we’re ‘aving a laff.
Legends couldn’t deliver it, big European “flavour of the months” couldn’t deliver it, big Dutch blokes couldn’t deliver it. A twitchy, saggy dodgy geezer from Poplar did, in a little under two years. From bottom of the Premier League to the Champions League for real, not the qualifying stage the full thing.
“Three nil and you fucked it up”. Just over a week earlier Young Boys were going to destroy the dream as they took a 3-0 lead after only 28 minutes of the first leg. Even with the two goals back the Swiss side could have, probably should have come to The Lane with more than a one goal lead. All of a sudden Spurs are getting the breaks.
The next big break was the second goal last night. Needing a quick start more along the lines of the opening game of the Prem against Citeh, they showed more impetus than last weeks sluggish display but it wasn’t up there with that opener but the chance to take a lead on the night and equalise it on aggregate came early. Thankfully unlike a lot of Spurs games it was taken as Crouch headed in Bale’s cross from the right after 5 minutes. A nice goal by the big fella, as he shifted off his marker, giving himself plenty of space and freedom he guided the ball with a great header across the ‘keeper to the far post. It all seemed to happen in slow motion.
Still plenty of apprehension, as in reality it’s only a half goal lead and things weren’t exactly flowing. Bale on the left wing wasn’t getting best of his fullback, being well marshalled and unable to get round Sutter to whip any of his great crosses in. On the other side Lennon was having a slightly better time. Things weren’t helped from the back, a lot of passing between the centre-backs and Assou-Ekotto which just seemed to invite trouble. Trouble that undoubtedly came when Dawson sent it out right to Corluka, who with a man on and with no pace he struggled to keep possession, as he humped it up the park. That was also Dawson’s other trick on the night, balls not to Charlie went up the park. Crouch did his best to get on the end of as many as he could but too much possession was just handed away with ease.
So the next big break, another nice assist from Bale spotting Defoe’s position in space. Defoe looked to have controlled the ball coming over his left shoulder with his arm, he then banged it into the back of the net off the post with a cracking finish. Was it a handball, well the guilty glance Defoe shot at the linesman before seemingly ages after running off to celebrate gave a big enough clue. The linesman though was blinded to the infringement by a couple of YB players, the ref and the linesman +1, or what ever they are that UEFA have installed just beside the goals, both had pretty damn good views of the incident and seem to have deemed Spurs a big team now who get these type of decisions.
Defoe could have increased the lead shortly after but dragged the ball wide, after a great pass by Lennon, he could have of course crossed the ball into the centre for a tap in but he’s a striker in the box and he’s going to shoot every time. Added to that it was Palacious in the middle. And well, enough said – he was also off-side. As the Honduran was having one of those games again, as he gave the ball away, dithered and played others into trouble – full Jenas mode. The number of balls played all night that were just short was amazing. Amazingly bad that is, Spurs players made a lot of 50/50 balls into 51/49 with some quick feet but the passing was poor on a night when with the constant rain the pitch should have been slick.
A goal lead but things couldn’t be that easy as Gomes hurt himself during the first half and so reverted to whinging, wining, flapping mode. There’s the good Gomes and there’s the he think he’s got a niggle big Brazilian tart Gomes. This was the latter as he indicated he wanted off, while getting in return signals that he was staying on from ‘Arry, or at least that’s what you figure it was by the fact he no sub was coming on, though Cudicini was warming up. ‘Arry obviously wanting to wait until half-time. The change being made after the break, it was a dangerous ploy as when he’s in that kind of mood Gomes can be a liability and it did cause some apprehension along the back-line. Cudicini showed in the second 45 minutes that he’s a pretty good number 2, as he stopped everything that came his way with the minimum of fuss.
With Crouch’s first I had thought at the time he is a far better header of the ball when his feet are on the ground. When having to jump he never seemed to have the power to head the ball as well. An hour in and Crouch proved me wrong yet again with a nice leaping headed finish from Bale’s corner. It was not long after he should have made it 3-0 on the night, again from a Bale corner that he should have buried. But the header made up for that. Couldn’t be three up and fuck it up could they?
No. Assou-Ekotto played a nice ball up the wing to the charging Bale who finally got round his fullback, a great take down and then one touch he was inside the Swiss player and in the box, only one thing was going to happen. Penalty. Crouch steps up and who isn’t thinking can he blow the hat-trick? But again no, great pen that the ‘keeper would have had no chance with if he’d actually gone the right way. 4-0.
He should have made it a personal four, well with the earlier miss a person 5 and six on the night a bit later as Huddlestone, who showed some great touches but was still a bit quiet on the night, played a great ball up the left for Pavlyuchenko, much like the penalty run. With no support the Russian ran into the box and waited until it arrived and put the perfect ball right on Crouch’s foot, only for the Englishman to find the ‘keeper’s legs.
You can’t really argue with a 4-0 victory and 6-3 on aggregate but they’ll have to play better when the real competition comes to town. But at least the real thing will be here.
Now who will they get? Knowing us Inter, Madrid and the toughest team in pot 4. But then you want the big games, the big nights and well with Inter it’s Pugwash and that’s really where it all started, beating his Scouse side in the league and league cup two seasons back and then starting last season thumping them in the opening game. That latter game was probably just as important as the Citeh game that clinched fourth spot.
Spurs are on their way to Wembley…