Spurs match reports

Spurs 2-1 Everton: The Nerve-Shredding Final Ten Minutes


AANP did a Landon Donovan on Sunday and missed the entire ruddy thing altogether. If you want a blow-by-blow, warts-and-all account of Sunday’s magnificence you may be disappointed, as I was keeping tabs on big Martin Jol (blessed be his name) – a not entirely salubrious stag weekend culminating in a trip to the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday lunchtime, to watch Ajax vs Utrecht (4-0, lest ye be wondering).

I did manage to catch the last ten minutes or so of the win over Everton, and mighty nerve-shredding stuff it looked too. However, for the finer points of the Pav-Defoe partnership; the broader contribution of Pav; the hygiene levels at Spurs’ training ground; and why Bentley was omitted altogether (I’m presuming injury/illness?) I can do no better than shrug. The general gist, as I understand, seems to be one of the Sven Goran Eriksson performances – first half good, second half not so good.

Some Plus-Points, From A Distant Vantage-Point

Without having seen the game there seem to be a handful of positives to take home and nurture lovingly. From this rather detached perspective a win over Everton is splendid news. After the various stumbles of January and February, victory against one of the in-form teams in the division is hugely welcome, and, I must confess, something of a surprise to this observer.

The goal-shy attitude of Jan/Feb has seemingly been addressed, and what had threatened to develop into something of a stigma can now be ignored for a few weeks. Jolly good timing from Pav, whose renaissance is virtually worth a new and rather expensive signing.

An impressive result without either King or Lennon is also cheering news. With Lennon one out for at least six further weeks it looks like we’ll have to make the Champions League without him – a tall order, but wins (and goals) in his absence are encouraging, for there have certainly been times when we seem to lack a little shaven-eyebrowed sparkle to unlock defences.

Ten Games Left

So just when it looked like our lot were wobbling wildly off the top-four road they’ve only gone and strung together back-to-back wins. Outrage and pessimism come so naturally to us Spurs fans that many of us had been writing off our Champions League chances with quite some gusto a couple of weeks back; but such sentiments have hastily had to be shelved, as we somehow find ourselves back in fourth. (Fret not, oh ye mongers of doom – it seems a pretty safe bet that there will be plenty more chances over the next ten games.)

Such have been the peculiarities of this season that a four/five-match winning streak would almost certainly create some daylight between us and one or two of the challengers for fourth – and we now have a chance to do exactly that with Blackburn, Stoke and Pompey up-coming in the League (although this would be far too straightforward, so I am instead bracing myself for another maddening spree of dropped points against that lot. Followed by wins at home to Chelski and l’Arse.)

There may be games in hand to factor in, but with ten matches left we are in fourth place – and which of us would not have taken that last August?

AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, will be in shops from 6 Marchwith Gary Mabbutt signing copies that day in the Enfield Waterstones – but is available to pre-order now from, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , TescoWaterstones and Play

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

And as ever, all are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding some of the players to be 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

Spurs match reports

Man Utd 5-2 Spurs: When A Glorious, Backs-to-the-Wall Defensive Operation Goes Wrong

Sven’s England. They’re the ones to whom we owe royalties for breach of copyright after that second half, now down on record as officially The Worst Ever Attempt To Spend A Second Half Defending A Lead. Sven’s England regularly tried this approach, after scoring first in a crucial game. It actually worked vs Argentina, but then failed abysmally against Brazil, France and Portugal. It’s an unattractive way to win a game and, more trenchantly, typically it just doesn’t work.I’m not sure if it was an official order from the top, or an automatic instinct from the players, but they trotted out in the second half showing absolutely no desire to get over the halfway line. After a bright and breezy first half, with Lennon and Modders respectively bettering their full-backs, we cleansed ourselves of any semblance of attacking intent, and duly set about trying to win in heroic, backs-to-the-wall Alamo style.

That presumably was the theory, but in practice half our team seemed to disappear for 30 mins, only occasionally resurfacing to stumble and tumble around in their own area as Man Utd’s forwards went beserk.

Palacios normally wears underneath his lilywhite a t-shirt emblazoned with a giant “S”. As the designated enforcer in our team, he ought to have been in his element in the second half. Instead, I wondered if the ref had at half-time retrospectively sent him off for that appalling early two-footer, because I’m not sure he was even on the pitch in the latter stages. Rather than enforcing anything the team crumbled like a pack of cards. No plot.

Naturally, there was no shortage of good old-fashioned apoplexy when the penalty was awarded (my instinct on first glance and full speed was that, as the ball ended up in front of Gomes and behind Carrick, it must have been won by the former). However, to attribute the defeat to a dodgy refereeing decision would be to miss the point. Our mentality had been to defend deep and for our lives throughout the second half. To survive, rather than compete. Once that strategy had been adopted, one way or another United goals were a-coming, whether or not the ref helped them out.

In recent weeks we’ve won a clutch of one-nils – but not by camping in our area and desperately trying to repel kitchen sinks being hurled in our direction. We’ve at least tried to attack, and work an opportunity for a game-clinching second, even if we’ve been rather shot-shy and pass-happy.

I’m not suggesting that a reckless, all-guns-blazing, kamikaze attacking mentality would have won the day (although we wouldn’t have fared much worse with such an approach). However, by demonstrating that we were still keen to score more we might have defended further up the field, and caused United some problems of their own – as we did in the first half.



Rare Praise For Bent, Slapped Wrist For Keane – And Normal Service Resumed By JenasBravo Darren Bent. Gosh it feels strange to say it, but after scolding him last week for not showing sufficient aggression in attack, I was rather impressed by the way he took his goal. He showed a willingness to muscle in and compete, against the two best centre-backs in the country. Fortune duly favoured the brave, and he banged home his chance. Given that there wasn’t a man in lilywhite within about five miles of him for most of the game, he did what he could.And yes, that last sentence was indeed an ill-disguised snipe aimed at you, Mr Keane. I caught him red-handed in the midfield yesterday, right next to Jenas, and occasionally deeper than Corluka. I presume the idea was for Keane to drop deep, in order to allow Palacios to pick up Berbatov, or some such tactical gubbins. Whatever. Keane’s a striker, so boot him out of the midfield and let him strike.

I’ve been back on medication this week, after my insane ramblings


last Sunday bemoaning the absence of Jermaine Jenas. Well, you’ll pleased to know that normal service has resumed. With all the fickleness of Danielle Lloyd in a players’ lounge, I now ditch that argument, and instead pick up one of my many “Get Rid of The Boy Jenas” placards.I had complained last week that no other midfielder shows any inclination to attack the penalty area, and that JJ should therefore be sprinkled in gold and given his own halo. However, as was pointed out to me in the interim, for all his willingness to push forward, no other player is quite as capable of slowing down a Tottenham move when in possession. How could I have forgotten? For yesterday, there he was, at it again, gleefully resuming the habit of a lifetime as if he’d never been away. Passes went sideways, backwards, to Man Utd players, out of play – anywhere but forwards. Maybe his sense of direction was thrown by the presence of Keane standing alongside him, some fifty yards from goal.

Another observation from last week was that

our midfielders rarely helped out poor old Bent by getting into the area. When Modric eventually dared to enter the precious eighteen-yard sanctum yesterday, he scored. Hmm. There’s a link there, somewhere, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.Sigh.( And I can assure you, these sighs are better than the foul-mouthed screams I was spitting out yesterday.) If we wanted

a gauge of how far we’ve come, we got it: we have goals in us, against the best, but we still lack experience and a killer instinct. Still a couple of positions that need improving.However, in the final analysis it was just one defeat. Four games left, and seventh is still manageable.