0-0, how exactly?
I have to say I was left requiring a cold shower to cool myself off, having got slightly hot and bothered. I'd hate to think of the mess I would have made had we actually scored a goal or three. Blistering. Pulsating. This is Tottenham. It's basically more of the same from last season. And whether our forwards (all four of them) sharpen up or we manage to bag a genuine canny trickster striker before deadline day - I'm more than confident we're going to push onwards yet again.
Let's face, we had the players before Redknapp arrived. What we lacked was direction, structure, belief...you are more than familiar with the list. He got the basics right and yadda yadda yadda. We finally achieved what we've been flirting with for so long. Sustained progression resulting in 4th spot.
Obviously, pre-season had many of us asking if we had the mentality to continue to play at the standard of last season - with improvements in areas that needed improving. We'll find that out in due course, I'd say ask the question again after 15 EPL games. And although I'm not about to positive knee-jerk after the opening 90 minutes of our season, I'd say I saw enough to have that shower running cold for many weekends to come.
We battered City in the first half. Joe Hart's day and his team will be happier with the point than we were. Outstanding Harry called it. Can't really add anything more to that. We just looked a proper fully fledged team. No residue of those nasty depressive tears from displays of yesteryear, pre-HR. You know how it is, us fans, you expect a signing or two because new blood can add to squad depth and galvanise a side further. And I'm not saying that we should completely discount an additional player or two - but this game reminded us that we have a pretty tidy set of players as it is (we still need a player or two, but can we at least lay to rest the fallacy of importance of pre-season games now, please?)
One or two will regain their high standard in the coming weeks (Lennon still seems a little bit off-key, perhaps one too many summer Cubans?) What I (we) witnessed was a Spurs side that simply works. And did so with the tradition we lust.
Modric, tenacious rather than magical but adapted very well against City's five man midfield, running around the pitch biting at their ankles, tackling and nicking the ball. Think, white short version of Palacios with a mullet. Huddlestone controlling and dominant. Why bother to even be surprised with this? Dare I suggest this might be our most effective midfield partnership (as seen v Arsenal, Chelsea, City last season)?
Okay, so perhaps Moddle wasn't so much effective (magical) going forward as he can be, but as a unit - it worked. It all worked.
Back four - solid. BAE played alright, didn't he? Yeah, no? I'll let you lot argue that one out. Special mention re: his tackle on SWP, start of second half.
Bale is just ridiculously good, much like Daniel Day-Lewis in 'My Left Foot'. There's a reason why My Right Foot went straight to dvd, and it's the same reason why the ball went wide from Gareth's not-his-left-foot foot. Agonising and disappointing. He's still a beast though. And one of our WMD's. Keep him fit, for the love of all things beautiful on God's Lilywhite planet.
The Crouch-Defoe-Keane-Pavlyuchenko quad rotation lacked cutting edge. Heard that before, haven't we? But there's goals in them, I'm certain of it. We still need that ooze of class to push us upwards which we've all been waiting for since the end of the World Cup. At the expense of what unlucky player, I'd say it will be between Keane and Pav. If...if we managed to actually sign someone. Group stage CL football would demand that, IMO. Although the EPL has to remain the priority (and all of the above can comfortable repeat last seasons feat, but that might not be enough for 4th - we might need something extra to push us that little bit further). And how is Harry expected to keep them all happy? (look out for the next blog post).
Gio (why the persistence with agent talk over his future?) didn't have enough time to truly impact the game. But I liked the cut of his jib.
Gomes? Did he have a shot to save?
First half then, Crouch; Defoe, Huddlestone, BAE (deflected), Bale (post) then Lennon, Defoe again - all with decent efforts. Hart annoying in his defence of the goal. Second half, SWP should have scored (BAE innit), King deflected header could have also given them a goal. Pav had a couple of shots, and Bale and his right foot (arguably the easiest chance of the game) and Pav late on.
Okay, so second half City retained the ball better and had us chasing them down quite a bit, but they never threatened to the point where I was watching through my hands. Yes they have stupendous depth, but Mancini's obsession with all things defensive will probably be detrimental to them in the long run. They also had three debutants out there so I guess we should revisit this particular question (will they gel?) in around 15 games time also. And it serves to keep our feet firmly on the ground for a few games longer also.
I guess you could say we exhausted ourselves some what, but still carved out chances to win it. Toure and Kompany key players for them. Should have won it, deserved to win it. But heads up, it was a corker of a 0-0.
Clinical. That's the word for the weeks ahead. Make possession count, and try to avoid making the opposition goalkeeper man of the match, by ya know, sort of placing the ball out of his reach.