70th birthday this weekend.
Spurs decided to play their match in conditions more fitting of the time when the great man plied his trade. That is on a ploughed field.
With the weather we’ve been having so far in 2010 – which of course was going to be the warmest year on record according to the Met Office – sharing your ground with a rugby league team isn’t going to help Wigan boss Roberto Martinez in his quest for good football from his team. But saying that it certainly doesn’t help the visitors either.
One thing that did help was the flanks were in a far better condition than the middle of the park, strange then that Bentley kept coming into the centre that was clogged up with both players and mud. But it helped Bale to extend his run of excellent performances, since getting his chance. A chance he’s taken with both hands, as someone – can’t remember who – Twittered yesterday if Assou-Ekotto hadn’t been called up for the African Cup of Nations and then gone down injured, Bale might have been moved on. We are now seeing what we could have missed.
A good bit of “bombing on” (© Slaven Bilic), after nice work from Crouch and Kranjcar, and a good cross from Bale, let Defoe in to score the opener. Yes Defoe was offside, a mile off and not exactly hard to notice in that retina burning yellow away kit. Now most people complain about the referees and yes refs in this country are pretty poor but those running the line are far worse. They get very simple things wrong and the closer the action is to them the greater the chance they’ll get it completely arse about.
But then you have to say what did Wigan really have to complain about, after all in the reverse fixture their goal scored by Paul Scharner came as a result of him handing the ball – these things even themselves out. 😆 😉
Spurs were in control but that second wasn’t coming and when that doesn’t happen the only thought running through a Spurs fan mind is “late equaliser”. But then ‘Arry got out of his comfy dugout chair and made changes. Now I can maybe see the logic in not starting Modric on a cold wet Wigan, Sunday with a quagmire for a pitch. But when he did enter the fray he didn’t look like he was playing on the same pitch as the rest, as he glided over the surface with the ball perfectly controlled at his feet. Well those type of pitches never stopped the likes of Greavsie, Dave Mackay, Danny Blanchflower, George Best etc.
If little Luka changed the game he was helped a few minutes later by the introduction of Pavlyuchenko, in a surprising move replacing Defoe. Now was the latter being saved for later, he had shown a bit of petulant behaviour earlier and was probably lucky to stay on the park. Big Pav’s introduction was something I’d hope to see these last couple of games, when things hadn’t exactly been clicking, but with the Russian’s supposed disagreement with ‘Arry appearing again in the press didn’t expect.
But he should exactly what he can do with two excellent goals to make the game safe and completely void any thoughts of an equaliser and dropped points. So that’s three goals in his last two appearances that amounts to about 40 minutes actual playing time, not a bad strike rate now is it. What was maybe even better than the two goals was the celebrations, it showed a player who might not get on with the manager but wants to play for the team, for the fans and gets on really well with his team-mates. Everyone in yellow congratulated him after each strike and then after the final whistle, with Defoe running on to give him a hug. Now that’s a good sign but when will his next chance come?
Pavlyuchenko’s trained well this week. He’s worked hard and showed a great attitude. I’ve always said he has got great ability. When he wants to work and give everything, he’s a top quality player. ‘Arry Redknapp
Give Pav a chance ‘Arry.
Three place leap from 7th back up to 4th, another clean sheet, only downside being Ledley going off and facing more time out. Bolton in the Cup midweek, hopefully they’ll play at The Lane the way they did against Blackburn, then Everton in the league. Moyes’ side haven’t really looked back since they pegged Spurs back top a two all draw. Taken four points off Chelski, drawn with the Woolwich scum and a cracking win over ManUre at the weekend. It’ll be tough.