A struggle at Norwich, during which Gareth Bale charged through the hosts, scored and he stopped being a left winger.
Difference being he did it twice that night, got the three points but it was followed up by Norwich winning the return fixture, while that’s already been played out as a draw this season. And it started Bale on his adventures off the wing which along with other factors contributed to the downfall of Redknapp’s season which ended with Scott Parker passing back to Friedel in the dying seconds of that return fixture.
Spurs still feel a debt of thanks to Norwich manager Chris Hughton for all his years service at the club – what is it 24 out of his 54 years spent there – or why else would they turn in such awful performances as we’ve seen this season. The first half in the first game was well beaten here for ineptness by those in lilywhite.
The pitch not being in the best condition was no excuse for the hopeless hoofs up the park in extremely windy conditions. It was just repeated giving the ball away as the midfield was overrun, with Dembele having no chance to get into the game again as he finds life is a little more difficult without Sandro. It’s even worse with Parker.
Parker who finally is coming in for some well deserved criticism. Except as I’ve said before those that are criticising are the same ones who were naming him player of the season last season for playing exactly the same way.
All the faults were there. The ponderous pirouettes. The not really doing anything in the build up to the goal. Stupid fouls. Headless chicken running about. Belly flops. If Bale went down as easily as Parker has done on a number of occasions over the last three games the mob would be out with pitchforks and torches to run him out of town. Parker gets a free pass for knowing he’s losing, being slightly touched and just splashing down onto the ground for no reason at all.
The one fault that was predominately picked out – highlighted here time and again – all the misplaced passes were forward.
To go with all that there was some flappy shaky defending from back four and ‘keeper. Culminating in the opening goal. Cross from the right, caught up in the wind, leaves Lloris all over the joint and the defence at sixes and sevens for it finally to arrive at Hoolahan to score.
Even though the official Spurs’ Twitter account stated that the second half was much better, it wasn’t. Well not to begin with. It was better. Marginally, not much.
Things really didn’t get much better until AVB made his first substitution just after the 70th minute mark when Holtby replaced Dempsey. The new kid immediately took to the game and tried to take it by the scruff of it’s neck. With about his second touch he played Lennon in with a ball I Tweeted at the time was better than everything that had gone before.
— Toxic Web (@Toxic_Web) January 30, 2013
His introduction seemed to give the team a lift and some actual enthusiasm. Maybe it was the little notes from AVB he handed out as he came on. The players responded to them, well most did Parker seemed somewhat confused – I assume the notes were written in English, so no surprise he struggled.
It all brought Bale to the middle, from his position of anonymity, from where he picked up a flick from Defoe – who previously had played the part of Defoe, that is hitting everything but the net with shots – who had himself received it from Holtby. From the halfway line Bale started the charge, the Norwich player Tettey tried a crude hack but Bale stayed on his feet – maybe those bookings, though wrong, have had a certain desired effect – charge straight to the Norwich box before cracking it into the net with his left. A great goal to lift a dull performance.
It along with Holtby’s first appearance were the only real bright spot – though Sigurdsson could have won at the end but the Norwich ‘keeper pulled off a great save – except of course if the woeful Parker performance would lead to his offloading in a last minute deal with say ‘Arry at QPR.
As for that transfer deadline day. Could this be the day we finally see the back of Jenas and Bentley?