Tottenham 5 Newcastle United 0
If there was a performance that defined the word galvanised this was it. Harry’s court case, the England job, the White Hart Lane faithful, the players...everything fused together perfectly to drive forward an emotive and at times wonderfully majestic game of one-sided football that illustrated what is so good about this Spurs side.
Patience is not a virtue that is often allowed to settle in amongst all the hyperbole and drama at any given club. We all knee-jerk in some way. Sometimes more subtle than the next person, but we’re all guilty of it. It’s simply self-doubt in an opinion or in someone or something. You react to it without properly processing every eventuality. One of the common trends of complaint and concern this season has been our squad depth. This was under the microscope recently during the month of January, resulting in players leaving the club and a couple arriving. Replacements for back up players when we all craved top drawer signings.
We scoffed. Scratched our heads. Fickle and forgetful considering the last time we misbehaved like that was when Scott Parker was signed. It’s almost like we reset our pragmatism each time. We're actually a very decent side. We should revel in that far more than we do and have confidence in that fact. In Harry we trust, finally we trust him.
No van der Vaart so no 4411. Saha upfront with Adebayor in a traditional 442. Kranjcar retaining his place. Defoe and Lennon returning on the bench. The galvanised effortless movement and attacking prowess was beastly. Every player alive and hungry. We’ve questioned and debated the form of Adebayor, excusing his lack of goals because of the way he fits into the system we play but still we've shown concern for his quiet performances as of late. Isolated at times and with a despondent first touch. Yet against Newcastle he was electric. Unplayable. Four assists. Two for Saha one for BAE. Took the fifth goal for himself. Adebayor with eight assists for the season (edit: It's ten assists apparently). The option of playing two upfront when Rafa is unavailable is now enticing. Trust.
The new founded double act working tirelessly, running into space, into the channels looking for the ball, looking for each other. Saha, a wealth of experience knowing where to position himself. Along with every other Spurs player out there, they made a point. They made three points.
We showed everyone watching what Redknapp has crafted at Spurs when Spurs turn up at full pelt.
Benoit in the 4th, Saha in the 6th, Saha in the 20th, Kranjcar in the 34th. Saha's second a joy to behold in terms of team work. Over on the bench Harry was displaying pure emotion, releasing the stress of the court case with each goal scored celebrated like he was punching the bitter face of the HMRC.
The home crowd boisterous and proud singing their support for the manager. After the Wigan game (the support sang for Harry) this game finally witnessed a genuine embrace from the stands. A bear hug Martin Jol would have been proud of. One Harry fully appreciates. It’s almost surreal, hearing ‘We want you to stay’ when at times we’ve been quite withdrawn for vocal support for him by name. Mainly due to the fact that he has distanced himself from Tottenham (‘them’) and the fact that he has very much always prioritised his brand name above and beyond all. He probably still does but you can not detach yourself from a club completely without the consequence of forging an affiliation with its fans.
We know Harry, we know he’s about looking after number one but he’s let his guard down a little. Just enough for us to finally invite him in. It’s a very poignant moment this. And deserving for the successful restructure of a club that was a mess and massively under-performing when he first arrived.
Newcastle had an effort or two in the first half but nothing that looked like puncturing our defence successful. If there was a criticism to be aimed at us I would suggest we need to start looking at taking free kicks instinctively rather than attempting to craft some ilk of masterpiece from a set piece. But that’s been a long running issue with us. Corners included. At half time and at 4-0 the most telling stat belonged to the aforementioned Adebayor. Four assists, so lazy he couldn’t be arsed to score any himself. Until the second half.
The second half was not as rampant and bullish as the first. But it was still one of comfort and joy. In the opening forty-five we dominated with concise effective possession. We were clinical and brutal in our approach. You can question Newcastle’s positioning but to take advantage you still have to endeavour to do so. Which we did with pace and tempo, relentless punishing tempo. Sometimes it just clicks altogether perfectly. Even with the players missing and the ones on the bench we did not look like weakened in any way. We welcomed back our manager and reminding him that there is more quality to work with in N17 than there is with the Three Lions. If he fancied staying put.
