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January 31, 2013
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 26818
W. Hoolahan 32'
G. Bale 80'
That's all from me Rhys Turrell on the LIVE Commentary blog for tonight, head over to Goal.com for all the reaction to tonight's big Premier League games and the latest transfer news and gossip.
Lewis Holtby looked neat and tidy on his Tottenham debut, and he'll be looking forward to helping Spurs continue their eight match uneaten league run, as they bid for Champions League qualification.
A draw was probably a fair result on reflection. Norwich were on top for most of the first half, and their goal was a wonderful team effort involving poise, precision and quality. However, they retreated after that, and allowed Spurs onto them. The visitors didn't create too many clear-cut chances, but were worthy of a point. Gareth Bale's goal was of outstanding quality, and he looked a real threat throughout the second half for AVB's team.
And that was the final action of the game, and the points are shared at Carrow Road.
90' + 3'
Grant Holt holds up the ball in the Tottenham right-back area, and he buys his side some valuable seconds.
90' + 1'
Anthony Pilkington is working hard down the left to try and buy Norwich's defenders some time. He chases down several hopeful punts down the left channel, but it's all to no avail.
Three minutes of injury time are to be played.
Walker takes another corner, and this one is a little better. Bunn comes out to gather the ball but rather flaps at it, but his blushes are spared as the ball runs to safety.
Spurs are inches away from what would surely be a winner. Gylfi Sigurdsson, with what must be his first touch drills a shot towards the right side of Bunn's goal, and the Norwich goalkeeper is at full stretch to turn his effort around the post.
Tottenham win a corner, but not the first time this evening, the delivery from Kyle Walker is poor, and doesn't beat Bassong at the near post.
Defoe is seeing a lot more of the ball now, and his shot inside the area is well closed down by a horde of Norwich defenders.
Norwich try to get a foothold in the game with a free kick that is launched forward, but it fails to beat the first man, and is hacked clear by Dawson.
Tottenham go close to a second. After neat play in the middle, the ball is worked out to Assou-Ekotto who curls in a cross from the left which is flicked over by Defoe inside the six yard box. They look good for a winner here.
Assist Jermain Defoe
Goal Gareth Bale
GOAL! Oh what a great strike from Gareth Bale to draw Spurs level. Jermain Defoe holds up the ball in the centre circle and lays the ball into the path of the Welshman who drives forward down the right, he reaches the edge of the area and cuts in onto his left foot before belting an effort past Bunn. Fantastic strike, and the pace of his run from halfway to the area took several defenders out of the game. Brilliant play.
Yellow Card Lewis Holtby
Lennon does well again, this time reaching the byline before hanging a cross into towards the back post. Mark Bunn leaps into the air to grab and gets a bump from Bassong along the way, which seems to have hurt his back.
Tottenham are well on top now. They build-up play outside the Norwich area with a cross into the box eventually being cleared to Dembele who thunders a strike towards goal which is blocked by a combination of Bassong and Turner.
Yellow Card Wesley Hoolahan
Aaron Lennon is getting more involved in the game now, and he's fed the ball out on the right flank, but is well marshalled by several defenders before Javier Garrido clears.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Clint Dempsey had been ineffective alongside Jermain Defoe and Tottenham already look a better team for Lewis Holtby's introduction. The German playmaker begins by chipping a superbly-weighted pass down the right to release Aaron Lennon, but the winger fails to find a man with his cross."
Yellow Card Robert Snodgrass
Holtby shows some good early touches, and after some nice interplay with Lennon he sends the winger free with a lofted ball into the right corner. Lennon's cross is poor, however, and Turner gets up easily to clear.
Here comes the Holtby! The half-German, half-English midfielder has replaced Clint Dempsey.
The delivery from Kyle Walker isn't great, and is easily cleared for a corner which Tottenham can do nothing with.
Snodgrass fouls Assou-Ekotto out on the left flank, and Tottenham have a great chance to score from this free kick. It's in a very dangerous position for an in-swinger.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Tottenham are having more joy in moving the ball forward this half but Andre Villas-Boas' team are still struggling to create clear chances. A change is surely looming, and Lewis Holtby is currently warming up."
Pilkington goes close for Norwich. The versatile wide man jinks down the left flank before cutting in and driving a right-footed shot into Lloris' side netting. Nice try from the former Huddersfield man.
That said, Norwich have dropped a lot deeper this half, and Grant Holt is starting to look a bit lonely up front, such in the lack of support being offered to him.
For all the improvement in Tottenham's play this half, they have still not really looked like getting a goal. They are lacking a bit of guile and creativity in midfield.
Yellow Card Grant Holt
Holt receives a booking for a nasty foul, which was retribution for a tackle on himself around 10 seconds earlier.
Gareth Bale is also coming more and more into this game, and he crossed well with his left foot, but his effort cannot be reached by Defoe, who is out muscled in the penalty area as he challenges for a header.
