Well first up I think it’s only right to indulge in a moment of smugness from this lofty perch atop the country’s pile. While I don’t think any of us are daft enough to make fanciful predictions after four days of the season, the cockerel is crowing, and the morning-after smugness in the office has proved particularly gratifying. Top of the league; most points; most goals; best goal difference; top goalscorer. Mwahahaha.The early goals helped, as they removed from Hull’s game the option of playing a patient game and putting men behind the ball to frustrate us. Instead, the onus was on them to chase the game, and Modders, Hudd and Keane duly gorged themselves upon the wide open spaces left behind. It was barnstorming stuff from Tottenham, lovely slick interplay, short-passing and movement. Joyous to behold.
Hindsight tends to be 20-20, but the concerns voiced at AANP Towers yesterday, prior to the game, were handled with consummate ease, leaving me to wonder why I had worried so. I confess to having grumbled and carped away on seeing Keane line up again alongside Defoe, but an attack spawning five goals was a fairly emphatic response. I still would not suggest that they work together particularly exquisitely, but in their own individual ways my goodness they thrived. It seemed that every couple of minutes we were treated to the sight of Keane breaking with the ball into the Hull half, with space all around him and options left and right. I cannot imagine that the pattern of the game would have been the same if Crouch had started in partnership with Defoe. It is easy to gloss over the fact that for all our dominance yesterday we kept the ball on the ground, carving Hull open along the turf, with barely an ugly long ball in sight.
AANP Loves Defoe; Defoe No Doubt Loves AANP
The AANP love-in with Defoe continues. How sweetly did he strike that third goal? Looking carefully at the replay I did detect that the ball itself was beaming with pleasure at it hit the net. As well as which his first was on his weaker left foot, and the little flick and turn to create his second was indicative of a man brimming with confidence. Defoe may not have the all-round game of, say, Keane, but few other strikers in the Premiership have such a ruthlessly greedy attitude towards goalscoring. It’s a jolly handy weapon to have in the team.
Palacios did what he does best, and it was particularly good to see him open his lilywhite account. Easy to forget that for a man whose role in the team is essentially defensive, he enjoys a gallop into shooting range. Lennon’s well-documented weakness is his final ball, so he earns some positive noises for the assist for Keane’s goal. Elsewhere the Corluka-Bassong partnership coped. In truth they were rarely troubled. And Modric, though he did not exactly run the show, was as sublime as ever when he did enjoy possession.
Grumbles. Well, Not Really
I feel a little unclean if I don’t have a grumble about something or other, but even I can appreciate that it would be pedantic to offer criticism after a 5-1 away win, so consider these observations rather than accusations. In the comfy latter stages the Hudd kept trying to play the killer-ball, when sometimes there were easier options – but, by and large, he has picked the correct option just about every time over these first two games, and he set the ball rolling with the assist for Defoe’s opener. Good movement around him helped – and conversely, lack thereof makes him look bad – but nevertheless, the little voice in his head has been dictating to him wisely so far this season.
Other grumbles? The defending for their goal was curiously negligible, but I suspect organisation at the back will be a little better when Ledley returns. If Cudicini erred for their goal, he redeemed himself with an acrobatic save in the second half. To be honest, my biggest gripe of the night was with the little Tottenham fixture booklet, which erroneously advertised last night’s game as kicking off at 8pm. Mercifully, events later in the evening served to soften this blow. Top of the league. Marvellous stuff.
The invitation is still open to share your memories of White Hart Lane legends, in anticipation of Spurs’ Cult Heroes, a forthcoming book that rather does what it says on the tin. Memories of Jimmy Greaves here and of Jurgen Klinsmann here…