Curiously, our most emphatic win in recent years was achieved without us ever really hitting top gear. There were some moments at the end of the first half when we played true champagne football, and Defoe might have finished off a couple of moves so pleasing on the eye they ought to have been put on canvass and stuck in a gallery. Aside from that however, it was generally a little sloppy and lacking in fluency. You know the sort of thing – mis-placed passes and lack of movement. It was most noticeable in the slightly lethargic start to the second half, which might have been punished by better teams.Ah, who else but a Spurs fan could find room for complaint after a second five-goal salvo in a week? We may not have hit top gear, but there was no real need. While Jenas’ goal had a touch of fortune about it, we scored four others and created plenty more chances besides. The third goal effectively ended the contest, but I suspect we would have raised our game if it had been necessary to do so. Winning 5-0 when playing within ourselves is quite an achievement.
Keane Silences The Bloke Behind Me Who Was Laying Into Him In The First Half
Robbie Keane’s doubters have been given some food for thought. Scepticism about his finishing ability – much of which has emanated from AANP Towers, I must confess – was fairly emphatically addressed today, albeit after he had had saved a first half one-on-one. Another concern since he rejoined us has been that he spends too much time dropping into midfield, where he mixes industry with incessant moaning at anyone in his line of vision, rather than operating as one of a pair in attack. Indeed, at times in the first half he was at it again, buzzing dementedly around midfield areas; but this seemed to change once Defoe went off. Thereafter we were treated to the welcome sight of the Irishman rolling back the years and scampering straight up the middle at the head of the attack whenever we broke forward.
Fear not however, all ye Keane critics – while I’m not sure of the extent of Defoe’s injury, it can be assumed that he will retain his place in the team when fit, meaning that Keane will presumably revert back to his slightly deeper role, and there will be opportunities anew to moan, grumble and raucously curse the man. Hopefully though, he’ll never be stuck out on the left again.
First Impressions of Kranjcar
Our first chance to cast beady eyes on the boy Kranjcar. First impressions are that he is decent enough, without threatening ever to blow up anyone’s skirt. More Corluka than Modric, notably in that lumbering running style of a man attempting to get around while a rope around his waist drags behind him a set of tyres. He certainly seems happy enough to get forward, but his phobia of the touchline might need to be addressed, and his right-footedness leaves the team still looking a little lop-sided sans Modric.
Elsewhere On The Pitch…
I was pleasantly surprised to see Bassong start at the back. When he was stretchered off last week he looked so badly beaten up he seemed for all the world a man about to be euthanized – yet he was full of beans today, and from my vantage-point did not appear to put a foot wrong. Nor did Assou-Ekotto, although it was disappointing to see there was no foundation to rumours that he was once again sporting the ‘fro.
The Hudd just about coped with the rigours of central defence. Although culpable for the disallowed Burnley goal in the first half, he rather appeared to enjoy himself in the latter stages, bringing the ball out of defence with aplomb. I hesitate to suggest that he would handle the likes of Drogba and Torres with any comfort, but for the next few weeks he ought to do the job.
Cudicini had a rather wobbly moment however, his loss of concentration almost gifting Burnley a goal. With Gomes back to fitness, Cudicini’s every move will be under the microscope now. That said, ‘tis pleasing to note our first clean-sheet of the season.
By the closing stages it had turned into something of an exhibition match. Hudd started rolling out his Beckenbauer impressions. Bale was brought on to break his non-winning Premiership hoodoo. Dawson was ushered back into the fold. (Bentley was nowhere to be seen). Chas’n’Dave were honoured in fittingly unmelodic fashion. News of the Chelski result prompted another celebratory cheer. It may not have been a bravura performance, but we natives departed contentedly enough.
How The Blazes Did Burnely Beat Man Utd A Few Weeks Back?
Finally, a word or two on our vanquished opponents. A couple of weeks ago Man Utd came to town and were sublime; Burnely were ruddy awful. Quite how they beat the champions last month is beyond me, because at times they displayed basic technique so bad they resembled a pub team. If there was an opportunity to mis-kick they mis-kicked; if a pass could be mis-placed they duly pinged it miles off target. Presumably they are a much better team than they showed today, and we can expect a much tougher test at Turf Moor later in the season, but their efforts did much today to lull us into a quite appropriate sense of security. Still, our players had to trot out there and beat them, and did so with plenty to spare. Top-six form, at least.
Your memories are still welcomed here on Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa, the latest to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes. Feel free to contribute your memories – or browse those of others – on Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here, Gary Mabbutt here or Graham Roberts here