Confusion reigns amongst the great and good of Tottenham after yesterday’s draw, with no-one quite sure how to react. Typically, reactions at the Lane must be of massively unrealistic expectation or miserable pessimism and criticism, as previously articulated. There is never any middle ground.The draw at Sunderland has therefore baffled everyone. A one-one draw, in a gentle, early-March, mid-table encounter simply does not incite any passion. It leaves us 5 points off both relegation and Europe. Neither here nor there. Confused middle-aged men have been forced to stifle their foul-mouthed tirades, because it really wasn’t such a bad result. Earnestly schoolboys have opted against delivering their deluded predictions of glory, because a serene draw with Sunderland does little to suggest we’ve evolved into world-beaters. Instead, worried children turn beseechingly to their parents for guidance, for there is no obvious wild over-reaction to give to yesterday’s result. This is unknown territory for a Spurs fan.
I’m as clueless as everyone else. I have season tickets on both the We’re-Doomed and the We’ve-Turned-The-Corner bandwagons, and am happy to alight one and hop onto the other with shameless fickleness. This time though I find myself stranded, in the middle of the road. On days like this it does not even feel right to lay into Jenas.
Whatever the expectations prior to kick-off, the team deserves credit for salvaging a draw away from home, having conceded such an early goal. The frustrating use of Modric on the left continued, with the presence of Steed in the opposition ranks heightening the irritation. Aaron Lennon maintained his record of drawing a yellow card from his opposing left-back, without producing any final product of particular menace. The incongruous combination of the lumbering Corluka and the fleet-footed Lennon on the right has me eagerly checking Alan Hutton’s rehabilitation programme. Gomes invoked the ghost of autumn 2008 with a good old-fashioned flap. Keane’s second goal in a week continues to eradicate memories of that whole Merseyside foray, while dredging up again the issue of how he and Defoe will fit together.
Interesting to observe that so much of Sunderland’s creativity emanated from ex-lilywhites Steed Malbranque and the rotund Andy Reid, who appeared to have ambled onto the pitch directly from his seat at an all-you-can-eat buffet. In fact, Andy Reid struck me as what would happen if Steed ate someone whole. Kenwyne Jones, a Tottenham target past and, presumably, future was solid, aerially adept and generally unspectacular. In fact the whole game was rather unspectacular, but nevertheless left us all with smiles on our faces, the last-minute equaliser naturally feeling loosely like a victory.
In keeping with the peculiar gentleness of yesterday’s game, there now follows a brief lull until our next fixture. No midweek cup games, no ineligible players, no moaning from ‘Arry about how unfair it all is (although one suspects he’ll find a way). Ten games left, and with it still not obvious whether we’re moving into a European chase or relegation fight, the season continues to simmer away nicely.