Match Preview: Birmingham City v Tottenham Hotspur
St Andrew's Stadium, Bordesley, Birmingham (Cap: 30,079)
Saturday 30th January 2010, Kick Off 15:00
Premier League, Match 24 (23 for Birmingham City)
Tottenham Hotspur: 4th in Premier League, 41 points from 69
Birmingham City: 8th in Premier League, 33 points from 66
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistant referees: Mike Mullarkey & Darren Cann
Fourth official: Lee Probert
Tottenham Hotspur travel to St Andrew's fresh from an impressive 2-0 win at White Hart Lane over Fulham which strengthened their fourth place in the table and equalled the club Premier League record of 41 points from the first 23 matches. Spurs' goals came from Peter Crouch, after some excellent work from Luka Modric, and a David Bentley free kick which took a deflection past Mark Schwartzer. In the process, Welsh full-back Gareth Bale broke his 'curse' of never being on the winning Spurs side in a match he started at the 23rd attempt.
Birmingham City come into the game from an away clash with Chelsea which they lost 0-3, bringing to an end an impressive run of twelve Premier League matches undefeated which saw them rise from 16th place in the table to 8th.
The reverse fixture earlier this season at White Hart Lane saw Spurs coming out on top 2-1 with goals from Peter Crouch and a last gasp winner from Aaron Lennon with the Blues goal scored by Lee Bowyer.
Last season, Spurs lost both Premier League fixtures to Birmingham 2-3 at home, with both goals from Robbie Keane and 1-4 away with a Jermaine Jenas goal. Spurs still have the edge over Birmingham in Premier League matches with six wins to the Blues three wins and two games drawn.
The current Birmingham squad features two former Spurs players - Irish full-back Stephen Carr and Finnish midfielder Teemu Tainio, who is on loan from Sunderland.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish could name an unchanged side for the 11th successive league game. New signing Craig Gardner could be on the bench following his move from local rivals Aston Villa.
Aaron Lennon and Roman Pavlyuchenko remain out for Saturday's trip to Birmingham in the Barclays Premier League. Both have groin injuries. Aaron has been out since December 28 while Roman picked up a groin strain after scoring against Leeds in the FA Cup last weekend and missed Tuesday night's victory against Fulham. Better news sees Benoit Assou-Ekotto cleared by a specialist to start rehabilitation on the hip problem that has kept him out since early January. Jonathan Woodgate (groin) and Carlo Cudicini (pelvis, wrist) remain sidelined.
• Spurs have only won once at St Andrew's in 24 years - a 2-0 victory in March 2006.
• Only one of the last 10 Premier League meetings between these sides has ended level.
• Blues are unbeaten in their last seven league games at St Andrew's (W4, D3).
• They have kept nine clean sheets in the league this season - only Manchester United (10) and Chelsea (11) have kept more in the division.
• Cameron Jerome has scored four goals in the club's last six league matches. Strike partner Christian Benitez has managed just three goals in 24 appearances this season (all competitions).
• Spurs have kept clean sheets in six of their last seven league games.
• Tottenham have won only one of their last six away league games. That victory came in a 2-0 win at Ewood Park on 10 December.
• Harry Redknapp's side have lost only two of their last 12 league games.
LAST MATCH LINE-UPS:
Birmingham City (L 0-3 Chelsea A):
Hart, Carr, Ridgewell, Johnson, Dann, Bowyer, Larsson, Ferguson, Jerome (Fahey 56), Benitez, McFadden (Marcos Madera 72)
Substitutes: Taylor, Queudrue, Gregory Vignal, McSheffrey, Johnson
Tottenham Hotspur (W 2-0 Fulham H):
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Bale, Bentley, Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric, Defoe (Keane 81), Crouch
Substitutes: Alnwick, Hutton, Bassong, Jenas, O'Hara, Rose
Yellow card: Dawson
Goals: Crouch 27, Bentley 60
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
Tottenham have had a little bit of a wobble but they had a good midweek victory and there is talk of Younes Kaboul and Eidur Gudjohnsen coming in, and they would be clever signings.
This is a real test for Birmingham, to try to bounce back from defeat against Chelsea after such a good run, but I'm going for a Tottenham away win.
