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Spurs 2-0 Portsmouth: Boom Boom Boom – Let Me Hear You Say Bale

Never mind the theory that Peter Crouch Can Do Anything – the 2010 product is Gareth Bale. When he sets off on a gallop down the left the world is his oyster. He has within his armoury the capacity to outpace just about any opponent slower than Usain Bolt; play an intelligent, 10-yard diagonal ball infield; or whip in a peach of a cross, as demonstrated for the opener yesterday. Add to that his Delap-style long throws, and a mean free-kick, and Gareth Bale really can do anything. (Although I suppose his defending occasionally remains fallible). At various points yesterday the humble Pompey folk were ganging up on him in their threes, and still struggling to stop him, as he turned in yet another Man of the Match performance. The concern here at AANP Towers is that Man Utd come sniffing in the summer.As noted recently on the top-notch Spurs Show podcast, Bale’s searing pace comes from his bizarrely long stride. Unlike, say Aaron Lennon, whose little legs move so fast they morph into a Scooby-Doo style blur of movement when he sets off, Bale seems to amble along at a reasonable yet unspectacular pace, and despite this goes motoring past every opposing full-back in the British isles, because he covers so much ground in each stride. Which is marvellous.

Entertainingly, a side-effect of Bale’s renaissance has been BAE’s decision to add a spot of attacking urgency to his game as left-back. As a result he can now be spotted pelting forward towards the opposition by-line to deliver a low cross or two of his own, having previously insisted on slamming on the brakes whenever he approached the final third.

Game Of Two Halves

The second half was so subdued as to arouse suspicion. My Spurs-supporting chum Ian is rarely short of a conspiracy theory, and spent our post-match pint peddling the theory that ‘Arry had ordered the players not to score any more because he retained a soft spot for his former club. Tongue may have been firmly in cheek at that juncture, but here at AANP Towers we do wonder whether the drill was to avoid any over-exertion and unnecessary injuries in the second half. If this were indeed the case it is rather a pity, for had we gone at it hammer and tongs in the second period we really could have done a Wigan. Evidently Chelski were not in a forgiving mood at Villa yesterday, racking up seven, and something similar ought not to have been beyond us.

The All-Action Minute

However, if the second half was a little sedate, ample compensation was offered in the first half by possibly the most exhilarating, all-action minute of football I have ever witnessed at the Lane, around the half-hour mark. Hudd almost snapped the woodwork in half; before we had time to catch our breath Crouchy achieved the extraordinary feat of looking elegant as he nailed the exact same spot on the frame of the goal; and from the resulting corner the beanpole’s Van Basten impressions continued with an overhead kick unfortunately straight at David James. Not since Sheringham and Solsjkaer won the Champions League in 1999 has one minute of football been observed with quite such breathless excitement here at AANP Towers.

A Few Words On The Boy Walker

90 minutes is hardly enough time to make or break a career, but young Kyle Walker did a decent job on debut. His was the vital contribution to our second goal, and although sometimes a little naïve going forward his general willingness and ability to go haring down the right gave Bentley the room to whip in a few delicious crosses. Walker will have sterner defensive tests, but he applied himself with gusto and aggression as appropriate. An encouraging start.

In the final analysis it was pretty straightforward fare, as expected. There were a couple of first half concerns, as Pompey sliced us open on one occasion, and we also had Gomes to thank for one vital save that was worth a goal. On balance of play however, we were well worth the three points. There was a gloomy inevitability about another of our number hobbling off, but fingers are crossed that Dawson’s removal was precautionary. Seven games to go, and we remain well-placed.

 

AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at Tottenhamhotspur.com, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play). 

All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson. 

