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Blackburn Rovers v Spurs: Preview, Team News & Predicted Score

Sunday sees Spurs travel to Ewok Park to take on Blackburn. Before the season kicked off I did a guest appearance on The Elastico podcast for their Premier League season preview. On that show I slated Steve Kean and confidently predicted that Blackburn would go down. With them sitting bottom of the league, not much has changed that opinion, although they put four past Arsenal’s fearsome defence so they must have something. Right?!?! It seems Rovers fans aren’t too Kean on their manager either, they are planning another march prior to the game and a 45 minute sit in afterwards. Bad times for Blackburn.

One Rovers player who Spurs will need to keep an eye on is Junior Hoillett. It’s been rumoured that Harry Redknapp has already been keeping tabs on him with a view to a January or end of season bid. Something this blog was calling for in the summer. Hoillett has pace to burn and tricks to go with it. Watching him is like seeing Aaron Lennon on a good day but with added scoring potential. Yakubu is likely to form the point of the attack for Rovers and on his day can bother any defence. Spurs will need to make sure he’s not gifted time and space on the ball. At the other end of the pitch, former England number one and Spurs hero Paul Robinson will be doing his best to keep the Lilywhite attack at bay.

Also on defensive duties for Rovers will be Chris Samba, having been linked with a host of top clubs in the summer – Spurs included – he’s sure to have a point to prove. Former Real Madrid man Michel Salgado may have years of experience behind him but if Gareth Bale hits his stride that will count for little. There aren’t many other Rovers players to pick out as ones to watch, but if Simon Vukcevic or Mauro Formica ever hit the form they did before joining Blackburn they could pose problems. Of course, Kean would need to start them for that to happen.

For Harry Redknapp the big decision will be Rafa van der Vaart or Jermain Defoe. Again. Considering Defoe’s lacklustre 90 minute appearance on Thursday night it would seem that van der Vaart will get the nod behind Emmanuel Adebayor. Ade averages a goal or assist every 76 minutes played in the Premier League this season and Rafa has one for every 80 minutes played. Those kind of stats show exactly why they should be the first choice pairing to lead the line.

Luka Modric and Gareth Bale should make up the 3 behind Ade with Rafa. If they can gel like they did at Wigan then Rovers could be in for a torrid time. Sandro tired towards the end of his 70 minute run out against Rubin but if fit enough can form a frightening partnership with Super Scotty Parker in front of the back four.

The presence of those two will allow Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Walker to alternately provide extra width for the attack without sacrificing defensive security. That is even more crucial now that Ledley King has resumed normal service in keeping the medical team company. King’s absence means that Younes Kaboul and Seb Bassong are almost certain to line up in front of former Rovers keeper Brad Friedel in the heart of Spurs defence.

Kaboul continues to impress this season, going from strength to strength. He only came on for the last twenty minutes against Rubin Kazan but even then had to go down as one of Spurs best performers of the night. This blog has sung his praises before though so no need to keep harking on about it. As for Bassong, Thursday night was his best game in over a year and hopefully he can continue to get back to the form he showed in the 09/10 season. Talking of looking for a January move as he feels he’s been unfairly dropped won’t endear him to Harry Redknapp though, yet there aren’t too many other options available to the manager right now. Luckily for Bassong.

My Prediction

Spurs have to win this. Blackburn are poor. Really poor. In past years this would normally mean that charity Spurs turn up, gift Rovers the points and help Steve Kean breathe a little easier. However, Redknapp has instilled new belief in Spurs and this season the team have shown an ability to grind points out, particularly away in matches that have seen struggles in previous seasons. A clean sheet would be really nice too, as the goal difference is still suffering from the beatings suffered at the hands of the Manchester clubs. I’m going for a 2-0 Spurs win.


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