As a Spurs fan you’ve got to be delighted having secured our first win at Arsenal since 1993 but you’ve got to ask “Why do we make it so hard for ourselves?” At 2-0 down I’ve never been so angry with our performance and expected the 5 goal tanking that Harry talked about afterwards.
It is not possible to go to sides of this quality and allow them the space to play as we did and not expect to be goals behind. The first goal was our usual embarrassing present that threatens to make us a laughing stock between both Ekotto and Gomes. Ekotto appeared to have switched off, Gomes was typically indecisive and then Ekotto ignored sliding the ball out to allow Nasri to score from a near impossible angle. We’ve seen it all before and often it spells game over.
That looked to be from Pav’s attempt at Lennon’s cross which offered Arsenal a counter attack opportunity. Fabregas cannot be allowed acres of space on the half way line and the opportunity to run at a defence. He had it, carried the ball saw Hutton out of position and a decent cross in saw the second goal. What makes it worse is to see Spurs midfielders sauntering back from our attack. That’s why we lose these games.
At the start I’m asking for a tackler and Harry chose Lennon instead. Unfortunately he was poor having no timing and continually checking rather than using his pace to attack. We also got Pav up front and I thought his contribution to the game was practically non existent. He did keep the ball in play for goal two – harsh to blame him for that – and gave away a needless free kick which saw the ball in our net only to be ruled out for offside.
At half time we were lucky to be only two down and it did look dead and buried. I wondered if Harry had enough subs available to make it turn round. I thought we needed Wilson to make some challenges and give JJ some help, anyone else up front and spares in case of injury. What we got was Jermain Defoe and what we found out was what we’ve been missing these past months.
He was clearly pleased to be back and within five minutes had out jumped the centre back to play in Van Der Vaart who fed Bale for a fabulous first Spurs goal. Outjumped is not a word normally associated with JD but he was fired up and I’m sure both Bale and Van Der Vaart will be looking forward playing alongside him in the coming games. I reckon he’s been dreaming of sliding in Bale crosses.
Since his injury we’ve all questioned the abilities of both Pav and Crouch. We know Defoe can be greedy but he wasn’t like that today. Hopefully his spell on the sidelines has shown him what we can achieve with all the weapons we have. Look out Werder Bremen!
I think it spells a period back on the bench for Pav and I won’t be disappointed. There are times when he does something astonishing but once again today it was a bit like playing with 10 men.
I read lots of tweets as the game approached bemoaning the captain’s armband being handed to Billy Gallas. I agree that he has been involved in a number of mistakes since arriving at the Lane but today he was outstanding from the first till the last minute. How Bale could be awarded Man of the Match on Sky was ridiculous even taking into account the quality of his goal. Younes Kaboul also had a good game but Gallas threw himself into everything today and hopefully will get a great reception come Wednesday night for he deserves it.
And what of the others? Modric put in a good shift and won the free kick that produced the penalty. He did, along with Lennon, have that stuttering approach at times which frustrates when people like Bale are running into space. Van Der Vaart was lively in the second half, contributed a hand in all three goals and an early corner to Bale before half time. He was booked after scoring the penalty which seemed a nonsense but he was maybe lucky not to be booked earlier for jumping into opponents.
So our appalling record comes to end but had it been Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford the 5 nil might have resulted. To be fair at 2-2 Arsenal had further opportunities and failed to capitalise and Gomes produced an excellent save to deny Fabregas.
All too often this season we’ve put ourselves into stupid positions in games before we start playing both in the Premier League and Champions League. There is no doubt that we can beat anyone on our day and have done well without some of our big name players but talk of winning titles are a little premature. It depends on us being consistent against the Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and City and able to tough out the ugly games away. For those you need mental toughness and unfortunately with Spurs that can be absent.
So a terrible first half is followed by a wonderful second and a surprising lack of texts from Arsenal fans after the game. We’re still in touch, have the chance to sort out the Champions League midweek and give ourselves a decent run in the league. JD is back and a rumour abounds that Woodgate may be nearly fit!