Burnley (Away)
League Cup Semi-final Second Leg

Wednesday 21st January 2009


With all that Tottenham have to do being defend a 4-1 lead to face Manchester United in the League Cup Final at Wembley, it is up to the side Harry Redknapp puts out to hold out against the Championship side.  It will be a different team with injuries and players being rested, but it will give some of them an opportunity to impress on Redknapp that they are worth a go at the club, albeit probably next season, as he is likely to stick with the experienced players in the League games.

We will get a chance to see Ben Alnwick in goal and maybe some players who need to have a run out, such as Chris Gunter, Adel Taarabt and up front, Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell.  Maybe Tom Huddlestone will get a chance in midfield, with David Bentley will start in his favoured right wing position.

Burnley will field much the same team that showed good form in the first half of the first leg.  And it that type of passing performance that Spurs will have to tighten up to stop, otherwise they could find themselves having to fight to keep their lead.

Chris Eagles is the most influential player in the Turfites side and his running with the ball and passing damaged Tottenham in that opening half of the game at the Lane.  Martin Patterson proved he is a forward who can snaffle a chance, while Clarke Carlisle dealt with all the aerial stuff, with Michael Duff not doing as well, having been given a bit of a chasing and heading an own goal.  Let's hope he is available again, although he got sent off recently at Swansea.  In fact Burnley haven't had the best of results since the first leg.  But don't let that fool you, as Owen Coyle will demand a good showing to prove that they can live with Premier League teams.  Having lost two league games, having a man sent off at Swansea City and conceding a penalty, while giving two pens away against Preston North End, the defence has been suffering a bit.  They did beat QPR after extra time right at the death in the FA Cup, so they will be hoping to get back into a regular run of winning ways.

Jay Rodriguez was the match winner against QPR and there are high hopes for the talented midfielder, so he might come in to start, while players such as the experienced Graham Alexander and Stephen Jordan will put in good displays in defence.

With a three goal gap to pull back, I guess Burnley will be quick out of the blocks to try and get the early goal to put the wind up Tottenham, if it is not up them as it blows through Turf Moor anyway.  It will be necessary to keep a clean sheet and protect Alnwick for the first half of the match, but I can see the Clarets putting in an impassioned effort and may well take the leg ...

PREDICTION : -  Burnley  2   Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


BURNLEY :  -  Stephen Caldwell (suspended); Steven Thompson (cup-tied); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Alan Hutton (foot); Jermaine Jenas (calf); Ledley King (hamstring); Aaron Lennon (groin); Heurelho Gomes (groin); Vedran Corluka (thigh); - (-); 


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
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 (live coverage)
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
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BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Burnley   3   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 1-0)
[after extra time : score at 90 mins.  3-0]

League Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Venue : -  Turf Moor
Wednesday 21st January 2009
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   19,533
Referee :  Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Weather :  -  Rainy, windy, cold
Teams : - 
Burnley :

12  Jensen

  2  Alexander
  4  Duff      
  5  Carlisle
23  Jordan (  3  Kalvenes 39)

11  Elliott
33  Eagles
  8  Gudjonsson (19  Rodriguez 81  )
16  McCann       

20  Blake 
10  Paterson (  9  Akinbiyi 100)

Unused subs: 
  1  Penny
  7  McDonald
18  Mahon 
27  MacDonald

Tottenham Hotspur :

27  Alnwick

16  Gunter  (19  Taarabt 95)
20  Dawson
39  Woodgate (c)
32  Assou-Ekotto

  4  Zokora
  6  Huddlestone
  5  Bentley      
24  O'Hara  (  3  Bale 62)

14  Modric  (  9  Pavlyuchenko 65 )
25  Defoe 

Unused subs: 
21  Sanchez
18  Campbell
16  Giovani
33  Rocha

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Blake 34
McCann  73
Rodriguez 88

Tottenham Hotspur

Pavlyuchenko 118
Defoe 120

Cards : -  

McCann (foul)  38
Duff (foul) 69  


Tottenham Hotspur 

Bentley (foul) 21 


Match Report : -  
What should have been a routine exercise as detailed above, turned into a match of vigour and skill, with two moments of goal-scoring ability settling the tie in Tottenham's favour at the fag-end of the 120 minutes of action the night brought courtesy of Burnley's well-deserved 3-0 score-line at the end of the regulatory 90 minutes.

