The romanticizing of Defoe can only happen…

…when he’s not playing.

It can reach exceptional levels when he’s completely unavailable.

Without Lennon again and no kid getting a chance to replace him on the wing, ‘Arry went with the best players he has available – he’ll make the perfect England manager – and a change of formation from his beloved 4-4-1-1 to a more fluid 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3. This brought with it some flowing football but also the whaling voices and the gnashing of teeth.

Main target of the ire was the deep dropping van der Vaart, who apparently should have been stood alongside Adebayor all the time and not looking for the ball. The fact that when Adebayor was dropping deep or drifting wide away from his position up top leaving no one in the box there was nary a word in anger.

And as few chances created in the first half, though some pretty decent football, the whinging and grumbling grew. The main beneficiary being the absent Defoe. Oh away from home we need two up front, not a five man midfield, Adebayor needs a strike partner, not a selfish ball chaser. This would maybe be right if Defoe was the reincarnation of Jimmy Greaves. He isn’t. I do wonder how many of those screaming for Defoe last night, claiming he’s a clinical goalscorer, were calling for him to be sold after last season’s ineptitude in front of goal. Yes his tally so far this season is better than last but he doesn’t have that great scoring record to be classed clinical, especially as his shots to goals ratio must be poor, compared to his his shots on woodwork, ‘keepers, defenders and side netting. Added to that the games where he has played so far this season where he’s been anonymous and greedy.

It comes as no great surprise that those most screaming for van der Vaart’s dropping also worship Parker. One is one of the most gifted footballers we’ve seen at the club in quite an age while the other is the epitome of overrated mediocrity that worshipped in this country. One, the provider of killer passes – that even goon scum were oozing about – looking to attack the other a stats padder with two yard straight back where they came from nothing balls and stupid pirouettes that play the team into trouble. The latter again totally overshadowed by the far superior – both tackling and passing – Sandro.

As with so many games so far over the festive period the ref had a big say on things. Saying it wrong as per usual. Grant Holt was lucky to stay on the park after a deliberate forearm/elbow into Assou-Ekotto that didn’t even result in any card whatsoever. Then Morison blatantly trips Gallas for a penalty, missed by all officials. Now when you look at the arm to face incident that saw Wigan’s Sammon sent off against ManUre – good acting work by Carrick – and Osman’s fall over his own feet that got Everton a penalty against Sunderland it’s no wonder no one has any real trust in the officials.

Going in at the break Spurs had bossed most of the first 45 minutes. It had nothing to do with a lack of another striker that the game was still scoreless. More to do with those having chances completely fluffing them.

What followed the half time interval was a reversal of the norm as instead of the usual sloppy 10/15 minutes from Spurs there was proper stuff and an end product. A nice ball through by van der Vaart to Adebayor in the box. The big fella’s play was probably quite as sublime as Ray Wilkins eulogised about – couple of times he looked to have totally no idea where the ball was going – before finding Bale to finish. The Welsh winger was pretty much playing upside Adebayor by now and this is the thing with the fluid system and the slating of van der Vaart. It’s not his fault if Adebayor is isolated when vdV drops deep, it’s up to Bale and Modric to move up and fill the gap.

By now Sandro was beasting it in the middle, Walker was flying on the right, Modric and van der Vaart were in their pomp and Bale was bossing it. Lovely ball by Modric to the flying Taff, just inside the Norwich half, and he was off, there was no catching the number 3, to finish it off with a delightful chip over Ruddy. Just over an hour in and game over.

Not a bad Chrimbo so far as all the other teams around Spurs bar ManUre dropped points. Still the game in hand and two fixtures coming up that should be dealt with. But that’s the thing it’s not just should but have to be. No complacency. No thing any team is below them. No knocking off now. Chrimbo isn’t normally good for Spurs, this year could be better.

Norwich City 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur

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