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Spurs v Burnley, 26.09.09


Keane 18 (pen), 74, 77, 87
Jenas, 33

Attendance: - 35,462

Referee: - Mike Dean

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cudicini; Corluka, Huddlestone, Bassong (sub Dawson, 88), Ekotto; Lennon (sub Bale, 84), Jenas, Palacios, Kranjcar; Keane (Capt.), Defoe (sub Crouch, 57)

Subs not used: - Gomes; Hutton, Naughton; Bentley

Booked: - Palacios

Burnley (4-4-2):- Jensen; Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Jordan; Elliott, Gudjonsson, Alexander (Capt.), Blake (sub Guerrero, 81); Fletcher (sub Thompson, 72), Nugent (sub Eagles, 63)

Subs not used: - Penny; Duff, Caldwell; McDonald

Booked: - Bikey (foul on Lennon)

4-Stroke Keane fires against Burnley

Robbie Keane had a hey day for Spurs yesterday, scoring a fine second half hat-trick to add to his first half penalty, as Spurs scored five goals for the fourth time this season. Robbie’s goal return was his highest in a game for nearly six years when he got a hat-trick in a 5-2 demolition of Wolves in December 2003. Burnley have now let in 14 goals in their four away games, without scoring, and will rely upon their home form to survive the season. In fairness to them, they were not five goals worse than Spurs, although at times it seemed as if the home side could score at will.

Harry Redknapp made the surprising decision to leave Peter Crouch on the bench, despite his excellent hat-trick on Wednesday night, and with Robbie fully justifying his inclusion, the competition amongst the strike force gives the manager a pleasant selection dilemma. That might be eased next week, depending upon the speed of recovery for Jermain Defoe, who went off with dislocated fingers, thanks to the power of his own shot rebounding against his hand after the goalkeeper had got in the way in the second half. Crouch did at least get half an hour on the pitch, and had an assist for Keane’s final goal.

Another surprise was the return of Carlo Cudicini in goal, despite Gomes’ great performance at Preston. Cudicini claimed Spurs first clean sheet of the season, but his handling did not always exude confidence, and I personally look forward to the return of Gomes as first choice. Michael Dawson was deemed insufficiently fit for action, and Tom Huddlestone did a more than competent job next to Bassong, still finding time to lay off a decent pass or two, with an assist for another of Keane’s goals. Niko Kranjcar made his first start for Spurs, playing up and down the left flank. There is no doubt that the third Croatian International in the Spurs squad is a useful acquisition. Whilst he never excelled yesterday, there were some good ball-winning tackles and successful passes to satisfy the viewing public.

Certainly Burnley did not come to roll over, playing with two strikers – Nugent and Fletcher. Nugent had a point to prove against his former boss of course. Fletcher tended to cover the right flank, whilst Wade Elliott played a narrow midfield role, with skipper Graham Alexander seeking to hold the midfield fort. Veteran Robbie Blake attacked the left flank, and the midfield was completed with Joey Gudjonsson – once of Leicester.

Spurs had an early movement featuring Defoe and Keane but they were called offside, before Fletcher cut in from the right flank before hitting a shot that took a deflection for a corner after just two minutes. From the corner, Cudicini was able to punch the ball down, and it was cleared.

In both halves, Spurs seemed to play with restraint, as if they wanted to see what the opponents had in their locker. After 10 minutes, Jermaine Jenas demonstrated fine form in keeping possession as he won the ball, turned and sent a great ball down the channel for Robbie Keane to be one on one against “The Beast”, Brian Jensen. Jensen won this battle, saving with his legs, and it looked at this stage as if Robbie was not going to be at his best. Defoe tried an exciting overhead kick after a cross from the right, but was off target. Kranjcar took a free kick after Ekotto was fouled on the left, and after the ball was half cleared, Jenas hit an effort over the top.

Three minutes later Spurs had a clear penalty, after Defoe chased a ball into the right side of the box, and was impeded by Bikey, who protested little at Mr. Dean’s decision. Robbie Keane took the kick, sending the keeper the wrong way and planting the ball inside Jensen’s left corner. After 25 minutes, the Burnley section (not as strong as they sent for last season’s Carling Cup semi-final) was cheering as Fletcher had the ball in the net, but the offside flag had clearly been raised before he hit his shot. Spurs fans jeered at the away section, and chants of “Are you West Ham in disguise” rang around the Park Lane end.

Defoe made a bad miss, after he was put through by clever reverse passes by Keane and Jenas. Defoe was on the left side of goal, with only the keeper to beat, but not even hitting the target. There was no inkling of the scoreline to come, but Spurs did double their tally in thee 33rd minute. Keane demonstrated his all-round importance to the team with a fine pass from his own half to Kranjcar down the left side. Kranjcar cut inside, and passed to Jenas who hit a low right footed shot, that took a deflection leaving Jensen with no chance as the ball went inside his right post. It was Jenas’s first goal of the season.

Huddlestone took a run into the opposition half and fed Defoe with a fine ball on the left channel. Defoe turned his defender and hit a shot on target, which Jensen saved. Lennon appeared on the left occasionally and after 37 minutes ran inside from this position, hitting a low cross which was involuntarily deflected by a defender into the arms of Jensen.

It was Burnley who had the first chance of the second half, as a cross from the right passed the Spurs defence and reached Robbie Blake, whose shot was only parried by Cudicini. Defoe got his injury after a move between Kranjcar and Keane. Jermain was one on one with Jensen, but his shot rebounded off the big man, and that’s when Jermain felt it!

An over-adventurous pass from Corluka to Palacios led a Burnley attack where Blake tried to put in Fletcher but Cudicini smothered the threat well. Nugent had a blank day at the office and was replaced by former Manchester United junior, Chris Eagles. Mr Dean finally had cause to show his cards, when he booked Bikey for a foul on Lennon, and Palacios for a bustling foul. It had not been a difficult game for the referee though, whose profile remained low throughout. Cudicini had a difficult moment after he saved Mears’ shot after the free kick, but then lost the ball, allowing Robbie Blake an effort which hit the side netting.

Spurs got into top gear again in the 74th minute. Jenas hit a great pass inside the Burnley left back, and Lennon’s pace ensured that he reached the ball, passing low inside for Keane to finish with an excellent rising right footed shot. Three minutes later, Keane had his hat-trick and this time it was an excellent Huddlestone pass over the defence that left Keane free, this time on the left of goal, and this time he hit a fine left footed shot across Jensen’s bows.

Burnley were blown, and Harry Redknapp could introduce Bale for Lennon, allowing Kranjcar some time on the right. Keane’s final goal came from a long ball, headed on by Crouch. The shot crept under Jensen’s body and over the line for an emphatic scoreline and celebration.

Michael Dawson was welcomed rapturously when he replaced Bassong, and Spurs might have made it 6 or 7. First Crouch headed wide after good approach play from Jenas, Bale and Keane, then with the referee playing advantage, Crouch fed Kranjcar whose cross ran agonisingly ahead of Keane trying for a fifth goal.

Spurs climbed back into the top four with this result, but Manchester City should reclaim that place with a win on Monday night at home to West Ham. Spurs now have a week off before a trip to Bolton at the Reebock, where we have never won a league game. It’s time for that to change!

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