BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 12TH JANUARY, 2013
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Referee:- Mr. L. Probert
Assistants:- Mr. A. Garratt & Mr. R. Ganfield
Fourth official:- Mr. J. Moss
QPR (4-1-4-1):- Cesar; Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill (Capt.), Fabio da Silva; Derry; Mackie, M'Bia, Park, Wright-Phillips; Taarabt
Subs not used:- Green; Ferdinand, Ben Haim; Faurlin; Cisse, Bothroyd, DJ Campbell
Booked:- M'Bia (Handball)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon (sub Sigurdsson, 79), Sandro (sub Parker, 25), Dembele, Bale; Defoe, Adebayor (sub Dempsey, 69)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Assou-Ekotto, Caulker; Huddlestone
Booked:- Dembele (foul on Mackie)
Spurs fail to get through "Hoops"
In what must have been an unedifying game for the TV viewers, former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will be the more satisfied of the two managers/team coaches as Queens Park Rangers got what they played for - a single point in their ever more desperate quest for Premier League survival.
QPR played away team tactics at home, with a solid four back line supported by Shaun Derry just in front of his defence. With a coaching job looming in Canada with Toronto, Ryan Nelsen may well have played his last time for QPR, but I understand Sky voted him man of the match today. Certainly Rangers did defend well, and were marshalled effectively by the experience of Nelsen, Hill and Derry, but Spurs had enough flair in their side to have put away the team which remain at the foot of the table.
As for Spurs, they had a chance to secure third place ahead of the other games played today, but Chelsea's convincing win at Stoke has put them back in that particular driving seat.
Spurs fielded a strong side, with Kyle Walker returning to his right back slot, and Kyle Naughton playing at left back, leaving Assou-Ekotto on the bench. Michael Dawson was partnered by Jan Vertonghen. Both Spurs' ace wing-men were present, but generally they struggled to get past their full backs.
Harry Redknapp started with former Spurs man Adel Taarabt as his lone striker, with Cisse, DJ Campbell and Bothroyd left on the bench. Mackie and Wright-Phillips had attacking roles to play on the QPR flanks, but Spurs dominated possession, and chances, with the home side rarely showing anywhere near Hugo Lloris's goal.
Whilst Spurs dominated, clear chances were at a premium, but they might have taken an early lead when Jermain Defoe took a shot from the left of goal, finger-tipped by Cesar, which rebounded off the woodwork, somewhere near the top of the post and the bar. Adebayor picked up the rebound, side-stepped his defender, and took a shot which former Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar managed to push over the bar for a corner. From that corner, Gareth Bale took a glancing header at the near post, which Cesar held.
After 11 minutes, Sean Wright-Phillips got the better of Kyle Walker and got a shot in, which also forced a corner. A Bale effort from deep after 19 minutes was easy meat for the goalkeeper.
Michael Dawson made a good tackle to stop Stephane M'Bia's advance. The Spurs skipper was also prominent with his trademark diagonal passes, most of which reached their intended target.
Sandro suffered a heavy knock after only 23 minutes, and had to be replaced by Scott Parker. Super Scotty was truly sharp, and I would suggest was Spurs man of the match, as he showed up everywhere, with good tackles, and astute passing in his array of skills.
Parker featured in a nice move by Spurs, when he fed the ball to Adebayor. Kyle Walker had got himself into a central position, and picking up Adebayor's pass, hit a sharp shot just wide from some 25 yards.
Michael Dawson tried a long shot too, from 35 yards, after an attacking set play by Spurs. Dawson's shot had some swerve on it, taking it wide of Cesar's right post.
Just before the break, Wright-Phillips managed a run and broke free of the Spurs defence, but put his shot wide of the near post.
Spurs started the second half brightly, with a high tempo, now playing towards their own fans in the School End stand. Defoe was fouled early just outside the box. Bale took the free kick, which nearly confused Cesar, but the keeper made the save. Parker also tried a shot, which was only two or three feet wide.
After 50 minutes, Fabio brought down Lennon, who fell in the area, but whose reward was a free kick, rather than the penalty that all Spurs fans craved. Walker took this one, and hit it just wide of the far post.
A clever bit of inter-play between Adebayor and Defoe led to a Defoe shot, which was saved by the feet of the keeper. Another move saw Defoe try to return the compliment for Adebayor, who failed to take the shooting chance offered, but won a corner, from which he headed over. Adebayor was then replaced by Dempsey, and may not be seen in Spurs colours for several weeks, depending upon his participation, and Togo's progress in the African Cup of Nations.
Fabio managed to break through on the left flank, bit hit his cross wide of the far post, presenting no danger to Lloris. The game was now opening a little though, and Lloris soon had to make an advance out of his area to prevent another opportunist chance for the home team from a long ball.
Lennon was replaced by Sigurdsson after 79 minutes. Bale had already been spending a lot of time on the right, or in the middle, and that's where he stayed for the remainder of the game. Onuoha had clearly done a good job on him when Bale had been trying to get down the left flank. In truth, we didn't see much in the way of attacking runs from either of our wingers today.
Bale hit a free kick wide from just outside the box after a foul on Dembele. One of the most exciting moments for the home crowd came when M'Bia advanced on Lloris's goal unaware that the offside flag had already been raised against him, and the referee's whistle had been blown. Lloris, also unaware of the decision, proceeded to carve through M'Bia anyway, who managed a spectacular triple roll, before dragging himself off the floor to make a dramatic recovery.
Drama was at such a premium that I find myself reporting upon an event that took place without the ball in play.
At the end of the day, the two points lost have not harmed Spurs too much. Chelsea won, and overtook us, but Everton drew and remain three points below us in fifth place.
Next week's home game against Manchester United promises much drama, attacking football, and surely two or three goals!
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