A meeting of two sides who have forgotten how to win typically ended in a draw, with Tottenham’s Champions League hangover contributing to one win in nine and Ian Holloway’s Blackpool having gone 19 games without a win.
Young Danny Rose made his first start since scoring a scorching volley against Arsenal last season for Spurs, coming in at left back for Benoit Assou-Ekotto, with Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe up front together and Rafael Van der Vaart starting in an unfamiliar right hand midfield position.
Modric started the brightest on the pitch, gliding past players in midfield and utilising his range of passing to spread the play as Spurs looked to control proceedings in front of their own fans. However, both midfields could be accused of complacency on the ball, being caught in possession and trying to pass through men when put under any kind of pressure, with central duo Sandro and Modric the main offenders as they were at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
Spurs dominated proceedings for much of the first-half but lacked that bit of quality in the final third with their misfiring strikers looking off the pace, running the channels but unlikely to manufacture a yard against the Blackpool defenders. With Spurs’ main attacking catalyst Van der Vaart isolated out on the right hand side and unable to join in attacks from deep as he has so often this season, Redknapp’s side looked devoid of ideas. Blackpool on the other hand had to be content with attacking on the break, where they looked decidedly more dangerous than their opponents.
PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale was another player who looked off the pace for the home side, firing in some excellent balls but not isolating his man or looking to burst beyond the line of defence, whereas Rose was looking like Bale reincarnate bursting forward from left back.
Harry Redknapp responded at half time, hauling off a poor Pavlyuchenko for Aaron Lennon, with Van der Vaart taking up his natural position and linking up with Lennon instantly to make an opening. Holloway made a similar change, pulling off the flat-footed Eastern European Sergei Kornilenko for pacey winger Jason Puncheon.
Spurs looked the far more likely following the break before Bale was stretchered off with a worrying injury following a Charlie Adam challenge, that looked like a broken leg on first viewing, taking the wind out of the homes side’s sails and potentially their season run in.
However, as is to be expected when watching the Seasiders, you couldn’t write the script. In 90 seconds of madness, a penalty miss and then an emphatic goal by Blackpool skipper Adam, gave Holloway’s side a chance of Premier League survival before a wonder-strike from the otherwise poor Defoe shared the points out evenly.
A lack of quality in the final third, a nasty injury to their star asset and typically shaky work from their goalkeeper contributed to the struggling Spurs downfall. Tottenham now face a near impossible task to seal another exciting year in Europe’s premier club competition whereas Blackpool’s survival is anything but assured.