Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spurs 5-0 Burnley: Four-midable Keane as Tottenham Stroll to Win Over Clarets

Robbie Keane scored four goals in five as Spurs returned to their winning ways against hapless Burnley at White Hart Lane. The Irish striker continued his impressive partnership with Jermain Defoe as Spurs ripped the Clarets to pieces in front of their home crowd.

Keane's first came from a penalty after Defoe was brought down in the box with a clumsy challenge by Andre Bikey. Ten minutes later and it was all over, as Jermaine Jenas scored his first of the season with a deflected effort from outside the box.

With Burnley's flimsy resistance in shreds, Spurs then went on and put on a show for their home fans and added another three goals in the second half while also keeping their first clean sheet of the season into the bargain.

Going into the game, all the talk was of how Harry Redknapp was going to accommodate Peter Crouch after the lanky strikers superb hat-trick in the Carling Cup against Preston on Wednesday.

Keane was expected to find himself on the bench as Redknapp would go for the Defoe/Crouch partnership that brought so much success to Portsmouth last season.

Under Redknapp, the two small strikers have struck up a very good understanding, and Redknapp opted to leave the hat-trick hero on the bench in favour of the more mobile strike force.

Their constant running on and off the ball caused Burnley all manner of problems and right from the off it was only a matter of time before Spurs scored.

Burnley to their credit, did not come to defend and the game was a very even one up until Tottenham's first, and they even had a goal ruled out for offside moments before Spurs added their second to put the game beyond the newly promoted team.

Spurs had got off to their best start to a season since 1961 before Manchester United and Chelsea brought them back down to earth with sound defeats, and, with confidence ebbing away, Burnley were the ideal opponents.

The Clarets have yet to pick up a point on their travels this season, and away from home they lack the same cohesiveness that has seen them stay unbeaten at Turf Moor.

And while Tottenham may struggle against the likes of Chelsea and United, they are set up perfectly to expose the weaker teams in the EPL.

At times Spurs' intricate passing was a joy to watch, and Burnley certainly met a different Tottenham side today to the one that scraped past them in the Carling Cup last season.

Tom Huddlestone moved to centre back in a bid to shore up Spurs' defensive frailties as so many of their defenders are injured. This move worked well for the big ex-Derby player but it also worked perfectly for Jenas, who got to partner Wilson Palacios in the Spurs' engine room for the first time this season.

They worked well together, attacked and defended as a unit, and were perfectly balanced by Niko Krankjaer on the left and by Aaron Lennon on the right.

The quartet were in such formidable form that Burnley barely had a moment to think, never mind to get on the ball.

Foundations were clearly set out throughout the team, and Robbie Keane reaped all the rewards. He will remember this game long after he has retired. He passing was excellent, his running tireless, and his finishing exquisite as he exposed Burnley's defenders time and time again.

His first came from the penalty spot after Defoe had been hauled down. Brian Jensen has somewhat of a penalty saving reputation after his exploits against United and Everton earlier this season, but Keane put him the wrong way and buried the effort.

Jenas notched up his first of the season from the edge of the box on 33, and the game was as good as over.

Spurs hadn't kept a clean sheet in 15 matches prior to today, and with his side comfortably in the lead Harry chose this time to get the message of safe solid play through to his team.

Their third and Keane's second arrived in the 74th minute. Lennon tore down the right and left Burnley's flat back four for dead and as they scrambled for position in the box, Keane made a quick run to the edge of the penalty area and Lennon picked him out expertly. The Irishman made no mistake as he smashed the ball home into the roof of the net.

Moments later Keane notched up his hat-trick and Spurs' fourth, as he raced on to Huddlestone's raking lofted pass from defence, turned and hooked a left-footed drive into the bottom corner past Jensen.

He put the icing on the cake three minutes from time after he latched onto Peter Crouch's flick and shot past Jensen to wrap up a memorable day for the Tallaght man.

Everything Spurs tried to do was coming off, and if there was ever a day to bring a hoo-doo to an end it was today, and Harry took full advantage by bringing on Gareth Bale.

The Welshman had never won a Premiership match in Spurs colours, a record that had lasted over a year, but was brought to an end today.

"I've never had more problems picking a team," Redknapp said after the game. "To leave Peter Crouch out after his hat-trick in midweek wasn't easy but I went with the two little ones and their movement was fantastic.

"With their big centre-halves I thought we would give them more problems than with a big man up there. That was a key factor. Robbie is important, he's one of the few voices we have in the dressing room. He's a great player, has been for years, and he takes his chances so well."

It was a great day at the office for all concerned at Spurs. Confidence was low following the manner of the previous two defeats, but following today's victory they will be looking to take as many as seven points from their next three games before they visit the Emirates on Halloween.

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