A lopsided shot and possession count accounted to little, as Blackburn Rovers failed to take their opportunities, losing at home to Tottenham 2-1 courtesy of two Van Der Vart goals.
Simon Vukcevic earned a debut appearance, whilst Formica was restored to the starting line up.
Lowe, Givet, Samba, Olsson
Gamst Vukcevic Hoillet
Within the opening minutes of this fixture, it always looked like it would be an open, free flowing encounter. Junior Hoilet was given the freedom to roam, often drifting centrally as well as sliding out wide. Mauro Formica looked dangerous whilst Olsson and Lowe attempted to overlap. Simon Vukcevic looked hungry and out to prove a point, whilst Gamst Pedersen turned back the years, moving the ball well in midfield. Bale and Lennon were the constant threats for Tottenham, blistering pace ensuring Lowe and Givet were on the ball at all times.
It was Kyle Walkers run down the right flank which undid the Rovers defence. Having got around Gael Givet, Kyle pounced into the box, sliding the ball in for Van Der Vart, left with an open goal to slide the ball in. 1-0 Tottenham
You feared the worst minutes later, however 2 reflex saves from Paul Robinson, first denying Adebayor from 6 yards, then flicking over Olsson’s rebound, ensuring Rovers were in for a fight. And a fight it was.
Blackburn turned up the heat, and were rewarded. Gamst Pedersen sent a free kick in from 40 yards, Samba leaping highest, Formica pouncing on the loose ball, burying it from 12 yards. 1-1
The Ewood faithful were in full voice, and Blackburn lifted another notch. Vukcevic was looking lively, whilst Gamst and Nzonzi dominated the midfield. Junior Hoillet found space on the left after being threaded through by Pedersen, jinking past his marker before shooting directly at Friedel. Another set piece almost put Rovers ahead, Gamst sending another ball in, Samba flicking on just wide of goal.
It wasn’t all Rovers though as Tottenham tried their luck from distance. Modric struck from 20 yards whilst Ekotto hit from further out, both times Paul Robinson up to the task.
Half Time 1-1
Rovers would have wanted to continue off where they started, but Tottenham came out firing. An early spell of possession put Rovers on the back foot, but a slice of fortune set up what proved to be the winner. An important challenge by Lowe on Ekotto stopped one opportunity, but the ball rolled into the path of Van Der Vart, bending it in from 25 yards, leaving Paul Robinson stranded. Tottenham 2-1
Yakubu and Rochina came on for Formica and Vukcevic as Rovers pushed on for an equaliser. Blackburn created several opportunities, Samba often the target man, with Brad Friedel tippping over twice. However the golden chance came with 5 to go. Martin Olsson whipped in a delightful cross from the left flank, Yakubu striking well wide from 6 yards out.
A frustrating night, Tottenham taking the 3 points against a devestated Rovers outfit.
Tottenham 2 Blackburn 1
Paul Robinson 8
Man of the Match
Jason Lowe 7
Had a superb game down the right flank. Shut down his man, pushed on well and moved the ball well
Chris Samba 7
Extremely dangerous in the air. Would be dissapointed with his positioning on the first goal, but not much he could do
Gael Givet 6
Worked hard, but was outdone for the first goal and would put his hand up
Martin Olsson 6
Out of position for the first goal, but lifted his game from their. Really came into light in the attacking half
Steve Nzonzi 7
Worked his socks off all game, tracking well and organising a swift transition into attack
Morten Gamst Pedersen 7
Looks very adapt in the central role. Thread some delightful balls for Hoillet and Vukcevic and tracked in defence
Junior Hoillet 7.5
Our main danger on all occasions, would of loved him to finish of the chance he created on the left edge, just lacks that killer instinct
Simon Vukcevic 6.5
Delightful debut,but faded in the second half. Thought he would get a shot at a set piece close to the box, but showed what he was capable off
Mauro Formica 6.5
Super finish to bring Rovers level. Just a frustrating player to watch, appears to fade out of the game then pounces back in
Jason Roberts 6
Earned some solid free kicks, but seems to have lost that turn of pace he once had
Pick the Score
We had two individuals who correctly picked the score on twitter. Congratulations to twitter users
Jchandler44 and Smudgybum