Off and running anew then, but in various senses it was if the old season had never finished. The personnel all looked pretty familiar for a start, the sumptuous brand of football rolled out brought back sepia-tinged memories of the finer moments of season 2009/10 – and alas the profligacy of old also made an unwelcome return.AANP’s wish-list for the new season may have been hastily scribbled at the eleventh hour on the back of an envelope, but (unnervingly) at least one point has already proved frsutratingly prescient:
Be More Clinical In The Crunch Games
While the blank we drew yesterday was due more to the heroics of the opposition goalkeeper than to egregiously bad finishing from our heroes, the point remains that one avenue for improvement is in increasing our ratio of gilt-edged chances created to goals scored.
A Thousand Curses Upon Inspired Opposition Goalkeepers
Tempting to search for a scapegoat, particularly after such a one-sided first half, but in truth just about all eleven of them – plus the three subs – turned in above-par performances. In such circumstances the default option here at AANP Towers is always to blame Jermaine Jenas, but, levity aside, it would be rather harsh to attribute point the finger at any of our lot. ‘Twas just one of those days. With a sprinkle of good fortune we would now be mixing it with Blackpool atop the table; alas, within the four walls of AANP Towers it is a truth universally acknowledged that if there is any luck going in North London, it goes the way of l’Arse (last-minute own-goal equaliser, the swines).
Last season, there were a number of games in which we created umpteen chances. Sometimes it seemed that just about all of them flew in (Wigan springing obviously to mind); on other occasions we came up against a goalkeeper turning in the performance of his career (Hull City, and that darned Boaz Myhill – whose obscurity since has been reflected by a headline-avoiding low-fee transfer this summer). Yesterday fell into the latter category, but we are consoling ourselves around these parts that more often than not our heroes will be rewarded for such performances with three points and shiny gold stars.
Consistency? At Tottenham Hotspur FC? Madness.
The lack of transfer activity has caused a degree of disquiet in some quarters – including these, I must confess – but the benefits of a summer bereft of transfer activity could be witnessed from the off yesterday. While the City team assembled at a cost of approximately several million billion trillion pounds looked every inch a bunch of strangers newly-introduced, as they struggled to get a touch of the ball for the first 45 minutes, our lot gave an interesting tutorial in the benefits of consistency (not an adjective bandied around these parts too often in recent years).
The starting XI bore just the one change (Charlie for Kaboul) from the team that beat City at Eastlands last May, and as Bale and Lennon set about harassing the City full-backs (if that was Micah Richards’ audition for a White Hart Lane move I’d rather we politely discontinue our interest) it really was as if last season had not ended. None of that business of new management needing to dish out name badges, or a whole platoon of new faces needing to gel – our current lot should know each other’s deepest darkest secrets by now, and they set about their business on the green stuff looking accordingly square pegs in appropriately-shaped holes.
Other Points of Notes
As BAE’s volley dipped and swerved AANP idly wondered whether an audacious brush with the spectacular is going to be an annual first-day-of-the-season offering from the lad. Further up the field, he may not have been a big-money transfer as such, but the introduction of Giovani from the bench was a reminder that recalled loanees are vaguely akin to new signings, and the sprightly Mexican is one who would have commanded a sizeable fee. May he live long and prosper at the Lane.
An honourable mention too to HRH the King. Given the urban legends about his ricekty knees it is always reassuring to see some small child stumbling out of the White Hart Lane tunnel hand-in-hand with Ledley, just prior to kick-off. Having managed three games in a week at the end of last season it is not inconceivable that he might yet be good to go again on Tuesday in the Champions League (I trust it feels as good to read those last few words as it did to write them…).
So two points dropped they may be, but after careful inspection of the liquid content, refraction of light and meniscus level, AANP ventures that the glass is half full. To spend 45 minutes fairly uninterruptedly slicing open one of our principal rivals for whatever it is at which we’re aiming this season (fourth? sixth? a trophy?) constitutes a decent start, and bodes fairly well. Even though standards were noticeably lower in the second half, we arguably created more – and better – chances. Darned frustrating stuff, but a decent start nonetheless.