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Spurs 3-1 Stevenage: (Tardy) Ends, Not Means

Stumbling over the ball, chasing shadows and conceding possession with almost religious fervour while the scoreboard flashes the eye-watering message “Spurs 0-1 Stevenage” is not really a recommended means of achieving an aim as menial as making a cup of tea, letting alone winning some sparkly silverware, but more wizened sages than I have it that for such competitions as this the ends will justify the means. Hence, if our lilywhite heroes set about making the quarter-finals by the novel method of beginning a football match by abandoning football, then this is tickety-boo as long as they progress in fine.For the most part this season has been a rip-roaring blur of one/two-touch play and zippy off-the-ball movement. Exceptions have been rare – Liverpool away, Chelski at home, l’Arse away. To this list of luminaries can now be added Stevenage, bizarrely enough.

While the outcome was never really in doubt, and the chuntering amongst the masses was of the more frivolous ilk during that first 20 minutes, that a team comprising VDV, Lennon, Bale, Kranjcar and Defoe could find it quite so difficult to string three passes together certainly prompted the occasional scratch of the cranium. However, life became cheerier and the quality of football a tad silkier once lilywhite noses were in front. Should Ledley, Parker or A.N.Other hoist that great silver jug aloft in May, AANP will do its best to desist from interrupting the ticker-tape

fêting of our heroes in order to chide them for three messy halves of football against Stevenage.Standard Stuff From Defoe

Precious little of value can be gleaned from a formulaic victory against lower-league opposition, but AANP always cherishes those fleeting glimpses of young Master Defoe. Uncannily instinctive and gifted finishing? Check. Look of incredulity that there exists in the game the Offside Law? Check. Doing just about all that can reasonably be expected of him – and a tiny bit more – in his limited game time before being shunted back onto the bench at the weekend? Check. Eyeing up a move away from N17 this summer, simply so that he can gambol across a football pitch, anywhere, in anyone’s colours, just as long as it be on a regular basis? Oh golly…

Oh Danny Boy

Young Danny Rose, on t’other hand, is fast tumbling out of favour at AANP Towers. Physically incapable of delivering a decent cross with his left foot(where “decent” may be defined as “eluding the first blinking opponent in his way, for goodness sake”), and seemingly unable on pain of death to use his right, the vast oceans of goodwill earned by that goal are rapidly drying up in this neck of the interweb. He has time on his side I suppose – use it wisely, young man – but for the remainder of the season I would gladly see him confined to the shadow of BAE’s eccentricities.

If you’ve made it this far down I congratulate thee. In their entirety these musings could probably be summarised thus: We progressed; the minutiae matter little.

Stevenage 0-0 Spurs: A Cracking Draw (Boom Boom)

Entertaining and exciting, with a most satisfying finale – oh that the game had matched the quarter-final draw, but we can’t have everything I suppose. Should I ever cross paths with His Eminence The Lord of Time there are one or two queries I would throw his way – whether Superman’s little fly-ruddy-quickly-around-the-world jape really could turn back time, for a start – but high up there on the list would be a polite request to have my two hours back after the excruciating trudge through treacle that was our draw with Stevenage. Far better to have an off-day in this particular fixture i suppose, than against l’Arse or Man Utd in the coming weeks (or indeed against Newcastle last week), but nevertheless, ‘twas the very antithesis of one of those rip-roaring unforgettable classics, to which we have been treated so frequently.

My Eyes! My Eyes!

Irrespective of formation, had those eleven played with a tad more sense and desire they would have made short work of Stevenage. Alas, the early, simple one-touch method was jettisoned for one that could aptly, if rather lazily, be described as “certified nonsense”, and as a result our heroes failed to string three successive passes together, the ball more typically being launched into orbit or pinged inaccurately sideways, as Spurs fans around the globe reached for nearby stabbing implements and went to work on their own eyes.

Of positives there were but few – the prospect of Stevenage and then Bolton, both at home, barring our way to the semi-final proving the most obvious reason for cheer. Young Livermore seemed to keep his head when all about him were losing theirs, to his credit, but that aside there was precious little to blow up anyone’s skirt until Aaron Lennon was brought on for the death throes.

Lennonlessness And Its Associated Problems

Strange to note just a week after we beat Newcastle 5-0 sans Lennon, but without the jet-heeled swagger-meister we can be dreadfully lop-sided. A reserve with similar oodles of pace would be a useful option, for while Niko Kranjcar’s technique is as dreamy as his looks, to point out that he lacks somewhat in the pace department is hardly likely to set the interweb alight with incandescent twitterings and the like. At times Danny Rose showed the value of a turn of pace to reach the byline, but against better opposition he is typically stymied by his one-footedness. With both Bale and Lennon available to charge down both flanks we ooze menace and threat and other such dangerous-sounding nouns, but in the absence of Lennon it can all become a tad predictable. (The name Junior Hoilett was bandied around during the transfer window, but scoutery of others’ players is not at all my forte, so while reports suggest that he has pace and two good feet, I can, alas, offer zero corroboration.)

Swerving back on-topic – in truth a replay against this mob, at the Lane, is tickety-boo with me. If it can be sandwiched in between 4 points or more against l’Arse and United, all the merrier, and we can all set about diligently forgetting that this ever happened.

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