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13-11-2008, 09:22 PM #1
Ho ho ho! Who'd have thought it a few weeks ago, eh? Two games against Liverpool in a fortnight or so, scored six, conceded three, won both!
A far, far cry from the depths of despondency in which we found ourselves prior to Harry Redknapp taking over.
The scoreline was an accurate one, the manner in which Liverpool were despatched for a second time this season really very pleasing.
Having had to endure the gushing adulation lavished on the Gooners from the previous evening's outing against Wigan, a comfortable win to progress to the quarter finals was just what was needed.
Bloody media. Arsehole youngsters this, Arsehole youngsters that. "If they carry on like this, it'll be difficult to stop them". Yeah, that's what you said last season and look what happened!
Equally annoying, those idiot Gooners who a week ago were calling for Wenger's head and now once again think he is God.
Support a proper football club.
Ahem. Sorry. Had to get that off my chest.
Yesterday's preparation started much as the previous week against Zagreb with a couple of pints in Liverpool Street with "me mate Dave". Then a couple more before the game near The Lane.
Arriving at the stadium I was amazed at how many the Scousers had brought down with them. More than they'd had for the League game. Must be something to do with minimum ticket allocations I suppose. Fair play to 'em. Plenty travelled for a Wednesday night game.
As expected, they rested plenty, but so did we. No King, no Woodgate, no Jenas, no Bentley, no Bent, no Modric. Michael Dawson skipper! Partnering Corluka in the centre. Hmmmmm..... I wasn't so sure. Torres, even far from match fitness, would be a handful. Remember the way he made Dawson look a complete tit at the end of last season? Ooh, the shudders.
4-4-2 though, with Pav and Campbell starting up front. A departure from recent formations so that would make for good observation.
Ready for the off
Anyway, when the game got going, and for near enough half an hour, it didn't look much like either side was all that bothered. Yes, I really did say that. It really didn't look much like either side was all that bothered. There, I said it again for effect.
The football was nice enough, but there was no cutting edge for either side. In fact, it felt so docile that the goal, when it came, was really something of a surprise.
Couldn't make out who exactly laid the ball through for Campbell, think it was Bale, but when he muscled past and laid the ball back, Pav was on hand in the centre of the box to convert.
Woo-hoo! The lad had got us going again just as he'd left off last time out against Liverpool! A crisp enough finish, but serious questions about the Liverpool defending, and as I'd suspected on first glance, it went straight through the keeper's legs. Oh dear. He should've done better.
That got the game going as a contest properly. Liverpool started to play with more intent, but what actually happened was that we started to totally dominate possession. So much so that all of a sudden the 'Ole' chants went up. On the rare occasion that Liverpool got the ball back - 'Booooooo'!
Liverpool's best chance seemed to be counter-attack or a set piece and just before half time they won what I thought was a contentious free-kick down our left side. It was just about then that the beers worked their way fully through and I had no choice but to exit for the public conveniences.
Suddenly a cheer, somewhat muted. Oh no. The equaliser. Then the announcement - "...and the second goal for Spurs, scored by number blah blah blah..... Frasier Campbell". Get in! Two up - must've been on the counter-attack.
Ha ha! Half time fast approaching and we're two up against Liverpool!
With seconds to go till the end of the half I opted to stay back and order a couple more beers. Oh dear. Another mistake. Goal! Campbell again. Three up at half-time!
Ha! I'd missed two goals. Now, I've missed goals before through having to, errrrr, tip the ferryman, but two? In such short time? Nah!
Shame about that as it means my description is somewhat, well, missing, but I wasn't complaining. Top priority is Spurs winning games, not me seeing goals!
Still, not many, myself included, could have imagined after a first half hour somewhat devoid of action, that we'd be going in three to the good! It was such a turn-up that even my Spurs supporting mate from Sweden, James, felt inclined to send me a text message or two!
From here, surely there could be only one outcome.....
Yeah, but this is Spurs, and with the start of the second half came a Liverpool lifeline. Having already won one corner within seconds of the restart, they won another, and this time converted it. Poor goalkeeping, I thought, from Gomes. Even I could tell that from the opposite end of the pitch. It was frustrating, but I was more annoyed that we'd managed to concede two corners within a minute of the start of the second half. Grrrrrrr.
My response to James was that this was the very last thing we needed. Plenty of times in the past I've seen us three up at half-time and..... well, doesn't bear thinking about.
Thankfully, those shambolic second half performances against the Manchester sides were not to be repeated, and soon enough we restored out three goal cushion.
This time it was Zokora breaking from midfield - a trick he played a few times last night, and we all know that Zokora, when running with the ball at his feet, is a handful (shame about the end product). His shot was deflected, straight into the path of a - once again - unmarked Pavlyuchenko. Bang! Goal! Lovely job.
Sensing more Spurs goals the chants were now - "Are you Arsenal in disguise?"!
It even looked as though Benitez was throwing in the towel. Torres withdrawn after having had his little canter to start building up match fitness. In truth, he didn't get into the game at all, and Dawson was spared blushes similar to those of last season. Any which was you looked at it, Liverpool were ineffective.
How very frustrating then, that within ten minutes, we throw Liverpool another bloody lifeline.
Another corner, another Gomes error, and the scoreline reads 4-2. Aaaaarrrggghhh! So annoying. So frustrating.
These two latest mistakes were plenty enough for me, when added to all the others this season, to get me, probably considered most fervent supporter of Gomes on here (maybe second!), questioning his place in the side.
We managed, however, to continue dominating, and it looked as though Liverpool's best chance of scoring, just as in the first half, would be to catch us on the break, or from a set piece.
A second half set piece that came to nothing
With fifteen minutes to go, things took what looked like a nasty turn. Gomes saving low at feet, and all of a sudden, a mass of activity and a lot of concern. Gomes had gone down under the challenge and it didn't look good.
The stoppage was lengthy. Very, very lengthy. Not what was needed in any sense of the word. Stretcher, neck brace, oxygen..... oh dear.
Medical staff tending to Gomes
So we got to see Cesar Sanchez. Perhaps Liverpool sensed it was worth a punt? Perhaps not. They were no more attacking and the goalkeeper was no more tested. The first few touches that Sanchez did have were greeted with roars of approval. As much, I think, to try building his confidence when it looked as though we may let Liverpool back into the game, as anything else.
As the minutes ticked away, we managed to continue to maintain our superiority, and when the fourth official held up his board I was expecting probably five, maybe six minutes.
Nine! Nine bloody minutes! No way! Having snuck a look at the clock when Gomes went down, and again when it restarted I was convinced it was five minutes. Add a couple of other stoppages and substitutions and you could stretch to six minutes. Nine! Bloody hell!
As it turned out there was nothing to worry about. We kept the ball pretty well. Ran it into the corners. Ran down the clock.
Even Boateng got a run out for ten minutes! Hang on though - shocker. He wasn't crap! He actually had one very decent run with the ball down the wing, and then a strange, probably not quite as intended, flicked pass. I commented of his first touch last night that it was his best bit of football since joining. Only taken a season! He has bloody loads to do to win me over though. Erasing the memories of his complete ineptitude against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in January will take a lot of doing! No matter for last night though. No mistakes.
By the time the whistle blew the travelling supporters had thinned significantly in number, and we could enjoy yet another victory under Harry Redknapp's guidance.
Bring on the quarter finals!
So, I missed two goals. Apologies, no descriptions!
Nice though, that both strikers got a brace each. Nice, also, that after a first half hour of..... well, not much in the way of goalmouth action, we got going after opening the scoring, and really then dominated the game, even though we gave ourselves a couple of scares. The two goal cushion that we managed to maintain throughout the second half helped enormously.
As, actually, did Liverpool's complete ineffectiveness. Not a patch on the side that had turned up for the League game a couple of weeks ago. They lacked any real threat and both their goals really had as much to do with our problems at the back as anything else. Somewhere in there was a penalty appeal. From the noise the visiting support made, they clearly thought it was, and while its impossible to judge from the other end of the ground, even I thought it could have been.
Still, as I said at the start, it wasn't like we'd put out our strongest side either. Far from it. The difference was that we were the better side. By a stretch. I don't agree with many of the reports today that we were 'great'. We weren't. For the first half hour, while we shaded it, we didn't really look like scoring. We were, however, easily better than Liverpool and deserved the win. Easily.
Real positives were seeing both strikers score a couple each. Huddlestone playing really rather well. Zokora getting through masses of work in midfield. Dawson not ending up on his arse!
Top of the pile, though, unquestionably in my mind, Corluka. He was brilliant. Utterly, utterly composed. Incredibly classy. Just bloody brilliant. It really was a pleasure to watch a centre half never flustered, and even lacking the pace of some, making it all look so easy. I hope that's not the kiss of death! It was just great to watch though.
Disappointments? Well, even I'm wondering about Gomes now. No two ways about it, both goals were down to his errors. As I said to James, I like the bloke. I really do. But he doesn't help his own cause. Somewhere in there is a bloody good keeper. Of that I'm sure. Whether he can find it at Tottenham, or be given the time to, is another matter entirely.
Also Bale. Disappointed me generally last night. Didn't have any howlers, but I generally expected a lot more from him when partnered with O'Hara down the left. Mind you, let's not forget that he spent a massive part of last season out of the game, and he has a long, long way still to go in his career.
On the way home my sister called and told me that, first, the Gomes injury wasn't as bad as first thought. Then, a few minutes later, Chelsea were out, beaten by Burnley on penalties. Wahey!
The train home was a picture. A few weeks back after we'd lost to Hull, the Chelsea fans returning from whoever they'd played were gloating. "Ha ha ha! Another Spurs defeat".
Bloody funny seeing their faces last night. What a picture!
Onward and upward for us (hopefully!). A quarter final spot in the bag, and Fulham at Craven Cottage to come on Saturday. A long, long way still to go in this season, but one thing's for sure. The mood at White Hart Lane has changed. For the better.
Last edited by funster; 13-11-2008 at 09:37 PM.
13-11-2008, 09:23 PM #2