Like a craggily-bearded convict using the walls of his cell to chalk off the days until freedom, it is with growing excitement that I desecrate the walls of AANP Towers with scribbles signifying another game played, and another win recorded. Nine games to go, and our heroes are fulfilling their side of the bargain. I must confess that at this stage of the season I find myself caring less and less about the style, and more and more about the outcome. Spring has sprung and victories are now paramount, particularly with the injury-list lengthening.
Corluka’s Ridiculous Running Style: A Theorem
Not long ago I went for an unhealthily long run around the streets of North London, the result of which was that for the following two days the inevitably tight hamstrings had me waddling around like a man recently sodomized by a horse. The aftermath of said run gave rise to the notion that perhaps Coluka’s bizarrely laboured, trundling approach is due to the fact that the night before every game he sets off on a half-marathon, leaving him absolutely spent by the time he waddles out in lilywhite. Admittedly it is a hypothesis that might not necessarily withstand the most intense scrutiny, but with each passing game I gaze in utter bemusement at the sight of this top-level professional athlete undergoing such a struggle simply to run.
‘Twas a mixed performance from the Croatian. Now prevented from producing his wondrous link-up play with Lennon, I have taken to viewing the world’s oldest-looking 24 year-old with an increasingly critical eye. As ever his distribution was regularly sloppy; and, as ever, his defensive duties were carried out fairly solidly. On both counts however there was a notable exception today. His was a vital and superb contribution to the opening goal, the intelligent movement in the area and textbook downward header positively Sheringham-esque. Yet on the debit side his penalty area lunge in the first half was thoroughly ill-advised, and might have been deemed a spot-kick on another day.
And On The Subject of Penalty Shouts…
It appears that the impeccable Howard Webb would only have awarded Gareth Bale a penalty if the Blackburn mob had chopped him in half with a chainsaw. The handsome young Welshman was once again outstanding, with Sergeant Wilson also turning in another strong performance. Quite the bonus too that the midfield pitbull negotiated the full 90 minutes caution-free, to avoid an untimely two-game suspension.
Elsewhere on the Pitch
Modders showed a few flashes of class, but again could not really be said to have bossed things from central midfield. Similarly fitful stuff from Kranjcar, although it made a delightful change to see us actually score from a corner, the Croatian’s set-piece delivery on that occasion achieving the rare feat of beating the first man.
Actually “Super” is something of an exaggeration, as on two occasions he swung at the ball with all the mal-coordination of a fat kid in the playground, from not much further than six yards. However, when you’re hot you’re hotski, and our Pav still chipped in with his now customary brace. If nothing else it will bump up his transfer value come the summer.
Is There A “Bad Time To Score”?
Good predatory stuff from Defoe too, to celebrate the return of the Wembley arch atop his pate. Conventional wisdom has it that the closing moments of the first half are “a good time to score”, and whatever the science of that particular theory a half-time lead is always well-received around these parts, for our lot have developed the laudable habit of turning such half-time leads into full-time victories.
Perhaps not vintage Spurs in the final analysis, but a job well done nevertheless. With resources depleted it is quite a relief to shake hands, turn on our heels and wander off into the sunset with three points securely stuffed in our cases. It is three successive League wins now, precisely the adrenaline shot our top-four push required, and with seven days until our next fixture our walking-wounded have some precious time to remove their band-aids and bolster the ranks.
All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players featured in 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. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson.