It was all there last night as Spurs beat Wigan 3-1 at The Lane.
The swagger, the pace, the goals, Benny’s barnet, the post half-time cruising, two up slack drop off ten minutes. Oh and the strange last minute deadline day deals.
While Spurs did start properly, pace and intent, Wigan had some good initial moves where they played the type of stuff Spurs should do more of – triangles, push and run. Could have taken the lead when a cross deflected off Assou-Ekotto was just missed by Wigan’s di Santo.
Spurs then got their true swagger on but there was an element of could it be one of those games. Earlier Kaboul had risen to meet a corner which was saved by Al Habsi, later he had another attempt cleared off the line. Now Spurs’ set pieces, corners and free kicks around the box, are usually crap that lead to nothing, here we had two that led to attempst on target and nowt to show. Ominous?
Kranjcar had come in for the injured Lennon and was doing his best to impress, can’t believe some would prefer to have seen him offloaded and Pienaar kept. He was getting involved with a lot, through not exactly sticking to his wide position. Adebayor also in the early stages looked more into it than he has for a few games, except of course where it really mattered, scoring.
So we had to wait half an hour for the opener. A quick break, slowed just as quickly into a bit of keep-ball, just outside the Wigan area on the left, when Modric spotted a run into the box from Bale on the right. It was a glorious ball to find the winger who in turn took it down and finished it off brilliantly. Had thought of changing my fantasy football captain earlier in the day, rather glad I didn’t.
Wigan by now had gone into their shell. Benny was getting the freedom of the left side of the park. His cross eventually found it’s target, after a bit of pinball, Modric brought it down, turned and bang into the bottom left hand corner of the net for two nil after 34 minutes. Game over?
In the five minutes between the goals the other major event of the first half happened when van der Vaart dropped to his arse, ripped out his shin pad then hobbled off with yet another injury. Calf this time, rather than hamstring.
So two up, cruising, opposition haven’t a clue. All set up for that classic post half-time drop off and it duly came. Interrupted by the odd Spurs breakout, Wigan were certainly up for it now, as Spurs became error prone. You’d think things would have changed after twenty minutes when receiving the ball on the left edge of the 18 yard line Bale shimmied into the box and banged in his second into the bottom right corner of the net.
But it didn’t kill off the visitors, as they created more and more openings for themselves. Things could have got a lot worse when after losing the ball Benny went over the top with a challenge on di Santo. It was a nasty one that a competent ref would have probably shown a straight red for. Still have to wait and see if that’s the end of it. If not could cause problems as Walker also went off injured and that would leave the fullback positions looking a bit light coming into a tough run of fixtures.
Shortly after Wigan ruined the fantasy clean sheet stats. Some slack marking and the lollygagging Parker – doing nowt as per usual in these situations – is late to the party and deflects the shot over Friedel’s outstretched arm and in. Consolation?
As it turned out yes as the lead was held onto despite some decent Wigan chances. Best part of that latter few minutes of the game was seeing Cameron Lancaster make his debut – he could make that number 53 shirt his own. Had a slight sniff of a chances as well, as Bale was going for his hat-trick, with yet another marauding run and shot.
Now with Citeh and Chelsea dropping points it’s closer to the top and further away from the also-rans.
So the transfer window deadline.
Well a strange one. Yes happy that Pienaar is on his way away back to Everton. It strengthens Spurs while weakening Everton. But Saha, yes we desperately need a striker but Saha. OK not a disastrous fourth choice if fit, big if, but he just doesn’t score that much or is that just being at Everton who don’t score that much? It just has the look of desperation bargain bucket shopping.
Well someone had to come in if Pavlyuchenko does head back to Mother Russia. What is it about Russians and those from what used to be Russia in the Premier League. Pav, Arshavin, Bilyaletdinov, Shevchenko, Rebrov. Why have they all not really lived up to the billing here? There’s got to be one that’s worked? Kanchelskis is the only one that springs to mind.
42 goals in 114 appearances is not bad from Pav when you consider many of the games he started on the bench – his goals per minute rate was far better than the main front line strikers at the club. Though he did look pretty uninterested a lot of the time and particularly lazy at others, you wonder what he would have been like with a manager he got on with. If ‘Arry could have put his arm around Pav’s shoulder and was capable of actually ‘aving a word – other than
just fuckin’ run around a bit – would we have got the striker that looked so good at the Euros before he joined us?
Ryan Nelson. Ah yes an injury prone player, just what the doctor ordered. Cover required but it’s another odd one, though won’t cost a fee. But it’s fullback where things are light, especially if Walker is injured after Corluka has gone to Germany. Now I find it painful to watch Charlie run and yes at times he linked up well with Lennon and looked good but far too often he is exposed by his lack of pace. He has no back up when making errors and contrary to some’s opinion he does make mistakes, a number of them.