Another day, another win
300 days in charge of Tottenham has seen Harry Redknapp claim a (over) 50% win record. Add to it our best start to a season since 1960 and you begin to wonder what Sky Sports News will do next. My money's on an interview with a Spurs fan who's had plastic surgery to their face, including the addition of sagging cheeks, to look like 'arry. Looking at the table this early in the season is completely redundant. But that doesn't mean we can't smile about our perfect start. Just hold off having any work done to your face.
Yet another win against West Ham United (we always beat them) made it three out of three. Not the most sexy of games, was it? There was me predicting a pretty game of football with plenty of free flowing play and triangular movements and instead it was far more physical with Zola's men direct and in our faces from the start.
Was it a good performance? Under the circumstances, yes. We didn't play as well as we could. Determination was there but the usual fluid movement and passing was laboured at times. Third game in around eight days, hot summers day…can we use these as excuses? Sometimes you don't quite get out of the starting blocks with pace and you have to adapt to an opposition who may lack the same type of quality you possess but stick in enough effort and guts to cause problems.
Keane dropped deep which meant we shaped up 4-5-1, leaving JD up on his own. Not sure if this was intentional (or a consequence), but it did allow us plenty of wing-play when mounting attacks, although we didn't quite make the most of this with Lennon not receiving the ball as often as he should have. Defoe was a little subdued, Modric not the threat he can be and wasteful with passes and a couple of efforts on goal (one of which he should have scored). But this was probably more to do with the lack of sustained support from the midfield. Hudd and Wilson not moving as freely as the two previous games. Tommy lacking his usual quarter-back qualities. No pinging balls. Didn't quite control the tempo.
BAE was caught out a couple of times, as well as Corluka. Bassong did well alongside King - who misplaced a pass or two and was worked hard by Cole, but again showed his undeniable class. Wasn't an easy afternoon.
Regardless of the fragmented performance, it's important to highlight something we are not blessed with too often watching Spurs. Not at our best, we still restricted them and pressed hard and towards the end of the game we played sensible controlled football rather than attempting anything stupid i.e. giving the ball away needlessly. We worked our socks off to get the ball back when we were not in possession. Tired as out, but we had a little bit left in the tank (whereas WH seemed to be spent by the end) - but it was job done. Grafting out hard fought wins like this are as pleasing as wining 5-1 away.
As for the game details, we had the best of the chances. Moddle should have scored after some great play from Aaron. King hit the post. All a bit frantic in the first half, plenty of long balls to Cole who managed to bully King and Bassong, keeping them constantly busy. Keane playing very deep and Huddlestone and Palacios with a lot of work to do defensively. West Ham mixing it up, kicking us all over the pitch and hitting us on the counter. Second half starts and they go 1-0 up. Goal out of nothing, brilliantly taken turn and shot from Cole. And then it's 1-1, a goal out of nothing. Cole brilliantly assisting by finding JD who smacked the ball past Green. Oops. As the game progressed, we got more of a stranglehold on it and Lennon made it 2-1 with a cut inside (aided by a fall from Spector) to unleash a cracking left-footed shot. Green beaten again. Saw out the rest of the game professionally.
Should mention the referee. Have I missed something with Clattenberg? I thought he was balding? Anyway, two penalty decisions (handball and a pull on Bassong) ignored as well as failing to dish out a second yellow for a WH penalty shout that looked like a dive and also turned a blind eye to one or two tasty tackles. Seriously, where did that hair come from? I must have him mixed up with someone else.
Untidy, frantic, messy, disjointed. And still three points to take back home with us. Daniel Levy, wet boxer shorts in the post for you. The pessimistic amongst you might highlight that we beat the same three teams in the corresponding fixtures last season. We did. But not in the same fashion. It's a rejuvenated Spurs side with a far clearer structure and strategy. What a difference to the depression we faced this time last year.
Brummies at home next. We are bound to get unstuck soon. Hopefully not in this game. We've got Utd and Chelsea to follow so we'll know a lot about ourselves after September ends. If we get through it with damage limitation to the max, we might be in a very good position to push ourselves into contention, much like Villa did last year. I'm still realistic. We are good enough for 6th and possibly 5th (depending on how City progress). What may help is an addition or two to the squad. Be it before the window shuts shop or in January. Something extra, just in case. Hate to say it, but lose Wilson or Luka and we might struggle. But enough of the what if's. At the moment it's all about the in the bag.
3 games, 8 days. 9 points, 3 games.
The DVD will be great.