goals in his club career.
• Tottenham have managed just two clean sheets in 27 Premier League games away from home over the last season-and-a-half.
• Harry Redknapp's side have 11 points more than at the same stage last season.
• Both Spurs' games in the North West this season have ended in draws.
• Aaron Lennon has eight assists in the league this season. Only Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas has more with 10.
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS:
Blackburn Rovers (L 1-2 Birmingham City, A):
Robinson, Samba, Givet, Nelsen, Chimbonda, Emerton (Andrews 22), Pedersen, Nzonzi, Roberts (McCarthy 71), Diouf (Hoilett 53), Kalinic
Substitutes: Brown, Jacobsen, Salgado, Di Santo
Goals: Nelsen 69
Yellow cards: Nelsen, Nzonzi
Tottenham Hotspur (W 3-0 Manchester City, H):
Gomes, Bassong, Dawson, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto (Bale 90+5), Huddlestone, Lennon, Palacios, Kranjcar, Crouch, Defoe (Jenas 90+2)
Substitutes: Alnwick, Hutton, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Keane
Goals: Kranjcar 37, 90+3, Defoe 54
Yellow cards: Palacios, Kranjcar
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
You just don't know with Spurs away from home. They take the lead at places but then suddenly collapse and the north west, especially, is not a good place for them to go.
Blackburn will impose a really physical examination on them and their home form has generally been good, but I expect Spurs will leave with a draw.
Verdict: Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday's match will be the 105th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Blackburn Rovers.
The clubs met in the 2002 Football League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, which Rovers won 2-1.
Here are the results of the previous 104 matches with Spurs' score shown first:
20-Apr-1897 Friendly - H L 1 - 2 Lanham 02-Feb-1907F.A. Cup 2 24,963A D 1 - 1 Watson 07-Feb-07F.A. Cup 2 Replay29,900A D 1 - 1 (a.e.t) Reid 11-Feb-07F.A. Cup 2 2nd Replay18,000VP W 2 - 1 Walton, Reid 01-Jan-10Division 1 15,000A L 0 - 2 29-Mar-10Division 1 23,000H W 4 - 0 Minter (3), Humphreys 17-Dec-10Division 1 16,000H D 2 - 2 McTavish R (2) 04-Feb-11F.A. Cup 2 25,000A D 0 - 0 09-Feb-11F.A. Cup 2 Replay26,946H L 0 - 2 22-Apr-11Division 1 14,000A L 0 - 3 23-Sep-11Division 1 37,820H L 0 - 2 27-Jan-12Division 1 14,000A D 0 - 0 14-Sep-12Division 1 25,000A L 1 - 6 Minter 04-Jan-13Division 1 33,000H L 0 - 1 25-Oct-13Division 1 46,128H D 3 - 3 Minter, Cantrell, Middlemiss 28-Feb-14Division 1 25,000A D 1 - 1 Walden 05-Dec-14Division 1 14,000H L 0 - 4 10-Apr-15Division 1 10,000A L 1 - 4 Bliss 28-Aug-20Division 1 47,345H L 1 - 2 Bliss 04-Sep-20Division 1 40,000A D 1 - 1 Seed 29-Apr-22Division 1 24,559H W 2 - 1 Walden, Wilson 06-May-22Division 1 25,000A D 1 - 1 Wilson 10-Feb-23Division 1 6,000A L 0 - 1 14-Feb-23Division 1 10,000H W 2 - 0 Lindsay (2) 15-Dec-23Division 1 18,471H W 2 - 1 Lindsay, Elkes 22-Dec-23Division 1 15,000A W 1 - 0 Lindsay 15-Nov-24Division 1 30,000H W 5 - 0 Seed (2), Elkes (3) 21-Feb-25F.A. Cup 3 54,521H D 2 - 2 Lane, Dimmock 26-Feb-25F.A. Cup 3 Replay48,000A L 1 - 3 Dimmock 21-Mar-25Division 1 15,000A D 1 - 1 Thompson 03-Oct-25Division 1 35,645H W 4 - 2 Thompson, Osborne (2), Dimmock 13-Feb-26Division 1 21,584A L 2 - 4 Osborne, Dimmock 04-Sep-26Division 1 21,964A L 0 - 1 22-Jan-27Division 1 14,323H D 1 - 1 Handley 15-Oct-27Division 1 23,020H D 1 - 1 Osborne 25-Feb-28Division 1 20,890A L 1 - 2 O'Callaghan 23-Dec-33Division 1 28,001H W 4 - 1 Howe, Hall GW, Evans W (2) 01-Jan-34Division 1 19,955A L 0 - 1 01-Jan-35Division 1 12,083A L 0 - 2 19-Apr-35Division 1 31,101H W 1 - 0 Bell 25-Dec-36Division 2 26,756A W 4 - 0 Meek, Morrison (2), Miller 28-Dec-36Division 2 16,135H W 5 - 1 McCormick, Miller (4) 18-Dec-37Division 2 20,251H W 3 - 1 Grice, Lyman (2) 08-Jan-38F.A. Cup 3 35,576H W 3 - 2 Sargent, Gibbons (2) 30-Apr-38Division 2 7,088A L 1 - 2 Howe 22-Oct-38Division 2 18,136A L 1 - 3 Lyman 25-Feb-39Division 2 22,709H W 4 - 3 Sargent, Morrison (2), Miller 02-Oct-48Division 2 53,721H W 4 - 0 Baily, Bennett (2), Jones 26-Feb-49Division 2 20,262A D 1 - 1 Jones 27-Aug-49Division 2 53,016H L 2 - 3 Walters (2) 24-Dec-49Division 2 33,078A W 2 - 1 Scarth, Medley 30-Aug-58Division 1 41,830A L 0 - 5 03-Jan-59Division 1 39,552H W 3 - 1 Harmer (pen), Smith R, Dunmore 05-Dec-59Division 1 37,130H W 2 - 1 Medwin, Bray og 20-Feb-60F.A. Cup 6 54,745H L 1 - 3 Jones 27-Feb-60Division 1 29,228A W 4 - 1 Mackay, Smith R, Allen, Jones 27-Aug-60Division 1 26,819A W 4 - 1 Smith R (2), Allen, Dyson 31-Dec-60Division 1 48,742H W 5 - 2 Blanchflower, Smith R (2), Allen (2) 20-Apr-62Division 1 55,183H W 4 - 1 Medwin, Smith R, Greaves, Jones 23-Apr-62Division 1 23,301A W 1 - 0 Greaves 15-Sep-62Division 1 43,014H W 4 - 1 Medwin, White, Allen, Taylor og 20-May-63Division 1 22,867A L 0 - 3 07-Sep-63Division 1 20,949A L 2 - 7 Mackay, Greaves 11-Jan-64Division 1 43,953H W 4 - 1 Greaves (3), Dyson 16-Apr-65Division 1 36,497H W 5 - 2 Greaves (2), Gilzean 19-Apr-65Division 1 14,026A L 1 - 3 Jones 29-Jan-66Division 1 34,573H W 4 - 0 Saul, Gilzean (2), Greaves (pen) 09-May-66Division 1 7,256A W 1 - 0 Greaves 24-Aug-77Division 2 9,540A D 0 - 0 31-Dec-77Division 2 30,520H W 4 - 0 Hoddle, Pratt, Lee (2) 01-Nov-88League Cup 3 18,814H D 0 - 0 09-Nov-88League Cup 3 Replay12,961A W 2 - 1 (a.e.t) Thomas, Stewart 07-Nov-92FA Prem 17,305A W 2 - 0 Howells, Sheringham (pen) 05-May-93FA Prem 23,097H L 1 - 2 Anderton 30-Oct-93FA Prem 17,462A L 0 - 1 01-Dec-93League Cup 4 22,295H W 1 - 0 Campbell 12-Feb-94FA Prem 30,236H L 0 - 2 05-Nov-94FA Prem 26,933A L 0 - 2 05-Feb-95FA Prem 28,124H W 3 - 1 Klinsmann, Anderton, Barmby 30-Dec-95FA Prem 30,004A L 1 - 2 Sheringham 16-Mar-96FA Prem 31,803H L 2 - 3 Sheringham, Armstrong 17-Aug-96FA Prem 26,960A W 2 - 0 Armstrong (2) 29-Jan-97FA Prem 22,943H W 2 - 1 Iversen, Sinton 20-Sep-97FA Prem 26,573H D 0 - 0 07-Feb-98FA Prem 30,388A W 3 - 0 Berti, Armstrong, Fox 09-Sep-98FA Prem 28,331H W 2 - 1 Ferdinand, Nielsen 30-Jan-99FA Prem 29,396A D 1 - 1 Iversen 25-Aug-2001FA Prem 24,992A L 1 - 2 Ziege 01-Jan-02FA Prem 35,131H W 1 - 0 Richards 24-Feb-02League Cup Final 72,500WemL 1 - 2 Ziege 06-Oct-02FA Prem 26,203A W 2 - 1 Keane, Redknapp 11-May-03FA Prem 36,036H L 0 - 4 29-Nov-03FA Prem 22,802A L 0 - 1 08-May-04FA Prem 35,698H W 1 - 0 Defoe 04-Dec-04FA Prem 22,182A W 1 - 0 Keane 14-May-05FA Prem 35,797H D 0 - 0 24-Aug-05FA Prem 22,375A D 0 - 0 05-Mar-06FA Prem 36,080H W 3 - 2 Keane (2), Mido 19-Nov-06FA Prem 18,083A D 1 - 1 Defoe (pen) 10-May-07FA Prem 35,974H D 1 - 1 Defoe 28-Oct-07FA Prem 36,086H L 1 - 2 Keane (pen) 05-Apr-08FA Prem 24,592A D 1 - 1 Berbatov 23-Nov-08FA Prem 35,903H W 1 - 0 Pavlyuchenko 04-Apr-09FA Prem 21,891 A L 1 - 2 Keane (pen)
LAST TIME WE MET...
Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
4th April 2009, Premier League, Ewood Park
A late goal from substitute Andre Ooijer grabbed an unlikely win for relegation-threatened Blackburn against 10-man Tottenham.
Robbie Keane controversially put Spurs ahead from the penalty spot after Gael Givet was adjudged to have handled.
Wilson Palacios was sent off for two bookable offences and Benni McCarthy soon dragged Rovers level.
With two minutes remaining, the visitors failed to clear an El-Hadji Diouf corner, leaving Ooijer to tap in.
It was imperative for Blackburn that they stole a march on their relegation rivals with a victory in this early kick-off, regardless of how deserved the win may be.
Tottenham's form going into the game - the best in the Premier League - had given them an outside chance of securing a Europa League spot, but they can surely now write off such aspirations.
The pressure inherent with the very different end-of-season challenges facing each side was evident in their respective styles of play.
The home side were hurried, direct and forceful and the first chance of the match was a testimony to these battling qualities as Morten Gamst Pedersen hung over a deep cross from the left and Diouf outmuscled Benoit Essou-Akotto but could only head wide.
Shortly after, Christopher Samba's, bullying presence in the Tottenham box created another chance for Diouf but this time his effort was blocked.
In contrast, Spurs were more relaxed and purposeful in possession, fluent in movement and happy to wait for opportunities to exploit Blackburn.
Paul Robinson, playing against his former club, rescued his current employers after 17 minutes when Palacios fed Darren Bent in the box with a clear view of goal but Robinson was equal to the shot, palming it away one-handed.
When the breakthrough did come it was shrouded in controversy, as referee Peter Walton gave Spurs a penalty after Aaron Lennon's attempted cross struck the arm of Givet in the box, with the defender seemingly attempting to get his arm out of the way.
The linesman gave no indication that he felt a penalty was deserved but Walton did and Keane made generous use of the penalty spot in placing the ball before slotting home to Robinson's right.
The incident drew passionate reactions from the Blackburn fans and from Rovers manager Sam Allardyce - mostly aimed at the fourth official - but not from the home players and the away side finished the half in the ascendancy.
With his side trailing it seemed strange that Allardyce would opt to replace injured striker Jason Roberts with defender Ooijer, but it was stranger still to see centre-back Samba start the second half up front for the home side.
The unsubtle intent behind the move was clear and it almost played immediate dividend when Samba knocked down to Diouf but the resulting strike was misdirected over the bar.
Tottenham weathered this initial assault and regained their grip on the game.
However, for all their possession they created little of worth and while the difference remained only a single goal, Blackburn - for all their lack of creative spark - were never out of the contest.
This fact was devastatingly emphasised to Tottenham in the match's final 10 minutes.
Firstly, the visitors were controversially reduced to 10 men when Palacios received his second booking for a foul on Blackburn substitute David Dunn.
Barely two minutes later, Rovers capitalised on their numerical advantage.
The physical strength of Samba was too much for Jonathan Woodgate and the Frenchman's cross found McCarthy, who tapped in from eight yards.
With a minute remaining, Blackburn completed the turnaround as Diouf's corner was poorly dealt with by the Spurs defence and Ooijer was presented with an open net, two yards out and he duly sealed a vital three points for his side.
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:
"It was desire, a bit of determination, overcoming adversity, never giving up, never saying die - which I don't think we've done since I've been here.
"It probably was one of our lesser performances but that doesn't matter; it's all about results.
"I'm sure Tottenham will feel the sending off is a bit harsh. But we overcome a bit of adversity in the penalty decision."
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"I've got to say the referee made a big mistake sending Wilson off.
"We'd dominated the game and I couldn't see them scoring a goal if they'd played all night when we had 11.
"But to lose a midfield player who had probably been our biggest player today gave them a massive lift. From a game we had complete control of we've come away with nothing...unbelievable."
Robinson, Andrews, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Diouf, Mokoena (Kerimoglu 63), Warnock, Pedersen (Dunn 26), Roberts (Ooijer 46), McCarthy.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Villanueva, Treacy, Olsson.
Goals: McCarthy 82, Ooijer 89.
Gomes, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Zokora 83), Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Bent, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Bentley, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko, Dawson, Chimbonda.
Sent Off: Palacios (80).
Goals: Keane 30 pen.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham's Robbie Keane