That Tottenham threw away the three goal lead was bad enough, but the nature of the performance was more of a concern, although it was a makeshift side that Redknapp fielded because of injuries to key players.

With injuries to Bent, Jenas, Corluka, Gomes, King and Lennon, it was a side with several players who had not featured lately.  And it showed, as Spurs had to hold onto the ball to keep Burnley away form goal and failed to achieve that aim.

While the Clarets dominated the early possession, it was not too much to worry Spurs, as they failed to trouble the Tottenham goal.  There was early involvement for debutant keeper Ben Alnwick, as he slid out to grab the ball from the on-running Paterson, before he had to leap up to palm away a vicious clearance-cum-shot that Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired high towards his own goal.  Appeals for a back-pass being handled were waved away and it was hardly the sort of back-pass any keeper might have expected.

Then Spurs strung a few passes together and Defoe was set free and the striker hit a low shot from outside the box, which Jensen got down to, but unconvincingly pushed aside for a corner.  From that dead ball, Woodgate got a header to the ball, but could not keep it down.  The same happened when Modric got on the end of a cross by Chris Gunter.  Bentley was trying to prove he can be an effective player, but tackling is not one of his great assets and he was booked for a late tackle on Eagles.

Burnley had a good spell of possession, as Spurs kept mis-placing their passes and it ended with Eagles having a shot that Jonathan Woodgate got in the way of before the same Tottenham defender was penalised as Paterson backed into him.  Being 30 yards out, Alnwick lined up a two man wall and shaped as though he was expecting a cross from Robbie Blake, who stepped up to take the free-kick.  But the Burnley striker had seen Alnwick's movement and slammed his shot the near post side of the wall and the ball flew into the net, with the goalie unable to recover the ground to get anything on the ball.

Spurs had held out for 34 minutes and now needed to get to half-time without conceding again.  McCann was just one of the home players who hit Bentley with a tough tackle and he got a yellow card for his effort, but when the ball came into the penalty area from Bentley, it landed on Woodgate's head, but he put it straight at Jensen, whereas anywhere else and it would have been a goal.

With the rain lashing down and a chill wind blowing through Turf Moor, it was not an enticing atmosphere that greeted Tottenham for the second half.  Especially as the pressure was being applied and Assou-Ekotto conceded an early corner.  It was cleared and when Tottenham got on the attack, it was Defoe who passed inside to Luka Modric, who hit his shot early and with Jensen rooted to the spot, he was relieved to see the ball fly over the bar.  Further problems hit the Spurs team as Jamie O'Hara limped off and he was replaced on the left side of midfield by Gareth Bale.  And it was the sub who was released down the left by Huddlestone just after the hour.  The Welshman darted down the channel into the box and with the goal guarded by Jensen, he hit a shot across the goal rather than on target.

Modric was spared any further involvement when Pavlyuchenko replaced him.  It was not the sort of game in which Modric would shine, but he applied himself well and made some telling contributions.  Jermain Defoe showed what a nuisance he could be, when he robbed Clarke Carlisle and took the ball into the box, but it just bounced off his shin through to the keeper.  Duff completed a tie to remember when he was booked for another foul to go with his booking and own goal in the first leg.

Blake had already had one run up the left to set up Paterson, but he did not connect with his shot properly.  Then his run past Gunter and Dawson saw him put the ball right across the six yard box (as Eagles had done for the first goal at the Lane), where Chris McCann came in at the far post to make a simple conversion of the chance.  2-0 on the night meant 3-4 on aggregate, so another goal would take the tie to extra time.

Tottenham needed to move up a gear, but it was hard when they had little possession and the players were not moving as well as they can.  Tom Huddlestone had a game to forget with little effect on it, although the midfield was often by-passed by Burnley, so he ended up spinning around to see where the play had come from and gone to.  With just about fifteen minutes to go, Pavlyuchenko should have wrapped it up from just outside the six yard box, but Bale's cross hit his standing leg and bounced away from goal.

