Not quite vintage Spurs, but a hugely creditable performance nonetheless. The 3-0 scoreline makes it easy to forget quite how hard our lot had to work after a testing opening, first in soaking up the early pressure, and then in moving from back-foot to front.Kick-off had heralded what looked like an ominous 10-minute trailer for the Carlos Tevez Show, but to our credit, while City were allowed a little too much time in midfield they were resolutely kept at arm’s length – an arm in this instance being approximately 18 yards long – with the only notable first half save from Gomes coming from a long-range effort.
The last 15 minutes or so were also a little nervier than was entirely necessary, as we dropped mighty deep, the ghost of weeks past seeming to haunt the team. A two-nil lead as the clock ticks over to 80 ought not in theory to be any cause for alarm, but having recently turned implosion in such situations into an art-form, our lot seemed a little confused as to whether they ought just to allow City to score, as a standard procedure. Daws could well have been pulled up for a penalty, which would have made for a horrendous final five minutes, while Adebayor was rather generously granted the freedom of the Tottenham six-yard box. Despite all this, having shown more creativity throughout, and sufficient ruthlessness to convert periods of dominance into goals, I think it’s fair to assert that we ticked enough boxes, and were quite justified in toddling off home in good cheer.
Lennon was something of a coiled spring for the first half hour, itching to have a run at the left-back. And once the penny dropped amongst his team-mates he was off, tearing Silvinho apart, creating a goal and drawing the obligatory booking from the hapless opponent. Would have been nice to see him go for the jugular thereafter, and work a second booking out of the lad, but hey-ho.
’Twas a good job that Lennon and Kranjcar were on form, because Hudd had an off-day. If he can show on Saturday that this was the exception rather than the norm I think we’ll excuse him, but in the first half hour in particular he did little more than puff and pant in the background.
He won’t get many headlines, and indeed his possible handball is likelier to be thrust under the microscope, but Daws was generally outstanding at the back, particularly during the rocky moments in the first half of the first half. If the rest of them showed his attitude by golly we’d have one hell of a team. Such was his Midas touch that as well as countless well-judged tackles and interceptions, even that moment in the second half, when he arrived approximately an hour late for a tackle and sent a City forward flying into touch, was greeted by little more than a shrug from the ref and a goal-kick.
Defoe and Crouch
As for Crouch, towards the end of the game he suddenly appeared to throw a bit of a strop, bless, and refused to pass to anyone, opting instead to shoot from miles out or try dribbling past the entire City team. The sight of Crouch running with the ball leaves me aghast but unable to tear myself away. It’s a gangly awkward mess, which is destined inevitably to end in a giant ball of limbs, and yet holds a morbid fascination. (As do Corluka’s occasional, painfully slow step-overs.)
Generally however, the attacking duo were sound but unspectacular, combining in uncomplicated fashion for our second (the fact that the move ended in a goal diverting attention from the world’s most mal-coordinated attempt at defending in the history of the game, by Kolo Toure). No reason to change the forward line, Robbie Keane can stay where he is.
While I hesitate to suggest that our blip is over, or can even be correctly labelled a “blip” rather than something more long-term, some winnable games loom, and if we play our cards right we could still be rather handily-placed come that drunken chorus of Auld Lang Syne.
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