Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rovers at the Lane

The visit of Blackburn is a vital 6-pointer, a must win game for Spurs. It is essential to curtail Blackburn's progress and to re-establsh the 5 point lead over Arsenal. This will not be easy, but Spurs must show the application and desire to win this game from the very start. In recent games their approach has been very cautious, allowing the other team to settle and dictate much of the early play.

Blackburn will be a difficult team to break down as they showed last season in the final game of the season when they came for a draw and succeeded without too many alarms. Their record at White Hart Lane since their return to top-flight football in 1992 is good - most of the games have been close with the exception of the 2003 Spurs debacle when Hoddle's team brought an inauspicious season to a close with a 0-4 defeat.

Spurs' Premiership Record against Blackburn at WHL:

P. 11 W. 5 D. 2 L. 4 Goals For: 12 Ag. 14

Spurs best result was a 3-1 victory in February, 1995.
Currently, Spurs record has slipped slightly with two wins, three draws and two defeats since the start of the year. Blackburn have an excellent home record with recent wins over Manchester United and Arsenal but their away form is poor, with defeats in the last four away games. Hopefully, this record will be maintained and Spurs can record a very necessary victory.
Blackburn will compete with Spurs and make it very difficult for them. King and Dawson will have to keep a very tight rein on Bellamy and Bentley, while Savage will do his best to wind up Edgar Davids.
Martin Jol would appears to have a full squad available for selection, with the only doubt over Aaron Lennon who withdrew from the England U-21 team during the week.
The main areas for thought will be:
  • whether Defoe or Keane partners Midi in attack
  • what permutation of midfield he selects. With Tainio available again, he has a wide choice - Carrick, Davids, Jenas, Murphy and Lennon if he is passed fit. Whoever plays in midfield will have to be prepared to battle with the Blackburn players and show a willingness to run with the ball at the Rovers defence and take players on in an effort to provide more room for the strikers.
  • He may also be considering a change at right back where Paul Stalteri has not been as effective in recent games, with Stephen Kelly waiting for his chance.
The five England players will be buoyant after their game on Wednesday and hopefully Paul Robinson and the defence will be able to keep a clean sheet and provide a sound base for the midfield and strikers to play from.
Spurs are looking for a win tomorrow to restore their confidence and give them a boost ahead of next week's game at Stamford Bridge. It would be good to see a comfortable win but as that is probably unlikely considering the combative nature of the Blackburn team, any win will be acceptable as it will keep Spurs European ambitions and possible Champions League aspirations on course by restoring the gap ahead of the pursuing clubs.
Come on You Spurs!!


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