Rovers lost on the road again as they conspired to gift a very talented Spurs side a victory with some kamikaze defending at inappropriate times.
Michel Salgado was the Spurs target as the speedy and impressive Gareth Bale was given the task of out sprinting and out playing the veteran Spaniard.
But despite matching Spurs for long periods, it was an ‘on a platter’ win as Rovers were again their own worst enemy away from Ewood Park.
But their were plenty of positives for a Rovers side that again gave a superior side a good game.
Some papers are describing this Spurs win as ‘comfortable’, that is a shocking, lazy description of a very competitive game.
Despite a lacklustre (at best) away record, Rovers set out with intent to have a go at Spurs – and have a go they did in the early stages.
His epic, storming run was a 50 yarder and required two men to stop it, one man unfairly.
Dunn carried the ball into the area and Palacios won the ball fairly but Vedran Corluka cut across the midfielder at the same time, quite why it wasn’t a penalty only god know as Dunn was borderline assaulted.
Spurs’ first chances came to Pavlyuchenko, the in form Spurs hitman who has returned to favour after a wildnerness spell.
Pavlyuchenko’s first effort was stabbed into the ground and over after Benoit Assou-Ekotto burst into the area, then Gareth Bale crossed and he fired wide.
It meant Paul Robinson, who got a cracking reception from both sides fans, was off the pitch before any meaningful action.
Jason Brown was off the bench to replace Robbo and went about his job very well to start with.
Brown saved at full stretch before the break when Assou-Ekotto’s early cross from the left angled towards the bottom corner, then he parried a Defoe effort after Luka Modric sent him through.
But Defoe was on target in stoppage-time of the first half. Niko Kranjcar’s corner was flicked on by Corluka, who climbed above Martin Olsson, and Defoe was at the far post to tap home. Quite what the Rovers defenders were doing not even god knows.
Spurs then punished Blackburn for their lack of killer instinct with a fast, breakaway goal, complete with a Jason Brown howler.
Spurs were defending a corner when the move started, with Modric carrying the ball forward and finding Defoe. Defoe resisted the temptation to shoot and laid on Pavlyuchenko, whose finish went through Brown.
Modric could have added another when Sebastien Bassong carried the ball out of defence and found his team-mate – but the Croatia playmaker dragged his finish wide.
Bale felt he should have had a penalty when Salgado challenged but Webb decided it was time to with the two wrongs make a right approach by denying Spurs a clear penalty to even out the clear one Rovers should have had.
Samba then gave Rovers hope with a leaping headef from another dangerous Morten Pedersen corner and the grandstand finish was on… for about five minutes.
Pavlyuchenko, however, grabbed his second five minutes before the end when he clipped home Bale’s cross. He was then denied a certain hat trick when Samba incredibly cleared off the line.
In the dying moments a ridiculous decision robbed Kalinic of the best goal of the game when had an effort chalked off for handball before turning and shooting from the edge of the area with a screamer… it was evident to everyone that Dawson had fouled Kalinic but for Webb, this completed a torrid afternoon.
Robbo – N/A
Pulled up injured and we can only hope he is alright, it looks a tad worrying that he couldn’t put weight on his bad leg.
A scan will reveal all but he came off too early to pass proper judgement. Get well soon Robbo.
Salgado – 4
Too slow to mark a speedy winger as the Spaniard was given a wretchered day at the office by welshman Bale.
Beaten for pace time and time again and was a target for Spurs. Shocking stuff.
Samba – 7
Good effort as Samba won most things in the air as usual and led the backline well in the absence of Nelsen.
Chipped in with the goal as well as Rovers came back into the game – a good towering header that outlept Dawson.
Givet – 6
Not bad. He was often compensating for a lack of pace with good positioning but it worked out ok for him.
Could have been more assertive for first and second goal though.
Chimbonda – 5
Caught ball watching for the Spurs third and didn’t have the best of afternoons from a defensive point of view. He was often poor positionally.
Going forward though he did carry a good threat.
Emerton – 5
Largely anonymous and struggled to get into the game out on the right.
I expect much better from a key player and he will be disappointed he didn’t contribute more.
N’Zonzi – 6
Did his usual job efficiently and held everything together well in the middle. Some good aerial dominance never goes a miss either.
Was guilty of slowing down the passing play on the attack too often though.
Pedersen – 6
Some very dangerous set pieces and Spurs did view him as a kay attacking threat so did try to cut of the Norwegian’s supply line when possible,
But does continue a steady improvement, his crossing is getting better.
Olsson – 7
Again a very sharp display from the Swede. His youth is his ally as he attacked at pace and his crossing could cause problems if we had players in the right areas.
Much better display than last time he was at White Hart Lane.
Dunny – 7
Strong showing on return from injury. His carrying of the ball and his drive make Rovers a much better side. He was the man that broke forward at pace and at times looked like he was going to give Rovers the edge.
Does need to curb the ball hogging though and give it up sometimes!
Kalinic – 7.5
He only get a lower mark than he should because the support he received at times was poor. When given the ball and given the chance to attack the ball he again looked quality.
Great goal incorrectly chalked off and I believe in either a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 this guy could flourish.
Brown – 6
Jekell and Hyde! Sme very smart stops and a very solid replacement for Englands Number One.
That one error for the second goal though cost him a good mark.
Andrews – 5
Very non-descript performance as Andrews struggled with Palacios and Assou-Ekotto.
Didn’t offer more than Emerton on this occassion and given the poor display of the Aussie that is not a good thing.
Decent contribution from the Argentine. He was bought on to help Niko and it worked. Rovers did look more dangerous through his presence.
Good support play and target work but never a goal threat.
Some good attacking player. Niko Kalinic. Martin Olsson dovetailing with Dunn. Chris Samba re-asserting his dominance and the growing presence of Steven N’Zonzi.
Why was Basturk left warming the bench when Andrews came on? Some sloppy defending cost us again. Salgado being made to look a tool. Could have done with a quicker change of personell and shape than waiting till we were 2-0 down.