Tag Archives: Heurelho Gomes

I don’t believe it – red rose points! Blackburn Rovers 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

A tenth anniversary party – not mine I might add – prevented me from watching a feed of the Blackburn Rovers game but I did manage to pick up the Sky Football First highlights. On route to said event I had picked up the news about Luka Modric’s appendix operation and after feeling more concerned then ever about our chances wondered whether Rafa would drop back and we’d play two strikers up front or put in Kranjcar or Pienaar. 

In the end Pienaar was also injured and so Lennon again played on the left and Rafa went out right allowing the fit again Palacios to come into the centre with Jenas. Not the midfield we would have predicted but maybe one that was suited to the occasion. Crouch came in up front to partner Defoe and on three minutes rose ahead of Samba and headed Rafa’s perfectly hit cross from deep beyond Robinson to put us ahead.

After that our chances were few and far between but we were able to stem the tide for most of the game and when we didn’t Gomes was playing well and making a string of brilliant second half saves. We had two decent chances in the second half both created by Lennon. The first involved a tremendous break which saw him sprint from box to box before laying the ball to Defoe who finding the ball on his left foot allowed Robinson to make a save. 

The second involved a tremendous shot from Lennon after cutting inside and forcing Robinson into an excellent save following a deflection from a Blackburn player.

In defence Charlie returned and received a yellow card after he got caught out and tugged his man to the floor. He was also unlucky when he was adjudged to have brought his man down on the edge of the box when it was clearly not a foul. After the pounding at Fulham his more defensive outlook maybe benefitted the side and at left back Benny appeared to holding himself back.

However, from what I saw Billy Gallas looked outstanding. Having taken back the armband he threw himself into the game and one brilliant sliding tackle in the second half epitomised his performance. He picked up a knock in that challenge but with us being down to bare bones on the bench he continued and along with Bassong helped keep a clean sheet despite a few dodgy moments near the end. 

How this might have been the result of JJ’s knee is open to debate but a clean sheet is a clean sheet and once again Crouchy is on the score sheet but JD is not. He gave way to Sandro who saw the end of the game. Wanting to impress the young man crossed the ball late in the game conceding possession and allowing Blackburn to attack us once again – or so the boy told me who watched the latter stages on a feed.

So Gomes played well, we kept a clean sheet, the makeshift midfield worked on the night, a striker scored and Woody made the bench. And the biggest thing for me is points in Lancashire! I’ve moaned about our performances in the North West for most of the season and to prove my point I’ve included a map of the UK showing our points tallies so far (click link to load). It is unfortunate that some of the best sides are from the North West but so too are some of the middle and lower tier sides and all too often we let ourselves down on our travels to their stadiums.     

As a consequence last night was a bit of a triumph. It wasn’t a great performance but does it always need to be when we get three points and Manchester City does not!   

Everything but the win! Birmingham 1 Tottenham 1

Draws fall into two categories. A point won or two points lost. This point has to be in the latter category such was our domination for over an hour in this match. Such was our upper hand that a neutral watcher might have thought Spurs were the home team.

So what went wrong? The introduction of Zigic certainly did not help our cause as it added a threat up front. Previously they had used Fahey as an extra man on Bale which had left Jerome up front on his own and a no contest against Gallas and Bassong who both played well. 

Games must be difficult for Mrs Gomes to watch. At the best of times he can go down quite easily and yesterday was the second time this season that the trainer has been on to examine his groin area. Against the Young Boys he picked up a groin injury and was lying on the ground with his legs in the air trainer over him deep in examination. 

Yesterday he took a shot from Ridgewell in the “stone heap” and needed a break before continuing. Whilst these injuries are legitimate I question their effect upon teammates. Against Young Boys the crowd were unsupportive so who knows what his colleagues think – let alone Mrs Gomes! 

The Birmingham goal came right after this injury break. Had we lost concentration? Possibly but had we put our chances away it would not have mattered. Both Crouch and Defoe had opportunities in front of goal but a lack of control and desire to get it on the right foot allowed them slip away. They also had options and took decisions that proved to be the wrong one. 

Birmingham also had plenty in defence so space in their box was at a premium meaning that the extra touch was not often available. But for the England international strike force such a thing should not be insurmountable. Apart from that both played well though we maybe would prefer a poor performance and a couple of goals. That’s often what Pav provides.

Whilst the result was a disappointment the performance certainly was not. Lennon got at his man all afternoon linking well with Hutton and getting round behind the Birmingham back four on a number of occasions and had a one two come off with Defoe he might have crowned the move with a goal.

Modric also had a busy afternoon involved with everything, making himself available for Wilson and linking well with all of his colleagues. Without Van Der Vaart someone needs to run the midfield and he did it well all afternoon. 

Bale had a quieter game but still delivered the free kick for Bassong’s opener and a number of crosses having beaten off the threat of Steve Carr with ease. The free kick was interesting. Gallas, who is proving to be more than a decent skipper, ran over to offer advice and a killer ball to the back post ensued. Crouch’s header was dealt with poorly by Foster and the ball fell for Seb to turn and crash into the net. 

Bale also linked well with Ekotto who was solid once again and delivered some decent crosses into their box. That leaves Wilson who I felt held the key to our victory. He was more reliable and better in the pass than against Liverpool but still failed to win some of the 50/50 balls that came his way and got a booking for over reaction to a kick in the back. 

That was an unnecessary booking and Hutton was lucky to escape an unnecessary red in injury time for a reaction against Murphy after a tackle from behind. Having worked hard to secure his place in the side a suspension is the last thing he needs.

So Birmingham’s solid home record continues but it was in the palm of our hand for a long period. It is games like these that determine whether Harry’s title claims are founded or not. Yesterday his players let him down in that respect but as G says sometimes a point is a good result. I think we’re waiting till after we play Birmingham in our last home game to decide if it is or not.               

Tottenham Vs West Ham United Preview

One game one point into the holiday programme and we welcome West Ham United to the Lane. Our current record against them is second to none they are without a win since the infamous end of season game in 2006 when most of our squad were suffering from overnight sickness. Unfortunately records like that eventually get broken so we’ll have to be at our best to make sure that this does not happen tomorrow.

Defoe was rested at Craven Cottage and I felt that to be a sensible decision. I think he will return for this game and it may be Crouch who drops to the bench to allow him back into the side. I also fancy Ledley to come in and replace Bassong who took a kick to the head that knocked him out cold at Fulham. This is the game we need him to play if we are choosing between this and Peterborough in the FA Cup.

Will Tommy come back in or will Jenas continue in central midfield? As it is a home game I fancy Tommy to get the start so that we benefit from his passing rather than tackling. And what of Luka? Is he ready for a first start since returning from his leg break? I think it will be tomorrow with Niko dropping to the bench.

For West Ham injury is the order of the day with Mark Noble joining Carlton Cole amongst others in the treatment room. They arrive fresh from victory over Portsmouth but always ready to give up a lead this season we should fancy our chances for a home win.

Biggest question is whether we can continue our run of clean sheets at the back? I’m hopeful that we can of Daws and Ledley link up like they did when they first partnered each other and if Gomes continues his form from Craven Cottage it will take something special to beat him.

Team: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric, Keane, Defoe

Prediction: 3-0 as long as we keep our attention at the back right from the off.