Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Blackburn Rovers (Live on Sky Sports)
White Hart Lane, London N17 - The World Famous Home of the Spurs
Saturday 13th March 2010, Kick Off 12:45
Premier League, Match 29
Tottenham Hotspur: 4th in Premier League, 49 points from 84
Blackburn Rovers: 12th in Premier League, 34 points from 84
Referee: Howard Webb
Assistant referees: Darren Cann & Mike Mullarkey
Fourth official: Andy Hall
Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Saturday 13th March at White Hart Lane where they host Blackburn Rovers after Spurs drew 0-0 at Craven Cottage against Fulham in the FA Cup Sixth Round. The winner of the replay at White Hart Lane on 24th March will meet Portsmouth in the Semi-Final at Wembley on 11th April, while Aston Villa & Chelsea play in the other Semi-Final.
Tottenham's last League action saw a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Everton which put Spurs back into fourth place in the table with goals from Roman Pavlychenko and Luka Modric in an impressive first half performance. Everton had much the better of the second half and pulled a goal back through Yakubu but Spurs defended resolutely to earn all the points.
Blackburn had a week's break from competitive matches, as they have already been knocked-out of the FA Cup and had no Premier League fixture last weekend. Their last action saw a 2-1 away defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in a match where Harry Andrews scored from the penalty spot and left Rovers in 12th place in the league table.
The current Blackburn Rovers squad features two former Spurs players: England Goalkeeper Paul Robinson was a favourite at White Hart Lane from May 2004 to July 2008 while French defender Pascal Chimbonda, who has also represented Martinique, had two spells at White Hart Lane and went to Rovers in August 2009.
The reverse fixture earlier this season at Ewood Park saw Spurs take away all three points with an impressive 2-0 win in freezing conditions thanks to a brace of goals from Peter Crouch. A win for Spurs on Saturday would be their third "double" of the season, following those achieved over West Ham United and Wigan Athletic and would also be a Premier League club record points haul of 52 from 29 matches. Last season, Spurs won at White Hart Lane 1-0 while Blackburn won their home match 2-1. Of the 31 Premier League matches played between the clubs so far, Spurs edge Rovers by 13 wins to 11 with a further 7 matches drawn.
Harry Redknapp still has a number of players sidelined as he prepares for Saturday's clash against Blackburn at the Lane. David Bentley (groin), Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Jermaine Jenas (groin), Ledley King (thigh), Aaron Lennon (groin), Carlo Cudicini (wrist, pelvis) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) are all out. However, the news is positive on David and JJ - both are closing in on a return to training - while goalkeeper Carlo is scheduled to have a plate removed from his wrist next week. "JJ is probably the closest to returning, he's starting to a bit of running," reported Harry. "But we're okay. Luka Modric played in central midfield at Fulham and did ever so well for us." Harry also revealed that Jonathan Woodgate has undergone surgery on his groin injury.
Blackburn's David Dunn (calf) scored the winner in a reserve clash with Hull and will return to the starting XI. Brett Emerton, Franco Di Santo, Junior Hoilett and Yildiray Basturk also played in midweek and could feature.
• This is the 105th league meeting between the sides. Tottenham have won 45 to Blackburn's 36 with 23 draws.
• There have been six red cards in the last nine Premier League meetings in this fixture, including one in each game last season.
• In December, Spurs scored with both of their shots on target, where as Blackburn had seven efforts on goal yet failed to score.
• Tottenham have conceded just one goal in their last six league matches at White Hart Lane.
• Only one team (Man Utd) has managed to score more than once against Spurs at White Hart Lane in their last 31 home games.
• Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe have scored 11 out of Tottenham's last 14 goals in all competitions.
• Blackburn have won only one of their last 19 away matches in the league.
• Rovers have been involved in five scoreless draws this season, more than any other team.
• Only Blackburn (91) have been caught offside more times than Spurs this season (84).
LAST MATCH LINE-UPS:
Tottenham Hotspur (D 0-0 Fulham, FA Cup 6th Round A)
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Palacios, Kranjcar, Bale, Pavlyuchenko (Defoe 81), Crouch
Substitutes: Alnwick, Dervite, Rose, Livermore, Townsend, Gudjohnsen
Blackburn Rovers (L 1-2 Liverpool A)
Robinson, Samba, Givet, Olsson (Chimbonda 51), Salgado, Pedersen, Nzonzi (Grella 60), Andrews, Hoilett (Roberts 64), Diouf, Kalinic
Substitutes: Brown, Emerton, Dunn, Di Santo
Yellow Cards: Olsson, Salgado, Nzonzi, Diouf, Kalinic
Goal: Andrews (pen) 40
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
Blackburn have not been very successful on the road this season. Manager Sam Allardyce is likely to keep them up by virtue of their home form. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez's comments about Blackburn's negative style of play following the Reds' 2-1 win over Rovers at Anfield will not bother Allardyce. In many ways it is a back-handed compliment. They will make it hard for Tottenham, as they did at Anfield, but ultimately the home side will have too much for them. It remains to be seen who is fit for Tottenham, as midfielders Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon are all suffering from injuries. But they are a side who are capable of creating a lot of chances, certainly enough to trouble Rovers. Like Blackburn, Tottenham are also very good at home. They may be missing a few players, and they have the distraction of the FA Cup, but their form is good and a top-four finish is in their sights.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Blackburn Rovers
Saturday afternoon's match will be the 106th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Blackburn Rovers.
The two teams met in the Final of the 2002 League Cup in Cardiff with Rovers winning 2-1.