Moussa Dembele has already done more in this half than he did in all of the first. The Belgian is driving forward with the ball from central midfield, and taking the game to the home side.
Norwich claim a penalty - but my, would that have been harsh. Pilkington goes on a mazy run just outside the area before smashing a shot towards goal. His effort is on target, but is blocked by Assou-Ekotto from close range. It may have hit his hand, but there was precious little he could have done about getting it out of the way.
Tottenham are beginning to dominate proceedings here, with Parker seeing a lot more of the ball in the centre of midfield.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Better from Tottenham, who twice win the ball high up the pitch gain possession in threatening positions. On both occasions, though, the Norwich rearguard was up to the test, with Michael Turner and Russell Martin repelling attacks, and in the end Gareth Bale can only shoot tamely at Mark Bunn from distance."
Bale stings the palms of Bunn with a shot from around 25 yards. His shot is a low fizzer, but is routine for the Canaries keeper.
Tottenham have a chance to generate some pressure, but waste it terribly. bale clips a ball out wide to Defoe on the left, but the striker rather aimlessly lumps a ball into the area which is easily cleared. Poor.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Norwich have started the second half the way they ended the first. After a poor header by Jan Vertonghen, the Canaries work the ball to the right flank to allow Grant Holt to set up Russell Martin for a shot. The right-back's low effort skids just wide of the far post."
Norwich go close to a second. Nice patient attacking by the hosts, and the ball finds its way to Russell Martin on the right corner of the penalty area, and his cross-cum-shot is narrowly wide of Hugo Lloris' far post. Good work by the full-back, who has been excellent so far.
Norwich start the half in much the same way as they played the first, with Robert Snodgrass the creative hub. He fires in a shot, but it's blocked by the Spurs defence.
The two teams are out on the pitch, and Norwich are ready to get this second half underway.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Job well done so far for Norwich City and Chris Hughton. The Canaries have shown more tenacity, quality and quickness of thought than their sluggish Tottenham counterparts in the opening 45 minutes and Andre Villas-Boas has some thinking to do. Spurs simply cannot get the ball into their central midfielders at the moment."
And that's all for the first half. Chris Hughton will be very happy with his side's performance, they've been far better than Spurs so far, and deservedly lead through a wonderful goal, finished of by Wes Hoolahan. Tottenham have been timid and uninspiring, and Andre Villas-Boas will want to see a lot more from his side in the second period.
45' + 2'
Tottenham have showed a bit more fluency in the last couple of minutes, but have struggled to break past a resolute Norwich defence.
There will be two minutes of added time.
Norwich are trying to catch Tottenham on the counterattack by launchuing several direct long balls forward. Assou-Ekotto is forced to cover after Pilkington found space on the Norwich left.
Tottenham test Bunn for the first time. Bassong takes a loose touch around 30 yards from goal and Defoe hares onto the ball and pinches it, before exchanging a one-two with Aaron Lennon. His shot from the edge of the area is powerfully hit, but Bunn makes a good save and pushes the ball to safety.
Wes Hoolahan listens the crowd and shoots from the egde of the area, but his effort is high and wide.
He seems to have a thigh problem, he'll probably want to wait until half-time before deciding if he needs to come off.
Oh dear Spurs fans. As if it wasn't bad enough, now Gareth Bale is down injured.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Norwich very nearly grab a second as Sebastien Bassong leads a counterattack from a Tottenham corner against his former club. The centre-back charges through the middle to latch on to a low cross from Russell Martin but Benoit Assou-Ekotto just does enough to shield the ball across the six-yard box."
Yellow Card Javier Garrido
Great counterattack from Norwich. Garth Bale pops in a free kick from the right flank, but it is poor, and easily cleared by Bassong who charges forward and almost gets on the end of a cross from Russell Martin who had powered down the right.
Norwich could get themselves another if this game carries on like this. They've been far superior to their visitors so far.
Assist Anthony Pilkington
Goal Wesley Hoolahan
Norwich take a deserved lead! It's a wonderfull worked goal too. Snodgrass finds some space down the right and hangs a high cross up to the back post, it's met by Grant Holt who heads into the path of Pilkington, who squares for an unmarked Hoolahan to tap from around the penalty spot in past a helpless Lloris. Excellent team goal.
Snodgrass tries his luck from range, with a curling effort towards the back post, but Lloris is equal to it, and he pushes the ball to safety.
Oli Platt reports from Carrow Road: "Hugo Lloris is called into a save for the first time as Tottenham again struggle to clear a cross. Alexander Tettey's ball from the right is headed straight up by Michael Dawson, who is outjumped by Grant Holt to the second ball. Lloris gets down well to his left to push the effort around the post."
Spurs have a good spell of possession on the ball, which ends with Gareth Bale floating into a central area and shooting centrally on the edge of the penalty area. His shot is blocked by Bassong, however, and the ball bounces clear.
