All the talk is about Martin Jol and his demise at the hands of Tottenham’s ‘cloak and dagger’ backroom staff, which doesn’t bode well for Rovers.
It is a well known fact that a team who have just lost their manager up their game and generally produce a resounding display. This could well mean a roasting for Rovers. We can’t even claim to have done our homework on Spurs as that goes straight out of the window, therefore, I predict it is going to be a hit or miss attempt to pile more misery onto Spurs before the messiah, Juande Ramos rolls into town.
As talk continues about Tottenham and how emphatically bad they have been this season, Rovers continue to go relatively unnoticed. Mark Hughes will take his troops to White Heart Lane in full confidence after five consecutive wins and with goals back on the menu and Tottenham leaking them by the ship load Rovers could unsettle Spurs shakey defence.
Hughes will be telling his men to maintain their professionalism and go about their business and ignore the furore surrounding Tottenham at the moment. It is becoming a popular opinion in football circles that Rovers can beat anyone on their day so if another aggressive, attacking display can be conjured then Rovers will fancy their chances.
This game won’t be all about Spurs.
Mark Hughes on Spurs ‘Going into a game against a club that have turmoil and disruption around them at the moment – we would like to think that’s to our advantage.
‘But they’re a quality side on their day and you know if the crowd get behind them that they can be difficult. It’s up to us to play as well as have done recently and get the job done.‘
Tottenham Hotspurs Team News:
Tottenham have a couple of injury problems to contend with as well as the upheavel in the background.
Jermaine Jenas is once again absent as his stop-start season continues. Also missing out is Anthony Gardner. Cerny is likely to continue in goal in Robinson’s absence.
Tottenham from: Cerny, Alnwick, Forecast, Chimbonda, Stalteri, Lee, Kaboul, Dawson, Zokora, Tainio, Jenas, Berbatov, Keane, Bent, Defoe, Malbranque, Taarabt, Boateng, Lennon
Player to watch: Robbie Keane
He is, as confessed by numerous Spurs fans, the only player who has been trying this season and his quality is always evident. He seems to have a fetish for scoring against Rovers and his movement and trickery could unlock Rovers. They will need to watch him and ensure he doesn’t have any time or space on the ball.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Ryan Nelsen continues to struggle to fully recover from his hamstring injury and may not be back in time. Steven Reid, finally, is making strong progress but isn’t anywhere near full fitness. Jason Roberts, fresh from his Soccer AM appearance, won’t be making a showing for Rovers this weekend.
Rovers from: Friedel, Enckelman, Nelsen, Samba, Ooijer, Warnock, Bentley, Dunn, Savage, Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Derbyshire, Tugay, Mokoena, Rigters, Khizanishvili, Olsson, Brown.
Player to watch: Morten Gamst Pedersen
I fancy he will be restored to the starting line-up for this game to demonstrate the width Rovers have. He also adds extra defensive depth. If he is in, Hughes will be looking for him to up his game and provide the quality crosses and balls he is capable of.
Match Facts & Stats
This is the 100th competitive meeting between the two clubs.
Rovers have made their best start to a Premiership season in over a decade whereas Spurs have made their worst in Premiership history.
Spurs are now unbeaten against Rovers in seven games.
Blackburn’s only victory in the last nine Premier League visits to White Hart Lane was a 0-4 end-of-season triumph on 11 May 2003 in which Dwight Yorke, Craig Hignett, Damien Duff and Andrew Cole scored.
Four of the last five League fixtures with Spurs have been drawn, including each of last season’s meetings; both 1-1.
Crazy Rob Styles is the referee. He has already issued four red cards this season and with three produced for Rovers players in the last four games against Spurs, expect another on Sunday.
The best approach Rovers can deploy here is a hit and miss tactic. It will be imperative for Rovers to score an early goal to cause disarray amounts the Spurs ranks and with Roque Santa Cruz and Benni McCarthy beaming with confidence and both amongst the goals, Rovers have a very real chance of conceiving this. Plenty of early balls into the box from wide, which could see a return for Gamst, can worry the tepid Spurs defenders, especially with Santa Cruz such a handful. This is where the game will be won and lost. Expect goals in this game. If Rovers can get the early goal then a first win over Spurs in over two and a half years could ensue.
Rovers to win 3-2.
Portsmouth in the league cup.