We’re the famous Tottenham Hotspur and we’re off to Wembley.
Doesn’t quite feel right when it’s only the Cup semi-final but it’s still Wembley. Though there is that recent inept record in semis – five in a row.
In what seemed a very subdued atmosphere at The Lane, Spurs ended the romantics idea of what should have been with a controlled display against Bolton which really had only two faults. Being far from clinical before the first score and then being slack when it should have been all over. Oh and maybe in one more area.
‘Arry got the line up and the formation, 4-2-3-1, pretty much spot on. All those crying out that we have to play 2 up front at home, that one up is negative, should have been finally silenced with a performance that lacked no positivity just an end product.
Of course things were helped by a Bolton side that bar the odd moment offered very little going forward and didn’t really look like they wanted to be there. But there was a fluidity we have seen from the home side since the Newcastle game. It could at times have been a little quicker, bit more zip, less touches. But when they were pinging it about, one touch and triangles it felt like we’d got the team we had back.
The only black spot was as we’ve seen so many times over the years the opposition ‘keeper having the game of his life. Much like international cricketers who all seem to have their highest score or best bowling figures against England, ‘keepers all seem to have had their best game against Spurs especially at the Lane. Facing an onslaught they makes saves left, right and centre. It was Adam Bogdan turn here.
Admittedly he was helped by some weak or poor finishing. But the chances were being created by the bundle with one striker. The other black spot was yet again Parker. While Livermore was yet again shining, in defence and either passing or going forward, Parker was butchering every piece of forward momentum he got involved in. Yet again this was evidence that the two man base should be Livermore and Sandro.
The fluidity saw Bale on the right and in the centre where he’s come in for some stick, rightly so in many games of late. But with more confidence and doing enough work out left, his roaming worked. Hell even corners were working better. Van der Vaart may have been getting abuse from the commentators for taking them all but he was beating the first defender, he was getting the ball into dangerous areas and at pace.
Everything was just met by the big glove of a ginger Hungarian.
All the way to the 74th minute when that run of how many scoreless corners was broken by the head of Ryan Nelsen. Relief. Three minutes earlier ‘Arry had actually made a sensible substitution bringing on Defoe for Parker and not Livermore as a number had been calling for. Six minutes after that introduction Bolton actually got in Spurs box but when the ball broke for Walker he hammered a clearance to Adebayor on the halfway line, nice touch onto Defoe who played a brilliant through ball to the onrushing Bale, who put it on his left and curled it around Bogdan. Great piece of counter attacking.
We did see all of Defoe apart from one major point. There was the quick turn and shot, there was the hitting the side netting, there was the selfishness in going for goal when others were better placed. But there wasn’t an offside. Strange.
Of course people immediately started saying
game over. Two goal lead, game over? No, never. This is Spurs. And so it came to pass they clocked off and dropped back and did their best to let Bolton back into it. Luckily it wasn’t until just before the 90th minute when Davies got one back, ah but with 4 minutes of injury time it could have been more than a consolation.
But nearly 4 minutes into that time added on Saha, who had come on for the tireless Adebayor, took a pass at the edge of the Bolton box from Modric, who had been running things throughout, turn and made space for himself to fire home Spurs’s deserved third and really seal the deal. In the end it was a scoreline that flattered Bolton who just seemed to have other things on their mind.
So of to Wembley for Chelski in the semi…