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'Tiny lads' put Tottenham on top
by Paul Kennedy, August 24th, 2009 6:45AM



[ENGLAND] In his enthusiasm over his club's best start in 39 years, you can forgive Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp for forgetting that he recently signed 6-foot-7 Peter Crouch. After Spurs' 2-1 win at West Ham gave it three straight wins and first place in the Premier League, he waxed poetic about his "tiny lads," who form what he called the smallest frontline in the world.

"We've got the smallest forward line in the world with Jermain Defoe [5-foot-6], Robbie Keane [5-foot-8] and Luka Modric [5-foot-8]," said Redknapp, "but we'll go for it."

Spurs equalized when Carlton Cole, who had put West Ham ahead with a brilliant 25-yard volley, played the ball right to Defoe for the equalizer. American left back Jonathan Spector was at fault on Spurs' winner, winning a ball played into the penalty area but then allowing Aaron Lennon -- all of 5-foot-5 -- to take it away and score.

"We play with four forwards and they are all tiny lads," said Redknapp. "But the role models are Barcelona and they are a small team. They work hard to press teams when they don't have the ball and they ended up European champions. It's about workrate. You have to work to get the ball back. You don't have to be a giant to do that."

-- West Ham was playing without defender Calum Davenport, who was in intensive care after being stabbed in both legs by attackers at his home on Friday.

"We're very sorry about what happened," West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola said. "The situation will be clearer in the next few days. Now it's just important that he's all right. We didn't believe it when we heard. You don't expect things like this to happen, especially to people you know."

Doctors were fighting to save Davenport's left leg, whose main artery was severed.

-- The hottest player in the EPL is French defender William Gallas, who scored in his third straight game for Arsenal in its 4-1 win over Portsmouth.

Gallas wears No. 10 but hardly plays like one. His goals against Celtic in mid-week and Pompey on Saturday were 100 percent garbage.

The same couldn't be said for countryman Abou Diaby, whose two goals and near perfect game in midfield promoted Gunners manager Arsene Wenger to compare him to former Arsenal great Patrick Vieira.

"Diaby's ability to win the ball back is just like Patrick Vieira," said Wenger. "He is capable of very quick transitions from defense to attack and has fantastic strength box to box - nobody can go with him."

-- For the second time in five days, promoted Burnley knocked off a giant of the EPL and both times a missed penalty preserved the 1-0 win.

After beating defending champion Manchester United, 1-0, Burnley edged Tim Howard's Everton, 1-0.

Wade Elliott scored for the Clarets, who got a break later in the game when Louis Saha put his penalty kick wide of the goal. Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen would have probably stopped it if it had been on goal -- just like he stopped United's Michael Carrick.


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