Challenge Spurs™ - Last gasp robbery
Game 03 v (H) Liverpool
2-1 win, 3 points
Total points: 9
2 points from safety
For a good 60 minutes I was miserable. Cold, wet and frustrated. I doubt nobody will argue the fact that Liverpool are pretty great in possession. Whereas all we could manage was Gomes passing the ball to BAE and BAE passing it back to him. It was just turning out to be one of those games. We were not particularly bad, we just never got going and Liverpool did their very best to make sure we never came anywhere close to it. They dominated the match and could have had a bundle of goals.
It started well for them 3 minutes in with Kuyt smashing the ball in from a Robbie Keane lay-off after some lame defending on our part and they continued in the same vein, almost scoring 4 or 5 times.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the ground getting a bit of an itchy feeling that the longer the game went on the better the chance we had of getting something out of it - just because of that ominous feeling that the Reds were a little wasteful.
Harry took off the only two left-footers in the side (BAE and O'Hara) and brought on Hutton and Pavlyuchenko. Although taking off BAE wasn't something I'd argue about considering how dire he was.
As we entered the last half an hour, Spurs began to push a little more forward. More so than the opening 60 minutes. And Liverpool, having removed Keane, began to falter a little. Superb, slick passing - but little in the way of testing Gomes. And when Gomes was tested, he did well (as opposed to his usual theatrics like his pass to nobody that found Keane who played it to Gerrard who hit the top of the bar).
We then got our bit of luck in the form of Jamie Carragher. 3rd goal for Spurs this. Twenty minutes left, and everyone was pretty chuffed. With Stoke beating Arsenal (ha!) and Wigan picking up all points at Pompey, taking all three points suddenly became a possibility, more so out of desperation not to be too far adrift from the safety of 17th place. If Liverpool weren't gonna score a second, then why not us?
And Pav should have made it 2 but somehow managed to blaze it over. But not to worry. Cue the 91st minute and a strike by Bentley that was saved by Reina but not held, allowing Bent to cut the ball back to Pav, who this time slotted it in.
Cue pandemonium in the stands. DVD already in the Spurs shop.
Lucky? Yeah, sure. Reina, was almost as average as Gomes was in parts today. Its usually Liverpool doing this to other teams. I'm more than fucking happy to see us be bossed about for the majority of the game but still win.....and against one of the Cartels. Make that 5 points out of a possible 9 against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. That's a pretty tasty stat. For a change.
And as for the Challenge Spurs™ 'Dirty Dozen'. Spurs are making a mockery of my original predictions. 7 points from 9 games - 2 points dropped out of 3 games. Off the bottom, 2 points from safety.
We are obviously still not on the top of our game, but anyone expecting so or criticising our 'luck' is forgetting the misery of the games prior to Harry's arrival. The players have pulled themselves out of a hole. Still more work to be done, but suddenly all talk of going down is secondary to our revival and White Hart Lane has finally rediscovered a bit of personality again.
The fans were in great voice (after we made it 1-1, we woke up). Thankfully the applause for Keane was louder than the boos. The celebrations for Pav's goal were a combination of relief and a bit of 'FUCKING COME ON' which has been a long time coming.
Special mentions to Corluka (at left-back in the second half), Modric who suddenly isn't easy to knock off the ball and has an uncanny ability to receive it and play it off in the tightest of spaces....and as for Pav - he may not be Berbatov, but at least he smiles and celebrates properly. Something Berba didn't quite manager for us against a Top 4 club in the Prem.
And also, well done 'arry. Good half time team talk. Great substitutions. We struggled for a while to pass the ball with decent possession and push forward with it.
Our players persevered. And how refreshing to see Spurs going for it in the final 10 rather than sitting back like Christ knows how many times in the past.
Top (unbeaten since March in the Prem and unbeaten all season) versus bottom (rejuvenated and riding their luck). Three points. Perfect day.
Roll on Citeh.
P.S. Bale doesn't play: We win. EXORCISE HIM.