So one nil to the Tottenham, again. In the same way that a generation of kids will grow up knowing Gary Lineker only as the irritating orange bloke of MoTD, a generation may also grow up wondering why a Spurs blog is entitled “All Action, No Plot”.I jest. Four consecutive home one-nils may not exactly be all-action-no-plot stuff, but I am certainly not complaining. Another clean sheet, another three points, and while yet again we made slightly heavy weather of it, we certainly didn’t ever look like losing.
While it was not the most exhilarating performance we’ve produced of late we still created a number of decent chances, with pace and vision from the usual outlets of Lennon and Modric. The problem at times today, aesthetically at least, seemed to be a general lack of movement off the ball. Late in the first half Corluka was guilty of the World’s Worst Ever Attempt At A Stepover, but it was practically forced upon him by complete stasis from everyone else on the pitch. Even here there are mitigating circumstances – not least the fact that it is near the end of a long and difficult season. Also, this afternoon’s sunny clime was probably not entirely conducive to an energetic all-action-no-plot approach.
Get Madonna Off Robbie Keane’s iPod
Keane duly bedded himself in a good fifteen yards behind Pav and got to work. There was some nice link-up play at times, and those flapping arms are still in fine working order every time he needs to whinge at the ref, but again I can’t remember him having a shot throughout the 90 minutes (the fresh-air kick in the first half technically doesn’t count). This was another performance to suggest that he’s not quite the same without Berbatov, Kanoute or even Mido alongside him. Interestingly, once Defoe was introduced, Keane pushed a lot further up the pitch.
Jenas – The New Wolverine
And the rest of the time? Backwards, sideways, sideways, backwards. He did not play particularly badly, he generally kept things moving along, and his attitude, as ever, was fine. However, central midfield, particularly with Palacios acting as guard-dog, should be a font of creativity. Jenas seems more often than not to suck the life out of any momentum we have, in any given attack – taking three touches, then inevitably looking to pass backwards, sideways, sideways, backwards. Apart, of course, from when he scored the cracking match-winner from 25 yards. This is the frustration.
Jenas has been a good servant, and as he showed today is capable of the odd moment of class, but I just don’t think he’s consistently good enough to have a regular berth in central midfield if we’re serious about challenging for the Top Four. Use my scientifically-proven, logically flawless “who-would-buy-him?” technique to assess this. The top four sure as hell wouldn’t buy Jenas if he became available. Everton and Villa? I doubt it. Man City, West Ham, Fulham? Maybe. Well, probably not Man City, given that they can afford Kaka and Messi, but you get the point. A team serious about the top four would not buy Jenas to boss their midfield. Personally I’d rather like to see Modders in the centre, if we get a left-winger (Joe Cole? Steed? Please not Downing)
Elsewhere On The Pitch
Pav had the air of a man who can’t wait for his summer holidays. Fair enough, as he hasn’t had a break in about two years. Defoe’s block on the post was worth a goal. The entire back-four was steady as ever. In fact, ditto that for the whole team, and a particular cap-doff to Gomes (and Modders of course, but that generally goes without saying). A little perfunctory, but another decent win, and more food for thought as 2009/10 approaches.