when we get refs acting like that.
A controversial refereeing decision going Spurs way to help them in an away game to the physical Stoke, taking the lead twice and keeping it and even he played, is this a sign of things to come.
The day didn’t start too promisingly what with the wounded numbers of first teamers meaning ‘Arry was talking about struggling to fill the subs bench and only Crouch available up front. It also meant the return of Jenas, this did not bode well, after all Stoke have a lot of big players that he can hide behind quite easily. There would also be the problem of the formation quite easy to hide with more numbers in the midfield.
Yes the formation, 4-5-1, the one I mentioned in one the last post that Spurs would have to try out at some point this season, especially in Europe, and that we needed a decent striker who can play the lone man role and also score on a regular basis. It was up to Crouch against Stoke. Can he do it? Well probably not, he’s got quite a lot of what is required except probably two of the most needed assets. He doesn’t score enough, maybe if he was on England duty it would be different, and he just hasn’t got the pace. Everything else is there for the link up play, great first touch with either foot or body and he’s good with the ball at his feet.
Saying all that he wasn’t atrocious just not good enough to carry out the job on a regular basis and against better teams than Stoke and after all he played his part in the opener and did secure the win.
The opener while lucky did start with a great ball from one winger, Lennon from the left, to Bale who was on the right and matched the delivery with a great run. His attempt saved and then Crouch’s header played off the line back onto Bale’s chimp like phizog to go in. The ball from Huddlestone to Lennon, his run inside and the ball over to the advancing Bale, it all deserved a goal. As did Spurs who were out of the traps not quite to the level seen against Citeh in the league opener but miles better than in Switzerland midweek.
The equaliser was typical Stoke versus Spurs a corner, load of big men in there, Gomes flapping, blocking off and no Spur getting a clearance in. The big Brazilian was flapping most of the game, almost as if he was looking for an excuse before the event. Yes Huth did obstruct him at the corner but he knew what was coming. He was all over the place at set pieces but again showed his class when saving shots, especially when he tipped over Tuncay’s deflected effort in the second half.
The lead didn’t last long but the draw didn’t survive much after that as Lennon ran from an inside-right position to the box, looked up and chipped another delightful ball to Bale. Now his detractors might say the ball was a bit high for the Welsh winger but it didn’t matter as Bale lifted his left peg and scored the goal of the season – others need not apply.
Bale is now crowning off great displays with goals, great goals. To think not that long ago he was going to be offloaded on loan or even worse flogged off on the cheap but ‘Arry has turned it round and you could say that Bale is the best player in the league in the calender year 2010. Certainly the comeback kid.
The well deserved lead back it should have been better going into the break as Jenas actually made a run forward – after good work between Crouch and Bale – over hit the pass to Bale, who bailed him out getting his left round the ball before it went out of play and crossing into the six yard box, where miraculously Jenas had carried on his run and with the Stoke ‘keeper prostrate on the floor after spilling the save Jenas managed to kick the ball right at him and miss a sitter that would have made life a bit easier.
Second half was a bit different, Stoke players obviously given the kick up the arse that they needed as they were quicker to the ball than in the first 45 and also quicker than Spurs. The arrival of Tuncay after about an hour certainly made a difference for them and Spurs were on the back foot. But unlike previous situations on such away days they were fighting this one out, with Gomes making the saves.
And then the controversy. Was it over, was it not? Where’s the goal line technology when you need it? What was the ref looking at?
Spurs really must be in the elite if we get away with these kind of things. Years gone by we would never have a decision like that go for us. Yes it was over but the ref also missed the shove on Gomes, as Huth straight armed the ‘keeper into the net, which should have null and voided anything that followed. Who knows what he was watching as he missed both incidents, even though he was right there with nothing obstructing his view. Two wrongs made a right on this occasion.
First three points of the season, a tricky away day out of the way with maximum return, a battling performance, a result with major players missing – all positives before you even consider refs being nice to us.
Now I’d like to see that 4-5-1 with Modric in there in place of you-know-who, maybe a better player in for Palacios, though he faired better with more help around him, and a more mobile striker. That and to take this battling spirit into the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday.
Now you have to ask did this reporter, Oliver Brown, actually see the game, even if it says he was at the stadium?
broadest smile in the Potteries belonged to Bale, whose two cultured strikes Oliver Brown
Now that second yes it was but the first, how cultured was Bale to let the ball bounce off his face? Cultured build-up not the finish.
“Why the referee hasn’t looked up to his assistant, standing just three yards away, goodness knows,” said Pulis. Oliver Brown
Well all the interviews I heard from the Stoke boss were of him asking “why did he look at the assistant” when the linesman was yards and yards away and the ref was the one 3 yards away.
The Tottenham manager had espied an infringement by Ryan Shawcross, the Stoke centre-back whom he believed had two hands on goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes Oliver Brown
Except it wasn’t Shawcross now was it, it was Huth.