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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
27 December 2011
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 26807
G. Bale 56', 67'
So it was the Gareth Bale show tonight. A superb second half showing from the Welshman put the icing on the cake for a dominant Tottenham showing. On this form you can understand why they have been touted as potential title winners. As for Norwich, they battled well and were never really out of the game - however their attack sometimes lacked the creativity needed to give the home fans something to cheer.
And that's full time. 2-0 to Tottenham at Carrow Road.
90' + 4'
90' + 3'
Ooooh. Nearly. Almost a goal for Russell Martin from the corner. His header just flies wide of the goal
90' + 2'
Just a couple of minutes remain in this game. Norwich are pushing hard for a bit of late joy for the home fans but Spurs have shown they're up to the task at the back
Gallas overhits a simple pass to Walker and suddenly Norwich had a chance. Even though the initial surge from Morison down the left wing was thwarted, Norwich recycled possession until Pilkington had the opportunity to cross the ball. Morison met the cross but his header just went wide of Friedel's left hand post.
Rafael van der Vaart
The smallest of chances for Norwich. Surman switches the ball inside to Fox who takes a touch and hits one from distance. It's poor though and is dragged wide.
Another decent Spurs chance fell to Modric following a good Spurs move. Van der Vaart's chipped ball to Bale inside the penalty box was hooked over his head back to Adebayor who played it inside to Modric. He arrived on the run but his right foot shot was saved by Ruddy.
There's been a couple of Norwich subs to freshen the home side's chances but as yet, there's been little impact. Friedel had a nervy moment, choosing to stay on his line and that led to a Norwich corner. Nothing came of the chance though
Ryan Benson from Carrow Road: "As Spurs effectively secure the three points here, the visiting fans are flaunting their lofty position in the Premier League, singing "are you watching Arsenal?" If they aren't, they should be, as Harry Redknapp's side are undoubtedly cementing themselves as one of England's top sides."
Pressure keeps coming as Modric finds space to shift the ball onto his left and strike at goal. It's straight at Ruddy though. Norwich are in a tough spot now as they have to push men forward to try and get back into the game but Tottenham look frightening at times on the break.
Yellow Card Zak Whitbread
Assist Luka Modric
Goal Gareth Bale
GOAALLL!!! Spurs make it 2-0 and it's Bale again! To borrow Ray Wilkin's catchphrase - my word! Bale was played through the middle of the home side's defence and simply propelled himself through the gears and into Ruddy's box. As the keeper advanced, a little dink was all that was needed to double the Spurs lead. Credit to Adebayor whose run wide opened the central space for Bale.
Disallowed goal. Assou-Ekotto's early cross found Adebayor who slotted past Ruddy but he was a couple of yards offside.
Ritchie De Laet
Richie De Laet looks set to come off injured after his tussle with Assou-Ekotto and it will be Leon Barnett entering the fray. Norwich have continued to battle hard but they have been constantly working at 100% to try and stifle this Spurs side and they seem to be showing a bit of fatigue. Certainly, there is less spark in their attacks and the Spurs goal has definitely dampened what was a pretty raucous vocal home support.
Walker's woes return briefly. Assou-Ekotto did well down the left in beating De Laet and his pull back arrived at Walker's feet at the back post. His strike is as bad as his other in the first half. High and of no danger to Ruddy's goal.
Hmmm. Adebayor went down with what looked like a hamstring strain in the middle of a Norwich attack but after a dab of the magic sponge he appears to be ok. He's back up and running and that will be a great relief for Redknapp.
Goal's Ryan Benson is on hand with his perspective from Carrow Road: "Spurs take the lead, but in truth, that goal has been coming. Norwich started this second half in resilient mood, stamping out previous attacks that almost ended in opportunities for Spurs, however after some brilliant footwork from Adebayor in the penalty area, Bale finds the net."
Assist Emmanuel Adebayor
Goal Gareth Bale
GOAAALLL!!! Bale strikes for Spurs! Spurs worked the ball patiently around the Norwich box until Van der Vaart fired the ball into Adebayor's feet. The big man showed a far better touch this time and kept the ball despite the close attentions of two Norwich defenders. He sucked them in until space was made for Bale and his lay off was touched and struck low past Ruddy.
Yellow Card William Gallas
Surman takes it but just puts it wide of Friedel's right hand post. A decent effort from the left footer but not quite good enough to open the scoring.
Dangerous free kick for Norwich now - right on the edge of the Spurs box. Gallas was guilty of the foul and picks up the first booking of the game. He did slip, but took down Surman.
We're back underway at Carrow Road.
As for Norwich, they've worked incredibly hard all over the pitch. Morison and Holt have led by example and formed the first line of defence and harried the Spurs players as often as possible. In terms of going forward, their best weapon would still appear to be from the lofted ball into the box. Kaboul has been fantastic in the air, but Gallas would be more susceptible to the high ball and perhaps that is where success may lie for Lambert's charges.
I'd say despite Walker's troubles he's done well for most of the half. He appears to be Spurs' go to man when possession gets a little congested, as it often has on the left flank. He's offered great width and a constant out ball. I'd also like to address the penalty claim - having now seen replays from a number of angles, Morison does look a little mischievous in his actions. Perhaps, had there been a more eagle-eyed official, Spurs could have had a penalty.
Half time and it's 0-0 at Carrow Road. Spurs have been the stronger of the two sides but Norwich have definitely kept Redknapp's side honest. I may be risking a jinx here but I cannot see this game ending goalless... Time for a half-time cup of tea
45' + 2'
Last chance of the half probably. Parker surged forward and laid Adebayor in on the right. His first touch let's him down though and his strike at goal is with stretched legs and it flew high and wide.
