of The Lane.
Bizarre stat I read on Saturday that Spurs have won the most points from a losing position of all the teams in the Premier League this season with, as it was then 13, it is of course now 16.
It’s a complete change around this season from the norm, seasons past Spurs would be out the gate like a greyhound with mustard freshly slapped on it’s knackers, all guns blazing, though of course most missing and it’s one nil at the break. Second half would see a fall off and a bit of hanging on at the end, sometimes not successful hanging on.
But this time round things haven’t quite clicked from the off and there’s been a number of off the pace, not in it first 45 minutes, usually resulting in the opposition going in up at the break. As last Saturday in the big game, thus this Sunday in the big game as Spurs were again just not at it against the scouse, all epitomised by the returning Palacios in the middle. Hoping for the Wilson we saw midweek, the one that started his Spurs career, we ended up with the one we’ve dreaded seeing, as the ball was effortlessly taken off him, that’s when they needed to bother trying as most of the time he selflessly just gave it away without any Liverpool intervention. In short he was having a right Jenas of a day and as with that player presence it meant the midfield was completely overrun and Modric was nowhere.
Things took a turn for the worse when 12 minutes in van der Vaart did his hamstring trying a back-heel in the box. Someone asked me on Saturday if he was going to be fit – has he reached sicknote levels yet? – I said he was undergoing a late test but wondered why. Why not give him the game off, let him get fully fit for the tough Chrimbo fixture list, something he really won’t be used to playing in Holland, Germany and Spain. After all it was only the scouse.
Just after the half-hour mark more bad news as Kaboul out of nowhere has to come off, now this game had been the ninth on the trot in all competitions with the same starting back four – Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto – something again somewhat unheard of with Spurs. And that middle pair had really started to gel, so with that Bassong hadn’t played any part in over a month. Surely that couldn’t be a good sign.
So the scouse had chances, a number of them, in that first half, could have gone in four up at least, should have been more than the one they did get from a scrappy corner. Thankfully with certain Liverpool players being crap, Maxi, and Torres being ponderous, one touch or four, and Bassong being up to the task it was only the one. And it allowed them to get ‘Arry miraculous half-time lecture.
Just after the break it could have been worse but again Torres dithered and Bassong tackled. Last week ‘Arry could alter things with a player and formation change, with two going off in the first half it meant it was all down to mindset and attitude, from both teams. Spurs up for it, Liverpool dropping off and trying to defend the lead.
Palcios actually was finding white shirts with passes and Modric was in it, running things, finally Bale and Lennon were getting service. Lennon really is getting back to his best, maybe even better as the delivery is finding Spurs players more often than not, Bale had he beating of his opposing fullback, Johnson – doesn’t look good for the England v Wales match in the Euro qualifiers – unlucky to find Meireles’ head on the line with a shot.
Then nice pas by Gallas, good dummy by Defoe and Carragher is doing his usual cheating blocking off with his forearm, not the last time he’s be punished for playing the man not the ball, free-kick. Bale hits the wall, the whistle goes, penalty, just like last week. And like last week it’s a stonewaller, no matter all the scouse whinging as Ngog’s arms are up saving the shot and to make it even more like a case of deja-vu the penalty taker steps up and doesn’t score. Defoe has now missed three of his last four attempts, we are useless at the damn things.
No matter, Spurs are on the up, a hit and hope from BAE finds Modric and he’s off, running straight past every red shirt, to the byline, cuts in and crosses it for Crouch in the middle but before it could reach him, Skrtel has put in the back of his own net, a pleasure normally reserved for Carragher.
They finally decide to stop hanging on, chances both ends then near the end at a Spurs corner Carragher is to busy trying to foul Crouch he dislocates his shoulder, couldn’t happen to a more deserving candidate. Defoe shows he hasn’t lost his touch, for being offside. And then with only a couple minutes left of the 5 added at the end of the game, BAE again humps one forward Crouch nods down and Lennon skins Konchesky, having given the fullback 10 yards start, he’s through one on one with Reina and there’s the much deserved winner.
‘Ary’s second half magic works again and it’s four wins against Liverpool at The Lane on the trot in all competitions. So it’s not just the fat Spanish waiter they beat.