Despite the constant moaning and whinging of some managers that there are too many games played, it is worth remembering that the top division has seen a gradual reduction in matches since 1992. For fans of clubs in the lower leagues, there is the consolation that they will be able to see their side in action far more frequently during the cold and dark midweek Winter nights than some. This last week however has given us who sit at the top table of English football the rare treat of taking in 3 matches in 7 days.
Rovers fans would certainly have settled for 6 points out of a possible 9 before the triology of games began but each one was very different in its own way and did not follow any particular pattern. The Newcastle game proved that the good guy can overcome the bad boy and also that Allardyce can be at times as tactically astute a manager as any in this league. However, the Spurs defensive debacle showed we are not as watertight as Sam chooses to believe.
Our visit to White Heart Lane produed a bizarre afternoon. The ever reliable London Underground set the tone by deciding it was a good day to close Seven Sisters station and tube lines close to the ground. A desperately difficult ground to get to on the best of days suddenly became a challenge that Ranulph Fiennes would be hard pressed to overcome (fast forward a few years and 'relocation relocation relocation' may mean a trip to 'Newham Hotspur' which should be an easier journey to make)
The game itself came straight from the Ossie Ardiles manual on the art of defending. A catalogue of errors from both sides produced 6 goals and many more chances. It was refreshing to see Rovers create and take opportunities and Allardyce changing a desperate formation; but by that time the damage from Bale and co had already been done.
Bale's meteoric rise continues unabated. He is not a skilful player in the same mould as a Ronaldo but he does posess the single greatest asset any player dreams of having ie electric pace. He provided Spurs with a fantastic outlet which meant that Rovers were at times not only doubling up on him, but trebling their insurance policy. The obvious consequence of this was that gaping holes appeared in the Rovers defence for others to exploit.
Thankfully, the Spurs forwards found a keeper in the form of his life to keep the scoreline down. Time and again he produced world class saves.Spurs fans are still in love with Paul Robinson and he gave some indication that the feeling is mutual.
It was interesting to see Jay Bothroyd's inclusion in the England squad ahead of the game against France. The striker hardly set Ewood alight during his loan spell at Rovers in 2004/5 and managed a paltry single goal in 11 games. Indeed the only significant moment of that period that I can remember was his karate kick on an unfortunate Norwich player at Carrow Road. At least one former 'badboy' seems to have seen the error of his ways.
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