Verdict: Birmingham City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday's match will be the 98th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Birmingham City.
Here are the results of the previous 97 matches with Spurs' score shown first:
24-Feb-1906F.A. Cup 3 28,000H D 1 - 1 Kyle 28-Feb-06F.A. Cup 3 Replay34,000A L 0 - 2 (a.e.t) 14-Nov-08Division 2 25,000H W 4 - 0 Woodward (2), Middlemiss (2) 20-Mar-09Division 2 8,000A D 3 - 3 Steel D, Woodward, Steel R 26-Apr-20Division 2 30,000H D 0 - 0 01-May-20Division 2 39,000A W 1 - 0 Seed 01-Apr-22Division 1 34,000A W 3 - 0 Clay (pen), Seed, Roulsen og 08-Apr-22Division 1 19,638H W 2 - 1 Lindsay, Jones og 14-Apr-23Division 1 15,000A L 1 - 2 Lindsay 21-Apr-23Division 1 16,335H W 2 - 0 Lindsay (2) 29-Dec-23Division 1 24,414H D 1 - 1 Lindsay 05-Jan-24Division 1 25,000A L 2 - 3 Thompson, Elkes 03-Sep-24Division 1 20,000A W 2 - 0 Seed, Dimmock 10-Apr-25Division 1 30,411H L 0 - 1 25-Dec-25Division 1 29,586A L 1 - 3 Clay (pen) 26-Dec-25Division 1 44,429H W 2 - 1 Seed, Osborne 09-Oct-26Division 1 29,392H W 6 - 1 Blair (2), Roe (2), Seed, Dimmock 26-Feb-27Division 1 21,145A L 0 - 1 27-Aug-27Division 1 37,408H W 1 - 0 O'Callaghan 31-Dec-27Division 1 11,603A L 2 - 3 O'Callaghan, Womack og 09-Dec-33Division 1 26,142H W 3 - 2 Howe, Hunt GS (2) 21-Apr-34Division 1 24,576A L 0 - 2 01-Dec-34Division 1 20,546A L 1 - 2 O'Callaghan 13-Apr-35Division 1 27,190H D 1 - 1 Bell 26-Aug-39Division 2 28,366A D 1 - 1 Sargent (Season abandoned due to WWII) 06-Oct-45Football Lge Sth 21,608A L 0 - 8 13-Oct-45Football Lge Sth 30,589H L 0 - 1 31-Aug-46Division 2 51,256H L 1 - 2 Foreman 28-Dec-46Division 2 44,171A L 0 - 1 13-Dec-47Division 2 53,730H L 1 - 2 Baily 01-May-48Division 2 35,569A D 0 - 0 28-Feb-53F.A. Cup 6 52,348A D 1 - 1 Bennett 04-Mar-53F.A. Cup 6 Replay59,543H D 2 - 2 Bennett,Duquemin 09-Mar-53F.A. Cup 6 2nd Replay50,801Mol W 1 - 0 Walters 01-Oct-55Division 1 31,320A L 0 - 3 11-Feb-56Division 1 26,141H L 0 - 1 01-Dec-56Division 1 38,035A D 0 - 0 13-Apr-57Division 1 33,512H W 5 - 1 Medwin, Harmer (pen), Dunmore (2), Dyson 11-Sep-57Division 1 26,485A D 0 - 0 18-Sep-57Division 1 35,292H W 7 - 1 Harmer (pen), Stokes (5), Dyson 22-Nov-58Division 1 28,708H L 0 - 4 11-Apr-59Division 1 20,557A L 1 - 5 Jones (pen) 29-Aug-59Division 1 45,243H D 0 - 0 02-Jan-60Division 1 27,558A W 1 - 0 Allen 19-Nov-60Division 1 46,010H W 6 - 0 Jones (2), White, Smith (pen), Dyson (2) 08-Apr-61Division 1 40,961A W 3 - 2 White, Smith R, Allen 09-Dec-61Division 1 32,509H W 3 - 1 Allen (2), Mackay 06-Jan-62F.A. Cup 3 46,096A D 3 - 3 Greaves (2), Jones 10-Jan-62F.A. Cup 3 Replay62,917H W 4 - 2 Medwin (2), Allen, Greaves 28-Apr-62Division 1 29,614A W 3 - 2 Mackay, Greaves (2) 18-Aug-62Division 1 51,140H W 3 - 