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Spurs v Blackpool, 07.05.11

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 7TH MAY, 2011
(5.30 P.M.)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) BLACKPOOL 1 (0)

Spurs Scorer:-
Defoe, 89

Blackpool scorer:-
Adam (pen), 76

Attendance:- 35,585

Referee:- Mr. Lee Probert
Assistants:- Mr. S. Ledger & Mr. D. Mohareb
Fourth Official:- Mr. A. Taylor

Teams:-
Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Kaboul, Gallas, Dawson (Capt.), Rose (sub Kranjcar, 90); Van der Vaart, Sandro, Modric, Bale (sub Crouch, 64); Defoe, Pavlyuchenko (sub Lennon, 46)

Subs not used:- Cudicini; Bassong, Corluka; Jenas

Booked:- Gallas (foul), Dawson (Handball), Lennon (Dissent)

Blackpool (4-2-3-1):- Gilks; Eardley (sub Beattie, 90), Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey; Vaughan, Adam (Capt.); Taylor-Fletcher (sub Cathcart, 77), Southern, Campbell; Kornilenko (sub Puncheon, 46)

Subs not used:- Kingson; Phillips, Reid; Ormerod

Booked:- Eardley (foul on Rose), Kornilenko (foul on Bale)

Spurs let us down yet again

We cheered the Everton goals against Manchester City, and we sniffed one more chance to grasp a Champions League place if we could beat Blackpool, and beat City again on Tuesday. That would have left us one point behind with two games to go. We knew though that our Spurs could let us down. They had proved so many times this season that they could lose points against any team in the Premier League, especially those battling for survival. So it proved here, as Ian Holloway’s spirited men more than matched us for effort, taking the lead after a farcical two penalties in two minutes scenario, before Jermain Defoe scored an equaliser that came all too late. Our beloved Spurs have indeed let us all down again.

One of Spurs’ problems in my eyes is that they don’t do “in yer face” football. We like our football to be artistic, stylish, and entertaining. So many teams we face these days are built around fitness and effort before putting skill into the mix. Such is the case with Blackpool, and it is amazing to record that referee Lee Probert actually booked more Spurs men than those in tangerine. Blackpool skipper Charlie Adam didn’t even get booked for his stamping challenge that ended Gareth Bale’s involvement, and has probably ended the left winger’s season. Bale’s ankle has still to be fully assessed. There were suggestions that it might have been broken, but it may be ligament damage. We’ll be lucky if we see him before next season, and it’s looking less and less likely that we will see him play in Europe next season, unless he is snapped up for a big fee.

As anticipated, Harry Redknapp did indeed improvise at left back, and Danny Rose did not disappoint, making his first start since last year when he scored that dramatic goal against Arsenal. Danny had been training at left back this week, and has played there for Spurs reserves and the England under-21 side on occasions. He won plenty of acclaim for his style both when defending and going forward, and great applause when Niko Kranjcar replaced him in added time. We played with both Defoe and Pavlyuchenko, with Van der Vaart on the right and Sandro and Modric in the middle. Pavlyuchenko once again fell short in the ball control and application stakes, and on reflection, we would have done better with Lennon starting. If Spurs had played more of the game with the desire they showed in the closing stages, then they would have got the win they so desperately needed, but once again they let us down. Yes, I know I am repeating myself, but that’s what happened.

Something of a trend was set after just one minute, when Defoe tried to tee up Pavlyuchenko, but the Russian just could not control the ball. The Blackpool keeper was rarely tested to be honest, with most of Spurs shots not hitting the target. It was skipper Michael Dawson who had the best early chance with a powerful shot from 25 yards, that caught a deflection and passed over the goal for a corner. At the other end, Blackpool were awarded a free kick outside the box, which hit the Spurs wall. After a Van der Vaart corner Bale did have s hot on target, that Gilks saved conceding a corner. Gallas, Modric and Bale combined in a passing move that ended in a chance for Defoe that was blocked. Pavlyuchenko provided the final pass for Modric who hit a right footed shot from the middle that ended in another Spurs scorner.

Eardley got the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Rose, defending well and trying to bring the ball out of the Spurs half. Sandro was defending well for Spurs, and at one point had to cover for Kaboul on the right, as the right back had appeared in the middle. After Luka Modric had been caught in possession after 23 minutes, Blackpool took advantage and Gomes had to make a decent save from Baptiste’s shot.