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

Stoke 1 – 2 Spurs: We Like The Look Of That

It could still all go horribly wrong, but for the moment at least our lot continue to make all the right moves. The threatened second half implosion did not materialise, and instead, after a fourth consecutive League win, we now have to come to terms with the fact that our glorious heroes have discovered some consistency, of all things.BAE vs Corluka

It was hardly Rocky Balboa vs Apollo Creed, but Messrs Corluka and Assou-Ekotto were notably unimpressed with each other’s conduct in the second half. Apparently Charlie lumbered over to deliver a pointed critique of Benny’s positioning at a corner; the braided one appeared to suggest in reply that he go forth and multiply. Given BAE’s permanently glazed expression of a hired assassin, this was quite possibly a moment for which he had been waiting his whole life (although in a fist-fight to the death I think I would back the Croat). Excitingly, there was even a level of push-and-shove that would have had Didier Drogba hurtling to the turf and screaming like a baby, but our two heroes both walked away unscathed.

Much ado about nothing ultimately, but truth be told we at AANP Towers are secretly rather pleased by all this. Tottenham players have typically seemed a little too precious and delicate in recent years, rather than ready to roll up their sleeves and fight for the cause, often giving the impression that they care more about their next haircut or tattoo than the cockerel. The sight of juices flowing and blood boiling out there on the pitch therefore elicits a silent nod of approval. We like the look of that around these parts.

As an epilogue, ‘Arry’s comments on Benny make frankly hilarious reading, although I do rather wonder about the lad:

Benoit is a strange boy. He’s a bit highly strung and hardly speaks English. If you say something to him he’s hard work. He hasn’t improved his English in the couple of years he’s been here.”
[Asked why the player had walked off on his own, Redknapp replied:] “He didn’t know the result! He probably thought we’d drawn. He’ll turn up Wednesday and play great, but he won’t know we’re playing Fulham until someone tells him. That’s how he is. He’s unreal. He walks off and he’s thinking about the music he’s going to play when he puts his headphones on.”
 

It was a risky move, but resting Palacios and bringing in Younes Kaboul ultimately paid dividends. With Sergeant Wilson one booking away from suspension and Kaboul cup-tied, the latter took to the pitch yesterday, to ensure that Palacios will be available for the FA Cup game on Wednesday (keep up). The proof of the pudding was ultimately the result, and whatever the misgivings from various quarters about Kaboul’s ability as a midfielder, ‘Arry need not say a word, but can simply wave three points at all of us by way of justification.

Fourth Striker

In Gudjohnsen we may have the perfect fourth striker. Unlike, say, a younger tyro of the Darren Bent ilk, one gets the impression that Gudjohnsen is a darned sight more philosophical about starting regularly on the bench, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, back in the day. Not that this attitude would count for much of course, if he were complete bobbins once on the pitch, but as he demonstrated on Saturday he certainly seems to know his way around.

We at AANP Towers have been fond of likening him to Sheringham, but the strength he showed for his goal, in holding off the challenge of Faye (I think), followed by the clinical, powerful finish, was more akin to Shearer. He adds much-needed experience to a young squad, which suggests that he probably has something to contribute on the training-ground as well as the pitch, and on the evidence of the weekend can still be relied upon to produce the goods when called upon. If anything, yesterday’s performance suggested that he may merit elevation up the ladder to something higher than fourth-choice striker, but if remains the man to whom we turn in an emergency we can’t be doing too badly.

Another Week, Another Injury

This time Pav hobbled off stage left. All vaguely reminiscent of one of those action/horror films in which the cast are killed off one by one, in various gruesome ways, until Sigourney Weaver is left to sort things out in the final scene. That we have kept churning out wins with personnel dropping like flies is mightily impressive, and to do so on Saturday without King, Palacios, Lennon or Defoe, as well as various supporting cast-members, really is thigh-slappingly good. With a bit of luck the situation might soon ease, as Bentley is supposed to be nearing fitness, while Hudd is also reportedly progressing well. This gearing up to be one heck of a season finale.

 

AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now available in the Spurs shop, all good bookshops and online (at Tottenhamhotspur.com, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play). But never mind all that – the new trailer for Predators is now out, and it looks awesome. Have a butcher’s here.All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson. 

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here 

You can become a Facebook fan of Spurs’ Cult Heroes and AANP here, follow on Twitter here

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