Crouch stands tall as Spurs head for heights

Blackburn Rovers 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2

If this really is to be the season when an outsider puts a dent in the Big Four's domination of the Premier League, then Tottenham have put down a marker this week to suggest that they could be the anointed ones.

Three days after their buccaneering defeat of Manchester City that hastened the inevitable for Mark Hughes, they accounted for his former club in a very different type of game. "We had to scrap more today," said the Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp. Indeed, with only two home defeats in Sam Allardyce's first year in charge, the evidence is that everyone has to scrap for the spoils at Blackburn.

Spurs' willingness and ability to do so says as much for their top four aspirations as their capacity for running other sides off their feet when everything is going their way.

Six points from the two Lancashire clubs have come at a good time for Spurs, with most of the teams above them looking distinctly fallible. Redknapp was particularly animated by Liverpool and Manchester United's defeats on Saturday. "Teams are getting beaten when they wouldn't have got beaten in another year," he said. "There's an opening for someone. Whether we're good enough, time will tell."

A side hoping to make that breakthrough probably needs an embarrassment of riches in at least one key area – and Spurs have it up front. At Ewood, the prolific Jermain Defoe missed his one real chance, but Peter Crouch stuck all three of his away – one disallowed for offside – and Robbie Keane came off the bench to spark up the effort in the second half.

Redknapp still has a few things to sort out – today he will be calling in the players who went on that unauthorised trip to Dublin – but Spurs showed at Blackburn the difference between a side that has been able to spend big and one that has not.

"We'll have to sell before we can buy," said Allardyce, contemplating his ruined first anniversary in the job and the rapidly approaching transfer window. "We might be better working with what we've got."

He had a fair point in arguing that Crouch's first goal should have been ruled out for climbing all over Ryan Nelsen, but his real problem was the one underlined by misses from Benni McCarthy and Franco Di Santo; Blackburn simply cannot score goals.

There were good things about their performance, notably an industrious midfield lead set by Vince Grella and some fleet-footed work down the left from the young Canadian Junior Hoilett. But until someone starts to score occasionally, the season will become harder and harder work for Rovers.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Jacobsen, Nelsen, Givet, Chimbonda; Salgado (Pedersen, 63), Grella, Nzonzi, Hoilett (Roberts, 80); Di Santo (Kalinic, 71), McCarthy.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekottu; Lennon (Hutton, 89), Huddlestone, Palacios (Jenas, 57), Kranjcar; Defoe (Keane, 66), Crouch.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: Tottenham Corluka.

Man of the match: Crouch.

Attendance: 26,490.

Redknapp: Tax case 'farcical'

Harry Redknapp has played down the news that HM Customs and Revenue wants to take action against him next month. The Tottenham manager has denied any wrongdoing following an investigation into his financial affairs which included him being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting in November 2007. He told BBC Radio Five Live: "It's not a major issue. It's something that was done between myself and my ex-chairman, away from football, and it really is unbelievable. I can't comment on it, but it's farcical."

Spurs said: "The club considers this matter to be a private, tax issue which pre-dates Harry's employment with the club and which is not related to football matters. His position remains unaffected and he has the full support of the club."

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss