Spurs 2 Liverpool 1
How do you make sure of beating Spurs? Well for starters perhaps try to score 5 to 6 goals in the first half then park the bus to stop them from mounting a sustained comeback. Because a one or two goal head start won't be enough.
Choke? Capitulations? Catastrophe? Thanks but no thanks. We no longer own the copyright.
Comeback Kings. Tag us up. A new era is upon us.
We've now notched up 16 points from a losing position - which illustrates the strength of character and belief this side has. Again, it’s scary to start theorising about how good we might be if we played with relentless intent from the opening whistle. Would like to see us take a lead, go two up and then kill the game off, perhaps with another to make it comfortable. Show some wit and guile by stopping the opposition from playing and dictating tempo at will.
Hey – it’s Christmas so the moon on a stick in my stocking is not a far-fetched request for Santa to deliver. I can’t help but flirt with the idea of the next step we need to be taking.
Beating Liverpool in the manner we did was not a vintage Spurs performance. Actually it was going by this season’s template. No need to play well across the full 90 minutes. Dangerous heart-in-mouth game plan. The consequence of no clipboard.
But that's fine because we're not degrading in terms of momentum and we'll surely continue to improve, especially if we manage to consolidate in the Jan transfer window.
Had it ended in defeat or a draw we would have spent a few days knee-jerking about what’s wrong with the team, struggling to cope with injuries and cohesiveness, losing out to a Liverpool side that have hardly been expansive with their football away from home this season. They looked up for it, attacked with a degree of on the deck directness and were combative in centre midfield. Torres could have punished us and brought us crashing back down to earth after our NLD win and qualification into the knock-out stages of the Champions League. But the Spaniard deciding against pulling the trigger when it was the easiest option to take probably because, I don’t know, he didn’t want to hurt our push for Top 4 what with his imminent transfer to N17.
Not quite moon on a stick that, more Andromeda galaxy on a stick. Grateful he didn’t leave us flat on our backs looking at the stars.
Liverpool squandered one or two chances. We did too, Defoe should have lifted the ball into the goal rather than just hit it low, Carragher blocking. And then in the second half, a fairly poor penalty. I’m sure you know the stats with pens off by heart now. Five out of nine missed or something. Bale also had an effort cleared off the line.
Open game that it was (Spurs do not do cautious well) we had to overcome a few in-game obstacles. van der Vaart pulling up early on, subbed, and probably out for a month. Kaboul also going off with a muscle problem – Bassong on as his replacement. Harry’s arms tied behind his back in the dugout. But if there is something we‘ve learnt time and time again this season is Houdini is capable of an escape or two. Never doubt our spirit, or do so at your own risk. Backs against the wall – we’ll just turn around, smash it down and walk straight through it. Granted not always with a bulldozer, just a one or two explosives expertly positioned. That will always do the job.
Liverpool just about deserved their goal, not much we could have done about it other than better man-marking – but it happens. Scrappy opener and the Reds could have doubled/tripled their lead either side of half-time. Torres brilliantly playing in Rodriguez who scoffed his shot, and Bassong superbly getting to the ball leaving Torres frustrated...again. Good to see him looking sharp and with Dawson a week or so away, at least our defence won’t be completely decimated – what with Gallas forging a decent partnership with the rampant Kabul.
Found myself frustrated by many things during the game and before the final moments.
BAE’s posturing. Wilson’s distribution of the ball. Defoe still rusty. The fact Lucas was running tings in midfield speaks volumes about our inability to take a stranglehold of the game. It was all a bit lazy. Give the ball to Bale even though Bale has two men on him most of the time. Hoof balls forward for the knock-downs. Palacios is not even half the player he once was and losing vdV and not having anyone else to slot into the midfield (with JJ out), makes it all the more tricky if the opposition – no matter their depth of quality – put in a good shift.
Having said that, Liverpool were not quite head and shoulders above us.
One penalty miss, one not given (yes, Liverpool might have had a shout for one too), two off the line. We still looked for a way back in. When we did eventually score it was the excellent dinking Modric running through Liverpool’s back-line with ease and playing it across the six yard box, Skrtel forced to make contact with the ball (having scored for the 1-0) making it 1-1, otherwise Crouch would have. Luka is only just getting started IMO. He’s going to be vital over the next two months where that fabled marker just has to be placed down as we look to get ourselves into the top four - and stay there.
The winner was direct (now there’s a shocker), BAE long, header on by Crouch (knock him if you like but was that another assist?) and Lennon rushing past probably the worst Liverpool defender in their recent history (not saying much) to score in injury time. Fully deserved for the ickle man who is regaining form. He’s got his spark back.
The opposition not so much mugged, but leaving their wallet on a table to be snatched with comparative ease. In the end an out of sorts Spurs side pushed aside a plucky Liverpool side. Oh my how things have changed.
We’re still not at full pelt but neither is the Premier League – and we’re six points off the top. Aim high(er), right? Three successive league wins. Four in all comps. Five games unbeaten. Momentum, dear old friend, is back with us.
Kudos to Harry, if anything for another half-time team talk and holding on till late to bring on Sandro (a substitution he could not have made earlier in the game due to the injuries). Not sure we can spend too much time being concerned with the way we don’t quite own the full 90 minutes. But then this might just be a consequence of the injuries and the related tinkering – and it’s something we need to muddle through until the dawn of 2011.
The big news I guess in the aftermath is the injury to Rafa van der Vaart. Possibly out for a month which is a massive disappointment considering his talismanic qualities and White Hot Lane goals. There is no discounting his influence. But like I’ve said – we need to be able to win without him. Kaboul also out (not sure for how long) - so it's biting of the nails time as another two men go down on the battle field. Time for the spirit of 2010. Dig deep.
One final footnote - the crowd getting on Palacios back – f*ck off idiots.
Yes he’s not the defensive destroyer he was when he first signed for us and although I’m quite happy to agree that he might need to placed aside or leave if he fails to recover from his crisis of confidence (Paul Robinson anyone?) there is no need for prawn sandwich booing and sarcastic cheering. Groan and moan it’s your right – but ease off trying to apply extra unnecessary pressure on the guy by making a point of singling him out in this manner. Support him. Some of his work wasn’t that far off decent. His passing is woeful I know. Harry hug and perhaps a gentle slap in the face required to perk him back up. It’s a massive concern because he’s not shown any signs of recovery so far. Not the same player since losing his brother. And is unlikely to be if some of you make the decision to hate on him before you even turn up at the Lane.
Slagging players off on blogs and forums, probably the best place for it because it’s unlikely they give a sh*t about something they won’t be reading. In the ground – it’s not. Jog on to the Emirates if you want to act the c*nt.
Anyways, you’re meant to reserve your disgruntled energy for when Jenas is back in the side.
Loving my JJ fix at the minute. Oh we are such a fickle bunch.
To end on a positive. Credit to all concerned, we’re not going to let go of our top four entry easily.
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