No doubt the biggest viewing figures for the night were for the “Battle Of Britain” – just imagine how long the war would have lasted if one side turned up with a flat back 9 formation – and the viewers were bored to death as yet again ITV picked the wrong game. Every game they’ve shown so far has been tedious if Spurs weren’t playing.
So they should have been at The Lane last night. No it wasn’t exactly the Inter game but at least the was decent football on show.
So it had all the hallmarks of a banana skin, huge victory over the scum a few days earlier, Jenas gobbing off talking big and starting, a visiting side not viewed as a major threat with all their domestic and player availability problems. Expectations of ease, from crowd and players, never normally goes smoothly for Spurs does it?
So things didn’t quite start at as full an intensity as you’d like, bit slow and a touch aimless – don’t you just love high balls on Lennon’s eyebrows? But then Bale got started, from standstill to past the defence in a blink of an eye, corner won, couple of corners taken, useless attempt by Jenas, and Lennon is finally fed the type of of ball he should be, in plenty of space, jinks the defender makes to the byline and finds Kaboul with a perfect cross. The big Frenchman’s second goal in 10 minutes.
This was Lennon’s best game since his injury last season, after he had such a good start to last season, no coincidence that he was being given excellent delivery, notably when Hutton delivered a great ball in the channel between fullback and centre-back for Lennon to use his pace to run onto, skip it past the centre-back’s lunge and again head for the byline for the cross, which Pavlyuchenko duffed. This is the way Lennon should play and be used, it’s not rocket surgery but it works.
By now of course a certain player had to go off and had been replaced by Palacios – nothing trivial one hopes – and no coincidence that Modric really started to flow after this. With Palacios providing cover and again putting in his best stint since earlier last season the little Croat was allowed the freedom to run the game. The Honduran was doing what we saw and wanted when he first arrived, blocking attacks, cleanly tackling, no stupid challenges, and bar the odd misplace delivery not giving the ball away at every opportunity.
Chances were coming, chances were going, that same old frustration of not killing off teams that are there for the taking. Until first half stoppage time when Kaboul played a nice ball to Hutton who lifted it into the box for Crouch to nod down and Modric showed why he was Spurs’ van der Vaart before van der Vaart was. Sublime dummy take-down and finish, just like the Dutchman had done before.
A well deserved two nil score at the break, without ever really getting out of second gear. Now that has a familiar ring about it doesn’t it?
But Bremen were just not in the game as shown by the fact it was 82:40 on eh clock when they registered their first of only two attempts on goal. You just wouldn’t know that Gomes was playing at all. In front of him Gallas and Kaboul carried on where they left off on Saturday. Wearing the armband seems to have been the making of Gallas at the club, here’s hoping he can keep it up. Hutton and BAE were still a bit flaky in defence, Hutton good going forward but BAE was rightfully given a rollicking by ‘Arry for his slack play and repeated loss of possession. But it all ended with a clean sheet and we haven’t seen many of them this season.
And through it all Bale was destroying more and more fullbacks. The ease with which he got past them and a cross in was… well frightening for them, a joy for us. Crouch played Lenon short with a ball that could have been good the resulting free kick by Bale was worthy of a goal as the ball cannoned off the crossbar. His performance deserved a goal, it should have come i the 53rd minute after he himself played the ball to Modric, whose run into the box was stopped by Kroos stamping on his foot, penalty. But what is it with Spurs and penalties? How many players have missed them now? Keane, Defoe, Pav (who seemed to have bottled this one), van der Vaart and now Bale. Was a poor one by the lad.
He deserved his standing ovation when substituted later on. Defoe came on for more game time and created chances straight away, though hitting the ‘keeper yet again as of old. More chances created and missed then finally wrapped up. Another great run and cross by Bale, off the top of the crossbar, picked up by Lennon who darts into the box, nutmegs the defender and runs around him and finds Crouch, bang, three nil.
Three nil, should have been more but goals were scored, none were conceded, three points and most importantly of all qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League at the first time of asking.