Here are the results of the previous 105 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 72,500CardiffL 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) 19-Dec-09FA Prem 26,490A W 2 - 0 Crouch (2)
LAST TIME WE MET...
BLACKBURN ROVERS 0-2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Ewood Park, Premier League, Saturday 19th December 2009
Peter Crouch's brace sent Blackburn to a rare home defeat as Tottenham kept up their top-four push with a dogged win. Spurs took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Crouch rose highest to head in Niko Kranjcar's cross. And they wrapped up a crucial three points late on when the frontman kept his calm to slot home one-on-one. In between, Rovers twice hit the post through Benni McCarthy, who was also denied by Heurelho Gomes, but they could not break down a resolute Spurs.
It was a second clean sheet in a week for Tottenham, who in the absence of Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate appear to have stumbled across a fine centre-half pairing in Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong. But while Wednesday's 3-0 home defeat of Manchester City was an exercise in sweeping attacking play and guile, their win at Ewood Park was all about character and discipline.
It was the perfect response following the recent controversy over the players' Christmas party and serves further notice of the Londoners' top-four ambitions this campaign. For Blackburn, though, it was only a third home defeat in a year under Sam Allardyce, and they will undoubtedly feel frustration following a match that for long periods looked like it could go either way.
Certainly the hosts enjoyed the better possession for much of the match, and provided a decent test of Tottenham's rearguard during a first half full of bluster from both sides, if low on quality in the final third in freezing conditions. Franco di Santo, in particular, looked a handful, the young Chelsea loanee first forcing Spurs keeper Gomes to punch clear from his clipped shot and then bringing from the Brazilian a far smarter stop low down on the volley from McCarthy's cross. And the visitors were also grateful to the woodwork when McCarthy's free-kick looped off one-man wall Aaron Lennon and onto the top of the bar, but it would have been the most fortunate of openers had it gone in. Still, the best two chances of the half fell to Spurs - and the visitors made the second count.
Surprisingly, Jermain Defoe failed to make the most of a fine opportunity when he was set clear by Kranjcar only to lash wide on the angle, but Crouch made no such error two minutes into first half stoppage time. Kranjcar, latching onto a Tom Huddlestone shot so wayward it had drifted towards the corner flag, floated over the cross for Crouch to get above the stationary Ryan Nelsen and head in off the underside of the bar. Rovers were left looking at their watch - only a minute had been signalled by the fourth official - and their sense of frustration only deepened soon after the break when McCarthy was again denied a goal by the woodwork. This time the striker collected the ball in the area unmarked and squeezed a shot goalwards from eight yards out, only for Spurs keeper Gomes to somehow deflect the ball on to the inside of the post, Bassong scrambling the rebound away with Di Santo poised.
From then on in, Blackburn prodded and probed in attack with increasing desperation, but a Tottenham rearguard that so often has looked fragile in recent years grew in confidence and stature as the game wore on. On the rare occasion the back line was breached Rovers found Gomes in fine form, Di Santo and Junior Hoilett both seeing speculative efforts kept out by Tottenham's number one. And with Blackburn committing increasing numbers forward, Spurs took advantage on the counter attack to put the match to bed. Only minutes after he had seen a headed goal rightly ruled out for offside, Crouch wrapped up the victory when he was put clean through by Jermaine Jenas's pass, slotting past former Spur Paul Robinson in the Rovers goal with confident aplomb.
There was still time for Gomes to deny McCarthy one more time, pushing a low effort round the post on the stretch, but after that Blackburn's challenge understandably faltered and they will end the day just three points off the relegation zone in 13th place.
Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce:
"It's very disappointing to suffer two straight losses, and it's something I didn't expect us to get from our last two games, I must say.
Unfortunately we have come up against a Peter Crouch in top form in front of goal and we haven't got anything out of a game that perhaps we deserved to. We have made a very, very good Tottenham side struggle. Their first goal was in the second minute of added time in the first half when there should only have been one additional minute, and we think it was a blatant foul by Crouch on the centre-half Ryan Nelsen too. We responded well, though, pushed them on to the back foot and we've had a chance at 1-0 - Benni McCarthy's - that 99 times out of 100 he would score. Credit to the keeper, he has spread himself and it's deflected onto the post, and in the end in the latter stages we've been caught on the break. In the end, it's Crouch who has made the difference."
Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp:
"It was not a pretty game but one Tottenham may have lost in the past. It was a great result for us. It was a tough match but we have collected three points and kept a clean sheet away from home. I have to be pleased with that. It was not free-flowing football like it was in midweek against Manchester City. However we were solid at the back and the goalkeeper did well for us. We have a good group of lads and I do not have any problems with them. Crouchy got two good goals and deserved to get on the scoresheet. He works hard for the team. I thought we were fortunate to be 1-0 up at half-time but Jenas gave us a lot of energy when he came on and Robbie also hand a hand in the second goal, so it was a good day for us."
Robinson, Jacobsen, Givet, Nelsen, Salgado (Pedersen 64), Chimbonda, Grella, Nzonzi, McCarthy, Hoilett (Roberts 81), Di Santo (Kalinic 72)
Substitutes: Brown, Jones, Andrews, Diouf
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Hutton 90), Palacios (Jenas 58), Huddlestone, Kranjcar, Crouch, Defoe (Keane 67)
Yellow Card: Corluka
Goals: Crouch 45+2, 83
Substitutes: Alnwick, Bale, Rose, Pavlyuchenko
Referee: Walton, Attendance: 26,490