The first half is drawing to a close and Mr Wilkins has given us a "my word, penalty kick!". The reason? Well, as Gallas set off on his run into the box for a Van der Vaart free kick, he was tripped by Morison. At least that's what Wilkins thought. I'm not so sure it's as deliberate as Ray Wilkins thinks it is - seemed a clumsy coming together more than a penalty.
A bit more from the press box at Carrow Road from our man Ryan Benson: "The crowd are in great form here at Carrow Road. As the fans taunt each other and the opposition players, those on the field are getting visibly spurred on, there was even a "go on Wes!" from the Press Box as Hoolahan challenged Younes Kaboul for a header."
Spurs work the ball from left to right in the Norwich half and end up at Walker. He laid the ball inside to Van der Vaart who had the space to take a touch and smash the ball just wide of Ruddy's near post. Norwich are certainly not being dominated though, they've caused their fair share of hairy moments for the Kaboul/Gallas axis.
Spurs breaking with real threat now as Modric led the charge. He knocked the ball to Bale, who had taken a central position. His first touch allowed him to spin in past his marker and fire a left footed shot at Ruddy. The Norwich keeper stayed big though and parried behind.
Another good chance for the away side as Van der Vaart drilled a glorious diagonal ball over the Norwich defence for Adebayor to run onto. The Togolese striker, just gets there before Ruddy but his touch sent the ball off for a goal kick as he tried to round him.
Well that's a big chance for Spurs! Fox's pass to Russell Martin is a bit tricky but his control lets him down and Bale nicked the ball off his toes. However his shot from the angle was high and not so handsome. He really should have worked the keeper or even, squared it to Adebayor.
Kyle Walker's having a tough time on the right so far. He's had difficulty beating Adam Drury (who recovered from the knock to his knee) and has painted a frustrated figure as a number of touches have been off colour so far.
The tide has certainly turned as Norwich have begun to exert pressure of their own on Tottenham. Van der Vaart got himself in a bit of a muddle on the edge of his own box and handed possession back to Paul Lambert's side who tried to force a chance. The best that came though was a blocked shot and a shout for handball - of which ref Michael Oliver had no interest.
The aerial attack from the home side would appear to be their biggest threat to the Tottenham goal. They have two very useful strikers under a high ball in Morison and Holt and a couple of times they've panicked the Spurs backline. Friedel just about palms away a cross from Morison though and Spurs survive
Our man Ryan Benson again: "Spurs have exerted much of the pressure in the opening 15 minutes, but the Norwich fans are keeping their team in good spirits as the as 'Delia's Barmy Army' have barely shut up since the kick-off. The Canaries are still waiting for their first real chance, but they are hauling themselves back into the contest."
Norwich are having a bit more of the ball now and a chance is carved by Wes Hoolahan, who in receiving the ball from a throw in, turned inside and squared to Fox who was about 25 yards from goal. His shot was on target but at Friedel who gathered comfortably again.
Adam Drury is down with a knee injury but fortunately it looks an impact injury rather than a twist. It was sustained as Kyle Walker cleared for a throw in. He's walking gingerly and I'm sure the home fans will be hoping he can continue given recent injuries to their full-backs
There's a bit of Spurs pressure on the Norwich goal as Spurs earn their 5th corner. As yet, they've been well dealt with by Norwich and this one is caught by Ruddy. Lively atmosphere in Carrow Road and plenty of "my word's" from Ray Wilkins in the commentary box already
This is a very open game already. Spurs create a half-chance through a neat passing move in the midfield. Van der Vaart's reverse pass made it to Adebayor who's off balance flick fell to Bale. His left-footed effort is comfortably saved low by Ruddy though.
Great start for Norwich! Right from kick off Steve Morison brought a long ball down on his chest and volleyed at goal. The dipping effort was on target but Friedel kept cool and caught it right on his line.
And we are underway at Carrow Road. The home side are kicking from right to left.
We have our man Ryan Benson at Carrow Road tonight: "The home fans are certainly in the mood tonight as all four stands scream their way through their signature chant before the match has even kicked off. Surely we're in for some goals tonight with Norwich's games amassing 58 so far this season. Kick-off just moments away here at Carrow Road."
5 minutes until kick off. Norwich are looking for their first clean sheet of the season, whilst Spurs will be hoping to capitalise on the points dropped by their rivals at the top of the league. Six of the last ten Premier League games have finished 1-1 just so you know...
There's a blast from the past in the Sky studios tonight - Efan Ekoku! Part of the successful Norwich side of the early 90's. Interestingly, he was the first player in Premier League history to score four goals in a match. That was at Goodison Park against Everton in 1993.
The home side are without their two first choice full-backs which will be welcome news to Harry Redknapp. Although without Lennon, who remains injured, Spurs will feel they may be missing an opportunity. Paul Lambert opts to start in form strikers Grant Holt and Steve Morison up front together in a side that are unbeaten in their last three Premier League games. For Tottenham, Van der Vaart was passed fit and starts tonight but there is no place for Ledley King or Jermain Defoe who are both injured. Kaboul was the other doubt, but he starts alongside Gallas at the heart of the defence.
Tottenham line-up: (4-5-1) Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Modric, Sandro, Parker, Bale, Van der Vaart; Adebayor Subs: Gomes, Pavlyuchenko, Bassong, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore, Pienaar.
Norwich line-up: (4-4-2) Ruddy; De Laet, Martin, Whitbread, Drury; Fox, Crofts, Surman, Hoolahan; Morison, Holt Subs: Rudd, Johnson, Jackson, Pilkington, Bennett, Barnett, Wilbraham
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary for Norwich vs Tottenham! I'm Jay Jaffa and I'll be taking you through the last game of the day.
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