I suppose that after Saturday’s relentless barrage of thwacks at the Self-Destruct button by the esteemed members of our back-four, we good members of the N17 public ought to have expected one more seismic defensive catastrophe on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the Kaboul-Gallas Chuckle Brothers audition was so wince-inducingly, jaw-droppingly awful it is probably destined to join Rob Green’s summer howler by being immortalised in Lego.
A dashed shame too, because that aside we had looked fairly sturdy value for three points. It was by no means a performance of such riveting gung-ho that it made me want to scamper atop the Empire State Building and beat my chest with pride, but we rather rudely hogged the little round yellow thing from our visitors for most of the night, and made reasonably good use of it too. Scythe them open relentlessly we did not, but regularly prod and poke at them we did, our heroes giving their goalkeeper a good, honest work-out. It was the sort of display that ought to have secured a 1-0 win on a Tuesday night.
Instead it seems that if we are going to finish in the top four we are going to take the scenic route. All is not lost quite yet, for while Chelski might hit top gear soon and go motoring away from the rest, it is difficult to envisage the current top four making a clean break from the rest. L’Arse and Man City can be relied upon to drop points every few weeks – perhaps not in such belief-defying manner as our lot, but one way or t’other nonetheless – and a run of three or four successive victories at any point between now and the festive season ought to set us up nicely for a fresh implosion come spring.
Back to the game, and while it rather got lost in the fine print, I would happily have stayed at the Lane overnight and beyond, with eyes closed, simply replaying over and over in my mind’s eye that shot from Hudd. The technique of the young man makes me want to cure the blind, just so that they can observe, and then be blinded afresh by its magnificence.
I’ll give young Master Bentley a nod of approval too, for his efforts. Not a pat on the back – he wasn’t that good – but a nod of approval. A different sort of bean from Aaron Lennon, Bentley does seem to dovetail quite well with Alan Hutton (which I realise is possibly just a euphemistic way of saying that Bentley is rather slow). He knew the drill, and unencumbered by the vat of hair-gel atop his crown he did his best to whip in crosses, mixing things up with the occasional shoulder-drop and dink inside.
Plenty of grumblings have been grumbled about the penalty, an incident which (when viewed on a TV replay) led me wondering if it is possible both to award a spot-kick and book a player for tumbling in the same incident. Anyway, given that our nation’s finest might well have disallowed VDV’s goal for sneaky use of the arm, it seems that in this particular instance ying and yang have reached a healthy compromise.
Two points, four games. Mercifully the next fixture is just five minutes away, and a fine, flowing, three point-earning display on Saturday ought to paper over some of the cracks. Nevertheless, we natives are, if not quite restless, certainly discombobulated, as to how to reconcile a win over Inter with one point from games vs the combined might of Bolton and Sunderland.