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Aston Villa 1-1 Spurs: A Better Result For Tottenham Than Last Week?

A better result than last week? Well, no, in a word. As a result, a draw away to Villa is ok on paper, but no reason to go popping corks and lighting Cubans. However, the performance, particularly in the second half, was without doubt one to warm the cockles. If last week was an all guns blazing Terminator 2, this was a well-constructed The Usual Suspects – different genre, but mightily impressive in its own right. 

The nine-goal fest against thoroughly clueless opponents was a fun day out, but there was a nagging worry all week that we’d struggle against a team who did not politely stand aside and usher us through. Such fears appeared to transpire in the first half hour or so, when we were second-best to too many balls – as typified by the Villa goal.Typical Spurs, No Spine, No Fight…

Those who have Spurs down as a soft touch sat back and waited expectantly – only to be stunned by, of all things, a bloody-minded refusal to accept defeat. Towards half-time, and every moment thereafter, we displayed a character which I had not dared think the players had in them. There before our very disbelieving eyes, sleeves were rolled up and hands dirtied, as our lot hammered away until they got a goal. Then they carried on hammering for good measure, in search of a winner. And all this, recall, not against one of the division’s less potent spoilers, but against our closest challengers for fourth. Crikey.

Feet ought to remain grounded – we did not win, after all, and Villa were curiously negative – but that glorious refusal to go down without a fight ought really to have been played out to a stirring Thomas Arne soundtrack. Fittingly enough Michael Dawson was the hero, thumping in our equaliser before presumably riding home on horseback and in full armour, with a sword in one hand and the severed head of a barbarian in the other.

Kranjcar Fast Becoming An AANP Favourite

 

Kranjcar again was superb, making a mockery of those pointless efforts to shoe-horn Robbie Keane into the left-side role. In the first half the Croat seemed to be at the hub of all that was good, raising the notion that a few weeks down the line, ‘Arry might even be tempted to dabble in a Kranjcar-Modric-Palacios-Lennon midfield. I drool in anticipation. The energy Kranjcar injected gradually spread across the team, and before you could say “We-may-be-one-down-at-Vila-Park-after-half-an-hour-but-by-golly-I-think-we’re getting-on-top-here” they were all at it – movement, patient build-up and the occasional half-chance, hinting at what was to come.I had a rant yesterday about the common Away-Team mentality of sitting back and adopting a safety-first defend-and-nullify mindset. Happily however, anyone in Tottenham ranks who suggested this yesterday was taken out the back and shot, while on the pitch we seized the initiative and pounded relentlessly at the Villa door. Another brownie point can be distributed as appropriate for the fact that there was no panicked resort to a procession of long-balls, despite the presence of Crouch up top. Yes, we did occasionally take the aerial route from deep, but this was mixed up with crosses from the flanks, attempts to pass our way in and thumping long shots.

Encouraging Stuff From Hudd 

Elsewhere on the Pitch 

Lennon was generally shackled by two men throughout, only finding any space in the closing stages – but even when not producing the goods, his presence caused panic in opposition ranks.

Bold Substitutions 

Jenas, to his credit (yes, you read correctly) entered the fray with exactly the right attitude. Previously a man maligned for his willingness to pass backwards if his life depended on going forward, he showed attacking intent every time he received the ball, looking to press forward, either via a pass or dribble, at every opportunity.

In the aftermath of the goal celebrations, ‘Arry resisted any urge to alter the planned substitution, instead ploughing on with the replacement of Kranjcar by Keane, when others may well have paused and thrown on a more defensive player instead. It reminded me of a substitution made by Martin Jol (blessed be his name) many moons back, possibly in his first game in charge in fact, when having trailed 2-0 away to Charlton, we got back to 2-2, before Jol threw on another striker and was rewarded with three points. No three-point haul today, but immense credit to all involved, for the positive mentality adopted.

 

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And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be featured in forthcoming book Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jurgen Klinsmann here

5 Responses

  1. name Says:

    “when others may well have paused and thrown on a more defensive player instead. It reminded me of a substitution made by Martin Jol”

    Yes like when we were 2-0 up against Arsenal and Chelsea and Jol threw it away by taking off the attackers

  2. Ashley J. Collie Says:

    Spot on review. Looking ahead, if Woody/King are going to continue to go missing, and Keano not necessarily starting . . .then Daws should be captain. Leads by example (it figured our captain-for-the-day got the thumping equalizer with an exclamation point on it), no nonsense defender, got some passing skills going forward, and pretty healthy. It was great to see him lead out the team. Also, the constant forward pressing we did second half was a mini-version of Barcelona in midweek. Go on ‘Arry — be tempted to dabble in a Kranjcar-Modric-Palacios-Lennon midfield! COYS!

  3. DAVSPURS Says:

    To start dismantling our team for Moderic would be mad because there is something not right with this injury it baffles me and Harry and is Medical team why he has took so long to heal. Now he is training with the kids call me stupid but i don’t trust Ferguson and the rumours about Carrick .Why do Spurs fans always pick Huddlestone to drop out i love it when we have good English players in our team .Before dropping Huddlestone the person that should be rested is Ekotto he seems to be involved in every goal we concede Hudds could play centre half and Bassong left back this would eliminate our week left side for height and let Harry play Moderic AND Kranjcar and we would have 6ft4 Corluka 6ft3 Huddlestone 6ft2 Dawson and 6ft1 Bassong and hudds has never been on the losing side playing centre half fact.COYS 3RD

  4. elwehbi@ibleedhotspur Says:

    Their goal was disappointing… our 1st half performance was disappointing. But the squad showed true character with the way they pulled it together in the 2nd half. I was happy to secure the 1 point to be honest, not something I want to see happen again any time soon though.

  5. who framed ruel fox? Says:

    I think Jenas’ abilities are better suited to the ‘impact sub’ role. Anything more than an hour and he tends to drift off and generally get lost in the footballing ether. Bring him on for an energetic 30 mins when we need a bit of oomph and I think he’d do just fine.

    Top read, AANP. As ever.

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