Spurs 2 Fulham 0
I wasn't at the game yesterday evening. Instead, it was spent on the sofa quietly celebrating a birthday drink in the company of a very pregnant Mrs Spooky and a bottle of twenty three year old Guatemalan rum. Comfortable and snug. Much like Tottenham's display against Fulham. You got the feeling early on that as long as we broke the deadlock, we'd win. And win we did. Unlike the build up of tension in prior home games where we failed to break down the opposition, there was enough patience with our play to stop any concerns and over-stating our effort.
Huddlestone back in the starting line-up as expected, King in for Bassong and Niko (out due to illness) replaced by David Bentley. The sight of David had one of my eyebrows reaching out for the top of my head like the glory days of The Rock in the WWE. Can you smell what the Bentley is cooking? How many of you facepalmed when you clocked he was in the starting line-up? I've seen rocking horse shit more times than I've seen him run out for us this season. But credit where it's due. The lad rolled his sleeves up and worked hard. No glam, no Hollywood passing, no tricks and showboats. He just got on with it. Controlled steering, firmly on the road, not a lamp post to be seen.
Okay, so the side wasn't swashbuckling but when we've struggled to put other lesser sides to bed, to get the all important first goal and then push on from there was vital. More so when you look behind to see that Liverpool drew a blank. We lost concentration late on, but Fulham hardly looked convincing. If anything, questions about our cutting edge remains evident. As a side note, Gudjohnson? Not totally convinced, mainly because I haven't seen him recently. Based on the player he was - hell yeah. What's his motivation? If he ends up at West Ham, we'll know the answer to that particular question. Anyways...
Highlights for me -
Huddlestone and Palacios. Both of them did plenty of running. Hudd especially looking good on his return. Once more you hope he can one day soon dominate the midfield against one of the Prem's stronger sides. Ah, its' the rum talking I know. Wilson did his job perfectly, winning tackles and easing the pressure. Both of them had free passes in the middle of the park.
King. As comfortable as I was sat on my sofa scratching my backside. For all the criticism that has been quietly whispered about him, he's still top drawer when called upon. Essential for the likes of Bassong to have him around. Be it, part-time. Corluka equally impressive. Dawson not quite at the level he was a few weeks back, confidence perhaps a little dented still with recent blemishes lingering in his mind. Banish them Michael and keep on smiling.
As for our keeper, can't help but love him. Even if he cries like a girl. Drama queen he is, but he's looking consistent and commanding.
Our Gareth is resembling a Cheshire cat rather than a gloomy ape-boy this morning. Started and finished the game - and tasted victory (in the Prem) for the first time in around 23 games. The perfect illustration of how confidence is imperative to a young footballers development. We shagged it up big time first time round, rushing him into the side (I think on his return from a knock), and having him playing alongside shambolic more experienced players that did little to aid him or the team as a whole. Desperately unlucky and almost ruined (it's the Tottenham yoof way), compounded by the fact that we insisted on starting him regardless. He's now in a far better team and his performances continue to impress because he's free to express himself far more. Another MOTM performance (shared with Moddle), made easier by the lack of defensive questions asked of him. Although I'd like to see him improve with his decision making at the back along with his positioning. In time. Let's not forget his age and let's try not to pressure the lad too much.
Modric was buzzing. Crafting, creating with his quick feet, always looking to set the tempo and make something happen. Superb assist. Still not at that devastating level he's capable of, but he's getting closer with each game. He just looks so good on the ball. Brilliant faint and shot, shame it didn't go in. Keep on repeating it...he makes us tick.
And as for the very much maligned Bentley. Minimum fuss, as mentioned already. He buckled down and worked for the team. For someone watching from the sidelines for so long, he performed admirably, much like Roman did against Leeds. Not sure what's wrong with Krancjar (not had a chance to read much yet this morning). Conspiracy theorists amongst you might be scratching your chins and wondering if Harry is sticking him in the window in time for the panic-button final days before it shuts. I'm happy he scored, even if it was via a deflection.
Crouch linked up well with the midfield. Note that hoofing the ball up to him was not the tactic taken every waking second of the game. Took his goal well too. Defoe had another quiet night. Team is winning, so no I'm not going to complain. He's in a lull, he'll came out of it soon. He's got 14 already this season. Plenty time for more. And off the field personal issues might be causing his mind to wonder a little.
Keane was on too late to make any sort of mark on the game. I did have a strange dream last night involving Robbie. He was on a ladder cleaning windows, arms flapping in all directions in that pointy shouty iconic way we grew to love. He hardly even complains nowadays. I want angry Orish footballer back.
The rum was magical as ever.
Easy going evening. We needed to win. We did more than enough to deserve it.