0 Blanchflower (pen), Greaves, Jones 15-Dec-62Division 1 36,623A W 2 - 0 Smith R, Greaves 02-Oct-63Division 1 37,649H W 6 - 1 White, Smith R, Greaves (3, 1pen), Dyson 29-Feb-64Division 1 28,433A W 2 - 1 Jones, Greaves (pen) 05-Sep-64Division 1 34,809H W 4 - 1 Robertson, Greaves, Dyson, Foster og 02-Jan-65Division 1 33,833A L 0 - 1 08-Apr-67F.A. Cup 6 51,500A D 0 - 0 12-Apr-67F.A. Cup 6 Replay52,304H W 6 - 0 Greaves (2), Gilzean, Venables (2), Saul 23-Aug-72Division 1 30,798H W 2 - 0 Chivers, Coates 04-Nov-72Division 1 38,504A D 0 - 0 28-Aug-73Division 1 37,754A W 2 - 1 Peters (2) 06-Feb-74Division 1 14,345H W 4 - 2 Chivers (3), Dillon 23-Nov-74Division 1 27,761H D 0 - 0 18-Feb-75Division 1 24,240A L 0 - 1 26-Dec-75Division 1 21,651H L 1 - 3 Chivers (pen) 17-Apr-76Division 1 30,616A L 1 - 3 Pratt 20-Oct-76Division 1 20,193H W 1 - 0 Osgood (pen) 19-Mar-77Division 1 23,398A W 2 - 1 Jones, Hoddle 14-Oct-78Division 1 41,230H W 1 - 0 Ainscow og 24-Feb-79Division 1 20,980A L 0 - 1 16-Feb-80F.A. Cup 5 49,936H W 3 - 1 Armstrong, Hoddle (2, 1pen) 22-Nov-80Division 1 24,817A L 1 - 2 Ardiles 10-Jan-81Division 1 24,909H W 1 - 0 Crooks 23-Mar-82Division 1 17,708A D 0 - 0 28-Apr-82Division 1 25,470H D 1 - 1 Villa 18-Dec-82Division 1 20,946H W 2 - 1 Mabbutt (2) 07-May-83Division 1 18,947A L 0 - 2 22-Oct-83Division 1 18,937A W 1 - 0 Archibald 25-Feb-84Division 1 23,564H L 0 - 1 15-Mar-86Division 1 9,394A W 2 - 1 Stevens, Waddle 16-Apr-86Division 1 9,359H W 2 - 0 Chiedozie, Falco 29-Oct-86League Cup 3 15,542H W 5 - 0 Roberts, Allen C (2), Hoddle, Waddle 22-Jul-98Friendly 6,070A L 2 - 4 Allen, Vega 29-Jul-2000Friendly 5,566A W 1 - 0 Iversen 30-Oct-00League Cup 3 27,096H L 1 - 3 Anderton (pen) 30-Nov-02FA Prem 29,505A D 1 - 1 Sheringham 05-Apr-03FA Prem 36,058H W 2 - 1 Keane, Poyet 16-Aug-03FA Prem 29,398A L 0 - 1 07-Jan-04FA Prem 30,016H W 4 - 1 Dalmat (2), Davies, Keane 28-Aug-04FA Prem 35,290H W 1 - 0 Defoe 02-Apr-05FA Prem 29,304A D 1 - 1 Kelly 26-Dec-05FA Prem 36,045H W 2 - 0 Keane (pen), Defoe 18-Mar-06FA Prem 26,398A W 2 - 0 Lennon, Keane 22-Jul-06Friendly 0A W 2 - 0 Berbatov (2) 02-Dec-07FA Prem 35,635H L 2 - 3 Keane (2, 1pen) 01-Mar-08FA Prem 26,055 A L 1 - 4 Jenas 29-Aug-09FA Prem35,318H W 2 - 1Crouch, Lennon
LAST TIME WE MET...
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2-1 BIRMINGHAM CITY
Premier League, White Hart Lane, 29th August 2009
Aaron Lennon scored a dramatic winner in the fifth minute of injury time to break Birmingham hearts and maintain Spurs' 100% start to the new campaign. The winger cut in from the left and drove into the corner to cap a stunning finale that City looked like edging. Peter Crouch had earlier climbed off the bench to head Spurs into the lead to reward the hosts' fluency in attack.
