Tottenham Hotspur V West Brom: Pack Your Baggies

David JacobsCorrespondent IMay 2, 2009

LONDON - MAY 02:  Scott Carson of West Bromwich Albion holds his head during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on May 2, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

If you're a West Brom fan reading this, I'm sorry for the headline, but I just thought it was a clever one.

Tottenham Hotspur have been deemed the deciders of events on both ends of the league table this season.

Last week, they effectively decided which team out of Liverpool and Manchester United stayed on top and will pretty much do the same on the final week of this season as they travel to Anfield to face a wishfully-thinking Liverpool.

On the bottom end, Spurs dimmed West Brom's glimmer of hope of staying up this afternoon with a 1-0 victory. It is now much more impossible for the Baggies to recover, especially if Sunderland and Newcastle win their matches in the coming bank holiday.

Now for me to give credit where credit is due. Either West Brom had a good go at Spurs or Spurs' defence was terrible again. Even with Ledley at the back and Fab Capello spectating. Or could it have been a mixture?

Let's review, shall we?

Spurs looked to have started positively. Sunny day, loud crowds and the incentive of a Europa League (UEFA Cup) place next season. However, some key players weren't exactly in the zone this afternoon. Namely Robbie Keane and Luka Modric.

I don't think they watched Match of the Day last week, otherwise they'd have noticed that West Brom had the potential to surprise the pundits by confidently sliding three goals past Sunderland. The same could have easily happened to Spurs.

At 22 minutes, West Brom had a corner. Chris Brunt swung it in sweetly for Jonas Olsson to head it. Gomes (my personal man of the match) got a hand to it, leaving Jonathan Woodgate with giant '?'s hovering above his head (these showed up
on screen during the entire game).

Spurs responses two minutes later. Jenas took an inswinging shot from the left side which was parried by Carson, but not out of range of Lennon who also tried one, only to veer off to the left.

Pavlyuchenko had a few chances handed to him. He had consecutive chances at goal, but none of them paid off for him.

One of the best chances Spurs had was when a pass was cut inside the West Brom penalty box past several West Brom shirts only to have not just one...not just two...but three Spurs players wildly lash at the ball unsuccessfully (this did feature Pavlyuchenko as well).

Spurs enjoyed a healthy spell of possession in the final 15 minutes of the half with Pavlyuchenko's shots included.

A lift was almost handed to the dedicated travelling West Brom fans
(or 'travelbaggies' - sorry. Ok I'll stop with that now) as some lack-lustre man-marking permitted Gianni Zuiverloon to cross to Marc-Antoine Fortune, who swiped the ball so hard that it swerved and rose up and just over the bar.

Spurs restarted their attack with Vedran Corluka, who frequently found himself himself. Too much space was left for the right-back to run around in.

He ran slowly to make a swift pass to a patient Jermaine Jenas who managed to hit a curling right-footed shot past the West Brom defence and neatly into the bottom right-hand corner of the net, just out of reach of Carson's fully stretched hands.

1-0 to Spurs.

On the stroke of 45 minutes, a free kick was awarded to Spurs in a
potential goal position. Luka Modric stepped up in the place of Jenas to take it after a small whisper between the two midfielders.

Modric nudged the ball to his side to let Wilson Palacios thunder a shot at goal, but the ball deflected off (concussed) Valero instead.


West Brom were still chomping at the bit in the second half. A shot from Fortune at 50 minutes was taken low and goalward, but Gomes collected the ball confidently, because the defence still couldn't.

Not only that, but another shot hit the left post, saving Spurs from another defence howler.

A deflected shot from West Brom lifted upwards and seemingly into the goal, but Gomes saved the day again with a great save to keep Spurs in the game.

Aaron Lennon made some excellent runs on and off the ball. His next shot was good but saved by Carson.

West Brom attacked again using a free kick to their advantage at 68 minutes.
Chris Brunt lofted the ball into the box with his left foot and Shelton Martis answered with a header. However, the header went just wide.

Jermain Defoe (summoned to the pitch to get the much-needed second goal) received a pass during another Spurs counter-attack and made a darting run down the pitch and scored that second goal, only to be denied by an offside flag.

In the 87th minute, Texeira (who replaced Valero) attempted a shot, but the ball was directly in the path of Corluka.

In the last minute of normal time, Lennon came within a goalpost of sealing the win
a bit more convincingly for Spurs, but his shot hit the post.

During injury time, Jenas tried his luck for the final time with a curling shot, but it was parried by Carson and that was the final decent chance of the game.

So strangely enough, West Brom looked like the slightly better team defence-wise, despite the concession of a goal.

Gomes was fantastic yet again. Showing true signs of improvement and showing proof of the legacy he has at PSV Eindhoven.

Maybe I was wrong about Jermaine Jenas. But maybe I was wrong about Keane as well. He hasn't been trying many shots as of late. Would his playmaker skills be more useful in midfield or back at Liverpool?

Answers please.


Spurs -
Off - Roman Pavlyuchenko (65 minutes)
On - Jermaine Defoe

West Brom -
Off - Paul Robinson (58 minutes)
On - Jay Simpson

Off - Youssouf Mulumbu (68 minutes)
On - Juan Carlos Menseguez

Off - Iglesias Borja Valero (77 minutes)
On - Andrade Filipe Teixeira


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