May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Daniel Grigg
Monday, October 24, 2011
Tottenham Blogger Daniel Grigg gives his views on yesterday’s 2-1 win at Ewood Park
Spurs took full advantage of Liverpools Saturday evening slip-up at home to Norwich, as the Lilywhites eventually got the better of struggling Blackburn to move into fifth place in the league.
The victory against Rovers didnt come easily, but regardless of that it meant a third win in four away league matches a consistency which is already making Tottenham a far more daunting prospect to all of their challengers than they did last season.
Thanks to other results, Spurs are now just three points behind Chelsea and, even more amazingly, only four points behind Manchester United with a game in hand.
While it would certainly be jumping the gun and wrongly over-optimistic to start raising the expectation level too much at this early stage, that game in hand is very hard to ignore, and is loaded with potential.
Im not one to praise every decision that Harry Redknapp makes, but in recent weeks hes made a few good ones, corrected a few others and said a few things which really bode very well for Spurs this season.
One of the biggest plus points of last weeks disappointing 2-2 draw with Newcastle was the speed and frankness with which Redknapp seemed to diagnose and acknowledge the major problems.
Departing from the image of the up and at em English manager, Redknapp spoke instead of the importance of possession football, and knowing when to attack and when to defend what you have.
Unfortunately for Spurs, however, they struggled for that dominant share of the ball again this week too, as Blackburn put in an unexpectedly accomplished performance for a team who sit bottom of the Premier League.
It was an unusual performance from Luka Modric, who made more of an impact with his runs into the penalty area and shots from distance than normal, but was also largely ineffective in denying Rovers possession and working them around in midfield.
On the other hand Rafael van der Vaart did what he does best scoring goals from his favourite free role behind the striker, although it remains to be seen whether he will be given that role at White Hart Lane as well as in the away matches.
Meanwhile, Aaron Lennon returned to the starting XI for a league match for the first time since the 5-1 defeat to Manchester City, but was somewhat over-shadowed down the right by the far more confident Kyle Walker.
Walkers run for Van der Vaarts opener was all about pace, power and will. But it was backed up by some remarkably clear thinking and awareness after hed forced his way through into the box.
As Lennon showed when he failed to spot Van der Vaart at Old Trafford, getting to the by-line is one thing but its no good if you then fail to find a team-mate.
Many full-backs would have been surprised at getting so close to goal, and gone for the low percentage attempt to squeeze the ball past Paul Robinson.
However, Walker spotted the clever pass back to Van Der Vaart, and couldnt have laid it on more nicely for the Dutchman to neatly slot away the finish.
On the other hand, Tottenhams defensive problems (including the injury issues) had been a concern before the match, and they remain so now, despite the win.
While Younes Kaboul had looked a real stabilising force on Thursday, coming off the bench to help Spurs secure a vital clean sheet against Rubin Kazan, he was no match for the force that is Christopher Samba at Ewood Park.
That was most apparent for Blackburns equaliser as the two big men rose to challenge for the ball - Samba the stronger by far as Kaboul was sent sprawling to the turf, nearly getting a face full of Mauro Formicas drilled shot for his trouble which may well have prevented the goal.
While Kaboul was perhaps a tad unfortunate to find himself up against one of the leagues most dangerous players at set pieces, some of the mistakes that his defensive partner Sebastian Bassong made were a great deal more concerning.
Bassong may have been a regular part of the 2009/10 Tottenham team that qualified for the Champions League, but its no secret the club had been looking to loan him to QPR during the last transfer window.
His decision-making errors continue to be repeated a little too often for a team who are desperate to avoid any slip-ups in what promises to be an incredibly hard-fought race for fourth place.
Mistakes like the fluffed overhead clearance Bassong made late on against Blackburn, which sent the ball back infield towards the edge of his own box, just shouldnt be happening.
Fortunately, Brad Friedel fully justified his return to the first team with some more solid saves, despite Heurelho Gomes brilliance to keep Rubin Kazan out on Thursday.
And so it fell upon Van der Vaart to score Spurs winner from 25 yards - and few players in the world do it so well, converting those little half chances in tight matches with such regularity.
With 16 points from a possible 18, there is every reason for positivity around Tottenham and every reason to feel they will maintain their form with another win over QPR this weekend.