Not a bad result, and certainly no catastrophe, but as Mark Hughes has found to his detriment, the value of a draw seems only to become clear at the conclusion of the following game. Failure to win our next game, at home to West Ham tomorrow, would cast this point at Craven Cottage in the rather gloomy light of one/two points from six; while victory over the Hammers would equate to a haul of ten points from twelve. Sharpened knives therefore sit next to balloons and streamers, as we prepare to laud or castigate our troops as appropriate, for their festive efforts.Taken in isolation, a point away to an in-form Fulham, while not ideal, is not bad; in the same sort of way as vouchers are not a bad Christmas present – unspectacular and undoubtedly anti-climactic, but ultimately of some use in the long-run.
It was the sort of game for which our heroes deserve polite applause rather than that eager over-reaction which we all prefer. The gay abandon with which we have ripped previous opponents to shreds was replaced by some diligent pottering from Kranjcar, Lennon and Keane. All creditable enough, but diligent pottering is not historically the sort of fare to sweep a girl from her feet and have her throwing her underwear on stage.
A couple of changes from ‘Arry, each of which were understandable enough, but while he did not do anything wrong Robbie Keane cannot be said to have made a compelling case for his inclusion again tomorrow against West Ham. Alongside him meanwhile, Crouch offered a few pointed reminders to team-mates that he is more than just a totem-pole at whom head-high long-balls are to be shunted. Some nifty footwork from the lanky one, who went mighty close to registering a couple of goal-of-the-month contenders. Ultimately however, we were on the back-foot as often as the front, and the name in neon lights at full-time duly reflected this.
Having returned to the scene of his career nadir, Heurelho Gomes might have been forgiven for suffering some sort of Sol Campbell-style breakdown as he trotted out of the Craven Cottage tunnel, and about-turning straight back into the changing-rooms to curl into a ball and gibber away to himself. Top marks to the chap therefore. Barely recognisable from the blundering, fumbling calamity of last season, he produced a couple of saves that were worth goals. Now may also be an appropriate time to reflect on the fact that while this time last year I could barely bring myself to watch the horror unfold whenever we conceded a free-kick or corner, Gomes these days tends to gobble up crosses with minimal fuss.
Gomes, Daws and Bassong now find themselves the proud parents of three consecutive clean-sheets, which I doubt anyone foresaw when Woodgate first limped off to join Ledley in the treatment room. Mind-boggling stuff, but a most welcome addition to the Tottenham family. With the best will in the world I venture that it is unlikely we’ll have too many more of these over the course of the season – it’s just not the Tottenham way – so we might as well revel in the moment while we can. With Modders and Ledley being eased back into the fold, and Defoe primed to return to the starting line-up, the glass seems half-full rather than half-empty at the moment, but such status remains subject to change pending tomorrow’s result.
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, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here