All in all this has been a bad few days for us fans of FC Hotspur of Tottenham, or whatever the inevitable spin-off movement will be called once our heroes have moved off to Stratford, or Geneva, or the moon. One point for our lot, but wins and goals galore for the other Top Four-ites (bar Man City, sunk by Darren Bent, most entertainingly) means that the 50th anniversary of the Double won’t end in a Disney-esque finale with Ledley emulating the great Danny Blanchflower, hoisted aloft team-mates’ shoulders, gleaming trophy in his mitts. Unless we win the Champions League I suppose. Wonderful though it was to see a late, late equaliser, once the roar of approval had died down it fairly swiftly became evident that one point was not enough from this sort of generic Away-To-Mid-Table-Side fixture. In fact, even three points would not really have been enough; what we need right now is a win so magnificent that the FA in their wisdom spontaneously award us ten points. Failing that, or the only marginally more plausible scenario of, say, a ten-game winning streak, I think it is safe to put the Title dream to bed, and those who fancy can now also officially enter Panic Mode with regard to qualification for next year’s Champions League.Close, But Cigars Conspicuously Absent
The Geordie mob’s current boss Alan Pardew (a former Spur, as you Intertoto Cup aficionados will recall) threw quite a few compliments in our direction post-match, sounding very much like one taken aback by quite how slick our passing and movement is these days. All very charming stuff, the sort of football a young lady would introduce to her parents without any qualms about ill behaviour, but when it come to the muckier business of getting down and dirty our heroes again fell short, leaving the frustrated grumbles about towering behemoth strikers to continue.
Back Problems: Not Uncommon
My lovely Nan, God bless her soul, was not Welsh, did not possess the lungs of a particularly energetic racehorse and in all probability was not left-footed, but one thing she did have in common with young Master Bale was a troublesome back. One fervently hopes that Bale’s affliction is a lot less severe than the osteoporosis that ultimately left her unable to master the right-foot-left-foot routine, but barely had the game begun before he was contorting his curious visage into all manner of winces and grimaces. Aside from the brow-furrowingly worrying longer-term implications, this also put to waste a jolly good plan to raid Newcastle down their right, where they were tucking in and keeping things narrow. Curses.
Elsewhere On The Pitch
On a brighter note, Steven Pienaar demonstrated that he has sneakily spent the last 18 months or so perusing the book of Lovely Little One-Touch Passes and Neat Triangles that has become essential reading for anyone wishing to join the technique-fest that is the Tottenham midfield. The chap had a relatively quiet debut, but he appears to have taken to the Tottenham way as if to the manor born. Next door to him Modders’ star shone brightly as ever, and Defoe’s pace and movement offered more threat than Crouch has in recent weeks, but he fairly promptly undid any good work by spurning our best chances.
There were however some jolly worrying signs at the back. Daws appeared strangely discombobulated by a fairly standard aerial bombardment, while Cudicini’s mishandling of the goal was the worst of a couple of errors, and Hutton got himself into a pickle that lasted from just about first whistle to last.
Mercifully, cometh the 90th minute, cometh the man. Aaron Lennon is turning the Crucial Late Goal into something of an art-from, if one can describe a blur of skippy tip-toes and frantic jazz-hands as “art”. No doubt that we deserved a point, but that is hardly the stuff of which a top four finish is made. Alas, with that Awesome Striker-shaped hole still very much evident in our line-up the odds are lengthening.