With ten minutes remaining, Burnley brought on lucky mascot Rodriguez and they were going all out for the goal which would equalise the tie after 180 minutes.  But it was Spurs who nearly won it with six minutes left.  Bale raced in from the left to hit s shot that the goalie saved, but the ball fell out to Defoe and Jensen dived bravely at his feet to thwart him.

Within four minutes, all hell broke loose.  Another cheap free-kick was awarded the home side's way and Blake crossed this one in form 40 yards out.  Alnwick decided to come for it and as he did, his own defenders and some Burnley players got underneath him and he could only knock the ball down for Rodriguez to volley the ball into an unguarded net.  3-0.  As all the views were that Spurs would be at Wembley, it all seemed to be going wrong.  Third shot on target and third goal.

In added time at the end of the 90, Zokora played a long ball forward and Pav brought it down, before hitting a long range effort that deflected wide.  In that moment the tie might have been won.  Bu the final whistle blew and with away goals only counting after extra time, an additional 30 minutes faced both sides.

The first shot of extra time saw Huddlestone draw a diving stop from Jensen, before Adel Taarabt was introduced for Chris Gunter.  Roman tried his luck from 20 yards as well and this time the keeper saved more comfortably.  Burnley brought on Ade Akinbiyi for Paterson and the idea was to hit the long ball for him to chase after and make a nuisance of himself.  It didn't seem to help, as the passes to him were either too long or he lost the ball because of poor control of a good challenge.

The second period of extra time started much the same as the first, with Gareth Bale testing Jensen from a tight angle, then Pavlyuchenko tried to cross but it landed on the roof of the net, before Taarabt decided to try his luck from more than 30 yards out, but a deflection took the sting out of the drive on goal.  Taarabt was taking the ball to Burnley and he seems to have grasped the concept of passing, as he put Pavlyuchenko through and also managed to get a couple of step-overs in for good measure.  It wouldn't be the same if he didn't.

Time was almost up and with no sign of a goal coming from anywhere, Redknapp, Bond and Clive Allen all looked frustrated on the sideline.  Two minutes from time, the ball was played into Defoe, who was cleaned out as he laid it off to Bale on the left wing.  He passed inside into the area and found Assou-Ekotto, who squared the ball to Roman Pavlyuchenko to side-foot home past Jensen to maintain his record of scoring in every round of the competition.  It was a goal out of keeping with all that had gone before for Tottenham, but one which no Spurs fan will complain about.

Burnley had set to to defend what they had in extra time, not a bad tactic with Spurs not looking like scoring, but they tired as time went on and you are only one second away from a clinical finish and an exit from the Cup.

As it turned out, they were two seconds away from clinical finishes, which Tottenham had been lacking in their previous 18 efforts on goal.  Pavlyuchenko won the ball from Clarke on the right and played it infield to Defoe, who was ten yards outside the box.  He turned, ran at Alexander to make himself a yard and when inside the area, he guided a left foot shot past Jensen to complete the home side's misery.

I will not patronise Burnley by saying how unlucky they were to be knocked out, as we knew they could play and play the right way too.  They showed in this leg that they can match a top flight team, as they had done over previous rounds, but they lacked the conviction to go for the throat and win it outright and were punished by two bits of Premier class finishing.  While it was disappointing for them to go out in such a way, we have been in similar positions and nobody had sympathy for us.  In some ways, it is a harsh lesson that they need to learn if they aspire to reach the Premier League.

For Tottenham, it was a bit of a get out of jail way to win, but the one good thing was that they kept going to the end and with a meeting with Manchester United at Wembley at the end of it, you might have thought that they would have put in a bit more effort before the final two minutes. 

As always with Tottenham Hotspur, it is never the easy way.






Reaction : -



Don't know if any Burnley fans will read this, but honestly, my heart goes out
to you all.  You were fantastic -- we were lucky ... football is so cruel.