Tottenham have themselves adopted a direct approach tonight, and they seem perfectly happy to sacrifice the middle of the park, in exchange for some possession for their lively wide men Bale and Lennon.
Michael Dawson plays a diagonal ball out of defence in the direction of Jermain Defoe who has peeled off onto the right flank, and he drives forward before crossing into the area. But with just Defoe playing up front for Spurs, there is no one else making a dash into the area.
We're coming up to the midway point on the half, and I have to report that Spurs have been very timid so far. They've not offered much in attack at all, and have failed to hold possession in the middle of midfield.
Holt has a chance from the edge of the area but it's very wide under pressure from Assou-Ekotto.
Norwich are finding some favour with a route one approach tonight. Mark Bunn has been launching several in the direction of powerful striker Grant Holt, but the big man has not got much change out of Tottenham's defence so far.
Seb Bassong shows real quality at the back to hold off Jermain Defoe in a one-on-one footrace. He's an important player for the Canaries, and they'll need him to be at his best in their quest to ensure Premier League survival.
Nice play from Norwich. They spread the ball wide to the left, and a cross from Pilkington is just a little to long for Russell Martin at the back post. Good play from the hosts.
It's not Robert Snodgrass' evening so far. Grant Holt wins a free kick by the corner flag, and the Scot steps up to bend in a in-swinging cross but he gets to far under the ball, and it sails above everyone and behind for a goal kick.
Tettey wins Norwich's first corner of the evening.
It's a really poor delivery from Snodgrass, with his cross failing to beat the first man.
Norwich themselves win a free kick and Hugo Lloris comes out to the edge of his area to punch clear, but he rather miscues his effort and the ball balloons backwards into the area. There are covering defenders, however, so danger is averted.
It comes to nothing and is easily cleared. The ball comes to Assou-Ekotto who hangs a high cross in which is dealt with terribly by Javier Garrido who tries to control, resulting in a corner for Spurs, which they waste.
Kyle Walker wins a free kick on the right, and Tottenham will have the chance to swing a cross into the area.
Tottenham have a spell on the ball, but they fail to stand-up to the physicality of the hosts, and tamely lose possession.
There is a real fizz and tempo to Norwich tonight. They're quite direct, and they will not allow Dawson a moment to settle.
Norwich have started the better, and Tettey has done well down the right. He swings in a cross toward Holt, and the big man knocks it down for Snodgrass, but the Scot's shot is week.
Uncomfortable start for Mark Bunn as a back-pass to him is under hit by Michael Turner leaving the goalkeeper with no option other than to blast the ball at the onrushing Defoe.
It's a sloppy start, with both sides aimlessly sharing punts forward.
Tottenham will kick-off and get the game underway.
Right, the players are making their way onto the pitch, and kick-off is imminent.
One thing these two sides do have in common, however, is embarrassing FA Cup defeats, with Tottenham eliminated after losing 2-1 at Leeds, and Norwich being beaten by non-league Luton.
Norwich have fared even worse, with just point to show for their efforts this month. They were thumped 5-0 Liverpool last time out.
Tottenham have won just once in the league in January, and that was on New Years Day against struggling Reading. Draws with QPR and Manchester United mean they unbeaten in the Premier League this month, however.
Kick-off is 15 minutes away, please feel free to Tweet me with your score predictions and comments throughout the game. You can do so @rhysturrell. For what it is worth, I think we could see a few goals tonight, and I'm going to take a punt on a 2-2 draw.
Oli Platt is Goal.com's reporter at Carrow Road tonight, and he reports: "Norwich have fared relatively well against Tottenham since their promotion back to the Premier League. They lost their first encounter against a Gareth Bale-inspired Spurs at Carrow Road but went on to win at White Hart Lane later that season before claiming a draw early in the current campaign. That was followed by a dramatic, late 2-1 victory for the Canaries in the Capital One Cup back in October. Andre Villas-Boas is yet to win at Carrow Road; Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw here."
The away side recall Jermain Defoe after the England striker missed the cup defeat at Leeds through injury. New signing Lewis Holtby is on the bench.
Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Parker, Dembele, Bale; Dempsey; Defoe. Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Gallas, Caulker, Holtby, Livermore, Sigurdsson.
The home side opt for a familiar line-up, with Grant Holt given the nod in the absence of the ineligible Harry Kane - who can't play against his parent club. Seb Bassong also returns to the heart of the Canaries defence against his former club.
Norwich: Bunn; Russell Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington; Hoolahan, Holt. Subs: Camp, Whittaker, Howson, Jackson, Fox, Elliott Bennett, Ryan Bennett.
The teams are in, and here they are, starting with the home side.
I'm Rhys Turrell and I'll be taking you through all the action this evening, as Andre Villas-Boas looks for three points to aid his team's Champions League ambitions, and Chris Hughton searches for a win to end a miserable recent run of form.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of the Premier League clash between Norwich City and Tottenham at Carrow Road.
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