What with it being a dead rubber, only thing to play for being a better result than Inter got, an away game and ‘Arry making a few changes, which meant a midfield pairing of Palacios and Jenas, it was a game with frustration written all over it.
In the end of course I couldn’t stay away, a knackered foot and being snowed in didn’t help. I just settled down with the fact resolved in my mind that Spurs would start poorly, give the ball away at all times, be over run in midfield and generally not have the spark we see at homes games, against big name sides in meaningful games.
And so it came to pass, from the very start Jenas is brushed of the ball with ease and Wilson finds an opposition player with a simple pass. It was all goin as expected until the 12th minute when Pavlyuchenko pressed the Twente dcaptain Wisgerhof who passed the ball back to his ‘keeper and Boschker had a Paul Robinson moment, as the ball bobbled over his swing foot and dribbled into the back of the net. Bar a shot later it was about all the big Russian did all night for Spurs, admittedly with the midfield lacking he didn’t see much good service.
This being Spurs the prospect of a clean sheet didn’t last long as ten minutes later a shot heading for Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s head was deflected away with his elbow,this of course happened in the penalty area. I know BAE isn’t a great football fan but I do wonder if he knows he can head the ball. Landzaat had to retake his pen after being penalised for stopping in his run up first time, second time was just as dragged out in his approach and this time the ball went straight through Gomes. The Spurs ‘keeper was having some old style flappy moments through the game, especially from crosses.
Some good luck did come on the half-hour mark as Jenas went down injured, during the time he was down and pissing about the stretcher was called for but he chose to walk off, so was shown a yellow card, which means if he is fit for the next game and is still at the club he will be suspended after picking up another card for a shocking dive earlier in the group stage.
Spurs were second best during the first 45 minutes, another of ‘Arry’s ‘alf-time rollickings seemed to be in order, and it seemed to have worked as a couple of minutes after the break Bale got forward, it was bit of an aimless ball in Lennon’s direction but the little fella showed more hunger for it coming inside he passed through to Defoe who expertly lifted it past the onrushing ‘keeper. Nice goal by Defoe and a change from him hitting the ‘keeper, problem being it was about all we saw from Bale.
After Jenas had gone off Lennon had been introduced and Kranjcar moved from in from the right. It didn’t work much better than the initial midfield pairing. Lennon did give more of an outlet and skill. Again the lead did not last, less than 10 minutes this time as Janssen was given all the time and space he needed to centre the ball for Rosales to leap past the disinterested BAE and power his header in.
The end to end nature of the game now saw Palacios rob the dithering Janssen on the leff wing, bizarrely the Honduran then charged into the area and had a shot of all things. Of course he didn’t score but the on hand Defoe was there to net the rebound, after screaming initially for the square ball from Palacios. One does wonder where the ball might have ended up if he had attempted that pass rather than the shot.
Now would this lead last, nope, not even 5 minutes never mind 10, as Janko fell over after a challenge from Lennon and was awarded a free-kick just outside the area. Not the first incorrect decision by the ref on a poor night for him. Chadli curled in a well taken free-kick but he was given plenty of space and the end of the wall, Palacios and Bale broke up and ponced out of blocking the shot.
Another goal-fest for Spurs in the Champions League, Spurs becoming the first team to score two or more goals in each of their six groups games, scoring 18 in total. And in the end job done as with Inter going down 3-0 to Bremen top spot in the group was confirmed. Roll on the knockout stages…