But Lee Bowyer poked in after a mix-up to apparently earn City a point - only for Lennon to have the final say. It was a gut-wrenching finish for the visitors, who had looked the likelier to grab a winner after Bowyer's equaliser as Spurs ran out of ideas in the face of City's determined and hard-fought approach. But Tottenham can argue they edged an entertaining encounter on the balance of play, even if they owed the three points in the end to a piece of individual brilliance from Lennon.
And it was a match deserving of such a finale following a high-octane encounter that boasted chances, passing and passion of the highest order at times. From the off, the hosts' drive and ambition was in full evidence, with Luka Modric and Lennon pushing and probing at every opportunity and Birmingham struggling to keep pace with the diminutive pair. The latter in particular was a real threat, once denied on the stretch by goalkeeper Joe Hart and then seeing a snap-shot from the right cleared off the line by Stephen Carr with Hart stranded.
Jermain Defoe, so prolific so far this season, had his chances, but the best of them saw him scuff his shot wide having been sent clear by Tom Huddlestone. But having survived a pulsating opening from the hosts, Birmingham soon settled down, frustrating Tottenham and nullifying their early verve. And twice they could have snatched an opener on the counter-attack. Sebastian Larsson was the man on both occasions to break beyond the Tottenham defence from midfield, his first cross-shot beaten away by Carlo Cudicini and the second creeping past the far post.
By half-time, City's bid to calm Tottenham's attacking intentions looked to have worked, with the hosts hardly helped by the withdrawal through injury of Ledley King (groin) and Modric (calf). Had referee Peter Walton not waved away Birmingham's passionate appeals for a penalty when James McFadden fell clumsily under Wilson Palacios's challenge in the box, on the hour, the outcome might have been very different. As it was, Spurs took the lead not long after, with substitute Crouch the scorer - his first league goal since his return to White Hart Lane from Portsmouth, this summer.
The 6'7" frontman had caused all sorts of problems since his introduction, heading onto the bar from Robbie Keane's cross and then seeing a fine header from a corner cleared off the line by Lee Carsley. Crouch was rewarded when he climbed highest at the far post to meet Huddlestone's free-kick to loop a header into the far corner to finally break the deadlock. That looked like being the goal Tottenham needed to go on and win the game comfortably, but after Christian Benitez forced a mix-up between Alan Hutton and Cudicini and Bowyer swept into an empty net, Birmingham looked the only likely winners.
The visitors pushed forward and Benitez went close and Roger Johnson volleyed wide as panic set in and about Spurs' defence. However, against the run of play, Lennon collected Roman Pavlyuchenko's crossfield pass, drifted past two defenders and slammed low into the near post past keeper Hart. It prompted incredible scenes among the White Hart Lane faithful and disbelief among City's, but there was barely time to restart ensuring Spurs stay, alongside Chelsea, at the top of the table and leave Birmingham with only one victory from their last 15 visits to London.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp:
"We battered them and should have been out of sight by half-time. Crouch was terrific and could have scored three or four today, but we gave a terrible goal away which gave them heart.
"They came back strongly and looked as likely to win it as we were in the last 15 minutes. In the end it's a great result and a great 12 points so far.
"However, Ledley has done his groin and we don't know how long he will be out for yet, while Modric's looked like a nasty injury on the side of the right calf.
"If we lose Ledley and Modric, with Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate already out, the squad is a bit short."
Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish:
"(The late winner) was a boot in the proverbials. But life goes on. We deserved something for our second-half performance.
"We could have won the game at the end after we equalised and I'm disappointed not to have taken three points.
"We were playing against a multi-million pound team and we had lots out with injuries and we gave a great account of ourselves."
26 King (Hutton 46 yellow card)
06 Huddlestone yellow card
14 Modric (Crouch 49)
18 Defoe (Pavlyuchenko 80)
Goals: Crouch 72, Lennon 90+5
02 Carr yellow card
07 Larsson (McSheffrey 90+2)
26 Carsley (Benitez 73)
08 O'Connor yellow card
Goal: Bowyer 75