We all warned Gareth Bale that it would come…

…to this.

And we were right. Spurs fans didn’t like it when he was doing it, diving that is, or going down theatrically, it was something that other lot do to win penalties and get their opponents down to 10 men. Only way they can win.

It wouldn’t take long for those free kicks won to turn into a reputation and yellow cards. Even as again Bale was fouled in the process of a charge. Of the five bookings he’s received for simulation those last 3 over recent weeks have been clear fouls.

Dolts like Stan Collymore, he would be though of as thick even without that Brummie accent, claim it was just contact and football is a contact game and you aren’t entitled to go down if someone touches you. Well Stan has no concept of the speed Bale travels at, wouldn’t manage it going downhill in a bus – though his foot might have got close when making contact with Ulrika. Someone knees you in the knee at a 90˚ angle to the way you’re running, while making a grab for good measure, it’s more than just contact. More than a mere brush of legs.

Do wonder what part Defoe’s pathetic dive earlier in the game played on the mindset of the ref. Though he didn’t give a foul he was undoubtedly told Defoe had tried it on so was on his guard for the next one.

The problem is he’s reaping what he sewed. Refs being alongside Stanley in the gormless ranks have him marked and even when they’re proved wrong week after week they won’t stop soon you don’t think. So if Atkinson hadn’t been prat of the week we might be talking about yet another win for Spurs, another away win, more away goals and indeed one from a corner. Even if the latter was an own goal by Sunderland.

The home side being a kind of poor man’s Stoke. Red and white stripes, boring play, long balls…

…goalkeeper to striker their main pass. They just don’t have either the defence or the resilience of Stoke.

Again in control of the game it only looked like an error by Spurs would be the host’s only chance. So it proved just before the break. The boss has done a decent job of rotating the defence, picking horses for courses – Dawson being in the starting XI for this game a spot on example – the one man who hasn’t been rotated or rested is the one man who needs it most. Walker. He needs a break, a rest, we all do.

Naughton is getting better but he’s still hampered, as are the team by being played on the left. He doesn’t get forward past a certain point and always comes inside. Give him a go on the right, his natural position, with Vertonghen on the left until BAE is back. Or go back three as I’ve been crying out for.

So Walker lazily gives the ball away and then stupidly follows it up in a desperation clamber all over the back of the Sunderland player. He’s been giving away far too many cheap free-kicks in dangerous areas. From the set piece a good save by Lloris unfortunately drops to O’Shea to open the scoring.

It was looking like one of those games, especially one of those early kick-off games. All the ball, all the good play but very little clear cut created and when it was completely fluffed by misfiring strikers. Adebayor somehow managing to hit the bar from a couple of yards out. Some make excuses, lack of confidence, just needs a goal, or is it what we should have expected after actually signing him and not having him fighting for that deal?

Second half could have gone much like the first had it not been for Carlos Cuellar – the natural antidote to talk of the greatness of Spanish football and footballers. Clattering the flying Lennon with a crude challenge – did he go down easy Stan? – the Spaniard follows it up by heading the resulting free-kick out for a corner and then guiding that set piece into his own net. Thanks Carlos.

Just needed the winner and it came shortly after. Thanks to a little beauty from a little beauty. From a Sandro pass Lennon tries a dink off, luckily it doesn’t come off and the little winger picks up the rebound, a lovely dink around the advancing defender, then a beautiful curl round the ‘keeper. And we don’t lose when Azza scores.

They came more to life after that but in truth it didn’t look that dangerous. Lloris doing his job with some monster punches, no fannying about there and playing the ball into dangerous areas. Just time for Defoe to butcher a great chance, created by another storming run by Bale, perfect cross from the left and an open goal, as Defoe lets the ‘keeper get across the face of goal and save by dithering over the ball with a useless first touch. Clinical. Bale looked bamboozled that it didn’t result in a goal.

This lot beat the reigning champions only a couple days earlier but were eventually dealt with ease. Two wins and a draw, 7 points from 9, so far over the festive period, had been a little disappointed after the Stoke game but it’s not bad. And we can all revel in the joy of AVB and Steffen Freund with every Spurs goal.

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