Pavlyuchenko tried to lay up the ball for Defoe with a thread through the defence, but the ball was just too far ahead of JD. Dawson won a good header and sent the ball to Modric, who fed Van der Vaart, whose shot was well off target. Van der Vaart went down to a Blackpool midfield challenge and the visitors broke away, with Adam hitting a low powerful shot just wide. Defoe, Pavlyuchenko and Bale were in a good move that led to a Spurs throw, but Spurs failed to take advantage and the visitors broke away. Van der Vaart fed the ball to Modric from the right and Luka found Bale, whose low driven shot passed just outside the far post. Now Gallas saw yellow as he challenged a breaking Blackpool player down their left flank, in their own half.

Gomes saved another Adam shot, and Danny Rose carried the ball clear of danger into the opponents’ half. It looked as if Spurs had got the ball in the net, but Defoe had been offside for Van der Vaart’s pass. Rose offered a run for Bale, but the Welshman crossed inside where Defoe just failed to get a touch on the ball. Spurs last chance of the half fell for Sandro, who pulled his shot wide after Bale and Modric worked the ball into him.

Both sides made changes at the interval, with Lennon replacing Pavlyuchenko, and Puncheon replacing Kornilenko. Puncheon took up a position to the left of DJ Campbell, who became the focus for Blackpool attacks. Within a minute, Spurs broke clear after a Blackpool corner, through a Lennon run. Lennon passed the ball deep for Van der Vaart who was in plenty of space beyond his defender, but lost his footing and put a hurried shot wide. Van der Vaart became the provider in a few minutes as he worked his way almost to the bye-line, pulling the ball back for Bale, who hit a right footed shot over.

Danny Rose passed inside to Modric, whose great play allowed him to squeeze through three or four players, passing to Van der Vaart, who hit a not too strong shot at Gilks. At the other end Vaughan hit a powerful shot that passed just outside Gomes’ left post. Van der Vaart fed the ball to Lennon from the Spurs half, and Aaron passed to Bale, whose shot was wide. From a Spurs corner, Kaboul headed down and Defoe tried a scissor kick which went over. Another great break by Spurs came when Modric sent Lennon away, and then popped up in the area for a header from Lennon’s cross, which again was off target.

Now came the Adam challenge upon Bale, and photos have already passed around the net, showing the Blackpool skipper’s challenge which consisted of a rude tread upon Bale’s ankle. Bale was stretchered off, and replaced by Crouch. Modric was rudely fouled by Baptiste without punishment. Rose, Modric and Lennon were involved in a good move that led to a corner, taken short by Lennon and Modric. Van der Vaart’s shot was a bit of a dolly for Gilks though. A subsequent corner by Van der Vaart fell for Dawson, but his shot hit the side netting. Spurs had needed that killer touch, and to be ruthless, but had failed and would soon pay for their failure to put Blackpool away.

We were soon to see the best and worst of Gomes. First he made a good save at the near post from Campbell’s glanced effort. Then from the Blackpool corner, Michael Dawson handled the ball at the back post. He might claim he had been pushed in the back, but the referee decided against Dawson, and Spurs. Up stepped Adam, but Gomes made a great penalty save, diving low to his left. However, from that corner, Gomes needlessly chased Taylor-Fletcher and the referee decided he had made too much contact, awarding another penalty. This time Adam put his shot the other side of Gomes, who had guessed wrong.

Spurs had it all to do then, and all they could eventually manage was to draw level, when Defoe hit a great right foot drive inside Gilks’ right post. Modric had been the provider. There were 6 minutes of added time, but 60 probably would not have been enough for Spurs, despite another effort by Defoe, and a quite easy save for Gilks from Lennon.

What could have been a really spicy affair at Eastlands on Tuesday now presents little hope for Spurs, who will probably need a result at Anfield next Sunday to even salvage fifth place. Some people don’t want Europa League football, but my biggest fear is that without investment in the right players, primarily effective strikers, Spurs will fail to threaten the top four next season or beyond. We might have only lost 1 home league game this season, but we’ve drawn more than we’ve won. We need to be more ruthless and “in yer face” in future.

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