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Spurs are frustrated at the Lane again as West Brom secure a point

West Bromwich Albion's Jonas Olsson celebrates his equaliser at White Hart Lane West Bromwich Albion's Jonas Olsson celebrates his equaliser at White Hart Lane

Thursday, December 26, 2013
5:04 PM

Premier League: Tottenham 1 West Brom 1

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Christian Eriksen put Tottenham ahead with a free-kickChristian Eriksen put Tottenham ahead with a free-kick

Tottenham suffered another disappointing result at White Hart Lane after being held to a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Spurs have failed to win any of their last five domestic home games, with their only success since the start of November coming in the Europa League against Anzhi.

The Lilywhites had drawn with Manchester United and lost against Newcastle, Liverpool and West Ham (in the Capital One Cup) prior to today’s match – and they were frustrated again by Albion.

Christian Eriksen gave Spurs a 36th-minute lead with a free-kick but the Baggies levelled less than two minutes later as Jonas Olsson prodded home from a set piece, and Spurs were unable to find a winner, leaving them eighth in the table.

Newly-appointed head coach Tim Sherwood continued with his ambitious approach of fielding two strikers and two creative central midfielders in an attacking 4-4-2 formation, declining to pick a holding midfielder.

There were two changes to the side, with Lewis Holtby replacing Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli coming into the starting XI at the expense of Erik Lamela, while Emmanuel Adebayor started for the third game in a row.

Sherwood also maintained his policy of promoting young talent and centre-back Milos Veljkovic was given a place on the bench, while Ryan Fredericks and Nabil Bentaleb – who had made his debut at Southampton on Sunday – were also named among the substitutes alongside 21-year-old Lamela.

Despite the change in management and the new formation, the first half was reminiscent of many of the uninspiring home games that had blighted Andre Villas-Boas’ tenure and the Lilywhites struggled to break down their visitors, with loose passes undermining their efforts.

Indeed, the hosts failed to really test Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster for the first half an hour, and it was the guests who created the better chances.

Matej Vydra looked dangerous on the break and he played a one-two with Zoltan Gera to get in behind, being denied by the combination of a Michael Dawson challenge and Hugo Lloris save.

The lively Czech forward then raced in behind the Spurs rearguard again, forcing Lloris to come flying off his line and claim the ball at his feet.

Soon afterwards, Vydra met a left-wing cross with a flicked header, which was off target but nearly turned into an assist as Diego Lugano dived in at the back post, narrowly failing to make a telling contact.

Tottenham had been denied by West Brom’s brave defending as their shots were blocked – and Jonas Olsson had to be given treatment after taking a Gylfi Sigurdsson piledriver in the face.

Kyle Walker took a boot in the head while sliding to win the ball – and referee Anthony Taylor stopped play, ignoring the fact that Spurs had gone on to free Roberto Soldado in the penalty box.

Spurs’ coaching team were exasperated that a rare chance had been lost – but they were celebrating moments later as Eriksen scored from the ensuing free-kick, seeing the ball crash down off the crossbar and over the line.

The lead lasted for a matter of seconds though as Eriksen conceded a set piece in his own half. Morgan Amalfitano sent the ball into the box and, when Adebayor swung and missed, Olsson was on hand to prod home at close range.

Sherwood was so angry with the leveller that he fell over on the touch-line, and he was exasperated again at the end of the half as the error-prone Vlad Chiriches lost the ball to James Morrison, who shot well wide.

The head coach’s team talk seemed to have the desired effect, and Spurs were more aggressive after the interval, snapping into the tackles, and the impressive Danny Rose sent a 30-yard effort just over the bar.

At the other end, Chiriches conceded a free-kick and Lloris was forced to save Steven Reid’s effort, while Gera then failed to get a killer contact on a cross at close range.

With frustrations at White Hart Lane increasing, Sherwood replaced Holtby with Bentaleb, who made his home debut - and West Brom were then lucky to keep all 11 men on the field as Reid made a poor challenge on Rose’s ankle, having already been booked, but survived a second yellow.

Walker raised the noise level with a 35-yard rocket that Foster dived to palm behind, and Chadli then wriggled free in the box, drawing Foster but failing to find a team-mate in the box.

The Belgian was replaced seconds later, with Lamela entering the fray, and Spurs started to look like the more probable winners, with Soldado and Sigurdsson heading wide from headers and Soldado failing with an audacious backheel attempt from Rose’s low cross.

Eriksen then delivered a corner from the left and Soldado met the ball at the front post, seeing his header drift agonisingly wide of the back post.

By this time, West Brom had settled in to defend – and they held out until the final whistle.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Chadli (Lamela 75), Holtby (Bentaleb 61), Eriksen, Sigurdsson, Adebayor, Soldado

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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