As for the second half not being rampant. Luka and Niko continued to work their socks off. Parker dominated Perch and Guthrie (mismatch) with his tenacity and commitment. Newcastle desperately missing Tiote and Cabaye. Even when we started to give the ball away a little, we never looked like a side that was concerned with the pace of the game slowing down. The fifth arrived on the 64th minute mark, Saha header with Adebayor hooking the volley into the net and then getting tickled for his effort in celebration whilst holding his knee on the ground. One or two other half chances here and there. The crowd continued to sing Harry’s name. Lennon and JD replaced Bale and Saha. Nelsen came on for King. There was even time for a superb reflex save from Friedel from Ba.
Perfect evening. Handshakes all round.
The back line was powerful. BAE brought the crazy. You almost forgot we had King and Dawson there. In control and composed. So good, you didn’t even notice them. Apart from Benny. He always makes sure you notice.
Parker and Modric the perfect middle two. With Livermore performing so admirably and Sandro an option, we look to be fit and ready for the battles we face in the coming weeks. Parker was back to his best, tackles and distribution. Luka is Luka. A gem, a wonderful rare gem, a thing of beauty and priceless.
Bale solid, hard working without the individualistic quirks.
Kranjcar equally solid continuing his form from the Liverpool game, defending/attacking. Team player.
Adebayor’s best performance in Lilywhite. A Godzillaesque impact on the game, smashing down the black and white skyscrapers that Alan Pardew has built.
Saha a revelation. Levy and Harry’s moneyball transfer tactic coming up trumps again. If he stays fit and performs with this level of movement/intelligence then we have the rejuvenated kick we’ll need to make this second half of the season as successful as the first half. Defoe looked lively when he came on, fitting into the style of play Saha left when he was replaced. All three should keep each other motivated enough to compete for a place up front.
At the final whistle, with Newcastle outclassed, and everyone Lilywhite gleeful, we could all look back at what was further proof that the progression of Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham continues to gather pace More than it's already gathered. Ambitious. Daring is achieving.
A team of brilliant individuals that play for each other and the unit. A team that plays for their manager. A team that can adapt formation when necessary. A team, on form, easing to victory over one that lacked any cohesive shape and simply failed to contain and compete sufficiently enough to make a fight of it. To bully a side like this is a requirement if you aspire for the progression to continue.
Suddenly, there is no knee-jerking looking at our squad. We have an option to play Niko who will retain possession well and link with Luka when discipline is required with a touch of cross-field vision. Lennon is now back if we wish to exploit space and stretch with width. With three forwards available we can rotate in a 442 and still have the option to play the 4411. With one defeat in 30 or so home games we have set the benchmark for ourselves to complement our possession by scoring goals and killing teams off. We’ve bossed many a game and not done that. It’s so much easier when you’re clinical because you can seek to push the game beyond the opposition in no time at all.
As for the gaffer, he wont be able to say no England. Its the pinnacle (for him). However, sometimes, an epiphany can change all that. Hoping he had one yesterday.
Harry Redknapp was wrong.
This season is the best we’ve ever had it. Last season was evolutionary as was the one before. It’s continued into this season without the slumps and loss of confidence. Just strength solidified from one game to the next, momentum held close to our pumped out chests as we crow at ear-bursting levels. Tottenham, a big club in a big league.
Fantastic players, freedom of expression, brilliant football. That’s as good as it can get for anyone.
You should love your club unequivocally no matter its stature or position. But you should never feel guilty if you lust for something more. Our tradition and our style, the Tottenham way...we’re oozing it at the moment. Not in cameos like so many seasons in the past but in sustained form. Long may that continue. Because when you strip away all the want for silverware and top four what truly matters at the end of it is the joy your team gives you. This team doesn't fail to disappoint and I can't smile without it.
Harry Redknapp was wrong but it still makes him right.
Love the shirt.