Challenge Spurs™ - Spurs 5 Burnley 0
Challenge Spurs™...and so it begins. The 5 star quest for 15 points saw us claim the first three with a five goal haul at the Lane against the tidy-playing-but-limp Burnley. Five goals, four of which came from the boot of a certain much-maligned Robbie Keane, back up front rather than out on the left flank. The question of the day is: How do you define a good performance? I always find that whether you're at the game or at home watching it, as a fan, you'll always going to be a touch more critical. Its natural for us to think certain players perhaps under-performed and probably even more likely to exaggerate the performance of others.
Personally, I thought today was the type of result that does this wee little club a world of good. Professional without the need for absolute dominance. We didn't exactly boss the game. In fact Burnley can be proud of the amount of possession they had, but aside from Carlo in goal doing his best Robinsonisms, they never quite stressed out our make-shift central defence pairing of Huddlestone and Bassong. Tommy hardly put a foot wrong. Sure there were some wayward passes from other players (including Tom) and one or two guilt-edged chances (a Keane one-on-one and Defoe placing the ball the wrong side of the post). But all in all, you can't complain (you just can't) when your team has 13 shots on goal, 6 on target and scores 5 of them. Happy days.
So, main positives to take from the game? Niko - still probably not 100% match-fit - slotted in very well on the left-flank. Obviously doesn't have the touch and vision of Moddle, but the boy does have a bit of that Tottenhamesque class about him and thus allowed us to resort back to a more traditional balanced structure. Jenas was great today. Ok, so it's the type of opposition that he tends to turn up for but it's clean-slate for JJ as he seemed to rise to the occasion at the back end of last season alongside Palacios (although it must be pretty easy to play alongside the Monster from Honduras). Wilson did his usual patrolling around the centre of the pitch scaring anyting in claret and blue and Jenas was therefore free to roam forward and play one or two delicious passes.
Defoe was off key a little bit. Broke/dislocated a finger (or was it fingers?) and went off to be replaced by Crouch. We seem to be spoilt at the moment with forwards who are hungry to impress. Peter almost scoring himself late on. Also good to see we didn't resort to aiming for his head every single time. He can play with his feet too damn it! He can!
As for Keane. How many of you thought 'textbook' when he missed that first one-on-one? Made amends with the second (from the spot) thanks to a clumsy tackle by Bikey on JD. And that was our cue to relax a little bit. Although we were obviously comfortable in first gear and one or two passes were still going astray, when we did decide to play - the difference in class was massive. We played some rather wonderful stuff in that first half. Burnley, bless 'em, are not too shabby with their play either but they simply never took any of their half chances (even with CC lending a helpful hand). We took ours every time.
After Fletcher had a goal disallowed and Defoe and his sitter, we made it 2-0. JJ, shot, deflection, deserved. More tasty moments from us, including a lovely run from Aaron who could have hit it himself but opted to play it across the six yard box. Signs we would score more. Doubt anyone was worried about surrendering our lead (well apart from one or two moaning gits).
Second half wasn't as fluid as the first, but the quality in spurts was more than evident.
3-0. JJ threads a delightful (delightful - worth mentioning twice) ball inside the fullback to Lennon who cut back to Keane who smashed it into the roof of the net.
4-0. Keane, defeating JD's nemesis The Offside Trap, notched up a hat-trick thanks to a lofted pass from that versatile-thank-the-lord-we-never-sold-him-to-Fulham Huddlestone.
Then the moment we've all been waiting for. 24 games in the making. Gareth Bale on. The hoodoo shudders. It knows its time is over. Ok, so as someone on GG so eloquently put it, if you were a virgin you'd rather work hard at getting the girl you fancy to sleep with you rather than have your mates pay a blindfolded prostitute to do the anti-climatic deed. Thank you DHSF for the miserable analogy. Regardless, Bale is now part of a squad of 'winners'. A team with no apologetic deficiencies, as I'll always argue that Spurs would have failed to win those 24 games even if Bale didn't make an appearance in any given one of them. He was simply a victim of our medrocrity.
Also - welcome back Daws. I love you man. That big goofy smile. How can anyone not love him?
In the mean time, The Jig scored his fourth and Spurs goal number 5, sneaking the ball through the keepers legs and in off the post. A resounding two-finger salute to all the critics. This Keane is on fire.
Ok, so reality check, its Burnley and we should be winning these games regardless. But we've been here before many times and we've slipped up here many times. A more stern test up next away to Bolton - and one that will tell us far more than today's rout. But damn it, I'm going to celebrate the fact that we're moving onwards and upwards. 5 wins from 7 games. That's got my balls tingling and I ain't gonna scratch 'em.
So how do you define a good performance?
This was a good performance. We punished a side that played too much football and had very little bite. And we punished them good.
And a clean sheet.
Add to it Chelsea getting dicked 3-1 at Wigan. Pretty decent day.