Rafael van der Vaart
Rafael van der Vaart is staying at Tottenham Reuters

In what was billed as an absolute must-win game for both Tottenham and Blackburn, it was the former club that actually bothered to turn up for a game that must surely rank as one of Blackburn's worst ever performances and certainly the worst under Steve Kean.

Spurs went into the game on a back of as miserable a run of form as they have had in recent times, with only one win in nine games and staring at the prospect of not playing in the Champions League next season despite absolutely running away with third place in the league a few months ago. Their misery was compounded earlier in the day by star winger Gareth Bale admitting he could leave the club if they failed to qualify for Europe's elite tournament next season and manager Harry Redknapp admitting pivotal central midfielder Luka Modric will probably leave the club next season.

However, neither the players nor their manager could afford to think about anything else but the game against Blackburn and the three points they needed. In addition, Redknapp and his men were aware, before kick-off at White Hart Lane, Chelsea had trounced QPR 6-1 in the early kick-off and the Blues would cement fifth position, demoting Spurs to sixth by two points , should they do anything other than beat Blackburn.

So Tottenham went out and beat Blackburn.

It was absolutely as emphatic a win as Chelsea's a couple of hours before, although not in terms of goals. Strikes from Dutch midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart and English left-back Kyle Walker, either side of half time, gave Spurs a much needed 18<sup>th win of the season and restored the home side to fourth, tied on points with Newcastle but ahead on goal difference.

Redknapp, amid speculation over Bale and Modric's futures, as well as his own, sent out his strongest team possible, with Emmanuel Adebayor leading the line from Van der Vaart, Aaron Lennon, Sandro and, of course, Bale and Modric. Adebayor, Danny Rose, Lennon and Younes Kaboul were making a return to the starting line-up after being omitted from the side that lost at QPR.

Kean, meanwhile, named an unchanged side from Rovers' 2-0 win over Norwich in their last game.

As for the game, there was almost an opening goal inside the first minute, just as at Stamford Bridge. However, while Daniel Sturridge scored for Chelsea, Lennon hit the side netting, for Spurs.

The early chance notwithstanding, Spurs were in a dominant mood and an energetic Sandro hit the bar in the eighth minute. The hosts had nearly 80 percent possession in the opening 10 minutes and apart from a brief moment where Yakubu found Junior Hoilett who then released Morten Pedersen before the move fizzled out, Blackburn were almost non-existent.

The opening goal, on 22 minutes, was just a matter of time. It was Van der Vaart who scored it, after Bale's header came back off the bar. Barely a minute later it should have been 2-0 to the hosts but once again Lennon was found wanting with a finish, choosing to fire hopelessly wide from 18 yards out despite having space to do better.

Blackburn and Kean were increasingly nonplussed as the half wore on, with neither the players nor their manager having any idea of what was happening or what they should do. They did, however, seem to have weathered the storm somewhat after Lennon's second miss of the game but were rudely shaken awake when the woodwork on their saved them yet again, this time from a William Gallas header.

The score was 1-0 at half time.

The second half began much as the first started and finished - with Spurs in control. Adebayor, Lennon and Modric all getting shots off, in stark contrast to Blackburn who, by the hour mark, still had not a single shot at goal, on target or otherwise.

As the game went on Bale was becoming increasingly the danger man for Blackburn, the Welshman's runs up and down the wing providing plenty of ammunition for Adebayor.

The second goal was always going to come, even if it did take time. Walker, who recently won the PFA Young Player of the Year award, demonstrated just why he should be regarded as one of the finest wing-backs in the country, with an absolute screamer of a free kick on 75 minutes.

It was 2-0 to Spurs, Blackburn still had not a single shot on goal and it was game over.

Final Score

Tottenham 2 (Van der Vaart 22', Walker 75') beat Blackburn 0

Spurs will next play Bolton, at the Reebok, on 2 May, while Blackburn will face a win-or-be-relegated game at home against Wigan on 7 May.