Wigan 0 Spurs 3: From Russia with a smile
It was no majestic execution of total football so don't expect a club dvd release of our 3-0 away day win in the marsh lands of Wigan. However, don't be dismissing the performance completley out of hand. Take some pride from the professional taking of three points, even if it took a couple of cameos to conslidate the victory.
That Harry sure knows how to make subsititions, hey?
Okay, so for long periods of the match there wasn't too much going on and even the goal scored by Defoe to stick us 1-0 up was blatantly offside, even if the build up play (Niko and Bale involved) was deserving of a more pure finish. Many thanks to the assistant referee and his reluctance to lift his flag for that piece of good fortune. If he had eyes we'd be all busy slating JD for getting a light year ahead of the last defender before the ball was crossed.
What we got out of this incident was the lead in a game we were comfortable in, which was great because we weren't exactly having many shots on goal. I'm not about to drum up the olde 'cutting edge and lack of' discussion because the pitch was a travesty. It's hard enough for us to create chances on a decent one so no shocker we muddled through this. We mixed it up a little, tried to pass it around and had Crouch as the option if we required a long punt forwards with accompanying knock-down 3 feet away from the feet of Defoe.
Game for me changed when Modric came on.
At the start of the afternoon I found myself nodding in agreement that the lickle Croatian was on the bench. Wasn't just about the state of the pitch either. He's been a little off-key so allowing him to come on and make an impact if need be suited me just fine. Because you could see early on it was going to be one of those games we'd have to bide our time with.
Ref was inconsistent, Defoe lucky (not just with the goal but with one or two tackles and a card - thankfully just yellow). It was fragmented and untidy. King leaving the pitch just after 50 minutes was no shocker. Surprised he was risked in this game considering (no offence) that Wigan are not exactly going to pose the type of threat Everton will this weekend. We could have easily gone missing, but thanks to Wigan's reluctance to play long balls it was a game where both sides tried - as much as possible - to play football. And as for the physicality, Wilson handled it along with the rest of our players. There was no pushing powder-puff Tottenham off the ball in this game (Wigan simply not strong enough to do so).
We had the best of it in the first half, went a bit quiet and then in came Modric (for Niko) and we looked good for a second goal. Because we all know we can't rest unless we get a second.
Crouch should have scored. He didn't. Failed to lift it over the keeper. Modric unlucky with his shot coming off the post and into Kirkland's hands. When Pav entered the field of play I had a gut feeling he would get onto the score-sheet.
Scoring twice was a bit lovely considering how he's not even meant to be in a Spurs shirt. Took his first goal with ease (Modric at the heart of it, threading the ball through to him after a determined run) and then his second (from a free-kick) coming after a save from his initial header, casually slotted in through a tight gap, again with ease and a smile.
It was almost like Roman was mucking about in the playground with his mates during lunch break. Compare his efforts to the over zealous efforts witnessed in recent games. Pav was cool and calm, a refreshing alternative that we've almost forgotten about devoid of any misplaced urgency or lack of confidence. I like this Pav, much more than the one that moans in the papers, but then you can understand why he moans when he's never played. Harry, bless him, scratching the back of his neck and shifting uncomfortably couldn't quite muster up a heartily pat on the back for the Russian. You'd have noticed his comment post-match was underlined with the suggestion that Pav is a good player when he can be bothered. Yes, Harry gave him a chance because he trained well (for once). Unlike all those other times when he didn't.
"He's fantastic, trffic, quality player, top class, blah blah"
Yes, yes, if you believed any of that he'd have played a ton more games than he has. If Pav is not training well then it's probably because he's a tad disillusioned. Stick him up front against Bolton and let's see if he can do the business again. Leave the favouritism alone for once. Suck it up and just give us what we want.
Yeah, I know, I've written off Pav plenty of times in the past. Let's face it, his first season was a mess and he'd not had a chance since. Most Spurs fans would agree, so call me a soppy romantic but my heart melted for the lad when he celebrated and more so when seeing the united front all his team-mates put up for him during and after the game. He's well liked. Which is a great achievement for someone who can't speak English.
So in the end we didn't suffer the usual indignity of a last minute equaliser thanks to the magic of Modic who glided around the mud pitch like a skater on ice and Roman's clinical finishing.
We dug deep, got lucky with an offside, still pretty much dominated the game and did our goal difference a world of good along with pushing ourselves up from 7th into 4th. Again.