What a shame Man Utd are there and not Burnley, who fully deserved to be.  Very gutted for you to lose like this.

As for Spurs, well -- what can you say ... defeat from the jaws of victory - to snatching it back again

Harry, can you do my lottery numbers on Saturday ?
Let's enjoy Wembley day out - but don't hold much hope on this performance.


What did you expect ?

This is Tottenham we are talking about.  And not even a full strength one at that.

Alnwick had a mare, Huddlestone was not in the game and Gunter was given a tough game on his flank, with little protection ahead of him in the second half.

The disappointing thing was that, despite the difficult conditions, we could not retain possession at any stage of the game and that only helped Burnley keep coming forward onto the Spurs defence. 

But what is the big fuss about ?  I know it went into extra time, but we go to the final with a semi victory by two clear goals on aggregate.  United sneak through by one goal against Derby and nothing is said about it !!

Benny The Ball

With the squad desecrated by injury, the second leg tie with Burnley at Turf Moor was the perfect chance for our youngsters to shine through but Harry stuck with the same players he lambasts week in week out for not caring.

The majority of Spurs fans I conversed with before the match expressed their disappointment at the non appearance of John Bostock and a few others that have performed well in the reserves/ academy this season. I for one would have loved to see how Fraizer Campbell and Defoe would have partnered up, arguably Campbell would have been the only player prepared for last night's conditions having spent last season playing on sodden pitches such as this in the Championship.

Burnley went into the match with nothing to lose with the swirling wind accompanied by horizontal rain and a less than perfect pitch it was always going to be hard but our lads just seemed to be standing around with their hands in their pockets shuffling their feet half the time! It was quite clear that all we had to do was score a goal early on and the tie would have been dead but no, we had to try and pass the ball around only to lose it and then expect Burnley to give it straight back to us.  It was obvious from the whistle it was never going to work with tiny little Defoe up front on his own and the equally diminutive Modric just behind him. Huddlestone looked like he'd had too much Ketchup before the match and Zokora was running around in his usual headless chicken manner - you can't fault his effort though.  The one player I thought had a reasonably good game was Bentley, he showed some good skills in trying to pass the extremely determined Burnley players and actually delivered a few decent crosses and corners.

From Burnley's first goal though it was clear why Gomes has been playing with his leg hanging off; Ben Alnwick is just not up to the job.  Apart from making a meal of the horrendous pass back from Ekotto, he left a massive gap on one side of his goal for Burnley to happily curl the ball into; the commentator stating it was an audacious effort when it was clearly what any pro footballer would have done if they had spotted an area the size of Watford gap unguarded !!

Anyhow, we all know what happened during the match so I'm not going to go into it too much.  What concerns me is that Harry Redknapp seemed to be just as non pro-active as the players last night and seems to be making a few errors in judgement too.  I regard Harry as an extremely savvy manager, as do most people, but surely it would have made more sense to start the match with Pavy and Defoe up front so that Roman could have poached his customary League Cup goal thus putting the tie out of sight which would then have made the appearance of Taarabt and maybe Gio a less stressful transition rather than getting battered and then having to bring on the big Ruskie to rescue us.

Harry keeps going on about buying "men", yet, if it wasn't for those kind Sheiks in Manchester, we would have been in possession of the most spoilt brat of them all - Master Bellamy, hardly a "man".  Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy that we have possibly the top English manager at the helm and I'm hoping that he just has teething problems at the moment because the honeymoon period is well and truly over and we are still deep in relegation troubles.  We keep being linked with players that just set alarm bells off in my head, I read the words CARLTON COLE, TOTTENHAM & 8 MILLION in the same sentence the other day albeit in The Daily Star, but hey !!!

I just hope Harry does as he suggests and fields a weakened side at Old Trafford; a side brimming with Academy and Reserve talent that will hopefully give a pleasant surprise to the travelling supporters and a huge boot up the backside to the under performing doughnuts that pranced around Turf Moor the other night.

Lee Bradley



Other scores this weekend :
Manchester United (win 4-3 on agg.) 4 Derby County 2 Tuesday



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